Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 4, 2013

From Despair to Hope

The following is a re-post of a post I made a year ago in honor of our first child who died at birth. I am posting this again today in honor of what would have been our daughter’s 35th birthday. The words are just as true now as they were then, but even moreso, as I have experienced another year of God’s continued love and faithfulness through every joy and trial. I continue to learn that I don’t always have to understand or know why as long as I know Him!

March 4, 1978 – This date is forever indelibly etched on my mind, but most of all in my heart.

On this date, thirty-four years ago, I gave birth to our first child. However, we would never hear her cry, see her smile, or feel her tiny fingers clench our own. We lost our first daughter before she ever drew her first breath, the result of the premature separation of the placenta which deprived her tiny body of oxygen and nourishment. We began that morning with much nervousness and excitement as we headed to the hospital, eagerly looking forward to her birth. However, not long after arriving we realized that something was terribly wrong. Within minutes, our expectant joy was replaced with tears and grieving and our lives were forever changed!

Thirty-four years ago and yet I can still remember that cold, snowy, March day. Yet with time, the loneliness and despair I felt on that cold, winter day has evolved into something different. While I can still feel the sadness I felt then, and even a deep longing for this one I’ll never have the pleasure of sharing life with here on earth, I can honestly say that my loneliness and despair has been replaced with peace and hope.

I really can’t say when the transformation took place. I know it didn’t happen overnight and I realize that it had to be a process that occurred over a period of time. But, somehow, someway, when I recall that day today, my thoughts immediately turn to God, how He faithfully brought my husband and me through those first few difficult days and years, and how in His time and in His way, He replaced our despair with hope.

I am reminded of Jeremiah, the prophet, who cried out in anguish over the suffering of the nation of Judah after it had fallen to the Babylonians. The book of Lamentations deals with Jeremiah’s own grief as he struggles to understand where God is in the face of the nation’s suffering and pain. In Lamentations 3 the prophet describes his hopelessness (3:1-6), how he felt there was no way out (3:7), and how he even felt that God did not hear his prayers (3:8). He tried to think about all that he had been through, to work things out in his mind, but still found no relief. “Remember my affliction and roaming, the wormwood and the gall. My soul still remembers and sinks within me” (3:19-20). Jeremiah did not find hope until he changed his focus. Instead of focusing on his problems, he turned his eyes to God. It was then that he could exclaim: “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning;  Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’” (3:21-24).

I realize that at the point of my deepest grief, I didn’t understand why our baby had to die. And even today, I still cannot explain why. But I do know that as we’ve walked through not only this experience, but many others as well, we’ve come to experience a God who is compassionate, faithful, and full of mercy. I’ve learned that as long as I just surrender it all to Him and trust every situation to Him that He will bring me to a place of healing and hope. As the Psalmists declared: “But I trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place” (Psalm 31:6b-8). “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps” (Psalm 40:1-2).

I remember when we lost our baby that the pastor used an example during the memorial service that has stayed with me through the years. He likened our lives to a beautiful tapestry. Our Heavenly Father knows the pattern He is weaving on the upper side of the tapestry, however, we can only see the underside. We see the threads of sorrow, pain, and suffering, and even joy, laughter, and hope. But only God knows how He can use all of these threads to create the beautiful tapestry He has planned for each of our lives.

One day I’ll see our baby in heaven and I’ll also see my life from the upper side of that tapestry. Then I will understand the pattern that God planned. Until then, I just need to keep my eyes on God and trust everything to Him. I know from experience that He is worthy of that trust. I don’t have to know why. I don’t have to understand. It is enough to know Him!

“The Lord is good,

A stronghold in the day of trouble;

And He knows those who trust in Him.”

(Nahum 1:7)

 

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