Lonely Grief: Hanging onto God During a Miscarriage

“We have your results back, and your hCG level is less than one.”

To the average person, that sentence may not mean much. To me, it meant that the two babies I carried in my body for such a painfully brief time had died. My world stopped for a moment. I couldn’t catch my breath. I’m not sure how I finished the phone call with any kind of coherent words. Just like that, all the hopes and dreams that had been building for almost two years crashed to the ground.

For the third time, I began a walk down a very lonely and painful path of grief. These two babies joined two other siblings already in heaven, having gone there just days or weeks after conception. On this most recent journey, on the darkest days, my path went right up to the edge of an abyss of despair and sorrow that threatened to overwhelm me.

But God was there. He was there, and He never left my side, even on the days when I didn’t see Him or even believe that He cared. Slowly He ministered His balm of love and compassion to my wounds. He lifted my head and turned me around so I was no longer facing an abyss but able to once again see His caring hand.

It’s been eight months since that phone call and years since my first two miscarriages. I still have days when the grief threatens to overwhelm again. But God’s love and faithfulness has never wavered, and by His grace, I’ve been able to see some truths about miscarriage and how I can rest in His hands even through this pain.

Lonely But Never Alone

In the weeks and months that followed that devastating phone call, I walked down a path of grief and sorrow that, for the most part, was very lonely. A miscarriage is the loss of a fully human child—we know this from Scripture. In Psalm 139 we read:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them (vv. 13–16).

Because of the truth that a miscarriage is the death of a child, I grieved the loss deeply. But the loss was not a visible one. My husband and I saw my babies on an ultrasound screen and had pictures to prove it, but no one else ever saw them. It was so early that I hadn’t begun to show, hadn’t felt them kick and move. There was no visible evidence that anyone had been there, so there was no visible evidence that anyone was now gone.

After the initial expressions of sympathy and compassion, life quickly moved on for everyone else. After all, looking from the outside, nothing had changed. But for me, it felt like everything had changed. I had already prepared my heart and my life for those babies, and now I had to rearrange it all. At times it felt like no one else understood or cared how much I was hurting. It was my loss, deeper for me that it was even for my husband, and I felt so lonely.

But the truth is I was never alone. The God who promised, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” kept His promise. He showed me His presence in an encouraging text from a friend on a day when she didn’t even know how badly I was struggling, in a box of fun gifts for my kids that arrived in the mail just to brighten our day, in the same Scriptures that would show up in different places right when I needed those very truths, through music and books that preached a message I desperately needed to hear.

God carried me along that dark and lonely path. Sometimes my vision was so cloudy I began to fear that He had indeed forsaken me, but He never broke that promise. Sometimes He made His presence felt in ways I can’t describe with words, but I just knew He was there and holding me fast when I lacked the strength to cling tight to Him.

If you have suffered a miscarriage, maybe you feel lonely as I did. Maybe you are walking some other fiery path that leaves you feeling desperately alone. Beloved, you are not alone, no matter how dark it gets. Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

God proved true to me on my darkest days, and He will do the same for you. The path He lays for us is at times confusing, agonizing, and overwhelming, and if we had to walk it alone we would indeed be crushed. But He never removes His presence from us. He is there every step of the way. Take courage. Take heart. You are not walking alone.

A Life Fully Lived

During those days, I struggled hard with the notion that this was not the way it was supposed to happen. That phone call was supposed to reassure me that everything was all right, the babies were healthy and growing, and everything was going to turn out exactly as we had dreamed. It wasn’t supposed to end like this. When a baby or a young person dies, we often hear phrases like, “Gone too soon,” or “A life cut short.” And that’s exactly how I felt.

However, through time spent in the Word, especially in the passage quoted above, I began to understand that those phrases and my own thoughts were simply not true. Let’s look again at Psalm 139:16:

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.

As I meditated on this passage again and again in those days, I slowly began to realize that my babies’ lives were not cut short—they were complete. Oh, not complete in the sense I had wanted. I had wanted them to grow and be born and grace our lives with their joy. But their lives belong to God, not me. And they fulfilled every one of the days for which He had created them.

Without a firm belief in the sovereignty of God, my faith would have spiraled into an unraveling freefall. But the truth of His character held firm in the midst of my stubborn fist-shaking. He is in complete control. His plans are never foiled. And His plans are always for a good purpose. My babies’ lives weren’t wasted. They had a purpose. They accomplished something. I don’t know all of what they accomplished, but I know they have changed my life in significant ways.

