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Dancing on the Waves

by Candace Gudgeon on May 10, 2022

I remember, as a kid, waking up on Mother’s Day, excited to bring my mom flowers and breakfast in bed. I used to sit and dream of my own children doing the same for me one day. Motherhood felt inevitable and guaranteed. The idea of miscarriage was foreign to me.

However, in April of 2021 my husband and I lost our first child to miscarriage, and just a few weeks later I found myself feeling lost and confused on Mother’s Day. The day I was anticipating the fulfillment of a dream had turned into a day of pain and questions: Am I still a mother? How long is it okay to be sad on Mothers Day? And hardest of all, Why would God let this happen?

Wrestling with these questions led me on a journey. I searched through the scriptures for what God has to say about suffering, and for what I should do with my pain. It wasn’t easy, but I knew that I needed to lean into God and not away from him in this tragedy. Though there are few direct references to miscarriage in the Bible, there are many references to God showing up in the middle of suffering, even more specifically women suffering.  One passage in particular has been a source of hope, and to all of the miscarriage moms reading this, I hope it gives you some hope as well.

Genesis 16 finds the Egyptian slave Hagar in quite the situation. Sarai, Abram’s wife, had been unable to bear children up to that point, so she sent Abram to conceive an heir with Hagar (common surrogate practice in those days). However, after the deed was done, and Hagar was expecting Abram’s child, the relationship between Hagar and Sarai broke down. Hagar began to dislike Sarai and Sarai began to mistreat Hagar. So Hagar did what so many of us do when we are afraid and in pain—She ran! But of course, God caught up to her. He instructed her to return home, but promised he would be with her and she would have innumerable descendants. What happened next was powerful. Of the 16 names for God in the Bible—think of them as descriptors of his character—we get to see one of them revealed through this Egyptian woman. Genesis 16:13 records, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her:‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”

In Hebrew, this name of God is El Roi, meaning “God who sees.” This is the first and only time that this name is used in all of scripture. How fitting is it that we see this name revealed in the middle of a situation where Hagar was probably feeling the opposite of being “seen.” I imagine that she would have felt afraid, confused, and angry. Do those emotions sound familiar to you? I know they were my constant companions after my miscarriage. In a situation where I had no control, I found myself feeling afraid, confused, angry, and very unseen. Yet God interrupted Hagar’s disaster with a promise that made her feel seen. If El Roi was God’s name then, its still his name now. God sees the pain of miscarriage and he promises all over scripture that he is with us in the midst of grief, and that he holds onto us tightly. We only need to trust him to carry us.

For moms who have living children and moms who have lost children, God sees you. Your children, both in heaven and on earth, are in his care. And he wants to encourage you and honor you.

If you’re a mom of children in heaven and on earth, you may find yourself conflicted between joy for your living children and grief for the children who were not with you on Mother’s Day. Those feelings are okay as well. Grief and joy are not solitary feelings. In fact, we can grieve with joy, in the hope that we have. This means that we can grieve and be sad for our loss and have joy for the blessings we have been given. Meanwhile the whole experience can be wrapped in the hope that we will see our children in heaven, the hope that God is still moving, and the hope that we will see the goodness of God no matter where we are in our story. Sweet momma, you are seen, you are loved, and you are not alone as you walk through this Mother’s Day.

For those reading this who have not experienced miscarriage loss there is a high likelihood that you already know someone who may have struggled through this Mother’s Day, since 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage. It can be such a comfort this week to reach out to them and simply let them know that you are thinking of them.

Mother’s Day may not look the way that I pictured it would. But I am forever grateful for the joy that I have in Christ and the promise that I will see my child again in heaven.

[For those struggling with miscarriage, there is a support group that runs once a year that is lead by myself and Sarah Stoltzfus. Our group is called Dancing On the Waves and it focuses on processing through miscarriage loss and healing. If you would like more information on this group feel free to email me at and I would be happy to chat with you!]

Tags: hope, mother's day, journey, grief, loss, miscarriage, infertility, god who sees

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