We are honored to have Rebecca Ashbrook Carrell, radio host of “Mornings with Jeff & Rebecca” each Monday through Friday from 5:30-8:30 a.m. on 90.9 KCBI. Rebecca says she is, in order of importance, a Christ-follower, wife to Michael James Carrell, and mother to Caitlyn and Nicholas. She is a conference and retreat speaker, Bible teacher, and radio personality in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Listen on-line any time by clicking onto kcbi.org. Rebecca is the author of “Holy Jellybeans: Finding God Through Everyday Things” and the voice behind the scenes at LoveServeShine.com
It was a rocky pregnancy from the start, but no one was really worried. After all, the women in our family are a bunch of fertile-myrtles. My middle sister and her husband have three children—none of them planned. My husband and I join the ranks with two very “happy accidents.” So when my youngest sister called me with concerns about her third pregnancy, I reassured her as best as I knew how.
“Spotting is normal, Em. I bled all the way through my first trimester with Caitlyn, remember?”
Still, Emily felt like something was off.
When the phone jolted me out of my sleep I rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock—it was 10:17p.m.
My family and friends know that, with my three-thirty a.m. wake-up call each morning, I am tucked into bed by eight.
I stumbled over to my dresser, saw that it was Emily, and immediately suspected the worst.
She was sobbing. She didn’t have to say anything else.
My youngest sister had lost her baby.
A miscarriage is such a hard thing to navigate. How is that you feel so much loss over someone you’ve never met? Your mind knows that it probably wasn’t a “viable pregnancy” but your heart mourns the loss of a child.
The weeks and months that followed were a foggy nightmare for my sister. She was devastated, but there were still kids to tend to and meals to fix. The rest of the world didn’t understand her grief and went on as though nothing had happened.
Sometime later I asked her what had been the most helpful. She gave a half-hearted laugh.
“There are no words that will lessen pain. Pain is something that has to be endured. It helped when people sat and endured it with me.”
Her best friend from high school, who’d also suffered a miscarriage, was the one who ministered to her the most.
She simply wept.
She didn’t slap a Bible-verse band-aid on her loss and tell her that her miscarriage would work out for the best. She didn’t hyper-spiritualize it and tell her that God purposed her this for a reason.
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” — John 11:33-37 NIV
The skeptics pose a fair question: Couldn’t the Lord have kept Lazarus from dying? Couldn’t He have saved my sister’s pregnancy?
Yes, on both counts.
But He didn’t, and we don’t get to know why.
Here is what we do get to know:
Jesus is never a silent bystander to our pain and suffering.
He enters in. He weeps. He stays close. He doesn’t weary of our anguished cries, but beckons us to cry in His arms.
When my sister was in the midst of her grief, that deep, soul-wrenching grief that seems as though it will never let up, my greatest sorrow was that I couldn’t empathize.
I could sympathize all day long. I cried real tears and prayed fervent prayers, but I could not fully enter in the way her friend could, because I have never miscarried a child.
What is your struggle?
Where does it hurt?
Can you trust it to the Lord?
Unspent pain leads to bitterness, but pain entrusted to the Father always—and I do mean always—leads to comfort and healing. And while the pain will not disappear immediately or even quickly, the redeemer of your soul and mine weeps as you weep to comfort us. Just like my sister’s friend.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. — 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NIV
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