Where was God in January? When my midwife couldn’t find a heartbeat? When an ultrasound confirmed that my daughter no longer had a heartbeat and when we walked out of the hospital, leaving our girl’s body there? Where was God when we planned the funeral and when we buried her? Where was He when we walked away, brokenhearted, from her grave?
Where was God in the following months of 2013? When people carelessly said that everything happens for a reason? When someone literally backed away from me when I told them of our daughter’s stillbirth? When someone stole from our daughter’s grave? When people don’t mention Ariella’s name? Where was God?
He was right there.
I saw God in my midwife. He was in her saddened face as she searched and searched for a heartbeat and I saw His love in the flowers she brought us the next day. Her gentleness as she held our stillborn daughter reflected His gentleness with me, and when she gave me her personal phone number the night we left hospital, I was reminded that God never leaves us alone.
I saw God in my doctors. He was in their faltering voices as they confirmed our worst fears and their compassionate care mirrored His care for me. I could see God’s patience as they took the time to explain all of the options and tests available to two grieving parents who had no idea what to do, and their concern for me in my subsequent pregnancy reminds me of God’s constant love.
I saw God in my pastor. God was in our pastor’s generosity, as he gave up time with his family to support us and brought us dinner so that we remembered to eat. His help and support as we planned a funeral for a child we barely got the chance to know reminded me that God’s help and support is unending, while his patience with me as he helped me process the grief and hurt as reminded me that God doesn’t expect me to be perfect either. His ongoing care since our daughter’s death reflects God’s ongoing love and his gentleness with me as I made mistakes showed me God’s gentleness.
I saw God in my family and friends. He was in their generosity as they helped pay for my sister to fly home from Japan within a week and their heartbroken tears at our daughter’s funeral showed me that God was grieving for our loss too. His love was in the gifts we received from people we barely knew and the regular cards and notes from my Grandma reminded me that He God still cared. I knew God hadn’t forgotten me because of the way my friends cared for me on what was my first Mother’s Day and when someone stole from our daughter’s grave, I saw God in the way my friends rallied to find an identical item to replace what had been taken.
I saw God in my church. He was in their supportive hugs as I wept over my daughter’s death and in their constant prayers. I saw His generous provision in their anonymous gifts and on the day that I told God it would be nice to not have to think about paying rent for a week, I saw Him clearly in the two people who gave us the exact amount we needed for rent. God was there in the elderly lady, who looked at me with joyful tears in her eyes when she discovered I was pregnant again, and He was in her words as she told me that life can be so very hard at times but that God brings blessings.
I saw God in my husband. He was in my husband’s embrace as we heard the news that no parent wants to hear and His selfless love was evident in the way my husband supported me through a long labour. I saw God’s strength in my husband as he drove us home from the hospital and again as he drove us to our daughter’s funeral. The courage he showed when he spoke at the funeral reminded me that with God, anything is possible and his love for our precious daughter was a perfect reflection of God’s love for me. I see God in his excitement at our second baby and the way he takes such good care of me, even in the midst of his own grief, is a constant reminder to me of God’s care.
On the surface, it is so easy to ask where God was on that horrible day in January. But the more I look, the more I see. He was right there. He was with me. And He still is.
My daughter was stillborn, but my God is still good.
What about you? Were you able to see God in your grief? If so, where did you see Him?
Larissa is wife to Marcus and mama to four, including one precious girl lost to stillbirth. She writes about her daughter and life after loss at Deeper Still.