Maybe you are grieving the loss of a life that seemed to end too soon. I get it. I understand—at least on a general level—how much you wanted more days, more time, to watch them grow or grow old with them. I desperately wanted to hold those babies and breathe in their fragrance and watch them take their first steps and walk down the aisle. But their lives were fully lived. Their purpose was fully fulfilled.

The story of their days that was written in His book ended exactly where He planned it would. That doesn’t take the hurt away, but it is a huge comfort to me to understand that their lives had purpose, short as they were.

Lamenting with Hope

Finally, even though we understand that their lives fulfilled the purpose God had for them, it doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t grieve the end of those lives. All death is the result of sin, and all death is worth lamenting. Not only was it not wrong for me to grieve the loss of my babies, but it would have been wrong not to grieve. They were created in the image of God. Their lives were fully human and full of the dignity and value instilled in them by God at their conception.

The loss of human life is a loss that demands lament. It is a devastating consequence of sin in the world, and something that all creation groans to see set right. In a country where abortion is available on demand and children are more devalued all the time, it can sometimes seem strange to others that we would grieve after a miscarriage. But for those who value life as God values it, we understand more fully what was lost. And so we grieve.

I want to say a quick word to those like me who have living children but have also experienced miscarriages. I have six children here with me and four now in heaven. I have never really spoken out about my miscarriages until now because I didn’t feel that I had the right. So many others have experienced infertility, miscarriage, failed adoptions, and have never been able to have children although they longed for them desperately. I had a houseful of children, so it didn’t seem right to speak out about the pain of losing my miscarried babies. And I would never want to be insensitive or claim to understand exactly what someone else is feeling when they long for what I have.

However, the fact that I have six living children doesn’t negate the pain and loss of losing my other four babies. The loss of my babies is a loss worth lamenting, whether I have living children or not. Moms, don’t be afraid or hesitant to grieve the loss of your miscarried babies or to express your sadness or pain to others. Your experience is different from someone who has never had children, but it is no less of a loss. It’s okay and right to grieve it.

We don’t grieve as those who have no hope, though. We know even while we’re still here groaning that it will be set right in the end. I eagerly anticipate the day when I will finally get to meet my four babies. And more than that, I eagerly anticipate the day when Christ finally makes all the sadness end. All the death, all the grief, all the sorrow, all the pain—He has promised to bring forth a day with no more tears.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

The more pain we experience here on earth the more we should long for that Day. And we look forward to it with hope, knowing that it will definitely come to pass. When that day comes, we’ll get to see the other side of the tapestry. All we see now are the knots and tangles on the underside, with no understanding of how any of these heartbreaks fit together into something even remotely good. But then He’ll turn the cloth over, and we’ll see the breathtakingly intricate picture of our lives and how every moment was used to do something beautiful in us.

Even while we’re grieving, we can have hope in His promises. He is doing something. None of this pain is wasted. He is working and creating and making gold out of the fire. And so we lament, but we lament with hope.

Moving Forward

My faith has never been tested as severely as it was after my miscarriage. Everything I had once said I believed, I now questioned. I had to go back to the very roots of my faith and see if the ground in which they were planted was indeed firm. There were days I longed to just give up. But Christ held me fast.

I didn’t remain in Christ in my own strength. He sustained me. He kept me. He pursued me. He showed me that to lose the babies I so desperately wanted is still a loss that does not compare with the gain of having Christ. I had to come again to a place of surrender. I had once told the Lord that I would follow Him whatever the cost. Now was the time when I came to the crossroads of actually living in the surrender I had promised.

It hasn’t been an easy process nor has it been a process of steady forward progress. There are still days when the grief comes out of nowhere and threatens to overwhelm me again.

Maybe you are experiencing something similar in your own grief journey. Let me leave you with the other passage of Scripture I have lived in over the past eight months, in the hopes that it may encourage your weary, aching soul.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. . . . So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:8–11, 16–18).

Don’t lose heart, grieving mother. You are hurting and sad and wasting away, but don’t lose heart. Your baby’s life had a purpose that was completely fulfilled. God is doing something through your baby and in your pain.

The glory that is now unseen and awaiting you will far outweigh the crushing pain you feel today, and it will last forever. Even though your body very literally carried death temporarily, the life of Jesus is manifested in you as He holds you fast in His hand. Rest in Him, beloved. He will prove faithful.

About the Author

Monica Hall

Monica Hall

Monica Hall is a pastor's wife and mom of six in West Kentucky. She spends her days homeschooling and chauffeuring her kiddos, dreaming up family road trips, and curling up with a good book. She loves talking with women, sharing … read more …

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