“This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” -Psalm 118:24
One year ago today, I woke up feeling like something terrible happened. Something was wrong. My worst fear was confirmed a few short hours later in an ultrasound room. I lay on the table, staring at the screen, taking in the picture of a perfectly formed little baby, only to hear the doctor say, “there’s no heartbeat.” And my world crashed.
I knew the anniversary of this sad day was coming, and I was preparing myself for the grief, the heartache, the anger. I can go there so easily, still a year later. I can go there so quickly, even with another amazing blessing in my arms. I can stay there so long in my own strength.
But we have choices. And while grief is a very real thing that does not need to be sped up, a time comes when we must learn to lead our emotions instead of letting our emotions lead us.
On October 8, 2013, we found out we would never hear our precious baby’s cries. On October 10, 2013, on my 32nd birthday, I delivered her in our home. I will never forget that day. I was able to see her fingers and her toes. And at just 13 weeks gestation, she was a perfect creation. I will never forget her. I will never forget the love mixed with pain that I experienced that evening. I was forever changed.
I remember telling my family that we were not celebrating my birthday…ever again. I remember getting angry that my favorite season of the year was riddled with so much pain, this loss and losses in the past. I remember thinking that I just wanted to be numb and pretend that nothing had ever happened. I really, truly wanted to be cool and aloof about the whole process. I mean, the baby was only a tiny little thing. We only knew about her for about 3 months. We had only heard her heartbeat once. We had only seen her on an ultrasound that day we discovered she was gone. But the truth is, once that line turns pink, there is a bond that forms that is strong. It’s called love. And what I learned in October 2013 is how strong love is.
Love is so strong that it can undo us in the blink of an eye. It can derail us overnight. It can cause us to be bonded to someone whom we’ve never met. It can affect the way we eat, sleep, and exist.
I could write on and on about miscarriage. I could go on and on about how it’s such a violation of a mother’s body, soul, and spirit. I could describe the stages of grief in light of losing such a small baby. I could tell you the ugly, awful details of my lowest points and the exhilarating moments when I felt His nearness.
The truth is, I am still grieving. I still wonder every day what that baby would have looked like, been like. I wonder how our family would have welcomed her. I wonder what she would have been destined for. I wonder why she was taken so early.
But I believe that this is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. I have learned that life is a gift. Every day is precious. And willing ourselves to dwell in joy rather sadness does not mean I love my precious baby any less. Since losing her, we’ve had other storms to navigate. Even now, today, we’re grieving something else in a very hard, real way.
We can live in grief. Life seems to bring hard times in waves. For us, it’s been like we’re on the shore during a violent, long storm. But I’ve learned we can sit on that shore and let the waves draw us in, carrying us away to somewhere unrecognizable. Or we can stand, hold each other up, and hold our ground.
This is the day the Lord has made. And though a year ago it was full of pain and confusion, and though it caused me spiritual, emotional, and physical anguish, today I will rejoice. I will be glad that He is sovereign. I will be glad that He, in his infinite wisdom, gives and takes away. I will be glad that He is near to the brokenhearted. I will be glad that He makes all things new, in His time. I will be glad that He is good. I will be glad in Him.
Though we have been blessed with a beautiful baby this past August, he didn’t “take away” the pain we feel. But he is a reminder that God is the author of life and that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. That though there is pain in the night, joy comes in the morning. That each season changes, and with it comes beautiful and terrible things. But His love never changes, our joy remains in Him, and He will never leave us or forsake us.
My heart is heavy today, but I choose joy. I choose to rejoice.
My son, Micah, named our precious baby last year. He chose Mia Joy. It means “my joy.” She is a reminder that my joy comes from Him, and only in Him will our joy be made complete. This world has nothing for us. But in Him our joy is made complete. One day I will see My Joy face to face. Until then, sweet baby, rest in Jesus’ arms.