God-Shaped Hole

“God made everything out of the void, but the void shows through.” – Paul Valery

god-shaped holeI could tell you about the seven week ultrasound. When I walk in, the technician says, “So you’ve been having some problems?” and that’s all it takes for me to burst into tears right there in the doorway.

I could tell you about the wobbly static of your secret places projected onto a screen. The picture comes in and out, line and shadow, a hidden hologram.

I could tell you about the circle – the sac – she calls it, measuring too small. There should be a little bean of a thing inside of it. A blob with a beating center. A beginning.

Instead, it’s empty.

“We can’t draw any conclusions,” she says. “It’s very possible that you have the date wrong. You’d be surprised how often that happens.”

“I don’t have the date wrong,” I tell her.

“Even so,” she chirps, and I can tell by the dismissive flick of her hand that she doesn’t believe me. “We can’t say for sure until you come back for another ultrasound in two weeks.”

I could tell you about knowing for two weeks that you are having a miscarriage before anyone will let you call it that.

In the second ultrasound there is a new technician who is all business. I see the empty circle, exactly the same as before. She snaps pictures, takes measurements, says nothing.

I could tell you about the doctor, the one who delivered Dane almost four years ago. In the white exam room, she says blighted ovum. She talks about a mysterious condition in which a placenta is formed but never an embryo – no heartbeat, no tiny person growing in the quiet.

I could tell you that this is my second miscarriage in 4 months and how strange it feels, this time, to miss something that was never there. But I keep seeing it – that too-small circle, that missing baby, that hole in the middle of it all.

*

Once I sat with a friend over pizza, and she told me quietly about her fractured relationship with her father. About the inexcusable ways he had failed her, had hurt her, had broken her heart.

I listened the best I could, but I didn’t hear her. Not really. It was before my breakdown, before the year of my drinking, before my Mad Season. And all I could think were hearty, evangelical thoughts about God-shaped holes.

She was saying, “This is not how it should be,” and all I could hear is, “Quick! Tell her about Jesus!” and so I did.

I told her about how God is the best kind of Father. About his unending love and his deep-ocean kindness, and I was telling her that Jesus could fill that cavernous emptiness that her Dad had left in her heart.

She was poking at her pizza with her fork, and when she looked up at me, her eyes were set like stone.

And only now am I beginning to understand the wrongness of that whole conversation. Because it is March, and it should be almost-spring, but it just keeps on snowing.

God is here, and I feel him close and real these days. But also, still, there is this hole. There is the empty space where a baby should have been. And I feel that too, tender and sharp.

I know it will get better with time – these things always do. But also, I know that this world is cracked through. The people who are supposed to love us best fail us in the worst possible ways. The pregnancy doesn’t take, or he baby is gone before you can hold him. The lump is malignant. The crash is fatal. Over and over again, people keep leaving before we’re ready for them to go.

We are, all of us, punched through with holes, living with a little bit more emptiness every year. And it’s possible to be filled with the Spirit and still feel the void.

It’s true that God is the best kind of Father. And also, the absence of your flesh-and-blood Dad matters. There is the way things should be and the way they are, and between them, there are a hundred thousand hollows, echoing with emptiness.

We are not a complete puzzle, missing one crucial piece. We are riddled with holes, waterlogged, going down.

God is not some perfectly shaped stopper, meant to keep a sinking ship afloat. He is something else entirely – a life boat, a raft. The Rock that we cling to when the whole thing is going to hell.

And I think that in order to find wholeness, we have to learn to tell the truth about our emptiness.

So this is me, telling the truth:

I had another miscarriage this month, and I can’t stop feeling it.

I am adrift in new territory, both hollow and held. I am floating on some strange ocean. I am carried by his strong Love; I am feeling it all.

73 thoughts on “God-Shaped Hole

  1. I’m sorry too. Thank you for your testimony of God’s love right there with all the holes.

  2. Sending lots of love to you, Addie. I’ve lost four pregnancies (one of which turned out just like you described above) so you have my deepest understanding and empathy. I’m so sorry for your loss. Standing with you xxx

  3. I’m so sorry. This reminds me of Lauren Winner’s phrase, “doubt riddled by faith,” which gives us important words in the hard places. Thank you for doing that. Sending love to you today.

  4. Addie, I’m so sorry for both of your losses. I have also had two miscarriages this year, and I was completely unprepared for how hard those losses would hit me. I do indeed feel riddled with holes some days. Thank you for sharing your story. I think too many times we feel like we’re supposed to suffer this alone because of the idea that parents should keep the pregnancy quiet during the first trimester. Sending love your way as you grieve.

  5. “And I think that in order to find wholeness, we have to learn to tell the truth about our emptiness.”

    Addie, thank you for being so brave. Today you are speaking for so many quiet voices who need to hear those words. Yes, we have to learn to tell the truth about the emptiness. Praying for wholeness for you. And Peace dripping into all the jagged places. Love you.

  6. Much love to you Addie. Your writing is transcendent as always. I’m so sorry for your loss; thank you for sharing your thoughts so openly and honestly.

