Monday, August 30, 2010

Video: A Family Reflection

Recently we were asked to share as a family about our experience of losing a child. On the one year anniversary of Emily's passing we thought it would be appropriate to share it with you. (Pause the music at the bottom of the blog to hear the audio)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lost and Found


Nobody likes this word… or the feeling. We fear loss, whether losing a possibility such as a dream or experiencing a loss that is much more tangible such as a child. Two weeks ago I lost part of a finger while serving on a mission trip in Mexico. Part of the pain of this experience has been grieving losing a body part- flesh and bone- that I have had with me 35 years. I look different, I feel different, and I have less ability… for now. Much like losing a daughter, a primary focus of this blog, losing a part of my body has been a stark reminder (not that I needed one!) that loss hurts. It is supposed to hurt. So much of the Bible is loaded with texts dripping with tears and oozing with pain.

In contrast, it feels great to find an old friend, a missing wallet, or a renewed sense of purpose. In the Bible Hannah longed for a baby. She prayed… she waited… year after year after year. She grieved the loss of a dream, until the Lord blessed her with a little boy. Nice endings are nice, but this is not the end of the story. At around age 3 Hannah and her husband gave their son away and experienced a new tangible loss (see 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11 for the entire story).

Ever leave the hospital without a baby in your arms but with a lump in your throat? Many reading this blog know this kind of loss. Hannah felt these emotions too as she said goodbye to her son and thankfully, while still swimming in hurt, the Bible provides us her raw, honest, and insightful prayer to God.

By the way, what would you say to God in her shoes? If you’ve been in her shoes what have you said to Him? Would you listen, yell, curse, cry, or walk away? Hannah praised God in prayer. Now before you groan, gag, or move on from this blog give her a moment to speak. Why did she praise God? She noted four reasons to praise God in the midst of loss:

· She had a foundation- First, she called the Lord her “Rock” (2:2). When she felt like she was drowning the truth was that she was secure in the Lord.
· She was known- It is comforting to be known. Your tears are collected and your sorrows are not ignored by God. As Hannah prayed, “the Lord is the God who knows.”
· She had hope- With God there is always hope as His character is One that often reverses human circumstances, humbling the proud and exalting the humble.
· She knew God heals- More specifically, she knew healing was found in the Lord as she said, “It is not by strength that one prevails.”

I have a temporary handicap. I just learned typing this note that I can no longer naturally type the letter “I”. This is a loss. Yet the Lord prompted me to let this serve as a reminder not to allow my focus to remain on “I” but on Him- a lesson I need to keep coming back to. Thanks to the Lord that in the midst of our losses, which we all experience in life, He provides nuggets of hope and healing ready to be found.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

9 Months

Today marks 9 months since we said "hello... goodbye" to our Emily. We miss her very much, and Jesus is slowly healing our hearts.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Agony and Irony

Have you ever found God hard to figure out? His Words are true and his character unchangeable, but sometimes His ways are not understandable or predictable. Overall, I am thankful God is bigger than any box I might have for Him… but admittedly not so much today.

Outside of a few family members and friends we had not yet announced our exciting news that Laura was pregnant. The timing was a surprise but our joy was immense; we felt like the Lord was blessing our family after a season of testing (the due date was August 28th, the day before Emily’s one year anniversary). The pregnancy seemed strong, Laura did everything right, and we were fervent in prayer (the daily prayer of the kids: “Lord, can we keep this one?”).

Sadly, our announcement now is simply that we are not out of the valley; our “one more shot” at having another baby came to an end yesterday with a miscarriage. The Lord clearly has another plan and we carry another wound. We are not sure how to process this one other than seeing again the Lord does not always put the grieving in a protective bubble to fend off further pain (remember Job?). We would appreciate your prayers.

Agony aside, in a weird twist of irony as my wife was having a miscarriage my sister was having her first baby. I mention this good news as we asked for prayer for baby Clara previously on this blog. The latest news is that Clara is healthy, chunky, and a fervent eater. We are thankful that all is well.

“For my ways are not your ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ordinary Privates

“… We want to prove to ourselves that we are lovers on the grand scale, tragic heroes; not just ordinary privates in the huge army of the bereaved, slogging along and making the best of a bad job.”
C.S. Lewis A Grief Observed

I read this quote by Lewis on the final day of 2009 and was struck by how true his statement was of me. I confess that there were (are) times I thought nobody else loved a daughter or experienced a loss like we did. In all sincerity, please forgive me. On one hand I know nobody loved Emily like Laura and me (naturally), so we grieve her more than others. But that certainly doesn’t mean we grieve more than others in general. We all face troubles of many kinds and grieve in our own ways. And so, we want to continue writing on this blog in the New Year as “ordinary privates slogging along,” and not tragic heroes. There is only one hero, Jesus Christ, and words shared here desire to point to Him as the true source of hope and healing.

“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs- he wants to please his commanding officer.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4