Dear Grieving Mother

Adriel Booker

Maybe your grief is fresh and raw and you’re still reeling from the suffocating blow of a recent miscarriage. Or maybe you’ve long ago buried a secret grief but something within is probing you to lean in closer to the pain once again. Let me be as straightforward as possible with you: I can’t answer the cosmic “why” of your miscarriage, but I can validate and help you understand your pain and grief. I want to link my arm with yours in hope as we look together toward the day when Jesus makes all things new.

I discovered something in the early days after my first miscarriage, when grief came pounding with incredible force: If I didn’t dive deep, the waves of grief would absolutely pummel me. In surfing, this is called a “duck dive.” The apostle Paul calls it being “hidden with Christ” (Colossians 3:3, NIV).

I call it survival.

As I began to practice my own deep dive after losing our daughter, Scarlett Grace, to miscarriage, I discovered this was actually more than survival. It was an invitation: Would I find Jesus in the deep?

It’s normal to be filled with questions when experiencing personal trauma. What have I done to deserve this? Is this my fault? Why would God let this happen? Is he punishing me for something? What if God isn’t who I thought he was? How can I go on with life as I once knew it? Will I ever feel normal again? Is God—or his goodness—even real? What if my whole faith is a sham?

Because the grief of miscarriage often goes unspoken, these types of questions can eat away at the soul and confidence of a woman as she tries to shoulder the burden of them in secret.

It might seem impossible, but you can do this. You can lose and grieve and hope. The power of grief can, and sometimes will, sweep us off our feet. But we can learn how to breathe under the deep. We may even learn to open our eyes there. We can grieve with hope. We may be brokenhearted or even crushed, but we will not be destroyed. We might even find that, in our weakness, we’re stronger than we think.

I still have moments of sadness over my babies lost to miscarriage, but now I also have wonder. It was in my darkest days as a mother that I found my brightest hope in Jesus. And yes, I understand how terribly cliché́ this can sound when you’re left stunned and broken by loss. But it’s true. True doesn’t mean easy, but I promise you: Love will lead you there, even through questions that seem insurmountable when your life is in shambles.

I remember the days of wanting to crawl into a cave, find a place to curl up there in the quiet, and never wake up. It wasn’t that I actually wanted to die, it’s just that I didn’t know how to live under the weight of my sadness and collapsed expectations.

Out of nowhere, sorrow would hit me like a heat wave, pressing on my chest, leaving me desperate to peel off layers so I could find some relief. But even while experiencing intense loneliness, I also remember feeling the sweetness of God’s presence in some of those shadowy hours. Something told me his quietness wasn’t abandonment—it was companionship.

This isn’t to say I could always feel his presence, or that I didn’t long for something more tangible—a touch or a word (a billboard in flashing neon lights with a backdrop of double rainbows would have been nice). But even when I felt like I was groping in the dark, I somehow knew there was a God acquainted with pain who stayed with me in mine.

But maybe this hasn’t been your experience at all. Maybe God seems absent or quiet. Maybe you’re wondering if you’ll ever feel close to God again or if your faith is even worth holding on to while you wait. Maybe you just want to know you’re not alone.

I wish I could tell you unequivocally that you will “feel” Jesus near when you need him most, but I cannot. Who am I to presume my experience will translate into yours? I will not. And this, friend, is the truth of grief: It’s wild. Grief does not follow a blueprint. It minds no flowchart. It doesn’t tick off boxes, it will not be contained in your favorite list app, and it most certainly won’t stay put on the calendar.

Grief is wild like the sea, but it doesn’t need to destroy us. We can’t conquer it, but we can navigate it, and we can find Jesus there too.

Dive in, friend.

 


Adriel Booker, Grace Like Scarlett. Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2018. Used by permission.