Monday

A quiet womb and a broken heart

Welcome to those of you joining me from my "Encouragement for Today" devotion.

I'm not really myself right now. I spent this weekend at a retreat for my home church where I taught a series of sessions regarding the biblical mandate for friendship. It was an amazing weekend. I am in love with my friends. I am so blessed to have deep, abiding, make-me-better-than-I-am best friends. But this weekend I learned the stories of  so many women in our church.  In just a small delegation of women from our church, we had women who have:
-buried spouses
-who have lost homes
-suffered various and wretched forms of abuse
-survived infidelity
-come from unbelieving, broken or abusive homes
-buried parents or children
-had miscarriages both early and late-term

As I heard their stories I wept. We shared our desire to reach outside ourselves to use these experiences for others benefit; it is a ministry borne of pain. It was a supremely emotional weekend, but I savored every moment. I was spent in the best sense of the word. My Mom and I left the retreat laughing and celebrating our God-weekend. He was so, so good. As we were sitting over our last lunch before re-entering life we got a call from my Dad.

My brother and sister-in-law had just found out they lost their baby. My sister-in-love was just 12 weeks pregnant.  After some spotting they went to the doctor and sat patiently waiting to hear the promising, sweet swooshing of  an in utero heartbeat. It was a long silence interrupted by the tears of a young couple with a quiet womb and broken hearts.

I shared this weekend that the early chapters of Luke demonstrate the grace of God and the priority of friendship. God blesses Mary, the soon-to-be mother with a friend equally unlikely to be in that favored position-Elizabeth. Of all the things the angel could have told Mary, he assures her that Elizabeth is also with child and that with God nothing is impossible.

Elizabeth had chosen to keep herself hidden from everyone, but not Mary. These two friends walk this journey of expectancy together. Hearts are knit together for all kinds of reasons, but for women I don't know that many things draw us to another woman more than the knowledge that she knows intimately what we're feeling. She has been there.

Shared experiences transcend age, race, creed or distance; but that doesn't make sharing those experiences easy, does it? Shared experiences also require shared emotions. It can be hard to go back to that place of raw wreckage, to join someone in their pain. It requires revelation, transparency and risk.

But can I ask you to consider going there? I know you don't know my sweet, trembling, grieving sister-in-love, but she is amazing. She is resilient. She is faithful. She is private. She is choosing to deal with her grief at home with my brother. I support that, and I want to support her on her terms. I would love to gift her with encouragement and comfort that only someone who has been there can offer. I have not been there. You?

If you have ever experienced a miscarriage would you consider leaving her a comment here? Thank you in advance for entering her pain. "For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

23 comments:

Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...
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Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...
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Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...

Good morning, Whitney.

Praying for all the hurting women you met over the weekend.

Praying for your sister-in-love.

I had a miscarriage after our first child. Our "Glory Baby" wasn't even 12 weeks old, but it heart-breaking.

The most memorable and meaningful thing for me during that time was a friend who sent me the song "Glory Baby" by Watermark. God's love ministered to my heart through those words. Still does.

If you go here, I'll change my PlayList today so you can listen to it and even download it (thru Playlist). Just cut and paste this link:

http://joyinthetruth.blogspot.com/2009/03/glory-baby.html

On my knees for your brother and sisiter-in-love's Glory Baby today.

Isaiah 40:11
"He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart..."

Looking unto Him,
Sharon

Teresa said...

Whitney,

I will definitely be praying for your brother and sister-n-law. My husband and I also experienced such a loss about 3 years ago, but by the grace of our God, we made it through that "soul-searching" time. I pray for their peace and comfort at this time. This is one of my favorite scriptures to really hold on to, when sometimes there is no answer, we don't know or understand why things happen the way that they do. Believe me in this type of situation the "why" moments come in daily and painfully. Be there for your sister-n-law and brother, mostly just to listen and love on them.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not to thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6) We do not always understand why some things happen the way that they do, but God is always there and knows how to comfort and guide us even in the most difficult and trying of times.

