MEET ADRIEL BOOKER
Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. She’s become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood, parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women’s issues. Adriel is also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. She’s the author of Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and has released a free guide on journaling through grief.
You can find Adriel on Instagram at @adrielbooker or http://www.adrielbooker.com/welcome.
PROCESS YOUR GRIEF THROUGH JOURNALING
“Grief experts widely agree that the practice of journaling through your grief is a healthy way to connect with and process your pain and loss. I am not a grief expert, but I am a journaler and have found this to be true. Along with my personal faith and caring support network, journaling has been the single most important tool I’ve had while learning to walk through my grief.
While journaling and writing and storytelling come naturally to some, others may not know how to begin. My hope is that the prompts in this journal will help you connect with your grief and write your own story, and that by doing so you will discover healing grace released over your broken heart. This journal itself won’t heal you—my belief is that God heals our hearts—but it will help you on your healing journey. I’m certain of that.
Please note: This ebook is written in such a way that you can benefit from it whether or not you participate in a faith tradition.
DOWNLOAD GRIEF JOURNAL PROMPTS
Ashlee: 00:00:35 Hello friends and welcome to this week’s episode of the joyful morning podcast. This week I have the privilege of talking with Adriel Booker, author of the book, grace like scarlet grieving with hope after miscarriage and loss. In today’s episode, we will be discussing her book as it documents her journey through grief, telling her story and providing much insight about all she has learned about grief, about suffering, about finding hope along the way. I’m so grateful for her words, her tinder and empathetic way of communicating such hard truths and for all the hope she brings to us today. I’m so excited to welcome Adriel to the joyful morning podcast. Hi Adriel. Thanks for being here.
Adriel: 00:01:16 Hi Ashley. I’m, I’m really looking forward to this. Thank you for inviting me.
Ashlee: 00:01:21 Yeah, I’m so grateful and, um, thanks for joining me and I’m kind of, as we get started in case this is one of our guests, first time meeting you, will you just tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you spend your days doing?
Adriel: 00:01:35 Yeah, that’s a great question. My days are full, like I’m sure everyone listening. We have full dates. Um, I live in Sydney, Australia, so I’m sorry to disappoint them. I accents American. I grew up in the states in Oregon, but I’ve lived overseas for about 18 years now and I’m married to an Australian. We have three little boys in our home. They are, let’s see, almost nine, seven and two. And um, yeah. And so they keep us very busy. My husband and I also lead a nonprofit, a local YWAM community in inner city Sydney. So I’ve been a YWAM volunteer for 18 years. Youth With a Mission, if any of your listeners familiar, it’s a Christian faith based organization and we train young people in leadership and, and how to serve and love their neighbors. And so our days are full with that. We oftentimes will have 10, 20 year olds living in our house with us, which is insane.
Adriel: 00:02:47 Um, I’m also a writer, so as you know, I’ve got my book out Grace Like Scarlett and I’ve been writing on the Internet since my oldest son was born. So for about years and I write about faith and spirituality and missional living and women’s issues and mothering and parenthood. And I also have a few other things going on online at the love of Mama collective, which is a grassroots movement of women, uh, working to improve maternal health in the developing world. So that’s probably a whole different conversation, but I’m involved with some advocacy and leadership for that movement as well. So my days are full, I do a lot of work online. Um, and also, you know, writing and kid wrangling, my husband and I both work from home so we, we kind of worked back and forth with WHO’s watching the kids when and who’s working when. And we try to work together as best as we can to manage it all.
Ashlee: 00:03:51 Yeah, that sounds like a very busy soul. Amazing life that you can get. It is, it is. There were many years where my husband and I were working both working from home and I remember, um, I remember those days very well. Okay. Are you, are you taking nap time duty today? What’s your schedule look like today? Can we, can we work that out? So that’s, I remember those days. Well,
Adriel: 00:04:18 yeah, it has some unique blessings and unique challenges for sure.
Ashlee: 00:04:22 Yeah. I actually remember, this is off topic everyone. This is bonus. I remember when we first started our church here, we had our first marriage retreat and at the end of that marriage retreat there’s only like six couples or something. We were really young church, um, at the time and at the end of that marriage retreat we decided that we should not share an office any longer and we just laughed. We were like, you know, what marriage retreat ends with, we should spend more time apart, but like us working in the same office was not doing her marriage any favors at that point in time. And so anyway, I just remember those days very well. So to begin our time together today, I would love to just hear a little bit about your story, about how you got to be here on the fourth morning podcast. Um, so that would be, you know, just sharing with us your story of loss. Um, yeah. I’m, I’m grateful to hear from you.
Adriel: 00:05:23 Yeah. Well, my husband and I were married a little bit later than some of some of our peers, so he’s was 30 and Ryan was 34 and so we have, we got married pretty quickly wanting to start having children and um, and so we were super grateful to get pregnant pretty well off, straight away with our oldest. Um, and then we thought, well, we wanted to have three or four kids. That was our hope and our desire. So we thought let’s just have these guys back to back. It’s going to be chaotic during those first years, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. And so when our oldest son, Levi was about a year old, we tried again and we were super blessed to get pregnant again straight away. And um, so those first two or year and a half apart on first two boys. And then after Judah was about a year, we decided for round three again, amazing, got pregnant straight away.
Adriel: 00:06:27 We did not take this for granted. We felt just that it was such a blessing from God and the gift from God. And we’re very, very grateful. We right away we felt like we thought we were having a girl. We had some things happen, few dreams, few interesting things that I won’t get into too much detail, but we felt like were more than coincidental. Sure enough, got pregnant straight away with our little ones and we, everything was going fine. We saw the heartbeat at around eight weeks, nine weeks, somewhere in there. And um, and then as I progressed into the second trimester, there came a time when I just started feeling different and the best way I could describe it was I felt a little less pregnant and because I had been pregnant twice before, I knew that that second trimester is like, I would always call it the golden trimester, you know, because that kind of grueling first trimester nausea and fatigue wears off a little bit and it’s before your body is just aching with the, the end of pregnancy.
