Hold On.

Posted in Marriage Monday, Personal with 49 comments

I write this with a heavy heart. While both Matt and I have both experienced hardships of our own, and/or experiences that are more personal to one or the other, we have recently experienced our first real heartbreak as a married couple. On March 29th, we sorrowfully said goodbye to the first hope of a little one to come as I suffered a miscarriage. We have been so excited to extend our family, and were beyond giddy when I (finally, after weeks of wondering) tested positive. I had gone to meet Matt for lunch the day I found out and gave him the gift of the wrapped positive test. I took pictures and video recorded his excitement and shock as he realized the news I was telling him. We excitedly talked that night about how we would tell our families and what we would name our first child. We created happy memories that day, but now the excited conversations have stopped. The pictures and video stay on my phone as I do not have the heart to delete them, but also do not know if I can ever look at them again. We have gone through ups and downs of emotion this past week. It has felt like we were (and maybe still are) on a roller coaster but were not strapped in right. That at times we were simply just holding on for dear life and not knowing how to help our own self, let alone one another.

I debated whether to write about this or not. As you can probably tell, it’s deeply personal and still painful for us. Not only that, but I tend to worry about what others will think or how they will react when I look only to myself on what to write. But as I prayed about it, I realized that just as God had sent friends to us who had suffered miscarriages, He also wanted me to be a friend to others. Not that every couple has suffered a miscarriage, but in our fallen world hardship is something we will all face. Sadness and grief is inevitable and we must be prepared to work through it with our husbands and our wives. Not out of despair, but out of a hope that we claim in a God who truly cares and wants us to be there for one another just as He is there for us.

Whether you have been married one month or 50 years, you very well may have gone through the grief of a lost loved one or pain of a difficult circumstance in your marriage. I have not only experienced this first-hand with my husband now, but have also watched as my parents walked through it in their marriage. My precious younger brother, David, passed away at the age of 4 due to complications with his Cerebral Palsy. I later learned that my parents had not only been given low odds of their marriage surviving after his death, but also after his birth when it was discovered that something was “wrong”. Seeing them celebrate their 28th anniversary this past Saturday is nothing short of a miracle as they have been through some of the deepest grief and hardship of any couple I know.

So for you that have already been through heartbreak together, take hope! The pain can be unbearable, the difficulty of grieving not only alone, but together, is anything but easy. The shock, anger, resentment, guilt, sadness, [insert emotion here] is okay to feel. But whatever you do, hold on. Hold on to that thrashing roller coaster and the twists and turns that you were not prepared for, because in the end, we all get off of the ride. There is a destination, there is a happy ending to our pain, and we will see Christ one day, face to face. Hold on to Him, and hold on to your spouse. It’s easy to let one another slip, but grab their hand and keep holding. Letting them go will not ease your pain, but will only deepen it and will take away one of the greatest comforts and helpers that God has given us on this earth. I watched as my parents grew apart in their struggle and pain but still held on to one another, even if it was just by a pinky. They stuck through it and what a blessing it is to now see them as newly restored “love birds” who can hardly be apart. I have seen what God can do when you stick through it. I have seen how He can take brokenness and place the pieces back together. My friends, I have seen miracles. Do not give up.

Psalm 34:18- The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit

To those of you who have not yet experienced hardship as a couple: it will come. I say this not to bring you down, to make you fearful or to be harsh, but as a warning to be prepared. Jesus promised us in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in this world. Get ready. Talk with your spouse about dealing with hardship. Commit to one another that you will stay strong and pray together that the Lord will guide you through it together. We cannot be fools when it comes to being ill-prepared. This is like strolling into a desert with no canteen of water. Be ready and stay strong. John 16:33 leaves us not only with a warning, but with comfort…

“…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We have an amazing God who does not leave us or forsake us (Duet 31:6). We do not need to fear, He is right by our side (Isaiah 41:10). He will fulfill His promises to us (2 Cor 1:20). He loves us (John 3:16).

