Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a joy.” – John Piper
Losing our children likely has brought many, if not all, of us closer to thinking about life after death, and with these thoughts, may come the questions, the wonder, the doubts, about God, or about who or what we believe to be in charge of the things we cannot control or even truly understand.
Jesus was born so that He could die. He did many wonderful things in His life, but ultimately, His birth – Christmas – was needed to lead to His death – Easter.
Many of us broken hearted families cry this same truth, don’t we?
Our babies were born! They should receive a birth certificate!
How do you feel about Christmas?
I confess to you that to”Prepare Him room” is something I struggle with.
Some Christians who visit stillbirthday feel uncomfortable because I don’t make things easy for them. Elective abortion is a very difficult subject. It is not a simple black and white issue. It is not “to do or not to do.” I have received feedback wishing I would show more condemnation toward mothers facing elective abortion. I will not.
Some stillbirthday visitors who are not Christian feel uncomfortable because I don’t make things easy for them. Because I validate that a pregnancy loss is still a birthday, they wonder if I also desire to condemn them. And because I am Christian, they believe, erroneously, that I assume all loss mothers are also Christian, or even that Christianity makes grief easier or that grief makes Christianity stronger. I do not.
Not only am I Christian, but it was the death of my child, the invalidation I received from people whom I cared about, the humiliation I received from medical providers, and then later the antagonism I received from people who defend things they have no business defending – things like the infallibility of home birth or the right to choose elective abortion (instead of defending real people, people who deserve to be defended) – my faith, my relationship with God has been enormously challenged.
Every single morning I wake up in the dark, and make a mental commitment to find a glimpse of light during my day.
I am blessed beyond comprehension – I know this. But no other joy replaces the darkness that I have a child who is not in need of a diaper change, does not want to watch Toy Story one more time, is not in need of snow boots, does not need mama to kiss an ouchie.
And as I am able to identify more and more joys in my life, I am challenged continuously not to be angry at those who mistakenly believe that my joy has replaced my grief, instead of becoming a shade – albeight a bright shade – within the grief. I am challenged to forgive those who know not the unspoken expectation I have of them to continue to validate my journey and speak affirmations and encouragement to me.
And I am challenged to meet God where I am, and let Him meet me.
Friends, I know God is there. But rather than enjoy the stillness, and invite Him to linger and breathe onto me, I hurry on to do other things. Still, with a bit of a grudge toward Him, I dash into tasks, conversations and work. I still read my Bible, but I’ve replaced this warm fellowship with the Omnipresent Creator with didactic study of scripture, of historical events and past decisions He has made. I read, and then I close the Book as I know He is reaching to caress me.
I haven’t been preparing Him room.
Whatever your faith is, whatever or whoever you believe is in control of the things we are not in control of, have you grown distant, or has your grief drawn you closer?
I do want to grow closer to my faith.
As I sort through my feelings and etch out the markings of my journey in healing, please know, that I am very aware that your etchings and your navigation will probably be different from mine, and that is OK. My explorations are not intended to invalidate yours. You can share yours here, too. It might be helpful to another bereaved mother.
We have ongoing contributions to our News Team where you can talk about anything from prayers to rituals to spirit readings to cultural practices in bereavement. Whatever it is that you find on your journey, you can share. If I want you to read my journey (which I do), then I want you to know that I want to read yours too.
Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a joy.
I take pause at this, and realize that my bereavement is hearkening me to truly embrace this truth, this need for indictment.
I need Christmas.
I need to engage with the one I know knows all things. I need to sacrifice my heart in this way, and speak to Him. I do long to be in His presence, fully, basking in the warmth of His understanding, forgiveness, safety and His love. Why do I push it away?
This winter, I am aware that I need to prepare Him room, and I bare witness to this struggle here, because I believe that you, whatever your faith, also are called to be present in the fullness of it.
Healing is a part of my parenthood experience, of parenting a miscarried baby. I have a right to this experience, and today, I prepare myself room for it.