Tag Archive: losing a child


My favourite space on my blog is probably the Taboo Topics section where we look at topics rarely spoken about such as losing a baby or infertility, singleness or being a parent of young children when it’s really really hard, abortion and adoption, issues of race and many more… with one exception these posts take the form of stories of real live people who put their names and faces on them to help make them more relatable and i think they have been extremely powerful and will hopefully continue to be so…

For the most part i have not had a strategy or plan of what topics i would like to see happening on Taboo Topics but have rather let it create itself in a sense. As i have heard a story from someone and asked them if they would be up to sharing or as i have felt a particular topic weigh more heavily on my heart, so i have introduced it and stories have followed. So there are probably fifty more topics waiting to happen, but until i feel it is the right time or i receive a story that feels like it needs to be shared, i will continue with what i have…

A topic i posted on recently was about people who have lost people in their lives – now while losing a baby and losing a child are both obviously that, this was one i started to cover people who have had more grown up people in their lives die and because these can cover so many different relationships [parent, sibling, good friend, grandparent] there is a lot of space for a whole host of different stories to be added there. I understand that for some people this can be an extremely difficult piece to write on but i imagine these stories in particular can be so helpful for other people who have suffered recent loss to read. So if you have lost someone and feel up to writing a story to share, please get hold of me [brettfish@hotmail.com] and let’s chat:

Two Brand New Topics i was asked to share on in the last week were these:

[1] People dissing/hating on South Africa – i guess this might be those still there who are always whining about the place or else those who have fled the country and are constantly breaking it down from outside. So i guess i would be looking at someone who has something to say to those people and maybe thinks differently…

[2] The second topic i was asked to share about was Sexual Abuse, which i am going to put on hold at the moment, simply because it is such a sensitive topic and i need to figure out the best way to deal with and share a topic of such a nature so as to make sure it is handled in the best possible way. So i think i need to put a pause on that for now. This is definitely something i would like to see addressed in some way and maybe i have an older friend who i know well and trust who has a post they can write on it rather than treating it as another Taboo Topic… so let me think about that one and get back to you… if anyone has good links to sites where people have shared stories like this well in the meantime it would be helpful if you could provide a link in the comments section. Thank you.

So if you have a story to share that is prompted by anything you have read in this post so far, drop me an email at brettfish@hotmail.com and let me know what you’re thinking and i can give you some tips on how your share might be shaped and we can take it from there. [i cannot guarantee that i will share it – this is my blog and i always have final say on what i choose to post, but i have rarely said no to anyone and so the chances are good].

Don’t nominate someone else’s story, but if you know someone who has a story that fits well into any of the topics we have run and you think they might be up to sharing it, then please have a conversation with them and if they are up to it get them to contact me directly.

i trust and hope this continued conversation will both encourage those who are struggling in silence and also just help us overall to feel more comfortable in talking about rarely spoken of things…

also if you see a topic that you know relates to someone you know but are struggling to figure out how to share it with them directly, why not SHARE the topic link on your facebook or twitterer page and give them the option of choosing to view it or not? Or else if EVERYONE who reads this can share the Taboo Topics intro link:


There are bound to be many people you know who would benefit from some of the stories here…

[To see the Taboo Topics that have already been covered, click here]


When I started thinking about having children and even long before.. I would never have guessed that the word abortion would ever be part of my vocabulary. I am definitely pro-life, and have been an active advocate against abortions, even doing speeches and presentations on the matter. I always thought that it was a black and white issue, and I am sure that for most people it still might be… I kind of wish that it was still that easy for me. But my life and view of things have changed dramatically over the last 3 years.

I’ve always wanted to be a mommy. I even wanted 6 children! But when I was about  20 years old, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. My doctors told me I would have to have a lot of medical help if I want children and one doctor even told me that I will never have children.  About 9 months after I got married, I went to the gynecologist and she told me my chances of getting pregnant without medical help is about 0.05%. I was devastated, and decided to discontinue my contraceptive medication.  We weren’t planning children right away, but it seemed senseless to use if I am not really able to get pregnant.

I got pregnant 3 weeks after stopping the contraceptive.

I was so overjoyed and in awe of this amazing miracle. I had a very tough pregnancy and had morning day and night sickness for the full nine months. I had almost every possible ‘side effect’ of pregnancy and lost 10kg during my pregnancy. My baby boy, Helgard [HG] was born a healthy 4.52kg through normal delivery (I believed in doing things as natural as possible). One of my friends had her baby 1 week before my son was born. Her baby died when she was 3 months old. She had Edwards syndrome. This friend is still struggling severely. And not knowing this would change my view of things.

