“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4
Losing a child, as I write this, seeing those three words don’t even seem like my reality. It never stops surprising me that this has actually happened.
Losing a child is like hitting the reset button on your life. It stops all your forward motion and you stand still while the world continues around you. I have spent time reliving his life and how all this came to be. I find myself stuck on what happened before he was born that has made this all more harder to move past. Six years ago, we struggled through infertility. I spent those days longing for a child and dreaming of what my life would be like if I could only be pregnant.
I explained this more in my last post about how we were able to get and stay pregnant. What I did not share was how I felt through that time and the parallels that are coming forth as we mourn Walker’s passing. Anyone that has ever been down the road of infertility, knows exactly how hard it is to not be pregnant…
It seems like your entire world centers around getting pregnant, having babies and being a mother. It’s difficult to be in the stage of waiting and wanting a child. I have to be honest and say that when we were going through this period of life, I found little satisfaction in anything else. I wanted to be a mother and couldn’t understand why it wasn’t happening. Didn’t God want this for me? Did we not pray enough? Was this punishment for not being “good enough”? It was all I thought about. Looking back, I see how short 2 years of wanting actually was but in that moment, I thought it would never happen.
Six years later, I can’t believe we’ve had two children and three miscarriages and then the death of our first child.
I have been experiencing the memory of the longings I had before I was pregnant and it has helped develop this amazing and also hard to swallow parallel of the two struggles. My desperation for a child and my devastation of losing that child has led me to recognize that children don’t complete your life. I know. Fill in the blank of children if that isn’t your struggle but bear with me here.
The longing of being a mother and having it fulfilled was the most wonderful and incredible experience I have had in my entire 35 years of life. I feel like becoming a mother redefined what it meant to be a woman. There are secrets that mothers have amongst each other that makes it the most sacred club to be apart of.
Sitting here, six years after that longing and now feeling the losing of that dream. I am no more complete because I have become a mother. I am no more satisfied with myself then I was then.
I am changed but not complete.
I remember having an epiphany in the hospital when Walker got sick. I felt like the world was ending with the possibility of his death. Then I realized that this happened to him and not me. Until that thought, I realized that I had identified us as one. You do that as a mother. You physically feel the pain of what happens to your children. That is the glorious gift/curse of experiencing motherhood, it teaches you how to love others more than you ever thought possible but to the point of experiencing their pain as well.
“For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:5
Motherhood changed me but what I wish someone would have told me is that your circumstances don’t define you. Being a mother won’t fill you. Being pregnant won’t fill you. All of the cute monogrammed outfits won’t fill you. (well, a little but it won’t last) There is nothing to fill that void you feel except Jesus. Cliché but it’s TRUTH.
I loved Jesus so much back then but still allowed my mind to be consumed to the point of misery because I didn’t have what I wanted. I did this again after Walker died. I didn’t have my son. I didn’t have what I had longed for anymore. He was gone and so was my sense of who I was. Because, until this point in my life. My definition of who I am had become getting married, having children and raising them. And who am I now that this child is gone?
We can’t define ourselves based on having what we want because what happens when it goes away ? As everything eventually will.. That much is promised to us .
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and elements will be dissolved, burning with heat, and the earth and the works in it will not be found.” 2 Peter 3:10
All of this will go away!
Maybe not in the order that I have experienced. I feel like my lesson has been learned at a much faster rate then you normally learn when a child leaves your home for school or work or marriage. I’m sure that at the point all mothers who defined themselves by their children are left feeling like, now what?
I am saying that we can definitely delight in all these blessings of motherhood and pregnancy but not to allow these moments to define our happiness and worth in this life. I thought this was just being a good mom. I thought not having any other desires but to raise children was sacrificial. Uh.. Really? Yes, I did and I know I’m not alone. Check out all the moms who have depression and anxiety after having children because they don’t “feel” the way they think or thought they would feel after fulfilling their hearts desire.
I totally felt unfufilled after my second child and remember thinking “How can I feel sad? I have everything that I ever wanted.” That’s because it is not meant to fill us.
Take hold of whatever stage of life we are in and allow it be enough. Allow it to be enough because our joy comes from the Lord. I find that if that does not ring true, “My joy comes from the Lord..” then my focus needs to shift from myself to seeking that simple truth. Nothing here of my own efforts will bring me the joy that I seek. The Lord alone gives that.
The desires of our heart .. Know where I am going with this? But what about the desires of our heart that God has promised to satisfy? He will give you those if you’re praying for His desires to be yours. I wanted several children and definitely a little girl. That hasn’t happened yet and it may not in the way that I created in my mind but my joy comes from the Lord, not in him giving me what I want.
I am choosing to remove the provisions that I put on what my life should look like and just be present and allow God to use me where I am. If that means serving other families that I thought I was destined for or praying for the crowds of children in the neighborhood or praying that God would use the quiet of our house to please him. I pray that he will change my heart when I feel sad that I don’t have what I want and instead remind me that my circumstances don’t define me.
Focus on the good and on allowing the path that we are all on to be pleasing to Him. I am devastated that Walker is not here and it was awful going through infertility and miscarriages but it is through these trials and disappointments that God is allowing me to truly become the steward that He desires for His kingdom. And isn’t that the bigger goal? To be used for his glory. I’ve drawn encouragement from this scripture below. I pray that God will sustain those of you struggling and that he does give you the life you seek but for me…
“He has put a new song in my mouth…” I love that and pray that those in this same stage of suffering can be encouraged and that my words are not meant to take away your pain but as an offering of hope.
“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a NEW song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. ” Psalm 40:2-5