Monday, January 30, 2012

The beauty -- and pain -- in just letting go.

I'm the kind of girl that has a hard time letting go.

As a kid, that meant my junk drawer was so full it was hard to shut. I couldn't throw any toy away, for fear of hurting its feelings. When I was older, I never wanted to let go of our cars. Yes, you heard me . . . our cars. We would get a different car, get rid of the old one . . . and I would be angry with my parents for putting me through so much change. You can imagine how difficult I was through each of our moves.

I remember when I was 12, I had a girlfriend spend the night, and we shared a bed. I woke her up in the middle of the night because our sheets were messed up. I kicked her out of bed, made the bed, let her back in, and promptly let her know that if she messed my covers up again she'd be sleeping on the floor. Even while unconcious, I just couldn't let go.

As an adult, I struggle to hold on to everything. We just traded in cars this weekend, and I had a hard time saying "goodbye" to a car that I didn't even like. I still get this kind of remorseful feeling when I look at our driveway with the gold minivan and not the white SUV. (Although I have to admit that our minivan's new heated seats are literally warming me over.)

Obviously, holding on tightly to each little facet of my life has at times been annoying, hurtful and just plain painful. But my stubborn determination to hold on has also served me well . . .

I've held on to my faith when I felt like the world (or the heavens) have conspired against me and I can barely get through the day.

I've held on to my business even when I hear "no," people cancel, and I don't see the rewards for my work.

I've held on to my husband even when we fight and "love" could not feel farther away.

I've held on to my dreams and passions even when no one else can see them as clearly as I can.

I'm so used to holding on, that I never questioned whether I should hold on to my pregnancy when all the odds were against us.

I remember the night of my miscarriage, sitting on the couch watching "Finding Nemo" with Maddy. I had been bleeding heavily for 2 hours, and had wave after wave of cramps. We had received good news just hours before that the baby was still alive. If the baby was alive, I should NOT be bleeding. I should NOT be cramping. And this whole thing was just wrong. So, so wrong.

I didn't realize how tense I was, how hard I was trying to hold onto something that was slipping away, until I felt a soft whisper on my heart. Rachel, you need to let go. Let your body work. Let your baby go.

From the moment the bleeding started that evening, I knew deep in my heart it was the beginning of the end. But I still fought against the cramps, against the death that I was sure was overtaking my baby. And then there was that quiet, still moment where I knew that no matter how hard I fought, nothing I could do would save my baby. I just needed to let go.

There was so much release and relief when I surrendered my body, my baby, my hopes and my dreams to the ebb and flow of miscarriage.  Minutes later, I passed what I had believed to be our baby.

I have read that women in labor also must reach a point of total surrender to the work of their bodies. I believe God has created our bodies to work at odds with our minds at times. Perhaps even in this He shows us our frailty and weakness . . . and His omnipotence and strength.

Waving the white flag to God, to my body, to my circumstances has not been easy. And in the weeks since we lost Baby O, I have found so many times where God is calling me to let go  . . . to stop holding on so tight with white knuckles, and just trust Him.

I'm learning to let go of my ideas of success and embrace that I can only do what I can do, and no more.

I'm learning to let go of my pride . . . that there are days where I will not have something amazing or productive to show for my time, and that it's OK.

I'm learning to let go of my need to be in control . . . because, if losing a baby has taught me anything, it's that while I sometimes have the facade of control, it's usually just that. A facade.

And gently, tenderly, He is STILL calling me to let go of my baby. To trust in Him. And surrender to His will, even though I don't understand.

Perhaps, as I move through this life with hands a little more open, I will find that I am no longer just letting go. I'm also opening up my life to the blessings and purpose He has for me. And that is a hope I'm holding on tight to. A promise I will never let go of.


  1. Thank you for this Rachel. After having two miscarraiges I know exactly what you are talking about. I knew I was losing my babies and couldn't stop it. All I could do was ask Jesus to help with the horrible pain I felt in my heart at the great loss. I think of those two children almost daily and it is now 30 and 27 years after I lost them. They will always be with me and I will finally get to see their precious faces in heaven. Toni

    1. Toni... I am sorry that you lost 2 children. It is nice to hear from women who are further out in the journey. thank you so much for reading my post and for your response. I am thankful to know hat we will still meet our children ... Even if we really wished it could have been here on earth first. Btw ... Congratulations on your beautiful grandbabies.

  2. Rachel -- I have said it before, but I think it needs to be reiterated that you have a true gift. The way you craft words and sentences to reveal something truly personal to your heart is absolutely amazing.

    You are a beautiful person, inside and out, and I am incredibly blessed to call you a friend. Thank you for blogging about this heartbreaking and sensitive issue. I know you are helping many women.

    Blessings -- Stevie