Again Whitney, they will be in my thoughts and prayers. Peace & blessings.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My first miscarriage was the hardest for me emotionally. No one knew what to do when they were around me. No one knew what to say. Most people thought that it was best not to say anything. That was the hardest part for me. I wanted to tell everyone how much I loved my baby. I wanted to talk about the pain I was feeling. I wanted to share my sense of loss. Trying to make me feel better, most people said nothing. I understand now that their intentions were well meaning. As a result of my experience, I have become good at grief support. God causes all things for good with those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Even though I had four miscarriages, I have two wonderful, healthy sons. They are all but grown now, and the pain of my miscarriages is like a distant memory. I pray that in your privacy, you have close people to share your grief with. This too shall pass.
Peace and Love,
Carol Ann

Beth said...

We had our miscarriage when I was about 9 weeks pregnant. This was my first pregnancy ever and so hard to lose that little one. I read one of the above posts about the song by Watermark and that is exactly the song that was given to us when we lost our little one.
The Lord comforted us with so many friends who had experienced the same thing with letters etc.
That was 8 years ago and we have been blessed with 3 children - Zoe 6, Max 4, and Tia 19 months. Just in August we had another loss. Our son Eli born on August 5 and passed away on August 26. Just 21 days old. Again, through all the pain, we have been so comforted by all the friends and family that have reached out to us in amazing ways.
God is sooo good and just loves us sooo much.
God bless,
Beth

Sylvia Goode Basham said...

Having had several miscarriages, I know the grief your family is experiencing. Last year, P31 was gracious enough to publish a devotional I had done after a later-term loss that might be of help to your sister-in-law. She can read it here.


Also, your great P31 devotional brought me to your site today. That's exactly the advice I give when I speak to MOPS moms in our area....put lots of things in place to help get God's word in you life throughout the day...the P31 devotional email, Christian radio, great magazines and books to further reinforce God's truths, and praying while walking or even wiping bottoms :-)

Tami and Bobby Sisemore Family said...

My prayers go out to your sister in love and the entire family in this loss. All the words of comfort I can offer is Jesus has a rocking chair!

Blessings,
Tami
PRAYING JEREMIAH HOME QUICKLY
www.tillGodbringshthemhome.blogspot.com

Ashley said...

I recently had a miscarriage 2 months ago. I was 10 weeks and this was our first pregnancy. I pray everynight for patience with Gods Plan for me and my husband.

I am still sad when I think of our loss but I do have a postive outlook for our future, because I know God has good things in store for us.

I have found much peace in my new favorite verse Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I will pray for your sister in law because I do know the feeling. For it wasnt long ago the same tears came down my own face. May she find strength in our compassionate Lord and Savior!

My Journey to Hope said...

I loved this- "In this season of my life it's not so much the quantity of quiet reflection as it is the steady communing over chaos." I really identify, and I only have one at home right now. Thanks for helping me feel a little better at my attempts to "remain" in the Lord, despite being pulled in different directions all day!
:) Michelle

Jenny said...

Hi Whitney,

I LOVED your devotional today on P31, Communing Over Chaos. I too have 3 children w/in 3.5 years (oldest IS four).

I have not sufferred a miscarriage, but our oldest was an identical twin and they were delivered via emergency c-section at 26 weeks gestation. My survivor is now in perfect health but we lost her sister, our daughter, at 28 days. Through my grief, God taught me about true surrender. He used me to write a book, A Place of Peace, to help minister to others dealing with the loss of a child. I have a blog where I write about my ongoing journey...

Whitney's Sister-in-Love, I lift you up in prayer. May you come to know God as the Great Healer He is. Trust in Him and NOT your own understandig (Prov 3:5). Know that He works all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28). Believe that He is big enough to sustain you.

Jenny Hander
New Braunfels, TX

Christy said...

I am writing in reference to todays devo. I am in tears... utterly feeling your pain. I am at a breaking point, where I know the Lord wants me... but it is hard, and it is very lonely. I feel alienated as well...as I have 2 under 3 years old... and an 8 year old. It means me not getting together with girls, and doing much outside of the house. I have seen a doctor in the last 2 weeks about weight gain and serious depression. I have been praying, the Lord is my strength... but when do you know that your body just can't handle it anymore? Have you ever been on an anti-depressant? I don't know how I feel about going on something like that... and yet that is what he ordered for me today.
Please email me at sleepytoes@carolina.rr.com for any suggestions. Thanks so much.
In Him I Stand,
christy

Lori said...

