Yea Though I Walk Through The Valley…

The Lord is my shepherd; 
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley…

This week I had a miscarriage. I realize many of you family and friends didn’t even know we were pregnant, and I am so sorry. We had just gotten to the point where we were excited to start telling people about the baby when I started having complications and everything became very uncertain. At first it seemed like the baby was strong despite the difficulties, but ten days later, the pregnancy was over.

I am tired, and aching, but grateful. Grateful for a husband who holds me, even as I am coming to peace with things hard to understand. Grateful for my girls dancing around me oblivious and so priceless. Grateful for a sister who held my hand in my darkest moments in that doctor’s office and a mom who took us in like she always does to carry our burdens and meet every need. For a dad who prayed and held me tight, and friends and family who called and texted and brought flowers and meals and prayed countless prayers that broke light into our darkness. They carried me through this experience. I’m grateful for practical mercies too – insurance literally days before we needed it, and a Christian professor and a Christian boss who allowed me to disappear from my life while I walked through this valley, no questions asked.

As this unfolded, I was astonished by what I didn’t know about miscarriage, and what I wish I had known. Not to make this experience easier, because frankly I don’t think there is a way to make it easier, but so I could have had empathy for my friends who have gone before me in this, and also maybe I could have anticipated this past week better. Because in general people don’t talk about it, except in very clinical, sterile words that aren’t accurate, but I wonder if maybe we should.

I just didn’t know. I didn’t know that a miscarriage sometimes takes days; days of fear and blood and pain and exhaustion and prayers and confusion and labor. I didn’t know the vulnerability and fear that came with simple acts such as standing up or going to the bathroom. I didn’t know that doctors and hospitals really don’t have answers when you are facing something like this. I didn’t know that hope and despair battle in your mind as you pray for mercy and a miracle. I didn’t know how hard it is to tell people what is happening because it is private and messy and terrible; plus most people didn’t even know you were pregnant, much less that the pregnancy is in jeopardy. I didn’t know about the feeling that your body is betraying your baby, the what-ifs and guilt  (that you must fight through because there is nothing you could have done to affect this outcome). I didn’t know about the moments begging God to make it stop, and then the moments where you have to reconcile yourself to the idea that it isn’t stopping, and that God is still good. I didn’t know how it drags on and on, as your house gets messy and your laundry piles up and kids need to be held and hugged and fed and taken to school and picked up and bathed and put to bed, but you can’t do any of it. So you rely totally on all of the precious people around you, and they do it all, balancing your life and their own, and you feel so guilty, but you also know that every time you stand up it gets worse, so you lay there, and they all work hard and carry your burdens.

I didn’t know, and I am sorry. I am sorry for people who went before us, I am sorry for anyone going through this now. This was so much harder than I thought it would be. I’m sorry if I ever judged your pain, or your reaction to pain. I’m sorry I didn’t help more or understand. I’m sorry for the little life that never grew up and for the moments you didn’t get to have and the loss of your sweet little baby.

I’m sorry that any of us ever had to go through this.

And the sad part is, this happens so often and many, many people I love have experienced this hurt, and many others will certainly walk through this valley. So let me tell you about what I learned about the goodness of God in this, because there was much I didn’t know there as well. I didn’t know about the way he prepares your heart for news you don’t see coming, or about the fog that surrounds your mind as you work through each step in this process, or about the peace that truly is beyond understanding even as you are facing things you never imagined. There are small mercies that help make this bearable. He allowed this to proceed slowly because he knows I am a person who needs time and he gave peace when I needed it at each step. He also brought people beside me who grieved this with us – family and friends who carried the burden of grief and cried with us and for us. I needed that so badly and for those of you who carried that, thank you. Looking back at this entire thing, from day one, I can see his hand of mercy. I returned to school today and my professor stopped me and told me that I looked good and that she was so thankful I was smiling, because she could tell that the Lord was with me. And I feel that. I can tell you that he never left me alone, not for a moment.

Now I am at the point where I am struggling to wrap my human, planning, finite little mind around this tiny life that was lost, and the idea that a child that is part me and part Justin is in heaven, who would have been my girls’ sibling, my siblings’ niece or nephew, and our parents’ grandchild. I’ll be honest and tell you that doesn’t feel real yet. But even in that – the Lord has spoken.

He spoke through Angie Smith’s amazing book What Women Fear, when she wrote these words, “I am still standing, and I still believe.”

I am still standing, and I still believe. I believe that God is good. I believe our child is safe in the arms of the Lord. I believe that death didn’t win.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11

I know this post was personal and heavy, but I had to write about it. I write about it because I need to process the lessons of this valley. I write about it because I cannot imagine writing about anything else until I have written about this and explained how I was changed by it. I write because I wish I had something like this to read when I was in the middle of this searching for answers on the internet. And I write because I always share what I learn from my children, and this child is no different. I’m grateful for the lessons this little baby taught me, lessons of empathy for other moms and cherishing my girls and the mercy of God during dark frightening days. I write, and I heal, and we move on toward heaven ourselves and toward Jesus who does understand all of this.

Yea, 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.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.  (Psalm 23)

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20 thoughts on “Yea Though I Walk Through The Valley…

  1. I am so sorry to hear about this great loss. It is so painful, I pray that your family and friends continue to give you amazing support and that we all remember to “grieve with those who grieve” — words are not always helpful, just be with them where they are…. praying that for you guys. So sorry.

