It has been about a month since my wife and I lost our first child in a miscarriage. To be more specific, in the first Trimester. My wife went into the doctor's office in week 9 after a bit of bleeding, and there was no heart beat. It looks like the baby stopped growing at six weeks.
We lost a member of our family. Certainly, the loss is very different from losing my son or my wife. But it is a real loss.
There are many struggles and many thoughts. Some of these thoughts make me feel ashamed of myself, others make me feel angry. But as I seek the Lord, and take some time to process, there are a few things that are clear, and I hope they can be helpful to others some day.
- I must be wary of the impulse to grab for control.
- Not all discipline is punitive
We have wrestled with what kind of discipline this may be. We cannot deny that there has been some pride in our hearts that ought not to have been there. We certainly did expect this pregnancy to be like the last one to some degree. See, there are two reasons to run laps in a sport, and both could be referred to as 'discipline'. One is to grow in conditioning and endurance. Another is because an athlete was disrespectful to the coach and now has to run laps. Sometimes our Father disciplines us in a way that is more akin to the disrespecting. We were just being rebellious and hard-hearted and we know it. Other times, He is disciplining us for endurance. We are never sin-free, but sometimes the hardships He allows are more to train us in righteousness then to punish for rebelliousness. In our case, we have come to believe this is the second kind. We could be wrong, but that is where we believe we have been led. This takes discernment.
- We must resist the temptation to go back to confidence in probability or ourselves; and seek to move toward confidence in Christ.
We are feeling really intensely the fear of losing our next child now. The fear where there was no fear before. The temptation is to get back to the lack of fear as quickly as possible, as if the absence of fear is always good. But it is not good if we are confident and fearless because we are trusting in probability or an idol.
For example, what do we tell ourselves when the fear that we may not have any more children comes up? Do we say, ‘that is very unlikely. Look at our family history! Look at our health! There is no point in worrying about that’. Those thoughts betray where our confidence truly lies: in probability. Very pragmatic. How is that trusting God? Or, God forbid, we might say, ‘Okay God, You win. We needed that correction. We were getting proud. But we’re good now. You can give us more children’. That is trust in self. In self-righteousness. So where do we go? What are the sorts of thoughts that indicate a heart that is comforted by God, and not by these replacement gods?
They sound like this: ‘We don’t know what will happen, and there is nothing to guarantee that we will continue to have children or if we will have miscarriage after miscarriage from now on. But this is what we do know: God is good. So good. He loves us. He is completely in control. We are His servants, and He commands us not to be anxious about tomorrow.”
These are truths from His Word that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt. We must turn our minds toward these truths. But even then, we have so little control. We cannot cause these truths to do anything in our hearts. Better men and women than me have read and considered the truth of God’s Word and remained unmoved by it. We need the Holy Spirit to apply the truth of God to our hearts. To open our hearts to the comfort and strength that is in them.
I could keep going in listing all the ways we need the Lord to make this happen, to apply any part of these lessons. For example, will we even be aware of what we are doing when we start to cling to probability or idolatry for comfort? Will we even find the motivation to reject that, or will we just give in because it is too hard? It is all up to the Lord. All of it.
So, even as we have learned some things, we are in the same place that we always have been: in complete dependance on God.