This morning I woke up to a 5:30 am alarm clock. Although normally a light sleeper, I woke up groggy from a deeper sleep than usual and debated trying to justify an extra 30 minutes of shut-eye. As is the case 99% of the time, my brain was too awake and the fantasy of going back to sleep was going to remain just that, a fantasy. I decided to pop out of bed and head straight for the shower. I embraced the kid-less, quiet morning and let the warm water rid me of the morning chills and stiffness.
About 5 minutes later the buzzing of my second alarm broke my relaxed trance and while sopping wet, I immediately stepped out of the shower to grab my phone. I hurried back in, having faith in the iPhone’s claims of being water resistant, and decided to turn on some praise music. Jamie Grace’s Beautiful Day turned my grogginess into all out dancing and singing, like “no one was watching!” And thank God, no one was… but Him.
Whether in the shower, in my car, on a walk, or at home, (typically when the kids are not around) it isn’t unusual to find me singing at the top of my lungs with hands in full extension to the Lord. There are times when I would just scream and cry out with joy, “Jesus!!! I LOVE YOU!!” Or in an animated voice I would say, “I love you, Daddy!” just like the frog-voiced kid in Shrek who wanted to “hear the roar.” Sometimes I would literally squeak with that overwhelming feeling in my heart, praising the Lord in song, in tears, in fullness of joy. I love those moments.
Only God knows that silliest side of me. It’s the side of me that’s completely free, truly safe and truly accepted. I love that He knows that goofy side of me and that He looks down on me pleased that I am carefree in my worship to Him. It’s been a long time coming and it wasn’t always like this.
Some seasons in life are longer than others. So often I’ve used that phrase, “This too shall pass…” and for the most part, seasons, good and bad, have come and gone. 2015 was the beginning of one of those longer seasons, a brutal winter metaphorically speaking — intensely cold, excruciatingly long. It was that grueling time of my (ex)husband studying for his Certified Financial Planning License. I carried the workload of homemaker and beyond, so that Kabeer could solely focus on his studies. As time went on, stress increased and connection between us decreased. Blow ups that hadn’t taken place since the rocky first years of our marriage were on the rise, going from 1-2 times a year, to every few months, to almost weekly. Theological debates were not helping either. The talks of image of God, the Sabbath, the Law and head coverings for my daughter and for me increased the tension.
I was prayed up, in the Word, and growing stronger in who I was in Christ. The high expectations on me, the harsh words, the continual criticism weren’t penetrating like they used to, but still wasn’t easy. In the early mornings, I would have my intimate, quiet moments with God. Then throughout the day, I would go with the flow of the routine: the morning madness of getting out the door, taking care of two little ones at home, the after-school activities, and the evening hustle. The busy days kept me preoccupied most of the time. I didn’t have to think about the silence between Kabeer and I, that place of trying to somehow have a conversation without it turning into another misunderstanding or full-blown fight.
Alas, a glimmer of hope. After a miscarriage one year before, we found out we were expecting once again. Finally, something to celebrate in that dark time, something that we could both smile about, something that would fade the junk away and bring some closeness and good news to the family. With almost all my pregnancies, I found out in the early weeks that I carried a baby in my belly. As most moms could relate, finding out early on makes the pregnancy seem that much longer. With four miscarriages from years past, getting to the 12-week mark, the end of the first trimester, was the long awaited goal. That was supposed to be the moment where a mom could breath a sigh of relief that all is well.
All seemed to be going okay. Week after week I could see my multi-pregnant belly growing by the day. As much as I longed to share every milestone of the first trimester with Kabeer; the weekly growth of the baby, all the nausea, the food cravings, the aches and pains. It just wasn’t the same. There was too much of a disconnect between us and I just didn’t want to put myself in the place of vulnerability with him. He also made it clear that he didn’t want me to share the news with anyone except 2 people whom he had to approve. Since we previously had miscarried at 9 weeks, just one day after announcing the good news, he just wanted to keep it under wraps.
