Last night I sat with eight courageous, curious college girls as we read confusing Scripture and asked hard questions. We talked about how God takes dark, hard seasons and does something beautiful in and through them, and most of the time it’s not initially obvious. We confessed how deep, gut-wrenching pain makes us question whether God is good and does good. We gave thanks that we can lean into God in the midst of the struggle. And we celebrated that God is big enough to handle our anger and our doubt. And I wondered if our purpose in this life is not that we would be happy, safe, and comfortable, but that we would be changed and God would be glorified.
Miscarrying Dayo changed me. As I grieved my baby, I also grieved the hard season I was going to have to walk through. I didn’t want to process the pain. I didn’t want to become someone my long-distance friends no longer recognized. I didn’t want to change. The day my dreams crashed down all around me, I was given a choice – this loss can either make me bitter or better. But there was no way I could stay the same person.
I didn’t want to become a person marked by anger, jealousy and bitterness. I didn’t want to see my life and circumstances from a self-pity lens. I didn’t want to change, but I had no choice. So I chose to embrace the season. I wanted the fire to refine me. I wanted the sheers to prune in order to produce more fruit. I wanted my faith to be stretched and strengthened. I wanted to be forced to be honest with my community. I wanted more rawness in my marriage. I wanted the adversity to soften me. I wanted to see this season differently.
And I think I did for a while. I leaned into God and asked hard questions. I opened up to family and friends, letting them see me in the struggle. I embraced the season, and trusted the time spent grieving wouldn’t be in vain.
But then a few months passed and I started looking sideways. I tried to make deals with God, thinking He owed me a perfect little family. In a six-day stretch, four of my close friends announced their pregnancies. I was happy for them, but I was also sad. It was as if the fog fell, making it impossible to see anything but my broken dreams.
The fog was so thick, I could hardly see anything clearly, so I complained about everything. I donned jealousy and negativity each morning as I zipped up my puffy, winter coat and slipped on my mittens. I was so caught up in how things were drastically different than I had planned them to be. “It’s not fair” was my daily mantra.
My community and husband saw the worst of it. They embraced the grief, in all its weirdness and all its beauty. They didn’t try to fix me. They believed God when I couldn’t. They prayed when I had no words to mutter. And they kept showing up in my life, day after day, week after week. When all I could do was think of myself, they loved me. As I walked and crawled back and forth through the stages of grief, my people surrounded me and prayed for me. When my eyes were so full of hot tears, they handed me kleenexes and let the silence linger a bit longer. When my words spewed all kinds of mean, untrue things, they didn’t retaliate, but spoke truth into the dark lies.
Finally, a few weeks ago, a dear friend handed me a book and said what I’m sure so many friends and family have longed to say to me:
“I hope you can see it differently.”
She knows all too intimately what it means to walk through grief and choose to see circumstances from a different perspective. As we talked and prayed, by God’s grace, the fog lifted and I could see a little more clearly. Each day I journey on, I see the beauty, the gifts, the joy in this season. I’m just starting to see things differently. And I’m being changed.
I don’t know what season you’re walking through. I don’t know how thick the fog is. But I do know that one day, the fog will lift. So don’t lose heart. This season, yes even this season, is not a waste. Broken, weary, angry or confused, you are being changed.