When I shared my thoughts about having a miscarriage, I left out one important lesson that I’ve continued to learn: what it means to live in community.
In a stroke of truly terrible timing, Matt and I sent out our Christmas letters to our friends and family telling them that we were expecting a baby the day before I miscarried. So as I was struggling with physical and emotional pain, those letters hit mailboxes and gave a wide circle of friends the no-longer-good news. Being that we send cards to several families with whom we don’t have constant contact, we continue to receive notes and calls of congratulations even now, weeks later.
Though we have the awkward conversation that follows down to a science at this point, I’ve noticed that that awkward conversation leads the way to deeper conversations about God, life, and experiences of loss. Statistics tell us that 1 in 4 or 5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage; now I know many names to go with that statistic. I’ve heard stories of loss that I never knew about people that I deeply care about.
In discussing what a church should look like, Paul says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” I thought I knew what that meant until I had such a private loss in a public arena. As I mourned, it allowed those around me to mourn their own losses. It allowed me to share my faith and how God was taking me through with Christians and non-Christians alike. It forced me to receive prayers, encouragement, and many hugs from others, when I would have rather kept people out. In short, God used it not only to grow my faith, but that of those around me.
I am increasingly convinced that a huge part of Christian leadership is simply living your faith in a public arena. What does it look like to have a God-honoring marriage in both good and hard times? How does someone who believes in Jesus deal with loss? How do they spend money, time, and other resources? The Bible teaches us these things, but living, breathing examples of Christian maturity are absolutely necessary to grow all believers. I’ve grown significantly in my faith simply by being around people who were trying to live our their faith in every day life.
I would not have chosen to have told so many people I was pregnant if I knew what was to come, but God used this experience for His glory. My prayer is that I will be both faithful and open enough with my life that I will be able to say, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”