It’s been over a month now since our last miscarriage – number 2 in 10 months. It feels somewhat odd to be writing another “one-month-on” post less than a year after the last one – partially because this isn’t a situation I’d ever hoped to be in, and partially because things feel quite different in some ways. Which makes sense, given that every pregnancy and every miscarriage is a separate event, but has still taken me a little by surprise.
I think the difference is that this time, I probably got back to “functional” slightly earlier. I’d been through the process so recently that it wasn’t the immediate devastation that I thought it might be – in fact, I found it harder in the run up to the official “finding out”. Not to say it hasn’t been an emotional experience – anyone from my church blessed enough to be sitting near me on Mothering Sunday will witness to that (why I wore mascara will remain one of life’s unanswered mysteries) – but not in the same way as last time.
Part of that was being part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts work to the Commission on the Status of Women. For the two weeks immediately following the miscarriage, I pretty much lived gender equality, and real life was something that decorated the margins. Which is fine, and probably useful in some senses as something to concentrate on, but left me, once it had finished, with a crashing sense of “what do I do now?!”
I’m slightly worried that I’m going to get stoned for this, but to be honest, I’m still feeling that way, particularly in regards to faith. I’m a theology graduate, children’s work-loving, vocation-exploring, Brownie-leading all round Good Girl, but at the moment, I can’t really be bothered.
Not, I hasten to add, because I blame God. I have always struggled with the idea that God causes difficult stuff. I think He can allow it, for reasons far beyond my small human brain, but cause it? Nah. Does. Not. Compute.
I think a lot of it is linked with my physical state – I’m not sleeping brilliantly for a million reasons, so that pretty much has an impact on everything. Most of it though, is a lingering after effect of “feelings-based” Christianity – God feels Far Away, therefore He must be Far Away. Therefore, why bother?
Please believe that I’m not condoning running away when the crap hits. Actually, the opposite. I just wonder whether we always have such a great theology of perseverance. I’ve discovered I don’t really. It’s easy to praise God when the sun’s shining and I’m pooping Rainbows, but much harder when the walk of faith seems much more like a long hard trudge through the valleys.
I’m finding comfort and encouragement as I go though. The love of my church family and other Christian friends. I’m in an older church at the moment – many faithful warriors who’ve trudged the trudge many times before and who inspire me with their faithful following through cancer, bereavement, divorce, war – whatever it is. I struggle to read Scripture, so I’m reading and re-reading great books which have inspired my faith countless times before and keep doing so – Max Lucado on the 23rd Psalm, Jackie Pullinger’s book “Chasing the Dragon” on her experiences in Hong Kong, which was pivotal in my coming to faith (16 years ago – and if you saw the book, it looks every second of it!), Adrian Plass “Jesus – Safe, Tender and Extreme”.
I guess the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that it’s ok to not be ok. If the walk of faith is a trudge and heading out to church seems more of an effort than Everest, that’s ok. If there are days when you wonder why the hell you bother, that’s ok. If praying, or reading the bible, seem like a chore, or about as useful as flicking tiddlywinks up at the sky, it’s ok.
It’s ok because of Jesus. It’s ok because God isn’t sitting up there with some cosmic tick list, checking whether I’ve got enough Christian points. Instead, he entered deeply into humanity, and fully understands my emotions. And he doesn’t want me to have perfect faith before I approach – He just wants me to approach. And if that’s as a tired, trudging, doubter – well, it’s just good that I’m there. It’s good that you’re there too – even if you look at other people who seem to be undergoing a miracle before breakfast and wonder where they got their spiritual duracel. He doesn’t need a faith filled grinner. He just needs us. Because all our brokenness adds up to one spectacular whole – the church, his bride.