Loved the devotion today! Many times when I am frustrated about not having a "quiet time" my sweet husband reminds me to walk with God. Throughout the insane busyness of life with four kids today I have been saying to myself, "Remain in Him, He will remain in you." Thank you for that timely reminder.

As for something to say to your Sister-in-Love - having had four unexplained miscarriages myself, I know that there really are no great words. But you can know that God IS faithful in the good and the bad. God IS who He says He is all the time. God IS the one who heals all our hurts - our Redeemer.

Do not be afraid. He is your shield (hide behind Him) and your very great reward. Genesis 15:1

I'll be praying for you.

Lori in NC

Melanie said...

Thank you sweet Whitney for your heart for others and for the Lord. Thank you for what you shared here.

I want to write to Christy about her depression. Christy, i understand your pain. I had clinical postpartum depression after my second son was born. I have met many, many women who have experienced depression after having kids, while being home with kids - it can be the best of time and the worst of times! I can remember thinking I had everything I ever wanted and why should i be depressed? The reality was, however, I was depressed. I know that for Christians we sometimes think, i hsould be able to depend on the Lord to get me through this - without medication. Maybe, maybe not. I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you that i was on antidepressants for a while, that it helped, but was not a happy pill. It just helped me do life and to be the wife and mom God wanted me to be.
I hope this helps and i'm praying for you right now.

Le'Kisha said...

Oh as the tears fall from my eyes, running down my cheek. I feel the fresh wounds of what my broken heart endured in July of 2007. I went through a period of anger at those around me because I was suffering in silence, so may God bless you Wendy for seeking encouragement for your sister (in law seems so out of touch) and I think you all are truly sisters. You would think that after getting pregant 3 weeks after the miscarriage (against the direction of my doctor) things would have been great, but grieving my lost child during pregancy was at best, hard to go through. I had so many visions of what my last pregancy would look like but I did good just to 'fake it till I made it'!!The miscarriage affected my marriage of then 14 years beyond belief but with counciling with our Pastor and his wife, we were at least afforded the opportunity to hang on to God and process the grief. Not only loosing the baby we lost my husbands dad 5 months later so when I say we were hit from every side we were. After me being in a pit for a year and a half (all due to the miscarriage) I have a vision in my mind that God was always at the top with His arms reaching for me but I chose to not take his hand. God has truly been waiting for me and has adorned me with a renewed since of life, purpose and resilience. To now fight for what matters and that's my relationship with Him, my husband and children and to give others hope that He is there to see us through!! I now have the privilege to raise my last child, who is 18 months now, with a renewed spirit and I pray and will be praying for you and your husband to process the grief with God and know that He has not forgotten you.

Jill said...

Whitney, I truly enjoyed this past weekend and feel that I have made some connections with the women and thank you for inviting me and making me feel so welcomed.

P.S. I sent E & L a card this week. I will be praying that their hearts are mended as they go through this difficult time.

J said...

Whit - one of my best friends (the kind that no matter how long we are apart we can always pick up where we left) lost her son Ben during delivery this past April. She has had a blog for a long time, but has shared her pain and journey towards healing w/ her readers. Here is the link if L-A wants to read it: http://thisonetime-samantha.blogspot.com/

shyronn said...

Thank you for this post on friendship, I have a close friend who is looking at a possible brain tumor..I don't know how to help, so I have stepped back - waiting for clues on how to help. Now I know that I have to step up and just be there for her.