Adriel: 00:07:40 And so I thought, well, maybe this is just the change of trimesters and the hormones leveling out and kind of tried to rationalize it and for a few days and then remember so clearly when one day I just, I couldn’t hold it in any longer and I said to my husband, you’re standing in the middle of the kitchen and I said to Ryan, I, I just can’t wait til Friday when I see the midwife again because I, I just need to hear the heartbeat. I feel. I don’t know, Ryan, I feel not very pregnant anymore. And I know how crazy that sounds, but it just, I just feel different. And um, you know, I think I had been afraid to admit that out loud and maybe there was some weird superstition that if I said it out loud it would be more true. I don’t know. But for whatever reason, it just, I had kind of held that in not wanting to be anxious.
Adriel: 00:08:32 But, um, as soon as I told him I felt a sense of relief because this is genuinely how I felt. And my appointment was a few days off. So I was just holding on for that and then the next day I was out doing errands with my little ones and um, I was driving and I had a cough while I was driving and I just felt something happen, you know, and I know this sounds crass but I just missed miscarriage is so I’m not going to sugar. I was called, I coughed and I just felt something wet, you know, and I pulled over and thought what in the world and um, there was blood in my underwear and I just immediately, um, I knew because I’d had this feeling for a few days. I knew that this was not okay and it wasn’t a large amount of blood at that time.
Adriel: 00:09:25 It was very small, but I just knew. And so I called the midwife straightaway and she reassured me that bit of spotting is usually normal and to keep an eye on it, you know. And I got myself home and by that time I was trying to not work myself into a panic, but, you know, calling my husband and trying to find someone to look after our kids because I just, I needed to go in and have an ultrasound I needed, I needed to know. And um, so yeah, later that afternoon I found myself in the doctors office hearing the words, I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat, you know, the worst words a parent could ever hear. And that was it. So I was about 13 weeks along with our baby and I’d had a mis miscarriage so she had stopped growing. I’m actually not that long after the first scan that we had when we saw her heartbeat and my body didn’t, didn’t recognize it.
Adriel: 00:10:21 So it took a few weeks, you know, for my body to start catching up at the baby had stopped growing and that was our first miscarriage. Um, you know, I was completely, you know, is anyone, is. I was completely blindsided. The whole thing just rocked me. Um, I didn’t, I definitely didn’t see it coming, especially after two pregnancies with live births, you know, I, I had sort of taken my fertility for granted by that point. I had fallen pregnant easily and delivered my babies easily. Uh, well, relatively easily at least. And um, and so yeah, that really thrust us into what I call the greatest sadness in my life. It was our introduction to grief on a level that we had never experienced before, neither my husband nor I. and um, it was a really, really hard time. And then I, it took me about a year after that to where I felt ready to even start trying again.
Adriel: 00:11:23 No, everyone responds differently to this type of loss. And for some people it’s part of their healing process to straightaway start trying to get pregnant again. For me though, I didn’t feel that I have emotional capacity for that. I just, I needed time to grieve. I felt like for me, I felt like I needed to somehow give space to this little baby. Um, and that part of honoring her life was to wait. And so I know everyone, everyone responds differently, but that was my process. So we waited about a year and then I felt ready to try again. And truly by that time I had known a lot about miscarriage. I knew the numbers and statistics, I knew the probability. And so I, you know, I realized how common it actually is, which I didn’t know any of that before experiencing it for myself. Um, and by then, so then by then I thought, well, that was a one off, you know, statistically it’s normal and probable and the chances of me going on to have more miscarriages are very low, especially considering I’ve had to.
Adriel: 00:12:35 I first. So even though I sort of went into the next pregnancy with, uh, with more, I don’t know if it was anxiety, there was probably some exam anxiety around it, but it certainly wasn’t overwhelming or debilitating. I because I genuinely thought the first miscarriage with the one and off. Um, but I went into it tenderly, you know, that that second pregnancy, the first pregnancy after loss. And we were totally floored when we got pregnant fairly quickly after starting to try and that pregnancy was going along fine. I hadn’t gone into see a nurse or midwife or a doctor, uh, by this time, this was my fourth pregnancy. I felt like a pro, you know, I kind of knew what I was doing. We were also on sabbatical in the states and um, you know, to be honest, I was completely terrified by the US medical system, so I really didn’t want to visit the doctor if I could avoid it.
Adriel: 00:13:38 And just the expensive, it was really overwhelming to me. I live in Australia where medicine is socialized, healthcare, socialized, so it’s completely different system. So I was kind of avoiding the doctor, not because I have anything against them just because of the financial outlay and different things. But also because I felt like, well, it’s my fourth pregnancy, I know what I’m doing, I know what to expect. Um, everything was going along fine. And I went, I was on, I actually went to a writing retreat in Italy which was as magical and romantic as it sounds. And I was about 11 weeks along 10 or 11 weeks alone, and during that trip I started to spot and I knew straight away this was happening again. And I was, I was almost shocked is the first time, I mean, there was a difference in the shop because it was my second miscarriage, but I was almost as shocked because I truly thought that it was a one off in the fact that it was happening again.
Adriel: 00:14:40 Completely floored me and blindsided me. And, um, I was so angry, so angry that it was happening again. And I was so angry that it was happening in Italy. I had this sort of trip of a lifetime. I was so angry that I was away from my husband. Um, he was at, he was in Oregon staying with my parents at the time with our kids. And so that was my second miscarriage. The first one I had finished by DNC, the second one I decided that the hospital in Rome, they were urging me to stay and have a DNC. But I felt so uncomfortable there with the language barrier and all of that that I, I just wanted to get home and have it naturally. So I, I got back to Oregon and I had a, a natural miscarriage there. And then, uh, about a year later, so I know I’m fast forwarding through lots of detail, but about a year later again when I’m ready to try again, by this time I thought, you know, am I broken his like did my, did my time for having children expire and now my body is broken and you know, our first two life children are, that’s it, you know, um, and I really had wanted to have three or four children, you know, around the dinner table.
