Tag Archives: miscarriage

The Forgotten Emmanuel

[originally posted on LutheranLogomaniac.com]

December 21st is the anniversary of when Kathryn and I lost our son, Emmanuel. It was 2009. And, of course, right before Christmas. Who has time to grieve when there is so much stuff to do?

While the death of Nadia always makes me wish others would remember such days, Emmanuel’s death always reminds me how quickly I myself can forget. Some grief we bury. Some pain is too close, too much to bear at the time.

For pastors, of course, the Christmas season is always a busy time of year. Sermons, bulletins, calls, Christmas programs, caroling, there are always a thousand things to pull us away from our Lord, and from anything else. Pastors don’t have a monopology on this time, either. Mothers, it seems to me, are always full of things that need doing. And holidays or Christmas breaks and the like, well, they may actually be more work for mom, not less. But the list could go on.

How do we allow the business of our lives to interfere from what the point of our lives is in the first place? I forget what is important. I forget even big things, like life and death. I get distracted or I distract myself. I run and hide. I flee from such all encompasing realities.

How many of us hide ourselves from our pain? How many walk around, hurting and wounded, in fear of being found out? How many flee at the thought of being weak?

I think that is why a name like Emmanuel is such an important one for Christians. God is with us. There is no “if” behind the name. God is with us IF we behave. God is with us IF we are good. God is with us UNTIL we die. No. It is a statement of fact. God is with us. Period. The words from Exodus come to mind:

“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.” (Exodus 2:23–25 ESV)

God heard. God remembered. God saw. God knew.

That is the God of the Bible. That is the God who comforts me, even in the face of my forgetfulness and death. That is the God who would come as a little child.

-Pastor Todd Peperkorn


Nativity Giorgione 1507

His name is Emannuel

This has been a more eventful Advent and Christmastide than usual in the Peperkorn household. As you may have heard, we were (surprised and) overjoyed at the end of October to discover that Kathryn was pregnant. Our joy was turned to sorrow in mid-December as we learned that she had lost the baby.

It’s really hard to even describe this experience. The span of emotions, the sorrow, guilt, anger, frustration, and strange relief all rush together in one big glob of pain that is almost overwhelming. Miscarriages are so odd in our culture, because there is a sense where A) We shouldn’t talk about it; B) If we do talk about it, to try and minimize it; or C) To OVER engage the whole process, as though this is an opportunity to make some religious or political statement about abortion.

Kathryn and I lost a child (Nadia) four years ago, and so I thought this would ease the pain, or at least our understanding of the pain. But that is just not the case. Each grief is its own. Just as each child is different, so the loss of each child is different, even a child only eight weeks old.

Part of Kathryn’s fear I think is that I will fall into another depression. Nadia’s death was the beginning of a long downward slope for me last time, so that’s a pretty reasonable fear on her part. It is so easy in this life to take one tragic event and allow it to escalate into a holocaust.

But it does not have to be so. Past history does not guarantee future events. While it may be a decent predictor sometimes, it can also serve to create self-fulfilling prophecies. There are a lot of things different from four years ago for us:

1. We are much more aware of God’s mercy in taking are of our family. He has seen us through this and more.

2. We are both more aware of our medical needs, moods, and the “signs” when things aren’t going quite right.

3. Our support group(s) of family, friends, church, etc., has been wonderful. They were all good last time, too, but I think everyone is a little more aware of what’s happening now.

So be at peace, friends! The Lord is with you. I will be back in the swing of writing again soon.