This is the second installment of our three part series on Miscarriage in Military Life by Denise. She shares God’s faithfulness to provide load bearers to help them carry the weight of the unbearable pain and searing loss. Read part one here.
Miscarriage in Military Life: Load Bearers
by Denise Jolly
Dear Sister…God will send load bearers.
“When Moses’ arms grew tired. Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write an account of this victory, so that it will be remembered. Tell Joshua that I will completely destroy the Amalekites.”
If I personalize the above verse, it would read, “When Denise was weary, God sent Tonya and Sarah. They held her in the storm and through the tears. Willie Mae placed the truth and comfort of God for her to sit upon. And Denise knew peace and strength in the Lord. When she would write the account of victory and tell it to those walking this journey, she would say. God has shown me victory in Him. He walked beside me and in all this, I was never alone. And that is my truth and the light I shine.”
In the fall of 2006, my husband had completed all training necessary and we received orders to the fabulous Ft. Gordon, GA. Nothing glamorous about that spot, other than old country roads and the Masters golf tournament. But God had gone before us and planted so many seeds of revival.
I was a young Army wife.
This was my first true introduction to Army life, and I carried the spirit of “headstrong, know it all.” The move was a quick one. It went from the decision to stay back home because he would be leaving for his first deployment, to “Honey, I’m leaving and I really need you by my side.”
Mixed in with this intensity, we found out I was almost three months pregnant. I look back now and realize the decision to pack up and move was a step of obedience. This city girl loaded up her cherry-red Dodge Neon with two dogs and took off on a cross country trip to set up home for her husband who was leaving soon for war.
Somewhere between the pack up and drive, Baby number two went to heaven. Somehow God guarded our hearts and minds from the worry. This time, all our friends and family knew. This would be the first grandchild for both sets of parents. At my first appointment at the Army clinic two days after arriving, the words “No heartbeat,” and “Not sure when you miscarried” rang in those white walls. I remember the look on the doctor’s face, because it would be the same one we would see over and over again for weeks as we broke the news to everyone as their disappointment mixed with our heartbreak.
In my head all I could think was, “Here I am again, walking this alone.”
But God and his grace and mercy.
In the military community friendships run fast and deep, since we don’t know how much time we’ll have with each other. It’s almost as pure as that kindergarten playground friendship. I like you, you like me… now let’s do life together! Cue Sarah, six months pregnant with her third child, who wouldn’t give up on me, almost to the point of annoyance. But with all she had going on, she knew I needed her. Daily she invited me to coffee and dropped off care packages at my door, knowing I was hiding inside.
“Hey, Mrs. Jolly. This is SGT Lownsbery’s wife, we are having coffee tomorrow, you should come. We all need each other right now.” Every day I received that call, until finally I said yes. I walked into her home and didn’t have to worry about the sympathetic looks. I could just sit there and be me.
That’s how life went with coffee and shopping with fellow unit wives, forming friendships and leaning on one another as our husbands were called into fifteen months of war. The days were easy, but at night I missed my soldier deeply and the enemy’s whispered lies crept in. All alone in the giant four-bedroom home. No baby cries or giggles to help pass the time. Within those lonely walls I still swam in the loss. A simple phone call to Merry Maids cleaning service would be the calling back to Jesus I needed so badly.
God Sent Load Bearers
Willie Mae came into my life and was a compass that pointed me right back into God’s arms, speaking prophetic truths like a healing balm to my spirit. She reminded me that healing was only going to come when I laid my broken heart at the Father’s feet. In those moments when she covered me in truth in love, the light got brighter and brighter. I became “Aunt Denise” to all my friends’ babies. I got to be a blessing to them during the deployment, letting each hug and time spent with those kids mend me, piece by piece.
Before we knew it, our little tribe was welcoming home our husbands. Life shifted. And all of a sudden we had orders to Maryland. I was leaving the strongest tribe I had ever known, and we were spending every possible minute together before goodbye.
It was an October evening of 2008 that we would quickly find out about the life and just as quickly mourn the loss of baby number three. I had gone to the clinic thinking I was having complications from the surgery I had months before. Test after test until finally the nurse charged in questioning, “Girl! Why didn’t you tell me you were pregnant?!”
“Wait. What?!” I had been soaking in the joy of time with Kenton and our friends, and rejoicing in all God had restored, I had lost focus of the basics of my body. Sure enough, I was six weeks along. Then the ultrasound…then the look, that look I had known so well before, came from the nurse. Followed by, “Go home and rest. The doctor will schedule your appointment tomorrow.”
We went home hopeful and shared the news with everyone.
By 3 a.m., I woke up with pain I knew meant loss.
This time was different.
I sat there the next afternoon, held in my friend Tonya’s arms, as she carried the pain with me. She wiped my tears and prayed over me. Willie Mae sat me down on that rock of truth again, and reminded me that God had the “Why’s?” and He still loved us deeply.
It was different when we walked into the appointment with a circle of God’s warriors surrounding us. It was different when we let others carry the burden, too. And it was different when our focus was on Him. He gave us a burden too heavy, but we didn’t carry it alone. Now, was just the time to truly lay it at His feet and trust what He had next for Kenton and me.
If you’re struggling with miscarriage in the military or any other challenging situations, trust God to send the load bearers. Check out these two great posts with ideas for finding your tribe: The Power of Showing Up and Finding a Battle Buddy