When Loss Feels Familiar, Hope is My Banner

After my most recent post this past Summer, I thought and hoped I would never have to write about miscarriage again.  Breakthrough was next.  I believed it.  Yet, here I sit writing again on a topic that I’ve written on before and hoping in faith again that this will be the last time.  In walking through this kind of loss several times now I’ve learned it’s best, for me, not to try to hide it just because it’s a topic many people don’t understand or feel comfortable talking about. For some strange reason, fertility struggles are still a fairly hush-hush topic.  I personally just don’t think that’s right.  How can you shine light on something that people feel like they have to hide?  In being open about my journey and what Father has taught me in it, I’ve connected with so many amazing women who are walking this same road.  We’ve encouraged each other to keep our eyes on Jesus and believe for our miracles.  I’ve also been encouraged by amazing people who have never experienced this kind of pain, but who realize pain is pain.  Most people who are hurting aren’t asking you to understand their pain as much as they are asking you to simply see them and show them the love of Jesus (whether they know to call it that or not).  That desire is universal in any type of pain.  We don’t have to understand by experience exactly what each other’s struggle feels like to know it’s hard.  Pain may be pain, but Jesus is also JESUS.  He is the answer to overcoming and healing from every pain regardless of source or type.  He is peace, He is faithful, He is hope, He restores places long devastated by disappointment (Is 61).

So let me start by backing up a little bit.  Over the Summer, we felt led to pause on intentionally focusing on growing our family for a while and settle into having a season of rest.  If we conceived during that time, fantastic, but if not, that was ok too.  Rest was our priority.  It was the best decision for my heart.  We went through the Summer and I re-centered myself in rest and abiding in hope.  Hope is courageous when you’ve faced repeated disappointments in any area of life.  It is a deliberate choice that often feels opposite to what the world would tell us to feel based on the past but it is a powerful tool that believers are called to arm themselves with (for more on that specifically, I’d love for you to visit this post: Hope: a weapon in the desert).

Now, let’s fast forward to this past October.  We found out we were pregnant again ☺ We were believing this was our miracle baby that would come into this world and release their destiny here.  We were claiming every promise that had been spoken over us as parents and over our children would begin to be made manifest starting now.  Faith was our anchor.  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.  The certainty of things not yet seen.”  (Heb 11:1)  The enemy wanted to tell me that this pregnancy would end up like the ones in the past.  He tried to tell me not to get my hopes up and to stay guarded.  He tried to make me fearful that any time I wasn’t “feeling” pregnant that something had happened to the baby.  My pregnancy journey was about walking in hope and denying the enemy’s voice a place of influence in my heart.  I chose hope.  I chose joy.  I chose celebration of this life.  My mama heart already loved this little one and they deserved to be celebrated regardless of how long I would have them with me.

I walked through 9 weeks of pregnancy feeling very pregnant and rejoicing over those symptoms.  I’ve never been so thankful for nausea, fatigue, and lack of appetite in my life!  I took every symptom as a gift of confirmation (…Except the mood swings.  Geeze, I felt like a certifiable crazy lady some days).  Being under the care of a fertility doctor, as soon as you see a positive pregnancy test, they have you come in and begin testing to ensure your body is doing all the things it is supposed to do to properly support your pregnancy.  I tested perfectly.  Praise!  We journeyed through the next several weeks and waited for the appointment where they would conduct our first ultrasound.  That day came and was such a happy day.  In a matter of seconds viewing the ultrasound, our doctor grinned,  “I see a heart beat”.  When I heard the sound of that beating heart it was one of the most powerful, beautiful rhythms I’ve ever heard.  Tears flowed.  He told us that it was an excellent heartbeat and that every thing looked as healthy as it could right now.  He also reminded us that he can’t predict the future so he wanted us back for one more ultrasound in a week before we transitioned to regular OB care.

Six days later we were headed back to hear that heart beat again.  They turned on the screen and immediately we could see that the baby had grown, but something was different this week.  Something was missing.  Where was that beautiful beat we’d heard last week?  The doctor didn’t see that flutter of life on the screen where the baby’s heart was.  We realized then, that sometime in the last 6 days the heartbeat had stopped.  We were truly stunned.  There were sincere condolences and heartfelt empathy in that room as we started to take in what we’d just been told.  My doctor is the truly the most amazing doctor we could have ever hoped for in this journey.  He is professional, but full of empathy, extremely knowledgeable, kind and gifted at what he does.  He immediately asked me if we would like to schedule surgery because he knew that my body has never registered my miscarriages.  I told him we wanted to do another ultrasound to confirm the news and he gladly agreed.  I told him if what we saw today didn’t change then we could do the surgery.  He moved his surgery schedule around the very next day, adding me to the end of his day in the OR so that I didn’t have to wait if the ultrasound didn’t show change.  He scheduled those appointments with me and we had a 20 hour waiting period until next steps would be taken.