This week has been a hard one. I was gone from Matt for a week right after the miscarriage happened as I was taking care of my grandma in California. I learned then, more than ever, that we are not meant to suffer alone – especially in marriage. Being reunited at the airport yesterday sent me into a flood of tears of relief as his love, support, and understanding was once again at my side. Our hearts are still healing. While we are ourselves and are able to get through our day-to-day tasks, the pain of seeing a baby or a pregnant woman and being reminded of our loss is still fresh. But despite it, we take comfort in our amazing God and in one another. We hold on for the ride and are keeping each other on, even when we go down another rough dip. We know that this will probably not be the hardest thing to come our way, but we are prepared to face all that is to come together. All in all, we are thankful for the journey that God is leading us on and are thankful that He will never stop letting go of us.

God has spoken amazing peace to me through music this week. I wanted to leave you with one of my favorite songs to listen to during the toughest times.

 

In loving memory of our forever first child.

 


Leave a Reply to Barbie

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49 Comments

  1. Jason

    Erin,

    My heart goes out to both you and Matt. The loss of a child, yes even the unborn child, is still a tremendous shock to the heart of the parents. Unfortunately, it is often easy for someone who has never suffered miscarriage to brush off the anguish of another who is currently going through it. Just because you never got to hold that child and watch them grow up does not make them any less YOUR CHILD.

    By God’s grace, Tiffani and I have 6 living children, and 3 angels waiting for us in heaven. Nothing I can say will make this any easier for you. God’s Word is where you will find comfort and strength. I will let it speak for itself.

    The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

    I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

    We will pray for you both… for comfort, for healing, and that the Lord would choose to bless you in His time with the children your hearts desire.

    ~Jason

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you so much, Jason. We so appreciate your prayers and encouragement. I’m so sorry about the loss of your 3, but what a blessing that God granted you 6 others! We know this child will forever be in our minds and in our hearts but are excited for the day when we will see him in heaven. God bless!

      Reply
  2. Brad

    Thank you for sharing this obviously difficult post. I know that it will go on to touch others who have not found a voice for their grief! Keep seeking comfort together and from our ultimate comforter! We are praying for you!
    – Brad

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you Brad. We have had some amazing friends come along side us who have similar stories and I pray that our story will help others to also know that they are not alone. We appreciate your prayers!

      Reply
  3. Barbie

    Beautifully written. I had no idea about your brother or your parents’ hardships through that situation, but what an amazing example for you and other couples of working through the hard times that come our way. I am still thinking of you and Matt and praying for you a lot. I know too well that pain and I never wish it on anyone, friend or otherwise. I certainly hate to see my precious friends suffer! I am glad you are home again to be comforted in your grief together rather than apart.

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you, Barbie. You have been such an encouragement to me this past week and I am so thankful for your friendship! I can picture our 3 little one’s playing together in heaven! Can’t wait to meet them. :)

      Reply
  4. Tara

    It’s so hard to see God’s plan through our suffering, but I promise you he has one. It’s more beautiful then you could ever imagine. Jeff and I suffered through two+ miscarriages, and years of infertility. After being told by three different dr.s that neither Jeff or I could conceive without medical intervention, we finally gave up. We left our final appointment with the infertility specialist broken. I didn’t know at the time, but I was already pregnant with my miracle Matthew. My sweet boy had a twin that I miscarried early on, I was told that I would probably lose him too. As you know our journey with Matthew continues, and it’s been a complicated one. You’ve had the joy of knowing my angel, he is a true reflection of God’s love and grace. His plan doesn’t always make sense to us, and this journey is nothing like I had planned. I’m so glad that He knows me better then I know myself. They’re is no greater joy as a parent then to see God at work in the life of your child. I’m so proud of both of my “medical” miracles. Christ will walk you through this painful time, allow him to carry you. The journey is not meant for you to suffer alone, He suffers with you.  Rely on Him alone for healing. I’ll be praying for you. If you need to talk, I’m here. {{{Hugs}}}

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Tara, I absolutely know He has a plan and you are such a testament to that! Thank you for sharing your story. Both Matthew and Emma are absolute miracles and it is such an honor to know them and you! Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. :)

      Reply
  5. Debi - The Romantic Vineyard

    My heart hurts for you both during this difficult time. But to hear you glorify God in the midst of your pain assures me you and Matt will be fine. Not because of who you are, but because Who it is you are both clinging to. I agree with Jason, God’s Word will be your ultimate comfort and is able to penetrate the depths of your pain in a way nothing else can. Let His Word wash over your broken hearts.
    Tom and I are praying for you both.

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you so much, Debi. We so appreciate your kind words and prayers. It is an honor to serve in the “marriage ministry field” along side of both you and Tom!

