It Is Well: Sin and Grief, Part 2

Through the Lord’s kindness toward me, I have been able to at least identify some areas of miscarriage-related sin in my life. They say that “the first step is to admit that you have a problem,” and it has proven true, in my case. I won’t say that I’m over it, or that I don’t struggle anymore, but being able to identify areas of sin has at least given me the ability to engage in the fight where I was previously too weak to try. I’ll share my main struggles here, hoping that the Lord would use this list to help you in your own battle.

One of my first reactions was to minimize the joy of others. I would try to pay less attention to peoples’ announcements, intentionally not think too much about their news, and purposefully not enter into their joy. I’d almost poo-poo it like it was no big deal. I was a poor sport — if other people had the one thing I wanted and didn’t have, then I tried to make it seem trivial and unworthy of desire. If I could make it not a big deal for them I could make myself believe that it wasn’t a big deal for me either, at least for long enough to get home and recognize that I had lost something very valuable and dear to me. It was sinful to not laugh with those who were laughing, and to minimize the blessing and value of new life.

Another common response was annoyance and anger. This was the progression of feelings, sometimes accompanied by thoughts: How dare they be so callous and joyful in front of me? Don’t they realize that there are people here who might have lost a baby or are dealing with infertility?? Why are they announcing so early? They could lose their baby next week!! I know they’re happy, but FIVE pictures on Facebook? Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean that you’re going to have this baby in a day or a year — where is your fear of mortality??? This was unjust anger and bitterness.

I also often felt jealousy, I’m ashamed to admit. This one is really nasty, when it pops up. For me, it wasn’t just the jealously of the baby itself, but jealousy of the attention other expectant parents were given for their pregnancy (even writing that out loud makes me embarrassed and ashamed). My inner dialogue often went something like this: “That should be me! They wouldn’t be getting so much attention if people knew that I had a miscarriage. We would have been due first, now everyone’s going to be sick of new babies by the time ours is born even if we try again right away!” You know, because people get sick of new babies, and everyone should be sure to talk about their suffering in order for people feel sorry for them and feel bad for being excited for other people’s joyful news.

Yuck. That’s all I have to say about that. There haven’t been very many times in my life where I’ve been as revolted by my sin as I have been through this whole process. But through the conviction of the Spirit, I have been reminded of my sin and strengthened to turn my back on it when it rears its ugly head. I don’t always win the battles, but I’m fighting, and feeling stronger in the fight. The refining fire is doing its job, I think.

I want to encourage you, if you’re struggling with sin: with every “Jesus, help me!” you’re calling on the power that created and sustains this world. Every nook and cranny of it, seen or unseen, is upheld by his strength. He is powerful enough to sustain you too. Trust the Lord to work for your good in both your suffering and in your sin-fighting. When do you appreciate a safety net? When you’re falling. When do you appreciate strength? When you’re weak. When do you appreciate healing? When you’ve been sick. You won’t know God’s wonderful provision for fighting sin if you wallow. So don’t stay in your sin — fight it, and find the smiling face in the frowning providence. It’s worth it.

“God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines of never-failing skill, He treasures up His bright designs, and works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, the clouds ye so much dread, are big with mercy, and shall break In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan his work in vain; God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.”
-William Cowper-

What Happens When I Can’t Write?

By means of updates, here is a list of everything that I’m thinking about in no specific order. (I tried writing a real post and can’t, so this is what you get)

  • This weekend was wonderful. It was our first weekend home after London, and man. It. Was. Awesome. On Saturday we went out to breakfast and then used a gift card I got for Christmas to buy the last pieces I needed to complete the decor in one room of the house. We then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging the pictures and finish the project. What immense satisfaction comes from finishing a project that’s been looming over your head for months!
  • On Sunday, attending the evening service means that we get to have the morning to sleep in, and the afternoon to putz away. So we did. We slept in. We bought coffee. I started a book, and I finished it after long hours in sweatpants on the recliner, wrapped in a blanket. Oh what satisfaction comes from starting and finishing a book (a murder mystery no less) all in one day.
  • Reading. What a wonderful thing reading is. Over vacation I read two books, and started a third. And since we’ve been back we’ve finished The Hobbit and I’ve finished my book for book club this month. Having time to read so much on vacation and over break makes me wish that I was better at reading in “real” life. Reading makes for better writers, and I think is just beneficial for thinking in general. Ideas are powerful things. If you need proof, just watch Inception 🙂  But really, reading is, I think, the best way to expose yourself to ideas.
  • Housekeeping. I have a renewed interest in developing housekeeping as a skill, not as a chore. I’m going to try to keep my house better.
  • Personality types. On the Myers-Briggs tests I’m an INTP, a.k.a. the “absent-minded professor.” Am I surprised? No. At least not about the “absent-minded” part. It’s amazing how dead-on those things are sometimes.
  • House projects. Chair cushions, painting, decor, curtains, cupboard organization, making sure there’s enough salt on the back steps… There’s just so much to do, I could use another week off.
  • Jury Duty. I’m technically on jury duty this week and next. I got call-in status so I just have to call in twice a day to be told if I need to go in or not. A bit stressful, but this way I can keep working until I’m needed. After two weeks of vacation I should probably buckle down and do some work if I have to, I guess.

Well, that’s enough for now. There’s so much more in this brain right now it’s hard to wrap this up, honestly. Thanks for dealing with my madness.