This is a beautiful story of faith in spite of great loss. Katrina Workman has great experience and wonderful insight in learning to trust God in the longing, the waiting, and the loss of a child through miscarriage. I hope you’re encouraged by her words..
“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2)
Being all too familiar with pregnancy loss, a friend recently asked what I thought was more challenging in my faith walk, struggling with trying to conceive again, or dealing with the anxiety of being pregnant again after suffering a loss.
I have been on both sides of this emotional see-saw, and I think they are equally challenging.
After our first baby died at 23 weeks gestation, it took me almost a year to get pregnant again. It was a tremendous struggle emotionally and spiritually. Every month spent waiting to see if I would get my period was so stressful. I would obsess over my ovulation timing and keep charts to track the “best” days to get pregnant.
I prayed fervently, “Lord, please, please, PLEASE just let me be pregnant again!” Then, although I kicked myself for it, I would get cranky at all the people on Facebook announcing pregnancies and births.
Finally, at the end of that long year and another disappointing “Negative” on the pregnancy test, I had an epiphany: I was asking God for what I wanted, instead of trusting Him to give me what He knew I needed in His perfect timing. Of course, I knew this all along but until that moment, I didn’t truly accept it with my heart.
Once I had that realization, it was like a huge load had been lifted off my shoulders and I just said, “OK, God, I’m along for the ride, whatever it is, wherever it might lead.” And then, one week later, despite a negative test and no way medically I should have been, I was pregnant.
But once that initial excitement has a few moments to sink in, so does the anxiety! Once you have lost a baby to miscarriage or stillbirth, being pregnant can be terrifying even though it’s joyful. You can never really relax. Every appointment, every wave of the Doppler wand, every second spent waiting to hear the baby’s heartbeat was like a pop quiz of my faith. My heart would stop for a half-second while I waited to hear those reassuring thumps.
But that, again, was an opportunity for God to strengthen my faith. It really was like falling off a tightrope and trusting that God has put a net below you.
During those long 9 months of waiting (OK, who are we kidding, it’s really 10 months), I learned to rely on faith and fellowship and it became my sustenance:
- I would group-chat on Facebook Messenger with some of my close girlfriends who are believers and they would send me verses and encouragement.
- I leaned on the support and love of the older women in my ladies’ group at church (most of whom were moms and many of whom had also suffered pregnancy loss in their lifetimes).
- Before every checkup, I sang praise songs loudly in my car and in my head in the waiting room (and sometimes out loud there too!).
- I read a devotional book for pregnant mothers to help me stay in the Word. Reading about God’s promises to others reminded me that I wasn’t alone.
The entire pregnancy was a reminder of how I’m not really in control of any of it. In the end, I experienced the sweet relief of having a healthy son placed in my arms, and I will never stop being thankful, especially because I know not everyone gets that result.
Unfortunately, going through one loss doesn’t make you immune to more. We suffered an early miscarriage this past fall and another, later miscarriage just last month. In some ways those were more challenging than our first loss, because when you walk through a fire like that once, you feel like you’ve paid your dues…until you remember your not the only one. The Bible is full of people who were tested over and over again!
Think about Joseph being thrown into the pit by his brothers. He never saw it coming and often the same is true for us. Terrible things can happen with no warning. Joseph’s story got worse before it got better as he continued to have unexpected and undeserved challenges. But he never gave up and never lost his faith.
We too need a solid foundation to hold us steady in the midst of all the twists and turns and anxieties that life and motherhood and womanhood throw at us. God is that foundation. Just as Jesus calmed the storm in the Sea of Galilee, God calms the storms in each of our lives.
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He still the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.” (Psalm 107:28-29)
So just weeks ago, I was managing the anxiety that came hand-in-hand with being pregnant after suffering prior losses. Now, I find myself on the other side of the equation again–grieving our miscarriage and confronted with the questions about whether and when I will become pregnant. And holding my breath again.
But then I remember: It’s out of my hands. And whose better hands to be in than God’s?
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials & sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)