Chris Lyles

The Way of Life

On June 3, 2014, Sarah and I experienced one of the hardest things we've ever gone through. After years of trying to have children, we had finally conceived on our own without any medical help. But hours after seeing that tiny heartbeat on an ultrasound for the first time, the baby was miscarried.

I've never gone from such extreme ends of the emotional spectrum. I was deliriously excited that I was finally going to be a dad, and I was out of my mind with happiness when I saw that little heartbeat. I had seen ultrasounds before, but they weren't of my child. This little guy was mine, and it was absolutely amazing.

After the ultrasound, the doctor told us she was a little concerned about some things. I was too elated to be concerned. I told Sarah — and myself — that everything was going to be fine. God had given us an incredible gift, one that we'd prayed and begged for for years. Why would anything go wrong?

But things did go wrong, and fast. Seeing my wife go through the pain she did was heartbreaking, to say the least. We weren't really sure what had happened in the moment, but it became very clear in the minutes afterward. I kept telling myself everything was ok. I guess I was hoping I was wrong about what I thought had just happened. But inside I knew, and when I finally understood there was no hope, I completely crashed. I've never wept that bitterly before, where it was physically hurting to cry.

While we're not sure how old the baby was, we know it was early in pregnancy. But it was old enough to have a heartbeat.

I felt an overwhelming amount of feelings and thoughts in the days and weeks that followed. I'd love to tell you I drew close to God and became stronger in my faith and all that stuff you hear from super spiritual people, but that didn't happen. It felt like God had just given me one of the greatest desires of my heart, only to take it back immediately while hitting me in the gut with a sledgehammer. I felt like I was on the floor bleeding, holding my hand up in fear of getting hit again. I knew I couldn't hurt God or fight back; I just didn't want him to hit me again.

I got angry. A lot. It just didn't make sense to me. Sarah and I had tried to please God, and we asked for a child… just one child… and this happens. Honestly, I still don't understand it, or why it happens to anyone, for that matter. I got borderline enraged thinking about how some drunk could take a random girl home from the bar and have a baby without even wanting one. Don't get me wrong; we're not super holy people who don't deserve tragedy. But this just didn't seem fair. To top it off, it was the day before our wedding anniversary.

One of the thoughts that entered my mind, for some reason, is a place in the Bible where the author says that everything is meaningless, like chasing after the wind. It really resounded with me. What's the point? We tried our best to do what's right, and look where it got us. And I thought to myself, that's just the way life is. The way of life is death. It's suffering and vanity, chasing after the wind.

I know that sounds pretty extreme, but at the same time… I didn't write that part of the Bible. Someone a lot wiser than I did, and I completely agreed with him at that time. I sat down and wrote some words for a song, because that just seems to help me. I wasn't sure if I'd ever share it, because it's pretty dark. But it's honest, and I think that counts for something. I titled the song, "The Way of Life", and it's about the miscarriage and what I felt then.

But like God always seems to do, he let me yell and question and get angry, but he didn't let me stay there.

Sarah and I were reading Scripture to each other one night in bed, very soon after the miscarriage. It was one of those one-year Bibles where you can read the whole book in a year. That night the scripture was in Isaiah 65. Some folks who read the Bible might recognize that as the passage where God says he's making everything new. That's in verse 17. But when I got to verse 20, I couldn't believe what I saw. I actually had to stop and read it to myself a few times before I read it aloud to Sarah. I cried trying to read it to her. It says, "No longer will babies die when only a few days old." I didn't remember ever reading that before. And in that moment I realized God was holding me and letting me know he was there the whole time, even when I never felt it. It was like he was telling me that He knows things aren't right on this earth, but one day it was going to be ok.

I still don't understand why things like this happen, and I don't have any answers. I'm not sure I need them, though. What I do know is that God is still there, and he sees our pain, and he will make it right one day. And thankfully the story doesn't end there. God gave us three more children, yet we only asked for one! So I have four children: one in heaven, and three here on earth with me. I think going through what we did makes us appreciate the little lives we have with us more. Life is so precious and so brief.

I know there are many of you who have gone through this or worse. My heart goes out to you. No, it's not fair and it doesn't make sense, but there is still hope. God never said terrible things wouldn't happen. But he did say to take heart, because he has overcome the world.

So now to honor my child in heaven, I give you The Way of Life. Baby, if you can hear me, I love you. You know I love you. -Dad

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