Today I'd like to talk to you about what a friend and fellow loss mom used to call our "mind prison." Right after we lost our babies, we began to wonder if it was all our fault. I think this is a very common struggle. One morning, I woke up in a panic, suddenly replaying events in my mind, the ones right before we found out Hope was sick. I turned to my husband and said, "IT'S ALL MY FAULT. I should have known, I DID know, and I should have taken better care of her . . . " These kind of thoughts quickly spiral out of control, and keep you locked up in a pattern that you never know quite how to get yourself out of once you start down that road. Thus the term "mind prison." (If you've ever seen BBC's Sherlock Holmes, it's sort of like the opposite of his "mind palace.") I knew it wasn't good for me, but I was convinced I was a bad mom and forever caught up in the endless "what ifs."
It's one of the worst feelings you can have, I think. Not only has your baby died, but you aren't even free to mourn her death because you're too busy blaming yourself. Many people tried to tell me that it wasn't my fault, and verbally I'd agree with them. But my wounded heart could not.
During my pregnancy with Gideon, the progress I thought I'd been making with my grief was halted, and I even felt like I was going backwards. Nothing like being pregnant to bring up old memories and feelings that refused to be ignored any longer. That's when the Lord began to send people to encourage me. One day I went up for prayer at church, and a lady spoke these words to me: "God wants you to know it's not your fault what happened to your baby. You are free to enjoy this pregnancy."
I wish I could tell you that I believed what she said. Things would be a whole lot simpler if we'd just believe what the Lord says about us, wouldn't they? Later on, after Gideon was born, when I went to get prayer for my thyroid, the lady told me that God says "it's not your fault." I just kind of looked at her until she repeated it, and I realized she didn't even know about Hope. Thank goodness He is so patient and doesn't mind sending the same message over and over again until we get it!
So I guess I kind of got to the point where I believed that God is the one who truly determines our destiny. I mean, yes, there are things I know now about faith and miracles that I didn't know back when I was fighting for Hope's life (even though I even believed that she could be brought back to life, I was really just a baby/toddler of a Christian back then.) But God could have sent someone else to pray for her or save her, someone besides me who understood what needed to be done. And it seemed that God wanted to confirm this belief for me.
As I continued to seek God for more comfort, He began to reveal more and more to me about Hope's story. Going to the Freedom Center accelerated this process, because I learned how to better communicate with him. One day I hopped in the shower to get alone with God while the kids slept and began to pour out my heart to him like I never had before. I was just sobbing to him about how upset I was that I couldn't save my daughter. God came near to me, closer than I have ever felt him before, and clearer than I've ever seen or heard him. Very gently, he said, "I was upset when I couldn't save my son." God told me that he wanted to "remove the what if's" and give me peace. He reminded me of how He saved me when I was sick as a little girl, to the point of death, and that He could have acted outside the circumstances to keep Hope alive if it was His will. Just as He could have acted to save His son . . . So I thank God it wasn't up to me to choose whether Hope stayed here or went to heaven!
After this experience, I thought God had already done a miraculous work on my heart. But he wasn't finished yet . . .
(To be continued)