Adriel: 00:15:55 And so a year after that second loss, I decided, okay, I’m ready to try again. And when I say I decided, I mean my husband wanted more children as well, but he always really leaned into me for when I felt ready because he would have had seven children by now if you know, if I would have agreed. So he was like, the more children the merrier. But I the long time to feel, to feel ready for, to try again. So year later we, we tried again and again just miraculously fell pregnant straightaway. Um, but this pregnancy was different and I had so much anxiety around it and um, I felt right from the beginning that something wasn’t right. But I didn’t know if that was actual real intuition or if that was just fear and anxiety. Um, and we were, we weren’t even home at the time. We were on the other side of Australia doing a 60 course.
Adriel: 00:16:52 Um, and so again, we weren’t in a normal situation just like the second one. Um, but I was trying to find a doctor to check me out really early on and, you know, I was hoping that maybe they might put me on some projects are on support or something that might help. Um, but by the time I finally got to see someone, they were saying, oh, the baby isn’t measuring what, you know, the weeks that you are saying you are, you know, your weeks must be off. And I just thought, no, my weeks are not off. I know exactly when I got pregnant and I’m having another miscarriage, I just knew I was and you know, they kind of said, well let’s wait and see, but I just pressed the issue and I ended up just checking myself into the women’s hospital and kind of going into emergency and just demanding that someone sees me by this time I was like, I’m not waiting around for doctors like you, I know what’s going on with my body and I need you to take this seriously.
Adriel: 00:17:46 And so they, you know, they saw me and confirmed that sure enough I was having another miscarriage and that one I just, I had had a really bad experience with the second one with the natural miscarriage. It really caught me off guard what it did to my body and you know, going into labor, which I wasn’t expecting. Um, so that’s kind of another whole story side story. But. So with the third, even though it was quite early on, I just said, just put me in for a DNC straightaway. I just can’t, I can’t deal with going through that again. It was horrific. And just take the baby out, like I just, I needed it out. And so that was part of my way of coping with grief after that. And um, and so yeah, we had three consecutive miscarriages over the course of those three years. Um, so that’s why the age span, you know, our kids are eight, seven and two. And so the five year gap between our seven year old and our two year old, was those three consecutive miscarriages.
Ashlee: 00:18:51 Does that age gaps or hard for you? It doesn’t mean I don’t know how to ask that question. Like I look at my boy, like the age gap between mine and I’m like, they’re supposed to be another one in between there. So that’s why. That’s why I was asking that question. It just feels hard sometimes.
Adriel: 00:19:08 Yeah, I think you worded it exactly right. It, it’s a constant reminder that this gap is there because there are three little lines missing that fill that gap. And so it’s a constant reminder. Absolutely. Um, and people often I feel like, and they don’t explicitly say it, but I feel like people often wonder like, oh, those two are so close together because they’re a year and a half, Levi and Judah, and then there’s a big gap and I feel like people often wonder. And so I don’t know if it’s my own awkwardness or theirs, but I often feel in the space with, well I had three miscarriages between, I lost three babies between those two. And I’ll just tell them, you know, whether they wanted to know or not. I’ll just tell them I’m, if I sense that sort of question of, oh, that’s interesting.
Adriel: 00:19:59 That’s an interesting gap. Um, I think when I was first, you know, when we were first deciding, do we try again after three losses? Like, is this just, can our hearts even go there? Um, there was definitely this question in my mind of, is the gap too much? Is it gonna be too hard, you know? Um, and now that all the babies are on the outside and you know, our youngest is, is too, I think man, the family that you have is the family that you love and you, it’s your normal because it’s your family. Um, and so yes, it made me sad but, and there’s still, I still have, you know, twinge of sadness when I think about the boys being spread apart like they are. But, but I, I’ve also been really so blessed to watch actually, especially our seven year old and our two year old have a really adorable bond.
Adriel: 00:21:00 I mean all the brothers have sweet bonds among them, but the two in the seven year old or just besties and it is incredible to me how they are such great friends. Even with such a change, a gap, you know, of ages. And I do sometimes look at Mike and Think, oh, should we try and give him a little playmate closer to his age, you know, but I’m turning 41 this week. Actually two days I turned 41. And you know, to think about having more children at my age is very risky. Especially after having three miscarriages, so, you know, I don’t know how to answer that part of the question, but yeah, I do feel a sadness some times when I think of the gap between the brothers.
Ashlee: 00:21:42 Thanks for sharing your story and I know you mentioned that you’re kind of going quickly over some parts and so we won’t get to all of the details of those losses and that doesn’t make any of those babies less valuable. Adrial goes into lots of detail as she shares her story in her book. So we’re going to touch on a few things today, but, um, if you’re interested, I would really encourage you to read this book. So I thought it would be helpful to just highlight a few of the sections that kind of stood out to me that I thought might be helpful for our listeners. And so I’m, I’m Kinda just gonna read some sections and then have you kind of expound, expound upon it. Um, so I wanted to just start with, um, I think it’s in chapter one and I’m going to kind of connect two of your thoughts.
Ashlee: 00:22:34 That’s okay. I’m going to connect to thoughts. I think it’s chapter one and then one that I know is from chapter three, but um, you wrote ’em and you actually mentioned this when you were sharing your story about when you were in Italy. So I’m euro when when my Tuscan dream jolted into a full scale nightmare in the hallway in Rome, I was confronted with another reality. I really hadn’t found heaven on earth in Italy. No matter how wonderful our surroundings, no matter how perfect it all seems, we will never know and experience the fullness of heaven on earth until Jesus himself makes all things new. All that we see and taste and touch, though being redeemed is still flawed deeply and desperately, and I want to connect that to something that you wrote in chapter three. You said, we can get so busy dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s and making sure all the hatches are battened down, that we don’t even realize our need for God until something turns the world upside down. Trauma can be the birthplace of revelation if we’re willing to be exposed to our need and welcome Jesus there. So I was wondering, you would just tell us a little bit more about that. How. How can a broken world and a broken heart point us to our need for God?
