After two fulfilling but tiring trips abroad, Carla and I found out that the baby we were quietly expecting had passed away in the womb. Second miscarriage in two years. I took some time to rest, then went back to a few meetings at work. While I was glad to be doing what I love to do with people I love working with, something wasn’t right with me.
I was moving and thinking in slow motion. Each command from my brain had a delay before my body responded. Like an online game character with high lag. I also felt disconnected from the people I was interacting with. Maybe it was because of my stopped ear which hampered my hearing, or maybe because I wasn’t telling people about what we were going through.
As the days wore on, I felt less and less energy to keep working. I just wanted to go home and sleep, even though we’d been sleeping well and early. I had no passion for things that normally excited me. Normally I can call on huge amounts of energy (too much, if you ask Carla or my officemates), so not having that felt terrible.
It’s okay to not be okay…
Thankfully, some mentors like Pastors Gilbert and Paolo reminded me of the need to take it easy on myself during this time. That was very helpful.
What definitely didn’t help was reasoning with myself that I had no reason to be down.
You just came from overseas. You’re well-rested. Get back to work. It’s not like you’re the one who miscarried; it’s Carla. Why would you feel down about losing a baby? You’ve got Philip. There are people who don’t even have one child. You’re fine, start acting like it.
But none of my internal pep talks helped.
It also didn’t help that I was isolating myself. I chose not to tell some of my friends because I wanted to avoid explaining all over again. And there was an internal dialogue for that also.
Yeah, don’t tell them. It’s not like they can do anything to help. They’ve got their own problems to deal with also, do you really want to add to that? Besides, you don’t have a reason to be down. They’ll think you’re just whiny.
I finally had to be honest with myself that things weren’t alright. And that’s what started to fix things.
But don’t wallow in it. Fight back.
Acknowledging the problem was the first step. So last Saturday as I was walking to another meeting, I turned off the podcast and began speaking in tongues. Out loud. I didn’t care what the passing cars thought of this crazy guy babbling to himself on the sidewalk. Maybe I was crazy for walking around outside in the heat of lunch time. But at least it was faster than being stuck in traffic.
Then I started listening worship songs. And the point rang home, my circumstances change and my feelings are unstable, but God doesn’t change so it’s always appropriate to worship Him.
That got me to the next step. Ask for help. I was encouraged by the thought that there are people out there who I could contact out of the blue. People who would pray, with no need for awkward questions or unhelpful suggestions. I had to choose who I would contact and stuck to people in the same timezone so I knew they could pray immediately. I wrote a message that in so many words basically said, “I need help. Please pray.” And they did.
That was the turning point. It felt like a heavy blanket was removed. I got home to see Carla in a similar state – having a difficult day, but fighting back through worship and prayer. While we had some more bad news ahead, we didn’t feel like we were sinking underneath it. In fact, we’re surprised by how okay we feel, even as we slowly get back into gear.
This experience really fleshed out this Bible verse for me. If you’re going through difficult moments now, I hope you know you don’t have to face it alone.
And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 1 Samuel 23:16
Here’s Carla’s blog also.