Ten years ago, I sat on my back porch as my husband and my dad moved fresh earth under a cloudless sky. I watched their shovels create deep holes, overwhelmed with all the grief I couldn’t figure out how to bury.
Back to back miscarriages had ripped my heart open and my world apart.
The two worked quietly, and I was thankful no one could read my mind. When each hole was deep enough, they dropped a tiny, frail pear tree low into the ground and filled in each of the three holes with the same dirt they had removed.
The trees were memorials, but I wasn’t so sure I wanted to remember this pain. More than anything, I wanted to erase this part of my story, pretend I was living someone else’s. I wasn’t sure my faith was strong enough to keep trusting in a good God.
Today, I think about the woman who could plant a forest in her backyard. Maybe that woman is a friend you know. Maybe she’s a loved one, or maybe that woman is you.
Whether you are grieving or you’re walking with someone through their loss, miscarriage can make a person feel incredibly helpless.
Look up the word miscarriage, and the very first synonym you’ll find is failure. When babies die before they’re born, it’s hard evidence that we live in a broken world with broken bodies that fail.
I remember failure tightening around my neck like a noose, choking hopes and dreams, squeezing out life until Jesus reached down and rescued me. His word became my place to stand and His promise my only hope. God truth to remind me of His faithfulness.
Over the last decade, those trees we planted in our grief have endured a hurricane, a drought, and a flood. Now, whenever the wind blows, they sing. Like a mirror I momentarily glance into, those trees remind me that my deepest pain has produced a reflection of profound joy.
Yes, miscarriage has made its mark on my story, but even in the pain—especially in the heartbreak and sorrow—God spoke His truth over my life: Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8
My body failed more than once to carry a precious life into this world, but God’s love has never failed to carry me through difficult times as well as times of joy.
Our stories may differ, but every story is authored by Love. And Love will remain long after this world and everything in it fades away. He is trustworthy and true, and He loves you fiercely.
For those who grieve…
No words can adequately explain or even ease the pain you’re experiencing. My prayer is that you find comfort and hope in the following words.
Allow grief to do its deep heart work. Don’t be tempted to say you’re ok when you’re not. Find a friend you trust, and be honest with her about your pain, your anger, your struggles and questions. Invite her to just sit with you and not say anything.
Find ways to experience closure. Planting trees, naming babies, or setting up some other kind of memorial acknowledges something was lost. It is such an important part of the grieving process.
Seek out a Christian counselor or a support group. Finding community was one of the most powerful comebacks towards the lie that told me I was all alone. Hannah’s Hope is a another invaluable resource I found on my journey.
Start a thankful journal. Nothing produces joy quite like a thankful heart. Someone I love suggested this to me just days after we planted those trees. I didn’t quite understand the power of gratitude back then, but time has a way of making hazy things beautifully clear.
You can read more of my journey through infertility and miscarriage at www.carriedbylove.com.