Adriel: 00:23:54 Yeah, I mean nothing for me. Nothing has made me long for heaven, more than losing babies and it is just stirred this deep longing and awareness that the world is not yet as it should be. But I think when I read scripture and I read right from the beginning, when God created humankind out of Gusto and then you see you read right throughout scripture over and over again, him creating life and beauty and goodness out of dust and out of things that looked messy. It, it astounds me and it’s this. Even this idea of heaven breaking in and breaking in and breaking in and breaking in. You know, and one of my favorites is looking at the incarnation of Jesus. You know, he was born as a baby into this messy, stable, right into the middle of our humanity. But he came and he didn’t like, they didn’t clean out the stable and turn it into a palace like he, he came right into the middle of our humanity, humanity.
Adriel: 00:25:03 And that’s how he established his presence and promise in the world. And I think you know, for me like realizing that the world isn’t perfect and there is still brokenness around us and there is a lot of dust at our feet. And yet even still in that environment, there’s so much beauty that can come in. There’s so much life and hope that can come as we see God move in the midst of that. And as we seek God’s presence unleashed in the midst of that. I mean at the miracle of being able to, to have God with us in the middle of our pain in some ways is a greater miracles than the fact that he can deliver us from the pain. You know, like both both are miracles. And so I think there’s that tension of going. There will come a day when Jesus makes all things new and I’ll, all of earth will be renewed and we will be renewed.
Adriel: 00:26:07 And there will be no more tears and he will make everything whole and that’s such a beautiful thing and promise for the future. But there’s also the other miracle is the presence of Jesus right here and right now, and that this heaven that is possible breaks into our mess right now and breaks into our heartache right now and that Jesus is with us right now, even when we’re still in the middle of pain. It’s not only a future hope, but it’s a present hope and a future hope. It’s both, you know, but to me that is something that is just so confronting and hopeful and promising that it’s not an either or, but it’s a both and it’s a coming future hope and it’s a present. Hope.
Ashlee: 00:26:57 I was wasn’t in that same chapter you wrote. Our present suffering is the best reminder that life dishes out more than we can handle, which is exactly why we need Jesus. And I thought that was just such a help
Speaker 3: 00:27:11 full
Ashlee: 00:27:12 a helpful way to view our suffering. That there is even part of the beauty that comes out of our suffering is that we’re reminded that we need Jesus as a result of it. Absolutely.
Adriel: 00:27:25 I mean like how many times do you hear that cliche being repeated and repeated that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle and it’s rubbish, like hit it. It’s not even in scripture, but we repeat it over and over and I don’t know actually if you were told that when you know, you’ve dealt with your own loss that I’ve definitely been told that and I thought that’s actually terrible theology. Of course this is more than I can handle and that’s why I so need Jesus, you know, and um, and it’s just, it’s bad theology on lots of levels, but even if you just look at it from that perspective of
Speaker 3: 00:28:08 well,
Adriel: 00:28:09 I need Jesus and that’s not a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing to recognize our need
Ashlee: 00:28:16 [inaudible] I think, um, I didn’t write this down, but at some point maybe I did write it down, but we don’t, we don’t like to be needy. And that sometimes that’s why that feels hard. I don’t know if you can relate to that. I mean, you, you wrote that. But, um, for me, I definitely, I struggle with being needy. I don’t want to. I want to have it all together. Like I said before, I want to like have it all perfectly tidy so that I don’t need help from God or anyone. Um, and the suffering that I’ve walked through has shown me, Ashley, you need, you need people around you and you need Jesus. So, um, yeah, uh, my suffering is the biggest reminder that I, I am desperate. I cannot handle, I can’t handle like a normal day, much less really hard. I’m walking through really hard trials and suffering. And so yeah, of course people said that, you know, yeah, we could talk about all the things that people say and really, you know, horrible actually have a question about it is, it is so hard. Um, but I think the good news is for someone listening, knowing that being really needy is okay and knowing that in our brokenness, Jesus meets us there. And so, um, I think that’s really encouraging.
Adriel: 00:29:49 Yeah. Well it’s so common for us, like we, most people are way more comfortable being the helper than being helped, you know, and I, when I think of that story in the gospels where the friends actually open up the roof to lower their friend down through the roof in order to hopefully get healing from Jesus, you know, and I think about that, like we would so much rather be the friends who are opening up the roof and helping to bring our friend to Jesus to get healing then we want, we would rather be than if we were the person on the map needing the help. Agree. And so yeah, there, there is. This is a normal, normal thing and I think it’s programmed in us as well, even culturally that, you know, we are um, we celebrate the stories of the heroes and helpers and it’s, we don’t celebrate the stories of needing help and being vulnerable. And so culturally I think this is, this is reinforced as well.
Ashlee: 00:30:53 Yeah, I really, I, I agree with that and I think that that makes walking through trial and suffering and allowing other people to help you and even recognizing our own need for a savior, for redemption, for Jesus to step in and be our beer help makes that harder. Is that, that cultural influence? I do agree. I actually, you know, about a week and a half ago, I was in a really hard place just emotionally, mentally. Um, I struggle with anxiety and depression tendencies. I don’t know if there’s like a full. I’m not a counselor so it’s hard for me to like I’m self-diagnosing at this point, but um, I, I actually sent a text to my best friend. She was like, what is going on? And I was like, I just, I hate being the needy one. I literally texted that because I do, I just, I hate, I hate being that person.
Ashlee: 00:31:56 And so, and that’s just a cultural, that’s a something in us or in me. And I think culture just plays into that. We do, like you just said, we celebrate the heroes and the helpers, not the ones that need the help. And so, um, it’s a good reminder for us to be, for those grieving, those walking in the middle of this to just be leery of those lies that culture tells us. That kind of segways into in chapter four. I joke that I don’t know if she has her book memorized, but I have my, I have portions of it memorized
Adriel: 00:32:32 a lot of time in those words. So you’d be surprised.
