September 11th can never be experienced in the same way. It’s a day we remember, and it’s a day we mourn. But for me and my family, this day marks another painful anniversary as well…
It was the day our baby was supposed to be born.
We were anxious to try for another little one. God had given us a gorgeous baby boy three years earlier, but our family didn’t feel complete. So, we tried. For months and months, we tried. The day we found out we were pregnant we cried joy-filled tears. Tears of answered prayers and dreams come true. Our minds began to whirl with possibilities and hopeful wishes. We told our extended family on a Thursday night at Chick-fil-A. It was our son’s birthday celebration, and we had him open one last gift from Mommy and Daddy — a shirt with BIG BROTHER sprawled across it. As shock and excitement filled the room, it seemed like everything was going according to plan.
Three days later, I started to bleed. My husband tried to be strong and told me not to worry, but deep down I knew something was wrong. Things didn’t feel right. On that cold winter night, I was ushered into a reality I never wanted to face. We lost our baby.
It happened four years ago, but the raw emotions make it feel like it was today. Since then we’ve had two more boys, but losing a child leaves an ever-present ache. An ache carried around by countless women. I’m the oldest of four sisters. Each of us have babies we know on earth, but each of us have also experienced a miscarriage. As I’ve shared our loss with friends, I have been taken aback by the number of women who echo “me too.” One in four women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime, but the collective silence of our grief speaks volumes. Somewhere in the midst of our pain, we’ve decided it’s better to wrap up our anguish and hide it away so we can move on. We choose to go it alone, fearing what others may think or say. We allow shame to eat away at our identities, while the questions become a burden for an already breaking heart.
Was this my fault?
What will I tell people?
Will I be able to have another baby?
What is wrong with me?
If these words fall heavy on your heart, please know this: You are not to blame. And you are not alone. You are surrounded by a tender sisterhood of women who understand your heartache and want to show you the kindness of Jesus. As hard as it may seem, walking out our mourning in isolation actually prevents us from experiencing an extension of God’s healing. Our heavenly Father never wants us to go through pain, but when we do, He wants us to be surrounded by others.
One of the shortest verses in the Bible came from one of the most powerful stories. Jesus returned to Bethany to see His friend, Lazarus, who had died. He was greeted by a crowd of villagers whose faces were stained from harsh dust and tears. They gathered around the grieving family and turned their eyes toward Jesus. Right there, God met His sons and daughters in the muck and the mire. And even though He knew the dead would rise again, His spirit was deeply moved. Amid the cries of God’s people, the Savior of the world knelt down and shed passionate tears of His own.
John 11:35 (NIV)
The scene shows the humanity of Jesus, but it also shows a miraculous side of God. As they wept together in sadness, they witnessed the compassion of their Creator make itself manifest. Upon this hallowed ground, God’s comfort was experienced in ways only possible if encountered with others. And it was powerful.
Dear friend, even if it’s uncomfortable, we have to let others meet us in our pain. Community and grief have been bound together by the kindness of God. And in this binding, there is beauty.
True fellowship makes heaven’s heartbeat known. When we realize our need for connection, we step into the reality of who we are meant to be. One body, all supported. Every person, every need. When we are giving, we become the tangible expression of God’s love in the form of open arms and listening ears. When we are hurting, we receive healing for the most wounded parts of our souls. Every time we gather around a grieving sister, we bear a holy image, and the image she will see is Jesus.
One day we will be reunited with the little ones who have changed our lives, but until then we need each other. We need to be brave and hold each other’s hands like our Savior holds our hearts. We need to sit and pray and give each other the freedom to grieve. We may not have the answers for the heartache we face, but when we face it together the heaviness within becomes a bit lighter.
These are our stories.
These are our scars.
They are part of who we are, and they need to be shared.
God has given us each other, Sister.
Here we find our Jesus,
In your mending and mine.
We may not have the answers for the heartache we face, but when we face it together the heaviness within becomes a bit lighter. - @writerbeckyb: Click To Tweet