Woman sad clutching a photo frame

What It Looks Like to Grieve and Have Hope

Grief has remained consistent in my life over the last few years. In 2021, my husband and I miscarried our first baby, Haven; in 2022, we miscarried our second baby, Evie.

In the time since, I’ve been figuring out how to look at grief as a Christian. Here’s a journal entry written shortly after the loss of Haven:

What am I supposed to do with grief? Carrying it sounds like prolonging the pain. My heart hurts more and more with each passing day.
Letting it go sounds like leaving behind the connection, the bond, the intimacy of all that I’ve experienced so far. I don’t want to leave this last tie to my baby behind.
All I can do is shed endless tears.

In the days following my surgery (to remove the tissues and remains of the baby), I was caught up in such darkness that an old destructive habit returned. By God’s grace, it was swiftly put to rest and I was able to move into a healthier grieving process.

To process my loss so that I wouldn’t be stuck in despair, I reached out to two dear friends who had similar experiences. I contacted them to ask for their help on what to expect as I prepared for the baby to come out of my body. Their advice helped ease that horrible process of waiting, and their understanding and compassionate words in the succeeding months truly felt life-saving.

Something I realised was that grief must run its course, lest it fester and lead to more torment and sorrow. But we need not go through it alone.

We can receive comfort only when we first acknowledge our need for it, and grief is that acknowledgement. I would have missed out on my friends’ support had I not opened up and asked.

Many notable characters in the Scriptures like David, Job, and Jeremiah experienced grief. These men laid bare their hearts before God time and time again, and the Lord ministered to each in specific ways. Similarly, writing down and pouring out in prayer my thoughts, aches, questions, and memories of my babies from the pregnancies has been helpful for healing.

I’ve also since become more aware, upon witnessing my friends’ own losses, of giving them their space to grieve. I’ve learned what to say and what not to say, and especially to respect their way of mourning as this does not look the same for everyone.


Balancing joy and sorrow

When my two babies died, they left holes in my heart that will remain with me until I reach heaven; spaces that simultaneously hold happy and sad memories of them.

My husband and I remember the thrill of hearing their heartbeats for the first time, even as we also remember the crushing sorrow we felt when there were no more heartbeats. We remember the excitement of decorating the nursery and preparing for the babies’ arrival, just as we remember the terrible emptiness in my womb and in our hearts in the many days that followed.

Joy and grief were—are—two realities we’ve encountered that cannot be separated, and so we’re learning to hold space for both.

The intermingling of our joy and sorrow gives us a beautiful glimpse into the image of God. Our God is a relational God who is as well acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3) as with joy (Zephaniah 3:17).

When Jesus came to earth, He entered fully into the human experience, sharing in all our joys and sorrows. He took part in festivities, dined with people, and even spent time with little children (Mark 10:14-16). He grieved the death of His friend Lazarus even when He knew that Lazarus would soon be brought back to life (John 11:35-42). He rejoiced for those who witnessed His power and believed in Him (Luke 10:21-24). He spent many good days with His disciples, patiently teaching them and serving them, even when He knew all the troubles that laid ahead of them.

Finally, as He faced and suffered the cross, Jesus held His grief alongside the joyful assurance of heaven (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus’s example encourages me to make space for joy even amid mourning. On days when grief feels less overwhelming, I’ve learned to appreciate the small joys, whether it’s spending time with my loved ones or doing a favourite hobby. I’ve discovered that these seemingly simple gifts from the Lord have the power to uplift my spirit and bring a sense of peace.

Acknowledging and embracing moments of joy enables me to find solace and strength to navigate the challenges of grief.


Looking to heaven, our hope and home

When our church honoured our babies by having a little burial place for them in the church garden, it helped restore my heart as it marked the realness of their existence.

As people who have been redeemed by God, I believe we can find a balance in honouring our lost loved ones, in acknowledging the blessings we received through them, and in living with the assured hope of heaven.

The early days of grief brought about a deep yearning in me to learn more about heaven. I knew that the Scriptures talk about how there’s a home prepared for each of us, yet now the reality of heaven has become even more profound for me. I know that I do not grieve without hope, because we will see each other someday (1 Thessalonians 4:14).

Through all this heartache, I’ve found myself living with a renewed urgency to share the gospel with those around me who still don’t know of the hope of eternity. It is my constant prayer that those that the Lord has allowed to cross my path would come to know our comfort as believers—that being in Christ means we will one day be completely free of the pain and darkness of sin; healed and whole, living in the presence of our God.

The effect of brokenness in this world will always be piercing until we are fully in the presence of the Lord (Romans 8:22-23). For some of us, the agony of grief may lessen, for others it may fade, and still for others it may remain through life.

Whatever state we find ourselves in, our Father is patient and gentle in His holding of our hearts. In His magnificent lovingkindness, God has Himself come near to us in our suffering through Jesus, the fulfilment to our every need, who has borne the weight of our humanity and will carry us through it.

Oh Lord, may we allow You to reveal Yourself to us through the grief we encounter in life. May our eyes be fixed on heaven as we await that blessed day of finally shedding these broken bodies and arriving at our eternal home (2 Corinthians 5:1-4).

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