When my son was about 10 months old, we decided to get pregnant again, and again it happened so quickly. This time I got so sick right from the start, and it was really bad. We went for the first scan at about 9 weeks and everything looked pretty normal, but I was REALLY sick. By the time we went for the 12 week scan, I was hospitalized 3 times for dehydration because of the severe morning sickness.  When we looked at the baby on the sonogram we could see something was very wrong.

This ended up in weeks and weeks of testing and worry and uncertainty. We were so devastated. This was (I thought at that time) the worst thing that could happen to anyone. By the time I was 21 weeks, the tests could not diagnose anything specific, but we could see with every scan how the baby was deteriorating. We went to see a fetal specialist and were told our baby was suffering from advanced heart failure. His lungs, kidneys and liver were much too small and his limbs were under developed. The specialist told us that heart failure this severe was not very common in a baby this size. She also informed me that there was no life expectancy for this child and that he would probably not survive another 2 weeks inside the womb. By this time I have lost 12kg and have been hospitalized 6 times. I have been prodded and poked by needles and emotionally I was dead. Because of the risk on my own life, we decided to end the pregnancy. Terminate. Abort.

This was horrific. I wanted this baby so bad, but he was so far gone. Through this whole ordeal we kept praying and believing in a miracle… but despite people telling us that ‘if we just believe and pray and keep faith, he will be fine’ he was not. I believe that God can do ANYTHING. But I also believe that just because He can, it doesn’t mean that He will. God has His plans and His timing. And sometimes people get sick and die. And my baby was sick and dying.

I cannot begin to describe the devastation of holding your lifeless baby in your arms. We could see by the severe swelling and malformation that he was never meant for this life. We had a post mortem done, and he was diagnosed with a rare genetic mutated disease. There is no baby born alive with this disease. Although this was difficult we made peace with it and tried to move on.

We still desperately wanted another child. I really put everything in front of the Father and told him that I don’t think I can face something like this again. So I prayed feverishly for a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy.

I had so much faith. And I believed everything would be fine.

About 5 months later I was pregnant again. We were so overjoyed, especially in light of our loss. But again, despite my belief that things will be easier, I was very sick. I made the hospital my home every second week. At the 12 week scan everything looked fine, and I was so relieved that I cried. But this relief turned into the worst devastation I could ever imagined when we went for the 20 week scan and found out that this baby (we named him Christian) had severe spina bifida . We went to see a specialist again. And the prognosis was horrible. Although there was life expectancy, everything else was really bad. They also told us to go for more tests because it was very likely that there were other illnesses as well.

I felt like I had died. I could not believe that this was happening. AGAIN. My heart felt like it was ripped out of my chest and into a million pieces.

I believed. I prayed. I fasted. And still this was happening.

We had to go through the process of deciding on this baby’s life. Again.

I still don’t know if we did the right thing. But we ended the pregnancy. I held my broken and hurt baby until he went cold. I have cried a river of tears and find it so difficult to be happy for my friends that had normal and healthy babies. There are no words to describe this loss and the agony of our decision to anyone. I don’t think anything else in life I will face or have to decide on, will be this difficult. A part of me died that day. And I will mourn for the rest of my life.

We have been judged on our decision, without compassion. And although I am sure that this might be a struggle for the rest of my life, I still have hope. I know I am loved by our Father. And I know my babies are with Him and they are not hurting and suffering. I am the one suffering. Most of the time I feel that I made the right decision, but I question myself constantly.

My faith has been tested in ways that I would never have dreamed possible, but I still have faith and I know that my Father held me through this whole thing. And I picture Him crying with me. I don’t understand why any of this has happened, and doubt that I ever will in this lifetime. But I know I have a deeper understanding of God the Father, and I know I am close to His heart.



The death of a baby or child is forever life changing in every way that you can imagine, or maybe you can not imagine.

I must have heard this a million times, “I can not image how you handle this; I would not be able to handle it.” Who wants to imagine the death of their baby or child, No one I know and neither did I. But I found myself in that very real situation on December 15, 2005 when my 11 week old daughter died in her sleep at the babysitter’s house of SIDS.

SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant under one year of age that remains unexplained after the performance of a complete postmortem investigation, including an autopsy, an examination of the scene of death and a review of the medical history. SIDS remains the leading cause of death for infants one month to one year of age, continuing to claim the lives of approximately 2,000 babies each year.

This is a life event that I would have rather missed out on and not experienced at all but that was not in my life plan. This one event changed everything for me and changed the way that I saw GOD. I will not lie to you and say I have a strong faith in GOD. It is really the opposite. I have always been looking for a relationship with GOD and have found it very difficult. I’m a believer and at times have had a strong faith and was in a good place when my world was turned upside down.

