I WILL UPHOLD THEE
I WILL UPHOLD THEE
By Kiera McLane
I was in my closet putting away laundry, and was suddenly overcome with the realization of the situation I was in. It was a few days after my first miscarriage, and the full weight of it hit me all at once. I was overwhelmed and consumed with grief. I literally fell to the ground (how does that happen?) with physical and emotional anguish. I ached for comfort and peace and I pleaded so honestly with my Father in Heaven for just a moment of relief—where was my Balm in Gilead?
I just needed to feel something. Some sort of comfort that would prove He was there, and knew what I was feeling. I felt entirely alone in my all-consuming grief and I was rapidly losing the battle. I truly almost couldn’t carry on. How would I ever have the strength to even get off the ground? I couldn’t pull myself up. It was too much. I was being consumed; I could literally feel it. It was the strangest feeling I have ever felt—total soul consumption.
And yet, even in that moment, I wasn’t alone; I couldn’t have been. As cliche as it sounds, I really do shudder when I think what the pain would have felt like if I didn’t have my Savior there. Though I couldn’t “feel” Him, the scriptures (and my testimony) have promised that He was there.
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18).
Why didn’t I receive the exact answer to my pleading in the way I thought I needed it? I don’t know. But as I look back, all I do know is that I was not alone. I could not have gotten through that moment alone—I know what I was feeling; I know where my level of grief was and I didn’t have the physical or emotional or spiritual capacity to pull myself through that situation.
I just didn’t. I was overwhelmed to the depths of my soul. It would have finished me. But it didn’t. I got up. I eventually was able to finish the laundry.
Looking back (with only the blessing that hindsight can give) I see that moment for the sacred experience it was. My faith allows me to recognize my Savior sitting right next to me, knees pulled to chest with an arm on my shoulder, just letting me grieve, ensuring me that He would get me through it. I can see Him literally pulling me up off the floor so I could finally stand again. My faith confirms to me that He stayed with me as long as I continued to grieve and slowly recover.
I have just recently suffered my third miscarriage in a row. It’s so easy to go to that place of confusion and terror. When the first miscarriage occurred—it almost consumed me. Not only was it a huge gut-check; it was terrifying. It was really the first time I was faced with a trial not of my own making.
Prior to the first miscarriage, I conceptually understood that trials will come that we have no control over and we need to rely on the Savior to get us through, but now it was right there in my face; a test of whether I could put into practice what I had been taught all my life to do. There is noone and nothing to blame. There’s no event to pinpoint or single out as affecting the trial’s outcome. I had no recourse. I had nowhere to focus my anger and hurt. I couldn’t have prevented it even if I had been more in tune with the Spirit or more prepared. Suddenly, for the first time in my life, I lived in a world that I had no control over. You can’t stop it and you can’t predict it and you can’t control it. It just happens.
This created a whole faith crisis for me.
I went from being adventurous and trusting that everything would work out to paralyzed by anxiety. Now everything was a “what if.” If this could happen to me, what else could happen? I spiraled. What if I get cancer and die really young? What if the Lord decides to take away my husband or children? What if…? What if…? What if…? The scenarios were (and are) endless.
This type of anxiety is something I still struggle with today, 4 years later, and I have to completely rely on my faith to help me cope. I am forever changed by my miscarriages. They have come to define a part of who I am. They are scars I sometimes can look at objectively with total understanding from a place of growth. But other times, I’m right back in the moment, feeling small, overwhelmed, and inadequate. My life has this demarcation point—“before the miscarriage” and “after the miscarriage”, and it looks totally different on each side of that line.
I feel life has a lot of demarcation points for all of us that define parts of who we are. The trials that are just too much for our fallen, natural-man state to handle— Abrahamic moments.
Abraham was asked by the Lord to sacrifice his child, Isaac. We think we have hard days—imagine the Lord coming to you after you’ve already had a pretty challenging life, and saying, “I need you to kill your child.” The child you’ve prayed for, pleaded for and righteously desired for for so long. Your beloved son. I need you to sacrifice him; for no other reason than I have asked you.
