My coffee was growing cold where it sat on the arm of the Adirondack chair. I stared across the fields where windmills spun along the horizon. I didn’t want to pick up the coffee again.
I knew it would taste bad. I knew the moment the liquid hit my tongue, the nausea I was ignoring would crash to the forefront.
There wasn’t anything to do about it. We’d looked at all the options years ago. While there is a course of action once you’re further into a pregnancy, there wasn’t a thing to do during those first weeks. I just had to wait. Feel all the symptoms grow stronger for days and see if they would fade away again, just like before.
Textbooks call it a “chemical pregnancy” but I call it sadness.
These early miscarriages aren’t uncommon. In fact, most women will have at least a couple in their lifetime, though the majority aren’t aware of it.
Sometimes I wish so badly that I wasn’t aware.
That I could just frown at my coffee and assume it’s a bad batch. That I could blame the nausea on a stomach bug or a cold. That all the questions and waiting and fighting to find a balance between hope and reality would leave me alone.
But instead I sit and stare and listen to the war in my own head.
You’ve watched miracles happen before, this could be another one.
You know what’s going to happen, you’ll lose this baby like all the ones before.
If this is a miracle you don’t want to waste your time being sad! You should enjoy each second!
If this is another miscarriage you don’t want to waste your time figuring out due dates or buying tests or dreaming of anything good. It’s easier to just assume the worst.
I asked the Lord that morning–I asked Him all the questions. What is the point of knowing? What is the point of allowing a pregnancy that might not survive? What is the point of hope when it feels like the bitter taste of disappointment is just moments away?
I’ve learned a deep truth about prayer in my years of walking through joys and sorrows beside Yahweh. The same truth that thousands before me have learned–Prayer isn’t about informing God what we want and then sitting back to watch Him do it. No, prayer is an exchange of presence. It’s choosing presence with Christ as He chooses presence with us.
I allowed the questions to settle around me that morning and they were still there when the faint positive on a pregnancy test showed up and they stayed through the next test I took two days later just to make sure and instead of the line being darker, it had disappeared altogether. The questions circled as I faced a week of pain and disappointment as all traces of our baby left my body.
I don’t know the answers to the questions, but I do know the presence of the Father.
In the book of Matthew there is a conversation between Jesus and the disciples. He asks them, “Who do people say I am?” They told him that some thought he was Elijah, or John the Baptist, Jeremiah, or another one of the prophets.
Then Jesus asks another question. “Who do you say I am?”
It’s Peter who answers. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16:13-20)
The rest of the disciples clearly agree with Peter. Jesus is the Messiah.
They don’t know this because Jesus gives them satisfactory answers to life and death and the problem of pain. They don’t know this because it’s been told to them by others. They don’t know because they heard a preacher they trust teach on the subject.
They know because they’re in His presence.
Of course, Jesus is the Messiah.
They’re walking beside Him and He’s no ordinary man. He defies the downward spiral of the world. Nothing has more power than Him. Not even death.
Sure, there are a million questions. Why allow death any more rule at all? Why not stop the slashing of pain through the hearts of the very people who are made in your image? Why are you waiting and allowing us all to wait? Why does it feel like our souls are being crushed under a thousand pounds of agony?
But the reason those questions even come up is because His presence proclaims the truth: He is the Messiah. The Redeemer. The One who is.
The sadness of early miscarriages is the same scraping sadness of living in a world that’s spiraling toward death instead of toward life. You know, friend, I’m sure you do. No matter what the sadness is called in your life, I’m sure you’ve tasted it.
But let me tell you the reason I carry my questions to Him: it’s because I know my answer to His question.
Who do you say I am?
He’s the place for my questions because He’s the Messiah and He’s HERE, present with me. I can settle any anxiety over the battle between hope and the reality of repeated loss because He is.
There have been dozens of mornings on the back deck since that morning. There have been cups and cups of coffee drank. There has been ministry, writing, conversations, games, and laughter. And there has been prayer. Deep prayers of thanksgiving, joy, sadness, and hope.
And each prayer weaves His presence deeper into my life, my home, my heart.
Sadness is hard to carry. But thankfully, we don’t have to carry it alone.