About a year and a half ago, right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had my first pregnancy, which lasted 8 weeks and ended in miscarriage. I was shocked by how heart-wrenching that experience was, after only being aware of my little one for a few weeks!
For the first few days, I cried almost nonstop and the deep sense of loss lasted for weeks after. My heart goes out to moms who have experienced any difficulties with pregnancy, childbirth, or fertility in any form. That’s such a hard thing to go through!
I miscarried the night before April General Conference, so during the whole Saturday session, I was questioning what I did wrong. I didn’t understand why this had happened and felt responsible.
After much prayer and tears, I had a simple thought. “This is not a punishment.”
I felt my Heavenly Father’s deep love for me and knew He felt my sorrow. I knew He wanted to ease the pain and would be right with me every step of the way.
Often, when something goes wrong in my life, I immediately assume one of two things: either I am being punished or God is trying to teach me something. While I do believe God gives us experiences for our good, I don’t believe His purposes are so cut and dry.
First of all, God allows us to experience natural consequences, but rarely exacts “punishments.” When a child is learning to ride a bike for the first time, she will likely fall many times. When she falls, she may scrape up her knees. That is a natural consequence. As her mother or sister, you may help her through that natural consequence by helping her clean the wound and get a bandaid. But would you punish her every time she falls in order to teach her not to fall? Of course not!
Similarity, we make mistakes all the time. That’s how we learn! Sometimes we make the same mistakes over and over again, and we scrape our knees up pretty good. But God does not yell at us and punish us for being imperfect. Rather, He lovingly guides and instructs us and helps ease us through the pain of the fall.
Now, imagine that you are at the grocery store and your child starts screaming for a bag of marshmallows. His wails increase as you repeatedly refuse to give him what he wants. Eventually, to your frustration, you have to cut the shopping trip short to get him out of the store. But do you give in and give him what he wants? No. Because you know that candy isn’t good for him. Plus, you know that over time, he will learn the valuable lesson that you know what’s best for him. (And hopefully he’ll learn a little patience.)
Do you ever feel like that child? I know I do! I’ve had moments where I was figuratively kicking and screaming to get my way, but over time, I’ve learned that God really knows a lot more than I do. His path is much better than the one I think I should take at times.
And sometimes, things just happen. Miscarriage is incredibly painful and no one wants to go through it. But it does happen. And when it does, we can turn to our Father in Heaven for love and support. We can grow closer to Him and feel His loving arms around us. Our compassion and ability to empathize with others also deepens.
Alma the Elder in captivity
One of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon is that of Alma the elder, when he and his people fall into captivity. After his conversion through the teachings of Abinadi, Alma teaches in secret and brings many others to Christ. Eventually, they gather at the waters of Mormon and are baptized. Their numbers grow until one of the king’s guards discovers where they are meeting. The Lord warns them to flee, and they build a safe city where they are free to worship as they choose.
However, down the road, they are discovered by the Lamanites, who set one of the wicked priests of King Noah over them to guard them. This priest, Amulon, knows Alma and doesn’t like him very much, so he puts heavy burdens on Alma and his people.
Up until this point, whenever a group of people has fallen into iniquity, they’ve been afflicted by war, captivity, famine, storms, etc., which humbles them so they remember to turn to God. But this time, it seems Alma and his people are doing everything right! They are humble and focused on God. So why does God let them fall under such heavy burdens?
The answer lies in these awesome verses:
Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people. Mosiah 23:21-22
Here we see that there is a greater purpose in our trials, not just humility. And we learn that as long as we trust God through our trials, it will all turn out alright.
And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. Mosiah 24:14-15
Did the Lord take away their burdens right away? No. But He did ease their burdens so they were able to bear them. I know He does the same for us!
I know that God loves us so much more than we can possibly imagine. When I think of the deep love I have for my daughter, I start to understand just a portion of the love He has for us. I know that He sees what we are going through and that He wants to make our burdens light. We can turn to Him in prayer, and He will provide the strength to overcome life’s challenges.
Stephanie is an author, blogger, and mom of two energetic girls. She loves anything creative and struggles to pick one thing to focus on. Because of this, she is constantly looking to learn new skills and loves taking online courses.
Stephanie has published two books and is currently learning more about publishing. She hopes to start her own publishing company so she can help other new authors publish and market their works on a low budget.
She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Dietetics and loves talking about health. She loves making nutritious meals but often struggles to find time with her new family. She hopes to write more and provide support to other young moms struggling to find the time to care for their health.
She served a mission in Nampa, Idaho. Stephanie has a deep gratitude for the Atonement of the Savior and desires to share His hope and light with others.