My friend, Maria, who blogs at The Joyful Home, wrote a post titled The Shower Curtain, where she talks about loss and letting go of things connected to loss.
It reminded me of my own struggle with letting go.
A little over thirteen years ago, we lost a baby.
While still pregnant, I had been collecting baby clothes. I helped to manage the "swap shop" at our church, so I had direct access to all the new things coming in. Before long, I had amassed four, large storage tubs full of baby clothes.
I justified my hoard by telling myself we needed them. They were boy clothes. (We already had a baby girl.)
Meanwhile, everywhere I went, someone was very pregnant. And all my friends who were having babies, were having boys.
Every time one was born, I felt the Lord pressing me to donate the clothes. Every time my husband and I went through them, our agreed upon donate pile was very small. So small that we felt like we shouldn't even bother with it and we ended up putting them back with the others.
One day, I had a heart-wrenching conversation with a dear friend. My clothing hoard came up.
"I know I need to get rid of them," I said, matter-of-factly.
My friend replied, "I'm glad you said that. Because you do need to get rid of them. All of them. Even those little booties you just picked up."
I sobbed like someone was tearing out my heart. It truly felt like giving up those clothes meant I was giving up the right to more children.
I got off the phone and immediately called my friend who had just had a baby boy. I told her husband that I had some clothes for them, and asked if I could come out right then (because I knew if I didn't go right then, I wouldn't go).
I would love to say that I spent time basking in the presence of the Lord after dropping off the clothes. Rather than glowing from the joy of obedience, I was puffy-eyed and red-faced from sobbing.
But I realized that the clothing had become an idol to me. At some point, my focus shifted from having clothes to put on my (hoped for) baby boy, to needing a baby boy to dress in all these wonderful clothes I had. As painful as it was to give them away, it was a turning point for me in my healing from my miscarriage.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are inany affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God," (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NASB).