  7. I’m so sorry. Hollow and held- yes, i have known this feeling too, though not the same circumstances. Praying you will know his uplifting in the middle of the emptiness. Thank you for your courage.

  8. Wow, Addie, your vulnerability is so moving. Thank you for sharing your pain. I find your balance of trusting God and authentic struggle with the issues of this life so inspirational. I bring up your articles with my friends all the time. I am so sorry about the miscarriage, about all of them. Love and prayers.

  9. So sorry for your lose Addie and you shared your heart so well. Yes, we are all riddled with holes, both held and hollow. Lovely, as always. Thank you for the courage to share what I can imagine was quite difficult yet healing to write.

  10. My heart is breaking for you. And I see the truth in your words. As I read, I had an image of an old Lite-Brite. With a black piece of paper and a pattern of holes to punch, some punched already but missing the colored bits the light is supposed to shine through. I wonder if that’s the redemption of the holes, the missing pieces – that the light can shine through and be a beacon of hope to others?

    I’ve been a bit of a lurker for a while, but your posts have really made me stop and think about the words and phrases I use. Thank you for that. I appreciate the honesty, the real-ness you present in this space.

  11. This is so honest and true. Addie I’m so sorry for your loss and hurt. I have no words.

  12. Addie…
    I too have walked this road with the Lord. I hated every single second. It lead to anxiety attacks and a full on small season of depression…I will be interceding on your behalf today.
    A word of hope…the Lord gave us 2 healthy children, 3 that went to be with Jesus in the womb, and then 2 more healthy children…in that order.
    10 years later I can finally say…It is well with my soul. But the process wasn’t pretty and required real help.
    Blessings sister….and peace for your stirred soul today…keep breathing.

  13. Thank you for your courage in telling, in owning, truth. The holes, the emptiness, where hope leaks out and others come along to buoy us in the only way they know how. By saying Yes, and thank you, and I know this truth too. So. I know you are so good at replying to comments … don’t feel here or now, or at least with this one, that you have to!

  14. In that void, the void you have exposed to us all, your heart beats strong and His beats stronger.
    I have no secret words to help you heal, simply that I hear your sorrow
    I am sorry
    and I don’t know why we don’t understand
    He is filling the void, again and again and again…

  15. This pretty much broke my heart for you, Addie. I know that hollow emptiness, that disoriented feeling that I had zigged when life had zagged and now I didn’t know which way to go.

    Praying for you, friend. May our great God be small enough.

  16. Oh, Addie. I’m so sorry, friend. I know this pain is raw and real and hard. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably about this place, for saying it honest about the ache and the hope all at the same time. Love you, Addie.

  17. Addie,

    I am sorry for you loss.

    Yes there are holes in all of us and to my regret holes I have created in others. It is good to feel the loss of that which is so precious. It deserves the ache of our hearts that which is precious and which is broken.

  18. That phrase “the dismissive flick of her hand..” oh how that brought flashbacks of 27 years ago when I was there. I join the others in saying simply, I am so very sorry. Keep floating in that strange ocean, land is just beyond the horizon. And make yourself a cup of tea, and plump your pillow on the sofa, and know as you do that simple thing, many of us out here in this community would gladly do this for you, if only we could. Take care, dear one.

  19. Oh, Addie. I’ve walked this road a few times now. It’s an emptiness I can’t even describe. Please know I’m praying for you and your family – for real. And I’m so terribly sorry.

  20. Oh, Adddie. I am so, so sorry. So many holes there are in all of us.
    I ache for you and I pray for you, sister.

  21. Not sure what to say that others haven’t said already, above, so I am just going to leave a hug, for whenever you need one and there’s no one around.

    Thank you for writing.

  22. Oh, friend. I’m holding you close to my heart. I can only imagine this kind of hole. But then, as you always do, you show us how many holes we experience and man, I’ve had my share of losses and then some. And you’re right: a hole is still a hole, even with God’s presence in our lives. I’ll tell that truth right alongside you. Love you.

  23. I’m do sorry you are going through such a tough time this winter. My first pregnancy started with a heartbeat and ended with tears.
    My thoughts and prayer are with you as you feel.

    Jess

  24. Oh, honey – I am so so very sorry! I wish I could do it in person but here’s a virtual ::HUG:: and if there’s anything at all I can do… Please ask. I’ll even come babysit (for less than high school kid prices – free! 🙂 so you can have some time, if you’d like. xoxo.

  25. I’m so sorry, Addie. That is heartbreaking.

    “and how strange it feels, this time, to miss something that was never there.” That is so true and so hard. It also makes me think somehow of a way to love God. Not that we never had him, but how there is a way of loving someone you haven’t physically spent time with. That isn’t really a complete or coherent thought, just something that popped in to my mind when I read your words.

    So thinking of you and sympathizing with you now and the younger you who was trying to make sense of the world and bring peace. I would have been nodding along with you. I do hope today I would love and listen and see better than I would have then.

