I first released this on October 14, 2015, four months after a life was stolen from me. It was a time of fully coming to know and understand what the word overcome really means. I had been through what one may consider hardship before in life, many of them consequences for my own actions, but this was a time of truly navigating that tightrope walk of “Did this happen TO me, or did this happen FOR me?”
I’m releasing an update to the original post from October 2018. This blog was written in honor of Infant Loss Awareness Month, and in support and love for every single one of you who resonates with any of the words I’ve written. Every experience is different. Details vary. Personal circumstances create the experience for us. But no matter, we feel the loss, the trauma, the pain. And, so much in life becomes bearable when we feel seen. I see you, and so I share with you;
Miscarriage. What a stupid word to encompass a phenomenon that I can only describe as having the LIFE literally stolen from you without the chance for a desperate plea from your broken heart. Not a “mistake,” an outright crime. It’s real and it’s the most painful thing anyone who’s experienced it will ever go through. Every time they go through it.
It feels like you’re the only one, all alone in your literal despair. When we experience loss, it is OUR loss. Our person stolen FROM us, and no one can possibly understand it. Words are hard to come by, resisted, and rejected as we thrash about in our darkened world. I recall it as though it were yesterday, instead of 365 x 4 yesterdays ago. And, I speak this truth into my then self, as much as I offer it to you now;
To stay there, in that dark world, is to allow the loss to define you, to become you and to limit any growth or good that can come from it.
When this happened in my life, I sat in the brown recliner in my living room, a small orb in a cavernous corner, and I faced the truth. The truth I hated when I heard it from my husband, across from the emergency break and the center console of my car. A truth I wanted to so much to reject as the sharp words penetrated my fog, “This is gonna be the moment. The moment we look back and say; that’s when everything changed for us.”
How could he even suggest that this could be a good thing!? How could I even wrap my mind around that, entertaining the idea of wanting to believe it. It was just too hard.
But from the brown chair, that nagging voices inside of me started twisting around each other; “you’re not the only person who has been through this, you’re not special;” “sharing this with others is attention seeking, no one understands and you don’t need to burden them; ” or “you don’t need to air your dirty laundry in public, people will think you’re crazy.” That was the inner critic, the second guesser, the pathological fixed mindset wanting to stay comfy in that miserable chair. But I heard the other voice, too; “someone needs to hear your story;” “you are never alone, reach out and find a hand to hold;” “life really does go on, even when it feels like it is over;” “tomorrow is coming and I can be here, or I can get up;” “this is the place from which you GET UP and grow.”
This was right around the time Big Daddy Weave released their song, “If I told you my story”;
If I told you my story,
you would hear hope
and wouldn’t let go
And if I told you my story,
you would hear love
that never gave up.
And if I told you my story,
you would hear life
but it wasn’t mine.
When I first heard it, back then, it smacked me in the face. There’s the winning argument – sharing is the act of faith to honor the choice to grow and to provide an example to others that it is possible. This is how we save each other. Since that time, I not only shared what I went through, but I began to own it as part of what was growing me. I allowed myself to be sad when I felt sad, and I also allowed myself to slowly begin enjoying life again. We are these whole, dynamic, amazing, feeling creatures and we are totally capable to experience contrasting emotions! When we feel pressured to or submit to choosing JUST ONE, we begin a dangerous trek into a dark, swampy forest. That forest becomes our mind, and we start to lose sight of the light. This is the depression that holds so many in tragedy and chronic grief when we lose something, someone we love. The truth is, that dark, swampy forest is just one part of who we are, what we experience, and when we stay there, we shut the light out. The light we were meant to live in and live out.
I do not believe we go through tragic things in order to be able to tell stories – no evil, bad thing is of my God. He would bring this loss on no one with intention. There are both explainable and unexplainable bad things that happen in life. Trying to understand them or find something to blame usually does not end well for us. I do believe that on the other side, when we push through and overcome a tragedy or a negative experience- we can make that experience work FOR us- and not allow it to suck the life out of us any longer. It is when we believe in the light, despite the dark, that we can enjoy God’s gift of honest, raw grace.
That tightrope of choosing to stay in our dark place, or to leverage the dark place to regain access to the light, is the journey of overcoming. It is through finding a safe place to explore the dark place, and allowing ourselves to fully experience all of our emotions- good and bad- that allows us to take each step forward. The safe place is important. Social media isn’t necessarily a safe place, as words can be misunderstood and translated inaccurately. Sometimes it’s more about what details to share, and which to keep sacred, because the purpose of sharing is for mutual growth, not re-living the trauma.
When we begin to share the experiences we go through that break us down, all the way down to the cold midnight bathroom floor, that’s when we begin to accept ourselves where we are. Letting others see us, creates a window to see ourselves. That’s where the magic is. God doesn’t ask us to be stronger than he made us. God doesn’t ask us to put on a happy face when that’s not what we feel. He simply asks us to come to him, honest and vulnerable, giving him what is too heavy to bear on our own.
I share this today, to recognize and validate that it is hard. It is hard to feel trapped, frozen, and broken, and still know that there is a life to live. It is hard to get up when you want to stay down. It is hard to connect with someone in an honest space to begin to allow the growth to occur. But this is the choice we face, day after day.
Awarding Life is about recognizing excellence. I endured this loss less than a year after creating Awarding Life and all that it means, and I think it’s when I fully understood how real the balance between present peace and striving growth really is. I’ll remember the words my husband said to me that day forever- the day we drove home, me curled up in the passenger seat, the day my unborn baby was stolen from my body- the baby that I hadn’t been aware of at first, hadn’t planned, hadn’t expected, but had come to accept, love and believe in; the day I was numb to the hot tears that streamed from my face with no prompt from any ounce of energy inside of me… he looked at me and said, “We are going to look back at this and we’re going to say- ‘That is when we changed. That is when we decided to make something good out of this and press on despite everything that wanted to tear us down.’”
He was right. Even when the conscious energy feels too much, it’s a simple choice to choose growth and allow it to take root inside. Some days you don’t get up, other days you not only get up, but you crush it and inspire the world with your energy. A current song lyric by Tauren Wells says “it is not one or the other, it’s hard love and ridiculous grace”. This demonstrates the mindset of an overcomer so well to me. We remain open to possibility while being honest with ourselves, and the next step becomes clearer to us.
No matter what you may have, or are going through in life, will you choose with me now; choose to recognize the excellence within yourself, that God planted, grew and shaped…for everything you’ve done, experienced or put yourself through… because it is that, the inner GRIT, the drive to press on- that is what we are obligated to share. It is that place, made tangible through the lives we live, that provides not just hope, but the choice to act in Faith and know that you are loved and worthy of that love when nothing around you seems to feel that way- THAT is where you’ll find your next self.
“This is my story. This is my song… Praising my Savior, all the day long…”
Here are the songs referenced: