I've been radio silent for a while. I just had nothing to say. Nothing would come out of my mouth. Ink wouldn't flow out of my pen. I had literally nothing to say this month.
Grief is weird. At times I feel like it's trying to silence me. I sit down at my journal and have no words. Nothing. There are thoughts deep, deep down in my heart that I'm not able to let out.
Does. Not. Compute.
Sometimes I just feel stuck and mute. "Lord, help me encourage the weary. Give me the words, God." I ask and sit and wait, and yet, I've still got nothing.
Processing grief takes so much time. Just me? Doubt it. I guess each person processes through the stages of grief at different rates. I felt like I have been on a roller coaster that I did not ask to get on. Barely strapped in. Flailing everywhere with the ups and downs of grief.
This time last year, I started National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month with a bang. Saturday, October 1st, 2016, we lost our child. I miscarried. I experienced the deepest physical pain, doubled over in a coffee shop. Confused and terrified I regrettably flushed a lifeless fetus that day. Part of me died that day. For weeks I bled. For months I had panic attacks and flashbacks. I felt so much anxiety that my jaw was locked into place for 4 months. It was a very rough season. My heart completely broke.
Although it has been a year, I would be lying through my teeth if I told you I'm all healed and back to my old self. I don't know that I'll ever be the same. Transparency is beautiful and ugly and I'm working on this, so bear with me, friend. I'm so broken. But the beauty of brokenness is that you can experience the grace of God and get a glimpse of how He calls us Beloved.
In The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp poetically writes about brokenness.
If only my feeble attempts to remember this would work. I can't do any of this without the grace and provision of Jesus alone. Through the unwaranted roller coaster of this past year, there were daily challenges in every area of my life.
Struggle. Confusion. Fear. Grit. Fear. Isolation. Anxiety. Fear. Depression. Did I mention fear? Fear of getting pregnant, fear of it happening again, fear of losing another child, fear of never being called a mother on earth, fear of God not protecting my body, fear of God not providing, fear of my body failing me, and fear of being alone and misunderstood. Fear still tries to sneak its way into my heart.
Fears consumed me. Insecurities sunk in.
"Why are you still so affected by this?"
"It's been a year, but it seems like you're acting like it just happened?"
"Dates are arbitrary, they don't mean anything!"
These false voices mocked me in the midst of my deepest, darkest grief. Eyes and mind foggy, regularly.
"I am not childless", I argue with the lies of the Accuser.
I continue to teach kindergarten with the singsong of every day, like its scripted. Wake up, coffee, pray for strength, teach, return home, pass out. Inhale grief, exhale grief.
"I have a child who is a citizen of Heaven!" I also have a class full of children who accidentally call me mommy regularly and rely on me to teach them. They rely on me to be strong and present and joyful.
I cannot do this alone. Jesus needed to restore to me what was broken in my heart.
"Jesus, would you restore my joy?" This became my battle cry.
"Lord, help me." He heard my voice.
"The joy of the Lord happens inside the sorrow". -Timothy Keller
I plead. "Restore to me the joy of salvation. Give me your strength. I've never felt wearier. I am in desperate need of your strength." I cried out.
Those words were muttered every morning. Every mid-morning. Every lunch break. Every afternoon. Every evening. Every moment. Every nightmare awakened night. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
A couple weeks following the miscarriage I helped host and throw a baby shower for one of the sweetest girls I've ever met in my life. She has played a tremendous role in my healing process. It was an honor to rejoice with her. Consequently, baby showers are rough for my snail-paced healing heart. Theses baby parties can be absolute warfare in your mind. I've been to baby showers, "gender reveal" parties, and held beautiful brand new babies this year. It has been an immense joy to see my friends and family experience the greatest gift in the world. As I attend these events I get the sense I am not the only one whose heart burns and longs for each baby sock (honestly there's nothing more precious than itty bitty baby socks), but it also aches from the fear you've let reside in your heart for a while now. Fear takes root, taking up space intended for trust. Get outta here, fear! I don't want you to control me anymore. You're not welcome here. "You can't sit with us!" (Mean Girls, anyone?)
Also, gonna drop a line from my favorite movie, A Cinderella Story. Hilary preachin' that Babe Ruth quote.
2 Timothy 1:7
"For God did not give you a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love, and self-discipline."
This bible verse became my anthem. My heart's cry. Ever since I was a young tot, this verse has done tremendous things in my heart and mind. The Holy Spirit is sweet, y'all. The word of God is living and active!
Here are some of my go-to Psalms that I absolutely camp on when I am in need of some biblical truth to combat the lies of the enemy. I hope these offer hope and assurance to your heart when you're tempted to fear.
Psalm 23:4 (ESV) "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
Psalm 27:1 (ESV) "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
Psalm 34:4(ESV) "I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears."
Psalm 46:1 (ESV) "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalm 51:12 (NIV) "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
Psalm 55:22 (ESV) "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken."
Psalm 56:3 (ESV) "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."
Psalm 94:19 (NIV) "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy."
Psalm 118:5-5 (ESV) "Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
This year has been filled with growth. Although it wasn't the growth I anticipated in my belly, I've experienced tremendous growth in my heart.
This year has been filled with sorrow and joy. This year has been filled with new friendships and deeper relationships. This year has been filled with Jesus sustaining me in new ways each morning when my feet hit the floor.
My prayer is that you would find your joy renewed, your strength sustained, and your heart being refilled by the One who can heal and redeem your life from the pit.