A Miscarriage, a Tsunami, and a Miracle

Bear with me. These events will all come together.

In 2010 I miscarried. The pregnancy was a surprise and wasn't covered by our medical insurance. Initially, I was afraid. How would we afford having a baby, which can cost $25-45k out of pocket, these days?

But by the end of the very day I saw the pregnancy test results, I was already elated.

Well. It turns out this ol' lady's eggs are not as fresh as they needed to be. I miscarried. That night, I called my good friend and all I could do was cry. I didn't have the strength to form the words, but she knew and murmured condolences as I sobbed, devastated.

We had a family trip to Switzerland scheduled for a couple of days later. This isn't something one cancels, so we went anyway. I took a few pregnancy tests in Switzerland, and the first ones said, "Yep. STILL pregnant!" There was hope. 

But by the end of the trip, the results told a different story. My M-I-L said, "Well, it's for the best." I tell myself that's German for, "I'm so sorry. I know you're in a lot of emotional pain. I'm here for you." Devastated all over again. And seriously pissed.

How could I have been so delighted, then so crushed, about something I didn't want, hadn't planned for, and couldn't afford? Then it hit me. When I was pregnant with boy #1, we planned. Everything was INTENTIONAL about my parenting because it felt sacred and beautiful. 

Boy #2 came just 14 months later. He was only a tad early for our family plan, so the surprise was a fun one. However, I was completely exhausted. Two children under the age of two??? Thank you, Lord, for an energetic mom who lived nearby.

Some significant distractions took my focus off parenting: I started working from home, we moved a few hours away from the family, and my hubby gave up his job to start a business. And in the midst of that, without realizing it was happening, I began parenting by default. My teaching moments were always presented in response to a crisis, rather than being offered proactively. I lost focus.

The quake and tsunami that took out Fukushima in March 2011 impacted me more than any other natural disaster had. I couldn't stop thinking about people losing loved ones, starving, and without shelter. What a nightmare. But it was a great opportunity to demonstrate my renewed passion for intentional parenting. (Insert fanfare: Tah-daaaaahhhh!)

The kids and I decided to donate our entire week of grocery money to a relief organization. We would just "go without" so that we could give (and live) sacrificially. Before you congratulate us on our magnanimity, let me clarify. Our idea of sacrifice meant we'd be out of milk, frozen waffles, and a few other non-essentials. It wasn't much of a plan, but I ran with it anyway.

That week, I saw a woman holding a sign asking for financial help. Hey! Another moment to demonstrate sacrifice! Kids in tow, I gave her all the cash I had on me. But my boys are clever lads, and quickly pointed out that it's hardly a sacrifice since I could go to the nearest ATM to get more cash. You're grounded, I thought. "Good point. You're so smart," I replied.

So I went back to the lady and gave her my very favorite silver filigree cross, hanging on a long silver chain my birth father had given me. It was one of the few things I have to remind me of him, and I had lost him the month prior, after only six short years of his presence in my life. So, yes, that WAS a sacrifice. My darlings (ahem!) pointed out that I could just buy another chain. Not to be bested by people under four feet in height, I declared I would not buy a replacement, but would let God provide one for me. And I stuck by it. Not wanting to stack the deck in my favor, I didn't tell hubby of my declaration. The kids forgot about it instantly.

The next year, my hubby saw a silver cross at a yard sale and brought it home for me. He never does things like that. But it wasn't the chain, was it? Dad had given me the chain, not the cross.

One afternoon, I was wondering what in the unholy heck was wrong with me. Despite a fairly happy life, good health, nice kids, and the ability to purchase all the frozen waffles I ever desired, I wasn't satisfied. There was nothing that could satisfy my desire for something deeper and more meaningful in life.

So I asked God to enlighten me, for surely He knew. I seemed to recall reading somewhere that if we asked Him for that kind of enlightenment, he wouldn't withhold it from us. 

He was true to His Word. (Clever pun, eh?)

That night, I dreamed that I was showering, water pouring down the drain. Oddly, the scene was in the shower in our current home, not the one we lived when I had this dream. The life began to drain out of me, just like the water from the shower-head. Collapsing on the floor, my eyes closed and all was silent and dark. Moments passed. 

Opening my eyes, I struggled to focus on the beautiful, snowy feathers in front of me. They were irresistible. I reached out to run my hand over them, and they rippled in response to my touch. A deep, resonant laughter surrounded me, as did indescribably bright light. There was an enormous white figure in front of me. The love and acceptance I felt from this form was like nothing I had ever felt before. Not from anyone, no matter how much they loved me. 

It was so good. It was Jesus. An angel had brought me to see Jesus. And then I panicked, finally realizing what death meant.

"My boys? What about my boys? Will they be OK?" The words didn't come out of my mouth, so much as come out from my heart. 

The Lord said all I needed to hear, "Yes."

One would think that being in the presence of my Savior would be enough. Assurance that my boys would be OK was icing on the proverbial cake. But I'm an impetuous thing. I tried to give Jesus a bear hug. He was way too big for that; I couldn't even manage to get my arms around his leg. 

I was jolted awake, immersed in enormous loss. I cried, and desperately tried to hold onto the feeling of true, unconditional love. Actually, I still do.

You see, no matter how much we love (or are loved), it's imperfect. And THAT is what I was missing. God took pity on me, and showed me that the hole I'd been trying to fill could only be filled by a relationship with Him.

Cruel, you say, creating people with an inherent emptiness? Hardly. We need that hole so that we seek Him out. The problem is that we try to fill it with success, food, playthings, drugs, fame, money, sex...you name it. We even try to fill it with noble pursuits like parenting, volunteer work, housekeeping. It won't work, ever.

Ah, dear reader. You think the dream is the miracle, do you? It's only part of it. Remember the chain?

My M-I-L came for a visit in 2013. We haven't had the best relationship, in case that subtext slipped past you. But my new understanding of that emotional hole drove me to compassion for her. It's a safe bet she didn't get a lot of love and affirmation in her life. I was determined to shower her with love and compassion during her visit, and shared my plan with God. I was going to show her the love that He had shown me.

Guess what she brought as a present, which she delivered upon arrival, without even a hint of its significance?

Yep. The chain.

Enough for today.


  1. absolutely beautiful. What a taste of what is soon to come!


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