When Christmas Is Heartbreaking

Whitley & Elise under the tree

She would have been thirteen.

I just assume that I only make girls. Being a self-professed girly girl, I soak in all the sugar and spice. Fairy tales and make believe, chasing after dreams like clouds thinking if I jumped high enough I could hold them in my hand.

I haven’t thought about her in a while. But, for years thoughts of her consumed my waking moments and my dreams.

It was Christmas time; all was jolly and bright with the gentle mixture of fear. What would motherhood be like and would I be good at it? All I knew was that strong desire to mother was within and we would figure it out together. I would grow into motherhood with each breath she took.

Three days before Christmas something happened. I knew something was wrong, I began to miscarry a dream and a fragile life. I could see it every time I looked in the mirror, fear taunting me. I spent a few hours in an ER room longing to hear a heartbeat that was never meant to beat.

I pulled myself together, packed our gifts in the car, and said goodbye to my mother. All I really wanted was to stay there with her, but there was more family to be seen with Christmas days away. I tried my hardest to celebrate the birth of the baby that changed everything for me. And yet all I felt was heartache tinged with anger and questions. Why me?

A tiny cry that all of heaven celebrated, Immanuel, God with us. And even as my heart broke, He was with me unafraid of my questions. Never once did I feel Him condemning me. I just felt His all-consuming love.

I opened maternity gifts, I cradled the new life around me, and new additions to our family, and then I slipped upstairs to grieve without watching eyes. I laid down in the bed, pulled the covers over my head, and fell apart.

My mother-in-love followed me upstairs, sat next to me, and cried with me.

“It was our baby, too.”

I’ve never forgotten that moment or that feeling, but at times I have returned that same gift of just crying with those who are hurting.

I don’t know what you are experiencing right now, but I know so many of you are dealing with a loss of a loved one or maybe even a death of a dream. I pray that you find joy, deep joy, in this season and know that the God-child came wrapped in flesh so that we might identify with Him. His love caused Him to leave the comforts of heaven to die for our sins.

Because of the baby in a manger I have great joy and hope. I have experienced the pit of depression and have been awakened with greater joy in knowing that through pain God has a greater purpose in forming us into His likeness.

I have experienced healing and restoration in my body and received the joy of giving birth to two beautiful girls. But, I haven’t forgotten that Christmas filled with tears and how God met with me and cradled me through it all.

Someone sitting next to you might be swallowed up in grief, don’t let the awkwardness of not knowing what to say stop you from reaching out to them. They don’t need you to say the right thing, they just need to be seen and for you to acknowledge their pain. If we do anything at all praiseworthy this season, let it be the act of noticing others and reminding them that they haven’t been forgotten. Give that awkward hug and don’t pull away too soon. Send that email and love on someone with your words. Take back some of those gifts that you really don’t need and do something for someone else.

Don’t rush through this season caught up in the need to check things off your list. Slow down and look at people with eyes that have time to notice them and do whatever comes to you in that moment, be Spirit led.

So many this season have experienced loss and I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you, of your pain, and if I could I would sit beside you and carry that pain with you and just cry. You are not forgotten.

My prayers and thoughts are with you. If you have a prayer request or maybe a testimony like mine, leave a comment so I can pray for you.

Much love,

Jennifer Renee

Photo by my friend, the talented Chelsea Rustad.