My Walk Through a Season of Loss

Today is the day. Glory would have been one year old. Anna would likely have been born within the last week.

If our guesses were right, I would now be raising two daughters. Our two sons would have two little sisters to tease and look out for.


But instead of having 4 kids under 4, today we remain a family of four. And so today as we again say goodbye to the babies that we never got to hold, I am telling their stories. Their stories…which have become so deeply intertwined with my own.

In May 2016 I was surprised and delighted to see two faint lines on a pregnancy test. For some reason I just felt…different this time. And so I assumed this pregnancy was different than my first two…It must be a girl!

Only a week later I miscarried. “Different” may not have been about the baby’s sex at all. It was likely a sign of something wrong.

Walk Through Loss

I was sad and quiet much of that first day, but over the next several days I simply sought the Lord. What many described as the most hopeless and lonely time in their lives, I was experiencing quite differently.

God’s presence in my life almost felt tangible. People from near and far reached out to me and mourned with me. I felt surrounded by love and grace and mercy. I felt confident that God would use our Glory for His glory. I felt HOPE, that He truly was building our family well.

Though I felt sadness, I did not despair. I rested in the arms of my Savior, and sought comfort at His feet.

Many months passed, and I began to feel a deep longing for another baby. It was hard to shake, and I began praying for God to bless us in this way. I prayed, crying out to the Lord, almost daily. After several weeks of pleading with God, I felt His Spirit within me calling, “Trust me.” From that point on, each time I began a prayer of asking God for a child I was met with a sharp conviction deep in my gut. A conviction that I was sinning against God through refusing to hand over this desire to Him.

With much prayer, I gave my desire over to the Lord. Day after day as the desire sprang up in my heart, I clenched it in my fist before releasing it to my Savior, saying “I trust you Lord. I want YOU to build my family as you see fit.”

As time passed it felt more natural to trust Him, and I began to trust that He would bless us with a child when the time was right.

Fast forward a few more months. I was ecstatic to find out that I was pregnant! Immediately upon seeing those two pink lines, I cried out in praise to God! I truly gave Him all the glory!

Through releasing my desires and choosing to trust Him, He really was going to bless our family abundantly! The pregnancy test, to me, was proof of God’s goodness!

We could barely keep the news quiet. We announced to my family, and then to my husband’s family, and then to several of our Texas seminary and church friends.


We had our first ultrasound and heard the baby’s heartbeat, and then we bursted with the good news to everyone! We went public with our pregnancy.


The very next day my morning sickness disappeared. At first I thought it must just be a good day, but the good days kept coming. A week later I knew something was wrong. I went in to my OB’s office, who said I could come in for “peace of mind”.

Once there, my fears were confirmed. Our precious baby had passed away in my womb, just one day after we had “seen” him or her on the ultrasound.

I cried and felt so broken inside. Why would God answer my prayers just to grab this child away from me? Why would God allow us to find “hope” in the hearing of our child’s ‘healthy’ heartbeat, if the baby would only live for one more day?

In my heart and mind, this baby was God telling me YES. So why did He change His mind? Would His plans really work out to what is best for me? Did He have some other reason for this? But I could come up with no answers.  I felt like God had let me down.  God….the only One whom I thought would never let me down.

As I woke up each day after the miscarriage, I would look at my Bible and say, “I really don’t want to seek You right now, God. I know I’m horrible for it, but I’m just not sure if I can trust You.”

And I would go about my day “in my own strength.” Or so I tried. All throughout each day, I kept hearing His still small voice whispering to me. “I am with you, my child. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” I brushed the “thoughts” aside, as I was unwilling to hear His voice. I was living in fear of Him, but also in fear of trusting Him again. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding,” He would whisper. For months my Lord pursued me, and yet as I built walls around myself I never felt a rebuke from Him. He gently called to me, proving His love to me. He never left my side–not even for a second.

After about four months, I was shocked to receive a message from a woman asking me if I would like to join a women’s ministry team in our area.  I looked into my heart, and the struggles with doubt I had been walking through, and my first thought was, “I am unworthy to serve anyone right now.”

That still small voice piped up inside me again, “Rise and pray.”

And this time, I did. I spent three hours seeking the Lord and diving into His Word. He clearly spoke through His Word.

“Come out of the darkness and into my marvelous light.”

“It is time to awake out of sleep.”

“There is a time to mourn….and a time to BUILD UP.”