      Reply
  6. April

    Matt and Erin,
    How my heart breaks for you!!! Each precious little life is such a gift and blessing every moment we get to experience it. Even when we only have a sweet baby with us for a few weeks like you have – we can never see life the same way again. That love opens up and broadens our view of life and expands the depth of our understanding of love and our hearts will always be bigger for having had that gift.
    I pray for you in your grief and pain. I’m so proud of you for posting. You are absolutely right that many others have suffered grief and I believe that weight like this is meant to be shared – that we need the prayers of our brothers and sisters and their support. I pray for God’s healing and for him to strengthen your marriage and unite you even more tightly together as a couple and as believers. I pray God will give you hope, direction, comfort and His supernatural and unfathomable peace that passes all understanding.
    I know so many things will trigger feelings of sadness and fresh, raw wounds as you go about each day and each moment, just trying to remember to breathe, eat and sleep. I pray for God’s strength. I pray for extra grace for both of you to be able to give to each other as you each handle your sadness and grief in your own unique way. I’m so thankful for your strong marriage and faith.
    I know that even in this dark valley. God will cause you to shine brightly for Him pray that God might draw others to Himself as they see His light shining on these dark days and they know that what you have is real, true and trustworthy.

    Sending hugs and prayers!
    April

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you, April. Your words are so sweet and encouraging. I definitely know that God will use our experience and this blog for HIs glory. While I’m sad for what has happened, I take joy in the fact that He is a loving God who has amazing plans for us!

      Reply
  7. Nicole

    So sorry to hear of your loss. My husband and I experienced this same sorrow about 6 years ago. Allow yourself time to grieve and continue to lean on God for strength. Even though it may not feel that way now, you know that God has a plan and purpose for everything. We had given birth to two sons prior to our miscarriage… since then we’ve also adopted two girls. I am able to rejoice in the blessings that the Lord has provided for us, but I do look forward to meeting our sweet angel child one day!

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you, Nicole. I am so sorry that you have had to go through this as well. But praise God that He has an amazing plan for us, just as He had (and still has more!) for you and your sweet family. I, also, am excited to meet my little one and look forward to that day!

      Reply
  8. Gracie

    Thank you for being so transparent in the middle of such a difficult life process. I know your story will touch so many women who are going through the same.
    We are praying for you & Matt.
    Big hug!

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you, sweet Gracie! Your story is a testament to me that the Lord has amazing plans for each of us. I appreciate your sweet words and prayers.

      Reply
  9. J (Hot, Holy & Humorous)

    Erin,

    What a difficult time. My heart aches for you and Matt. I haven’t mentioned this on my blog, but I had a nonviable pregnancy at one point and losing that hope was heartbreaking. Your post is lovely in reminding yourself and others how God can be there with us in the hardship. He doesn’t take all of our pain away, but like a loving Father He tenderly holds us as we grieve. I can still vividly recall watching my tears splashing into the tub water as I sobbed at my loss. But we came through. We have a family. And God has been gracious in so many ways.

    I do wonder at times if I will get to heaven and meet the child who didn’t make it here. I don’t when God hands out souls, but I believe it to be a possibility. It’s a comforting thought for me.

    J

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      J, Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so sorry that you also have gone through a similar pain but thank you for sharing that with me. It is amazing how many people have gone through this. Thank you for all of your support!

      Reply
  10. Tiffani

    Oh Erin and Matt! As Jason said above, you will be in our prayers. There are no words that will really help, so we will wrap you in prayer and be here with God’s Word when you need encouragement.

    Jeremiah 1:5
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    And before you were born I consecrated you;
    I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

    This is one of MANY scriptures that our pastor shared with us when we went through our very first loss and were wrestling with all of it. Godspeed… ~ Tiffani

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you so much, Tiffani. That is such an awesome verse that proves God’s love for his children, whether 100 years old or just one hour conceived. I am sorry that you have also gone through this but I thank you for sharing and for reaching out! Many blessings!

      Reply
  11. Mrs VK

    Thank you for sharing this from your heart, and although I personally haven’t been through the loss of a child by miscarriage I have watched family and dear friends go through it. A dear sister of mine lost her first baby 2 days after he was born (he was a full term baby) Watching this from so close has changed my perspective forever. My heart still pounds when I think of the awful pain, the dashed hopes. I think that I will never look at someone who loses a baby whether early or later through the same eyes.

