This is a hard scripture to talk about today. I'm kind of surprised that I included it on my list of verses to talk about this year for this series. But here goes nothing!When I was pregnant for the second time I saw a post on Facebook with this verse and it resonated very deeply with me. I had walked through a season of heartache and was truthfully still grieving the loss of our first child, but I was pregnant with our second and I was rejoicing. This verse described exactly how I felt.
He may not restore everything during your time on earth, but I can promise you that He will restore. He will restore the heartache, the loneliness, the anger, the depression, the empty arms, the anxiety, the tears, the death.He will restore it all because that is Who He is.
I love the bold promises in this passage of Isaiah. As I was meditating on this verse this morning and thinking about what I may write about, my mind immediately went to flash floods for some reason. Like the name suggests, flash floods happen really quickly and are super dangerous. They blindside you and take over everything in their path before you even have time to react.
But the Lord was with Joseph.Those words bring me so much comfort. If you don't know the story of Joseph I'd encourage you to read it because it is one of my favorites. Essentially, Joseph was his father's favorite son and his older brothers were so jealous and full of hatred that they sold him into slavery. Fortunately, Joseph found himself favored by Potiphar, an officer to the Pharaoh of Egypt and he was made overseer of Potiphar's house. Eventually, due to some really unfortunate circumstances at no fault of his own, Joseph wound up in prison and was there for two whole years before being released. Chapter 39 is about Joseph's time in prison.
This entire chapter of scripture brought me so much comfort shortly after my first miscarriage. For some reason Psalm 145:16 came to my mind within the first few days after my loss and it brought peace to my aching heart. A few months before my miscarriage, and about a month before I found out I was pregnant, I was visiting my best friend Julie down in Springville, Alabama. I was sitting next to her in church...
The Father of mercies and the God of ALL comfort. That amazes me and convicts me all at once. How many places do I go every single day looking for comfort, even if just for a moment, that are not the Lord? Sometimes I go to my coffee or a dessert, sometimes I go to my husband, sometimes I go to Netflix, sometimes I go to Marshall's, sometimes I vent to a friend. But if I would just go to God and seek His face, I would be surrounded by His comfort. We make it so complicated; we allow ourself to wallow in sadness sometimes because we seek comfort in all the wrong places.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about the privilege of heartbreak. It sounds impossible, but not when God is involved. I truly believe that the deeper the pain we experience, the deeper we get to experience God. He enters into our pain as He comforts us, heals us, strengthens us, and grieves with us and it allows us to get to know Him in a deep and intimate way.
Isaiah 25:4 covers it all; we are reminded that He is our strength when we are poor, in need of something, or in distress, He is our refuge from the storms of life, He is our shadow that we have the privilege of abiding in when the heat of a trial becomes too much for us to bear, and He protects us like a wall protects a city during a storm. Nothing enters into our lives that He has not allowed to pass.
No matter how far away He feels, He's ever so near, working on me and my story. No matter where I go, no matter how hopeless it seems, or how far away from God I feel, I will keep crying unto Him... When your heart is overwhelmed, cry out to God. He is so, so faithful to meet us in our moments of despair. In the middle of our mess, He enters in with peace, sits with us through the night, and helps us move forward in hope to the breaking of the dawn.
When my heart aches with disappointment, is my hope still anchored in the Lord? Do I still believe that in the depths of affliction God is my ultimate joy Giver and peace Bestower? Answers to those questions that once seemed so sure can be shaken to their core in a season of grief and suffering.
As I've said before, while I was pregnant with our second child I was so fearful. I had already had one miscarriage and I could not fathom going through another. I often told the Lord that I'd rather die because I figured I would anyways as a result of another heartbreak. I truly felt like I could not handle it. As I entered into what would be the last week of my pregnancy, I began experiencing some scary symptoms and dread consumed me.
Recently Michael and I were invited to our friend's house for dinner. All week long I was so excited! I couldn't wait to get through the week and hang out with our friends.
Then the day arrived and as each hour passed I grew more and more anxious. My mind was flooded with so many what-ifs. There was another couple invited as well and we are really good friends with both couples. The women are some of my very best friends! So why in the world was I so anxious?
After my first miscarriage I read Angie Smith's book I Will Carry Youand it was so comforting to me. Angie lost her daughter, Audrey Caroline, after carrying her to full term. At around 20 weeks pregnant Angie and her husband were told that their daughter had a diagnosis that was "incompatible with life." They chose to carry their little girl instead of terminating the pregnancy like doctors suggested and so many beautiful things have been born out of Audrey's life despite so much heartbreak.
Isaiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible because it contains so many promises that I cling to. I still remember the first time I heard this verse and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I was listening to a Bible study online and when the pastor spoke about this verse I fell in love with it. At the time I wasn't even experiencing extreme heartache or suffering, but these verses spoke to me even then.
