In my last post I shared how we had lost 4 children to miscarriage and the truths God allowed me to hold onto and share with my children. Today I want to continue sharing how God used the ongoing effects of miscarriage to reveal my trust wasn’t as great as I may have thought.
When the Miscarriage is only the Start
Once again I was sitting in a hospital waiting room. I had found out earlier in the week that we had lost our little one and had gone home to wait for a natural “delivery”. What had been described to me as a “heavy period” had suddenly become dramatic that afternoon. Now I was losing rather more blood than expected. Not to perpetuate an old wive’s tale but I do seem to live up to the expectation that redheads bleed more. With low blood pressure already, they were very keen to send me up to surgery for a D and C to finish the process quickly and completely.
The one problem in this plan was that the next day was my brother’s wedding. It was a day I did not want to miss. As the bleeding slowed the doctors agreed to pump me full of saline and let me out that night. I was to report back on Monday for surgery if nothing had changed in the meantime.
I am very grateful that I was able to attend the wedding and that everything went well. I don’t actually remember a lot of the day. It must have worked as my brother and his wife are still married!
As I shared in my earlier post, my first miscarriage was a shock but God gave us grace to respond with trust in Him to a big tragedy. What I didn’t realise at that stage was that the trials, challenges and irritations would not finish after the initial event.
And so here I was a week later, having nearly missed my brother’s wedding and recovering from surgery. Surely now I would be able to move forward and work through my grief with the support of my family and friends and trusting God. Not quite.
For weeks afterward I had ongoing issues. No one else would have known but it was tedious and effected many areas of life for me. I found it hard to be patient. I got a bit grumpy. I had responded well…surely I had earned a break? This didn’t feel like a reward for “work well done”. This was just more to cope with.
Eventually I was referred to a specialist and had another D and C surgery. They found that the first one had not been complete and this had led to the ongoing bleeding. Finally the issue was resolved. At the time I remember thinking that I had a little more empathy for the woman who had bled for 12 years. (Hmmm Yeah…because my couple of months of bleeding was anything compared to that.) But I didn’t see then what I do now. I realise now that my impatience and grumpiness (which is actually just a polite and socially acceptable way of saying anger) was as much a revealer of my heart as my initial reaction to the miscarriage.
Our response to the Ongoing Irritations of Life Reveals Our Hearts
When Jesus was teaching the people He was very clear that hearing His words was not enough. It is not enough to simply know what Jesus teaches. Those who call Him Lord will honour Him in their hearts. This honour will overflow naturally into the words they speak AND THEIR ACTIONS.
Luke 6:45-48 (NIV)
45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
I was willing to be patient and trust Him in my grief over losing my baby. I was less patient in my ongoing health issues. In a subtle, subconscious way I believed that responding well to the great loss should exempt me from ongoing problems, perhaps even give me a “get out of jail free” ticket for the next pregnancy? All these things came out of my heart and revealed that I was willing to trust God in some things but not in others. I wish I could say that over the years I have been cured of that particular problem….Yeah..I Wish!
Sometimes the small things are harder for me to respond well to than the big ones.
Why could I trust God in the big but not the small? There is no one simple answer but I believe at least two things influenced this.
I was alert and consciously choosing to remember and hold onto God’s promises during the miscarriage.
In Ephesians 6:10-17 we are charged to “ Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,”….to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”… to “17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” I was alert and ready, putting on this armour each minute, hour and day. But after the initial shock and drama was over I was not so alert and ready. I turned my eyes less frequently to the truth and hope God has given me and more frequently to my own discomfort and convenience. I was not protected. Satan’s lies were able to sneak in and influence how I responded.
I had many people praying for me in my big trial and fewer in my smaller ongoing trials.
As Paul concludes his charge to put on the armour of God he goes on to write in Eph 6:18
“18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Closely connected in Paul’s mind to the protection we have from Satan’s “schemes” is the act of prayer, for our own deliverance and for others. When God’s people pray He allows us to be a part of His work in ways that we can’t understand. I have learned in many ways since to deeply value the prayers of others in my own walk and faith.
God’s Grace in Our Failures
The wonderful thing about God’s grace is that it is given when it is needed most. When we fail and fall short of all that we should be as a child of God, who reflects His character, God meets us with His forgiveness and way of redemption. When we humble ourselves and confess our failure to trust, our failure to obey, and our failure to live as the people He has made us to be, then He points us to Christ, We see His provision made already for this failure. In my early days, recognising my failure caused me to try harder to do better next time. Now, as I look back at my wrong responses and sinful attitudes I am more and more likely to say,
“Thank you for your forgiveness in Christ. Thank you for your grace which covers over these wrong responses. Thank you for your promise that you will equip and enable me to be who you created me to be in the future. Please help me to do so Lord. Give me grace as I face these challenges next time.”
I’m pretty sure this will be an ongoing process but I am so grateful for His grace and promise that He will finish the work He has started in me!
How about you? Do you struggle to respond with trust more in the little trials of life or the big ones? Are you confident in God’s forgiveness and grace for those times when your responses fail to reflect God’s character? I would love to hear about the lessons God has taught you through the trials you have faced in life.
Hugs and prayers,