    Tara

    • Thank you Tara. I stepped away from my blog for a while after this to process, and returning tonight was so blessed by your comment. You are right – we have been blessed with friends and family who get this and honor God with how they love and support us and grieve with us. Thank you for your prayers. You guys are a light.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss sweetheart, I, too, have walked through this valley and I cried through reading this selfishly due to my own memories and in wishing you didn’t have to experience it. I don’t know much, but I know God is all powerful and in control of all things even these things we don’t understand. Praying He wraps you in his wondrous arms with peace and love and comfort. Love to you!

    • Thank you Leigh – love to you too! I am grateful for you and for the gift of our group. You guys bless me more than you know. Thank you for your note and your prayers for us. I pray the Lord blesses you guys richly for your love for others!

  3. I am so sorry for the trial you have had to experience. I feel sad that while I was having a fun vacation you were going through such a hard time, and I did not once think to pray for you. Your moving story hit home because my daughter-in-law Tiffani had two miscarriages before her first child was born and another before the birth of the second child. I did not understand the deep pain involved. I wish I had been more empathetic. Praise the Lord who is with us through every trial and tragedy that life throws our way. Not only with us but also growing our faith. My love and prayers to you, Justin and your sweet daughters. Becky

    • i love you miss Becky – you have encouraged me SO much since we came to SBC. thank you for your note and for your prayers for us – we know we are stronger with you having our back in prayer. Love you!

  4. So sorry to hear about your loss. May God continue to wrap his arms around you and your family and give you hope and peace. Thanks for your honesty, I know you will help others who are facing this. For me it helped me to stop and quietly honor my own loss of many years ago and thank God for all the blessings he gave me during that time and after. Hugs

    • Hi Alicia – thank you for commenting and I am so sorry about your loss. I now understand the privilege of honoring these little people who were with us a short time, and I value those moments. Thank you for your prayers – they have been so needed and we are so grateful.

  5. I have been following your blog for a while now–I guess technically stalking your blog–since I never let you know I was out here in the world wide web reading and learning so much from your words and your heart. But, after reading this post I wanted to step up as another person–not just a computer screen and tell you that I am sorry for the pain, and the loss, and disappointments you have faced. Thank you for sharing this and not hiding behind the computer screen. By being open you have helped me and I’m sure many many more women. I appreciate you and your story.

    • Thank you Linda – I am grateful for your comment. I have truthfully stayed away from my own blog these past weeks as I’ve processed – but returning tonight I was so blessed by your note and your encouragement. Thank you for writing me.

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  7. thank you for writing this. It is what i was needing to hear today. I too have endured a miscarriage and it is very hard. I completely relate to all you shared and i appreciate you being vulnerable and sharing your heart while also sharing God’s truth. He is ever faithful and I believe that with all my heart!

  8. Thank you so much for this post. I have a question. It’s been 11 months since our loss (we have 2 daughters also) has time made this any easier for you? I still have hard days and think about it every single day. I don’t know what’s ‘normal healing time’ we decided not to try again

    • Hi Brooke,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. I think the best advice anyone gave me after our loss was that grief isn’t linear, and whatever you feel is normal. There are days where the loss feels brand new, and days where it almost feels unreal that it happened. And I’ve had to make myself be at peace with that. I miss her (it was a girl in my mind) and the thought of “moving on” feels like betrayal. We just had another baby and there are times where my joy and delight in her even feels a little wrong. I think it is proof that this world is not our home. There is nothing natural about grief because we were not made to endure it. So I hope for heaven snd try to give myself grace to feel whatever I feel without judgment. And I pray now, today, that you’ll have grace to feel whatever you feel. It is terrible and we weren’t meant to go through it. I’m so sorry – and I pray that it will ease. Thank you for commenting and reading and I pray that The Lord will be near to wipe every tear and bring peace and comfort. I’m grateful that He does – I don’t know how we would get through loss without him.

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  10. I came across this blog because another one I followed shared it. My daughter is awake and I wasn’t going to take the time to read it, but I did. Thank you for sharing. We lost our baby on Christmas Eve. I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. It was dreadful and painful, nothing like I could of imagined. We were telling our family on Christmas Eve (I was admitted to the hospital on 12/23) so know one knew. Our friends and family had to learn about the pregnancy by being by my side while it ended and I’m thankful for them for that. So like you I think I’m just wrapping my head around the loss of a child and what could have been, now that I’m pretty much healed physically and from surgery. And I too I am thankful. I have 2 wonderful children, who haven’t always got the best of me. This experience makes me appreciate them more than ever and treat them like the blessings they are. I know I will still lose my patience with them and they can get annoying at times, but this experience has changed me. It has made me a better mother. While I never want to endure something like this again, I am thankful.

    • Hi Jamie,

      I’m so sorry for your experience. For me, grief is not linear and I’ll be fine for months then have a day where it drags on me all day long. It is harder than I ever imagined. Praying for you as you continue to heal, and thank you for reading and commenting.

      Jennifer

  11. I just wanted to say thank you. I found this post this morning, a few hours after being discharged from hospital following an infection and miscarriage. I read out your post to my husband, and although we cried it really helped to read what you had written and really expressed how we are feeling.

    • Oh Sarah, I’m so terribly sorry. Praying for you as you recover (it takes a while, sadly, so give yourself grace), that God will be near and give comfort in those times when you need it most. Again I’m just so sorry. My husband and I will be praying,

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