God Bless
shay

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,
I too have experienced the loss of a precious gift of life. Actually, my physician concluded I had loss at least 7, possibly more. I remember the moment when I felt the beginnings of the end, thinking, "This cannot be happening again!" I remember waiting, not breathing, for that precious sound of life, all for it to be silently absent. There were so many accusations I hurled in my mind at myself, my husband, my physicians, and my Father. I couldn't imagine that I had come to the 12-13 weeks and I could ache indescribably, yet again. In my mourning and pain as I miscarried, I told the Lord that I would not and could not go through this again. I would be satisfied with the 8 year old He was so gratious to give us despite our many attempts at having another. I could learn to live with my empty womb, if that is what He had chosen. Everyone, especially women, around me tried to comfort me with the-isms of "Its was not God's plan," or "It was for the best" to the point of adnausim. I wanted to scream! Finally, I felt I had cried enough after a couple or three weeks that I could "get on with it." I knew at 39 years of age it was not wise to try any further and what was I thinking, I would be a certified senior before he went to high school! So, through my dear husband's wonderful love, my son's sweet little toothy smile, and my dearest Psalms I made it through. Yet, I still ached in the deepest in my empty womb. In time, the Lord soothed me and He gave me the freedom to cry on the days I needed to, especially "her" ( I chose it to be a girl) birthday and the days of our losses. Finally, I came to realize, that loss was something the Lord wanted me to come to Him with and to leave it with him. I was not to carry it around like an empty cradle to remind myself of how my body had failed or the most recent self-acusation dujour. Not that I couldn't miss "her" or want to know what "she" would have been like, but that I absolutely would see "her" when I joined Him in glory.
The pain, grief, and emptiness did subside, but only with the Lord guiding each tear, scream, and groan. I learned not fear the grief, for there is a season- Ecclesiates says so. But allow the Lord to navigate your way though it, for He knows pain- it is a natural process.
Allow your husband to join you in your grief, but then also you must celebrate, when the time comes. You must push on and take the emotional sack cloth off and enjoy the life before you that the Lord has given you to live. Great King David knew this pain, though he held his own child, he lost him again, emotionally and physically. He was my inspiration through scripture. I urge you to find that inspiration in the Word for yourself and don't push yourself too fast through the healing process. It is exactly that- a process- which takes time and effort.
I pray that you and your husband may know again, the complete joy and comfort of holding a child in your arms and giving your all as a parent. I pray the comfort of the Holy Spirit that He would guide you through your grief and pain. But most of all, I pray you will have an understanding the the Lord is good and He is the giver of every gift, even ones that can result in unspeakable pain.
May the Lord bless you and keep you in His strong and loving grasp.
Blessings and prayers,
Nancy

Anonymous said...

I had 3 miscarriages in a row, after my 1st child. I was far enough along to hear heartbeats, and did by the way, only to loose them a few shorts weeks later during the pregnancies. However, with lots of prayer and the help of a fertility doctor, I finally gave birth to my 2nd baby. God didn't stop there though, three years later i found out I was pregnant again. This time no fertility doctors needed :-)!! God is in control and He will take care of everything. Although I was devastated for 3 years in a row, I know it was in God's plan for me. And, he has blessed me with 3 beatiful children!!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear of the loss your brother and sister-in-law are facing. It is a very difficult thing to go through. I had a misscarrige during the 14th week. I was pregnant with identical twins. I had been to the doctor and heard both heart beats. I thought that I got through the hardest time. I was told if I made it 12 weeks then things would be good. But at 14 weeks and 2 days I lost them. Friends were so important during that time. This happened last January (almost a year) and at that time I was not a Christian. During my grieving a pastor of a local church loved on me. He only new me through the local elementary school but he still loved on me and introduced me to others in the church to love on me. Through that I became a Christian in September. I do not understand why I lost my precious babies and probally never will but God has a plan.

Anonymous said...

Not only have I experienced a miscarriage, nine failed IUIs and two failed IVFs during the past four years, but I too suffer in silence about all of the pain. I completely understand your sister-in-law's heart! Someday, through the strength of my Lord, I hope to share my experiences as an encouragement to others, but at this time while I'm in the thick of it I just can't.

The Wall Family said...

I too have suffered three miscarriages. OUr first miscarriage ended in a D&C. The second time we became pregnant we heard the heartbeat at 7 weeks but lost our precious baby at 10 weeks. After I finally turned it over to God and let him be in charge we became pregnant and carried until 35 weeks. Our precious miracle baby was born. This past September I again suffered through another miscarriage at 7 weeks. Through all of this I was able to give my testimony and share my message with other women. May your sister in law find the peach that she seeks. Time heals all wounds. Read Jeremiah 29:11