My daughter Alexandra Gayle was born on September 29, 2005 a health little girl, she was my only daughter and had 2 brothers that were very happy to have a sister. My 1st question to God after her death was how do I explain to 2 small children that their sister is gone. I looked for books and all I could find was books about helping children deal with the death of a pet or grandparent since those deaths make since to the world. No one wants to admit that babies and children die and no one wants to speak about it.

The next thought I had was how does a perfectly healthy little girl who was loved just fall sleep and never wake up. Why would the GOD that I knew let that happen? Why would GOD cause me and so many that loved her so much pain? (Ok that is like 3 questions) But in the days, months and years after her death there has been question after question with little to no answers.

I will admit to turning on GOD at that time in my life. I like to say that I put GOD in a box, locked it, put it in the back of my closet, and locked the door. I was angry and since there was no one else to blame, I blamed GOD, He became the person that was able to be angry with. Most people did not see this side of me since I kept it deep inside. They saw the person that I was showing to the outside world a strong person who was learning to cope. I was dying and my heart was broken.

There were days that I just went through the motions and days that I was not able to make it out of bed. There were times that I wanted to kill myself. They were times that I was happy and that felt wrong. I had 2 other little children that needed me and who were also grieving. I had a husband who was grieving too. There were days that I only had enough to deal with my own grief and had no room for their pain. Somehow I made it though each day one at a time. One minute at a time, then one day at time, then a week or two. Slowly there was a new normal in my life.

My heart remained broken and then something slowly started to change. I did not know what it was at the time and can only see it now looking back but that box I had hidden away was starting to leak. I did not know that you could not put God’s love in a box and expect it to stay there.

There were people that were put in my path that would show me that GOD still loved me no matter how mad I was at him. No matter how much I wanted to hate what I felt that he had let happen. I was not able to see the slow fog that seeped out from under the door. GOD had waited long enough and knew that it was time for me to see what He had in store for me.

It was always painful for me when people did not remember my daughter or know what to say to me when they found out what had happened. So I realized that it was my job to remember her and to make sure others knew it was ok too. It was ok not to know what to say to me and it is ok if talking about her makes me sad. Remembering her is more important then pushing it away.

I knew that it was ok to be sad and it was ok to be mad at GOD. He could handle it and after all He is a grieving parent too. When I realized that I had something in common with GOD. Little me here on earth, imperfect me had something in common with GOD. We were both grieving parents and a parent would never make this happen to another parent.

GOD did not make this happen, it just happened. It was my part of my plan in life. What GOD did do is walk with me though it. He stayed with me even when I did not want Him there. He knew I was not ready and waited until it was time to let me see where this path would take me. GOD saw the big picture that I was not able to see. GOD loved even when He was not loved. GOD grieved with me, cried with me, was angry with me, and he held my hand through it all.

My cross to carry in is life knowing that I was not able to control the loss of my daughter and there is nothing that I could have done to change it. My cross to carry is helping my children learn that death is a normal part of life, young or old GOD calls us home at all different times. How lucky we were to be the ones that were chosen to love this little baby for such a short time. How lucky I was to have carried her in my body to have nursed her and given her nourishment to have loved her to have put her back into the ground and given her back to her creator. How lucky are we to know that she is there waiting for us and always looking after us.

It is not an easy path and it will never be easy. It is a live changing event for everyone that is involved in it. What I have learned is that my path can help others that are dealing with the same kind of pain. That I can tell her story about how GOD took a broken heart and started to heal it little by little. How thru GOD I have learned to see the joy in life and cherish every moment. My relationship with GOD is far from great and it is still a struggle everyday to remember the path that I have been given and that He is always there with me. It is still a struggle to see the love that GOD has for me. But what is important is that I always keep trying and I always keep remembering the little angel that is watching and waiting for me to join her in heaven.

Today, I have 2 more children and have found myself as a single mother of 5 (1 angel). And again I hear how do you handle it but today the answers are very different. Today I can answer that question. It is only with the love and support of GOD that I handle it and knowing that GOD is there with me through all the ups and downs. 

[To read other stories that have been shared of people who have lost a child, click here]

The very first topic i started ‘Taboo Topics’ with was that of losing a baby with the idea that there are a lot of people who go through that horrific ordeal, but yet not many people who speak about it and so a lot of people must be struggling and suffering through in silence. Thanks to some very brave friends of mine we now have a number of really powerful stories there which have been a huge source of encouragement and also challenge to a whole lot of people.

