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As I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed today, I noticed several posts of friends celebrating their anniversaries – some reaching that monumental first year, others with a few more under their belts. The pictures and words beaming with love and joy made my heart smile as I thought of my own marriage and what a blessing our years together have been. But ever since my husband and I faced the heartache of miscarrying our twins and the seemingly-eternally-empty nursery, I’ve started to see things through a different lens – the lens of knowing what it is to be without.

It wasn’t long after Seth and I were ready to grow our family that seeing pregnancy announcements popping up right and left started to rub a little bit. This has been one of the more trying parts of our unfulfilled desire to be parents: the surge of pain that comes in the form of a reminder of what you desperately desire but don’t have. But also hating that you have that feeling. It’s truly difficult to explain because it’s so multifaceted – genuine joy for others, but with an added layer of real hurt.

So back to my new lenses. Our difficult, ongoing journey has caused a shift in my {metaphorical} lens prescription. God took the rose-colored lenses of a blessed and easy life that I looked through for so long and replaced them with ones that provide much greater clarity into the hearts of others. 2 Corinthians 1:4 tells us that God comforts us in our pain so that we are able to comfort others in theirs. My own hurt has given me a greater sensitivity and compassion for others who are hurting, even if it’s a pain other than my own.

Social media has opened up a new world of sharing our lives – even very personal aspects – with nearly everyone we’ve ever been acquainted with. It’s a platform that makes it difficult to censor or adjust our emotions and tone based on the audience like we can face to face – because our audience on social media is essentially everyone we know. We probably wouldn’t bubble over in excitement with our new ultrasound picture in the face of a friend who is grieving a freshly-empty womb. We probably wouldn’t boast about our 25th anniversary to a friend whose husband just left her for another woman. We probably wouldn’t gush about how great our mother is to a friend who just lost hers. But yet on social media, it’s no holds barred.

Please hear my heart: in no way do I want those around me to be hushed about wonderful things happening in their lives – not at all! Romans 12:15 says to rejoice with those who rejoice and I desire with all my heart to share in the joys of my loved ones! But in the same breath it also says to mourn with those who mourn. Friends, please share your joys! They are ALL gifts from the Lord and worthy of celebration. But I want to encourage you to do so with an understanding that there more than likely will be some, if not many, who will be stung because of their own circumstances. Had I not known my own loss, I would have never thought about something as wonderful as a baby announcement or anniversary being anything but cause for celebration. Because of my loss, I’m able to practice sensitivity in all areas with the knowledge that whatever the celebration, there’s someone who wishes they could celebrate it themselves.

I love my new lenses and I highly encourage all my friends to get some for themselves {insert adorable buck-toothed glasses guy emoji}. But they aren’t free. The cost is the responsibility of what we do with what we now see. The cost is simply this: be sensitive and be thoughtful. Be humbly aware that whatever your cause for celebration, it is a gift from the Lord that many long for in their own lives. What a small price to pay for the blessing it can be to a wounded heart.

 

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Karah Maschmeier

I have been married to my wonderful husband, Seth, for going on 5 years. We live in Kearney and love it here! I keep myself busy with several things - I work for my dad's law firm as their accountant/office manager, teach private piano lessons, teach Spanish at Faith Christian School, and have an Etsy shop. Seth and I hope very much to be parents soon, and we're excited to see what that will look like for us.

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