Inviting God Into Your Pain

When your dreams crash into reality, a season of mourning begins.

Losing your baby touches every part of your life. Your view of yourself. Your relationships. Your hopes and fears about the future. Your beliefs about life and death … and God.

Sudden loss makes you starkly aware of the uncertain nature of this world. You have no idea what’s around the next bend.

It’s common to enter this dark place pitifully unprepared. I know that I did. Following the sudden death of our baby – and, years later, our 16-year-old son – I found myself thinking, I feel so lost and lonely.

Those around you seem to be clipping along just fine, even though your world is upside down. You doubt that they truly understand.

Grief is hard, emotional work. A shattered heart doesn’t have the get-up-and-go to put on a pleasant face and make small talk. A gray fog sets in and clouds your perception. It’s difficult to think straight, focus or even remember words. Sometimes you don’t have the energy to care about anything beyond the basics of daily survival.

The loss of your baby also tests your faith. When all you can see is your pain, it’s easy to lose sight of God. If you’re like many of us, you probably wonder why God didn’t write a happier ending to this part of your story.

In the confusing throws of grief, you’re faced with critical choices of the will:

  • Will you give death the final say and allow it to diminish you?
  • Will you invite God to join you in your deepest pain?
  • Will you open your heart to others or try to light your own way?
  • Will you make time to rightfully grieve?
  • Will you believe God’s promise to make all things new?

Like a row of dominoes, the loss of your baby sets off a series of important questions, lessons and discoveries. It also paves the way for long-lasting transformation and new beginnings.

During the most painful years following my losses, I spent long hours alone with God – reading, reflecting and filling journals. We grieved together.

Tireless yearnings in my heart longed for heaven. It seemed like I lived with one foot in this world and one foot in the next, poised between faith and doubt, relief and regret, hope and great sadness.

I knew one thing for certain: I wasn’t capable of turning my mourning into dancing. Nope. That one was way beyond me. I knew that if it ever happened, it would be a God thing.

In our quiet conversations together, the space between heaven and earth narrowed. Glimmers of hope sporadically pierced through. Gentle whispers inspired fresh insight, meaning and awareness of God’s kindness. 

The courage to face my fear started showing up in daily, sometimes hourly, doses. I decided to reframe that four-letter word and make it work for me: Face Everything And Rise. (Feel free to post it on your mirror.)

I’m delighted to tell you that my heart did mend. Oh, I’m still vulnerable, and triggers still bring tears. But that’s OK. Dry eyes only exist in heaven.

In spite of my tearful spells, joy bubbles over more often than not. That doesn’t mean my life is perfect. Far from it. But it does mean that life is full of magnificent delight in the midst of the difficult and messy. 

God knows how to care for His own. We exited the valley of grief together.

God would love to do the same for you. After all, anything valuable that I’ve gained and passed along to you is evidence of His goodness.

 

Empty Arms

With the warmth and compassion of a Licensed Professional Counselor and writing as a mother who has suffered the loss of a baby and a sixteen-year-old son, Pam Vredevelt offers sound answers and advice. As an expert in love and loss, Pam gives reassuring comfort to any woman fighting to maintain stability and faith in the midst of devastating heartbreak. Empty Arms: Hope and Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy is the essential guidebook for anyone suffering the agony of losing a baby.

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