I stumbled upon a story today of a family who recently lost their four-year-old son to a brain tumour and asked for permission to share the story and decided to do it on a separate page. I imagine there is quite a different dynamic to losing a child than losing a baby – and I am not for a second suggesting that one is any easier or harder than the other, but just different. And I have never walked that road myself and so clearly am not equipped to share much in the way of thoughts, feelings or experiences, although I am still profoundly affected by

Ii really hope these stories will be a glimmer of light at the end of that dark tunnel for a lot of you. If you know of someone who you think will benefit from hearing the stories that follow, please feel free to cut and paste/tweet/share/link/email, whatever it takes to let them know that these stories are here.

You are not alone. there is a light. and there are many people who have walked this road and are walking it and will offer you support where you are on it.

Meet Jessica and Ian and their son Henry

Meet Sarah and her daughter Alexandra

This is a repost that Jess graciously allowed me to share – you can find the original over here and you can, and really should, consider following her blog, ‘Jess in Process’ – in this piece she talks about losing her four year old son, Henry, 14 months ago, to a brain tumour.

Jess and Henry



How have you been, Jess?

I hear this from time to time.  It’s been 14 months since my 4-year-old son, Henry, died from a brain tumor.

14 months.

Over a year.

I remember right after Henry’s death someone told me about another grieving mother.  That mother was having a very difficult time.  Her child had died roughly a year prior.

I remember thinking, Why is she still having a rough time?  Surely I’ll be doing waaaaaaaay better in a year.

After all, death is an event, right?  In Henry’s case, it was a horrible, unexpected, unplanned event… but it was an event.  An occurrence.  An experience.  Something we all survived.  We knew we’d see him again, eventually.  And in the meantime, surely time would ease the pain.

That was 14 months ago.

How have you been, Jess?

This video helps me explain…

Sometimes when I look at this baboon, I see myself.  Edgy and bewildered, protectively swatting away flies, padding through dry grass with a limp carcass in my teeth.

How have you been, Jess?

How do I answer?  How can I answer?

To be honest, sometimes I’m great.  But sometimes I’m overcome with grief.  Sometimes I’m crying in the corner of Kmart because I just saw my first yellow helium balloon (or any other random object) since Henry died.

Sometimes I’m full of energy.  But sometimes I’m exhausted from the undercurrent of pain that runs beneath every holiday/anniversary/birthday/etc. we celebrate without my son.

Sometimes I feel powerful.  But sometimes I’m crippled by the pain of one grandchild missing in the family photos, one cousin too few trampling through the yard.

Sometimes I’m full.  But sometimes I’m empty, like last Christmas when I hid the Hot Wheels coloring book and marker-set that I’d bought… on a whim… and didn’t know who to give them to.  Deep down I knew who they were for.

Sometimes I’m creative.  But sometimes I feel completely paralyzed, like when a bunch of kids blew past my 3-year-old daughter at the park last week.  She looked at them wistfully before hanging her head and saying softly, “I wish Bo-Bo Henry was still my friend.”

Sometimes I feel like I’ve healed enough to fit in with those around me.  Sometimes I’m sure I never will.  When I hear other mothers stressing about their children’s vaccine schedule, educational challenges, or picky eating, I often feel more solidarity with that baboon than with them.  But they aren’t doing anything wrong.  Those things once meant the world to me too.  They mattered when my son drew breath.  They mattered when I could hold him and fret over his future.  And with a precious daughter still in my care, they’re beginning to matter a little more every day.

But for now there’s a quiet chasm between most mothers and myself.  It’s not their fault.  It’s not mine.  It’s just the way it is.  That’s what this kind of pain does.

My Facebook feed epitomizes my reality.  Filled with healthy babies and thriving families, it seems like there’s no place for this extended and intense pain.  It’s improper.  It’s offensive.  It’s a downer.  It’s unproductive.  It’s old news. It’s as if the world keeps saying, “It’s time to move on, Jess.”

So when I hear that fateful question, I hear it as a shout.  It echoes over the noisy parade of society’s celebrations, “SO HOW HAVE YOU BEEN, JESS?”

And I think of her.  The baboon apart from her pack.  The one who’s not running or thriving or keeping pace with the smiles.  She’s alone with her dead child.  She’s trying to make sense of her existence alongside its absence.

She refuses to let go and she doesn’t apologize for it.  She sits with the ugly, the unnatural, the devastating.  She brazenly eats with death, sleeps with death, and lives with death.  And she doesn’t care who’s watching.  I envy her.

But I have something that she doesn’t.

Last spring I sat outside at dusk, whispering my pain into prayers.  At first those prayers seemed to evaporate into the oranges, purples, and deepening blues of the streaky night sky.  But I continued anyway.  “I just miss him so much,” I confided.  “I want to talk to himso bad.”

And within the silence that followed, my spirit felt a gentle whisper, “Do it.”

