I thought I knew what bravery, courage, faith and hope looked like. Until recently, I put these characteristics into a neat little box with missionaries, martyrs, or spiritual giants I had read about, like Corrie ten Boom, or Elisabeth Elliot. But lately, I've begun to wake up to a new definition, lived out by people in my life and who have gone before me down the path of miscarriage and stillbirth.
I’ve sat with my mom at my baby brother’s grave and listened to her weep. I’ve stood by sweet friends as they took turns laying little coffins in the ground, and listened on the other end of the line to the hard, bitter news of miscarriage. But it wasn’t until four months after we lost our baby in a late miscarriage and I held in my shaking fingers a positive pregnancy test, that my perspective on bravery, courage, faith and hope began to change.
Bravery and courage is the willingness to try again for another baby. It takes bravery to celebrate a positive test. It takes courage to choose joy no matter how long life may be granted us to love tangibly here.
It is visible faith to witness a soul at rest when no guarantees for the future have been given them, simply one day at a time. It is laying one’s life down quietly, and making room in one’s heart and body for a new soul. It is faith that is able to say, “and if not, He is still good.” This courage isn’t written about in books, or proclaimed in sermons, but it is no less impactful. “Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowd shouts your name.”~Robert Louis Stevenson
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Hope, choosing to hope and not fear. Never had the strength of these two polar opposites been more felt. Most days and nights, it felt like a minute by minute battle. When I looked at myself, I didn’t see bravery, courage, faith and hope. I wanted those things, truck loads of it, but I also wanted to hibernate through those nine months. Yet in my grief, fear and desperation, God began to show me that I never needed truck loads. I simply needed to turn my face toward His. Somedays the only prayer I could muster was a single word, “Help.” But He can do wonders with our willingness. He says in Isaiah 41:13 “For I the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who says to you, “Fear not. I am the one who helps you.’” Sometimes, courage means slipping your hand into His and trusting that wherever He leads, He will not withhold his presence.
I am coming to realize, that may be the secret. Bravery, courage, faith and hope are not something we have a natural disposition towards. The mothers in my life who know this long road, and the spiritual giants in the faith that we admire, were not given an extra dollop of these gifts. But they did take their weariness and burdens and place them on the strong shoulders of Jesus.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalms 34:4-6