    After having a premature baby myself I would also totally agree with you that we were not meant to go through these things alone in a marriage. Those dark and hard days, my husband and I had to be separate most of the time because the hospital was a distance and we have other children. That day we were finally released to take our preemie home and my husband came to take us, was a day I will never forget. That feeling of being reunited with my husband to go through the rest of this trial together was something that will be etched on my memory the rest of my life.

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you so much for your comment. I can’t imagine your poor sister going through that. One of the things I am most thankful for in this journey is that it happened early and quick. I cannot fathom being that close to meeting my little one and losing him/her. I hope and pray that many blessings have followed her since that tragedy. I know, now more than ever, that God is good, all the time.

      Reply
  12. Cindy and Steve Wright

    We’re so, so sorry for the loss you are experiencing. Thank you for sharing your pain with so many of us, so not only do we have the privilege to pray for you and love you through this, but also so that others who are dealing with this horrible loss will gain inspiration, as well. You are obviously an amazing couple who have learned the art of drawing closer together, rather than distancing yourselves and allowing it to divide you. You are on a beautiful path, that never divides. May you both grow closer together; may God bind up your wounded hearts as a “cord of three strands,” and may you experience God’s blessing in ways you never would have known otherwise. “Even in the darkness light dawns for the upright.” (Psalm 112:4a)

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you for your sweet and kind words. I can only pray that our experience will help others in some way. And thank you for the verse, what truth! God bless!

      Reply
  13. Breila

    This is my first experience of your blog. I was referred to it by another. However little we know each other, I could not leave without saying this: Do NOT delete your videos! While this is truly a very sad and difficult time, you can not let yourselves be robbed of the joy you hold from being given this precious life. There is no less reason to celebrate your baby now than there was when you took those videos. While it may hurt now to feel the joy on top of the pain, or rather the pain on top of the joy, the pain will never lessen if you let it negate the joy. I encourage you to watch your videos. Let yourselves cry through them, but also be happy. These are the few things you have to hold on to of your baby until you see him or her again some day. I was also given a child whom I have yet to hold. But I refuse to say that I lost a baby. A treasure in Heaven is an eternal gift. It is hard now to consider it a loss when I look at my daughter, conceived a few months after my baby went to heaven. She could not be here if God hadn’t brought her sibling to heaven a little sooner than I would have thought ideal at the time. So I am thankful for the family He’s given me, and the way he chose to do it. I have been blessed now with 4 children and I wouldn’t wish away the miscarriage for anything. I am just as blessed by my baby in heaven as i am by my 3 children that I have here with me. I pray that you and your husband will hold on to the joy while you grieve. And while my own arms still ache to hold my second child, my heart rejoices that my baby will never have to feel this pain. Our other 3 children also look forward to meeting their sibling in Heaven. I encourage you to give your child a name, share this life with your future children, and keep the joy alive in your family. We named our baby Jesha, which means alive and well.

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Breila, so happy that you made it to my blog! I hope you will continue to read. And thank you for your advice, I definitely think I will keep the pictures and video. It is a great reminder of that blessing we had, even if for a short time. I am sorry for your loss, but appreciate you sharing. It is comforting to know we are not alone. I have also named our baby and look forward to meeting him one day. I love the name that you chose. So meaningful. Many blessings to you!

      Reply
  14. Julie Sibert

    Erin…. thank you for sharing so vulnerably. Your honesty and tenderness are a realness that is much needed in a world that is ravaged by loss, pain, tragedy. I am deeply sorry for your loss, as I think few losses are like that of losing a child. My encouragement and heart go out to you and Matt. Though we have never met face-to-face, I feel grateful that one day we all will be in a place free of sadness and tears…. and if we don’t meet this side of Heaven, we certainly will there.

    Be patient with yourself as you grieve. Grief is a meandering journey… not that you do not know this, but it saddens me that in our society, there seems to be a sense that we must rush through grief or “get past it” quickly. That’s just not how the human heart works. I pray especially for you and Matt, not only in your individual healing, but that as a couple you would be drawn closer together, uniquely qualified to minister to each other. Do not allow Satan to gain a foothold and cause division at this tender time. He is a crafty enemy.

