Doubt

Finding God in Your Miscarriage

By Brittany Rust

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These words are the most vulnerable I’ve ever penned; I’m going where I’ve never gone before. I share with you from a place of loss and heartache, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. And the reason I share this deeply personal experience with you is that I’ve watched God use words through me that were most powerful when shared from the battlefield. The most tender words of encouragement have always come from a place of my greatest struggles.

Today, I share about miscarriage; a loss experienced by so many. This past week—in the middle of Baby Loss Awareness Month—I lost my precious baby. A life I had the honor and joy to carry within me for nine wonderful weeks before he or she passed on to be with the Father. And while I know my baby is gone from that little raspberry sized fetus, he or she still sits in my womb, waiting to pass from my body. So what was once life is now death within me; I mourn with a depth of grief I’ve never known. I cling to the little one inside of me and dread the day (in the near future) he or she passes and I scoop the little body up for burial. I don’t want to let go of my baby. However, although always within my heart, I’ll have to let go and leave a piece of me with that little one. Forever a fraction of my heart no longer there until we meet in Heaven.

I really struggled to share this for so many reasons: I felt shame, I didn’t want people to feel bad for me, and I wondered what others would think for being so vulnerable about a loss. But writing has always been the best form of process for me and I know—I just know—God wants to use this to help other mama’s out there experiencing loss not feel so alone. Because you do feel so alone.

Honestly, I was so shocked to find out we had lost our second child. With Roman, I constantly feared miscarriage but he was always so healthy and the pregnancy complication free that with this pregnancy, I had no worries. My body had done it before and why not again? However, my body did fail me.

He or she was coming unexpectedly during one of the hardest seasons for my husband and me, and it was such a blessing of hope in discouraging times. Two days ago, I went into a hospital room for a dating ultrasound and sat in silence while the tech took measurements. She said nothing and then shut off the machine and told me I was good to go. This couldn’t be it, I thought! So, I asked how far along my baby was and she said I measured at 8 weeks and 6 days. Then, the next day, I received that dreaded phone call from my midwife that there was no heartbeat. I was in the car, on my way to work, and I let out a sob never uttered before. And now I grieve, knowing there is still waiting until this little one passes from my body. I know I’ll never quite be the same because I still love him or her; my baby is wanted and loved.

As I sat on the couch after hearing the news, I spent a lot of time grieving and talking to my belly. Sure, I knew he or she couldn’t hear me but I just had to speak words of endearment over my little love. I had to tell my baby all the things I would ever want to say to a child of mine.

Then, anger set in. Doubt in His goodness came crashing in like a tidal wave. How could this happen? As if this season wasn’t already the hardest season I’ve ever been through—when I thought it couldn’t get worse—I lost a child. Why?

I yelled, I questioned, I called into doubt His goodness. I struggled to see how this could be good. I began thinking about the announcement photo session we had planned; the list of baby items I’d already started compiling; the maternity bin I had pulled out; the preganancy journey I had just received in the mail and was eager to fill out; they were now empty memories of hope deferred. Scripture says hope deferred makes the heart  sick, and I feel grievously sick.

If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, you likely know how I feel and have asked the same questions. Had the same doubts. Questioned how to find God’s goodness in the darkness. Here’s what I can find in Scripture and what’s helped encourage me these last few days.

1. God is still good.

A dear friend of mine told me yesterday, as I shared my grief with her, that God doesn’t speak in negative terms. That all the hardship I’m going through, and the loss of this baby, isn’t His will or doing. It’s the consequence of sin and works of the enemy, but it’s not God pulling these strings of destruction. But He is there, in the good. He is watching, moving, and waiting with arms wide open, ready to comfort. Although in dark times we often want to pull away from Him, it’s in these trying times we must press in even harder. Pressing in is where we find Him and hear His voice. His goodness. Because God is good and does work all things for good, even if we can’t see it.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
— Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)

Mama, believe me, I know it’s hard to see how good can come from your loss. Who knows why your baby passed on but God? Perhaps there was something wrong; some part of the body didn’t form correctly. Whatever the case may be, you still get to be the mom to that beautiful child. And there is good to be found somewhere—your child’s life brought joy to this world.

2. Jesus mourns with you—you are not alone.

The first verse I thought of as I mourned was John 11:35,

Jesus wept.

All my mind could recall in the grief is that he wept. That he weeps with me. It’s the shortest verse in the Bible but within its two words are some of the most compassionate you’ll read in Scripture. Jesus knew Lazarus was gone but he also knew his dear friend was about to be brought back to life. So why weep?

Perhaps it was the grief he saw those he loved experiencing. Many mourned the loss of Lazarus and Jesus knew the depths of those wells of grief many were experiencing. He felt the loss that those around him were feeling—he was feeling all the pain. He himself loved Lazarus and although life was ahead, the cost of death was still very real. Which brings the second thought as to why he may have been weeping—the cost of sin. Sin brings death and almost everyone Jesus loves had or would experience death.

