I received an unexpected card in the mail yesterday from a friend. This friend. I'm amazed by her. In the midst of caring for her three precious babes, she has been faithful to remember my miscarried babies and sought to encourage my mourning heart every year since she's known me.
She is the kind of friend every woman hopes to have.
She is the kind of friend I aspire to be.
She is God's grace in my life.
Her card arrived the day before Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day - a special day set aside for the purpose of drawing attention to the many babies who've been tragically lost in miscarriages and stillbirths.
On this special day, I remember two children: a tiny image-bearer who was only six weeks old in my womb when he or she died, and a daughter who was 15 weeks old when her spirit left this earth. Both of their lives were precious to me and their deaths were times of great darkness in my world.
But through that darkness - the sorrow that flows from such devastating manifestations of the fall - shone forth the light of Jesus' love. He carried me through each devastating loss, always pointing my wounded soul to the hope of a coming day when sin and death and suffering would be no more.
He was always helping me to see that beyond the cross, their is heaven.
Does not heaven become all the more real to you, once you've lost a child? Suddenly you find your heart tied to that unseen place in a way you've never known before. To imagine my dear little ones with the Savior - that all-loving, all-caring, all-kind Jesus! To imagine them without the burden of sin or sadness to distract them from his perfect love! It fills my heart with joy.
I'd like to share a poem with you today, dear sisters, which I briefly quote in my book, Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb. It is a poem by Elizabeth Prentiss, the author of the beloved book Stepping Heavenward. Elizabeth was no stranger to suffering the pain of losing a child as she shares in these powerful words, but she was also able to see the glorious realities of heaven beyond the pain. I pray that her words will bless your heart today if you are grieving the loss of a child of your own...
by Elizabeth Prentiss
As I have seen a mother bend
With aching, bleeding heart,
O'er lifeless limbs and lifeless face -
So have I had to part
With the sweet prattler at my knee,
the baby from my breast,
And on the lips so cold in death,
Such farewell kisses prest.
If I should live a thousand years
Time's hand cannot efface,
The features painted on my heart
Of each beloved face.
If I should bathe in endless seas
They could not wash away
The memory of these children's forms; -
How fresh it is to-day.
Ah, how my grief has taught my heart
To feel another's woe!
With what a sympathetic pang
I watch the tear-drops flow!
Dear Jesus! must Thou take our lambs,
Our cherished lambs away?
Thou hast so many, we so few -
Canst Thou not let them stay?
Must the round limbs we love so well,
Grow stiff and cold in death?
Must all our loveliest flowerets fall
Before his ice breath?
Nay Lord, but it is hard, is hard -
Oh give us faith to see,
That grief, not joy is best for us
Since it is sent by Thee.
And oh, by all our mortal pangs
hear Thou the mother's plea -
Be gracious to the darling ones
We've given back to Thee.
Let them not miss the mother's love,
The mother's fond caress;
Gather them to Thy gentle breast
In faithful tenderness.
Oh Lead them into pastures green,
And unto living springs;
Gather them in Thine arms, and shield
Beneath They blessed wings.
Ah, little reck we that we weep,
And wring our empty hands; -
Blessed, thrice blessed are infant feet,
That walk Immanuel's lands!
Blessed the souls that ne'er shall know
Of sin the mortal taint,
The hearts that ne'er shall swell with grief
Or utter a complaint!
Brief pangs for us, long joy for them!
Thy holy Name we bless,
We could not give them up to Thee,
Lord, if we loved them less!
I'd like to invite you to join me today at The Gospel Coalition where I'm sharing how the gospel relates to miscarriage. And as always, feel free to contact me if you are in the midst of a miscarriage. I'd love to pray for you and offer any encouragement that I can.