Too much, right? There are normal trials in life, and then there are trials that have the potential to crush your soul. This was that ultimate trial that would come to define much of what Abraham would become. It was almost too much to ask of him. He had no idea how he would be able to do it. He couldn’t, right? This was too much—it was an “Abrahamic moment.”
I think I now know the emotions and pain of that type of moment. The trial that asks too much– asks too much. We can’t bear it’s burden. Even the Lord in Gethsemane, a perfect human—a God, said, “Father, if it be thy will [please] remove this cup from me.” It’s as if He was saying, “It’s almost too much.” The scripture says, we won’t be tempted above that which we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13), but it doesn’t say we wouldn’t face hardships and trials that would be more than we can bear. The truth is, like Abraham, we will be. Bottom line, there are going to be trials in our lives that have the potential to swallow us whole.
There is a reason life is hard at times. There was a reason I had to go through a year of struggling with PTSD, anxiety, and wavering faith. I hold sacred some of the lessons I learned. I know I am a different, and hopefully, a better person as a result. I have become acquainted with grief. We have been given these moments (for they truly are “but for a moment” in eternal perspectives) to help us learn to completely rely on the one person who IS strong enough to bear the burden. Our souls need those abrahamic moments to learn to yoke ourselves with the Savior because He has to carry us through.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee…” (Isaiah 41:10).
We have to totally rely on Him. We have to become totally dependent on Him. He is the only way back to our Heavenly Parents. It’s necessary for our salvation to learn this concept of reliance and dependence. Sadly, sometimes the only way to learn this is by trials that teach us these soul-saving lessons.
Think about it— we have never truly been alone. Never. Only the Savior has ever felt and been truly alone. We will never know or have to experience that feeling. That was for the Lord, to truly descend below all, to singularly experience. Part of the learning process is finding the Savior in those moments and clinging wholeheartedly “whole-soul” to Him to carry us through.
And then it happened again. A second miscarriage. This time, I handled the situation much differently. I refused to let it consume me. I was sad but my perspective had changed. I would be okay. I obviously had health issues that I still needed to resolve, but that’s okay, because I have tools and faith to buoy my up. To get me through, right?
This brings me to 8 weeks ago when I was sitting on the couch and a thought came to me that I needed to think about getting pregnant again. It hadn’t seriously crossed my mind because I have been dealing with health issues for 2.5 years now and figured I needed to wait and figure all of that out before trying again.
But I went forward with faith.
We immediately got pregnant (slightly unexpectedly). I didn’t know how it was going to work out, but the Spirit told me this was what was supposed to happen. So while shocked, I moved forward with cautious optimism and absolute faith.
Yesterday I had an ultrasound and here I was, for the third time, looking at an ultrasound of an embryo that didn’t have a heartbeat.
And now I have to decide where my faith is. Each miscarriage has taught me different things, and already I am realizing that this miscarriage is going to teach me many lessons, but the most pressing one is “what choice are you going to make, Kiera?”
This is your chance to become bitter. This is the third time in a row you’ve been prompted by the Spirit to get pregnant. You’ve followed those promptings and still look, where that got you. You see your friends and relatives having healthy pregnancies and babies, you have friends and relatives currently pregnant, and you aren’t. The world is still moving and you are still stuck with the same problems and the same health issues back to where you started four years ago. You have gone nowhere. You are still sick, still miscarrying, still…still…still…
It’s a choice. I have learned grief, I have learned patience, I have learned endurance, I have learned perspective. Now I have to learn to choose. To choose the Savior. To choose my faith. To choose to keep enduring and to not become bitter and doubtful. This miscarriage is about choice.
I have been pondering the phrase, “endure to the end”. What does that mean? It feels like treading water. It feels lonely. It feels like I may not ever have my happy ending. And that may end up being the case. However, while I know through experience that just enduring some trials is the best we are capable of doing, I am slowly shifting my thinking. I’m starting to move past “enduring to the end” to “pressing forward to the end”. This experience has taught me, that the Lord’s atoning sacrifice provides us with the strength to press forward rather than just endure life’s trials and challenges. As we yoke ourselves with Him, He doesn’t just carry us through, but He is rooting for us the entire way, gently cheering us on, and encouraging us to keep moving forward “I am with thee…I will strengthen thee… I will help thee…I will uphold thee…”