In our grief, we are not alone. In our mourning, we share in it with another. Jesus wept for Lazarus but he also weeps along with us in our grief. He mourns with those who mourn because although he knows hope is ahead and death has been conquered, grief is still part of our journey on earth. That death is real, even if temporary. And that in that journey we go through depths of anguish and loss that rip at the soul. But he feels it too. Every ounce of pain is taken in and felt by him.

3. Ask the right question.

We want to ask, “Why God” in the hardship. We want to question Him and His goodness. But this is the wrong question—the one that leads us astray. Instead, the question to ask is:

God, what can I learn about you, about myself, and about life as a result of this season?

There is so much treasure to be found in our trials and tribulations. It’s the storms that forge a more authentic and mature version of ourselves, and where we find God most intimately. Instead of pulling away and doubting, press in and ask the hard question. Uncover the value that can only be found right here, right now. What can you learn about His character? What can you learn about yourself? And what nugget of wisdom regarding a flourishing life can be found in this loss? Don’t waste your anguish—use it to forge a closer relationship with God, a better you, and a more fruitful life.

4. There is hope in the darkness.

The only real comfort I have found in this grief is knowing that my baby is with Jesus. That he or she will never have to know loss, pain, cold, grief, disappointment, or sorrow. That all their soul will ever know is joy and the presence of God. And although I won’t be able to embrace this beautiful soul now, one day I will. Our meeting is only delayed; not robbed.

If you have experienced the loss of a child, dear friend, let me say I’m so sorry. I know how it feels to lose a part of yourself with that precious one. How grief penetrates within your soul to a depth never reached before. How you feel you might never be the same. How you’ve questioned and doubted.

Please know, although the darkness is overwhelming, there is light. There are goodness and hope to be found. There is a beautiful and loving God Who wants to scoop you up into His strong arms and hold you close.

** If you’ve experienced loss and are looking for connection in your grief, we have created a group on our Facebook page for mother’s who have experienced a miscarriage to find community. Share you story, let’s remember the life of your little one, and be heard in your grief. We are a sisterhood who mourns with those who mourn. You can find our Facebook page here and simply click on “Community.”


Mama Bear in Warfare

 By Brittany Rust

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I’ve never been under spiritual warfare when it comes to health. Let alone, that on top of a mountain of battles. And boy, when the body is weak time and again, it seems the spirit can become weak as well if not diligent.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to share this weekend because I’ve felt so beat down. I wasn’t sure if I had anything to give. But then, why not speak from my battlefield. Spiritual warfare is so very real for all of us so let’s go there. And honestly, looking at the last several posts I can’t help but see God is wanting to speak intimately to some weary moms out there. 

I’m going through one of the hardest seasons I’ve ever been through. It started about fifteen months ago and about a month ago, I thought it would get easier. Instead, it got harder. WAY harder. The kind of hard that beats down with one thing after another. The kind that attacks all areas of your life and family. The kind that hits so hard you want to tap out. 

Right now, I’m sitting in bed, barely getting this out, alone. I’ve moved states but my husband is still back in Colorado for the time being. I’m without my partner and best friend, working full time and taking care of our little guy. All the things I assumed would come so easy because “God is in this” aren’t coming so easy and I’m doubting. We’ve been in urgent care two out of our three weekends here because with Roman it’s been one thing after another. Then I got sick this week. Like, so sick I haven’t been this sick maybe ever. And then tonight, as if our health wasn’t being attacked enough, Roman got pink eye...again. 

As a mom, I see my little man suffer and mama bear comes out. I want to fiercely protect him—to make him better. But I can’t. All I can do is help him along the best I can. 

Here’s how I’ve been feeling this week: I can take a long, spiritual battle. I’ve done it before. But my kid—not so easy. My perseverance is limited and my patience thin. Mama bear doesn’t like waiting for the storm to pass for her little guy who can’t kick sickness and misses his dad like crazy. I feel helpless. I feel guilty.

I’ve been pretty upset with Him this week. I’ve questioned and doubted. I told my friend this week, “I assumed it would be an easy transition because I thought God was in it. But it’s been so hard and now I’m questioning everything. Does this mean God isn’t in it?” 

She encouraged me so well (thank goodness for sisterhood, right?!). She said,

”Because it isn’t going easy does not mean God isn’t in it. It means things like that are just hard. Peace does not always come in the journey because journeys are a struggle with ups and downs. Peace will come later. Kinda when you go on a hike and it’s hard but when you are done it’s that moment you take a breath.”

