Prayer ~ For Those Suffering Miscarriage

I have made a practice of grieving. Moving toward, not away from, grief has been healing for me. It is the place where the brave acknowledgement of what is broken (death) intersects with a place to begin to hope (resurrection) in the power of the Gospel.

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In the middle of suffering, I tend to employ some defensiveness to varying degrees. When I lost little ones, I pressed into the pain as best as I was able at the time. I have lost eight through the years. The number on the whole is a source of gravity and weighty remembering. Here recently, I have tried to think of each particular child, begun to give each one a name, and work through their losses individually.

I also feel for those who continue to experience this most intimate loss, many times grieving or feeling alone. Whatever the circumstance, mothers (and fathers) know the void miscarriage brings. Knowing one is a mother or father without a living child or children to hold can be excruciating and isolating. For those whose arms are full, being aware of both our living children and the ones gone before when asked “How many?” can be a source of mental and emotional conflict. It is difficult to speak about. Difficult to think about. Difficult to process.

One of the most helpful gifts to the church in the Anglican tradition is the liturgy. The focus on gospel is verbal, literal, and woven into each and every Sabbath service. The union of the saints and continuation of the work of the Word both spoken and heard connects generation to generation of faith for centuries. Having appreciated the prayer book particularly when I don’t know what to pray has been a blessing to me. Knowing the verses have been repeated by so many multitudes of voices, experiencing both the agonies and joys of this life, is an encouragement. Knowing the writer’s, Thomas Cramner, commitment to the scriptures is profoundly meaningful as well.

The following prayer was born from these thoughts and influenced by the impact Scripture and the Book of Common Prayer has had on my soul. For some, it may not be helpful. For others, I wondered if having words to utter when the pain is fresh or even faint may be helpful in both the acknowledgment of hurt and leaning into hope. I also pray it proves that you (nor I) are alone in what we may feel is such intimate, private pain. The God described in Psalm 139 is for us all, both born and unborn, in the work of Jesus, and is near to us by His Spirit.

~

Heavenly Father, we come to you acknowledging the life of baby ___________. Our lives are forever changed as a result of knowing this child, even for a short time. We thank you for such a gift. We also feel the pain of death. Even as our hearts grieve, hold us in your never-failing love and in the hope of heaven where death will be no more and eternal life, secured by the person and work of Christ Jesus, awaits us. Thank you for accepting our praise and ministering to us as we lament. As you are close to the broken-hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit, draw near to us, Holy Spirit. Continue to hear our petitions of peace, soothe our pain, increase our faith, and provide mercy in times of need.

~

 

Grace Upon Grace

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace might also reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 5:20-21

 

As children grow, the number of opportunities to parent in a gospel direction grows. (Duh, you say). It is a little more complicated than that. I guess what I mean is that as my children grow older, I move from giving straightforward, simple commands (like “Don’t touch.” or “Come here.”) to giving directives where a whole counsel of rules take effect. I think of sending my older children outside to play with the admonishments to be respectful of our neighbors’ property and show love to them in the process (just to name two). All past simple commands combine and problem solving takes place. The more the rules increase as well as imparted wisdom, the more the opportunity to mess something up, somewhere.

When major messing up occurs, that presents a big opportunity for me as a mom. I realized this the other day as I considered disobedience that carried with it other failures— like lying and blaming others. The list of wrongs had piled against the child. I could tell that on this day, this particular child was feeling the crushing weight of the list of wrongs against him. The situation had moved from bad to much worse very quickly. Defenses mounted. Fear and shame were visible in his eyes and heard in his words.

Then there was my response. I must admit, many times, when failures and complications land at my feet in a heap, my frustrations pile with it. Instead of speaking life, I get bogged down by the consequences of actions. Even worse, I think of how this situation has affected me and breaks into my day. I get flustered and add my struggles to theirs. To up the ante even more, all the laws that have been written on my soul for 35 years accuse me all the more.

The worse the situation, the more opportunity for grace to be just what it is— it is and should always be good news. It washes away all the eternal weight of our failures and even makes temporary consequences bearable. In contrast, its beauty is unmatched when held against our worst. God help us not pile sins to see grace— yet grace is seen most clearly because of our piles of sins.

So if the ultimate goal of parenting from a Romans worldview is to train children who never fail, then I fail. Failure is inevitable. As the law increases, the trespasses increase. But what happens when they fail? Or when I fail? That is a distinctive Christian question.

Our worst is precisely where the gospel operates. There is something bigger than training children to keep rules.  Sure, I want them to stay safe and love their neighbors. I want them to be good citizens and maintain a reputation of a trustworthy person. I want them to not bear hard consequences in the horizontal plain of this earthly domain for bad choices. But the function of the rules that speaks the loudest is the demonstration of how they (and I) need a rule keeper. What a better time when they are experiencing mounting failures to move into, “God has loved you so much that He sent Jesus to do everything all right for you… in your place. You can repent, believe and move on.” Even when the situation warrants a good grounding or time out, they will grow to know (by grace) they are safe to bear the consequences. My relationship and posture toward them has not changed nor has their relationship with God. I love them because they are mine. When I am able to speak good news into the situation the load lightens— every time. When I don’t, the gospel brings the good news to me.

Regardless of the failure or the success, our focus is out — not in — to the beauty of Jesus. Our sins are great, combined, and complicated, but the One who bore them is greater.

This is one way the gospel is relentless in taking hold of me these days.