“If God were small enough to be understood, he would not be big enough to be worshipped.” ~Evelyn Underhill
The last few years have been sort of crazy ones. After trying to get pregnant with a third baby for two years, I had a miscarriage. Then it took another year after that before I had another positive test. And then there was the wait to see if everything was going to be okay. It was. We had a beautiful boy, who is now almost three and a half years old. But when he was five months old, I found out I was pregnant again. Talk about a surprise! We didn’t even consider that we should be careful. We figured we would have to work at it again, pay attention to all those details again.
Not only were we surprised by that fourth pregnancy, we were a little flustered. Another baby, back-to-back with the third, was not what we had planned. But I thought, “Yay God, finally a girl after these three boys! Maybe that’s the surprise.” We get this hard timing, with the added bonus, right? You guessed it. We had a fourth boy. Don’t worry, though; we know he is a gift to us, and we wouldn’t trade him.
After much deliberation and many prayers, we tried for a fifth baby. When it came, the positive pregnancy test brought so much joy! But then, at eleven weeks, I went to the doctor and found out that the baby had stopped growing at seven weeks, and there was no heartbeat. I knew something was wrong when I went in, because I had been having some abnormal symptoms, but the situation still felt unreal. I knew I was going to have to mourn this little person I would never meet. The level of my grief has surprised me at times. I have been on my knees and cried many tears to the Lord. Sometimes I feel like my grief should stop because my past tells me I can trust the Lord, but that is not how it has worked.
I grieve to him, again and again if necessary, and ask him to help me through. And he does. He has even given me joy in the mourning. So often the verse that comes to mind here is the one about joy coming in the morning (Psalm 30:5 NIV). I thought about replacing the original word with mourning, and I asked God to bring me joy out of this grief, joy out of all the plans that didn’t go the direction of my short-sighted vision. And he does. He helps me see all the joy (which does not mean that my grief disappears, just that I can see the joy).
When I look at my youngest, unexpected, tow-headed, blue-eyed boy running around, chasing all three big brothers, my heart just bursts. I can’t imagine what our family would be like without him. When I think about the first miscarriage I had and then I look at my third emotional, hilarious mama’s boy, I again cannot imagine what our family would look like without him. We are missing something, yes, but without that missing, we would not have what is in front of us. A friend gave me a hug when I told her about this recent miscarriage. She has had two in the past, and I knew that, so when she said, “I am so glad for the hope of heaven,” I just took that in, that God moment. Just the night before we had talked to our older boys about that very thing and how we could be glad because whenever Jesus calls us to him, we will see these little ones that were part of our family for a blip and we will know them. We have the hope of heaven because of Jesus.
Scripture for Reflection
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 NIV)
“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” (Jeremiah 31:13 NIV)
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NIV)
“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.” (Lamentations 3:32 NIV)
Reach for More
Think back through the events, circumstances, and details of your life. Can you see joy that has followed or been in the midst of grief and mourning? Write it down or share those stories with someone you trust. Make a list of all the reasons you have to hope in heaven. This might even include both the reasons for joy and the mourning that will be over for you. Pray for the ability to trust God more in the hard, trust him with your grief and that you will be able to see him show joy out of your mourning. Write those prayers out in a journal, and then wait and watch for God to show you his hand in your life.
Carla Clemens enjoys a crazy, beautiful life with her military husband and four sons. A baby and toddler interrupt her homeschool days in the best ways, and she is always attempting to live with mindfulness of each moment. She hopes to look at the world and each person in it in light of our amazing Creator and therefore, to see each moment presented as an opportunity to love and serve him more. Carla relishes time to ponder God’s Word and have quiet moments with him and her coffee. She loves doing life with other mamas and encouraging them to simply be who God has made them to be.
Photograph © Aditya Romansa, used with permission