I recently shared that one of my client’s lost her baby at 36 weeks. We had already scheduled for me to come on Tuesday (3 days after she delivered.) When we talked Friday night I asked her if she would still like me to come out and see her and she said she would.
Thanks to Molly Piper’s series of How to Help Your Grieving Friend, my eyes were opened a bit about the loss of stillbirth and some of the emotions a mom may be processing through. I was planning on asking Mom if she would like to share the pictures of her baby girl and her momento box, asking about her labor story and what is was like when she had to say goodbye.
Intellectually and professionally, I felt equipped and prepared.
Emotionally and spiritually, I wanted to run away.
We don’t like suffering. We run from it. We seek out the comfortable, the enjoyable. So when suffering comes close – whether it’s in your own life or others you care about, it’s our natural instinct to run, to hide.
Loving others is messy. If you’ve read even one of my posts on Loving Your Friend Through Infertility I know you’ve seen it. When you’re living in intentional community with others, you’ve been through it.
My default mode can often be to hide. When I’ve experienced loss or sorrow personally or when I walk through it with others, sometimes I just want to run away.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Isn’t that amazing? God is the Father of mercies, the God of comfort. He has empowered us to walk with people through suffering, to be with them every step of the way. Yes, it’s hard for us too. But God HIMSELF comforts us so we can comfort others. Through the storms, God hides us in Himself so we don’t have to hide from others.
As I’ve been walking through this with my mama, I’ve called this truth to mind repeatedly. I remembered it as I drove to her house for our home visit, as the mom and I cried together, as we looked through pictures of her precious baby girl. I thought about it as I drove to the memorial service at the cemetery and hugged this mom and grandma tight.
Because the Father of mercies comforts our hearts, we don’t have to hide away. We can walk closely with those suffering. We can come face to face with our own hurting hearts. Our hope can remain unshaken.
I encourage you to meditate on this truth. Instead of running away and hiding, hide in Jesus. Process through your own suffering. Jump in head first with the hurting. Be the hands and feet of Jesus to them and for them. It’s not easy, but we’re never alone.