Although I initially agreed with that decision, I found myself in such a lonely place; no one to talk to, no one to even pray with regarding such a joyous occasion. I had joy about the baby, but felt almost guilty about feeling that way. That is, until one day at a Worship Unity Night at church. I just couldn’t contain it anymore. I also had concerns that some things just didn’t feel right. As the worship time led to prayer, I walked up to two dear friends (actually from the Circle) who were also part of the prayer ministry. I opened up and shared what I had been keeping in for months. I did it. I spilled the beans and I couldn’t take it back. Kabeer ended up coming late to that event and when he got there, he saw me in tears. In fear and hesitation, I apologetically told him that I shared the pregnancy with the others, and that it was too much for me to just go through on my own. I knew he was disappointed in me. I knew he was angry, but it was just too hard to keep it all to myself. Whether that reason was justified or not, it was done and it would have its consequences.
My 12 week appointment followed days after. Being around the block in this area quite a few times, I typically went alone. This time, however, Kabeer came with me. There we were, getting all set up for the ultrasound — the white gown, the cold blue gel, the whooshing sound of the probe on my belly, and the black and white monitor just a few feet away. Then, there he or she was, our baby, our number “12” of all the kids that I had been pregnant with. Right away we could tell… a tiny lifeless one, no little kicks of the feet, no fingers going to the mouth, no full body jerks, no heartbeat. We miscarried, again.The doctor had to give us his condolences, again. The feeling that I failed, again. The one glimmer of hope in this dark time was gone, again.
Kabeer rubbed my back as we left. He held my hand and told me it was going to be ok. I knew though that he was holding back. I knew in my gut that he was saying what he felt he needed to say, but truly thought differently. It eventually came out in words — it was my fault.
I believe most moms who experience a miscarriage feel that way at some point; that they’re the ones to blame. It’s the back and forth of “What could I have done differently?” “Did I stress too much?” “Did I eat something bad?” “Did this happen because I opened my big mouth and shared what my husband told me not to?” Such a tormenting time I put myself through, such horrible lies of the devil trying to drown me… The grief of the loss of my baby, along with the feeling that it was my fault, along with the place of isolation, was just too much to take. Still, life didn’t stop, and even with all that, I had to keep on trekking.
Every so often, outside of our Wednesday mornings fasts, the Circle would text out a prayer request , a word of encouragement, a scripture verse. This day, as I was on my way upstairs with what was probably my 4th or 5th basket of laundry, I heard the ping from my phone. A text from Steph came through. A link to MercyMe’s “Even If” was sent my way. “Eileen, please take a listen. This song reminds me of you.” I decided to take a little break, sat at the bottom of the stairs and took a listen to a song I had never heard before.
“They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t
It’s easy to sing when there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say when I’m held to the flame like I am right now
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand but even if You don’t, my hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain
Well good thing. A little faith is all I have, right now
God, when You choose to leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul…
…I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word but even if You don’t, my hope is You alone
You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You can…
… It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Those words played over and over in my head long after the song ended… “I know the sorrow and I know the hurt would all go away if you just say the word, but even if you don’t, my hope is You alone. “
My sitting turned into kneeling with tears just pouring and pouring and pouring out. My hands lifted in praise and at times pounded on the steps in front of me to the beat of the drums in the song. The lyrics expressed my heart’s cry and my longing for this season to end.
It was music back then that got me to the place of whole-hearted, no holding back, “no one is watching” kind of worship. Just me and God, in the hardest of times. To be able to sing that song and to genuinely believe in those words, “It is well, it is well with my soul.” Only God could do that.
“Even If” is still one of my favorite songs, but without some of the lyrics. Right now, I’m NOT losing bad. I’m healed, I’m strong, I’m trusting in His plans for me, for my family and for all that has gone on these past 4 years. Some questions are still unanswered for now, lots of “why’s” that I’ve given to Him, desires of mine that I’m still waiting for. Still I can say it is well with my soul. That long winter season… it is finally over. This too has passed.
Lord, sometimes we just don’t understand why things happen in our lives. There are so many questions of “Why, God? — so many things in this life that we may not understand right now, and maybe not even until we see You in heaven. Thank You, Lord, that although we may not know, we can rest in the fact that nothing is a surprise to You. You are our loving Father who we can cry out to, knowing You hear us. You love us. You care for us. You see every tear we cry and You will wipe away each and every one of them. Lord, for all those who’ve experienced the loss of a child, in whatever manner that may have been, give them the comfort and peace that only You can give them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.