I had a miscarriage this week. It was the first time I’d ever experienced it and it was harder than I would have expected. You can read more about that here. It’s one of those life experiences that causes you to reflect, feel sorry for yourself, question everything, get angry, focus on what you lost and ponder the need to power cycle and restart.
I’ve run the gamut in emotions this week and could be found anywhere between a heap of utter despair to cautiously ambitious at any given time. As I was driving to church on Sunday morning, I found myself frustrated and focusing on my loss and the powerful question of “why me?” My kids were arguing and being obnoxious, my uterus was revolting yet again and my head was hurting. I kept letting my thoughts cycle back to what I’d lost and how sad I was. I was hosting my own personal pity party, complete with violin – over and over in my mind.
Adding insult to injury, a family member had a beautiful, tiny baby born just days after my miscarriage began, amplifying my heartache. I replayed the visit in my head over and over, thinking about how I wouldn’t be holding a new perfect person in early March like I’d been planning.
This went on for almost the whole drive to church. (we live in the middle of nowhere, so it’s a good, long drive for feeling sorry for yourself) I yelled at my kids, misted over several times and continued to let myself burrow deeper into my grief and disappointment. I was dreading walking into church because I felt so wretched. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, didn’t want any glances of pity or hugs of consolation. I wanted to keep going with the pity for myself.
Think of the Good Things
When we were almost to church, the most poignant idea suddenly inserted itself into my head. “Think of all the good things.” I argued with myself for a moment because surely after what I’d been through, it would be too hard to consider the good things in my life! The voice in my head repeated, loving and firm, “Think of the good things.”
I realized at that point that this was not a mere thought, but the counsel of a loving Father in Heaven who was thinking of me and aware of my hurting. In an effort to appease the “voice” I began to tentatively think of the good things I know I have.
I first thought of my husband. He’s loyal, a hard worker, kind, an incredible Dad. He’s the best thing in my life. Life would be bleak without him. I thought of all the other kinds of husbands and fathers there are in this world and realized that he is a huge blessing in my life.
Then I thought of my children and how they bring my life purpose and meaning. They are healthy and happy. (most of the time) They are an incredible blessing. As I mentally ticked off these blessings and good things, it became easier and they came to my mind faster. A nice home, family close by, clean water, healthy food, all my basic needs met and much more. I don’t want for anything. I’ve always been happy, cared for and blessed beyond belief.
I immediately felt a shift in my awareness and a load lighten from my spirit. I continued to consider what all I was blessed with and was able to go into church feeling uplifted, thankful and glad that the Holy Ghost was able to break through my wall of sorrow and penetrate my thankless heart. Feeling renewed, I certainly wasn’t prepared for what would happen next.
Speaking to Me
I lead the music for the congregation at church. It’s a job that requires me to step out of my comfort zone every Sunday and is sometimes extremely nerve wracking. I pretty much make a fool of myself on a regular basis. On this day when I felt especially vulnerable, the burden was particularly heavy. I wearily walked to the music stand and lifted my arms to lead. As the organ began to play, I recalled the melody and recognized an old favorite.
As we began to sing the words, my heart swelled and my voice quivered. Goosebumps covered my body and I began to sweat. I knew Heavenly Father was speaking directly to me. It was beautiful and terrifying all at once. Each verse brought new understanding and I realized that my merciful Father had lovingly prepared me as I drove to church to feel his love and receive his message of hope and comfort. My voice screeched and veered out of tune, my eyes moistened and my legs shook. The words enveloped me:
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your Lord on high.
So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Text: Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922
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Photo credit goes to freedigitalphotos.net and Maya Picture, Keerati and Ohmega 1982.