This is a touchy subject, and as I write this, I want each of you reading to understand that my statements are simply reflections on my particular situation. They are not a statement of how you should have felt, what you should have done, or any other suggestions about how you should have handled your loss.
Let me also say that I don’t believe in a God who zaps people with troubles. I don’t know any other way to say it. Yes, He is mighty and all powerful, but I think that there are things allowed in our lives that don’t always leave us feeling happy. I don’t think he necessarily pulls the trigger and causes these events, but I do feel strongly that He can use our experiences for good. Am I saying He does these things to us just so He can reach one other person? No, I’m not actually. But can he reach a person through suffering we’ve experienced in our own lives? Yes, He can, and sometimes that person is us.
At this point, we had embraced the idea of letting God decide when we’d have kids and how many He wanted us to have. I embraced the fact that since He made my body, formed me inside my mother’s womb, He knew what it could handle. I love pregnancy. I feel my best when I am pregnant. However, I had “enjoyed” my break from being pregnant, and I added parentheses because in the time off, I was learning to embrace that one of my kids wasn’t the “as long as s/he is born with 10 fingers and 10 toes” kind of kid. Yes, she had all her digits, but they worked differently because her brain worked differently. And this made my world different, so I was adjusting.
Over the summer of 2005, I kind of had a feeling that I might be pregnant again, but I wasn’t certain, and I wasn’t in a hurry to buy the overpriced test to then discover my period the very next day. So I waited to find out. I was sharing a visit with one of my best girlfriends, who was pregnant again, and she totally called me on the pregnancy. I wound up buying and taking a test, only to find out my suspicions were correct, yet again. I have to be honest with you, though, there was some hesitation in my excitement. It could have been the fact that I was overwhelmed with autism and its invasion of my sweet little girl, or it could have been that intuition they say you get when you become a mom. I waited to tell others because if you’ll remember, the last pregnancy wasn’t so celebrated by folks, including some family.
Oddly enough, I would lose this pregnancy before anyone ever really knew about it. I was seven weeks along when I miscarried. There are no words for such an experience. For me, there were only tears. This friend that was pregnant with me also had shared my last pregnancy with me, so I knew it would be hard to witness hers when I had lost mine. Plus, I had three kids already! I don’t have miscarriages! Where did this come from? Why? I believe that as soon as that baby is formed, it is my child, and I love it that way. Oh my gosh, there are just no words. So I cried a lot the day I found out, and I cried even more the next day. Adam didn’t say much. He cried a bit with me the first day, but he became strong for me since I was so weak. I could not understand such a loss. It didn’t seem fair. Adam said something to me, though, that pulled me out from under my sorrow and allowed me to face it and deal with it. I can’t tell you his exact words, but his sentiment was this, “Jamie, you and I have chosen to trust God with our family size and spacing. It’s easy to trust Him in blessings, but we also have to trust Him in loss.” Now, trusting God should be so easy, but it isn’t always. However, trusting Adam was a no-brainer for me. I loved that man like crazy, and time and time again, he had proven himself trustworthy to me.
So I took what he said to heart, and I decided to attend Bible study that night at a friend’s house. Now, this isn’t a weekly gig that the church does. It’s a group of women from our church who, from time to time, spend the evening in Bible study with a particular book or series as our guide, usually in someone’s home. Let me just say, we love some Beth Moore! This summer in particular we were doing her study called Believing God. (I cannot recommend this Bible study enough to you! It changed my life, beyond this particular night. It’s available online through Lifeway.) I had not done my nightly homework, and I was planning on not attending (even though doing the homework was NOT a prerequisite), but after talking with Adam I really felt like I needed to be there.
This night in particular was being led by one of my other besties, and it was called “Believing God to Get You to Your Gilgal”. Now, I went through my notes from the study today, looking for what I may have written down so that I could share it with you. However, it was the only listening guide from the 10-week study that I didn’t have filled out. It totally makes sense, since I was probably doing my best just to be there. So this morning I sat down and watched the session again (which gave me even more insights to some other stuff I’m dealing with now. Love the way God works!). I remember feeling that night like everything that came out of Beth’s mouth was for me in that moment. What stood out to me that night, too, was that this was my Gilgal. It was even bigger to me than dealing with autism, even though I still had so much to learn about autism. I lost a child. It may have been a peanut-sized child, but to me, it was my child. I could let this situation spin me into unbelief, or I could choose to embrace that no matter how I felt, His Word is right! So that is what I decided that night. I was not going to let this loss spin me into unbelief, which would inevitably lead to disobedience. I chose to obey Him anyway, embrace His promise that He would take care of me, and not believe the lies that the enemy was trying to feed me.
The word Gilgal means ‘circle’, and this was the place that God brought the Israelites full circle and broke the old cycle in the Old Testament book of Joshua. Beth says, in this session of the Believing God study, “God is so intentional in His timing. He has allowed some things in our lives that we may not understand ’til we get to glory!” I decided to embrace that truth, and I would see at least one reason that I feel He allowed me to go through such a loss sooner than I expected. Just a few weeks after I suffered my own loss, I got a phone call from a very dear friend who was going through the very same thing I had just experienced, only her pregnancy was farther along and a little more complicated. I can’t share details of this here because it’s her story to share, but I knew in the moment that she called me that God was going to use my loss. I didn’t stop her miscarriage or fix anything for her, but I could understand to some degree what she was dealing with. I knew how to be there for her and not think that there were magic words to make her feel better. I knew her pain, to some degree. I knew what to pray for her in the days following her loss, all because I had suffered a similar loss. And now, six years later, I can be of some comfort to friends who I have learned have suffered loss. I’m not just that mom of seven kids who has no idea what it is like but has good intentions. I’m the mom to seven kids, who “should” have eight, who has suffered such a loss so I can understand to some degree. So my words of comfort aren’t just blown off. I know what to pray for these dear friends. They know my care goes beyond “good intentions”. I also know that when a certain thought comes to mind, which may be very true, it might not be what their heart is ready to hear, so I can hold back and just pray for the right time to say it. It gives me perspective, and I think it also allows me to appreciate each one of my blessings as the unique miracle that they are, even though the years following of parenting that tiny miracle may be tough sometimes! What a blessing to be able to appreciate that life after knowing what it is like to lose one. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not calling my miscarriage a blessing. I am acknowledging that the perspective He gave me through that loss is a blessing.
And for me, I was blessed again when I became pregnant with Coleman just weeks after my loss. My fifth pregnancy, my fourth living child, my first son.