As I sit and attempt to write the words of my heart, I twist the ring that sits on my right hand. It’s a gold band with a simple design across the top: opal stones. Opal is the birthstone for the month of October. This was already a special month to me including both my husband and my dad’s birthday. Now it is also the month of something else very dear to me – the month the baby I’ll never get to hold was due.
I’ve walked through grief before. I’ve known the aching of wishing so badly for someone that you once had physically present that’s no longer there. For the last month I’ve faced a grief that I’ve yet to be able to fully put words to. It’s similar to the grief of losing a loved one, but only without having ever seen that person face to face, yet feeling as if you knew them profoundly.
When my husband and I found out we were pregnant I was incredibly overjoyed. When we saw the word “pregnant” blink across the screen of the pregnancy test our lives instantly changed. It’s nearly impossible to keep yourself from immediately considering all the fun things ahead! We started discussing names, how I wanted to decorate the nursery, and if we thought it would be a boy or girl. Though my stomach hadn’t grown an inch, I’d still place my hand there often thinking to myself “my baby is in there! The Lord is literally working out Psalm 139 inside of me right now!” It was the most beautiful and the most terrifying few weeks of my life.
With all of the feelings of anticipation, there was also great worry. I often wrote in my journal of the fear of not having enough faith to face the pain that would come if something were to go awry with the pregnancy. Though we rarely have much control over anything in our lives, being pregnant ripped from me any feeling of control. This little life was in the Lord’s hands. I had no idea how God would hold me, comfort me, and strengthen me in truth in the coming days.
After losing our baby, I sat in the words of Psalm 42 often.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
Do you ever feel as if you know something in your mind, but don’t believe it in your heart?
As I grieve the loss of this pregnancy, I know with my mind that God is present with us in grief (Deuteronomy 31:6). I read in His Word that He is working all things together for good (Romans 8:28). I know that trials come in our lives because we live in a broken world, where nothing is untouched by the effects of sin. Scripture tells us in Romans 8 that even creation groans as it waits for the day for Christ to come and make all things new. I know that my God will bring about growth from my suffering (James 1).
Yet in the throngs of grief, when I am at my worst, my heart fights to believe those truths. The pain can seem unbearable. The dreams I had for my family seem shattered into a million pieces and I don’t know how to piece them back together. All I can manage to believe with my heart in those moments is that the tear stained onesie I’m clutching and the gaping hole in my heart is wrecked with pain. A pain I’ve never felt before.
I found myself sitting at home in the midst of a moment of deep sadness. Tears streamed down and fell upon the open Bible in front of me. I know that in Him is my hope, but I felt so unable to find anything to speak life back into my weary bones. I flipped to the pages of Psalm 42 and began to read through a trembling voice.
In this Psalm David is in a fight with himself. He knows that God is His only hope and he yells at his own soul, “Hope in God! Why aren’t you getting this? Why are you in turmoil? He is our hope!”
That internal battle is one that I’m sure many of us have faced, whether it’s caused by grief or something else. The distance between our head and our heart can seem so far when the weight of the world is crushing down.
If we only ever lived our lives based on our feelings, not much would ever be accomplished. Our feelings are wrapped up in situations and are as fleeting as the waves that toss in the sea – they come and go in every direction. We must choose to walk in truth and obedience regardless of our feelings, knowing that God is much more concrete than our ever changing emotions.
The words of this Psalm remind me of the words of Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief.” When I know who God is, I know He is working, and I know He is with me, yet I am only barely grasping to believe that in the pit of grief I find myself speaking the words, “God, I believe! Make my heart believe!”
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall and not faint.”
Our days are not promised to be brighter tomorrow as long as we are earth side. But, as believers, we do have the lasting, steady, eternal hope of Christ and the supplied grace and strength through the Holy Spirit to help us face each moment as they come. He has not left us and He will not forsake us. He is faithful, sure, and an anchor for our souls through the raging seas of grief and life’s toughest battles.