My Song and Treasure

Posted by  | Tuesday, July 15, 2008  at 12:00 AM  
Hello POH-ers! My name is Erin, and my path crossed with Leah in 2004, when we went to church together. When we met, I was in the middle of the most difficult trial of my life.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted children. Before it ever occurred to me to ask where babies came from, I assumed that women just had them as part of being female. So I grew up, married, and expected things to go according to the formula my sister had explained to me. When my husband Keith and I agreed that we were ready, three months of laissez faire “trying” achieved the hoped-for pink lines. Thrilled, we told our parents and grandparents, and wrote our first notes to the baby. Immediately after our trip home to share the good news, a 9-week ultrasound indicated two sacs—twins!—but no heartbeats… One sac contained a baby developed to 7 weeks; the other one was empty, though I knew there had been a baby there in the beginning. An appointment the following week would reveal any changes. During that week Keith fasted and prayed, as David did when God said his son would die (2 Sam. 12:16-23). I prayed and cried and prayed and cried. We rallied pray-ers from everywhere, yet nothing changed.
The doctor discussed our options, pushing to remove the babies in order to avoid infection, but willing to let us wait it out. She said it would probably happen on its own in a couple of weeks, and we decided to let nature take its course. First, we knew God could give our babies life, and I believed He might do it as a testimony to the doctors who coldly called them “tissue”. Second, if they remained dead, it was very important to me to give them the honor of a proper burial. I felt I had no real choice but to wait.
That second ultrasound was in late August. As we waited, sore breasts, appetite swings, and tight waistbands gave me a confused sense of hope, yet the bleeding (late September through early November), dashed it. There were several days when I passed unrecognizable clots- one of my babies? Blood tests revealed that the long wait for the birthday was due to the multiple pregnancy. We counted October 12th and 25th as the birthdays, and I was finally “un-pregnant.” We’d waited 10 weeks for this. The doctor smiled and said, “We’ve grieved now. Let’s move on. Hopefully in a few months you’ll have a new start.” I know she meant well.
On October 31, 2004, we buried Song and Treasure under a golden apple tree in our backyard, to remember that they are walking on streets of gold. Immediately after our little service, God graciously let us pour out some pent-up love on fatherless neighborhood kids at our church’s fall festival.
Mulling over the experience, I had to reconcile the pain of miscarriage with my belief that God is all-good and all-powerful, able but not obligated to save my babies’ physical lives. It wasn’t long before I accepted the loss as something I didn’t like but didn’t have to understand. God, in His sovereignty, had His reasons. I was healing. Little by little, however, questions began to surface, questions that could not be ignored. Each one was like an earthquake to my faith, sometimes making me feel helpless as they shook my foundations.
Were the twins really in heaven, or would I never get to hold them? Because of Jesus’ statement: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:14); because the stillborn/miscarried child is described as having rest (Ecc 6:5); and because of David’s statement about his dead son: “I will go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Sam 12:23), I believe that Song and Treasure are in heaven with Jesus. Since I know Him as my Savior, I will get to hold them.
Why did God let us lose our babies? Maybe it allowed us to share in Christ’s sufferings (Phil 3:10) in some way. Perhaps it was an opportunity for my faith to develop endurance, driving me to maturity and completeness (Jam 1:2-3). At the time I felt that the exercise would have been more fruitful if God had actually granted my request. Somehow the ability to comfort others because I’d been through a similar experience (2 Co 1:4) seemed a cheap prize compared to what He could have done, but maybe my faith needed more refining than would have been accomplished by a once-and-for-all miracle. Maybe God’s “higher ways” (Is 55:9) somehow allowed this pain to be good for me.
Why didn’t He answer our prayers? Was the Bible, with all its comforting promises, even true? I wanted a way to back God into a corner and lock Him into giving me my babies. That, however, is the farthest thing imaginable from submitting to my Lord (and His wisdom). Maybe if God had granted my request, it would have been accompanied by a “leanness” of soul (Ps 106:15). My soul was already lean enough.
Did God even care that I was hurting? This was the deepest question, because I felt betrayed by God. It seemed so irreverent to be disappointed with Him, to accuse Him of hurting me, but if I ignored this, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to trust Him with the things that mattered most. My God would have been reduced by my lack of faith to a weaker God than He was before the miscarriage. Strangely, I also felt on the verge of a faith-spurt, if only I could get past this; like a bullet, kicked by the trigger, looking back and asking resentfully, “What was that for?” of the very thing that was meant to propel me to greater purpose, one that might consume me completely. At that point, I didn’t know what might bring resolution.
During the spring of 2005, a motherly friend from church came to listen and pray with me. Dorothy loaned me a book called Praying God’s Word, by Beth Moore. As I worked through each of the verse-prayers of the “Despair” chapter, the grace of God poured down in torrents. Over and over I was reminded through tears that God really did care about me, really did love me, that His compassion is real even when He doesn’t intervene to do what makes most sense to me. It was exactly what I needed, the healing balm that covered my raw emotions and made me feel whole again. My questions were answered, not by logic or a careful explanation of problem verses, but with God Himself, reminding me who He was and that He loved me. Thank You Jesus!
Already I can see some good from the miscarriage. Observing our growing family—we now have Anastasia (born 10/05) and David Keith (born 1/08)—people often ask how many children we want. This is an opportunity. Vulnerably admitting that we have two babies in heaven creates an intimate connection that often allows me to share the truth of Jesus, who offers us the hope of resurrection. “In the sweet by and by,” as the song goes, I will meet Jesus, Song, and Treasure on a beautiful shore beyond the grave. One ministry that helped me during our time of loss offered to publish our story in a book, so it can now comfort others that I will never know. Praise the Lord, for working good despite my babies’ death and despite my own shallow faith.
Hoping this testing time has reduced my selfishness, pride, and fear of losing faith in our all good and all powerful God, and that it has left me as a clearer reflection of God and His grace, I rejoice that He finally moved my heart from doubt to trust. I had made God too small by requiring Him to act to fulfill my dreams. This life is about Him, not me. Now, I am at least growing into a prayer that I hope eventually to say with utmost sincerity: “I trust You with all my heart. I don’t have to understand what You do or don’t do. I acknowledge that You are Lord, even when you allow the curse to touch me in painful ways. I accept Your decisions as best for me. In Your wisdom, direct my path” (Pr 3:5-6).

