“As in all sweetest music, a tinge of sadness was in every note. Nor do we know how much of the pleasures of life we owe to the intermingled sorrows. Joy cannot unfold the deepest truths, although deepest truth must be deepest joy. Cometh white-robed Sorrow, stooping and wan, and flingeth wide the doors she may not enter.”
“Sorrow herself will reveal one day that she was only the beneficent shadow of Joy.”
― Alec Forbes of Howglen
The silence pulsed, a looming dread of something terrible yet unmet.
My heart pounded as I lay on the cold bed of the emergency room. I willed myself not to shake, get a grip, trying to unclench the knot in my belly as I looked up at the late night doctor-on-call as she frowned at the ultrasound monitor.
The monitor was turned away, the doctor wouldn’t say a word to me… and as 2 more doctors were called in, my heart began to sink with the dawning realization that a “let’s check, just in case” hospital run had turned into something much worse than we’d expected.
The next 48 hours were a series of doctors’ consultation, phone calls, holding on to faith, and crushing devastation: our baby’s heart had stopped beating. We had miscarried. Through the blur of hours of contractions and so much bleeding, I gave birth to our baby 6 months too early. We were worn out and in so much pain physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Miscarriage was not a foreign word to me but it had always seemed like a concept far removed from my reality – like something I’d read or hear about, but which experience would never touch my world.
Then that reality careened into mine and I was not prepared for the anguish.
I didn’t know that a miscarriage was just like giving birth, complete with hours of painful contractions and giving birth to our baby… except with a different outcome: Our baby was dead. There was no baby to hold to make the pain of childbirth worthwhile, only a sense of loss and emptiness. We wouldn’t get to take our baby Justice home, breathe in his new baby smell, dress him in the cute Mickey Mouse onesie we’d bought with so much joy & anticipation.
I didn’t know we’d grieve our unborn first child like a parent would grieve the loss of their child. I didn’t expect how much we’d love our baby before having met him. In the 3 months of our baby Justice’s life in my womb, Alex & I talked so much about his destiny, how he would change the world, and all the amazing prophecies that people received about his destiny. While he was in the womb, we had seen his whole life and how special he would be.
The conception of our baby Justice Wiraatmaja had been foretold by so many prophets this year. Upon conception, we received yet more prophecies around the world of his prophetic destiny. He was called to fight for justice, especially children with special needs, and be an intercessor forerunner & prophet to his generation. We were in the midst of an intense prayer shield with our partners championing the Heartbeat Bill in USA (intercession for justice for children, all the things he was called for) when our baby’s own heart stopped beating. We couldn’t understand why.
My body is on the mend, and our hearts have grieved these past two weeks.
We grieved over our unborn child as people grieve over a person’s death.. because he was a person. He had a whole life, a full life of possibilities, that we had seen clear as day. Just as we celebrated his new life, we mourned his death.
I wanted to honor the precious life of our baby by grieving him instead of sweeping the loss of him under the rug of christian platitudes. Holy grieving can be worship to God. Holy sorrow leads to holy joy, and we can’t short-circuit the process but neither should we linger more than we should.
The following are some things I’ve arrived at in the process of moving from mourning to dancing, sorrow to joy.
“David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, ‘While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.’
David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. ‘Is the child dead?’ he asked.
‘Yes,’ they replied, ‘he is dead.’
Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.” – 2 Samuel 12
Worship God with our questions.
In grieving these 2 weeks, I’ve experienced the range of emotions of the stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, etc. They’ve come & gone in waves, and the intensity of those waves are abating now. But the thing that most threatened to engulf and drag me down to the darkness were my questions. I had, still have, so many.
About God: Why did God allow this? Why would He give so much promise for our baby’s life only to take that life away? Is He angry with me?
About me: Did I do something wrong? Did I make a mistake and cost my baby his life? Was it because I was going to be a bad mother, so God took him to a better place?
About our baby: Did he suffer? How did he feel as his heart slowed to a stop? Was he scared? Was he in pain? Did he feel alone? Did he know he was loved, wanted, precious?
“Why” from the bottom of my heart, I was so desperate for God to answer me. But He didn’t, not this time. There’ve only been a few other seasons in my life with pain that rivals this one, and most of those times God has shown up to speak & answer me.
But this time, in these weeks of mourning, God has remained silent. Not absent, but silent. He has sat with me in my pain, the tears on my face mirroring the tears running down his. He has held my hand and wept with me. He has given me no answers to tranquilize my grief, and somehow that has given a dignity to the process.
Our mentor told Alex & I that there are some things we just will not understand on this earth, and will only see in full clarity in eternity. I won’t deny my questions, but I will worship God in spite of them.
Be honest with God…
How can He meet us face-to-face until we take off our masks and have faces?
I’m an introvert and while grieving I didn’t want to meet/talk to anyone. I wanted to be left alone to process my thoughts & feelings. I wanted to have my thoughts processed before I said anything.
But here’s the thing with intimacy: we don’t obtain it with clean, processed niceties. We arrive at intimacy when we allow someone else to look into our souls, naked, raw, messy. The pinnacle of human intimacy was Jesus on the cross – undressed, bloody, sweat and tears on display.