Ashlee: 00:32:35 I’m in chapter four. You remind us of chapter one in James, the book of James and you, you remind us that in that portion of scripture that James tells us that suffering is an opportunity for growth and that help is available to us as we need it. And um, you wrote are infinitely creative. God will never stop creating life from dust. No suffering is wasted. And I just, I really loved that line that no suffering is wasted. Um, tell me more about that. How, how have you seen that firsthand in your own life?
Adriel: 00:33:13 Yeah, I think this is so important to grapple with because I mean the question really starts with where does suffering punk from? And that’s a, that’s a whole area of theology that theologians have a lot of different ideas about, you know, what is God’s sanction, what does he allow, what does he permit, what is the, you know, what is evil and all this sort of stuff. So those are some really big themes and I think for me, what, what I, what we have learned over the years and what I see most clearly in scripture is that Jesus is, he’s the clearest representation. He’s the clearest picture of God that we have, you know, and, and he said, when you see me, you see the father. And so when you look at Jesus and you look at life and ministry of Jesus, I mean he spends his days and it’s all recorded.
Adriel: 00:34:06 He spends his days healing people and releasing them and setting them free and feeding them, caring for their physical needs and caring for their emotional needs and caring for their mental needs. And he is always like always creating beauty and life out of what was chaos or death or destruction or lack or need. He’s always bringing life. And so, uh, you know, I think this is the whole like, and maybe this is too simplistic, but I’m just trying to make a point, but I think this is the whole job description of God, is that he is the one who never stops creating, never stops creating life. And so, you know, we can be hit with the hardest of suffering, the hardest of circumstances, the most destructive pain because we live in a world that’s not yet been set right. There is still darkness in the world, there still evil in the world.
Adriel: 00:35:04 And, and so, you know, all number of things can happen to us, but in the midst of that, God will never stop creating life. He will never stop because it’s who he is. It’s his nature. It’s not like it’s more than a job description. It’s, it’s, it’s who he is. And so you see that with Jesus healing people and setting them free. But I think, you know, I’ve seen that in my own life to that in my darkest pain and in my most intense times of when I look around and think this is everything around me is broken, everything is wrong. You know, this is babies shouldn’t die. This is not, this is not how God created life. Um, when I look around, when I’ve looked around at all of that and you know, acknowledging the suffering for what it is, I can also see that God moves right into the middle of our mess. This is the incarnation story. And he creates and he creates and he creates. And he never. There’s no situation that is too dark and too far from God, but he can’t create something beautiful out of it because it’s who he is. He’s the creator. He’s the redeemer and he is constantly writing a redemption story through our lives. And it, I mean, it’s miraculous, Ashley, like if, if there’s any miracle, I’m, that’s it. It’s that he can create something beautiful out of something that was not.
Ashlee: 00:36:37 What would you say though, to a mother who is doubting God’s power or his goodness or even his existence in relation to that?
Adriel: 00:36:51 Yeah, well, I would say to her, take heart and bringing your whole self to the Lord. You know, it is so normal to have those doubts and questions. Nothing. Nothing propels us into a crisis of faith like a crisis in our physical lives and that’s really normal.
Adriel: 00:37:15 And what I would say to her is that God can handle it. God can handle your humanity. He can handle your questions. Even your accusation. I mean if you look at, if you look at the the Old Testament, it is full and full and full of people accusing God of terrible things and then yet god coming through and showing his beautiful way to bring about redemption out of their circumstances. So I would say, sister, you’re in good company, but take heart. You know, you might not be able to see it now. And I think sometimes it’s appropriate. We don’t need to try and paint rainbows in the pictures where they don’t exist. I think there’s something really powerful about being human and acknowledging our need and acknowledging, you know, the fear and the doubt and the uncertainty and the anger and all of that stuff. Even our confusion over theology, whatever. I think there’s something really powerful about being honest before the Lord. But, but I would also say that, you know, in that, can you try to keep your heart posture toward the Lord Open, you may not understand, but will you lean into him? We let him lead you tangibly through this time because there will come a time when you’ll begin to see how the comfort of God is actually a force that’s bringing change in your life. And so yeah, I would say you’re normal, but take heart this.
Speaker 4: 00:38:42 Yeah.
Adriel: 00:38:42 You know, I don’t want to use any cliches. It’s not a this too shall pass. Not at all. Um, but time changes things and if we are willing to, you know, kind of roll up our sleeves and say, I’m gonna, I’m going to be all in and I’m gonna. I’m gonna. Be Dirty here as I wrestle through, you know, finding God in the midst of my pain. I’m not gonna give up and sometimes, you know, when you’re grieving, it’s not like you have a lot of strength, um, for the wrestle. And so you might feel really defeated or discouraged in that process, but again, it’s not a, it’s not even a spiritual muscle that we need. It’s a heart posture of yes toward him. And, and in my experience, God has always worked with when I’ve had a heart posture of yes, I’ve always been able to see the goodness of God,
Speaker 4: 00:39:33 um,
Adriel: 00:39:34 because I’ve been looking for it.
Speaker 4: 00:39:38 Yeah. Yeah.
Ashlee: 00:39:39 It, it’s interesting. I talk about this a lot on this podcast, so it’s, this is probably, you know, redundant at this point, but I just, I think it’s worth repeating. I’m just reiterating what you’re saying in one of my favorite books on suffering is, um, it’s not specific to pregnancy or infant loss. I’m just suffering in general, is walking with God through pain and suffering by Tim Keller. But he talks about, he unpacks the book of job a little bit and just he talks about job lamenting and, and having all of those feelings that you were just talking about, accusations against God and anger and confusion and despair. But we see job through all of those. He takes it to God. He doesn’t run away. And I think that’s the difference in, you know, it’s okay for us, like you said, it’s, it’s normal to have those feelings, those thoughts, those doubts, those fears, those moments of anger and frustration.