So I did.  I imagined Henry’s dimpled smile, his dancing blue eyes, and the cow-lick of straw-blonde hair on the crown of his head.  He was leaning against a column beside me.  He looked happy, calm, and ready to hear his mama talk.

“Hi,” I whispered, my tear-soaked face breaking into a smile.  “I love you so much!  And I miss you so, so much, my Little Love.  I want to hold you… so badly… I want to hug you and squeeze you and give you lots of kisses!  I promise I will again-” and then, to my surprise, this tumbled out, “But for now, Mommy has to stay.”

And with that simple confession, life and passion swept into my soul.  “I have to stay here a little longer,” I reiterated with fresh clarity and building momentum, “And tell people thatGod loves them. Some people don’t know how much God loves them.  So I’m going to stay here a while longer… and tell them.”

14 months later, this is what makes the difference.

This is where God meets me.  I sense him most strongly when I release the limp wrist clamped between my teeth and use my mouth to share the love of Jesus.  When I profess the truth that Henry’s death was neither beautiful nor peaceful nor sent by God for a mysterious higher purpose, I find passion.  I find strength.

When I hear from people all over the world whose lives are being transformed as they reexamine the scriptures and realize that the character of God was fully revealed on Calvary, I find momentum.  When I pause to contemplate the stunningly beautiful, enemy-loving, self-sacrificing essence of God, I find joy.

What do I have that the baboon doesn’t?

I have Jesus.  I have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe who walked this earth long enough to demonstrate how we are to love one another and then gave his life to defeat the powers of darkness.

I also have the knowledge that my pain will be met with purpose.  I don’t believe that Henry’s life was savagely taken for a mysterious greater good.  But I do believe that this pain will be met with purpose as I partner with God to spread the knowledge of his great love.

And this helps me let go of what can’t be… at least for a moment.  Though I pick up my old hopes and dreams again and again, in the moments that I release them – when I release Henry into God’s care – He meets me there in a powerful way.

How have you been, Jess?

I’ve been high, low, up, down, furious, apologetic, happy, sad, rejuvenated, defeated, driven, and stalled.  It seems to depend in-part on how I spend my time, and where my heart is focused.  But regardless of how I feel, I choose to stay, and tell people that God loves them.  I choose to keep sharing my testimony.  I choose to share the God of the Bible revealed on the Cross.  Until the day I hold my son.

When you run into me, on the other side of eternity, be sure to ask: How have you been, Jess?

That’s when I’ll answer, Whole.  Complete.  Perfect. 

*** Note: If you post happy family pics/videos (like I do) – please don’t stop or feel bad about it!  Sometimes your baby’s fat cheeks or your kids’ goofy grins and belly laughs are a sacred balm to this battered soul.  Your precious offerings are a reminder of the beauty in this world and I am thankful to celebrate with you!

For more from Jess, make sure you head on over to Jess in Process: Seeking God through the lens of Calvary


BV134WordPress informs me this is my 1000th blog post on Irresistibly Fish. It feels like i should be doing something special.

for anyone who follows this blog, or maybe stumbled upon it today, and who doesn’t understand the title, let me explain…

my nickname is Fish – has been for a very long time – stands for Faithful In Serving Him and i try to see it as something i am aiming towards as opposed to something i feel like i’ve arrived at… there is always room for me to be more faithful. the Bible tells is that even when we are unfaithful God is faithful and so it’s a good example to follow.

and then just taking it a step further, i want to be Irresistibly Fish – i want to be faithful in serving God in a way that is enticing to others – that is really the heartbeat of what i want this blog to be about.

sure, it tends to be a bit of a mixed stew because i am also a great appreciator of humour [yes, Americans, with a U!!!] tending more towards the dry british monty pythonesque and the random misdirection’ness of a good Jack Handey:

‘Before criticizing someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away and have their shoes.’ [Jack Handey]

‘Of all my uncles I think I liked Uncle Cave man the best. After school we’d go and play in his cave and every now and then he’d eat one of us. Later we found out he was a bear.’ [Jack Handey]

so how to celebrate a 1000th blog post? i guess by sharing somethings i wish for you to know:


Often when i get a chance to preach, i throw in a kind of bonus pre-preach intro along the lines of ‘If you only walk away with two things today, let it be these two things’ and so this would be a good place to share those as well and they apply to you whoever you are:


You might be someone who doesn’t believe in God or is struggling to hold on to a belief in God. You might be someone who has turned away from God or stopped believing in Him. You might be someone who is really angry with God at the moment, or disappointed or confused because of ‘something God did’ or maybe even something God didn’t do [that you really believed or were hoping that he would] – Know this – God loves you more. It doesn’t take your believing it for it to be true.

