I have been contemplating how I would write this blog for weeks. First of all – I have NEVER blogged. Second of all – I don’t know HOW to write a blog. I decided to write, though, as I feel like I have been unable to express verbally the thoughts and emotions that I have been feeling lately.
Our family moved to Ecuador 16 months ago and my life will never ever be the same. We have had some of the best times of our lives, but we have also experienced some of the hardest trials. Within the first two months after our arrival, our then-3-year-old son had two serious incidents–one in which he was attacked by a dog and one in which he fell head first off a second story balcony–and the government was threatening to shut down the children’s home we were running. That likely would have been enough to send some people home, but not us. This is not a reflection on our faith and trust in God: we’re just too stubborn to give up so easily. We continued to endure various challenges over the next eight months with learning Spanish, learning the legal system of Ecuador, running a children’s home while still trying to love and minister to them, and living 30 minutes outside of the city with no internet or even reliable phone service at times. Even though these times were tough, God used them to teach us perseverance and not to give up.
On December 6, 2014, those trials took on a different perspective. We spent the morning at Ligüiqui beach, which is one of my favorite places in the whole world. It was a day of sun, laughter, and time spent with some of our best friends here in Manta. Emery enjoyed playing with the kids from the children’s home and we enjoyed talking with friends about having faith in spite of the uncertainties of this life. I never thought that my words would so quickly be put to the test. I was pregnant at the time, but only hours after this conversation on the beach, we found out that we had lost our baby at 13 weeks. Through the next couple of weeks, I cried a lot and questioned God but the intensity of the emotional pain has subsided over the past few months.
All of these emotions have seemed to be more real lately. This is the week that our sweet baby would have likely been born. My mom is coming for a visit soon and we are so excited, but I can’t help to think that she should be coming to meet her second grandchild. I grieve for the loss of a child that I was never able to see or hold. Much of the difficulty that I find in my grief is that it feels like my child never existed to the rest of the world. We had hopes and plans. We had narrowed down baby names together. We heard a beating heart. To the people around me, though, there is nothing tangible to remember. No pictures. No memories. I think people don’t talk about miscarriages because there isn’t a lot to say or talk about. This has been challenging for me as I have wanted to express the love I have for our baby.
I have read lots of articles about women and miscarriages. Some women talk about the depression they have faced, some people talk about how people have been super insensitive with their words, while others share what they have learned through their experience. In the past six months, my experience with miscarriage has not taught me any profoundly deep spiritual truths that I feel I need to tell the world. But God has shaped my heart in areas that I want to share. This passage from Job has become so important to me:
“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:20-21
I have learned that is okay to grieve and to cry. Job tore his clothes and shaved his head as a visible sign of his mourning at the loss of his earthly possessions, his servants, and his children. But in spite of the despair in His heart, he worshipped God. God has shown me through the loss of our baby just a glimpse of what He experienced in allowing His son, Jesus, to die for us. I had no choice in losing my child but I can say that I wouldn’t be willing to give my child so that other children might live. God’s love for us is way bigger than we can comprehend and for that He is to be worshipped regardless of the hurt in our hearts and the circumstances around us.
God is also teaching me about how big and great He is. According to Job, it is God who is Master of all things. It is His decision to give us blessings but it is also his decision and authority to take them away. Later on in the book of Job, God showed Job how big he is and how small Job is. I know that through losing our baby I have, at times, become hardened to how big God is while I’m stuck in my own shell of sadness. William and I decided to name our baby after the miscarriage. This may seem weird to some people but for me it seemed weird for us to have a child without a name. We decided on the name Micah Noel as we felt both would be fitting for a both or girl. We chose Noel because we lost the baby during the Christmas season and Micah mainly because we both liked it. The meaning though of the name Micah is “Who is like God?” and this could not be any more perfect of a meaning. We cannot attempt in our humanity to understand the plans and purposes of God. When we try to do so, it is arrogance towards the one who made us and loves us in a way we cannot here and now understand. So our baby, Micah Noel, was and continues to be our gift, reminding us and pointing us to the love and greatness of our God.
The day we lost the baby we explained to Emery what was happening. As to be expected, he could not understand the loss in his 3-year-old mind. But within minutes, out of nowhere, he was singing a Spanish worship song. The chorus says, “Receive all of the glory and all of the honor, Precious Son of God.” In spite of the despair in our hearts, we knew that God wanted to use this to bring us closer to him and give him all of the glory. This week and for the rest of my life, I hope to allow this song to be my praise to Him regardless of what is happening around me. I encourage you to allow our awesome and loving God to reveal Himself to you through the tragedies and difficulties of your life. Today, I will return to Ligüiqui Beach with friends to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Despite my sadness of what God has taken away, I can truly say “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”