The Dirty Gospel: Loss & Depression

Welcome to week # 2 of The Dirty Gospel series. This week I am talking about finding God in loss.

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I was in drinking lemonade in Egypt the day he died. I was 16 and on a trip to Africa with my dad.

We were never supposed to be in Egypt anyway. The plane leaving Amsterdam had to make an emergency landing due to engine failure. We missed our connection in Egypt so we were put up in a casino for four days until we could get another flight further into the interior of Africa.

I remember walking into our hotel lobby where my dad pulled me aside.

He told me how my mother had called the hotel to deliver the news. My friend Jeremiah had been killed by a drunk driver. The car was turning into Jeremiah’s driveway when a drunk driver slammed into them. Jeremiah didn’t make it.

I cried. I felt lost. I missed the funeral because I spent the next two weeks in Sudan.

Fast forward a decade and many more grieving moments. I was pregnant with my second child.

Sophie was just about 18 months old at the time. We always knew we wanted another child, and here the sweet baby was! Unlike Sophie, this pregnancy had me sick night and day. It was terrible.

But it got worse.

When I went to the doctor she was unable to find the heartbeat. We should wait a week and come back we were told. Just in case the baby wasn’t as far along as we originally thought. Friends, family and our church rallied around and prayed that God would do a miracle and and a little heart would start beating…thump, thump…thump, thump. It didn’t. God didn’t perform a miracle. The baby was gone.

At 11 weeks, I lost our baby. My terrible morning sickness continued for several weeks until my body recognized that there was no longer a pregnancy.

In the months to follow, I had post-partum depression. I wasn’t mad about the miscarriage, I wasn’t even sad at the time. I felt nothing. Not a single thing. A veil just went between myself and everything around me. I played with Sophie, talked with friends, did all the normal things…but I wasn’t really there. I had couldn’t rally my emotions back into gear.

I didn’t know that a miscarriage could cause post-partum depression. I just thought I was “off”.  Thankfully my hormones leveled out and after three months I was back to my old self. But those were rough days. Lost days to be honest. I know what I experienced was a very mild compared to what a lot of people with depression go through.

( If you are dealing with depression, I’d encourage you to visit your doctor. )

The days after the death of Jeremiah and after the loss of my baby felt so thin. I was holding on by a string. A very small string.

Where was God when Jeremiah died and the days after the loss of my child? He was filling my jar.

There is a story in 1 Kings 17 about a widow who only has enough oil and flour to make a final meal for herself and her son. Their provisions were so meager the plan was to eat their last meal together and then die of starvation.

But God stepped in. He filled their flour and their oil so it didn’t run out.

In those days of my loss and post-partum depression, God was refilling my oil. If I had been the widow I would have wanted a stocked pantry. Maybe a goat or two. But, God let the oil and flour be enough to sustain them.

In that season I wished God would have let my situation be easier. Given me all the things I felt like I was lacking in those moments. He didn’t. He simply multiplied what little I had so that it sustained me.

The days were messy, numb and confusing. Unknown to me I was in the middle of the Dirty Gospel.

God didn’t clean up my mess, He found me in it. And He never let go.

Yes, the situations got better. However, in the middle of those teary and numb moments there was something of God that I learned.

When what I have is not “enough” to sustain me, God comes. And He makes it enough.–> click to tweet

This realization that I can have “enough” in the middle of my complete lack has allowed me to develop a faith I have needed. Not just a faith to make it through the challenging moments. The kind of faith that enables me to chase dreams I have no business chasing.

That is the power of the Dirty Gospel. It replaces the need for perfect circumstances with the need for a perfect God. —> click to tweet.

Have you found God in a place of loss? I would love to hear your stories or thoughts in the comments.

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16 Comments

Filed under Faith, Fire, Global, My Life Thus Far, The Dirty Gospel, Uncategorized

16 responses to “The Dirty Gospel: Loss & Depression

  1. Molly gonzalez

    It’s late ,12 am to be exact but I couldn’t wait to say, God uses you powerfully . Your last two post have blown me away. In a season of extreme pain, ( ruptured disc) and feeling like a caged bird who’s cage just keeps getting smaller, your post speak to me so beautifully. Like balm to my weary heart. Thank you

  2. Wow! This is such a powerful story! I lost my mother to cancer in 2006 and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. I still question why God lets stuff like this happen? I mean who am I to question God, but how are we to continue to have faith? I wrestle with this constantly. I’m a Christ follower, but this is one thing I stay confused about. How do we explain this to non-believers when I can’t explain it to myself?

    • I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom Stephanie. I honestly can’t imagine how hard that would be. My mind doesn’t wrap around that question super easily either. I think when you love God in spite of the tragedy it speaks so much to those that don’t know Jesus. Way more than an explanation of “why”. One of my best friend’s moms past away in 2007. I saw her have to walk through all those questions too. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Such a great post Liz, you captured this place so well. I am always blessed by how you capture these places. We lost three babies before carrying Mariah full term, the first one also at 11 weeks. It is so hard to explain and really I’m not sure there is a way to fully ever explain the depth that was gained through that dark. But your post captured it in an amazing way. Thanks for sharing your heart and Gods.

  4. Jeni

    Yes, Mandy, the depth that is gained through the dark times. I always say that the moments I walk through a miscarriage are bittersweet. I have 4 babies in heaven & 2 here & it still hurts at times to think and feel the loss – but the richness of His presence, power, kindness & love in those moments is something I am so thankful for. It’s completely sustaining.

  5. Your words are so real and honest. As one who has suffered with depression to the point of 3 suicidal attempts in my teens/early twenties (I am 44 now), I have come to realize that God was always there right beside me. I just refused to look to Him. Thanks for sharing the thoughts and feelings many don’t have the words to express.

    • Amy, what a story of God’s grace in your life. I know what I experienced was mild and short compared to many. Powerful to hear you say how He was always right there beside you. I am so thankful for a God who doesn’t leave us!

  6. This was such a beautiful post. Thank you. I needed to read this today. My loss occurred nearly 10 years ago but has been heavy on my heart this week. “When what I have is not “enough” to sustain me, God comes. And He makes it enough.” I need to print that out and read it often. Thank you again.

  7. Heather

    And then, after God supplied the oil & flour, the widow’s son died!!! Sometimes the way God works does not make any sense!!! But God used Elijah to bring her son back from the dead. “God, even though I don’t understand, I choose to trust you.”

  8. Thank you for sharing your story and for the reminder that God is our ultimate provider in times of need. Even when we can’t see it.
    I, too, have experienced the lost of 2 babies. But I still believe that God is good. He has amazing plans for us & it is nothing we can ever imagine! It’s going to be so awesome!

  9. Thank you freshly pressed for introducing me to such a beautiful writer. Thank you Elizabeth for being so very real and for letting love pour out from you to me, the strangest of strangers. I look forward to reading more.

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