carried + loved collective

Bowed Down With Sorrow

Jessica ScheksComment

Lately I've felt my primary emotions shift from anger to sadness. I've just felt heavy and burdened. I think there have been several contributing factors to my changing emotions, but I feel like I'm starting to finally feel the loss of our second child. It's taken months to get to this point. Up until just last week I was still feeling numb. I rarely cried! Which is hard to believe because I was crying constantly after our first miscarriage. I became quite accustomed to fighting tears at all times and the lump in my throat began to feel normal and I wondered if it'd ever go away.

That lump did go away, but it was replaced with a type of anger I've never experienced before and I hope to never experience again. I went from being mad towards everyone, everything, the world... and finally towards God. I had never been mad at God before but I constantly questioned His presence and when I felt like He didn't answer (or at least didn't answer in the way I wanted or expected Him to) I got angrier.

I just admitted this to my pastor's wife over the weekend. I didn't really tell anyone how I was feeling in the midst of my anger because I was ashamed for feeling that way. However now I'm on the other side of that anger and feel okay to admit it to people in person. Her response made me feel so much better: "Don't you think Job got a little angry?" I had to laugh because we know he did, and who could blame him?!

Another reason I've been feeling especially sad as of late is because I've put a lot of energy towards mourning with others this month. The thirteenth of this month would've been Audrey's third birthday, my best friend Melissa's daughter, and Valentine's Day was the anniversary of her death. I know how terrible it feels to feel forgotten by others, and even though I know Audrey is not forgotten, I still like to do things for Melissa and her family to remind them of that.

Melissa's husband Chris stumbled upon the song Good To Me by Audrey Assad somewhat accidentally last week. Melissa sent it to me saying how much it was helping her, and first I kept listening to it because I genuinely enjoyed it. But last night as I listened to the first verse (which I handlettered above), I felt like it was my life: 

"When I'm bowed down with sorrow, I will lift up Your name. And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy." 

I have a choice each day to choose joy and I don't want to fall into the black hole of bitterness ever again. It can be hard to continually choose joy in the midst of so much sorrow. But as the song says, in the midst of sorrow I want to keep lifting up His name because it's in His presence that I find my joy.

In this season, I feel like I'm a lot better at "mourning with those who mourn" as opposed to "rejoicing with those who rejoice." Several months ago I posted a question in a private Christian Facebook group: 

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
— Romans 12:15
What are practical ways to do this? Can you share of a specific time you lived out this scripture or someone lived it out in your own life?

How do you rejoice with someone over the exact thing you're mourning over?

This has been weighing heavily on my heart lately. Since I've had two miscarriages recently and no living children, I am so tender around newborns. To be honest I usually just ignore them because it hurts my heart. But I want to rejoice over new life with my friends. My best friend who had her baby a month before I was supposed to told me not to stress myself over this because there are enough people loving on her child.

A handful of women responded, but one woman said something I wasn't expecting:

"I'd like to just give you permission to be on the receiving end of this scripture for a while. After my son died, it was incredibly hard for me to be around babies, even my niece who was born 5 weeks before him. It's okay to take time for healing. The verse doesn't say rejoice with those who rejoice while you mourn. If it hurts too much right now, that's okay. Support your friend wholeheartedly -- from a distance. I'm confident it won't be this way forever, but right now, just allow others to mourn with you. I am SO sorry for your losses."

That made me feel so much better. I feel like my calling right now is to mourn with those who mourn because I'm extra sensitive to grief and sorrow in this season. When we have a baby of our own it will get easier to rejoice with those who are rejoicing, but I pray I never forget what this hard season feels like and that I will always make room to mourn with those who mourn.

Even though life has been harder lately, four or five people have reached out to me in the past week telling me I've been on their heart. That has meant so much. I've been pretty quiet about my sorrow lately, but it's been deep and I know it was the Lord that put me on the hearts of so many. It made me feel so loved by not only those people, but also by God. Things like that make me feel so humbled because it verifies that God sees exactly where I am and is supplying my needs and just reminding me that He is there. One woman from my church, who has had three miscarriages herself, reached out to me and said so many sweet things, validating the way I have been feeling. The last thing she said to me though was just what I needed to hear:

"It's okay to feel weak. It is in our weakness that God makes us strong. We need Him."

Such simple words but it released a floodgate of emotion the night she sent them to me. Which honestly, I am enjoying because anger has been such a primary emotion for me these past five and a half months that a good cry is just what I needed.

Lately I've felt more sad than angry. But I think that's good.