Into the valley

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

For you are with me.

Psalm 23:4a

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18

Walk with me in the valley awhile.

We’re not in the sunshine, but we know sunshine waits ahead.  We’re not happy, but we know happiness waits ahead.  We don’t know how long we will walk in shadow, or what will come of persevering through it, but we cling to hope because there’s nothing else to cling to down here. 

I’m here in the valley because my baby died.  I had been pregnant for seven weeks.  Then, out of nowhere, we had to say goodbye. 

Still want to walk with me?

My first baby will never be born, but something else will.  On the horizon, I see new empathy, new compassion, new respect for the preciousness of life, new love for Heaven, new and vast understanding of the faithfulness of God.  I see deeper friendships and fearless vulnerability.  I see other women comforted and strengthened by my story.  Granted, my story of loss is one small example among more stories of loss than I ever knew.  But loss is loss, and joy is joy.  I’ll have to walk through this valley to get to that joy, but I already see it coming.  Our God makes all things new, even me, even now.  The process is excruciating.  The reward will be infinite.

I am both anxious and honored to share with those of you willing to walk through the valley with me.  I’d prefer to fade into the background, process it on my own.  But I could not have weathered this loss without the bravery of the couples who shared their own stories of loss openly.  Since I experienced pregnancy loss, I have been shocked at how many other stories are out there, some more painful than I can imagine.  It’s so common, but no one prepares you for it.  In fact, many women are deceived by a world that claims the loss of an unborn child isn’t a loss at all; it doesn’t matter and shouldn’t bother them.  Unbelievable, and such a confusing, dangerous lie.  This is why I know our loss must be shared for the education and encouragement of others who have or will experience something similar.  Let me be clear: regardless of how a child has been lost, there is no condemnation here.  Please, receive my story only as a gift to aid your healing.

The sharing of suffering is a holy task.  Ironically, open suffering provides an unmatched opportunity to display the goodness of God, because we “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).  Hope sets Christians apart and testifies to the Giver of that hope.  My plan is to share pieces of my journey in a measure of real time, before we know “how it all turns out,” so to speak.  That way, you know there’s only one source of my hope, and it’s not hindsight.  It’s God.  My next post will tell you our story of pregnancy loss, and after that, we will process through life after loss together.  Join me as I grieve, question, grow.  And then, celebrate with me!  I am so convinced that God will prove His faithfulness, His goodness, and His love in such an amazing way in my life that I feel confident setting the stage to share that joy with you. 

We all move through seasons in the valley and seasons in the sun.  Those of you who believe with me, please pray that I can walk through my valley with dignity and grace.  Those of you who don’t want to read sad things at the moment, skip these entries.  This is for others, especially women, facing “trials of many kinds” (James 1:2), who need to know that someone out there understands at least a little of what they are going through.  May God lift you up and grant you comfort, hope, and joy as you watch this little life unfold.