On the other hand, you might be someone who feels completely loved by God at the moment. You feel completely close to Him. You hear Him speaking to you through scripture and through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. You feel absolutely connected to Him in worship. You and God are pretty tight right now. Well hear this – God loves you more. No matter how big you can grasp His love for you to be right now, it is bigger.

God loves you more. And if you don’t believe it, then take at least a moment to consider ‘What if it is true?’ Ask Him if He does? He’s certainly big enough to confirm it to you.


I’ve been known to make churches or whole camps of people sing this little mantra i came up with years ago. The only problem is that although i have a kindof tune in my head it is really hard to communicate that tune and so the whole singing part for the most part ends up being me singing and everyone staring at me with a kind of WHATTHEFLIPISGOINGONHERE kind of look… it goes like this:

God is bigger than my box…

He’s bigger than my theology…

He’s bigger than my understanding…

He’s bigger than me.

With some kind of weird fast five clap thing after the ‘understanding’ that no one [including me most of the time] ever gets right.

But it’s true. You may not like to think this but you have a box in terms of how big you think God is, what you actually believe He is capable of, where you think He can and will get involved, how He can speak to people, what He looks like, who He speaks to and so on. It might be a really huge box. It might be the tiniest of boxes, or a box that confidently displays ‘There is no God’ which is its own little picture of God. But you have one.

Each of us do – the idea of just how big God is and the limitations that we place on Him. We each have a theology [study of God] and we each have an understanding. And it’s a little bit of tautologous redundancy on the one hand as the three things mean largely the same thing, or connected things. But the point is that in some way each of us reduce God to a smaller thing or being than He actually is.

One verse that helps bring this home to me is Ephesians 3.20 which informs us that God is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE THAN ALL WE HOPE OR IMAGINE which basically says that however large we are able to hope or imagine, God can do even more, even bigger than that. But it’s these verses that come before that which help back up my statement song as well:

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. [17b-19]

How wide and long and high and deep…

God is bigger than your box, than your theology and your understanding.

Plus the one we forget way too often: He’s bigger than me.


there are so many things i could say and so this list will not be exhaustive by any means, but as i hit this milestone on the blog there are some definite things i want people to take hold of and engage with;

# going back to the above verse, God is able to do immeasurably more than all we hope or imagine – i do say this a lot but i think often our hopings and imagings are so small that we aren’t all that impressed when God does them. i suspect God might be wanting us to HOPE and IMAGINE bigger so that when He does show up and do the things we are hoping and imaging for, we are super impressed and give Him the glory and praise He deserves…

 – i think of the story of Gideon in the Bible facing this huge unbeatable enemy army and how God stripped his army down from thousands to just three hundred and then ‘armed’ them with musical instruments and torches and sent them into battle [so it was obvious that the victory was God’s]

 – i think of the story of Joshua and the whole of Israel marching around the impenetrable city of Jericho for seven days and then on the last day breaking into shouts and musical instrument noise and the city walls collapse and they gain a huge victory [all attributed to God]

 – but i also think of my friend Dale who was praying with a bunch of friends from church before hitting the streets and one person got ‘a ‘download’ from the Holy Spirit that there is an elderly man, who’s name is Henry who used to be a painter, but is now out of work and financially vulnerable and suffering from pain in his knees.’

they went out on to the streets to pray for people and didn’t meet up with Henry the whole day. Until right towards the end, when they came across this old man walking with his four year old grandson:

‘We asked if we could pray for him… he declined and was walking away. I asked him ‘Is your name Henry?’ He turned and said yes. I did a double take. I asked him if he used to be a painter. He said yes, but he was laid-off and is now working odd jobs and money is tight. I asked him if he had pain in his knees. He said the arthritis was so bad in his knees that he often could not fall asleep at night!! So I called over everyone and asked them to repeat what we had spoken of that morning. They confirmed all this to him. Boom!’

– i also think of a talk i preached at a Simply Worship gathering where [against my initial will and ‘better thought’] i invited people to step forward into the impossible thing God was calling them to [much like Peter walking on the water] and a young guy called Brendon felt like God had told him to take his inheritance money and put it as a down payment on a place of safety for children at risk and how a group gathered with him and started praying regularly [because God had told them they were not allowed to as for money or fund raise] and how God used an atheist having an encounter with a presence on the property they had found to hand over 2.1 million South African Rands to but that property, which more than 5 years later is continuing to function as a place of safety for children at risk.

so i would like you to ASK and IMAGINE bigger – and i would like to start doing the same more often.

