Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
I wish I could say or do something to make this all go away for you. I know that your heart is breaking–that it shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. And that right now, in the midst of grief, it seems that nothing makes sense anymore. I don’t have any words or tricks for you. I have no magic balm that can make things as they were before.
And grief is such a terrible, ugly monster.
It rears its ugly head at the strangest of times. It is crippling and stifling and healing all at once. Sometimes, grief grabs you at the grocery store when you think you catch a glimpse of your loved one walking past. Or sometimes, it creeps up on you in the darkness of the nighttime and steals away rest and sleep. Sometimes, it breaks you.
My dear one, know that I hurt with you.
Not in the same way, but I hurt for the pain I see you are feeling. I know that you are grieving the past and the present, thinking bittersweetly of the memories you made. Of all you felt and did. But I know, too, that you grieve for the future that was lost. For all the times of “could have” and “would have.” Of all the special moments you will miss and experience without them.
I want you to know that prayers are lifted for you. Not just by me, but by many others. Some you would expect– and some not. I want you to know that all you have to do is ask. There are a dozen loving hands who will reach out and grasp your hand. Who will wash your dishes or bring you food. Who will sit with you and cry with you and remember with you.
And the God you question, the God to whom you cry out and rail at, the God you feel anger, grief, and confusion towards–that God is the only one who can put the pieces of your heart back together. Not in a short moment, but slowly, gradually. A process. As a potter who melts down his pot and painstakingly, carefully spins and shapes and reshapes.
Dear one, I love you. But more importantly, God loves you.
May you feel the comfort and the nearness of His presence in this moment and for all eternity.
Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
It was the day before Thanksgiving 1996 but it seems like yesterday. After two years of fertility treatments, we finally conceived. When the doctor’s office called and moved up my first appointment after my initial lab, I knew something was wrong. I put it out of my mind and headed off to the doctor’s office by myself. (My husband had a previously scheduled meeting that he could not reschedule.) As I got closer to her office, I started having a sick feeling in my stomach.
My doctor came in and asked some questions. She said that she wanted to go ahead and do an ultrasound because I had had so many problems conceiving. I kept telling myself that everything was fine. The ultrasound technician asked more questions as she did the ultrasound and then asked if the doctor wanted to see me again. She went to get my doctor. They came back in and my doctor took my hand and told me that there was no heartbeat. I was 11 weeks along. I had waited for this baby for two years and now my baby was dead. She was wrong, I told her, and we needed to wait and see.
She sent me home to decide on when to do the D&C. My husband and I were devastated and cancelled our Thanksgiving plans. He notified our family. Later that evening, my sister-in-law called and told me about her previous miscarriage. This helped more than anything. Talking with someone that has experienced the same thing helps so much.
Going Through the Week in a Blur
The next morning, Thanksgiving Day, I woke up having cramps (contractions). I knew that was not a good sign. I tried to fix dinner for the two of us and that is when I miscarried. We followed the doctor’s instructions. I do not remember the rest of the day; the rest of the week was a blur. I tried to do normal things like work and church but that made it worse. Everyone had good intentions, but if you have never experienced this type of loss, sometimes it is better for others to say nothing.
So many people told me, “Oh, you’ll have another one.” But I had waited for two years. I did not want another one, I wanted that one. We had tried for two years, and now this. Or, “It happens more than you think.” Just because it happens to others did not change my pain. I knew other people go through this, but I was the one going through this now. My favorite was, “Well you have another child.” I did not! She had me confused with my sister! Like that would make a difference anyway. One child is not a substitute for one that has been lost. I know they meant well but these are NOT things to say to someone who just lost their baby.
Empathy Through Tragedy
I learned so much from this tragedy in my life. It gave me an empathy that I had not had before. Now, when I find out someone has miscarried, I say, “I’m sorry. I know what you are going through. I’ve been through it. If you need to talk, I’m here,” then I give her a hug.
Remember the husband; he is grieving, too. Give him a hug. It is just as difficult for him as it is for his wife. Too often, the men get overlooked. They not only just lost a baby but they feel like they must be strong for their wives. My husband tried so hard to protect me. He hated seeing me so upset.
If the woman miscarried at home (not through D&C), she has physically gone through labor. Many people do not realize this. I had contractions and went through the entire birthing process. It was not as intense as a full-term pregnancy, but it was the entire process, nonetheless. This is still what haunts me.
Some people do not realize that a baby has been lost.
