Oct 3, 2014

In the Presence of God: Catherine Causey

This first story is written by a girl who I knew years ago as a camp counselor. Her name is Catherine, but then we just called her "Cack." I can remember the smile that was always on her face as she bounced around camp.

I love her story. to me it is a picture of what we don't often hear. Catherine's story represents the mothers that sometimes never got to tell anyone they were even pregnant. I love how her story tells of her child who was real, who no matter how "early" a loss, she lost a child. I love how her story is one of a woman who clings to Lord and finds truth in Him. I can tell you truthfully that I have prayed that as you read her story that you are blessed by her words today.

The date of our first prenatal appointment was August 5th, 2014. That’s the day after my birthday. I don’t think I could have dreamed of a better birthday present. We were so full of joy and anticipation that morning.

But our appointment didn’t go as we’d hoped.

We couldn’t have imagined that we’d be saying “Hello” and “Goodbye” in the same day.

That was a tough moment - that moment when our excitement and joy turned to sorrow and despair. The doctor tried to give us some hope, “Maybe you weren’t as far along as you thought you were.” But, I knew exactly how far along I was. I knew exactly what I should be seeing and hearing on the ultrasound (heck, there’s even an app for that). I had been tracking my baby’s growth every day since the moment we saw “pregnant” come across that digital pregnancy test. I will never forget the emptiness I felt while looking at our ultrasound. It was projected on what seemed to be the biggest TV screen ever made. I kept thinking, “Why must they use such a big screen to display something so awful?” Though as I look back, I’m sure we would have loved to see our little one on such an amazingly big screen had everything gone as planned.

A very long week of blood tests and another awful ultrasound later, it was confirmed that we had a miscarriage. Happy fourth wedding anniversary to us…

August didn’t go as expected. What is usually a ten day celebration of my birthday and anniversary now will be accompanied with the loss of our child. I don’t know if I will ever be able to celebrate them without missing what could have been.

Do I think it will get easier with time? Yes.

But does that make the grief of now any less real? No.

Grief is a weird thing. It comes in waves. Sometimes it’s triggered by the most random things. It can be intense and emotional. Or it can just barely be there, almost unnoticeable, like the background music to your thoughts.

In the days after our miscarriage, I found myself searching to find relief from this brokenness that had been thrust upon us.  The grief of it all was so overwhelmingly real, and as much as I would like to say that I ran straight to Jesus, that would be somewhat of an exaggeration. Did I blame Jesus? Not really. But in the days after the miscarriage there were several moments where  I just couldn’t talk with Him. And on those days, I’m so thankful for the church. I’m thankful for those that went on our behalf to Jesus. I’m thankful for a body that covered us in prayers. That is the church.

Despite my reluctancy to communicate verbally with God at times - the Spirit was (and is) always working. I’m so thankful of that. In the short weeks after our loss, I came across a book at the public library that said “A Christian Journey Through Miscarriage.” I’m a skeptic at times, I’ll admit. And I honestly picked up the book wondering what kind of crazy theology it was going to offer. However, “What was Lost” by Elise Erikson Barrett ended up being so good for my soul. I felt like I was reading my story amongst her pages. Her book led me to scripture that ultimately brought several great truth moments to our grief.

I think the biggest being this:

An unborn life is still a life lived completely in the presence of God.
“I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart.
Your works are wonderful - I know that very well.
My bones weren’t hidden from you
when I was being put tighter in a secret place,
when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my embryo,
and on your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me,
before any one of them had yet happened.” 
Psalm 139: 14-16 (CEB Version)
We live in a fallen world, one in which we experience sin, tears and death. One in which grief is inevitable. But there is great hope in Jesus, for from the very beginning, before we ever enter (or don’t enter) into this world, we are living fully in presence of God. The Father is no stranger to who we are; He already knows us, and He has made a way for us to be reconciled back to Himself through Jesus. Do I fully understand how a person lives in presence of God before they are born? Not really. I’ll chalk that up as one of the mysteries of our faith that I may not understand until the New Creation. But I know Jesus, and He gives me a great peace about his nearness to us all. I know that He cares about life. That we don’t just become important to Him once we are outside the womb, separate from our mothers.

In her book, Elise Barrett referenced the story of John the Baptist and his mother Elizabeth from out of Luke 1. John recognizes the presence of Jesus even while both of  them were still in the womb. I love that. I need that truth. We know His presence from the beginning. And greater still, He knows us.

I’m so grateful for that.

- Catherine Causey

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