“I’m so sorry, please let me know if you need anything.”
I called my OBGYN’s office to tell them I have had off and on spotting for two days. They were about to close for the day and asked me to go to the ER to get checked out. Up until this point, everything was going smoothly. Our baby had a strong heartbeat, I was days away from entering the second trimester, and a week from learning the gender. As James drove me to the ER I was praying and believing there was life inside of me. I kept telling myself my baby was safe, strong, healthy, and alive. After an eternity and a half, I was wheeled into the sonogram room where the technicians took their time examining the screen. They said nothing. They were clicking around and I could tell they were taking measurements. They were looking at my baby but not saying a word. My prayers went from believing this child is alive to begging God to breathe life back into him/her.
I was crying out for a miracle.
When the ladies were done I asked if there was a heartbeat. They told me they weren’t allowed to tell me anything and how it had to come from the doctor. I knew my baby was already with Jesus. Eventually, the doctor came into my room, sat down next to my bed, and said, “Well, we were able to see the baby but unfortunately there is no heartbeat. Your cervix is already dilating and I’m so sorry, but you’re at the beginning of a miscarriage.”
I laid there and sobbed. God has brought me through many losses in my life, more than I would wish on anyone. But, after the year we had walked through- I couldn’t take one more loss. This baby was supposed to be the light in a dark year. This baby was the little sibling our son had been begging us for. This baby was going to be the one to complete our family. They sent me home to rest and told me based on how dilated I was, they were almost certain I would pass the baby that weekend.
Less than forty-eight hours later I was in my bathroom on the phone with my mom crying because I knew I was experiencing the physical part of miscarrying. James was rushing back to the house to be with me and I told him I would stay on the phone with my mom but he needed to hurry. I felt like I was going to pass out and I knew something wasn’t right.
James made it home in record speed, buckled the kids faster than I knew was possible, and helped me into the car. He rushed me to the ER and before they could finish signing me in I was passed out. I woke up to a team of nurses laying me on a hospital bed and cutting off my clothes.
They worked fast, hooking me up to a bunch of things, comforting me by telling me I was doing a good job at controlling my breathing. They proceeded to inform me I was hemorrhaging and needed to do an exam to see if they could remove any tissue that was possibly caught. If they could and the bleeding didn’t stop they would have to rush me into surgery.
I laid there holding James’ hand and we prayed the entire way through. Thankfully God answered my prayer of not needing surgery nor did I need a blood transfusion. The one nurse said she for sure thought I would. But, God.
As soon as our friends heard what was happening, the prayers and support immediately rolled in. Food being delivered to our doorstep, gift cards by the plenty, flowers and gifts given and so much more. The support thrown our way was exactly what we needed to relax, heal, and grieve as a family.
These people never asked if they could help. They didn’t wait to see if others would step up first. They didn’t second guess the ways they could help- they just did.
They just did. Completely unprompted, asked for, or expected. They just did.
Scripture tells us to show hospitality to one another without grumbling (I Peter 4:9). If the Bible instructs us to show hospitality to strangers (Hebrews 13:12), for church leaders to show hospitality to their congregation (Titus 1:8) and tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:39)- then it’s safe to connect the dots here and know how we treat those in our lives must look a lot like how we’re instructed to treat strangers if not greater than that.
How often have you told someone, “Let me know if you need anything?” with the full intention to help if called upon. How often have you been on the receiving end of that phrase knowing full well you really do need help but you’re not going to reach back out and ask for it? If you’ve never done that, what makes you think your friend will?
I know sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what to do for someone and you may have the best intentions of doing something when you ask if they need anything. But, friend, I would like to encourage you to just do something. Ask them what evening that week is free for you to drop off dinner. And if they push back, don’t take no for an answer. Tell them you’re doing it anyway. Send gift cards so they can choose how to spend it, they know their own needs more than anyone else. If you’re close enough to the person- offer to watch their children, even if that means they get to rest on the couch with uninterrupted time to nap or watch tv.
People often will say they’re fine or they don’t need help to avoid feeling like a burden to someone else. Can I tell you that the best feeling during our loss was friends who just reached out and said, “Here is what I am going to do…” People stepped up, took charge, and gave without asking for permission.
Friend, it was just what we needed. And it is what you will need too.
You’re going to have friends and family members who are in need and they won’t call or text to tell you, even though you offered to help. They just won’t. And more than likely, you wouldn’t either, so you understand why.
So, be the person who shows up with a whole family meal in your hands, be the person who sends the gift cards, be the person who not only offers to babysit the kids so your loved ones can spend alone time together. Take action. Give without asking permission first.
Romans 12:13 says, “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”