The rest of that day was a blur.  There was so much Zach & I were processing and taking in.  One thing we knew we were doing was believing and interceding for a miracle of life.  The next morning, I got up and readied myself to leave in a few hours for the confirmation ultrasound.  Zach and I both chose to prepare by spending the morning worshiping King Jesus and rooting our hearts in His faithfulness.  We had been here before.  We were familiar with this “in between” where we’d heard the word of man tell us life had ceased, but we were making room for a miracle, believing and declaring once again that our God reigns over all death and He is the giver of life and life abundant.  He is a miracle working God, but so often His people treat miracles like the exception instead of the expectation.  Zach and I believe He calls us higher.  We believe Jesus meant what He said when he called us to pray “…Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”  He calls us to pray in line with the Fathers heart and will and, by faith, to believe for the miraculous to be normal.  We will press in and contend for that until we see it.  Its how Jesus lived. We rose up in our spirits and we interceded for this baby’s life with every bit of faith we had.  I got up and immediately began to declare the Word over myself, starting with Psalm 103:

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

When we command our souls to praise, we are taking charge over our soul (our thoughts, and emotions) through our spirit.  That is how we were created to live – led by our spirit, not our souls.  Our spirits are one with the spirit of Jesus, so when we command our soul to submit to our spirit which is submitted to His Holy Spirit, we live in right order.  We command our soul to step out of any feelings from the enemy or from the flesh and step into praise because worship is a both a weapon and a shield.  It is both offensive and defensive.  I LOVE that Father designed worship that way!  He is so good.  Worship shields us from being influenced by the lies of the enemy, and it is a weapon that rids our hearts of worry or fear and replaces them with peace.  The more we worship Jesus, the more our eyes are taken off our circumstance and put on Him and His goodness.  The enemy’s voice is silenced with every word of worship that we declare.  The Holy Spirit took me through the most beautiful path of scriptures and songs to sing that morning.  He led me through Isaiah 54, Psalm 126 and singing of God’s goodness and faithfulness.  I felt my spirit soaring as we got in the car to go to the ultrasound.  I believed with all my heart for my miracle, but I also reminded myself that my hope was ultimately Jesus regardless of what we saw in that ultrasound.  That is the place of firm foundation.  He is the place of unwavering hope.

A very special sweatshirt was my wardrobe selection for that day.  I’d ordered it several weeks ago, before we even knew we were pregnant.  It was a sweatshirt that read “HOPE VIBES” from a ministry called ‘The Garden’ (an encouragement group for women walking through seasons of physical barrenness who are believing for miracles in their lives.  If you’d like to learn about it, message me!).  It had arrived literally two days before all this happened and I knew it had come right in time for me to wear on this day.  I put on my Hope Vibes sweatshirt and wore it right into the ultrasound room as a banner over me, praying for a miracle to be seen on that screen; believing to hear a heartbeat again and that I wouldn’t be going to surgery.

This is the part that no one loves to hear, but it’s how this part of our story goes.  In the ultrasound, it showed the same thing as the day prior.  There was still no heartbeat.  Now came our moment to choose what we would believe and feel next.  We felt sadness and grief, but with out hesitation we chose to lean into trust and the peace of Jesus.  We didn’t see the miracle we’d hoped for.  Zach and I were heartbroken but not shaken. The enemy wanted to tell me to be embarrassed for wearing my “Hope” sweatshirt now.  I told him to take that to hell.  That outcome didn’t change my hope.  My Hope wasn’t just for a miracle in my belly, it was rooted in Jesus. When the miracle didn’t come, Jesus remained and He is my hope.

