Monica Geyen

Miscarriage Led Me to Mercy

“Is Zion coming back home?”

I wondered what my young son had dreamt of his life with Zion. I crept back into my own dreams.

What would it have been like to gaze into your eyes? Or hear your laugh? I’m certain it’s a good one. I almost hear you belting out our favorite hymns as you bounce on our bed, the familiar Geyen voice that tricks others into believing you are one of your siblings. I see your little legs furiously pedal our cracked, faded red tricycle down the block. Then you pedal out of my sight.

My son’s question breathed life into dead dreams. Our grief was real, and we had nothing to show for it but an empty womb.

Yet our miscarriage showed us something — someone. Miscarriage directed us to our dearest friend, Jesus, who invited us to draw near — not to a light at the end of the tunnel, but to the blazing light in the darkness.

Draw Near

The author of Hebrews urges, “Let us . . . with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). While Christ’s atonement for our sins bought our confidence to approach, miscarriage can leave believers needy, desperate, and confused about the way forward. But God extends help toward fellowship at his throne: freedom to draw near, mercy to cover, and grace to strengthen in the days ahead.

1. Draw near in freedom.

In Christ, we have freedom to draw near to God as we are. When we weep, and when we don’t weep. When our hearts rage, and when our hearts feel like they have stopped beating. When we are silent. Still. Confused. When we have questions we can’t ask any other. In Christ, we can present our humanity before his throne — the spectrum of our miscarriage groanings. He invites us to pray not as the slaves we once were, but as the sons and daughters we now are.

For freedom Christ has set you free (Galatians 5:1) — with that new-life freedom comes honest prayer, or as Matthew Henry describes it, “a humble freedom and boldness, with a liberty of spirit and a liberty of speech . . . not as if we were dragged before the tribunal of justice, but kindly invited to the mercy-seat.” The King offers a place to “pour out your heart before him” (Psalm 62:8), to contend with his plans in your pain, to bring your despair to our Hope. Christians don’t direct our grappling at God, but we are invited to entrust to him our honest pains.

God’s word is filled with examples to follow. Think of Hannah, whose authenticity in “speaking out of [her] great anxiety and vexation” caused Eli the priest to think her a drunkard (1 Samuel 1:12–16). Or David, who described God as having abandoned him in his sorrow (Psalm 13:1–2). Or psalmists who deemed tears their food (Psalm 42:3), questioned how long they would remain “greatly troubled” (Psalm 6:3), or ended laments with words we might find uncomfortable to speak: “You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness” (Psalm 88:18). Even perfect Jesus asked the Father to remove the burden he carried (Mark 14:36), and then later cried, “Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

“Christ is strong enough to hear us process with him the very sorrows he bore.”

Christ laid down his life so we could draw near to him (John 15:13; Hebrews 4:16), and he is strong enough to hear us process with him the very sorrows he bore (Isaiah 53:4). Perhaps the golden bowls in heaven (Revelation 5:7) are filled not with perfectly worded prayers, but with the imperfect pleas of grieving saints, including those who’ve suffered miscarriage.

2. Draw near for mercy.

In the wake of my miscarriage, it seemed impossible to separate sorrow from sin. Speculation about my own responsibility haunted me. Comparison to other miscarriage stories — to assure myself I was grieving “enough” — consumed me. And fear and shame over others’ reactions to a new pregnancy exhausted me. But my heavenly Father did not demand that I parse out “holy” hurts from unholy ones before I ran to him. He did not turn from me because of the way I crawled into his lap (Matthew 7:7–11).

Approach the throne to “receive mercy” (Hebrews 4:16). The mercy in this verse is not salvation mercy; the author has already established the confidence for believers to draw near. This mercy also is not grace, which receives separate treatment in this text and throughout Scripture. This mercy is the forgiveness God gives — for the way we approach the throne, or for the sin that remains in our hearts — in order that he might offer us necessary help.

God’s mercy relieves us of the burden to disentangle sin and sorrow in our grief. He desires to grant us mercy (Matthew 9:13), and whether we approach the throne with our most penitent, gratitude-filled prayers or with messier ones, his mercies are endless (Lamentations 3:20). In love, he died to secure our fellowship with him, and now that same love causes his mercy to follow us all our days (Psalm 23:6) so he may bless our drawing near with more of himself.

