There is a song we sing in the United Methodist Hymnal called “Spirit of the Living God.” It’s a very simple song, often used in a time of prayer as a way to center ourselves and ask God to be present and moving in our lives. The lyrics are as follows:
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me;
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
I have sung this song many times, often praying that God would “Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.” I’m not sure what I thought I meant when I was singing those words. Perhaps I thought God would use me in mighty ways to speak his truth and work with him in transforming the world. Perhaps I just meant the “fill me” part, because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be filled?
Most of you who know me or read this blog (as inconsistently as it is published) know that Matt and I have experienced much turmoil in our attempts to begin a family. Over seven years of infertility, including four miscarriages, and we are still where we started – childless. I have prayed many times that God would use me. That he would turn these awful circumstances into something that can be used for good. Tonight I was given that chance.
My dear friend’s little sister is in the midst of her first (and hopefully last) miscarriage right now, and I told my friend to have her contact me if she wanted anyone to talk to. I’m so glad her sister got in touch with me. I talked with this woman tonight – shared my story with her, and listened to her story as well. Making myself available to this conversation meant that I had to pull back that curtain on the grief that I try to keep hidden day-to-day. I had to get in touch with that part of myself, and remember what it was like when I experienced this loss over, and over, and over and over again. As she told me her story, my heart broke for her. It broke for me and my four losses. It broke for all the women I know who have felt this pain. I prayed with her over the phone, and assured her that I was available if she wanted to talk more.
I hung up the phone with her, and crumbled on the spot. I laid my head on the table and heaved giant sobs of grief again for those babies I have lost and for this new friend’s loss as well. As I cried and swiped mascara-tinted tears from my face, the song “Spirit of the Living God” was playing on repeat in my mind. “Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me.” I meant those words when I prayed them before, but I had no idea how much it would hurt to be melted, molded, filled and used.
Think about the process here: To be in situation so hot and painful you literally melt into an unrecognizable puddle. To be poured into a mold that the artist has chosen. To be filled with whatever object you are now designed to carry. To be used as this object is shared with others, and you are subsequently emptied time and again. It hurts. This goes against all that the world tells us we should be doing with our lives. It requires sacrifice, a relinquishing of control. It is downright painful.
So as I sat and sobbed in grief for this hurt that I don’t understand, I was reminded that of this song – this prayer that I have recited many times. Thank you God for hearing my prayer. For turning this bleak part of my life into something that can be used for encouragement – for your glory.
Do I like that this is my story? Of course not. Do I wish I was tucking those four babies into bed right now instead of writing to all of you (again) about this subject? Of course I do. But this is my reality. This is my story. And I will tell it again and again if it helps even one woman find comfort in her grief. Will you pray with me tonight for my new friend and her family?
Miscarriage is a very lonely type of loss. To grieve the loss of a life that had barely begun – that some don’t even recognize as actual “life” – is confusing and painful. You grieve the loss of the hopes and dreams you had for that child. You grieve the loss of what could have been. And a lot of people don’t understand that. A lot of people think it’s a grief to be kept inside, not to be dealt with publicly. Friends and family members of parents grieving in this way are even more confused about how to handle the pain. Should we ask questions? Should we acknowledge it at all? And many choose to simply pretend that it’s not a big deal. Everyone is different, but in my case I think it’s better to be open about it. I don’t enjoy this part of my journey, but I will gladly share it with anyone who wants to hear. I hope that every time I do, it helps peel away a little bit of the mystery surrounding miscarriage.
I have gleaned a lot of encouragement and comfort from this blog. I hope you find some comfort in it as well: http://www.calebwilde.com/category/death/miscarriages-stillbirths/