This week’s post on finding peace despite miscarriage is Denise’s third in this series on miscarriage in the military. Be sure to read the first two parts of her story: Miscarriage in Military Life and Load Bearers.
Dear Sister…there is peace at the foot of the cross.
by Denise Jolly
“Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Luke 1:78-79 NIV
In the moment of our last loss, I could never have imagined how God was about to break me in such a loving, beautiful way. It was January 2009, and we were saying goodbye to our village in Georgia and headed to our next adventure in Maryland.
Those days and weeks leading up to it are almost like a kaleidoscope.
Moments of time, fractured, that God used to shield my heart. Twist one direction and the memory of my Mom crumbling in tears on the phone when we told her of the loss. Another twist and I remember sitting in the doctor’s personal office as he told me he had no answers. Queue the white noise rattling through my mind, because I just couldn’t hear it anymore. Another twist into packing and loading, and in the blink of an eye it was just Kenton and me, with the crushing reality of another baby lost.
He got lost in his new assignment, and I began a slow obsession with gaining a child.
Whether it meant by our own doing, adoption, or finding someone to carry a baby for me, I was overwhelmed. Information overload. Price tag overload. Not-knowing-why overload. Most of all, overload from trying to carry a burden I was never meant to carry on my own. February came and I had a much coveted appointment at the fertility clinic at Walter Reed. I got dressed, plastered on the “I’m OK” mask, sat on the couch to put my shoes on, and never walked out the door to leave. Two hours, later my phone rang.
“Mrs. Jolly, this is Dana from the clinic. You missed your appointment.”
“Yes I’m…I’m so sorry, I just, I just….”
“Look I get it, but you need to figure it out. There are a lot of people who wished they were sitting where you are at right now. Call me back when you’ve made up your mind.”
And with the slamming of the phone, I felt the impact of her words like a punch to the gut. “God, what am I doing?! I can not keep going like this. Lord, I don’t want this burden.” With those words spoken through tears, I called Tonya. Y’all, she said the most beautiful and powerful statement I didn’t know I needed.
“Nise, you have to just give it to God.”
Queue a Kendrick brothers’ movie style come to Jesus moment. I sat on our bed and opened my Bible for the first time since we lost baby number three. Before I let God’s Word saturate me, I whispered to the quiet, “Lord, I give this to you. Whatever it is, I give this to you. I will be content with your will for this situation.” My Bible flipped open to Isaiah, and my eyes landed on 7:15.
“He will be eating curd and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose right.”
A simple Scripture that seemed to mean little to me at the time.
But for the first time, I was truly giving my situation to God, listening to the Lord, leaning on faith, and trusting Him. God delivered such peace in those words. In that moment, I made a personal covenant with God. “Lord, if you give me a son, I will name him Isaiah.” Weeks went by and, with God’s peace and covenant on my heart, life looked a little different. A healing only God can bring began. We started to build a community; I became involved with the Family Readiness Group (FRG) and other organizations to serve in the Army community. The urgency to have a baby faded to all but gone as following God and serving his people became my primary focus. I had let a part of myself fully trust in God’s will and timing.
A date night in May would have us rejoicing and also looking a tiny bit crazy to the waiter at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Like so many trying to have a baby, I had all kinds of reminders and baby tracking apps on my phone. One simple alert. “Denise, your cycle should be over. Here’s how to prepare to start trying…..” My mouth opened and for the first time I had no words. Something in me knew this was different. God was about to deliver on his promise. I showed Kenton my phone. In a flurry of excitement, we dropped money on the table and ran straight to the pharmacy. No fear.
Eight months later Isaiah Maurice was born. Six pounds, ten ounces of pure joy and promise. Sister, there was peace in my surrender. There was peace despite miscarriage in knowing that no matter the outcome, God was with us.
I know some reading this may think, “But you got your baby.” Yes, we did. I understand some of you still struggle, and I know your pain. Some of you know, even now, that you will never hold a child of your own. When I had that conversation with God that February afternoon, I had to surrender all of that to him and trust him with the outcome.
Walking by faith blindly means being okay if God’s answer is, “Not right now,” or even, “No.”
I laid on our bed face down for hours that day, but the tears were different than before. They opened the floodgates that released the pain so healing could begin and I could build a lasting, trusting relationship with God. Releasing that burden was like rolling a stone from my shoulders to the foot of the cross and exchanging it for God’s peace. As I’ve continued to release the weight of my pain, fear, and worry to the Lord over the years, he has taken all these stones and built a memorial to remind me of his faithfulness.
I want to leave you with this last little bit. Please know that you are never alone in any difficult situation you face as a child of God. He will send load bearers, wisdom, and more love than you can stand. Do not let bitterness and anger take root inside. Give it to God, even if you have to yell and scream it at him. Jesus wept, and he weeps with you in your loss and pain. Dear sister, there is always the option of joy in the morning, peace at the foot of the cross. Lock arms with those in faith, knowing the beauty from ashes God is making with your story.