Even some people who are pro-life look at miscarriages as an illness and not a loss. Miscarriages are not looked at as a death by most. It is! Just because we do not get to physically hold our babies does not make them any less real. There is no funeral to help say goodbye and have closure. We have experienced a loss. We must grieve. I tried to ignore what had happened. That just led to more problems later. I encourage you to join a support group or seek grief counseling if you have been through this. I waited over ten years before dealing with it. This only compounded my other issues of grief. It was only through grief counseling after the loss of my grandfather, that I realized I had not dealt with the grief of my miscarriage.
My miscarriage still affects me. I wonder about the child that might have been. Was it a boy or girl? Would he be in college? What would she look like? And, so many other questions. What I do know is that I will someday see my precious baby in Heaven. I also know that God has since given me three wonderful children. I love them more than I ever thought I could.
We all deal with loss in different ways.
Some want to commemorate the loss and appreciate when a friend remembers with them. For some, it is a private matter that they want to remember alone and move on. For others still, it is a combination of things. If you know someone that has had a miscarriage, just ask them if you can do something. They will let you know where the boundaries are. I do not mind talking about it, but be prepared for me to cry. Do not let the tears make you uncomfortable. Sometimes all we need is a hug and the knowledge that you are there.
If you have experienced a loss, please share your thoughts, experience or how others helped you?
You may also commemorate and honor your child here.
I’m Lana, a native Oklahoman. Married 17 years to the first boy I ever dated. Mama to two amazing, darling girls. I’m a coffee-drinking, book-reading, home-educating night owl! An accountant in my life B.C. (Before Children), my dream job would be getting paid to read all day.And if you’re into Meyers-Briggs personality tests, I’m an ISTJ. Most important of all, I’m a follower of Christ.
This past week, a terrible tragedy struck the congregation where I grew up. A young mother of two suddenly passed away from complications of a rare blood disorder. Waves of shock and grief quickly rippled through her circle of family and friends. But in the midst of this horrible event, I have been witnessing the church living out their calling to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
When the news first came out that this woman was fighting for her life, I saw a call to prayer go out all across social media. I saw Christians immediately respond, both with written and spoken prayers. I saw people drop what they were doing and drop to their knees, pleading with the Father on behalf of someone they didn’t even know.
When word came that she had lost her physical battle, again I saw many praying. Anguished prayers of hurt and sorrow. Intercessory prayers for comfort for her loved ones. Joyful prayers of thanksgiving that she would receive her heavenly reward. Hopeful prayers that God would be glorified through this trial.
I witnessed her friends comforting each other. Older women encouraging and mothering the younger women. Acquaintances sharing memories of how she had touched their lives.
And I saw the church spring into action, stepping in to help care for her children, to bring meals, to provide for whatever the family might need immediately and in the days to come.
On Sunday morning, I sat in the pew, surrounded by fellow Christians. As we sang, prayed, and worshiped our God, I saw the pain on faces around me. But once again, I witnessed what it means to live in community, to let Christ shine through their compassion on each other.
Men prayed for this family. Tissues were passed to wipe tears away. Scriptures were read, reminding us all of the hope we have of heaven. Friends shared hugs, husbands tenderly consoled their wives, and parents cuddled their children just a little longer that morning.
Later, I witnessed elders and other men of the congregation surrounding this young man who had just lost his wife. They laid their hands on him, prayed over him, and wept with him.
Perhaps the most touching sight was a young teen who left her pew and went to where the children sat. As tears streaked their faces, she hugged them, wiped away their tears, and stayed with them for the rest of the service. At that moment, the authenticity of these Christians’ faith struck me. Their compassion was evident to all, from the oldest members to the youngest.
In the midst of a terrible situation, I have witnessed the church, both near and far, act as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. From physical needs to emotional support to spiritual comfort, these people made manifest the true work of the church. As 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT) says:
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Spur One Another On
Although I did not personally know this young mother, her passing has impacted and influenced my faith. By witnessing how the local church stepped up and ministered to her family and friends, it has given me a greater desire to likewise minister to those around me who are hurting.
I am a proud wife and Mother! My hubby, Tyler, and I both attended Oklahoma Christian where our love grew! We got married, had two beautiful kiddos, our son Gunner and daughter Brooklyn, and we are living a truly blessed life! I am a Kindergarten teacher in the great state of Texas and most importantly a Christian. I strive daily to keep God #1 because he is the reason I have all the amazing blessings, I give him all the praise!
When you first found out you were pregnant, what emotions did you experience?
“I’m gonna be a mommy!”
“Is it a boy or a girl?”
“I’m so happy!!!”
I felt all of these emotions and many more! I had an ideal pregnancy the first time around, so when I found out I was expecting my son Gunner, the last thing on my mind was my baby’s health.
In the womb Gunner was, well, GUNNER! He was runnin’ and gunnin’ the entire time! When I went into labor I was in lots of pain but anxious to see my bouncing baby boy. Little did I know that it would be the beginning of something that seemed to never let up.