3. Draw near to find grace to help.

I sat at the edge of our bed. No tears. No pleas. I sensed my Savior’s embrace, along with one word: sing. So I did. I received few answers to my questions about our miscarriage — but in moments like these, I found I didn’t need them. The biggest “grace to help in time of need” is our growing understanding of the glorious sufficiency of Christ in sorrow. He provides rest (Matthew 11:28), he grants endurance to live beyond miscarriage (Romans 5:3–5), and he delivers “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11), all in our bereaved state of child loss. And he draws us into new seasons, transformed (2 Corinthians 3:18).

“The biggest ‘grace to help in time of need’ is our growing understanding of the glorious sufficiency of Christ.”

Miscarriage is often undiscussed. It is profoundly personal. It is deeply sad. Yet many have experienced it, and many of those who haven’t are still ready to stand with you. Grace often arrives through human help, and when believers are satisfied in our faithful friend who tracks our sorrows (Psalm 56:8; Isaiah 53:4), we are ready to receive it. We are freed to grieve as privately or publicly as the moment calls for. We receive the outpouring of love — through shared sadness, embraces, prayers, meals, flowers — as the overwhelming grace it is.

And then there is the grace that most surprises — grace to walk with others through their own grief. Our oldest daughter wrote a story about a day when Jesus transports our children to heaven. He brings them to a man the children sense they know. “I am Zion!” the man cries. He and the children hug and laugh and weep. Then Jesus shares thrilling news: they may forever remain in heaven with Zion.

Everyone grieves differently. If we had missed that, we would have missed her. Our daughter wrote her grief, though she didn’t shed tears. She too had dreams — dreams beyond the tricycle-pedaling toddler. With children or others who walk alongside us, we receive grace to grow in understanding how to grieve as those who have hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We learn to cry out to the Lord (Psalm 34:6). We grieve differently, yet worship together. We understand it’s okay to be sad, and it’s okay to not be sad.

Grace transforms grief into worship when we understand our need is not for time to stop, but for the King to march us onward.

Not the End

“No, buddy, Zion is not coming back home. But we will go home to him one day.”

I had little to say as I hugged my son, overcome with fresh grief. Whether we have few words or many, we are recipients of mercy and grace when we draw near — emboldened to trust our King and walk with others, large and small, toward home.

Miscarriage is not the end. Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ashes” (These Strange Ashes, 11). Whether your miscarriage story is followed by a new baby in your arms or by quiet resilience, those whom we have lost for a season will be found once more. One day, we will behold the babies we never held and gaze upon the Lord over them all.

Big Prayers for Everyday Motherhood

Motherhood’s rescue mission outside the gates of hell was supposed to look tidier.

But here we are.

One child has just yanked another’s hair. Sticky hands and messy bottoms (of two different children) have been wiped, but someone just somersaulted through another’s drawing space. Picture ruined, sadness abounds. Another child is hungry but — phew — distracted, scouring five bottomless laundry hampers for underwear. We hurriedly search for shoes to rush to lessons of all kinds. But we will be even later because a shoeless child rages after a half-dressed one to hijack back a pen identical to ten others in plain sight.

How can mothers possibly intercede for their children during little moments of chaos?

God in Small, Chaotic Spaces

Like her life “hidden with Christ” (Colossians 3:2), the glory of a mother’s rescue mission hides in small moments. Even if no one else sees and delights in a mother’s labor of love, God does. In fact, no one sees more or delights more than him. The mundane, however, will not last forever — God “has made everything beautiful in its time.” Though mothers now yearn for eternal assurances for their children, it is not for us to know “what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11–12).

Anxieties pile on because the weight of eternity presses in. How will today’s messes translate into eternal joy with our children in the presence of the King? Little moments offer opportunities for big prayers — not as an oppressive obligation but as a way of casting anxieties on the God who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

God has promised our labor in Christ is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58), so we cast our anxieties at the throne during moments when it seems his kingdom has not yet entered our homes. Prayer surrenders our desire for certainty about their salvation and frees us to share gospel hope with our children without measuring results.

Massive prayers are more than an invitation for God to hear our pleas; they also invite him to speak back to us. When we pray, the indwelling Spirit counsels moms toward Scripture’s glorious promises to us and our children (John 14:26). He exchanges our proneness to unravel for eternal eyes, power, and joy to labor and trust him as we continue to intercede for the little hearts in our care.

Big Prayers for Small Moments

One day mothers will see what now remains hidden in heaven — golden bowls of incense filled with the massive, intercessory prayers of mothers crying out to God on behalf of their children (Revelation 5:8). Consider these three massive prayers for your mundane and messy little moments.

1. ‘Lord, save my children!’

Prayers for a child’s salvation are so massive and redundant that perhaps we tend over time not to want to bother God with them anymore.

