Thursday, January 26, 2012

They Don't Know

Since my daughter died inside me, I have been commended by many people.

You are so brave, they say.  Your faith is so great.

They say that because they don't know.  They don't know the truth.

They don't know how, the night we arrived home from the hospital without our daughter and for many nights after that, I lay on the bed, alone, and cried out to God for comfort, for answers, and heard nothing.  How I hated Him for that.

They don't know how I was crippled with fear that my daughter, because she died before she was born, was not enjoying Heaven (I am no longer afraid of this).  How I was paralyzed by the terror that my husband would also die too young and too soon (I am still afraid of this).

They don't know that I tried to stop believing in God.  How disgusted I felt that a so-called loving God would let a deeply cherished, innocent child die before she drew breath.

They don't know how in spite of myself I could not shut God out.  That, no matter how hurt and angry and hateful I felt about Him, I could not not believe.  That whatever faith I have is because of Him, not me.

They don't know how I raged at this God who wouldn't save my daughter and wouldn't let me go.  How I asked Him to let me die, too.

They don't know that I hate to read the Bible now.  That I am afraid of coming across passages that wound me with their words of how God brings pregnancies to fruition, because the first-fruit of my pregnancy was death.

They don't know how afraid I am all of the time.  Afraid of what will become of me, or not become of me.  Afraid that I have been ruined.  Afraid of the future, because the future is a gaping void threatening to devour.  Afraid that I will die alone.  Afraid that, for the rest of my life, I will only lose and lose and lose.

They don't know how God has met me in ways small and large.  How deepest grief and sharpest fear have enlarged my soul with the sweetest intimacy with my Maker that I have ever known.  That this intimacy is because He is reteaching me to interact  Him, and not because I prayed the perfect prayers or kept a perfect faith.

They don't know that, even with this reteaching of prayer, I cannot pray.  I cannot pray for material needs, for practical requests, because I do not know what prayer means now that I prayed for my daughter and she died.

The people who say that I am brave and that I am faithful -- they don't know how terrified I am, how doubting, and how weak.  They don't know that it's not me doing the things they see me doing, but God.  God, and God, and God again -- hearing every broken sob, tasting every tear, healing every part of me.

If I am brave, it is with the courage that He has given me.  If I am faithful, if I am trusting, it is with belief whose genesis is in Him.  If I lived only by my own power and strength, I would not be able to breathe, let alone stand, let alone trust.

I am nothing.  God is everything.

For that I am grateful.


  1. Even after reading this I still think that you are brave.

    A recent guest post on my blog wrote:
    "Courage? Choosing to do something because your choice is more important than fear.
    Bravery? Being afraid but doing it anyway."

    You are moving forward from the death of your daughter. You are brave. xo

  2. Honestly, I feel like a faith that is questioned, tested, and constantly worked on is a true faith. It would be just too easy to always have a positive faith. I think in order for it to grow and deepen to a point where you fully rely on it and trust it NEEDS bumps and hard patches. Don't for guilty for your time needed to work through this, it's healthy and natural.
    Also, I am positive that Eve is in Heaven. God has cradled her in His arms and one day you and J will be reunited with me. I'm sure of this, Beth.

  3. I could have written these words. Especially the part about the fears (hubby dying) that accompany this horrible grief.

    People say 'brave' because I don't think they know what else to say. And from their vantage point, looking from the outside. . . it is all that they can see. Surviving is brave I guess.

  4. Honestly, I feel like a faith that is questioned, tested, and constantly worked on is a true faith. It would be just too easy to always have a positive faith. I think in order for it to grow and deepen to a point where you fully rely on it and trust it NEEDS bumps and hard patches. Don't for guilty for your time needed to work through this, it's healthy and natural.

  5. Beth - dear western' Beth - I've posted before - and still on Angel's wings I send you hugs, prayers and love.

    God is amazing. God, even in grief can be found. God is Love.

    How do I know? My Mother died - when I was almost three.

    You are courageous - filled with great love, talents and an expansive Love for all - with God's Love flowing from your broken heart.

    {{{{hugs}}}}}} to you from eastern Beth....xoxo

  6. It's as if brokenness allows his grace and light to shine all the brighter, blinding and awful like waking in full view of the sun yet beautiful and brilliant once we adjust.

    I maintain that you are brave to share and to be honest in that sharing, that you are a strong and powerful woman despite human wariness, and that the warrior you are becoming has already begun to take root. I have no doubt that you are becoming a remarkable godly woman who fully shaped by the Lord will minister to others, will one day, as the Lord does, grieve with those who grieve in ways only someone knowing true brokenness can and bring healing to others.

    You remind me so that "the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. "

    You are right. We see the Lord in you and are amazed. Your honesty is strength, your humble humanity is candid beauty. Through you, we see Him. And I can't wait to see what He will do.

  7. You didn't convince me - I still know you're brave. And your faith is amazing.

  8. *HUGE HUGS*

    And yet, we do know, now, because you told us. Because you keep showing up, when you can.

