You Are What You Eat

Or more fully, you believe in and function on what you consume.

Pretty sure most would agree that this has been a pretty rough season of life for us. Along with the loss of our baby, our oldest child has been having a hard time – part grief, part pre-existing him-ness. I’ve had some health stuff creep up. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

One of the things that I was encouraged to do after Sebastian died was to find a group of other loss moms for support.  So I joined a group on Facebook of others moms (and a couple dads) who have lost babies to miscarriage and stillbirth.  For the most part, this group has been a lot of newer loss parents sharing their stories and their baby’s photos, talking about how they’re getting through or asking about gravesite or memorabilia display – things that others who haven’t been here don’t necessarily want to listen to and talk about.  Every now and then there are those who are despairing so deeply about going on with their lives after losing their baby – those are most painful when the loss was decades ago.  And one of the rules is that you cannot speak about religion until you’re talking about your own experiences or are asked how you are getting through.

I also looked into going to this organization’s local gathering until a speaking with a friend who had been there.  My friend, A, went with her mother-in-law after A’s brother-in-law (MIL’s son) died from cancer.  This group is for all loss families – miscarriage, still birth, infant an child loss from birth until mom dies.  A said these meetings were so depressing.  She strongly encouraged me NOT to go – that I wouldn’t find the hope in Christ that I’m used to and looking for… I’d find deep, inconsolable grief and pain.

I love these women (and men). My heart breaks for them in their despair. I can offer e-hugs for what it’s worth. Talk about the physical healing or the slow yet fast marching of time. But I can’t offer the real hope I have.  Every opportunity that even has a shadow of an opening, I HAVE to talk about the hope I have in Christ.

But I’m calling into question the idea that it’s super important to get into a group like this right away – someone to walk with you through what they’ve been through. The more time I spend in these groups (oh goodness… here comes the lynch mob), the more depressed I get! Last weekend was H-A-R-D.  Did you know there’s a “Bereaved Mother’s Day?”  The idea behind it is that Mother’s Day can be hard for those who have lost a child, so lets recognize that – that mothers are mothers whether you see their children or not.  Great idea!  Really! Pretty sure that’s what October 15th is about (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day), but of course that doesn’t include those mothers who lost older children. Regardless, back to my point. Leading up to last Sunday (which was also 3 months since we lost Sebastian), post after post, sappy meme after sappy meme with phrases like “empty arms,” “broken heart,” “I’ll never be the same again.”

A steady diet of this can bring nothing BUT despair! Are my arms empty – yes.  Is my heart broken – to an extent, sure. Will I ever be the same again – no… but is that a bad thing? I need a different diet!

This doesn’t make me better, but my diet HAS to be Jesus.  It just has to be! He didn’t bring me to this valley of the shadow of death to leave me and my heart among the evil of sin. He is WITH me.  HE comforts me. His Word promises this to me – and God doesn’t lie.

So when I’m having a bad day – when the tears come easier than my standard smile and laughter – I feed my soul. We live in an age when there’s so much information available at our fingertips at all times. If I have internet access – I have the Bible in hundreds of translations.  I can listen to the sermons of trusted pastors with a couple taps on my screen.  There are podcasts and YouTube videos and chat windows with supportive Lutheran friends who haven’t lost a baby… but they’ve been found and held and loved and cherished by a Savior – and they remind me I have been, too.

You are what you eat. Be fed! Be filled up! Listen to Christ saying I’m here, I’m with you, and I love you as my own… because you are.