I'm fine with Valentine's Day. I don't expect any grand gestures of affection, or to be swept off my feet any time today (mainly because that's not who we are, and also because he's seven hours away on work travel), but all in all, I'm not opposed to the holiday in theory. I have plenty of people to love in my life, and feel plenty loved on most days. Most of all, I have a Savior who LOVES and pursues me endlessly, and that in and of itself is worth celebrating EVERY day.
But today, February 14th, took on a new meaning six years ago.
I haven't always been good at a work-life balance. Not that I've mastered it now, but now at least I'm more able to keep all the plates in the air at once and focus on the most important task of the hour. That hasn't always been the case. Six years ago, I made a fatal mistake that changed me. It changed who I am, who I would be, and the course of my family forever.
Work was stressful. We had an 8am board meeting on a foggy Tuesday morning, much like today. I'd stayed up the night before worrying. My board was still new to me, and I was still working through some issues I'd inherited when taking on my role at the Chamber of Commerce. I had researched, and planned, and prepped, and although I cannot for the life of me recall what issue was so pressing at the moment, I was prepared for a fight.
What I wasn't prepared for was losing the little life that was growing inside of me about three hours after that terrible board meeting. All the stress, and worry, and strategizing materialized into too much anguish for the tiny and precious being God had blessed Brad and I with just weeks before. It was the most horrific and painful experience I've ever been through.
Here's where I'm supposed to tell you that it's not my fault. And while I know that this whole experience was part of God's plan, and nothing surprises Him, I have been dealing with the guilt for six years now, and I still hold on to the idea that I could have done some things differently. Different actions may not have resulted in a different outcome, but it sure would have given me a little more freedom.... I think.
No one knew we were pregnant. No one knew when I lost that baby, except for a few of my closest friends and Mom. And because of that, no one knew how much I suffered. I wanted that baby so bad. I had dreams, and plans, and I could already feel the weight of holding her in my arms. I have no way of confirming it was a girl, but somehow, I just know.
No one talks about miscarriages. It's something that's too taboo for polite company. It's seen as depressing, and maybe a bit dramatic and often times we are supposed to act like it never happened. It's like maybe there's an expiration date on our grief, and if we have another baby, or are a few years out, we aren't supposed to be hurting still. And to be honest, I can't tell you that it hurts every day. But it does hurt today, on this day where I'm supposed to be happy and overflowing with love for everyone and everything.
So today, I'll praise my God while standing in the sorrow of loss. I'll say "Thank You" and "I'm sorry" and "Help me" and all the other things that I am constantly saying to the God of the universe who I am not even worthy to approach, but who sent His Son to die for me. What a beautiful picture of how much He loves us. What a comforting thought to the mourning mother, that I am loved, and cherished, and that a sacrifice was made on my behalf, a sacrifice so huge and incomprehensible that no more was or will be ever needed.
Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.