Mike and Sarah Evers sat in the chilly waiting room of a specialist, surrounded by expectant mothers.
“They were women whose big, beautiful, joyful bellies were full of promise and hope, dreams and fulfillment,” says Sarah.
After years of “unexplained infertility” (an actual medical term) the Evers, with Cru in New York City, had miraculously conceived.
However, early in the pregnancy the specialist confirmed their worst fears – there wasn’t a heartbeat.
“We experienced a death,” Mike says.
As part of the mourning process, Mike and Sarah held a memorial service for their child. They bought baby socks, picked wild flowers and held a private service in Montauk, NY, where Sarah’s father is buried.
Feeling the weight of hard emotions is extremely difficult. Yet feeling appropriately is what makes us healthy.
But grieving comes in waves, and 2 months after the miscarriage Sarah was again surprised by the sense of loss.
She writes, “It seemed like everyone on staff [in NYC] had new chapters to explore. But I felt the weight of empty arms and was reminded again of the baby we lost. If I hadn’t had a miscarriage, I’d be 5, 6 months pregnant by now, and we would have had our own new chapter to look forward to.”
Soon after their miscarriage they began a process to become foster parents, with the hope to someday adopt. Almost immediately a stranger called about a potential private adoption – so they did both. Six weeks later, Sarah held Phoebe in the delivery room. “While fear still lingered, I was hooked. Phoebe would forever and irrevocably be our little girl.”
Sarah says that if this were a movie this is where the credits would roll. But it’s not; it’s life. And life is full of pain, inexplicable and often confusing.
Delighted with Phoebe, the Evers know she is not a replacement for their baby. God could have given them a biological child and Phoebe. Living as someone’s substitute is too heavy a burden and what would it say of God?
Mourning well takes trust in a bigger God – a God who Mike says is unpredictable and unexplainable. Sarah says, “Theology can tell me God is sovereign and I can be tempted to bypass my emotions. But God is a God of emotion and passion. And feeling the weight of hard emotions is extremely difficult. Yet feeling appropriately is what makes us healthy.
“We were created for so much more and I think that’s why these losses hurt so much. Do I trust that God is good? Do I trust that he values me? Do I trust the one who has the end in mind while I’m stuck in the messy middle?”
As Christians, we experience intense pain at times. But the Evers see good in this, a chance to minister in deeper ways.
The Evers tread lightly when they see others in pain. They don’t believe platitudes work. Sarah says, “I don’t want trust in my carefully crafted words, I want to trust in Jesus’ ability to comfort.”
Sarah and Mike experienced God mourning with them, “God understands the pain of losing a child.” Sarah continues, “Jesus gave up all love, even the love of the Father, so that we can have love forever. We are all in need of healing, of adoption, of a safe place to call home and for a good Father who loves us.”
Learn more from the Evers on their personal blog.
More articles about grief and loss:
When a Baby Dies
After the Suicide