The weight and value of our children’s eternities peek through in little moments. He is “not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness,” but is patient toward them, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:8–9). So we pray, “Lord, remove my child’s heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26)!” Messes do not need to hinder mothers. They are brief windows in which we can plead for salvation and fuel patient, tender gospel-preaching to the eternal beings we shepherd. “Lord, I see the sin in them (and in me!), and I know I cannot save them. Break in and capture their hearts. Help them to see!”

“When mothers pray, we invite our children into our desperation before the God of salvation.”

When mothers pray, we invite our children into our desperation before the God of salvation. Charles Spurgeon never forgot his mother’s unwavering plea: “Oh, that my son might live before thee!” (Devoted, 91). With consistency and fervor, we can invite our children in as we pour out our hearts to God.

2. ‘Jesus, fill us with your Holy Spirit.’

If there is one thing I have learned in motherhood about prayer, it’s that I often don’t know how to pray.

Jesus is unhindered by moms who yearn for communion with him but falter or abandon these hopes in little moments. Here’s good news for yearning moms: the resurrected King reigns in our inability. He promises that when we ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit, he will fill us (Luke 11:13). A mother’s plea invites the power of Christ to replace our anxiety with peace to know him more, and authority to display his glory in little moments. So we pray, drawing on Ephesians 3:14–21:

You have named and formed my family (verse 15).
You have endless riches to supply all my needs (verse 16).
Strengthen me and my children with power through your Spirit (verse 16).
Do for me what I cannot do on my own; do what your Spirit is meant to do — show us Christ, and fix our eyes on him (verse 17).
Be our firm foundation whether we see any fruit from our faithfulness (verse 17).
Through your powerful Spirit, show us “what is the breadth and length and height and depth” of your endless love (verse 18).
Empty us of anything less than your fullness (verse 19).
Do far more than we or our children even think to ask, through the power of your Spirit at work within us (verse 20).
May we, our children, our children’s children, and all generations glorify Christ (verse 21).

Mothers can pray child-specific verses. We can pray that our service, gifts, and teaching in the name of Christ will bear fruit. We can pray that our children would grow into men and women of the word, mighty warriors for Christ’s kingdom. We can pray that they would live for Christ, die for Christ, be all in for Christ. But let’s also pray for ourselves, that we would be filled with the Spirit, who enables us to pray and love well.

3. ‘Holy Spirit, give us more of Jesus.’

Jesus delights to fill us with his Spirit. And the Spirit delights to satisfy us — with more of Christ.

“Jesus delights to fill us with his Spirit. And the Spirit delights to satisfy us — with more of Christ.”

Jesus is our eternal portion (Psalm 73:26–28; John 6:35), but also our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). He is “good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:24–25). Little moments with our children now will turn into bigger moments after they have left our homes. Mothers want the gospel to one day pour out from their children’s hearts and lives. So we pray and ask the Spirit to satisfy us and our children (and our children’s children!) toward the day when we will fully know him (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Spirit, use this hair-yanking. Grow our children to beg you for more of Jesus until they get him.

Spirit, move in sticky hands and messy bottoms. Grow our children to be satisfied in the kind, gentle hands of our shepherd when they’re confronted with their own messes (Romans 2:4).

Spirit, shine behind sinful somersaults. Grow our children to be satisfied in the quieting presence of Christ, who sees their pain (Psalm 56:8), as they long for the day when sin and sadness will be no more (Revelation 21:4).

Spirit, fill hungers and reveal yourself in underwear searches. Grow our children to not distract their appetites but invite the bread of life to fully satisfy them (John 6:35).

Spirit, tardiness does not steal your power. Grow our children to be content in Christ when their plans don’t match your purposes (Proverbs 19:21).

Spirit, don’t waste our unnecessary pen collection. Surprise our children in their yearnings by teaching them the secret behind hunger and plenty (Philippians 4:12) — more of Jesus.

And as you do these things in them, Holy Spirit, do them first in me.

He Prays for Us

We live in a dark world. Massive prayers now for more of Jesus may prepare our children and generations to come for persecution, or for a time when they are stripped of all things but the one who never leaves. Whatever comes their way, may our children grow into godliness and contentment because a praying mom pleaded that Jesus would be enough.

Mothers, we don’t need to collapse under the weight of our mission, or pretend that only majestic prayers can intercede for our children. The Spirit helps mothers in their weakness when words fail us — the Spirit himself prays for mothers “with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). And one day, what were once massive prayers in little moments will, in the light of glory, usher in massive praise forever.

Scroll to top