“Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as they day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.” (Psalm 139:7-16, NRSV)
I have been meditating on Psalm 139 and what it means in my workplace as labor and delivery chaplain. This passage speaks of the child formed in every womb–the child born full term, the one born with mental or physical disabilities, the child born early that fights to survive, and the child who leaves before the time arrived. All of these children are mentioned in this passage. All of them were created by God, with purpose, and all of them have impacted, transformed and changed lives.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. As a chaplain, I participated in a service of remembrance for families who have experienced by pregnancy and infant loss. At the service, I received a wonderful gift–the gift of grief, as God revealed it to me. As I was in the service, I was reminded of my own loss. I always planned to have more children, but when I lost my womb, the children I had imagined and dreamed about were gone.
Naming my grief has brought healing to my heart as I have accepted that I, too, have lost. I, too, can grieve. I, too, am comforted by God. I can’t imagine the grief or pain of those among us who have carried and then lost a baby, but in my pain I know that God does. God can comfort them as God has also lost a son; God loves them and can carry them through grief.
This month we remember our lost children because they have changed us, and, as this passage says, they were thought into existence by God.
Father of mercies and God of all comfort, you have promised to comfort those who mourn, to heal the brokenhearted and bind our wounds. You have promised rest when the burden is too heavy and give us hope in the midst of darkness. We pray for all parents whose children are with you declaring your promises upon their lives at each moment of their grief journey. Guide us as family, church family and friends to be your comforting presence, open ears and arms when they are needed. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.