    My compassion goes out to you… Your sister in Christ, Julie

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you so much, Julie. I appreciate your kind words and encouragement in our grief. The Lord knew what He was doing when He sent me to California for the week. I was able to have a time there completely by myself to truly “let it all out”. It’s been quite an experience for us to learn to grieve both on our own and together. It not only has brought us closer together in the process but also brought us closer to the Lord. Thank you, again and God bless!

      Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you, Brittany. Your own story is such an inspiration to me! You and Mark have been through so much but have stayed so strong in your faith. Thank you for your prayers. :)

      Reply
  15. Bethann

    Hello, Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve never seen your blog before, but saw it through the generous wife. We just had a miscarriage on Saturday and the grief is so real. I can totally relate to the excitement and dreaming of telling others. Then bang it feels like all your dreams are snatched away. We actually buried our little baby and my husband said he likes to think that instead of burying our dreams we’re just planting them to bloom again! So glad you shared the music too. I love how music comforts and speaks in hard times. I was so blessed to have my husband here with me just as I miscarried our little one, and most of the next two days. Thanks again for sharing. And everyone else who posted here.
    Struggling with you!

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Bethann, thank you SO much for commenting. It means so much that our story could touch you with something you can relate to so well. I am so sorry that you have had this loss too. It is so difficult, but we will both make it though. Praying for you as you also struggle through this. Please e-mail me if you ever need to “talk” to anyone: erin[at]mystery32[dot]com. Much love!

      Reply
  16. Keith

    We had a miscarriage between Emma and Lily. I occasionally still wonder what her personality would have been like. But God had a plan, because that event extended the age difference between our two girls, and they have an incredible relationship and are each different people because of it. I think it’s good for you to be public about this loss, because like mental illness, too many people keep it inside and it gains power over you when kept out of the light.

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thanks for your comment, Keith. I’m sorry that you have also been through this. You are so right that God has a plan. He obviously did with you and I know He does with us as well. That, in itself, is an incredible blessing!

      Reply
  17. Mackenzie

    I too, had a miscarriage and the pain is great, and never realy goes away, but it does get better with time. I am so looking forward to meeting my child in heaven one day, and I thank Jesus so much that I had the month with my little one that I did, even tho I didn’t really get to know the child that well. I am also looking forward to metting your little one in heaven as weel. I will pray God will give you comfort and peace beyond compare. (hugs)

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Mackenzie, I am so sorry that you have also been through this. It is a blessing that God would bless us with a child, even if for just a little while. We will both meet them again! Thank you so much for your prayers.

      Reply
  18. Amy Jo

    I am so sorry to hear you had to go through this. Reading this made my heart rise into my throat. Just a few short months after my husband and I got married we found out we were pregnant and went in for an ultrasound where we found out there was no heartbeat. It was the absolute most devastating feeling in the world. I love the title of you post because that’s exactly what my husband did to me, hold on. I know he needed his space and time to grieve, but he literally held me for two days. We sat on the couch or in bed and he wouldn’t let go. It was so sweet. And I completely sympathize with your feelings toward pregnant woman and babies right now-I remember that feeling. But don’t let it darken your heart.

    Hold on and keep HOPE for the future. God has a plan for you and has His reasons for what is happening. You will never forget your child but take comfort in the fact that they are already looking upon the face of God! You will be reunited and then they will be able to tell you how they could feel your love. For me, dealing with that loss change my heart and my life. It was a struggle but I found the positive. I think maybe God was preparing me to cherish my child when they entered the world and get me through other tough days.

    Sending you and your husband love and prayers. So glad you are able to support each other through this time.
    -Amy

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Amy, thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry that this is something you have been through as well. I loved the fact that your husband held you. Mine is great at doing that as well. :) Sometimes there are just no words that need to be said, we just need to hold on. I absolutely have hope for the future and am excited for the plans that He has for our lives! Thank you for your prayers and support!

      Reply
  19. Paul Byerly

    Erin,

    Thank you for allowing the Lord to use your life to help and bless others. It’s not an easy calling, but it is a very importnat one – and you do it beautifully.

    With prayers,
    Paul & Lori

    Reply
  20. Caroline

    I don’t know if I knew this (or if I did I guess I forgot). I’m so sorry you had to endure this, but love how the Lord has restored and brought you a double portion!

    Reply