Finding Hope after Losing a Child: 3 Ways God used to Bring Beauty from Ashes
Updated: Oct 18, 2019
Typing... Deleting... Typing... Deleting... Typing the hardest article I’ve ever written. God has healed me, but this has opened the door for me to remember very difficult moments, and it’s still hard to talk about it. However, even though I don’t understand why, I know that God has a purpose for all of this and that He called us to share our story.
And what’s our story? I’ll summarize it as pregnancy, loss, pregnancy, loss, pregnancy, three surgeries, rainbow baby, pregnancy, two surgeries, and baby. It’s been a long journey.
The first time wasn’t the hardest one even though I was alone (dear husband was on a business trip). This is when the lack of knowledge and experience is your friend because you have no idea what’s coming next. This time I drove myself to the hospital and was admitted to the maternity care unit. I was in pain and knew that something wasn’t right, but I was hopeful – praying throughout the night.
Then the unexpected happened. Nurses running around and desperately calling the OB while they were telling me to “hold on”. I was clueless, but then it happened, and I was no longer pregnant. I couldn’t make sense of what was happening. I just thought it was too early – just my second trimester. Then it was all over and I was transferred to recovery, and it was awful there. Babies all around me, but just not mine. I cried until I felt I was crying but no tears were coming out. Then I had to call my husband and explain what just happened. I couldn’t even talk.
And again, fast forward to the second time – the worst one. This time I wasn’t alone, but that made things more difficult for me. Isn’t that ironic? This time I didn’t receive proper care at the hospital. This time I was having the same symptoms I had the first time, but I wasn’t clueless anymore. This time my husband stood by me all the time, and he was the one praying without ceasing. This time he was hopeful... but I was hopeless.
I was feeling all the things I felt the first time so I didn’t even want to get my hopes up. I was too afraid, so I just gave up. “This is the last time and I will not go through this again”, I thought. Then, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, we lost our second baby.
Then back to our lives. Everything else was the same for the most part, but we had a huge hole in our hearts. People could tell that something was going on, but I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t even want to leave the house because I “wanted to analyze” what has just happened. How could I have avoided this? Did I do something wrong? Was I not taking good care of myself? I felt guilty, I was miserable and focused on myself. There was just pain and I felt as if walking covered in ashes – not just my head but my whole body.
Ashes – the remains left after the burning of a substance. Also, a symbol of grief. My thoughts exactly. The experiences were already in the past, but the remains were present every day. And I even wanted to keep walking with my head full of ashes because I didn’t want to forget our babies.
The slow turnaround: 3 ways God used to bring beauty from ashes
As I kept looking for answers, one thing was certain: I wasn’t going to find one that would satisfy me. The truth is that we live in a broken world where we’ll face many troubles. But God was, is, and will always be in the midst of all. It was hard for me to recognize it at first, but He has always been here.
And He provided ways and resources for us to find healing:
#1. Godly friends
We don’t have family here in South Florida so friends take on a very important role. The few people that knew about our situation were all very supportive, but we were able to also find comfort from a couple God brought to our lives.
This couple provided support, comfort, and love with subtle acts that reminded us that they were there for us. They gave us what I consider to be the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received – they left a box at our front door with everything we could need and more (what I called our survival kit during that time, which included tissues, coffee mugs, calming tea, among other things). This couple would also send messages and call to see how we were doing. And something that I greatly appreciated, they would not say the typical “it’s all right” and “everything will be OK”. They encouraged us with God’s Word, we cried together, and we prayed together. They were there when things were not OK, and they didn’t try to minimize our pain. They were just there for us.
Watch this video for a Dad's perspective
#2. [Books] Learning together from the experiences of other parents
Dear husband searched for this type of resource and got a book after our first loss, and then a different book after the second loss. Even though the books were about circumstances different to ours, the key topic was about losing a child and how to overcome the pain by drawing near to God... even when your faith has been shaken.
But aside from the books being great resources, the key here is to do it together (in unity) as a couple. Every single night we would read a chapter together – and by reading, I mean that my husband will always read to me because at first, I didn’t even want to read “those” types of books. Dear husband was very kind and patient, and always giving the extra mile while also dealing with an aching heart.
Then, after reading a chapter, we would discuss it: their situation, our situation, and what God was doing in and through them. So, these books were not only helpful but reading together made our relationship stronger and it helped us draw near to God.
*Books we read:
This was something I fought with for several years because God has already revealed this to my husband, but I just didn’t want to do it. Even though I was healing, I still didn’t want to talk about this topic. I can count on my fingers the number of people with whom I’ve talked about what happened to us, and I still haven’t shared all the details with everybody.
However, for some reason (I thought), several women that went through similar experiences started talking to me about it. So, I decided to obey God and that led to different things: being able to open up to others and launching the Untrendy Parent Club together with my husband.
We now see our babies as eternal beings, and our purpose is to instill a biblical worldview in them.
And what does the Untrendy Parent Club have to do with this? It was through those experiences that we developed a new perspective – we now see our babies as eternal beings, and our purpose is to instill a biblical worldview in them. We also want to support, encourage, and provide other Christian parents with tools and resources to help them teach their children how to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”, as Deuteronomy 6: 5-7 commands.
The Untrendy Parent Club is our microphone. We’ve been blessed by powerful testimonies others have shared, and I now understand that we must do the same because the God of hope made us for a purpose. The purpose of our suffering is to help others see that God will trade beauty for ashes. It might not be in this lifetime, but that’s why we now strive to live with eternity in mind.
Isaiah 61: 1-3
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.