My hope is that in speaking about this topic that is so often left in silence, I can help. And we can all grow and heal together in this messy world.
My husband Edward and I got pregnant this last summer. We were ecstatic. We had been wanting a 3rd, and the timing felt perfect. Our daughters kissed my stomach and whispered loving giggles to my navel. They prayed for twins, and while I laughed at the fun of it, I still bit my nails until an ultrasound assured me there was only one in there. Our family was bursting with joy and hope.
I want you to trust that I am doing it for life, and not death.”
I marveled at the thought. Yes, Martha and Mary could only see the pain. They could only see the terrible illness, and then the loss of their brother, Lazarus. It must have felt like Jesus had abandoned them in the hour of greatest need. “If only you had been here,” they had said. Yes, if only.
But the reality? Christ was planning life to the fullest. He intended all for glory and beauty. He came, opening the tomb, and shocking all with what could not be fathomed: the raising of the dead. Lazarus came back to life 4 days after being buried. There was no way anyone could have foreseen the extravagant miracle Jesus had been planning. None.
Later that night I began bleeding.
And those words kept resounding though my mind, those words from the chapel. To somehow see life when He was opening tombs. This, this terrible and entirely abhorrent ordeal, was somehow a moment of life, a moment for life.
It felt like death and more death.
Yet… those words remained. They continued to lift me and whisper more than the bleak darkness surrounding me. “Life, life is here,” my memory tugged at me. “I see death, but He is doing something glorious.” And somehow, thankfully, I didn’t despair. I clung to that hope, even as I approached surgery in a foreign country without my spouse. Even when my kids were crushed over the loss of their brother, sobbing in my arms. I held onto it with every breath, waiting for Him to show me meaning.
Nothing is lost.
My baby, who we later named John, isn’t lost. I will one day in heaven meet this person I helped to create. I will know him and he will know me. And although I (rightfully so) grieve him here, I take courage that Christ has him, and that the goodness of John’s creation far surpasses the pain of having my child leave so soon. I was given a brief breath of love, a handful of weeks to carry John. And that time together was a gift.
And lovely things did occur in me, in my family, in my community. My neighbors showed me such attentive love and compassion, friends sent cards, so many offered prayers, made meals, drove my kids to school, spoke kind words. I became more grateful for my girls, more open to the help of others, more compassionate. Edward and I have carried each other though this loss, and there is something so comforting in loving each other despite the difficulties. We buried John together, and daily we work to have new joys together.
I truly do believe that this does not just end in death. Christ allows suffering to bring life—to bring it abundantly, to bring it extravagantly.