Ashlee: 00:40:42 And what do we do with those moments is the question. And I think you’re right on, you know, what is our posture of our heart in those moments? What is, what is our attitude towards God in those not attitude or posture towards God? I think that that’s a really helpful way of viewing that. I’m going to switch gears just a little bit. I feel like you give a really good picture of kind of grief practically. Like I feel like you put good words to some things that maybe I didn’t fully understand or hadn’t put words to before. And so, um, in, in chapter five, you give a good picture of what grief can practically look like, and I thought it was really helpful, so I wanted to share it. And you wrote, sometimes grief feels like rain, you can’t stop it, but you learn to manage in the midst of it when the storm clouds break overhead, it’s not enough for someone to acknowledge that you’re wet.
Ashlee: 00:41:41 That’s a good start. But what you actually need is an umbrella. Empathy is when someone steps into the rain with you and Hans you and umbrella. It’s a willingness to make your pain their own and share the load. Empathy says, I see you and I’m with you in this. And then demonstrates what that looks like in actual practice. And you wrote, my friend Greg caused this sideways living. And I loved. I, I loved that picture, that analogy. I thought that was the most helpful, um, most helpful image in my mind that I’ve had in regards to someone coming alongside and helping to carry the burden. I just thought that was really beautiful in that story. You, you gave the example of your, you said your three year old son taught you what that idea of sideways living looks like best. Will you tell us a little bit about that and how maybe how you’ve seen it played out even more over the years?
Adriel: 00:42:35 Yeah, I mean it was so sweet when, especially after our first loss because our two older sons were little. Levi was three and Judah was a year and a half, so they were little and now that they’re older, I look back and think, oh, they were so tiny. How much could they have? Understood, but I remember at the time, particularly year three-year-old, realizing that he understood a lot, a lot more than probably most adults would give credit for. So we included our kids straight away. When we had the miscarriage, they had known we were pregnant, so to us it didn’t make sense to just have this thing go away. We needed to include our kids and we felt like, you know, as parents, we want to be involved in all of the major formation of their lives, including their view of grief and their view of life and death. And so early on we, we decided to be very honest with our kids, you know, obviously in an age appropriate way, but we, we talked about the baby dying.
Adriel: 00:43:40 We didn’t use euphemisms like the baby’s gone to sleep or you know, Jesus took the baby to heaven. Like, you know, we talked about having, but we, we talked about it in real terms. We didn’t want him to be afraid of going to sleep at night and not waking up or we’re afraid of losing him. Like I quote lost the baby. So we use very concrete terms. And I think what this did is it provided him very early on with an understanding that there was a life and that the life was gone. And so we also wanted them to. We wanted him to understand and I. and it was more of him because our other son was only one and a half. So he had very little, you know, cognizant recognition of what was going on, but our three year old definitely new. So we wanted him to understand that if he saw me sad that it wasn’t his fault and that was another reason we wanted to be honest with them.
Adriel: 00:44:37 But yeah, what we found many times in that, in those early days especially with was that, you know, there might be a day when I just am sadder than other days and he would pick it up and he would actually come and say, Mommy, are you sad today? You know? And I’d say, yeah baby, I feel sad. And then he would say something like, are you sad because the baby didn’t come home or are you sad that the baby died? Let’s say I assure him I’m really sad about it. And he would go, yeah, me too. And he would just climb into my lap and he would hug me and cuddle me. And what I realized during that time was that, um, that our kids, there’s something powerful about letting our kids see our humanity as well. Like obviously we don’t want to make them feel more vulnerable than they ought.
Adriel: 00:45:30 We don’t, we don’t want to cause unnecessary insecurity in them. But I think there’s something powerful about going, I trust you enough to be myself with you and to let you see that although I’m strong and resilient, I’m also fragile, you know, and those things don’t have to be a paradox. They can actually exist within, you know, the same human being. And so I think those moments of, of being able to show my fragility to my son have really built something in him and, and I, you know, he, he wouldn’t be able to articulate this or put words to it and maybe he will later in life. But, but I believe what was happening is that it was building empathy in him. It was building the capacity to see and recognize when other people are in pain and to step into it with them and relate to them and not be intimidated by it or pretend it doesn’t exist, but actually enter into it.
Adriel: 00:46:32 And I think as well it was giving him the opportunity to be Jesus. To me. You know, and that’s a really beautiful thing when we give our kids the opportunity to express Christ within them to a world that needs Christ, you know, including their own parents. And so I, I see it as a much bigger thing than just providing some comfort in the moment, but really part of this process of a building into our kids, this, uh, this idea and this truth that they can minister Christ to others through their presence, through their words, through their actions.
Ashlee: 00:47:13 Well, I just, I love that I talk a lot about, not a lot, but I’ve talked before about how walking through grief with your children is a really sweet opportunity to teach them about Jesus is God and his goodness and meeting us in our need. His empathy has compassion and um, and also heaven, eternity. You know, unless you’re walking through this, it’s not something that you would just bring up at the dinner table. You know, like one day we’re, you know, death is going to happen. You’re just not, you’re not as, you know, you’re not as willing probably to talk about those hard things with children. And so one of the fruits of walking through pain and suffering like this and bringing, inviting your children into it, as giving them a view that is bigger than themselves. It’s, you know, it’s a, it’s an eternal you and I, I just, I love that you invited him into that with you.
Ashlee: 00:48:20 I love that you, the way you even phrase that, that you gave him the opportunity to be Jesus to you, to meet you and your need and to love you and minister to you and to grow in his ability to see pain and not be afraid of it. I just, I think that that’s really encouraging and I’m encouraging to moms who are walking in this and might be fearful of what this is doing to their, to their other children. You know, I think that that probably that fear might linger, that we’ve, that our kids are having a less than ideal childhood, you know, to be in the midst of grief and suffering and instead have a bigger, a bigger view. And, and to see the fruit of what God is allowing them to also walk through. So that was really encouraging.
