• Marnie Hammar

How He Spoke Comfort Through the Silence of Grief

By Terri Prahl

Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Terri's Story


A faded hospital gown hung loosely around my disproportioned torso as I laid hugging my belly on a cold, metal triage cot. Moments earlier, the nurse had left the room after solemnly removing the fetal monitor from my belly, announcing what the machine’s silence had already spoken to my spirit.


I was in labor, but no heartbeat had been found. Somehow in the unseen places of my womb, life had quietly and unsuspectingly welcomed death. Earlier signs of lessening movement had caused alarm, prompting me at 36 weeks to put my first-time mother anxiousness to rest.


Except, my fears were not alleviated. The silence of a machine and the matter-of-fact words of the attending nurse had validated them all.


In those moments, it was just me and God, and a whole lot of questions and pain.

I had no family or friends immediately to weep with as my grandparents had dropped me off at the hospital. At the time, my husband and I only owned one car. Not wanting him to miss work over a false alarm, I had called them from work for a ride. I had never entertained the notion that losing a baby late in the pregnancy was a possibility – I had heard of such things, but never really fathomed it as a possibility for us.


There I was, alone, with a mind screaming for a miracle. I was in shock and didn’t know what I should feel or do. So, I hugged my belly which still housed my child’s body and entered the presence of God with all my emotions, questions, and fears.


I had no idea how much time went by before someone came and moved me to labor and delivery. I wasn’t even cognizant of the labor pains shooting across my abdomen, registering as large spikes on the monitor. In those sacred moments, my connection to Christ sustained me.

I feared that if I stopped praying, I would fly apart into a million pieces – that if the silence of the moment was not full of the presence of God, I would be swallowed by death.


No loud voice came. There were no signs. No bright lights, nor warm feelings.


What came was an unforgettable comfort and peace of tangible expression in my body, soul, and spirit. I knew Christ was there, listening, offering strength to face delivery and the unknown pain of the coming days.


In the silence, I heard God’s whispers of love clearer than ever before. The words of the psalmist became the anthem of my broken heart:


“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:5-8, ESV)


God was the refuge for my frantic-to-understand why’s and what-if’s. He was the balm to my broken spirit. And He was the one I both fought with and clung to in unimaginable longing and grief. Exodus 14:14 (ESV) explains how I held tight to hope in my despair: “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

This trauma brought me to a place for the first time of complete human weakness where there were no words anyone could speak, no replacements for life lost, and no way forward but through the hard.


In the days, weeks, and months ahead I continued to wrestle through the loss and pain with God.


I wasn’t sure some days how I would make it, let alone roll out of bed. By the grace of God, I always knew, no matter the questions I brought to Him, that He was the answer. I believed He was good even if I didn’t fully trust.


His grace was proven sufficient in my weakness. Over time, He restored the joy of my salvation and rebuilt my trust. Through my emptiness, I was filled. The gentle voice of God came through loud and clear, cutting through the noise that threatened my peace. The unimaginable peace He promised built a confident courage to persevere in faith.


In the silence, God speaks.

For this, I am grateful.


Photo credit: Unsplash, Kyle Broad.

 

The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest writer series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.


Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE five-day devotional (45 beautiful pages!) called, “Closer: Five Days to Hearing God Louder.” Each day features teaching on one posture and a guided journaling section to help us practice taking steps toward hearing God louder in our every day.


Learn more about each of these five postures:


1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?

2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?

3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?

4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?

5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?


New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!


Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens twice a year. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.

 

About Terri


Terri Prahl is a Christian writer who is passionate about encouraging believers to persevere in faith and live with confident hope in who they are in Christ. She is a coauthor of the book, Life Repurposed: Stories of Grace, Hope, and Restored Faith where she shares her struggle with God after the loss of her first son. Terri makes her home in the beautiful Ozark Mountains with her husband of 27 years, young adult daughter, and a stone’s throw from her newly married son and daughter-in-law.


You can find her sharing encouraging biblical content and prayers for her readers weekly on Instagram. Terri processes what she is learning through Scripture, inviting others to live out their faith in practical ways, on her blog, http://www.terriprahl.com. Click the ‘join the community’ tab and gain access to a free library of Christian living resources curated for her readers.

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