I left that appointment and immediately went to check in to pre-op.  We felt the nearness of Jesus all over us that day even through surgery.  His tangible pleasure washed over us.  We’d chosen to look loss in the face again and choose, by faith, to believe a good Father for a miracle. When the miracle didn’t come, it didn’t change our belief that our Father was good.  Our circumstances don’t dictate who He is. Who he is dictates how we can walk above our circumstances.  He gives us the ability to walk above all that the enemy throws at us by abiding in Him. That doesn’t mean we don’t feel disappointment, heartache, grief or loss.  Suffering is part of life in a world where sin exists.  That’s not a popular statement in some circles these days but he tells us in scripture “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-4).  We should always believe for miracles.  We should always live to release the kingdom of heaven in all we do, but we shouldn’t act entitled to a life free of struggle.  Struggle is often where we learn what it is be rooted in truth and faith.  If Jesus himself wasn’t spared from suffering, but brought men’s sanctification through his suffering and sacrifice, how much more are we to learn from Him?  We are called to be like Him, and that includes looking like Him in how we walk through struggles.  Its easy to cry out for deliverance from struggles but what if we learn to shift our desire and cry out to look like Him in them?  It doesn’t mean we settle for expecting less than the miraculous, it just means we learn to live with our highest priority being to look like Jesus in all things. Sometimes that looks like miracles, and sometimes that looks like enduring suffering with His heart to bring glory to the Father no matter the cost.

I do want to be clear on this: I, personally, do not believe Father took our baby.  He is the Father of light and the giver of life – that’s what He does.  Regardless of the reason for miscarriage, He is mighty to save and could have healed anything that needed healing in order to sustain life.  The enemy is the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  We can’t fall for the enemy’s trick of getting us to contribute something to God that was actually a work of the enemy just to make ourselves feel some sense that Gods hand was in it.  I also know that Jesus is all powerful and sovereign.  He could have easily brought that miracle.  I don’t have an answer as to why He didn’t but I trust Him.  We can’t allow what we don’t understand to change what we know to be true about our loving Father.  I can’t let myself get stuck walking in circles around all the “why’s” that my flesh is tempted to dwell on.  It is so “human” to want to attain understanding of things that happen to or around us, but he tells us to lean not on our own understanding.  I’m not saying we should never ask “why”.  It is so good to be honest with Father and ask Him our questions.  He is never offended by our questions or desire for understanding.  In fact, some of the deepest revelations will come on the other side of brave questions. We just can’t fixate more on gaining understanding that we do on trusting Him.   If I press in to ask “why” and He doesn’t share the answer, then my next act of obedience is to trust Him and let that be enough.  He promises that “He works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose.” Rom 8:28.  It doesn’t say He is the cause of everything that happens to us.  It says He can take all things, even the things intended for harm, and work them for our good.  That is the redeeming nature and power of our God.  We are not victims, we are over comers in all things.  That is the hope He brings and I will cling to that hope with every fiber of my being.  I have that hope as an anchor to my soul.  I want to walk as a hope-warrior, resilient in all circumstances because Jesus has given me the ability to overcome all things in Him.

I want to encourage anyone else who is going through heartache, loss or grief: you can grieve and still walk in confident hope at the same time. Grief is good, and it doesn’t mean despair.  Grief and hope can co-habitate.  That happens by being open with the Father about your pain while making Jesus your ultimate Hope.  It can take tremendous courage to choose hope in the middle of disappointment but God sees you and calls you “courageous one”.  It doesn’t mean you won’t feel tempted to believe the enemy’s lies of hopelessness if you face repeated disappointment.  It means you take those thoughts captive and make a habit of asking Jesus what His truth says about those thoughts or lies you’re hearing.  It takes intentional co-laboring with Him to renew our minds.  Our Jesus is ever-faithful and He is worthy of our hope even when it feels like a challenge.  My heart longs to hold all three of my babies that I’ve lost, but I have full confidence that my Heavenly Father is still only beginning our story and He is going to redeem all that’s been lost in ways I can’t even imagine.  He is a redeemer of stolen things and He returns with abundance!  I’m praying for all the mamas-in-the-waiting and others of you waiting on any desires of your heart to be fulfilled.  He is faithful and we can walk as hope-warriors with confident expectation of His goodness to be seen.  I sing the song linked below often, and I welcome you to sing it with me.  What ever you’re hoping or contending for, let it be your declaration.  Rise up, courageous one.  Breathe deep and rest your heart in the one who is Hope.

“I’m confident your faithfulness will see me through.  My soul can rest.  My righteousness is found in you.  With every moment left, with every borrowed breath, let this be true:  that all my heart for all my life belongs to you.”

Recommended Articles