My husband and I have six children, only three of whom share our dinner table. We have miscarriage to thank for the empty chairs. Nothing in my life has made me feel more lonely, defeated, and disoriented. Nothing has made me long for heaven more.
When I shared openly online after my first miscarriage, I was dumbfounded by the messages that followed from friends, acquaintances, and readers. The volume was astounding. But so was the hush. It seemed this secret grief was just waiting for permission to be shared if only someone would go first.
Since 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, it’s a wonder this isn’t a more normal part of our conversation surrounding motherhood and marriage.
(Let’s not forget this impacts our husbands, too.) It’s a deeply personal loss, yes, but from what I’ve observed the silence can become a breeding ground for shame, stigma, and isolation.
When a couple is grieving, they need to know they aren’t alone. They need to know Jesus is near. They need to know it hurts because it matters.
Social media is beginning to change the landscape of how we deal with grief, but we’re still forging a cultural blueprint for how to handle our grief “out loud,” especially when it comes to what psychologists term disenfranchised grief resulting from miscarriage or other forms of loss that are more abstract and difficult to understand (infertility, suicide, mental illness, dementia, and so forth). Talking openly is all so new.
Grieving With Hope
Everyone grieves. But not everyone grieves with hope and this makes all the difference. I’m convinced we need two things in order to grieve with hope: the presence and promise of Jesus and the loving support of community. The two are intertwined. When community fails us it can feel like God is failing us, too. But when community holds us it becomes easier to feel the loving embrace of God. We were never meant to separate Christ from his Body.
I wonder what your story is? Perhaps your grief is fresh you’re reeling from the blow of a recent miscarriage. Maybe you’ve long ago buried a secret grief but something is probing you to lean into the pain again. Or maybe you’ve never experienced this type of loss but you love someone who has.
Or perhaps miscarriage hasn’t touched your life but you’re familiar with other types of loss: a diagnosis, a relational breakdown, a job loss, a financial disaster, the death of a loved one, the loss of a home or a dream, a parent slipping into dementia. Whatever vantage point you read from, you likely know what it is to suffer loss, pain, and heartache. We all do. Suffering is the great equalizer and it doesn’t play favorites.
The Deep Dive
I discovered something in the early days after my first miscarriage when grief came pounding with incredible force: If I didn’t dive deep, the waves of grief would pummel me. In surfing, this is called a “duck dive.” The apostle Paul calls it being “hidden with Christ” (Colossians 3:3).
I call it survival.
As I began to deep dive after losing our baby, Scarlett Grace, I discovered this was more than survival. It was an invitation: Would I find Jesus in the deep?
Scarlett—our pain—can lead to grace: God’s grace to hold and to heal and the loving grace released through community as they enter into our pain and love us through it. Will we open our hearts to acknowledge our need and receive the grace that’s offered?
So if this is you today—you’re staring at sorrow, wondering how to keep afloat—let me encourage you: Dive deep. Dive in. Find Jesus under the waves.
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Grief is wild like the sea, but it doesn’t need to destroy us. We can’t conquer it, but we can navigate it and find Jesus there, too.
The Ministry of Presence
And if this isn’t you let me encourage you, too: Look for an opportunity to offer the ministry of presence. The ministry of casseroles and homemade cookies left on the doorstep. The ministry of a thoughtful text or handwritten card. The ministry of a sensitive book sent through the mail or the squeeze of a hand during church. God has promised to draw near to your friend in her broken-heartedness (Ps 34:18) but she needs to feel it through you, too.
We have so much hope.
For further reflection:
- Lamentations 3:20-24
- Romans 8:35, 38
- Isaiah 43:2
- Psalm 73:26
- Revelation 21:4-5a
- Hebrews 4:16
*My heart has long been crying out for a book like this and Grace Like Scarlett is a beautiful answer to that prayer. Adriel Booker offers such clear, comforting, and compassionate words to the woman who is walking through deep loss. Not only will she find hope and consolation in these pages, it will feel like she’s found an understanding friend. I highly recommend this powerful and practical resource for anyone who is experiencing the lonely grief of miscarriage.
~ Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women.com
Grace Like Scarlett by Adriel Booker is a beautiful new release and available—>HERE
Parts of this post was adapted from Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss by Adriel Booker with permission from Baker Publishing Group.
Adriel Booker has served in global missions as a speaker, writer, advocate, and mentor for nearly two decades and has just released her first book, Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss. She leads The Love A Mama Collective, a movement of women empowering women through safe birth initiatives in the developing world, and a community of storytellers around grief and hope at Our Scarlett Stories. Together with her husband, Adriel co-leads an inner city YWAM community in the heart of Sydney, Australia as they discover the deep joy of living in a city by the sea. Through her blog, www.adrielbooker.com, Adriel explores topics related to faith and everyday spirituality, family and parenting, motherhood, missions, and global women’s issues. Connect with Adriel on your favorite social media channel at @adrielbooker.