On a cold January evening in 2015, one of my worst fears began to unfold before me. Just a little more than two months prior, we had rejoiced at the news of expecting our third child. And now, here I was, experiencing all of the symptoms that made it sorrowfully clear to me that we were losing this precious gift.
What I didn’t yet know in those first days of suffering is how God uniquely resides in brokenness and what He has in store for those who cry out to Him in the middle of it.
I am now over two years down this road of life after a miscarriage. At first, it was as if nothing good was happening. Devastation. Crushing anguish in the depths of my soul. Just like the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday must have seemed to the disciples – that surely Satan really had won. But much of what God is doing is unseen. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 instructs us to fix our eyes not on what is seen, which is temporary, but on what is unseen, the eternal. As we lean in, we meet Him afresh.
One of the biggest ways I’ve been changed through the loss of our baby is the gaining of an eternal perspective that sustains me day by day. A sweet acquaintance of mine recently encouraged me to view Phoenix as one of my “anchors in heaven.” All fear or hesitation of embracing death is gone, as I now long for my true Home with intensity. Some days I experience feelings of homesickness, and I think it’s precisely how God wants us to live – homesick for Heaven, while simultaneously living with intention here, knowing our earthly life is short.
My eyes have also been opened to the goodness of God. The trials He has sent as teachers have turned out to be kind preparations for what lies ahead. The Lord meets us where we are and equips us for the future that only He knows. He weaves it all together. And in our lives, the weaving of this majestic tapestry brought forth the calling to adopt internationally. Now we will welcome a son and daughter from afar later this year. I’ve learned that God is not only all I need; a good God like that is also all I really want.
In the classroom of suffering, God cultivated in me a yearning to know Him more through His living Word. The pages of my Bible have often been wet with tears as I sought the only truth that has the power to penetrate every crevice of my hurting heart. I took great comfort as I linked arms with David in the Psalms, crying gut-honest prayers to the heavens, and then journeyed over to 1 and 2 Corinthians to proclaim confidently along with Paul that all of this suffering will be worth it.
Our two other children have been exposed to the gospel in a unique way because of Phoenix’s death. They, too, have an “anchor in heaven,” which has created an excitement and joy in their hearts. I am so thankful to watch that grow in them as time goes on. A dear friend gifted me with a memory box shortly after our loss. In that box, I have kept precious items, including a little bear that has soothed my aching arms when I just wanted to hold our baby. Our kids love the bear too, so it continues to be something that keeps Phoenix in our conversations. These talks inevitably wind up centering on Jesus, and we are strengthened once again.
When life seems darkest, God has set the stage for His brilliant light to come breaking through. My heart – the heart that felt like it died the day our baby did – awakens to this God who comes to His people on paths of suffering. He did the same on His own Son’s path of suffering. Death to life. Resurrection. And He will stop at nothing to resurrect our souls. Darkness does not have the final word. The glorious empty tomb does.