    In my meditation tradition, the spiritual warrior shows fearlessness and bravery. Fearlessness is not the absence of fear, but recognizing it and going forward - showing up, in spite of the fear. The warrior sees basic goodness - which is not to say everything is light and happy and fun. "The discovery of basic goodness is [...] the realization that we can directly experience and work with reality, the real world that we are in." Later, Chogyam Trungpa says "We can tell the truth straightforwardly and be absolutely open, but steadfast at the same time." For me, that's what you have been doing here.

    For me, your bravery is not about *not* breaking down, *not* being angry or upset or terrified of the future. Your bravery shines forward because you are finding your way through the things that are going on - the crying, the joy, the sorrow, the grief -and you are openly sharing it, you are allowing yourself to recognize what is present in this new world. You are not hiding your light (or God's), you are letting it be real. No one is perfect on this earth. We stumble, we fall. It is okay.

    Sending you love.

    (Quotes from Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa)

  9. *tears* Oh goodness Beth, you have said it exactly right. I used to hate it when people would say i'm strong. I never felt strong, I felt like I was crumbling inside. What a God we serve, to love us in spite of ourselves. I think ultimately that is what drew me back to him, his relentless love in spite of me hating that he allowed her to die. Oh Beth, wishing you so much peace today.


  10. *hug*s to you, Franchesca. <3

  11. thanks, steph. *hugs*

  12. this made me cry, K. (good tears, that is.) thank you. <3

  13. big hugs, eastern beth!

  14. so true, christina. the first thing I said to my husband after being told that Eve had died was that now we would get to find out what our faith really means. and we are, and it is surprising.

  15. *hugs* stephanie. and surviving -- that is something. <3

  16. Sometimes I think we do know. We see your grief. And in that seeing, we are amazed by God's tender care of you and encouraged by your willingness to let Him in even though it feels like He let you down. Yesterday at Bible study I caught a glimpse of you out of the corner of my eye. I had to look twice because, in that single moment, I noticed that you were radiant with the love of Christ. It is seeping out of you.

  17. lol Cassie, I certainly did not feel radiant with anything...except maybe some anger as the video went on. Eek! But thank you for saying so. That encourages me. I feel like such a mess. xoxo

  18. reading your wods continues to allow me to tap into the feelings i have felt but not been able to verbalize, because you do it soooo much better!! thank for for allowing me to understand my grief beeter while trying to help you though yours! <3

  19. I landed on your page through the unspoken grief website. I cry with you after reading each of your blog post. At the same time, I see you as my role model. I too, lost my son two months ago... Through your writing, I see that you have such strong faith and have come into a lot of deep realization. I'm amazed you find the strength and motivation to do such beautiful drawing and writing. For me, I did absolutely nothing in these two months. I used to love writing lyrics and compose music to express my feelings. This is the first time ever in my life that I lost all my inspiration, too hurtful to write, too complicated to express. Thank you for writing your blog, because reading your words allow me to tap into my own world and digest the feelings I have been feeling, but not being able to voice it out.

  20. oh biggest hugs. I'm so sorry that your son is gone. xoxoxo

  21. Beth,
    A mutual friend (Krista Hellem) told me about your blog. I lost my baby, David, on January 9 when he died in my womb at 29 weeks and 2 days. So I am 20 days out from the day that my baby and a huge part of me died. I totally relate to everthing you are saying. The loss and grief are truly cavernous. We are walking the same road. My blog is I live in Florence. If you ever want to talk, I'm here. My email is


  22. The fact that you don't feel radiant or realize your are shining from the inside makes it all the more beautiful. Really.
    So sorry Beth Moore made you angry. I was wondering if she was pushing at sore spots for a lot of people. But I love her still. She is an amazing teacher. I will choose to listen some more. You?

  23. Yes, I will keep going until/if i get a job. :)

  24. You ARE brave! I have had a lot of people tell me I'm brave too (although due to very different circumstances than yours) and I didn't feel brave either... however, those people who say we are brave are right.
    Being brave doesn't mean not feeling pain, raw emotions, grief or fear. Being brave means continuing to live and take one breath after another when sometimes you don't want to. It means facing the pain and feeling it... and still living. Because sometimes it has hurt so much that I really wondered if I would die. This is what true bravery is.
    You are brave.

  25. You said: "It means facing the pain and feeling it... and still living." Yes and yes and yes! Thanks for sharing this and encouraging me, Donna.

  26. ((hugs)) from a fellow child of God who has lost her most precious blessing to His arms. What you've shared is amazingly and tragically beautiful. I can relate to almost every word and have been struggling to express these feelings to others.

    I *know*.

    I hate that there are those of us that do know, but I know that that it is a small measure of grace from Him to know that I do not walk even this very horrid path alone.

    Any strength I show is just His strength carrying me, my faith is a gift from Him, not something I have on my own.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King