Adriel: 00:49:15 Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think there’s a difference in going, I’m going to keep all my burdens on my kids. That’s obviously not what I’m talking about, right. Um, and, and saying, you know, my kids need to be the ones that sort of provide that comfort for me that I need it. That’s not what I’m talking about it as you would know, but, but yeah, there’s something really profound about, um, extending that kind of trust to our kids. You know, what does it mean to, to us, even as adults, when we realize the depth of someone’s trust that they’ve extended toward us, powerful changes the way we relate to that person. We know that they’re trusting us with the most significant parts of their lives and our kids aren’t exempt from that. It doesn’t just click on one day when they turn 18 or something. It’s being built from the ground up. So yeah, why wouldn’t we take the opportunity as parents to be teaching our stuff, this, this, our kids, this stuff is as they grow. Yeah,
Ashlee: 00:50:14 I do. I really, I mean, I’m encouraged by that reminder even tonight, um, one major kind of misnomer that you, that you actually touched on in your book is how grief is kind of taught. Um, and you mentioned that you in like a, you know, psych, psych, 100, one class or something that, this idea as was taught that grief is linear and upward, you know, very systematic and through specific stages. And I remember in my psych class in college, just the basic level psych class, that same idea I was taught that grief should be walked through in a way that is both systematic and progressing forward. These stages of grief that it’s, um, kind of discussed as, um, but you kind of talk about how faulty that logic is. And um, you wrote having no experiential framework to understand these concepts. I imagined grief to be a straightforward line of steps to be worked through a trajectory to take one back to his or her normal self. The quicker one came to acceptance, the sooner the pain would be dealt with in life could go on. And I would love for you to just briefly share a little bit about this, you know, why, why is this idea that grief is linear and ordered and um, you know, predictable. Why is that dangerous? And in your opinion, what is a better, more helpful way to view grief?
Adriel: 00:51:42 Yeah, I mean the, the idea that you go through stages of grief, I think when we don’t have a lot of understanding of what that means, we can easily jump to the assumption that that means and stage is like a step, you know, first this one, next, this one, next, this one, and that it is linear that you sort of go through and you check it off. And I remember thinking, I remember a journal entry that I wrote probably on like the third day or something after my first miscarriage. And I felt that particular day I just felt this overwhelming piece and I thought, have I already gotten to the acceptance stage like that? Wow. That was quick. You know, I must be like. And I mean, it’s so ridiculous because then of course the next day, you know, like so angry, I want to smash something or whatever it is, but I realized very quickly that grief is not linear and, and um, and so yeah, the stages of grief and in fact, I don’t think that most, I mean I was in college a long time ago, so I don’t think most current, um, therapists and psychologists talk about grief in that same language anymore.
Adriel: 00:52:58 I mean, I think they definitely recognize, you know, these characteristics of grief such as denial or shock or anger or acceptance or you know, these sort of things. But, but they don’t talk about it in a way that’s linear. Not by any means. I mean, anyone, anyone that’s had any brush with grief knows it’s not linear, that it’s a very all over the place and weaves in and out and back through things all the time. You know, I mean, just as you were sharing 10 years later, you know, after losing your son, you still experienced grief in different ways. So it’s, it’s not, it’s not over. We don’t get over our grief, we go through grief and we allow grief to change us. Um, but I, I needed to understand that for myself that this wasn’t something that I could just sort of worked through as I would work through a self improvement ideology.
Adriel: 00:53:55 You know, I couldn’t just go, oh, right, I’ve mastered my anger, so what’s next? You know, or okay, I’m not overwhelmed with sadness anymore, so what do I need to work on next? It doesn’t work like that. But, um, what I’ve found is that grief is a lot more circular and someone told me, uh, several years ago that grief is like, it’s circular and it’s kind of like going up a mountain. Um, because you, you come around to that same thing again, you know, you think, oh, I’ve already dealt with anger. It’s back, you know, or I’ve, I’ve already dealt with, um, this fear, but it’s back. But what I’ve found, the more helpful question, uh, that they shared with me this, are you spiraling up or are you spiraling down? You know, sure you’ve dealt with anger again and it’s back, but are you, are you making progress on your grief journey or do you feel like you are slipping backwards? And I think that’s a helpful way to think about it rather than just thinking about it as a linear. Are you just moving forward? Does that make sense?
Ashlee: 00:55:02 I thought that that was a really helpful knology I remember meeting with a counselor. Um, she wasn’t, we weren’t in a counseling type of relationship. She was a friend who someone had introduced me to who had lost her daughter and um, we just over coffee she talked about how grief was not linear. It was very helpful because this was really early on after my son had died. And, um, she, she explained it. She was like, grief is like an onion. You Peel one layer back and there’s another one. And I thought it’s similar, like, very circular. That’s good. You’re just, you’re, you’re going around and around and you know, um, and I think even the, you know, am I, am I going up the mountain or am I spiraling down? Like sometimes it might feel like you’re just going around and around and not making any headway up, but, um, I did like, I thought that that analogy was very helpful.
Ashlee: 00:56:02 Um, and just to continue to help women to understand that this isn’t a stage that you’re going to check off and then move onto the next one. Um, and that’s okay. Um, and then I, as I was thinking through, you’re just kind of explanation of grief in that analogy. I was brought back to something that you had said earlier in the book and that I thought was just one of the most comforting statements. And I know we’ve kind of mentioned that here and there and we say this a lot here at, on the morning, but, um, you wrote, you’ll find this as you grieve. Some days you’ll have the strength to dive deep and Jesus will meet you there. Other days you’ll barely manage a nudge in his direction and he’ll meet you there. To His grace is big enough for both. And I thought that is a really helpful encouragement to someone who’s walking around that mountain right now, you know. And um, there’s gonna be days where you feel like you’re really are moving forward and Jesus is there and there’s going to be days where you feel like you can’t move forward at all and he’s gonna meet you there too. So I thought that that was really helpful. I’m just encouragement. So. Well, so.
