Christmas has ALWAYS been my favorite time of year. It still is but there were a few years I struggled as it brought memories of great loss also. You see I love Christmas because it tells the greatest story ever told. Jesus came to earth as a baby to later die for my sins. I wanted all my Christmas memories to be joy filled. In December of 2005 I lost a baby at 13 ½ weeks prenatal. This was on Dec 19. This shook my world. That Christmas was a mess of emotions and many sleepless nights. Those sleepless night took me beside my Christmas tree.
You see I have always loved Christmas lights. When I was little, I even slept under the Christmas tree. Well, during those times of sitting in the Christmas lights I cried out my heart to God and pondered the many “what ifs” for the child I lost. God used this child, my Gabrielle to change me in ways that I don’t think He could have done in any other way. I’m sure He tried the gentler ways before this, but they didn’t work.
It took me losing a child I so desperately wanted to get me to stop trying to be God and surrender EVERYTHING to Him. Yes, I was trying to be God, to control so many things, even the sex of the baby I had been carrying. God showed me the error of my ways and put me on a journey of surrender.
It was not a short journey and in many ways I’m still on it today, but much of the hard work was done the years following my miscarriage. If it hadn’t been for the loss of Gabrielle, I don’t think I would be in the same place I am in today. I had had my heart hurt so many times in my childhood and I built the walls high around my heart. Losing Gabrielle was the start of tearing down the walls and being real. Real with God and real with myself and real with others; authentic.
The second Christmas after losing Gabrielle I wrote in my journal thoughts on Jesus’s mother Mary. “Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” (Luke 2:19) Mary pondered the things of that first Christmas. She wanted to remember them and all the feelings that went along with it. God revealed his plan to Mary through the angel Gabriel. Mary submitted herself to God. “Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38)
Mary surrendered. I need to follow Mary’s example of surrendering to God whatever the outcome would be. Mary did not know all the hurt and ridicule and joy and salvation that would come from her saying yes to God. I need to remember that I am not the main character in the story of my life.
When we say yes to Jesus, we give Him the right to do with our lives whatever He wants. Yes, that means anything, even losing a baby. I pondered many things those first few Christmas following my miscarriage, but I came to the conclusion that God is good and He is my God in whom I trust with everything. God showed me that my desire to have a baby girl was an idol in my life. I was seeking things of this earth to fill a void in my life that only Jesus could fill. God took away my Gabrielle to show me the void I was trying to fill with something other than Jesus. A void that is for Him only to fill. I went on to write in my journal, “Fill the void Lord. Satisfy my longing. Make me whole. Thank you for making yourself real to me. Be my all in all.”
Losing Gabrielle was one of the hardest things that has happened to me but also one of the greatest blessings. I once read that the purpose of trials in our life is often to bring us humbly before Him, to experience a breaking in our inner, independent, self-sufficient self and to grow us into compassionate, patient, spiritual, strong, God-glorifying people.
I love that because that is what losing Gabrielle did for me. I look forward to hugging my baby girl someday in heaven.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)
About Jodi Welch
Jodi Welch is a mom to 4 children ages 20, 17, 16 and 8. She was a stay-at-home mom for 19 ½ years. Jodi is married to Jim. Together they enjoy teaching on marriage and planning marriage events. Jodi also served as the volunteer Women’s Ministry Director and Children's Ministry Director at her church.
In her free time, Jodi enjoys reading, sewing, scrapbooking, photography, running, family time, and getting a cup of tea with a friend.