Sitting at the kitchen table, I hid behind the Rice Chex box so my 13-month-old son would not see the tears streaming down my face. Occasionally, I would poke my head around, singing “Peek a boo!” while he munched away at his cereal on his high chair tray. But the tears welled up too quickly, the sobs became more audible, and the grief within me became so physically crushing that I had to run to the hall bathroom to avoid startling my child.
That was March 18th, 2009. A year ago today (the 16th), I miscarried our twins at 8 weeks. On one hand, I wasn’t shell-shocked because it was our fourth miscarriage. I knew all along it was a possibility. On the other hand, I was absolutely devastated. I had wanted twins since I was a child, and being that my husband is a twin, we were both pretty excited. What made our loss so difficult was coming to grips with the unlikelihood of us ever conceiving twins again.
If God really loved me, He would have performed a miracle and saved the babies. If God was really good, He wouldn’t allow me to be faced daily with my shattered dream when a close friend conceived twins. If God was really sovereign, …
At first, I felt defensive. Of course I believe God is good! I certainly believe God loves me. I never doubt his plans for me. But as I prayed and allowed the Holy Spirit to stir in me, I realized Julie was correct. I asked for eyes to see beyond the grid I had placed before me. And the Lord and I began a months-long journey of rediscovering His unfailing love. For me.
Looking back, the false beliefs just crept in, and I didn’t even realize it. But I’ll tell you how.
We can function similarly in our relationship with the Lord. We can read our Bibles, attend church or bible study, and quote Scripture in conversation, emails, or blog posts. From an outside view, our walks with Christ might look pretty darn good. Like we have it all together. But if we spend too much time on the framework of faith without putting our heart into it, we can go through a whole day “looking good” but completely missing intimacy with God. We pretend all is well but miss out on walking in His power, strength, and joy.
And can I be frank? I believe our Christian culture has put this pressure on us. We only share our struggles when they’re in the past. When we can say we’ve already dealt with them and we’re back in a good place. We shrink back in horror when someone confesses a current doubt or shares an ongoing weakness. As I’ve written before, authentic Christianity isn’t covering up our wounds with proverbial band-aids but rather allowing a hurting and unbelieving world to witness the rawness of our pain and the restorative power of a compassionate, loving God. Yes, it’s uncomfortable to see someone struggle. But instead of simply feeding them Scripture (which is still helpful and appropriate at the right time), we should encourage one another to take our issues to the Lord and dialogue with Him. Engage Him. There is freedom to wrestle. There is hope that grows from presenting your concerns to God. There is healing in laying your heart bare before the Lord. He sees it all anyway. There is beauty in the mess of digging deep to know the God you love. You don’t have to have all the answers. And it’s okay to admit you’re struggling. Faith is messy.
As I stared at our ultrasound pictures earlier, I smiled. Only because I finally fought with the Lord and worked out my unbeliefs do I once again BELIEVE that He is faithful and loving. He has carried me and Scott through the pain and loss, and my renewed convictions have cultivated gratitude and joy in my heart. I finally sorrowed well, with the grace and guidance of an amazing Father. And because of that, I can look back on my pain and feel blessed for it. Sweet friends, embrace faith’s messes and know they’re worth it.