My Son Gave His Life for Mine
*WARNING* *Talking about miscarriage*
5 years ago or so, I found a verse in the book of John that really stood out to me. This is what it says:
“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22 (NIV)
At the time, I was a freshman in college and it had a much different meaning then, than it does now. Grief looked different and healing through that looked different. I was 18, going on 19, realizing I had sex addiction and began the long journey to freedom through withdrawals, boughts of anger and lots of counseling and support. My body felt like a trap, a prison I could never escape. But I had hope and my joy was found in God and what He showed me through the darkness. I’ve noticed in my life that as I go through various healing journeys and bring light to the dark, it always feels like my body is a trap and has betrayed me some how, physically or mentally.
Fast forward to now, almost 2 months after our miscarriage (see previous post titled: “The Worst Day of My Life”). We just moved into our new apartment about a week and a half ago. In all the craziness and unpacking I found my old white board that hung in my dorm room, and written on it was that very verse from John. I had forgotten about this verse, but haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
Since I last wrote, some big things have been happening in terms of healing and revelations. Even with healing and progress, I still live in the tension and deep depression that comes with losing a baby. When we first lost our baby, all I could really feel was rage. Not anger, not frustration. Pure rage that boiled my blood and set me off in rampages. I have never been that mad in my life and I will be very surprised if I ever am again. Obviously, there are lots of reasons to be angry when miscarriage is involved. The deep root and underlying thought for me was: “Lord I don’t want you to redeem this or make something beautiful out of it, because nothing is worth the life of my child.” I knew that that was how God worked. He is amazing, loving, compassionate and talented when it comes to our pain. There have been so many other deep, dark and treacherous moments in my life where I felt like I was drowning; and He pulled me out, redeemed it all and made something glorious. Even with everything that had happened, my belief in who He is, is unwavering and I knew He would do it with this loss and this baby… if I let Him.
Currently my husband and I are in this amazing 9 month program through our church (The Stirring, Redding Ca) called Emerge. At it’s core it’s a discipleship & spiritual growth program with mentors, weekly and monthly gatherings, events, activities, books and lots of crying. We had already signed up for this before I even knew I was pregnant and our first gathering was the week after I miscarried. It took every ounce of strength I had to go and face these people and be authentic and honest with what was going on with me. One of our activities was to spend time with God and ask Him what He would like us to give Him. Immediately after I asked, He said, “I want you to give Me your baby.” I was PISSED. I thought, how dare you. We had time to wrestle with these things before “laying them down.” It took me close to an hour. In that time I sobbed and I held my womb not wanting to let go of the pieces I was still holding onto: the hospital visit, the baby clothes I kept with me in my bed, and replaying the dreams God have given me of my son over and over in my head. I knew I wouldn’t REALLY lose those things in laying them down, but I also knew I was beginning to hold on in an unhealthy way that would hold me back not only in my life, but in my marriage and my future childrens’ lives. I was starting to feel like I couldn’t go through with it but still wanted to be obedient in this; the whole time telling the Lord all that I’m thinking and feeling with this. He then shows me my son with Him. In this vision, my son is about 7, smiling and absolutely radiant. My son begins to talk to me: “Mom you can do this, I’m so proud of you! It’s okay mom, I just want you to be healthy and happy. This will make you free!” If it’s even possible, I begin sobbing harder. I keep going and eventually lay this down as an altar to the Lord, surrendering all to Him. I’ve known since this all happened, I had to go about it right this time. I had to heal the healthy way and not my broken way. Whenever I’ve tried to heal myself before or rely on myself to survive something, it has only brought more pain, like the addiction I spoke of earlier.
Those that know me really well and know my story, also know that I couldn’t remember large chunks of my childhood. This was something I realized might be a problem during my freshamn year of college. Through counseling and overcoming the addiction, I learned that I blocked things out as a defense mechanism, which was ultra scary, because what could possibly be awaiting me in my childhood that I made myself forget. It’s something that haunted me for the next 5 years. Through the different healing journeys and counselors, I always brought this up. Sometimes we worked on it, via drawing out a time line of my life and talking in depth on certain sections. Other times there were more pressing things at hand, like when I had severe anxiety for 2 years. Almost 2 years went by without any counseling or digging into spiritual growth. Then I was working/attending our regular Poets & Preachers conference that The Stirring holds and I felt the call from God to go on another journey with Him. This time to learn that He is not only my Father but a good one! I jumped in and said yes, and like all my journeys, there was so much more, just like an iceberg.
I began meeting regularly with an amazing colleague who soon became a dear friend and confidant. She shared her journey through healing with family and unblocking memories and how present Jesus was/is in all of it. She spoke of a boat that Jesus commanded, leading them through a door into her past. I couldn’t stop weeping, for the first ever vision I got from God when I was learning how to hear His voice, was of us in a boat in the ocean. And as she prayed over me, the room was over powered by the scent of wild flowers only I could smell. A reminder from Jesus of the vision He gave me for my freedom: us twirling in a meadow of wildflowers, laughing uncontrollably.
Over the last 9–10 months, I have been meeting regularly with this spiritual mama and my mentor. 3 weeks ago we met to finally unblock the memories that I hid from myself for so long. I have been preparing these months through diligent prayer and spending time with my younger self. As we began to pray, I told the Lord that I was ready and my mind was open… Waiting… still waiting… feeling really stuck. I confessed my confusion and frustration with myself for not being able to see. Why couldn’t I do this? I was ready and had been preparing for so long! My beautiful mentor, Megan, said, “Allison, your younger self that has been holding onto these memories is probably still really scared to let them go. You’re a mother now, why don’t you go and mother her, see her as your son.” I began crying uncontrollably. I have always had a hard time seeing value in myself and especially as a child. Being a child in my home was passive aggressively frowned upon. Being mature and handling mature things was always highly praised. Being emotional or talking extensively about your feelings, was annoying and burdensome. Of course little Allison felt like she couldn’t share these things, there was so much shame and guilt and anger that was pushed upon her. Before I jumped into the memories, I saw my son again, he was beaming with pride, “I knew you could do it mom.”
When I lost my baby, I was angry and hurt and didn’t understand why. And honestly I’m still angry sometimes, definitely depressed most of the time and I still can’t say it’s worth it all. But I do know that if I carried my son to term and had him, the growth and journey would have taken a long break. When this all first happened and I didn’t know why and couldn’t rationalize any of it, I began blaming myself because what other assumptions can I make? I thought, wow, I guess I was going to be a shitty mom and that’s why God didn’t save my baby. But even then, why let me get pregnant? I know you’re not a cruel God, but this feels cruel. And on and on this cycle of tension. It wasn’t until I could lay down holding on, say yes to opening my mind, and letting myself be emotional, did I kind of get it. My son gave his life so that mine could be fully free. I would not have been able to see the value in myself as a child if my heart could not have been so broken for my own. And while I still wrestle on and off with my life being worth my sons, I think about who he was. I think about how God made him in His image: full of love, compassion and fierce kindness (also talked about in my previous post). My son’s spirit lived within me, even if just for a short time, and loved me so with all that God had given him. And those pieces are just an inkling of the love that God has for me. I must be so valuable, so worthy of freedom. So much so that God gave His own son for my life. Two son’s for my life, one being the Messiah and the other my own. Jesus’s death holds new meaning in how much God gave for us and loves us so completely. My heart is still mending, but it’s a little more put together knowing I am so fiercely loved. So now is my time of grief, but soon I will have joy again, and no one will be able to take it away (paraphrased from John 16:22).