  26. So sorry to hear this, Addie. Thinking of you and Andrew.
    Thank you so much for these words too, ‘It’s true that God is the best kind of Father. And also, the absence of your flesh-and-blood Dad matters.’ Yes. It really, really does.
    Thank you again, with love. xo

  27. You are so courageous to share this story here. I cannot even imagine the strength it took to write it in the midst of grief. I am so so sorry for your loss.

    Thank you for your words. Thank you for way you speak light into dark places. You don’t hide from pain, but you still see how God is with you, and I can’t put into words how powerful that is. I have spoken with so many about how you have ministered to them through your perspective.

    Yes. God is so much more than a puzzle piece, and our hearts are filled with so much more than one hole.

  28. Your post was very powerful and I pray that it reaches others in pain and comforts them. I know the pain of which you speak and the me of 25 years ago would have found some comfort in your words and would have not felt so alone. I wish I could have told me of 25 years ago what I now view as God’s perfect plan. You see there was this woman, who needed parents to raise her child. 25 years ago she was not yet pregnant, but God knew she would be and that 20 years after she gave birth, that she, herself, would need a family to care for her as she walked through some dark, dark days. But God knew, and he made us wait until the “fullness” of time so she could bless us and then we could bless her. God has a way of filling those holes that life punches in us with His love, peace and joy and gives us life abundantly.

  29. Thank you, Addie. This is so true and so honest and so vulnerable. Thank you for sharing something so personal, and allowing us to grieve with you.

  30. Every single line of this post had me nodding my head with a yes. Riddled with holes I have one foot in the life boat and one foot on that shaky ground. Thank you for putting words to it. Thank you for sharing something that so many of us have been through and still ache from. We grieve with you.

  31. Oh hon. I’m so sorry.

    If I could I’d sit with you, quiet but for a single word…Fuck.

    And the truth of what you’ve written…you know how all-too-well I know. Just yes. Thank you for telling your whole heart with courage. *Hugs* my friend.

  32. I’m so sorry, Addie.

    And I’m thankful in a somber way for the fact that He is with us. The fourth man in the fire.

  33. I have no words of adequate comfort, Addie. Just know by sharing your pain with us, even those you don’t know, a community has been created. A space where we can grief with you and dare to be honest about our own life traumas. Thank you for trusting us. And thank you for reminding us that this side of heaven there are ever present holes, but we don’t have to navigate them alone. Crying out to the Father on your behalf, dear one.

  34. Addie
    I am fairly new to your blog, but have found comfort in so many of your life stories that seem to mirror my own. I was raised in church, I wore my “Radically Saved” shirt from a Carmen concert with pride even though it brought ridicule from classmates. I too had a “mad season” of drinking in my early twenties. And, unfortunately, I have found another similarity today. I lost a baby in 2001 at 8 weeks of pregnancy. And I found absolutely no comfort in the typical Christian responses. “You’ll see that baby again some day” or “Your baby is with Jesus” or “At least you weren’t very far along”. All I wanted to do is scream “Guess what, people? I know all of this!!! I KNOW ALL OF THIS. But I just gave birth to an embryo in my bathroom. I hurt.”
    And I still hurt. I want my baby.
    And, although I guess prayer and time have given me a sense of peace, I will always have a sore spot in my heart over this.
    And that’s real and ok.
    Prayers to you today, brave sister.

  35. “We are, all of us, punched through with holes, living with a little bit more emptiness every year. And it’s possible to be filled with the Spirit and still feel the void.” … So beautifully put! Sometimes I feel Swiss cheese, and yet, things are generally good. It’s wholeness that’s a lie, not oneness.

  36. I too commend your bravery in sharing this. I wish more women would speak openly of miscarriage/pregnancy and baby loss. Reducing the stigma is always good.
    I’m incredibly sorry for your loss. Miscarriage changes you (my first pregnancy resulted in an early miscarriage). Never again can you be blissfully naive during a pregnancy.
    Hugs to you. From one Minnesotan girl, to another.

  37. Aw, sweetheart. My week has been outta h-e-double for a long list of small reasons and I’m just getting to this lovely post. I am so, so sorry for this hole, this loss, this pain. Love to you. Hugs, tears, prayers. And thank you for talking about the emptiness and how hard it sometimes is. Because it just is.

  38. Hi,
    I was pointed to your blog by my friend Kim when I told her that I’m in the midst of my second miscarriage in 4 months. Thank you for writing this. I have read it and reread it many times already and it was so good to have my feelings that I couldn’t express put into words. I have 2 huge voids and I am angry, but not alone. I am praying for you and eager to follow your blog from here.

    Kristina

  39. Thanks for speaking honestly about your loss and the pain it brings.

    In the last year and a half I have lost two babies to first-trimester miscarriages and now lost another to stillbirth at 26 weeks. We bury our precious son this week. My faith and I are full of holes.

    I wish healing and peace for you…and no guilt about how long it may take to feel those things.

  40. I’m possibly a blog stalker – and I love all of your posts – and especially this one – I, too, lost a baby this month….it’s hard…harder than I thought! God is still infinitely good – but this completely sucks!

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