Navigating the Holidays After Loss
I would have been seven months pregnant this Christmas.
I would have been, but instead I spent a week in July miscarrying.
I have a thousand things to be thankful for, so much to celebrate and rejoice in, and I will. But I’m also feeling the sting of loss and I can experience both things at the same time.
The JOY of my teenagers and my 2-year-old and our beautiful farm and my wonderful husband, AND the loss of this baby we so deeply wanted.
This isn’t our first time navigating the holidays after loss. Our first miscarriage was during the second year of our marriage, right in October, which left the holidays feeling so lonely. The next big loss in our marriage was the daughter we were planning to adopt who never came home, and that Christmas was one of the hardest I’ve ever faced. Then later, there was the Christmas without our baby, Annie, who died in November of 2014.
And now, this year, we lost our tiny-just-starting-to-grow little one and will experience the celebration of Jesus restoring all things at the same time we are mourning what is lost for this lifetime.
In all these experiences, I’ve learned something deep and abiding about who God is through the holiday season: He is hope.
I don’t mean that I felt hopeful as I mourned, but rather, as He walked with me through the sadness and sorrow and difficult moments– His presence called me into hope.
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Note how God fills us with hope: As you trust in him, the verse says, He FILLS us with all joy and peace. And through the arrival of joy and peace, we OVERFLOW with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. By the power of the Comforter. By the power of God Himself.
We open our hands to Him and He does the work. He fills us. He comforts us. He pours His power into our areas of weakness.
So to navigate the holiday season after loss, you need to turn your face toward Christ.
That’s what I’m doing this year.
I’m turning my face toward Him and I’m opening my hands; the same hands that long to clench tight around my dreams of more children. I’m forcing them open. I’m believing that He mourns with me when I mourn. That He is the greatest comfort I will ever experience. That in Jesus, I am safe to cry and scream and pray and to TRUST.
I know I’m not the only one facing loss this year. I know there are stories harder and darker than mine.
So to each of you, I pray this blessing like Paul did:
May the God of hope come and fill you. May He fill your home and your heart and your mind.
May joy and peace explode in your life as you choose to trust Him and may that explosion cause you to overflow with hope.
Not by your power, or by your strength, or by your determination–no, no. Not by any of that, because this isn’t a job for you. It’s a job for Him, the Emmanuel, the One-Who-Is-Right-Here-With-Us, the greatest Comforter your heart will ever know. By HIS power may hope build up and build up and build up and pour out over your life in a rushing waterfall of grace.
And no matter how many tears you cry, may your heart know that He is with you.
He loves you, dear one. He does.
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