Someone recently told me that she admired how deeply my two miscarriages have affected me. That was such a refreshing thing to hear because I often feel unworthy to even feel so much grief over what society calls "blobs of tissue." But she reminded me that my grief was my own and if I feel this way in my heart, then I need to allow myself to feel this way without guilt.
The verse starts off by saying before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. This tells me that conception is never an accident. Long before a child is even conceived, let alone known about on Earth, God knows all about that child. It's hard to even wrap your mind around! But it is so comforting to think about God knowing everything there was to know about my two sweet babies before they were even created.
This verse contains so much wonder! I am continually struck with surprise and gratitude each week as I write about scriptures that have meant a lot to me throughout this hard season of my life going through two miscarriages. I say surprise and gratitude because it is crazy to me that until I endured suffering, all of these scriptures were just words on a page. And I am filled with gratitude that God has called me to this path of suffering where I get to know Him in the most intimate ways.
We now know that I was pregnant with a sweet, healthy little girl but I have a blood clotting condition that caused me to miscarry her. Sometimes I hate the word "miscarry" because it sounds more like an accident than a loss.
Romans 8 is a favorite of mine because the entire chapter encourages me and reminds of the hope I have in eternity. Some of the verses are cliche scriptures used by people who don't know any better in an attempt to comfort someone who is grieving, and have gotten kind of a bad rep in the loss community. But I hope that through today's post you'll be reminded to look past ill-timed/hurtful comments and see the intent behind the ignorant remarks because these scriptures have so much comfort to offer!
This verse is very special to me because it inspired the name of the Etsy shop my best friend Melissa and I own called Burden Bearing Baskets. Melissa lost her daughter, Audrey, on Valentines Day in 2014 and at the time I wasn't even married yet and had no idea what she was going through. But she was my best friend so I started googling "how to support someone with micro preemie in NICU" and then, sadly, "how to support your friend when her baby dies." I literally had NO clue, I hardly even knew how to put into words what I was searching for.
Before my first miscarriage in November 2015 I had never really mourned deeply over anything. I was very close to my grandmother and when she died I grieved that loss, but she was sick and I was genuinely thankful that she was no longer suffering even though I still miss her so much. Plus losing your grandmother is expected, losing your baby is not. When I found out our baby was no longer with us, my heart shattered for the very first time.
"I'm supposed to have a baby in my arms right now." "I'm supposed to be pregnant right now."
These are thoughts that run through my mind constantly. As soon as they surface I feel a pang in my heart and my stomach drops a little as I think of all the things I'm supposed to be doing right now. It's not that I'm angry about it, it's just that the unfairness of it all often makes me feel sick.
But I don't want to live my life paused in the "supposed to's." I hate that I don't have a baby in my arms or body right now, but I believe that the Lord is sovereign and if I were meant to, I would.
This verse became special to me after our second miscarriage. As I've mentioned before, right around the time we found out our daughter's heart had stopped beating, I had been planning to "love" a Bible and send it to my sister who was in a religion class for the semester. I had a little ESV Bible that I had already been underlining and highlighting and handlettering in quite a bit, so I decided to add some more decoration and notes to it before sending it to her. But then our daughter died and I had surgery and suddenly it was a few weeks into the semester and I considered giving up on the idea.
I love how real this scripture is. When you're in the midst of suffering you get to a point where you can't sugarcoat things anymore. And if anyone has permission to feel that way, it's Job. After both of my losses I felt like I was very serious for about a month; I didn't enjoy small talk or joking around (which is out of character for me). And I still struggle with answering the dreaded question of, "How are you?" I don't want to fake fine, but I also don't want to make a person uncomfortable and tell them that I'm not fine. Job's words kind of define how my life was for several months after my second loss this past September.
Not so coincidentally, this scripture has shown up three or four times in my life the past few days, before I even realized it was the scripture I had scheduled to write about today. I feel like the Lord is trying to get my attention!I forget how I ever came to find and love this scripture, but the entire passage contains so much hope, encouragement, and comfort for several reasons.
Oh man, I could write a book about this verse! I specifically chose to quote the KJV above because I love how it says, "for the LORD thy God is with thee WHITHERSOEVER thou goest." Many other versions just say, "wherever you go." For some reason "whithersoever" sounds very intense to me and all encompassing of the promise given to us in this verse.
This scripture brought me such a deep comfort during my second pregnancy. We found out on September 1st, 2016 that our sweet little girl no longer had a heartbeat and she was surgically removed from my body the next day.
I was no stranger to the scary side of pregnancy, having lost our firstborn not even a year earlier, so I was constantly on edge.
"You are the place where your child's heart first began to beat. Your body was your child's first home. Death does not destroy that fact."
After my first miscarriage the question of, "Am I a mother?" plagued me. I felt like a loser for even wondering if I was or not. I mean, my body tried to be a mother... and failed. But a sweet friend, struggling with infertility herself, messaged me to simply tell me that, yes, I was a mother.