4 Gifts I Gained After My Miscarriage

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One year ago, I went to the hospital and lost a baby.

It wasn’t the first baby I had lost. It was the second one that never made it past the first trimester. And because I had already carried two healthy babies to full-term, I figured that God would give me some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card — a pass on suffering during the rest of my pregnancies.

I was so confident that I would be fine in this pregnancy, I barely blinked an eye when the nurse told me I was anemic and needed to get on iron supplements. I called in the prescription and decided to pick up the pills after my vacation to Seattle. I was only going to be gone for 9 days. I would eat iron-rich foods and get on iron pills when I got back.

I was more worried about flying and getting sick on the flight than my hemoglobin levels, but I discussed it with my doctor, and I felt great on the flight and during the trip. No morning sickness. No nausea. I felt more tired than I had ever felt in my life, but I figured that pregnant women with two small children should feel tired.

And then a week after I got home, I found myself on a hospital bed looking at a stomach that I knew it was way too flat to house any life. I knew my pregnancy was over.

What I didn’t know is that I wouldn’t bounce back. I wouldn’t get up a few days later and resume my life. I would have to climb out of a hell-hole of suffering.

I remember feeling so betrayed by God when it happened. How could He let it happen to me two times? Wasn’t one baby loss enough? And to add insult to injury, this second miscarriage confined me to a bed for weeks and weeks.

But it was out of that place of sadness and solitude in my bedroom that I began to write. And though I wanted to birth my Addison Grace at 40 weeks, God birthed in me instead a greater compassion and empathy for others and a call to minister to other women. I share this journey with you here on my blog with every post I write — and it is from that place of remembering and reflection that I write a guest post for Forget-Me-Not, Oh Lord! this week. I talk about how my view of what happened is different now than it was then. I talk about how I have been finding “beauty for ashes” in a life event I would not describe with any words less than “horrific” and “shocking.” I would love for you to click the link and join me there.

I hope you will find encouragement from the post if you are in the middle of something hard. Dorothy Valcárcel, author of the devotional “Transformation Garden: Where Every Woman Blooms,” includes some lovely lines in her most recent July 23 and July 24 devotions:

“There are some lives that seem to be utterly destroyed by some great and sore trial, but beyond the sorrow they move on again in calmer, fuller strength, not destroyed, not a particle of their real life wasted… Their character shines out in richer luster and rarer splendor than ever in the days when their hearts were fullest of joy and gladness.” — J.R. Miller

“(Jesus) has been where we are, and He walks with us and weeps with us. And with your tears He can water the seeds of character planted by pain.” — Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton

“God has a bottle and a book for His (children’s) tears. What was sown as a tear will come up as a pearl.” — Matthew Henry

 

Carol Whitaker

Carol Whitaker is a coach's wife, mom, writer, and singer. She left a career in teaching in 2011 to pursue a different path at God's prompting. While she thought that the path would lead straight to music ministry, God had different plans -- and Carol found herself in a crisis of spirituality and identity. Out of that place, Carol began writing about the lessons God was teaching her in her desert place and how God was teaching her what it meant to be healed from a painful past and find her identity in Him rather than a title, a relationship, a career, or a ministry. These days, Carol spends her time shuttling her little ones back and forth from school, supporting her coach-husband on the sidelines, and writing posts. Carol also continues to love music and hopes to pick up piano playing again. Carol is a self-proclaimed blog junkie and iced-coffee lover. She resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.

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An Anchor in Illness

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Recent stories in the news have brought individuals to the forefront that have chosen to die on their own terms. My last post focused on Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old terminal cancer patient, who decided to take her life this past weekend rather than suffer with the pain of cancer.

In similar form, Robin Williams surprised everyone with his suicide a few months ago. In contrast to Maynard, Williams did not announce his decision to the public beforehand but instead went quietly into his room, armed with a belt, and never came out again. His widow cited that Williams’ depression over a Parkinson’s diagnosis had contributed to his suicide.

Although their methods were different, both Maynard and Williams had one thing in common: They wanted a say in their final moments. Death looked more appealing to them than a finale that involved uncertainty and a loss of control over their bodies.

