January was the hardest month for me last year (today especially, on the day we miscarried). It was the first time I had really experienced the sting and heaviness of grief, and I relied on Jesus and my husband more than I ever had before in my life. My little boys were especially precious to me as I waded through those strange waters of pain and questioning, and I gratefully welcomed each tender hug and kiss from them day after day. I remember feeling the emptiness of my womb as I stood at mass one day, afraid that I’d never carry a healthy little life within me again and begging God to shelter me in his love that felt far off. Ever so gently he led me through that time, and in the spring as I dove into gardening and digging with my bare hands in the fresh soil alongside my boys, I felt a new life and growth emerge within my own heart, too.
This January, one year later, my belly swells with life—a life that kicks and wiggles and reminds me of its presence constantly. A life that is so intricately woven into the story of our family, one that I already cherish deeply.
God works in great and mysterious ways. Learning to accept our crosses that confuse and sadden us and might never make sense as long as we walk this earth…I think to be human is to know and live this. Humbly and hopefully trusting that despite our complete lack of understanding, every event and cross in our lives is an integral part of our journey homewards—our coming home. I see now that the loss of life Sean and I experienced last January very tangibly led to this new life growing within me; and though that wound will never fully heal until heaven, I’m grateful for how God has allowed us to see so clearly how He brings beauty from the ashes. Truly, I am brought to my knees in gratitude for the gift of this miracle whose face we will see so soon, just as I’m brought to my knees in gratitude for the gift of each of my children, on earth and in heaven.
I pray that if this month/winter is unexpectedly hard or dark for you, the real peace and trust that surpasses all understanding and comes only from God will bring new life. It may take many months or years for that new life to germinate and grow, but watered with grace, it will eventually take root in your heart and sprout up in the springtime from that hollow winter nothingness against all odds. Joy and suffering intertwined to make the most beautiful, lasting garden vine—everything lies in that.