She’s right—the right path isn’t always going to be easy; life is just hard sometimes. And then I was reminded, also this week, that God uses hard times to call out our perseverance. It’s something I’m struggling to have as a mom but that doesn’t mean I get a “get out of jail free” card because my kid is involved. Perseverance just needs to go to a whole other level! 

What I’m trying to say is this: Spiritual warfare will happen. And when it effects your kids, it will poke the mama bear within and perhaps cause you to fight or flight. But what if God just wants you to stick close and keep going? One foot in front of the other, wearily trudging ahead. 

Stand firm and keep fighting the battle, mama. Don’t lose hope. Keep the faith. Choose to endure. 

Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
— Hebrews 6:18-19

How do you and I keep our head above water until relief comes? Flee towards Jesus. Have confidence in Him, not the surroundings. Trust the anchor to hold until the storm passes. We aren’t guaranteed an easy, breezy life. But we are promised a steady Savior in the midst of our chaos and uncertainty. Are you anchored by Him? Tethered to his unwavering love and care for you? He won’t leave you alone in the storm. His door of hope is just ahead. Don’t give up, friend. This too shall pass.


The Bone-Dried Mama

By Shannon Toller (Guest Mom Blogger)

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I feel God calling me to talk to you about mommin' today. After all, I am a mommy blogger. I should be talkin' about mommin' on a regular basis. But, here I am, trying to spread the Gospel through my writing and my little mommy blog, and I am forgetting about the most important ministry in my life: the one I created myself.

Today, I need to remind myself that I am doing God's work. Because at this very moment, I'm juggling two crying (one colicky, one teething) babies. Derryn is at my grandma's for the day, because some days, juggling three kids makes me feel like the mad elephant in the circus. I get angry, and I yell. I turn Hulk-green and this Proverbs 31 mama turns into Tupac real quick. Motherhood has tested me and stretched me, in more ways than one. It has brought me some of my deepest and truest joys but has also dealt me some horrible awful along with it. I had PPD (Post-Partum Depression) with all of my ladies, and every time got worse and worse. Some days, I find myself asking God (sometimes cursing God), "why did You think I could do this? Why did You give me three girls who are carbon copies of me, and not all of those copies are good? Shouldn't you have fixed me before You made me a mama?"

The answer to that last question is where we are going to camp. NO, God didn't need to "fix me" prior to becoming a mama. And God didn't need to "fix you" before you became a mama. Fix is a relative term, anyway. Fix implies that something is broken. Fix implies that you need to make whatever it is that is broken, better. Maybe sometimes to "fix something" is to replace something; get a brand spankin' new version of something that is still working and still kicking. But, let what I am about to tell you sink in: apart from God, ALL OF US are broken, yet completely irreplaceable, in His eyes.

We will stumble and fall in this life. Jesus promises us this. But, we will stumble and fall a lot less with Jesus by our side. He will be there to carry us when we can't take another step. He will come alongside us and be our strength. He will shield us from the enemy and keep us safe in His arms. Apart from Him, we can do nothing, y'all. Absolutely nothing. But with Him, oh! Think of what we can do with Him. Think of all of the things He yearns to do with you!

Jesus longs to help you with the dishes. He wants us to sing songs of praise to Him while giving the kids bubble baths. He craves the laughter that we draw out when we get on the floor and play with our kiddos. He loves us and rejoices in what we rejoice in. And He created each of us, completely different from one another, yet alike in so many ways. I'm sure I'm not the only mama who hides in her bathroom. (Can I get an amen?!) I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders if I'm doing a "good enough" job. I'm entirely sure that I am not the only mama in the world who goes for weeks on empty, while the rest of the household coasts on full. We pour into our husbands, into our babies, into our homes. Sometimes, most times for me, we are pouring from a bone-dry cup. How convenient that our Savior is Living Water. Are you thirsty? Come and drink and never thirst again, He says. Free refills from our Fearless Leader: can't beat that.

Mama, I see you. I see you in your struggle. I see you raising up little arrows in your quiver. I honor you and pray for you daily. Think back to that life-changing day when you locked eyes with your sweet babe for the first time. Think of how your heart grew exponentially in that moment. Give God the glory for your babies, and praise Him with your babies too. Help them to know Whose they are, and more importantly, let them see where you get your strength from. Fill their cups with the Living Water that overflows from your cup. Your work is not done in vain; Jesus sees you and He loves you.

I do, too.

Giving Grace to the Gap of Uncontrollable Circumstances

By Joy O’Neal

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Mamas, we have mastered the art of giving. We give our time, energy and body to our family. There is one person we often forget though and that’s the beautiful yet tired face that stares us back in the mirror each morning. Today, lets talk about giving ourselves something and I’m not talking about getting your nails done, getting a massage or scheduling a much needed night out; although I am a lover of all these things. I am talking about giving yourself grace! Grace to the gap of uncontrollable circumstances.

