This blog was first written in Dutch on 7 August 2017
20 weeks ago. With heavy worried thoughts and feelings we went to the hospital for the ultrasound I had to have every other week from now on. We already knew our daughter wasn’t growing well and that that was most likely due to a placenta that didn’t work that well. As soon as we had heard that, I started taking aspirin, totally slowed down my life and consciously enjoyed every little movement I felt in my belly. On Friday I had felt her quite strongly.
On Saturday we attended a funeral. An old friend had died and I felt quite unsettled. I met other old friends there and delightfully told them I was pregnant again. One friend said: ‘wow, death and new life’. And that was how I felt. I was so happy with new life inside of me and so full of grief about the death of this dear father of young children. But meanwhile I felt insecure. That week I had had a strong strange urge to prepare. I bought clothes in premature sizes, made sure that the crib was ready and had cleaned the covering.
And then came Monday, 20 weeks ago exactly today. I hadn’t slept much because I was so nervous. We had prayed so hard that she would grow, that she could stay safely in my belly until she was strong and big enough to be born. My husband was also very nervous. ‘I feel as if I have to do a very important exam’, he said. I was relieved that we were feeling the same way, but it also made me feel even more nervous.
And then the ultrasound. Dead silence. Litterally. Shock. Disbelief and knowing for sure at the same time. No! God, no! Lord, this can’t be! and at the same time knowing that this is really happening. Lord, help! What should we do? How do I tell my children? Will my marriage be strong enough? We already have been through so much and wonderfully overcame, will we make it through this? And how on earth should I give birth to a dead baby? What will happen?
And now, twenty weeks have gone by. We had to go through it. We made choices. We deliberately allowed each other to mourn in our own way, we would give each other space to talk or stay silent, to cry or not cry. We said to each other that we would be ourselves and that we would be honest. And no, we did not feel God was near. We had no idea how this could have happened and how to live on. And we still sometimes respond in ways we would never have thought we would. We discovered things we didn’t know about ourselves and each other. And now and then waves of grief come washing over each of us, but seldom at the same time.
But, looking back, seeing that every week was different, seeing how I was wrestling with God and His promises that did not seem to apply to Amanda, I can surprisingly surely say that He did not leave me alone for one second. I did not feel Him. My grief was too big to feel anything but grief. But I didn’t fall to pieces. I am still here. I am still walking, although often stumbling on my journey. Every time I fell, I stood up again and decided to think about the times that I did know for sure. Again and again I prayed: God, show me that you are here. You know me, right? You know that I want to find You, but I just can’t. I can not find the rest to sit and wait.
And He did! In numerous ways. Through a whatsapp message, a postcard, an email, a song, a bible verse, a thought, something I read or heard somewhere, something I suddenly remembered. All those things together give me a clear sense now of: no, I was not abandoned. He did not let me go.
Last week I heard a song from a Dutch band called Lev and after realizing what I wrote above, I can now sing it along:
Als er niets meer klopt, klopt het hart van God. God die overwint, Hij is met ons. Dus laat de hoop niet los. Los van wat er komt, komt er redding, want God is met ons.
It is actually not possible to translate, because in Dutch we say: ‘there beats nothing about it’, meaning that there is nothing right about it. And we use that word beat also for the beating of a heart. So this line would mean something like this:
‘If nothing seems right, still Gods heart beats. God who conquers, He is with us. So don’t let go of hope. Despite everything that happens, there will come rescue, for God is with us.’