Ashlee: 00:57:17 Well said. You’re the one who wrote it. So good job. I thought it was just helpful insight in an effort to put words to what losing a baby can feel like you wrote some of these words, um, that I thought were just really, again, helpful. You wrote sometimes suffering hurts, like applying lipstick and waterproof Mascara before walking up the steps to a baby shower so you can fake smile your way through guest, the baby food with other grown women. Sometimes suffering hurts like crying through the worship set at church or packing up the baby clothes you had so carefully washed and folded. Sometimes suffering hurts, like celebrating someone else’s miracle while resisting the urge to cover it as your own. I, I loved how relatable that just. And you wrote more, but um, those were just a few things, um, how relatable that felt and how I just remember feeling all of those things and I’ve experienced each one of those moments of suffering some more than even just a few times.
Ashlee: 00:58:23 And um, I think that it’s helpful to read words like that out loud and to read them in your book and to hear another mom, you know, put words to what it feels like to suffer this loss is kind of lost. It helps us not feel alone in our suffering. And I think it is also helpful for those who might be listening who are trying to understand this grief better as a friend or family member. Another woman can read that and try to empathize. They’re growing in their understanding of what it feels like for the, their friend or family member to walk through this kind of loss. So I was curious, what else would you want a friend or family member to know about grief and suffering? What do you wish those on the other side of it understood about this journey a bit better?
Adriel: 00:59:12 Oh, so many things. I want them to know that for those that
Adriel: 00:59:18 have a live birth after a loss like this, that doesn’t replace the baby, they lost. Um, I, I want them to know that you are grieving not just the loss of a baby, but you’re grieving the loss of the future. You imagine with that child, you know, when they’re 10 years old, um, I would want them to know that there are, there are different things that we have to grapple with depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. Um, but it doesn’t make it harder or easier or whatever, but they’re just different. You know, I remember not long after my first miscarriage, a, a friend of mine, her sister had a stillbirth and she was farther along and I was devastated for her, you know, and was really as much as possible trying to reach out to her from a distance. I lived in a different continent, but it’s trying to reach out to her.
Adriel: 01:00:23 But I remember then seeing photos of the funeral that they had for the baby and posts about how, you know, please don’t bring any more food. We have food lined up for the next three months and things like that. And I remember thinking, wow, if I would have been five weeks along more, that would have been my response and I would have had that much more support. But instead I have an empty fridge and, you know, and I, I just remember like my own kind of grief with, with even thinking what I didn’t have. I don’t have a photo of my baby and I don’t have a grave site to visit. And, and I’m not saying that makes it harder for me, not by any stretch. It just makes it different. And so I wish people understood that when they, when they try those too, to use those minimizing statement so at least you weren’t far along or at least you know, you can get pregnant or at least you have other living children, sort of all those things.
Adriel: 01:01:19 Um, and I suppose the last thing that I wish, I mean, there’s many things like I could keep going, but the last thing you know that, that I really wish people knew was that having a miscarriage is like giving birth and burying loved one all at the same time. And so if you think about, you know, what, uh, what it, what it’s like for mother to be postpartum. She’s hormonal, she’s exhausted, her emotions are all over the place, you know, everything has changed. So you’ve got that. But then you’ve also got the fact that she is just said goodbye to this child that is meant to be. She’s meant to be celebrating. And, and so what are, what are the things that you would do for someone who’s postpartum, you know, you might offer to swing by and pick up some laundry and do three loads of laundry for drop off some extra groceries that you picked up while you were at the shop or send her flowers or make her a casserole, you know, or encourage.
Adriel: 01:02:21 Watch your kids so that she can have an APP. And those are the same things that a woman who has just had a miscarriage needs, she needs time for her body to, to change back to prepregnancy self, you know, but she also needs the care that you would extend someone who’s just lost a child. And so I, I like to put it in those terms because I think that makes it concrete because people go, I don’t know how, I don’t know how to relate to someone that’s lost a baby well, but you do know how to relate to someone who’s given birth and you do know how to relate to someone that’s lost a loved one. So it’s like that.
Ashlee: 01:03:02 That’s really, really helpful. I love how concrete that feels intangible because you’re right, a lot of times people say, well, I don’t know how to help. Um, and so that, that makes that really tangible. So to kind of end our time together, I just wanted you, you wrote something that was really powerful. Um, I think it was in chapter five. So again, we maybe there needs to be a part two to actually finish the book talking about the book. But, um, I thought this was just a really powerful statement. Um, you said you were, you were writing this to grieving mothers obviously, and you said miscarriage is painful and your grief is warranted. You loved hard, so you’ll grieve hard too and that’s okay. Consider this your permission to feel what you feel without trying to run away. And I thought that was an incredibly helpful and freeing message to grieving mothers, especially those who have experienced a miscarriage because I think one thing that I’ve heard often from women walking through miscarriage is that they don’t feel like their grief is warranted. And so I love that you said that. Is there any additional encouragement that you’d like to give to a grieving mother who’s listening? Anything you would like to tell her?
Adriel: 01:04:19 No, I would say it’s okay to name your suffering. It’s okay to call what you’re experiencing suffering. And there’s something really powerful about giving your suffering, the dignity of recognition and, and not trying to sugar coat it, but actually saying, oh, I’m suffering if I’m in pain and that is not so that the suffering and the pain can define us. But it’s actually so that as we’re honest with it, we bring it before the Lord and, and I, I truly believe that’s where the healing begins, is when we’re able to be honest with where we’re at. And so I think in closing I would say to, you know, a mom at any, at any place in her grief journey after any type of loss would be to say that God is, he’s not threatened by your humanity. He’s not repelled by your process. He wants to draw near to you in the midst of that and anyone can grief. But as believers we can grieve with hope and there’s a huge difference between walking through grief and what walking through grief with hope. And so my encouragement to your listeners is that we have so much hope. Yeah,
Ashlee: 01:05:37 that’s super helpful and really encouraging and such a. just a really great reminder. Thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for writing this book. I’m sure that it is going to continue to be a blessing to so many and thanks for spending time with us today. For those listening. Thank you for joining us. Thanks for listening in to this just honest, candid conversation. I pray that it blessed you today and until next time.