As mothers, grace is often forgotten amidst the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, mounds of homework, sibling meltdowns, toddler tantrums and empty milk jug corners, can I get an amen? Moms often construct the perfect picture of the Joanna Gaines meets Mrs. Walton moments and find ourselves confused on how they ended up looking more like Rosanne meets Peggy Bundy!

I remember when my two oldest were under the age of three, I painted a perfect picture for Mother’s Day. Sunday after church my husband, kids and I would have a perfect picnic on the beach.  I started prepping the food on Saturday, put all the beach toys and umbrella in the car. It was going to go off without a hitch! I would sit on the sand, eat my grapes and look at my cute little babies and sweet husband and feel so celebrated. When church was over my husband mentioned that a storm was coming. Oh, No! Not on my perfect day! I told him it would be fine and we should keep things as planned. When we arrived at the beach the wind picked up and again my husband suggested that maybe going out for some fresh seafood was the better plan. Again, I blew off his suggestion and recommended that sitting in the car a few minutes was all we needed. The storm stayed! Finally, I decided that maybe the wind wouldn’t be so bad once we walked over the dunes and closer to the water. My husband started to gather all of the wonderful things I packed for my perfect day. One thing that’s dangerous about preparing for an entire day is it allows an entire day worth of “maybe we should bring ______?” thoughts! I can still see my husband walking through the thick sand carrying a blanket, two chairs, a bag full of toys and ALL while pulling a giant cooler full of food. Once we got onto the beach and set everything up our children began to scream because the wind blew the sand like tiny pellets from Hell all over them and our food. We packed everything up, trekked back to the car and my Mother’s Day was a complete fail.

My plans were shot! The uncontrollable circumstances where there but where was the grace? Nothing had gone as planned and my day was wrecked!

Now it’s a funny memory but what about the mom moments that aren’t so funny? The ones that keep us up at night—the ones we replay over and over, fishing for how we could change the outcome?

When my youngest was sick for the first time (that she could remember) she laid on the floor and rolled back and forth moaning, “UGH, I didn’t see this day coming!” As to say, had I known I’d been better prepared? Isn’t that all of us? Life throws us curveballs and instead of giving grace to the gap of uncontrollable circumstances we force the picnic against the storm or roll around on the floor wishing we’d known it was coming so we could be better prepared.

I am so thankful that in spite of ourselves we have a God that weathers all storms and DOES hold each day in His loving hands.  

Over the last year the phase “Give grace to the gap” has become a bit of a personal tagline. God continually places me inside beautiful collisions that teach me the importance of giving grace to the gap and allowing provision to catch up to the promises He’s spoken over my life.

As a pastors daughter, growing up in church I knew the ending to every story. I knew Rehab and her family were spared, Daniel left untouched, the grave left empty and Jonah’s story didn’t end in the belly of a fish. These spoiler alert moments created a desensitized revelation that clouded an overwhelming truth!  Each one of these people had zero clue around their future while they were living in the gap yet their words of faith send my soul swimming in the goodness of God and the beauty of living as a true grace giver inside of the gap of uncontrollable circumstances.

Particularly Jonahs Prayer in Jonah 2:1-9, I listen as Jonah cries out in the depths with praise and certainty that his God will rescue and redeem him. Now that’s a grace giver! The bold declaration of an almost certain faith that his God is already at work in delivering him and in spite of it all he would praise the God he loved so well.

So as moms, what does giving grace to the gap of uncontrollable circumstances look like?

We all have patterns of fighting uncontrollable circumstances. For me, these battles always had signs of my combative approach that were undeniably byproducts of my lack of trust and grace giving.

A life lived without giving grace to ourselves looks a lot like worry, doubt, frustration and weariness. So what does giving grace to the gaps look like?  While looking back during times when I was able to give grace to the gap I found some familiar actions that I know are responsible for a positive outcome. Something I now call the 4S approach: Speak, Seek, Sing and Stand.

Thumbing through my journal I can see how I allowed women of faith to speak into my life.  I also found that I had a hunger to seek counsel.  Additionally, there was a pattern of praise, personal laments to a God who hears my cry. Finally, I stood!  I boldly declared His promise over my life and chose to speak the God breath truth into the gap.

I’ve only been in the mom game for 10 years now but I’d much rather stand inside the 4S approach then experience worry, doubt, frustration and weariness.

As moms, I am certain that we will continue to be plagued with uncontrollable circumstances but can I challenge you today to give grace to the gap? Our God is good all the time! He is drawing near, coming as close as a breath, standing shoulder to shoulder and declaring that we are His and He is ours. No weapon of mind, body or spirit formed against us shall prosper. We’ve already been given every ounce of today’s grace, today’s mercies and today’s spiritual bread needed to be courageous and victorious!

Cheers moms! You’ve got this!