It was as if God was saying to me, “I have given you this time to grieve, and now it is time to climb out of this darkness and walk with Me once more.”

For the first time in four months, I felt hope. I realized for the first time that He had been holding me for the past 4 months. He had been nurturing me, wooing me, pursuing me, and earning back my love.

Humility washed over me, and gratitude like never before flew into my heart. ‘What did I ever do to deserve such great love? How can I ever re-pay?’  To think that GOD Almighty proved Himself to me rather than rebuking me is something that I can never express in a grand enough way. He owes none of us any proof, or explanation, or blessings. And yet He took the time to just hold me when I was broken.

This is the God I serve. This is why He is worthy of our love and service, worship and adoration, praise and gratitude.

As I search the Scriptures daily now, I keep finding more and more this character of God that I hadn’t quite experienced before.

In the grand story of the world, God has done this exact thing. Though the world has largely turned against Him and chosen to ignore Him, He has not left us. Instead He calls to us, seeking to restore us and hold us in His hand for all of eternity.

God. Is. Love. And He loves us so deeply that, while we were still sinners, He sent His only Son to die in our place. There is truly no greater love in all the world.

Today I often wonder if we will forever remain a family of four. For someone who has never imagined having less than five children–and those five all close in age–the thought of raising only two seems quite foreign, and quiet. (As if my two boys are ever quiet…)

My family may not look the way I imagined it to be, but wasn’t that the whole point of trusting God to build our family? We know that His plans are better than our own, and that His timing is better than our own.

Yes, I would like to have a large family. I would love the opportunity to raise a daughter. But just maybe, God has something different in mind for our family.

So now, knowing His great love, and knowing He will never forsake me, the choice is mine. Will I trust Him? Today, on this due date of both our lost children, I can say with a full heart, “Yes Lord. I trust You.”

Rachel 🙂

The Children We Never Got to Hold

This teeny tiny blurry spot is the only picture Lane and I will ever have of our 4th child. There are no pictures at all of our 3rd child. She passed away too early for us to even catch a glimpse of her. This 4th child, though, we were blessed to get this beautiful picture. We were blessed to hear her heartbeat.

Anna's Ultrasound Pic

In this picture she measured 7 weeks, 3 days. A week later when we found her heart had stopped beating, she only measured one more day of growth. She had passed away just one day after we were able to “see” her for the first time.

So tiny, but at 7 weeks she already had a beating heart. She wasn’t what many would consider “fully formed,” but she already had a little nose, ears, eyes, arms, and legs.

gestation 7-12 weeks

I would have been 37 weeks pregnant with her yesterday. Our third child would have been about to turn 1 year old. As I look around my home at my first two healthy children playing, I often feel like something/someone is missing. I imagine our third baby chasing these two active boys around. She probably would have been walking by now. I look down at my belly and am very aware that there is no one inside me. None of those giant kicks in the ribs that I experienced from my boys. Or those giant roll-overs where you can see your entire stomach move. I mourn the loss of these two children, and I am so much ever more grateful for the two I am able to raise, cuddle, and laugh with during my days.

On days like today, I mourn so much more. Life is sacred, and I’m angered to live in a culture that murders these precious little ones. I think of the babies who have beating hearts today, but whose mommies will have no one inside them tomorrow. I wonder what those mommies are thinking as they near the due-dates of their babies. Do they feel the same way I do today? Do they have the added pain of guilt? Or are they still happy that they aren’t having to “deal” with that? It simply breaks my heart, both for the babies and for these women. We would LOVE to take one of these “unwanted” babies and raise him or her as our own, and we’d also love the opportunity to help these women make the right choice, and then care for and raise her child.

May we as Christians never forget to #Stand4Life. May we never fail to step in and be a life-line to that struggling single mom. May we always be willing to care for the fatherless. May we be the voice for those who have no way to be heard.
May we always speak and act as though every life is a life worth living–that every life is a life that was ordained by God Himself.


Finding Normal (Again)

When I started this blog in January, I talked about a previous blog – one that I had quit writing when I was pregnant with my oldest son. Apparently it’s just hard for me to blog while pregnant.

If you were wondering where I have disappeared to, well – it happened again. I was pregnant, and I just couldn’t keep up.

I’m guessing you caught the word “was” in that last sentence. I was pregnant. I’m not anymore. The month of June was joyous for our family.  We traveled and saw friends and family, we hosted VBS at our church, and we celebrated a new life that was growing in my womb.  And I was nauseous, but we’ll just ignore that for this post.

