Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tangled Faith

“Oh God, God, why did you take such trouble to force this creature out of its shell if it is now doomed to crawl back -- to be sucked back -- into it?”

~ C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Thoughts and questions of faith are filling me up.  Yesterday, a friend asked the Best Husband Ever and I how losing Eve has and is affecting our faith.  Such a difficult, profound question.  How can I tell of the complexity of hope and fear and doubt and love occupying my every breath?  But it is one that every part of me longs to be answered.

There is love, and there is gratitude.  After Eve died, everything was as easy as it could possibly have been.  An unshakeable peace, a short labor, easy delivery, no complications, a quick-healing body, safety from postpartum depression -- not to mention the courageous, empathetic love that our friends and family have surrounded us with since we invited them into our loss.  God has not left us alone in this.

But there are also questions, doubts.  Because if God could grace us with every mercy in our grief, why couldn't He save our daughter?  Why didn't He stop her from dying?  How does that  not-saving speak of His love?  And if He did not spare her, what next loss and affliction is about to descend on me that He will not prevent?   The future is a tangle of fear.

And yet, the future is filled with hope.  With Eve, He rekindled my desire for a family, my desire to be a mama, to bear children.  That hope had all but died when my husband and I both thought that my reproductive system was a casulty of my battle with disordered eating.  And then, miraculously, we were pregnant.  Impossibly, wonderfully expectant.

Here the fear and confusion return, though.  What if we can't have any more biological children?  What will I think of God then?  Why would He rekindle my maternal desires only to kill them in practically the same moment?  I fear that if I ever have to ask these questions truly, bitterness will forever sour my heart against God and hope and life.

But today I discovered that one of the many other babylost women that were "introduced" to me via Facebook following Eve's death birthed her second child yesterday.  A beautiful boy, alive and healthy barely a year after her first child was born dead.  That gives me hope.

It's strange -- through it all I can't help but hope.  I can't help but believe in the God willing to sacrifice His most precious One for us, for someone like me -- no, for me specifically.  For you specifically.  Why else would He do that except for love, except that He longs for the best for us, for the way things were meant to be?  I can't believe in anything other than a grace-giving, good God.  It seems that He saw Eve's death coming and, although He did not prevent it, He prepared us for it.  He made me able to weather this horrible storm -- something that I could not have done even a year ago.  Why else would He make me able to survive if He didn't care for me?  If He didn't have good plans for me?  But now I also begin to wonder if perhaps my definition of "good" is not the same as His.

How has Eve's death affected my faith?  This post is the jumbled beginning of an answer, but I suspect that I won't know anything for years and years and years.  Right now I am too close to the knotted tapestry of this life to be able to discern anything more than tangles.

“My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself.”

~ C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed


  1. God sees our whole life; our view is so limited and we don't see the pain and loss before we live it. By His grace, we don't see the pain and loss beforehand. He doesn't cause these things, we live in a fallen world. But by His grace and love, He walks closely with us through this life. We must not live in fear of what will happen in our lives, fear robs us of living today fully with joy.

    1 Cor 13:12 - For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.

  2. Love that verse, Julie, and your encouraging words. Thank you.

  3. Dear Beth,
    Just now read your blog and heard the news. I have been here weeping for you my friend. Your beautiful photos and powerful words are ministering to me in ways I can't explain. I am touched so deeply by your honest soul searching and unshakable trust in God. Thank you for honoring Eve this way! Thank you for your incredible HOPE! I send love and prayers that Jesus' arms will hold you tight!
    Debbie (and Alex)

  4. Thank you, sweet Debbie. <3

  5. beautiful, just beautiful! thank you.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King