The Stress of Illness

Illness is tough. I haven’t battled anything as monumental as a cancer or Parkinson’s diagnosis, but I have to admit that even my relatively small struggles to get my health back after my recent miscarriage and hospitalization added to my stress and depression. Even though I had been promised a full recovery after three months, I still felt pretty discouraged when I looked at the healthy, happy people around me, and I felt confined to the four walls of my house because a quick trip to the grocery store inspired my heart to race and my head to throb.

I couldn’t remember dates and names very well because my hemoglobin levels had dipped so low that my head was in a constant fog. Following my son around the playground for an hour made me tired enough to be in bed all afternoon. In addition, I felt a sting when family members didn’t exactly rush to my aid or even remember to check up on me. I felt very alone.

My husband reminded me that at least I had an end in sight, but what if I had been told that I didn’t have a chance of recovery? As I was pondering the effect of my own health situation, I felt the Lord speak to me about the hope He gives us to combat the challenges of illness.

Perhaps these truths will be of encouragement to you as well in whatever situation you find yourself in:

1. His hope is an anchor for the soul.

I love these words from Hebrews 6:18 that are now a line in a popular Hillsong worship song. His hope literally “anchors” us when we feel the worry and strain of what is happening in our body and feel that our emotions are getting carried away. A verse I felt really spoke to me after my miscarriage was Romans 14:8: “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” We can rest in health or illness because we can trust Him as the author and finisher of our life.

2. Another source of comfort for us is that we have access to the God of the universe.

The greatest physician of all, the Creator who formed our body. One of the benefits of being a Christian is that He heals all of our diseases (Psalm 103:3). He doesn’t guarantee a healing, and I don’t understand why some get healing and some do not; however, we have the hope that we can approach Him and ask for that healing.

3. Even if we do not receive healing in the way we want, we can trust in the fact that all suffering has to go through Him first.

If it His will that we do not get a complete healing, as believers, we can know that He will walk through the illness with us. He will provide comfort for us and strength along the way.

When I was on my way to the hospital because I was having symptoms that I suspected were that of a pregnancy loss, I felt the sun shining on me through the car window, and I felt the most wonderful sense of peace. I kept hearing the words in my head, “You can let this go. You can let this pregnancy go.” I just felt this sense of strength girding me up on all sides, even though I was in the midst of the crisis of losing my baby.

Once we made it to the hospital, I continued to feel a supernatural calm. When I was waiting to go into surgery after learning I was having a miscarriage, a wonderful woman from my church who just happened to be working in the operating room that night popped her head in and prayed for me before the surgery. I felt that God had sent her to my side to further ease me through the process.

And, again, when I was released and the horrible reality of what had happened had washed over me, I felt literally that the dark, bottomless hole in my soul I had fallen into was sewn up by a master surgeon.

This is not to say that I did not experience grief or pain — because I did and am still processing through that — but I had a wonderful help in the midst of my crisis.

4. Lastly, we have the hope that our trials and suffering are temporary.

I get so caught up in trying to have perfect circumstances, but that is not what the Bible tells me is the reality for this life. The Bible assures us that we can expect trials and suffering (John 16:33) but to “take heart” and not be thrown off by difficulty. Another “anchor” for us in our suffering is that we have hope that all of this present trouble will pass away. It encourages us to know that while our physical body is deteriorating, our spirit is ever being renewed — and we will experience the perfect circumstances we desire when this life is over. The longing we feel for this is normal; all of creation longs for it too (Romans 8:22).

Conclusion:

Illness is stressful and hard. It changes the dynamics of relationships and can be a heavy burden to bear. There is nothing easy about losing physical capabilities and having to rely on others to take care of us. However, God’s desire is not for us to succumb to worry or fear but instead rest in Him — the hope that “anchors” us in our trials.

*Updated November 18, 2017.

Carol Whitaker

Carol Whitaker is a coach's wife, mom, writer, and singer. She left a career in teaching in 2011 to pursue a different path at God's prompting. While she thought that the path would lead straight to music ministry, God had different plans -- and Carol found herself in a crisis of spirituality and identity. Out of that place, Carol began writing about the lessons God was teaching her in her desert place and how God was teaching her what it meant to be healed from a painful past and find her identity in Him rather than a title, a relationship, a career, or a ministry. These days, Carol spends her time shuttling her little ones back and forth from school, supporting her coach-husband on the sidelines, and writing posts. Carol also continues to love music and hopes to pick up piano playing again. Carol is a self-proclaimed blog junkie and iced-coffee lover. She resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.

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