With July came my youngest son’s second birthday and a huge community celebration for Independence Day. The first few days were fun, but something was off. I knew it.  So on Thursday, July 6 I called my OB office. I felt a little silly but I just had a bad feeling.  I knew I would be too worried to wait three weeks for my next appointment.  So I called, and they let me come in just for “peace of mind.”  Only when I got there, I found out what I had suspected. The baby no longer had a heartbeat.

I went home so that I could wait to miscarry.  10 days later I thought my body was finally going to do so,  but five days after that I ended up in the ER late at night. My body wasn’t getting rid of the baby, and I ended up getting a D&C the following day.

The next week and a half was mostly spent sleeping and laying around on the couch, with my heating pad and a blanket–and of course plenty of Coca Cola & chocolate.  I was told to get lots of rest, and to only get up to go to the bathroom for a week to 10 days.

A lovely friend gave me this blanket when she heard we had lost our baby. It came with a sweet story of hope.

Needless to say, the month of July wasn’t as joyous as the month of June.  August was a time of survival mode at my house.  As September has now begun, I am wading back in to life, and working on finding normal, again.

To get back to meal planning and grocery shopping every Thursday afternoon. To cooking homemade meals for my family and then sitting down at the dinner table with them. I’m even looking forward to starting a load of laundry every morning when I wake up.  It’s funny how you can miss something like that, but it’s time. I crave the routines that give my life a sense of calm and order.

So as I wade back into the real world, in search of “normal,” I just wanted to ask for your prayer.  I’m stepping back into my life as I’m still wading through a lot of emotions about this baby.  I’ve missed you all and your posts, and I’m so so glad to be back among you all as I continue to heal from this.  I hope to post more often, but I’m not going to give any guarantees just yet.  

In love to all my friends & readers, 


When God Builds Your Family

When God builds your family, it doesn’t always look the way you think.  There’s so much fear involved with “trusting God with your family size”.  But in all honesty, most of us aren’t going to end up looking like 19 Kids & Counting, driving a big bus full of kids everywhere we go.  Trusting God to build your family is an unknown, even to the Duggar daughters who are now starting their own families.  We just can’t know if God will give us 19 children, or 12, 8, 4, 2, 1, or none.  About 8 months into our marriage, my husband and I felt convicted that we should trust God to plan our fertility.  About 6 months later, I was pregnant with our first child.  Six months after he was born, I was shocked to be expecting AGAIN!


In June of last year, my husband and I were excited to find out that we were going to have a THIRD new sweet baby!  Right away, I could tell that this pregnancy was different than the others, and I assumed the baby must be a girl.  Our first daughter!  Only a week later, I miscarried.  For a week….only ONE week….I dreamed about this baby, and I loved her {or him} from the moment I saw those 2 pink lines.

This was our pregnancy announcement.  I planned to post it on Facebook around the 8-9 week mark.  We had printed a few in hard copy, and had delivered them to my parents and my sister’s family just the day before I started to miscarry.

The day after our miscarriage, I posted a long Facebook post to tell our friends and family about our loss.  Here’s an excerpt, or you can read the full post here:

Last week Lane and I found out we would welcome a third child into our family next February. And this week, we found out we would never get to meet that child…I know everyone grieves these things differently. As for me, I don’t want to just forget. I don’t want to dismiss this child as if she never existed. I want to remember. We can’t know for sure, but we imagined this baby was a girl. Our first daughter. We’re going to call her Glory. The name comes from a not-so-encouraging verse in Hosea about miscarriages being part of God’s judgment on Israel. It says “Their glory shall fly away like a bird.”

When I read it, it just seemed to fit. A bird can fly away in an instant, and all we can do is stand there and watch it go.

I know it doesn’t seem happy but it fits, in more ways than one. Our Glory has flown away, but through her life we want to give Glory to God. Before we knew for sure today, I prayed to God for a miracle. I asked Him to save her. Then I said, “But either way, God, she’s YOURS. I trust You. Just let her life bring you glory!”

In the days that followed, I went back and forth in my emotions.  I cried.  But I also felt this odd sense of peace, hope, and what I could only describe as gratefulness.  I would sit on the couch in tears, and then look up at my two precious boys playing in the floor and I would just feel…..grateful.  It was as if I had just realized how fragile life is, and seeing these two vibrant healthy boys playing was suddenly a greater blessing than I ever realized.