Verses and other things that helped
Ps 139
Lam 3:22-29, 31-33
Ps 71:19-21
Ps 119:50
Ps 127:3
Ps 145:18-19
2 Sam 21:10
Ps 27:4, 13-14
Mt 19:14
1 Co 15:40, 42-43, 54

The prayers of others, expressed especially through cards, when our faith was too weak to trust
Journaling thoughts, poems, prayers, etc.
Listening ears
The website Sarah's Laughter – sent a “butterfly bag” full of comforting materials
Healing for Empty Arms –an interactive site created by a friend, it features lots of scripture, songs, FAQ’s, ideas for memorializing, how to help a friend going through a loss, a place to post babies’ names and/or dates, etc.
Books:
Disappointment with God- Philip Yancey
Praying God’s Word- Beth Moore
Believing God- Beth Moore
These Strange Ashes- Elisabeth Elliot
Why? Trusting God When You Don’t Understand- Anne Graham Lotz
When Love and Sorrow Embrace: the Sufficiency of God’s Grace through
the Heartache of Miscarriage – Beth Forbus of Sarah’s Laughter (This is
the book that includes our story on pp 69, 79-80.)
Counsel from godly women
Songs:
“Glory Baby” by Nathan and Christy Nockels
“Some Day Soon” by Billy Muller
“Blessed Be the Name” by Tree 63
Packet from Focus on the Family


How we memorialized our babies
Named them
Chose verses for them (Song- Ps 40:3, Treasure- Mt 6:20)
Compiled a memory book including pictures, song lyrics, verses, etc.
Embroidered a blanket for each
Buried them in a decorative box under a golden apple tree- like heaven’s streets
Framed a picture of Jesus holding 2 babies, along with their verses
Completed a “Certificate of Life” for them, from Sarah’s Laughter (see website
above)

One of the poems:

The doctors call you “Tissue,”
not deserving of a name.
But you are more alive than I,
a person, all the same.

They only see the large “yolk sac,”
but Jesus knows you’re two.
My Song, My Treasure, on His lap:
soon I’ll kiss both of you.

And you’ll be strong and bright-eyed
as you laugh, and tell, and show
How Jesus welcomed you with love so wide
to the only home you know.

I am not afraid for you,
but still can’t wait to see
My two sweet children that I never knew
for all eternity.

6 comments:

Curt, Mariah, & Carli Badura said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing. I couldn't hold back the tears. Thanks especially for the websites, scriptures, and ways to encourage others.

Mariah

Tamara said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Reading about your faith through the trial of losing your twins was so encouraging and uplifting. We,too, have a sweet baby in heaven, lost around 10 weeks into the pregnancy. It would have been our 2nd child---our friends and family rallied around us in support when we went through this loss and their love and willingness to just listen proved so helpful. The most meaningful thing that a friend did for me, though, occurred at the baby shower held in anticipation of the arrival of our son, Elijah. My dear friend wrote in a card, "...in celebration of your third baby..." Just knowing that she acknowledged that our heaven baby was, in fact, our child, despite the fact that we never met or held him/her, meant so much to us.
Thank you again for your willingness to share your story. God bless you!
--Tamara Fladung

Christy said...

Wow it has been seven and a half years since I had my miscarriage but reading your post brought it all back to my mind as if it were yesterday. Thank you so much for your willingness to share your story. It is the knowledge that I will one day hold my child in heaven that really got me through and still gets me through. I now have two beautiful little boys that mean all the world to me. I struggled for five years after my miscarriage to be blessed with my first son and was surprised by my second son. It is definitely these reying times that draw us closer to God even though we doubt and get mad about what He is allowing us to go through. Phil. 4:13 & 19 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" and "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" were the verses that really helped me to keep my eyes toward God and they still are my mantra to this day. I used these verses over and over to remind myself that without God in my life I have nothing. After reading the posts on dealing with loss has made me realize that I need to sit down and write out my thoughts so that I can really sort through all the things that have gone on in my life since that day. I think I might actually find a resolve to some of the other things that I have been dealing with recently. Thanks again for sharing.

marymstraits said...

Thank you for sharing and for being honest. I admire how you and your family are honoring the lives of your babies.

For anyone else out there who has lost child, a friend of mine from way back lost her baby back in March. I know (not first-hand) that it helps to connect with mothers who have also lost a child. Her blog is http://www.babygirlbutcher.blogspot.com/.

Love and prayers to everyone out there who has survived unimaginable grief . . .

Leah said...

Mary,
Thanks for the link. I am reading through the whole blog. My heart skipped a beat when I went to the blog b/c that sweet baby looks almost exactly like my Joel. I am praying, praying for your dear friends. What an incredibly tough journey they have endured.

noahandlylasmommi said...

Wow reading that brought me right back to my own miscarriage. So many of the things you said, I too felt. The anger towards God was very strong for me. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so good to know I am not the only one with those feelings.

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