# those of you who claim to be followers of Jesus [whatever you choose to call yourselves] i would like for you to follow Jesus. 

this ‘christian’ thing is not a decision you make once so that you can ‘make it into heaven’ – it is a life-transforming decision that needs to be made again every day as we choose to put Jesus on the throne of our lives and submit to His will and be involved in bringing about His kingdom. i just wish for you to live that stuff you say you believe. i wish to see you living it in the way you spend your money, i would love to see you living it in the way you use your energy and time and the resources you have at your disposal. i wish to see you following Jesus in the way you forgive anyone and everyone who may have wronged you in any large or small way. i wish to see you involved in some way with those who are considered ‘the least of these’ whether they love Jesus or not.

i wish to see you combining these two – so asking and imagining bigger in the things of Jesus. Thinking of your community, of your neighborhood, of your country even. Thinking along the lines of education and healthcare, of human trafficking. taking on the ‘What ifs’ of even daring to consider the idea of ending poverty, or lack of access to clean drinking water or an end to the violence that plagues the streets around you.

# i deeply desire that we [as followers of Jesus and even just as people in general] will be known more for WHAT WE ARE FOR than for WHAT WE ARE AGAINST. even as we wrestle with scripture and trying to hold on to Truth in times that test the very fabric of it, may we completely be removed from the mantle of ‘you will be known by your hatred of the gay’ as one example within a myriad of examples.

# i hope that we can move past trite ‘answers’ such as ‘abortion is wrong’ to what may sometimes be difficult or inconvenient solutions such as offering to adopt the child of a young single mother whose only option seems to her to be abortion… or better yet, inviting the woman and child to live with us. because surely as the church that is the next logical step right? providing viable solutions rather than just picking on the scabs of what is broken and messed up?

# i love my wife. i know, i know, doesn’t seem to fit in with the run of where i was going there but i can’t write a 1000th blog post and not mention tbV [aka The Beautiful Val] but yes, we have not had the easiest of contexts since we have been married, but we are still running strong and we had the most excellent date night last night. i do completely love her and am grateful for the journey we have walked and run [and occasionally crawled] together thus far, and for everything that is ahead of us.

# i long to see relationships flourish, which is why so much of what happens on this blog has to do with relationships. From those in the lives of people who are single right now, to those who are in dating or engaged relationships, to those who are married and then beyond that to any who have children. God just has such a huge heart for relationships, and so do i. i want to see the 50% of marriages end in divorce statistic plundered. i want to see fresh life and hope and people who will fight for their relationships and not just in them. i want to see people honouring promises made in front of family and friends and God instead of jumping ship when the waters get rough or when someone messes up. i want to see people owning up to their own crap first before trying to fix their partners. i want to be doing that too.

# i long to see Taboo Topics spoken about and stories shared that encourage others to seek transformation in their own lives or simply encourage those who may be struggling through a particular experience or stage. This has been the most successful aspect of this blog and i love how powerful some of the stories that have been shared have been for other people – i think particularly of Singleness, Losing a Child, Infertility, Parents of young children [when it hasn’t been particularly easy] and Pornography/Masturbation. Topics rarely spoken about in church [and even general life often] where a bunch of my good friends have come forward and bravely shared a glimpse into their story/struggle/experience with amazing results. May these continue to grow.

and so much more… but i will have the next 1000 posts to do all of that.

thank you to those of you who made it this far down. thank you to those who journey on Irresistibly Fish, whether you read each post religiously or whether you head back every now and then and dip your feet into the waters [that was a metaphor, no actual water was involved in the writing of this blog post] – i really appreciate you, even those who disagree with me from time to time. maybe especially those who disagree with me from time to time [especially when you fight nice]

# i think largely i would say if i had a wish for this blog it would be more engagement! More comments and interaction, more sharing of similiar stories or equally funny cartoon strip links or your opinion on the thing i’m currently opinioning on or your Facetablet offer

A friend of mine connected me to Jennifer’s blog posts which she has just written and they are deeply moving and heart-breaking, but at the same time I think it can be so powerful for those who are going through a similiar journey to be connected in some way to others who have also walked or are walking this road. I really appreciate her willingness to let me repost her blog and encourage you to continue on to the three follow-up posts she has written which I link to at the end… [since the time of posting this, Jennifer has continued to blog her journey and so there are now ten posts which are all linked to at the bottom of this]:

First Ultrasound:

This morning I had my very first ultrasound. The midwife immediately commented on the strong spine, and soon after we were listening to a description of the four chambers of the heart—perfectly formed. All the things that first-time parents long to hear.

There was only one problem – that perfectly-formed heart was not moving. Our baby likely died around two weeks ago (the doctor we were sent to suggested there is no way to place a timeline on things, as the baby could have just been progressing slowly, but our hearts tell us otherwise).

We spent much of the afternoon/evening alternating between tears and numbness. As Allyn keeps saying, “it comes in waves.”

