If you asked my friends & family to describe me, they’d all come up with a similar list of adjectives, but neither “spiritual” nor “religious” would make the cut. Indeed, until recently most of my loved ones would have correctly labelled me as a self-avowed agnostic, on a good day. So why do I blog about faith and God and the Universe, and share photos of scripture?
Short answer? My grief over the loss of my babies led to an unwavering belief in something more.
I remember discussing my agnosticism/atheism with my mother some years back, and she said “That’s fine but you’ll start to believe in something once you lose somebody you love.” Between then and now, I lost a great aunt, my grandfather, and my grandmother (all very much loved). I met Jason and fell in love, we welcomed our niece into the world and watched her grow. I witnessed my godmother and aunt battle cancer. But nothing changed my views on any higher power or life after death. I gained and lost and everything stayed the same.
And then I had a miscarriage. (Someone remind me to write a post on how shitty that term is). As our baby’s life slipped away, something inside told me that this couldn’t be the end of his story, that 8 weeks in the womb wasn’t the entirety of his existence. This was the first flicker of faith. It wasn’t much but it was enough to get me through.
When I got that first positive pregnancy test with Omie, I laid down on my bedroom floor and begged God to let my baby live, to not let me miscarry again. I hadn’t talked to God in probably 8 years or more, but I felt the urgent need to ask for His help. Only a couple weeks later, I happened to pass by a store that had a print of 1 Samuel 1:27 in the window. It moved me on such a spiritual level, so I snapped a photo and added it to the list of things to buy for Omie’s nursery.
And then I started to pray, every night, silently but surely. I thanked God and the Universe for Omie’s life, for every day I got to hold him close, and for the opportunity to carry Omie regardless of his future within or outside of my womb. Yes, that was a part of my prayer – Thank you for this blessing, for allowing me to carry and nurture my son, regardless of his future within my womb or on this Earth. My prayers were tempered by my personal knowledge that a positive pregnancy test is not a guarantee.
I prayed and asked for prayers every day I spent in the hospital fighting for Omie’s life. I read a book called Powerful Prayers for Women (thanks Dad!) and reflected upon the meaning of it all. And before I gave birth to my son, even knowing that his little life would end the moment he left me, I thanked God, and the Universe, for Omie’s presence & purpose and for this beautiful life that I live every day.
I still thank God every day for allowing me to conceive and carry both of my sons. I’m not going to sit here, in good conscious, and tell y’all that I think my sons dying was a part of some greater plan. This is not meant to pass judgment or belittle anybody who does believe in a greater plan. But in my heart, I don’t think my God had any grand scheme that necessitated the death of either of my children. I think bad things happen to good people, and I think there are a lot of negative forces out there doing work too. So I don’t know why this happened to our family.
[M]y God doesn’t have a plan, at least not one that involved my daughter dying. I do think, however, that God finds ways to make His presence and existence known to us, to reveal that there is more to life than our earthly experience, and to offer us strength and grace in the face of tragedy.From Kathy of Less Than 1%: Surviving My Stillborn – check out her post discussing where she found God on the day of her rainbow baby’s birth
But here is what I do know. Two nights ago, I sat in my bed and sobbed, those sobs that come from deep within your soul, as I grieved my babies. I kept saying “I don’t understand” because I really don’t understand why my sons died, why I couldn’t save them. And at some point, I said “God, please help me.” There was no magic light, no voice that spoke to me, no angels that appeared – but there was peace. I felt peace wash over my heart, and I haven’t felt that in quite a long time.
So I went to my Bible app (what a millennial thing, right?) and I read. I read about God’s faithfulness. I read about His promises to us. I read about patience and timing and praise and peace. And for the very first time in my life, the Word has evoked an emotional response in me. So I’m going to keep reading and keep praying. I’m going to let my grief continue to bring me closer to God because that is what I need. And my hope is that when things get better, I remember that I need God just as desperately on my best days as I do right now.