He was delivered via emergency C-section. I remember thinking, “Yes, it’s finally over!” but it was just the beginning. He was born perfectly healthy on December 6th, and we happily passed him around! The next day, when I thought we would be going home, a nurse observed Gunner on my chest taking bigger than normal breaths and wanted to get him checked out. They determined he had pneumonia and had to be in the NICU for 10 days. I was devastated but knew I needed to be strong for him. I didn’t realize how much of a blessing pneumonia would be.
On the 7th day in the NICU, a weekend nurse came to give us our son and told us she heard a heart murmur. My heart stopped. She reassured us that it could be something that would close up on its own, but I had a sinking feeling that might not be the case. The next day, following an echocardiogram, we got the news. Our son would have to have open heart surgery.
I am not going to sugarcoat it, I was devastated and very angry at God! “I prayed every day for a healthy child and THIS is what you gave me?” I was in a deep depression coupled with postpartum depression, not leaning on my husband and family and definitely not relying on God.
About 2 months later, my husband gave it to me straight. “God has never left us and he never will! Instead of focusing on what problems Gunner has, concentrate on what God has blessed him and us with.” I don’t like admitting that my husband is right (Ha! Just kidding!) but he was spot on! Too many times when something doesn’t go our way we immediately place blame on God instead of giving him his due.
God placed the right healthcare workers, family, friends, and even strangers in our life to guide us where we needed to be. I had to realize that no one could do this except God. To God be the glory for giving me way more grace and love than I deserved!
Fast forward to the heart of the matter, the surgery. He was only 7 months old the day he had open heart surgery. When I think about that day it truly seems like I dreamed it up, but it was all too real. I had to exercise my FULL faith in God because it was completely out of my hands. The hardest part was handing him over to the nurse to go into surgery. When I got back to the family room where my family and friends were waiting I fell into my sister’s lap, sobbing, “Why did I hand him over to her?” She simply said, “You handed him over to God. He’s got this now.” At that moment, a complete sense of calm came over my entire body. I had never felt that kind of peace before, but it was God’s complete peace to comfort me in my greatest time of need. Gunner was in surgery for 6 hours. Every hour, we got updates on how he was doing. The final call was, “It was a success! Come see your son!” Let me tell you, I basically RAN to see him. I hadn’t spent more than 1 hour away from him his entire life!
When I saw him I was extremely happy! The 5 days we were in the hospital I maintained a positive, happy attitude. Not only did I know Gunner would need that boost, but I realized that God was good and that everyday Gunner had after his surgery was a complete blessing. My husband told me later that my mom approached him in the hospital and asked, “Are you sure she is ok? She seems too calm for what she is going through.” This gave me a good chuckle because I am normally not a calm person. It goes to show that when you put your FULL faith in God, you begin to see what he can do for you!
So, here are a few things that I learned through this Journey of the Heart:
Be joyful! Keep a positive attitude. It is easy to be negative but choose to be happy in all things and it will be contagious.
Let God take control. He will take care of you! He knows you best so he will give you what you need and also what others cannot.
Have FULL faith in God. No matter the circumstance, always have faith that God will see you through it…because HE WILL.
Hello!I grew up in sunny Southern California and made my way out to Oklahoma where I attended college.I met my amazing husband there, and the rest is history!We have 3 spirited kiddos, 2 fluffy poodles, and we worship 1 amazing God!We are a homeschooling family and we currently are living the small town life in Newcastle, Oklahoma. I love crafting, writing, and decorating on a dime!
This is one such day for Kristie’s family. Fifteen years ago today, she was murdered. Although she got to run into the arms of Jesus and leave the difficulties of this life behind, her family was left to deal with the trauma and hurt that her sudden and tragic death brought.
The best ways to encourage a family on the anniversary of their loved one’s death is to:
celebrate their loved one’s life
share memories and not let the loved one’s memory fade.
In honor of Kristie and her love for our Lord and Savior, today we want to remember her and all the lives she touched.
The Book – Windchimes & Butterflies
“Following the brutal murder of her sister, Michelle shares her personal experiences in an attempt to help those riding the roller coaster of grief and loss. The story of a Christian family’s journey through the unthinkable, Windchimes and Butterflies is intended to bring hope and peace to the hurting, by delivering an up close and personal perspective from someone who knows what it’s like to cry out to God for answers.”
After reading this book, you will not only be encouraged by Kristie’s life but if your like me, you will have a better understanding of how to approach and love your friends through heart-wrenching times.
What are some ways you have found to be comforted
or comfort someone after a loss?
Enter now to win a FREE copy of Windchimes & Butterflies or purchase your copy here.