***WARNING*** This one is very personal and may be hard for some who’ve lost a pregnancy.
For some reason, this year’s Lent and Holy Week were highly stressful and ended in brokenness and exhaustion. In my own life, I took on too much just as Lent was beginning and ended up stressing myself, my family, and the congregation I serve with issues of procrastination and deadlines and priorities and lack of rest and self-care. But when it came to Holy Week I heard story after story of hard life things that were happening. There was a death and a funeral at our sister church with whom we share Lenten Special services. There was the broken leg of our treasurer (also wife of the Church Board Moderator). There were others that are not as prominent in my mind as I write, but they were significant and heart aching.
So when Holy Saturday came, I was ready for Sabbath rest. I needed some alone time to deal with the loss of hope and joy that comes in the face of the crucifixion. I needed some time with God. Instead, I got up, fed the kids, and took them across the parking lot to our annual Easter egg hunt where we had at lease 75 children and their families show up. That is the best number we have had in a few years! Then my husband took the children home, and I stayed to help set up for Sunrise service, and the breakfast to follow. Then I stayed for a two-hour dress rehearsal for the Cantata the next morning. Then I stayed for another hour or so rehearsal for the Sunrise service.
Then there was Easter Sunday.
It was lovely and beautiful, and we celebrated the risen savior, but I am still feeling tired, worn out, and I need some girl time.
In the week that followed we celebrated Abbie’s 5th birthday! It was her first birthday party with friends. We had 10 children and about six moms and one granddad. Abbie had a wonderful time and we celebrated big!
As I reflect on the losses I heard about and ministered to during Holy Week, and I celebrate the glory and joy that is my first-born, there are some things that trigger a memory of my own loss.
About four weeks and six years ago, I learned we were pregnant. We had tried for a couple of years, and even did a couple of rounds of fertility drugs (which did not work). We were over the moon. We started making plans, and telling family and some close friends. We started getting more serious about baby names. Two weeks later, when Don was away (I can’t remember why, but it was ministry related), I started bleeding. I saw the doctor and they did tests. I was having a miscarriage.
I couldn’t believe the grief I felt for something so small. I know there are plenty of people who will tell me their political and personal emotional opinion, but to me, this was not the loss of a child. This was the loss of hope and joy that had filled my heart. It was the loss of the dreams I had started to have. It was the loss of future diapers, and giggles, and hugs, and driving lessons, and proms, and a wedding… It was a loss of what could be.
In honor of that loss and that “what could have been” I wanted to plant a tree, but I knew that I did not want to plant it where we lived, as we were probably not going to live there for long. So I got a tatoo on my hip of an oak tree with an acorn on the ground and a stream running in front of it. It was my way of making it real, that this loss was real, and my heart was really broken, and the healing of those scars were real, as God would one day heal my heart.
As with all loss, life goes on. And I have healed, a lot. But just like a scar that is still a little numb or tender to the touch, healing does not mean it is gone. We have Abbie and Jesse, and Dayenu! That would have been enough, but God does more! But God does not forget my tears, and God does not deny my pain, even in my healing and joy of new life.
So, today I remember the loss of what could have been with thanks giving for God’s love and grace, to get me through pain and to see me to new life.