Excerpts from Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life)
In celebration of the launch of my new book, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), I’ll be offering up some samples from the book. Check out previous excerpts, along with today’s sampling, “Miscarriage.”
Stories from the Roller Coaster is now available in paperback and will be available soon for Kindle. (Need a Kindle?)[callout]
Purchase Stories from the Roller Coaster on my Square Marketplace site and request a signed copy for you or as a gift.
Also available on Amazon.[/callout]
“Miscarriage”: An Excerpt from Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life)
The winter of 1993 also brought exciting news to Loretta and me and our families. We were going to have a baby. I had in my mind that I would have a son first, that we would name him Michael, and that he would take care of a younger sister or brother in what we planned to one day be a family of four. Looking back, I should have known that my plans would not be what the Lord had in store for us. As with so many of the other plans that I had made for myself and for my family, my plans weren’t necessarily bad; they were just different from God’s plans for us.
Our due date was July 4, 1994, my aunt’s birthday and a date conveniently nestled between baseball season and my return to school. Perfect. During semester exams for the fall term—just a couple of months into Loretta’s pregnancy—I received a phone call at school from her. Before the days of cell phones, a call from Loretta while I was at school was unusual. She was bleeding and needed to go to the doctor to be sure everything was okay.
I remember how kind Mrs. Cheryl Ward, our school’s testing clerk, was on that day. I quickly gave her instructions for administering the remainder of my exams that day and raced toward the doctor’s office. I prayed frantically, not really knowing what this situation could hold for us and for our baby.
Loretta and I waited fearfully as the ultrasound technician waved the magic wand over Loretta’s stomach. We were listening for any positive indication, but she remained silent as she searched for a heartbeat. After what seemed an eternity, she turned to my wife and said, “I’m sorry…” I’m sure there was more information that came after that, but those two words told us all we needed to know. We had lost our child.
This was not a situation that we had covered in our pre-marital counseling. The sadness that enveloped both of us was palpable. I had no idea how to lead my wife through this. I would ask Loretta if she needed to get out of the house, and she didn’t know. I would ask her if she just wanted to stay home, and she didn’t know. I wanted to help so badly, but neither of us knew what to do.
Miscarriages were not commonly discussed in those days. We knew of one other person, one of Loretta’s best friends from high school, who had miscarried. Kim and her family had just moved that weekend. All we knew was the name of the neighborhood across the county where they had moved. No phone number. No address. And no way to readily reach out to them. Just the name of the subdivision: Eastover—only one of the largest subdivisions in our county. Trying to find them would be like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. To add even the stress of not being able to find Kim’s house would have been too much. So we stared at the walls.
I cried out to God in my helplessness to show me what to do. So many times, when our first instinct is to do something, the Lord just wants us to come to Him, release our burdens, and abide in Him. This prayer, though, led to a one-word instruction. Drive.
So we drove. I didn’t know where we would go, exactly. We just drove and drove and drove. Eventually, we drove to Olive Branch and turned on one of the streets leading into Eastover subdivision. Within just a few houses, we saw Larry and Kim’s van staring at us from their driveway. Of course! Now that we were a tiny bit above the fog that we had both been under, it made sense. If they had just moved, the garage would be full of unpacked belongings. It seemed intuitive…now…that there would be no room in the garage for the van. Thank You, Lord.
Kim was home and welcomed us quickly into their home. Their little girl Kendall was about three years old, and she would probably have had many questions regarding what were soon to be two crying women, so I asked her if she would like to read me a book. She did, and we went to another room to engage in Little Red Riding Hood. Over 20 years later, I still remember Kendall’s version: “All the better to see you with, my dear….All the better to eat you with, my dear.” Funny, the next time I saw Kendall was 15 years later on a mission trip to Seattle for which our churches joined forces. She claimed to still remember reading to me, too.
I never asked for specifics about Loretta’s conversation with Kim. All I know is that the Lord had provided comfort for my wife through the same comfort with which He had comforted Kim a few years earlier. He had lifted her from what felt like the beginning of a deep, dark place and given us hope.
I learned that day that the Lord is my strength, my hope when all seems lost. Oh, I already knew that, but the lesson dropped from my head to my heart. I also learned that when I feel totally helpless and feel like my last option has been exhausted, He still has resources I can’t even imagine. The ride of faith that day involved just one simple step of obedience on my part: drive. I didn’t need to know where I would go or what I would do when I arrived there. My instructions were simply for Loretta and I to get in the car and go. He did the rest.
Our miscarriage was soon followed by the joy of another pregnancy. Get the full story in Stories from the Roller Coaster, available in paperback and for your Kindle/Kindle app.