“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.”
― Brennan Manning
I didn’t want to share this, partly because I’m proud and it hurts so much and I don’t really love sharing this personal stuff. And partly because I’m proud and easily self-absorbed and have to fight “making much of myself” constantly. I felt the need to share, prayed about it, and felt very clear confirmation to share and to “make much of Him” in my story.
Most of you know we opened a small business this year, many of you don’t know I was due this September with our first baby. We love kids. We can’t wait to have kids. We waited for a while for this baby and it was so wanted. In the middle of the complete mess of opening Mad Goat, we lost our sweet baby.
It was so incredibly hard. I can’t even begin to explain. It was like a part of our life just froze for a couple months. We had to wait and go to appointments and wait and go again and wait and wait. We finally found out we lost the baby, but then we had to wait about a month for the miscarriage to happen. In January and February, I had a nasty eye infection that had to be monitored closely. Between those and some other health concerns, I had something like 18 different doctor visits in those months.
Meanwhile, we were moving at 150 mph on the coffee shop because we were running out of time and money and needed to get the doors open. We barely had time to think or grieve or talk. We didn’t stop. We just kept going through the motions of working and all the other busy things filling our life. Getting prepared to open Mad Goat and the first couple months were so hard. It took everything out of both of us. I felt like I was drowning in all the stress, decisions, responsibility. I resented Sam for it and I resented the entire idea of opening a coffee shop. I felt like all I could do was keep ‘showing up’ and keep pressing forward or I would completely fall apart. Teaching was my safe spot. It was the only place I had an ounce of control and healthy distraction.
I handled it all pretty badly. I lost my baby. I felt like I lost our normal and wonderful life, my best friend and husband, and then we lost our sweet cat a couple weeks later. Sam worked 80 hours a week for the months after the miscarriage. He was hurting, too, and was doing everything in his capacity to help me. We’d never been so disconnected and it was a time when we needed each other so much.
I was so numb and bitter. Some people knew about it all and they were so loving, understanding, and supportive. I didn’t want more people to know, but it was so hard to face everyone who was so darn happy for the coffee shop’s approaching opening date. I just wanted to shake them and say, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA!” I felt like getting in the car and just leaving my life several times. I wanted to get as far away as I could get from anything and anyone I knew.
I did not allow God to comfort me for a LONG while. I just wanted to NOT FEEL anything. I feel like I have a better understanding now why someone would become addicted drugs or alcohol or sex or shopping or anything to distract them from pain, to numb them, to build a wall. It’s really only by God’s grace and my family’s prayers that I didn’t hurt myself. I just kept going through the motions, kept showing up to work, kept working on the coffee shop. Some days were okay and most were horrible. I wouldn’t say it was the best way to grieve or process, but it was the way I did.
It was hard to think back to people who I have seen walk through some of the hardest things in life with (from the outside) such faith and trust in God. I didn’t have that and I felt like my faith was so weak. I felt like I didn’t even have the strength to depend on His strength. But, His love is steadfast and He was still there, months later, when I was finally ready to talk. Life continued on and Sam and I got away for a weekend in May and had some real time to talk together and begin to process and heal. And it was still so hard for even another couple months after that. But God was working and I was letting Him in to comfort and guide and grow me.
One story that spoke to me in the midst of it was of Daniel chapter 3.
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
EVEN IF HE DOES NOT! He’s still good.
I was sitting the other morning and letting myself really think back on those months-- all the thoughts and emotions and hurt. I started to cry from the pain and then I started to cry some tears of thankfulness. I can’t be thankful for what happened, and I don’t have to be. But I’m so thankful that Jesus brought me through it. I’m so thankful for my beautiful class full of 5 year olds that would give me all sorts of hugs when I’d say “I just need a hug today.” I’m so thankful for the people who prayed and prayed for me and Sam. I’m thankful that our marriage didn’t end (seriously.) and that it’s stronger. I'm thankful for all the life all around me! There are so many babies and pregnancies and there could be so much room for bitterness. I'm thankful for a God that is stronger than that, because I'm not!
Some days it’s still hard. We still want a baby so badly, I'm still not pregnant, owning a business is super tough, and there’s still many unknowns. But won’t there always be? I could have waited to share. Waited for the “good ending” but I’m not sure there is ever really a good or better time to share. We’re all works in progress.
I don’t share this for sympathy, I share this because we’re all going through these messes. ALL THE TIME. And if you aren’t now, you are surrounded by people who are. And if you aren’t now, you will. So much loss, death, divorce, sickness, instability, broken relationships, hurt, sin, pain. For some people it never ends. In this life, we will have trouble, but TAKE HEART FOR HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD. We really can’t do it alone, and we weren’t meant to. We need Him and we need each other. I encourage you to look (REALLY LOOK) at those around you and listen to them and their struggles. I encourage you to share your struggle or God’s work in your life with those around you. Make much of Him!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.2 Corinthians 1:3-4