Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Life After Loss~ April 16, 2013

LifeLossFeet“What do you mean there’s no heartbeat?”  I stared blankly at the radiologist who I happened to know personally as she batted back tears in an attempt to remain professional.  “I am so sorry, Valerie.”  That was all she could muster.  She quietly wheeled me back to my room in the emergency area of our local hospital.

Let me back up just a bit.  I was 10 & ½ weeks pregnant with my third child and something just felt “off”.  My husband and mother along with all of our friends assured me I was being paranoid.  In my heart, I knew they were wrong but so hoped that they were right.  So my husband drove me to the ER where my sweet pastor’s wife met us to take my then 2 year old daughter home with her.  The day drug on for what felt like an eternity.  It started with blood work to confirm my pregnancy.  All looked normal so I patiently waited for my ultrasound to see my little peanut safe and sound.  As afternoon approached, I called Holly and asked her if she would mind to get my older three children from school.  “No problem.  We’ll see you soon.”  All was still right with the world.

Shortly after 3 pm on April 16th, 2010, I was dealt the shocking blow.  The emergency room doctor explained to me that I was having a miscarriage.  He went into detail about what I could expect to happen in the coming days.  I was numb.  I couldn’t talk, couldn’t cry.  There was no way this could be happening to me.  I had been through two successful pregnancies that resulted in two beautifully healthy babies, so why would this one be any different?

It wasn’t until we had left the hospital and were headed to our pastor’s family home that the reality of what just happened began to sink in.  Jamie had called ahead to let them know the horrible outcome of our day spent in waiting.  By the time we made the 5 minute drive, I was on the verge of a break-down.  It was then that I fell into the arms of my dear friend and we cried together.  She comforted me the best she could while her husband explained how God is the giver and sustainer of life.

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

(Colossians 1:17)

We gathered our kids and returned home to break the news.  They were still young so they couldn’t really grasp what daddy meant when he said, “Mommy isn’t going to have another baby right now.”

In the coming days I was surrounded by family and the church hospitality team kicked it into overdrive.  I felt blessed and cursed at the same time.  While everyone was pouring out comforting words about how sometimes things like this just happen, I was battling my mind that was screaming it was my fault.

  • I ran too much when I should have reduced my exercise.
  • I shouldn’t have used the flavor packets in my water, some ingredient in them is known to cause miscarriage.
  • And the worst thought, I’ve disappointed God and He is punishing me.

Every possible thing I could think of was what caused me to lose my baby.  I refused to think that it “just happened.”

A couple of months later, I found out I was pregnant again.  I was terrified.  It was too soon.  The twisted part about it was my due date was April 15th, 2011…just one day before the anniversary of the worst day of my life.  I barely breathed for the first trimester.

It was during those nine months that God comforted and reassured me that there is indeed life after loss.  The very fact that I became pregnant so soon after losing a child was proof of that.

On April 11th, 2011, I delivered a very healthy baby girl.  In those first few moments with her, I had the painful realization that had my previous pregnancy been a success, I would not have my precious Isabella in my arms.

We may never fully grasp the workings of our Lord.  He gives and takes away according to His perfect plan for us.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

(Job 1:21)

The best thing that we can do when faced with a devastating loss is cry out to our Father who keeps track of all our sorrows and stores up each tear we cry.  (Psalm 56:8)  While it may be difficult, praise your way through your circumstances knowing that God’s ways or higher than our own.

It has been three years since that aweful day but the memories are as fresh as if it were only yesterday.  It’s not easy to talk about something so devastating but in my pain, I found the most comfort from others who had gone through the same.  If you too have experienced this life altering loss, I pray that God would heal your broken heart as only He is able.

 

~Light A Candle~ October 15, 2013

1in4In 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared October as National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Since that time, this day specifically, October 15th, has been set aside to remember those sweet babies who are in Heaven with Jesus instead of in their mommy’s arms.

If you are one of the thousands of women who have suffered this painful loss or know someone who has, tonight at 7pm, light a candle in their memory.

Mourning is a very peculiar emotion and we all handle it differently.  No matter the stage of grief you are in, know that there is hope for a future.

I have written about my own personal experience with this in my blog Life After Loss .  I would invite you all to read it and feel free to share anything of your own experience as well.  It is through the encouragement of other women & the love of the Father that we find our strength to go on when it seems impossible.

“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.” ~President Reagan

 

~Navigating Grief~ March 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:10 am
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griefHow people deal with grief is varied based on the individual and the source of their pain.  There is no road map for how we are to cope with the many different types of loss, nor is there an instruction manual on how to comfort the one who’s hurting.

It used to be my nature to always try to cheer people up when they were down.  My initial reaction to someone crying was to attempt to make them smile.  I was a fixer.  However, after experiencing some life, I have learned that’s not the best course of action.  Walking with someone through a struggle means taking cues from them on how you can help them process their feelings and eventually move beyond their pain.

Offering to take a recently widowed woman on a singles cruise, probably is not the wisest idea.

While your friend is going through a nasty divorce is not the time to set them up on a blind date.

When your baby gets their heart broke for the first time, that whole “more fish in the sea” saying is not comforting.

For the parents who are experiencing the devastating loss of a child, chances are they’re not going to be much fun for a while so refrain from trying to force the social scene.

“Being happy-go-lucky around a person whose heart is heavy is as bad as stealing his jacket in cold weather or rubbing salt in his wounds.” (Proverbs 25:20 Living Bible)

Even in the above scenarios, no two people will grieve the same.  One person may savor a distraction that allows them to temporarily forget their pain while another prefers to sit and cry in silence while you hold their hand.  Again, that is why it is imperative to let the Holy Spirit guide you and be sensitive to the individual.  Trying to rush someone through the stages of grief may be detrimental to your relationship.  It may be that you only desire to see them smile, and your intentions are definitely in the right place, but taking too much of a lighthearted approach may cause them more pain.

Bearing one another’s burdens is a privilege and a way that we can honor the Lord by fulfilling this requirement.  In order to minister effectively in these super-sensitive areas, we must be willing to adjust our approach to suit the needs of the grieving rather than do what we think is best.