I Am Not A Cemetery
My child died inside of me. How do you even begin to wrap your head around that?
I am a woman. I am a life bringer, not a cemetery. My circumstance goes against everything I have been taught about women. Whether we want to have children or not, our bodies are meant to do so. Every period proves it to us. Every mood swing reminds us of our purpose. Every cramp, migraine, tampon, and pregnancy test resonates with one of the facets of our creation. And yet… I have lost more children then I have that are living.
From the moment we found out our child had no heartbeat, until the moment I was being discharged from the Family Birthing Center was a total of 12 hours. Some people around the world were asleep the entire time I gave birth to my stillborn son. Others were at work. Some were on a plane. It was such a short amount of time for my life to be changed irrevocably. We walked out of the hospital, drove home, and opened the door to our house. Toys were still on the ground and dishes were still in the sink. While nothing had changed, everything had changed.
In an instant I went from pregnant, to not. My body felt like a tomb. I remember staring at my flat stomach just wondering how I was going to get through this.
Peace is odd. It is something, as Christians, we know to be from God. We see in His word it is one of the fruits of the spirit. The Bible says, “ask and you shall receive.” I believe peace can come over us when we ask. The Holy spirit can cover us in peace as a divine encounter. But I also believe, as Christians baptized in the Holy Spirit, peace can be a choice.
As humans, our hearts long for peace. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve knew nothing but divine peace. When they sinned, peace was ripped from humanity. Sin left a gaping hole where peace used to reside. Our hearts crave peace. It’s why we try to control our lives, clean our homes, pay our bills, and take bubble baths. We are trying to create peace.
In church, we hear stories and write songs about how God’s peace descends on us and overcomes us. Peace is like a spiritual mood shift. Maybe it is. Although in my journey of loss, I have not been so lucky to receive a feeling of warm, comforting peace from God like that. It’s not that I haven’t asked for it. It just hasn’t happened that way for me. I’m not ungrateful for this, but my need for peace has spurred me to seek the Lord for a sense of peace in other ways. My body is alive. But I gave birth to death. In a situation that contradictory, you can imagine how difficult it is to find peace.
When tragedy strikes, the roller coaster of emotions is almost unbearable. I have been angry my son died. I have wondered how this could possibly have happened. I have wept an innumerable amount of tears. But at some point, I have to recognize the reality of my situation. Truth transcends my feelings.
No matter how much I hate what happened, hate cannot bring back my son. Denial cannot turn back time. Sadness cannot return to me what was lost. Feeling these things is normal. But eventually, the truth will settle the storm.
I think we have been disillusioned to think that peace is an overwhelming feeling, a warm spiritual blanket, when in reality, peace could be as simple as accepting the truth.
What I do find interesting, is God himself is truth. John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Maybe accepting the truth of my situation is recognizing God is in all of it. God was with me when I got pregnant and with me when I took that first pregnancy test. He was with me when I felt the first and the last kicks. He was with me when I left the hospital with a broken heart. I can have peace if I accept my situation for what it is, while simultaneously accepting the Lord at his word. He is truth, and truth will bring me peace.
My husband is an incredible man. Even though the strength of his faith has wavered during our journey of loss, I know his heart has always been the Father’s. One afternoon, Charles said to me, “I have to love God more than I understand.”
And that’s not easy, is it? Because I want to understand. I want to know why. But what my husband understood in that moment, was that knowing “why” something happened doesn’t necessarily bring peace. At least not lasting peace. When the doctors, the blood work, and the statistics tell you why, it doesn’t make you feel any better. My husband was telling me, that true, divine peace in the midst of my sorrow only comes from believing my Father is who he says he is.
That scripture, John 14:6, not only says that God is truth, but it also states that God is life. I know my son is alive in Christ Jesus. I am alive because of Jesus. And I have asked God to breathe life back into my womb. I am not a cemetery. And I believe God thinks so too.
I serve a God who is characterized by life, who brings things back to life, and who refuses to leave things dead. God isn’t satisfied by death. Death upsets him so much that he vanquished it on my behalf. And I do think I can find some peace in that.