Given that we discovered the death before my body registered any signs, we decided to try medication to begin the process of passing. My midwife assured us that I should not be alone when the miscarriage begins and given that our work schedules don’t always match up, it seemed best to begin this process earlier than either of us want – during a weekend when both of us are off work.

I’ve had conflicting emotions – the desire to hold on, even though I know logically that the baby is dead. There is a part of me that believes as long as it remains in the womb, it will be safe and protected. The other part of me doesn’t know what to do with the knowledge that death resides inside me – that the tiny, well-formed being that rests within my uterus is gone.

It reminds me of a chapter in Trauma and Grace (which, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find today—but, thankfully, portions are on google books). This book by Serene Jones features a chapter on reproductive loss and seeks an appropriate theological image. After spending time writing of grief and our lack of meaningful images and help for women who have experienced reproductive loss (in this chapter she deals with infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirth), she tells a tale of the Triune God. Apparently theologians like Moltmann and Luther have suggested that when Christ died, the death was taken into the Godhead. It was considered a limit and a contradiction that the Triune God could take death into itself and yet live. Jones suggests this may have been a limitation of the male theologians that discussed the idea – for women who miscarry do just that. We carry death inside of us, and yet (sometimes despite our desires at the time), we live. She compares the Triune God to a miscarrying woman, and I love that. It means even during this time when so few people know, I am not alone in this tangle of death and life. God, the Creator and Giver of life, has felt death within God’s womb.

It is a strange image—and one I recognize could be offensive to some—but it rings true for me. I have passed on this image to other women grieving after miscarriage, and I find that in some quiet way, it comforts me.

I took the pills, knowing it was my best option. And now I wait. Four hours after pills, there is still no blood or spotting to indicate that anything is happening.

I imagine some are wondering if I regret telling people that we were pregnant before hitting the so-called “safe” point. I don’t. We had originally planned to wait, but I began wondering why there was such a stigma around telling. Obviously I understand why some wish to wait and don’t want to grieve publicly if something happens. But it seems many of us begin to make that decision simply because we are supposed to. And I began to fear that the reason was shame. That the system is built around the idea that if something goes wrong, it must mean something is wrong with me. And to be honest, it is hard not to feel that guilt now.

The very first thing said to me by the doctor, technician, and midwife was “this was not because of something you did or did not do.” And I get that. We were planning for this pregnancy. During the waiting period, I was already following pregnancy guidelines. And I followed every guideline I found to the very letter of the law. Limited caffeine? I’ll avoid it all. No hot tubs? I’ll even turn down the temperature of the water on my showers. Lunch meat should be heated? I’ll avoid it altogether. I’ve avoided all medications. And certainly no alcohol, cigarettes, or illegal drugs.

But what if the “wrong” thing was my very body? What if it acted against my will to destroy the life inside of me? And that is certainly a possibility. But even if it is so, I’m not responsible for that.

Telling people will be hard. But it would be just as hard and just as awkward if this child died a year after birth. There will always be awkward moments of people not knowing and asking the wrong question or saying the wrong thing.

And today has taught me that I desperately need people. Neither of us ate much today. We ate sandwiches for lunch because we were supposed to. We tried to drink water, because the ultrasound technician made us promise to do so, fearing dehydration and sickness in addition to the pain we already felt. We talked about how we knew we needed dinner, but neither of us was in a state to do anything about it. Enter my family. My parents and sister loaded the car with more food that any 5 people can eat and sat with us. It was the first time that we were able to laugh a little and talk about something other than loss. And we needed that. We will need friends and colleagues in the coming days. Our excitement and joy and hope was not a mistake. And neither is our grief now.

Author’s note: This is the first in a series on pregnancy loss/miscarriage. It was written the evening of the ultrasound, so if thoughts seem disconnected, etc., you will note there is good reason. 

You can connect more with Jennifer’s blog here and also read the ten follow-up posts she has posted:

Still Pregnant – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/05/28/still-pregnant

How are you? – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/05/29/how-are-you

The pants can’t win – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/05/30/the-pants-cant-win

Of angels, rainbows and resentment: http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/05/31/of-angels-rainbows-and-resentment

Out of control – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/06/01/out-of-control

Sonnet 10 – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/06/02/sonnet-10

The business of miscarriage – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/06/04/the-business-of-miscarriage

The broken things – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/06/05/the-broken-things

Counting the days – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/06/06/counting-the-days

This is what a miscarrying woman looks like – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/06/07/this-is-what-a-miscarrying-woman-looks-like

Hush baby – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/06/09/hush-baby

The Long Road – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/06/12/the-long-road

Of Laundry Ladies and Goblins – http://jenniferharrisdault.com/2013/06/13/of-laundry-ladies-and-goblins

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