It was a warm October that year. Auburn and orange leaves boasted one last time before falling to their death. But I suspected new life.
The first signs of pregnancy found their place in the smell of a far-off unlit candle and the heaviness of my eyes. One pregnancy test later, and my suspicions were confirmed.
But just as we lost our first baby, this one was gone too soon. A few months later, we would lose yet another precious unborn child.
After nearly two years of walking through devastating grief upon grief upon grief, I was diagnosed with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. It was like walking through a season of storms and steady rain. The storms threaten to overtake you and drown your life in sorrow. Once the storm is hushed, you’re left with unrelenting rain—the steady undertone of sadness, as you learn to live without the babies you’d hoped would be part of your life.
Though my womb was left empty after losing my three sweet babies, I was not left empty-handed. Our good Father gives us many good gifts, even—especially—in our grief, as I am learning.
THE GIFT OF LAMENT
Tear stains in my Bible mark one of my lowest points in recurrent miscarriage. Moments where my heart felt so weighed down with grief that I feared never being able to come back up for air. Where my mouth moved but I lost the strength to form words. These were the moments where I brought my broken heart to the God who allowed it to break and laid all the pieces before him.
Moments like these pave the way for biblical lament. Biblical lament is a gift God uses to deepen our love for him. Throughout the psalms, we see God’s people lamenting and running to him with their questions, fears, and pain:
“I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.” —Psalm 6:6–7 ESV
As I felt the familiar sting of death in my womb again and again, I learned to pour out my heart to God in honest lament. This developed an intimacy with my Heavenly Father I didn’t know was possible. He gave me the gift of lament. The most dreadful moments of suffering in my life have become treasured memories of the Lord drawing near to me and comforting my soul.
As we pour out our hearts to the living God, we humble ourselves by acknowledging our dependence on him. In telling him of our sorrows, we’re met with the comfort of a Father who knows exactly what we’re feeling and cares deeply for us.
THE GIFT OF A MORE ROBUST THEOLOGY OF SUFFERING
I’d walked through various trials in the years before our losses—job loss, poverty, a broken engagement, severe anxiety, and many more. But nothing shaped my theology of suffering more than Recurrent Pregnancy Loss.
I had the head knowledge and knew the right answers about suffering, but the grief of losing multiple babies turned my dogmatic theology of suffering on its head. I previously believed that reminders of how God works everything for my good should cause the pain of suffering to vanish. And if it didn’t, I must not love and trust God as I should. Though that truth is a balm to the suffering soul, it isn’t a promise of deliverance from the pain of our current circumstances.
I learned you can truly believe God is good with your joy secure in Christ even as you mourn. I learned that oftentimes true joy is evident even when a person weeps—that deeply feeling grief and loss does not mean you are faithless. Joy and sorrow can intertwine.
If you hold fast to Christ in the midst of your suffering, he will bring your theology of suffering to life and draw near to you in ways that are hard to fathom.
THE GIFT OF COMPASSION AND COMFORT FOR OTHERS
What a beautiful truth we have as Christians that whatever we face will be used not just for our good, but for the good of others:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” —2 Corinthians 1:3–4 ESV)
Through the grief I’ve experienced, God grew me in my understanding of how to come alongside those who are in a season of suffering. I learned to listen, to sit with them in their pain, to pray for the Holy Spirit’s help in knowing how best to minister to them, and to gently and carefully point their eyes to truths about God when led by the Spirit.
Great is the gift of seeing our pain transformed into someone else’s good.
THE GIFT OF KNOWING GOD MORE
More precious to me than anything I gained through my losses is the gift of God himself. Through losing my three babies, I received more of Jesus. He drew near to me in my grief. He gave me the gift of bowing in his presence in honest lament. I experienced his comfort and learned to trust him more. In all these things, he gave me the gift of knowing him more.
When God takes away something we cherish, we are not left empty-handed. He gives us more of himself. Not that we didn’t already have all of Christ, but in suffering we learn more about him and trust him more.
In our suffering, our eyes are opened to behold his goodness. We feel our need for him, which causes us to call out to him, and he draws near to us. Like a sick child cries out for his mother and she draws near to comfort and console him, our Father comes close and comforts us in ways only he can. His presence becomes our greatest joy. And we’re reminded that he is our portion, and he is enough.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11 ESV).
THE TREASURE ABOVE ALL TREASURES
Many of us know the promises of future babies that leap from the mouths of well-meaning friends and family and even strangers. But we aren’t promised a baby. Even if we were, that wouldn’t take away the grief of this baby—the one we’d already imagined in the highchair, at our dinner table or swaddled in a crib.
There’s someone more valuable than even a child. His name is Jesus. Grief has a way of drawing us to him, the only one who can truly understand our pain.
Jesus understands my pain, and he continues to meet me in it. He will do the same for you. He longs for you to behold his goodness that brings joy through the weeping.
In your grief, you can receive more of Jesus. You can know him—your suffering Savior. To know him more is to treasure him more. But Jesus is not a consolation prize for the loss of your unborn baby. He is the prize—the treasure that surpasses all other treasures.
This piece originally appeared at gcdiscipleship.com, published with permission.