God wasn’t ashamed of my weakness. He didn’t flinch at my pain. He didn’t need me to “have it all together” or have the right answers. He just needed me to let my guard down and let Him be the strong one in the relationship, let Him be the perfect one.
The healing process requires our souls bared to the Healer. To have our hearts cleansed & healed, we need to be honest with Him in our pain, anger, wrong thoughts… there is no shame in His presence. He can take it and He will fix it.
… but remember He is God
While we can be fully confident in the goodness of God, we must remember also the reverent fear of the Lord. We cannot approach Him as entitled orphans, but as children to a Father. We can speak our minds to Him, but we must let His speak too. Wait and hear His response. God is not our rubbish bin. He is holy, He is God.
When we let God be God, we honor Him for who He is. And that invites the active power of God into our lives.
Identify with the pain…
Sit with it and embrace the pain because that begins the process of healing. Don’t trivialize it, ignore it, nor spiritualize it. Face your giants because you were meant to vanquish them. Embracing pain means that we choose to accept that pain is an inevitable, necessary part of success and growth. Without pain there is no growth, no triumph, no victory. Don’t fear pain. It’s inevitable. And when it does come, walk through it with an open mind and heart, instead of running from it.
… but don’t let pain be your identity
We don’t let pain become our identity and resign ourselves to a life of misery.
“In life I have found two kinds of people to be the most uninteresting (Is it ok to admit that there are people who are uninteresting?).
The first is the person who has never suffered. It is still surprising to me, but I have met people who have told me they have never suffered, they have never failed; they have lived a life absolutely devoid of pain and disappointment.
Living as long as I have, I have discovered that people who live these Teflon lives have only managed that outcome by living a life without risk, passion, or love. We cannot love deeply or risk greatly and never know failure or disappointment. Not even God was able to pull that one off. Love never comes without wounds; faith never comes without failure.
But there is another kind of uninteresting person. It is the person who has suffered, and that suffering is all they know. They are trapped in their pain; they wallow in their despair; they are all wounds and no scars. All they can talk about is their pain.
Life is suffering, and the suffering does not make them empathetic. They have no room for the pain of others. Their pain fills their entire universe… As uninteresting as the person who has never suffered may be, this second person wins the prize. It’s hard to tell a great story if we remain stuck in chapter one.” – Erwin McManus, The Artisan Soul
Alex & I are healing and moving forward. God has taken care of us so well. Our love for each other has also been strengthened through this season of pain. He has shown us His love in many ways this season, and I am thankful.
Pain still meets us at unexpected times like when we walk past a Dim Sum restaurant (Justice loved Xiao Long Baos) or anything that reminds us of him. We miss him, and I don’t think we will stop missing him till we meet him again in heaven. I’m coming to understand that God doesn’t want to fix our pain or get rid of it like it’s a problem to be solved. He wants to be invited into it. He wants to walk with us like He did with Adam in the cool of the Garden. Healing is the process that acquaints us with the Healer.
I needed to write this story because writing is healing to me and helps me process experiences. If that writing helps someone else to heal, praise God for that.
If you are walking through a season of pain or loss, I’m linking the prophetic 40-day devotional I wrote a few years back after I’d come out of a season of deep pain. The Lord told me to write it because He wants to heal hearts and help His children begin the jourey of walking out of their pain and into wholeness.
Miscarriage Recovery Community
In my recovery process, I realised that miscarriage is seldom talked about and therefore little understood. I did a poll on Instagram, and while 90% responded that either they or someone they personally knew had miscarried, only 37% actually had basic knowledge of miscarriage and its recovery process. I was shocked and felt like something had to be done. More conversations need to get going so that we are better educated & equipped on this subject. We need to blow this thing wide open because so many women (and their husbands too!) suffer this pain in silence and shame. Shame is not of God.
This topic needs to be laid out in the open so we as a Body can better represent God’s heart in this matter. I’ve started this “by community for community” place to get the conversation going and hopefully increase miscarriage-literacy. This is a place for people to ask questions on miscarriage (no question is taboo) and get them answered by others in community. This is for people who are looking for support in miscarriage recovery, and also for those who want to grow in understanding so they can help those who have miscarried.
(Click this button to go to the Miscarriage Recovery platform)
I pray that this platform can play a part in getting us as a Body more engaged, we are called to bring healing to a hurting world. I pray that this platform supports people who’ve miscarried, helping them to grieve and heal. We honor our baby’s life when we grieve them well, and we honor God in our lives when our grief turns to crowns of beauty for His glory. If this resonates with you, welcome to join us at Miscarriage Recovery ♥️ Let your friends know, it’s a place for:
• those in recovery looking for support
• those who want to learn & understand how to help those who’ve miscarried
• those who want to grow in understanding on this subject
• those who’ve walked through miscarriage(s) and can share their wisdom & insight
• healthcare professionals
May we be known as a people who grieve well and whose sorrows lead to exceeding abundant joy.