Redemption Stories

Soul at Sea (prints available here)
I didn't know that stillbirth still happened in the western world until it happened to me.  Thirty-one weeks of pregnancy and all the evidence I had for my daughter's life were a few precious items and the yawning ache in my soul that still throbs, two and more years later now. 

After we returned home from the hospital, empty armed, I was brokenhearted but determined.  Determined to grieve well, to to feel it all, to let God use it.  And I did, and he did, I guess.  I don't know, really, who did what, only that I showed up to the pain, to the searing of reality.  And it changed me – and it changes me.

In the church, we like to talk a good line about redemption.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Jesus is redemption with skin on, after all.  But we – especially we here in the first world – like our redemption to be neat, tidy.  We often want to come in on the after of redemption; not the before, and certainly not the during
It's odd to me, that we have become so ill-used to mess.  Jesus' life is anything but orderly and expected.  He went to the wilderness, willingly and often.  I don't think you can go there and come back anything but unkempt, with tossed-about hair and a strange new light in your eye.  I wonder if it's the desert that gave Jesus the courage to live and die and live again as he did.

After my Eve girl died within my body,  after my first pregnancy ended in birthing a dead body, I tried so hard to be the after of redemption, even while I accepted that grief was unpredictable and long.  I thought that if I could be – or really, act – faithful enough, Eve's death would be somehow worth it, redeemed. 

Perhaps it inspires you that I could birth my dead daughter and still profess to love the God that didn't save her.  If it does, I am truly glad.  May he lead you ever deeper through my attempts.

 But it didn't work for me. . . .

Today I'm writing  over at the lovely Crystal Neubauer's blog for her redemption series!

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