Friends and strangers messaged me online, saying things like, “That was the most lonely time in my life.” or “It felt so hopeless.”  I appreciated their messages and their love for me, but I honestly did not feel those things.  I felt loved, cherished, and grateful.  I felt hopeful that God was building our family in a way that would bring Him glory, and that His plans for our family were greater than any I could imagine.  I almost felt embarrassed to tell people that I only felt “slightly sad.”

Throughout the past 8 months, I’ve often noted on the calendar where I would have been in my pregnancy.  “Today I would be 20 weeks.  We’d be finding out if the baby was a boy or girl.”  “Today I’d be starting my 3rd trimester.”  “Today the baby would be considered far-enough along to be born.”  These thoughts were always slightly sad, but not despairing.

Then 39 weeks hit last Friday. Because of an issue in my first birth, we scheduled my second at 39 weeks.  I assumed we would have done the same with this one.  The doctor we prefer has his surgery day on Fridays, and so I knew we either would have had the baby last Friday the 3rd or this Friday the 10th.  Suddenly I’m not missing out on a pregnancy anymore.  I’m missing out on hearing the baby’s first cry.  Seeing her daddy hold her just after she’s born.  Holding her in my arms for the first time.  Introducing her to her 2 big brothers.  To her Papaw and Mamaw, aunt and uncle, and cousins.  Learning how to breastfeed all over again.  Bringing her home from the hospital, to a nursery that’s all prepared and perfect just for her.

Last Saturday I had an appointment in Jackson and decided to hit up Old Navy to spend some Super Cash I’d gotten before Christmas.  I looked at a few things for myself and then was drawn back to the baby section.  They had tons of Valentine’s day onesies and outfits that would have been perfect for the baby’s “Coming Home” outfit.  I allowed myself to daydream and picked out the perfect one.  I rested my hand on it, and then had to walk away.  I headed to the fitting room to hide my tears to try on the clothes I had picked out for myself.

I have this small sign on my desk as a reminder of our Glory baby, and of Christ’s call to offer EVERYTHING for HIS Glory.

Going through the miscarriage was sad, but not devastatingly hard.  8 months later it’s hitting me in a whole new way.  This Friday is the due date, and I plan to turn off my computer and phone, and spend the day cherishing my family of 4.  We’re going to go out and do something fun as a family!

In the early days after our miscarriage, I began writing a song.  It’s still unfinished, but throughout the last 8 months I have sung the song often.  In the past week, I’ve sung it all throughout my days:

“My Glory flew away, but your peace flew in.
Glory to God!  I’m breathing You in.
My dreams and plans may fail, but Lord–Your will prevails.  Even in pain You’re building me for Your name.
Glory to my King!

Early in our marriage, my husband I decided to let God build our family however He sees fit.  He’s laid adoption on our hearts, and it’s something we started looking into even before I found out I was pregnant.  We don’t know if our next baby will be biological or adopted, but we do know that God is building our family.  He’s piecing us together for His glory, and I see our Glory baby as a part of that.  In my song, there’s a line that says, “Glory to God!  I’m breathing You in.”  I have clung to those words lately.  They challenge me to lay down my own desires, loves, and plans; and to ‘breathe in’ my Lord.  They inspire me to let Him live through me in every moment–every breath.  I’m taking in His truth, His love, and His grace just as often as I breathe.  Without Him, I’d fall apart.  I’d have spent an hour crying in the Old Navy fitting room.  Instead–after a few moments of prayer, I looked in the mirror, looked myself in the eyes, and whispered truths from His Word into my heart.

Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory.”

I trust that God is building my family WELL.  I trust it, but at the same time I recognize that it’s not about me.  He isn’t building my family in order to give me fulfillment or joy.  He’s building my family in the way that we can best bring HIM glory.  I can look at my family of four and know that He has blessed me beyond what He had to.  I can receive His blessings with gladness, and celebrate His goodness.  At the same time, I can choose to see that same goodness when He continues building my family in a way that brings sadness or pain.  I KNOW He holds our future, and I KNOW that His ways are better than mine.  Even more so, I am honored that He chooses to let me be active in His story.

Through this journey, I’m learning what it feels like to be held in His hands.  To let Him use me for HIS glory, apart from my own works or plans.

Thank you Lord, for holding me in Your hands.  You truly deserve ALL the Glory.

Love, Rachel

P.S.–Sorry if I don’t get back to comments today (Friday).  I’m posting this Thursday night before bed, and my plan is to turn off social media for a day & spend some extra time cherishing the blessings that God has given me!