For the past two years, July has been the worst month of my life. On July 7, 2015, my husband and I lost our daughter Niya Alise and on July 30, 2016, we lost our daughter Madison Nicole. Niya’s preterm birth was caused by a placenta abruption due to a blood clotting disorder found after her birth and Madison’s was caused by an incompetent cervix. Niya was born at1:46 am and lived a total of six minutes and Madison was born at 5:43 pm and lived five minutes. I went into preterm labor unexpectedly each time at exactly twenty weeks pregnant. While many doctors did their best to save both girls, our home still has a vacant crib now for the second time.
Where was God in the midst of all of this? How could He have allowed this to happen to us when our hearts we so focused on only helping to fulfill His will for both Niya and Madison?
Though my husband and I thought of ourselves as strong Christians, these tragedies forced us to grip every ounce of faith we had. Nothing shakes your foundation more than your worst fear happening twice, and within a year’s time frame. We were devastated and had so many questions.
How can one process burying one child let alone two in a one year period? We knew God had led us to begin trying. Why would He lead us to try something He knew would not work out? I felt set up, deceived by the one I trusted most. I’ve always prided myself in having a close relationship with the Holy Spirit. Why didn’t he warn me or at least give me a heads up that this would happen?
I thought I had prayed God’s word over our babies. Shouldn’t this have yielded profitable results? At least, this is what I was taught in church as I learned how to build my faith. Yet, our prayers were not met with a baby. Although many of those questions remain unanswered, God used this time to draw me closer to Him by teaching me a lesson about faith.
Sometimes we place pressure on ourselves to be in faith in order to see the manifestations of God. This achievement faith mindset causes us to minimize God’s power and sovereignty by focusing too closely on the results of what our faith can bring rather than what the process of having faith takes us through. Sometimes the process is the point.
While I don’t believe God caused the death of my daughters, I do believe nothing happens that He doesn’t allow. Suffering happens simply because we live in a fallen world of sin which God never intended for us. But, because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we live in this imperfect world until we meet Jesus in Heaven.
I had lost sight of this causing my initial reaction after our losses to be more focused on what my faith did not achieve than lamenting the hurt I truly felt. I felt ashamed that my prayers had failed. I wanted to push through so that I could be an example of God’s goodness. I wanted the “I have overcome the world” part of John 16:33 without the “in this world you will have trouble” aspect. But God showed me that He is still present in our sufferings. And while He hates to see us hurt, he is close to us during this time and desires to use it to further enhance the intimate relationship he created us for. So going through the process of healing was something I had to do. Quoting scriptures to try and “be in faith” wasn’t what He needed from me. He needed the pure, uninhibited Brittany to tell him how hurt she was so that He can be the daddy God he has always desired to be in these moments. It wasn’t until I begin to accept this renewed mindset that I was able to truly lament and begin the healing process.
I had to learn to bring the realities of all my hurt to God without putting Scripture band aids on each wound. Intentionally acknowledging my hurt to God first by saying, “God this hurts” vs quoting a healing scripture continues to enhance my intimacy with Christ in a major way. While quoting scripture is imperative for increasing faith, true intimacy comes when we can simply crawl up in Daddy God’s arms and cry. Once he has healed our hearts he will help to repair the foundation of our faith with scripture. But healing comes first.
Books like “Heart Made Whole” by Christa Black Gifford and “No More Faking Fine” by Esther Fleece taught me the vitality of lamenting before God. In Esther’s book, she says “If we minimize our suffering to a 3 on the pain scale, then we only heal at a 3 as well”. Through this quote I realized that I had been trying to “push through” or “fake fine” so that I could be a good Christian again showing God’s faithfulness in my life rather than the current devastation. But pushing through doesn’t show God’s faithfulness it shows that we don’t fully trust Him. In order for Christ to be our Lord, we must trust Him with even our laments knowing that it was never His desire that we experience such hurt. And I’m so thankful that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are…” (Heb 4:15) Jesus understands and wants our laments and I am learning to bring it to Him fully. Through this understanding, God is truly healing our hearts and allowing us to live an honest life before Him. Healing is a process that only lamenting can carry us through.
So, where was God when I lost my daughters? He was on the throne ruling in his sovereignty as always (Psalm 103:19) But, He was also right where He has always been, next to me with open arms waiting to cry with me because He was hurt at the thought of watching me endure such pain because Jesus close to the brokenhearted and catches every tear in a bottle. (Psalm 34:18 and 56:8)
Our healing is only found when we bring the trueness of our hearts to Jesus. I pray that whatever you are walking through today, you are able to completely give your laments to Jesus. He wants to heal your heart. Please let Him in.