Honor One Another {Her Story}

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”
-Lamentations 3:24

2006 started off as a year filled with promise.  Wondering if the Lord may choose to add a fifth baby to our growing family and desiring to be open to Him and His blessing in our lives, we pressed on in anticipation that this year would be a year filled with hope. His answer seemed to come quickly and almost instantly we discovered that we would be welcoming a new little one in the fall.  My previous pregnancies had been mostly uneventful, with some complicated deliveries. For the most part our experiences hadn’t proven too difficult.  There was no reason to even expect anything different this time around.  As the warmth of spring approached, our anticipation grew and all seemed to be going well.  But one night during the 16th week I awoke to some unfamiliar discomfort. In just a matter of moments I became a member of a different club…a part of a group of women who will not officially meet one of their babies until Heaven.

The following days were a blur as we scrambled to try and make sense of this event.  Trips to the doctor, beginning the wait for physical healing to take place, and the somber task of telling family and friends the upsetting news all loomed ahead.  My doctor could find no reason that we should not press on and eventually try for another baby as we already had four healthy children. He characterized this one as a fluke. 

Believing that God still may have another baby for us, we forged ahead and discovered in early fall that we would welcome a new baby in the spring of 2007.  I certainly struggled with anxious thoughts at times and wondered if all would work out. I praised the Lord for every appointment that indicated all was well.  But… in December we were told of a possible genetic issue and were sent for more extensive testing.  At that appointment we discovered that there was no heartbeat.  This little one had made it 20 weeks.  Due to potential complications, I was sent home to wait it out and pray that labor would come on its own.  Two weeks later, exactly one year after we had prayed, asking God expectantly to add another child to our family, I was induced and spent the night in the maternity ward of a local hospital knowing I would head back home empty-handed.   Our heads were spinning and our hearts were hurting.

2006 had not produced the hope we had thought it would…or had it?   

1 Thessalonians 4:13 says, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

This year had become like the last several:  sad, disappointing, stressful.  After passing through the illness and death of my mother, our family incurring a job loss, a major career change, and the unexpected, tragic death of my dearest friend, this grief sent me shuffling back to the ash heap that I had grown so familiar with in previous years.  While certainly I was mourning the loss of the first child, somehow I was still able to fit it into my framework of God and His ways.  But to incur two losses so close together was more than I could process and I became bitter and angry with the Lord in the months ahead. 

So how were we really practicing the one another commands during this season…how were we staying as one in this difficult life-altering year? A decade later as I revisit this in my rear view mirror, I have a much different perspective than I had while plodding through all of it.  At the time we were just living each day and putting one foot in front of the other waiting for the Lord to bring us to a better place.  And that’s a thing I knew about the Lord from all that time in mourning losses. He is faithful and does bring us through anything to a different place. 

The second loss was everything the first one was not as I was required to sit at home and wait until the safest time to deliver. The doctor highly recommended and asked if I would be able to do this.  To wait indefinitely until the conditions seemed best for me to deliver, hopefully without an induction. The plan was to be checked regularly for signs of poisoning as my body would begin trying to absorb all the toxins.  So Ken answered for me.  He has often done that in our marriage when he knows the question I am being faced with is overwhelming.  He told the doctor we would wait.  As the days wore on, the doctor finally announced that it was time to take the induction risk and asked if I would be willing to press ahead the next day with a plan to move us all past this.  I was in danger and this had now become our safest option.  Again…Ken answered for us, as my head swirled, that indeed we were willing to take these risks

I am thankful that even in his grief my husband exhorted me to right thinking. In the coming days as I battled it out with the Lord in my heart and vocalized my thoughts to Ken, he was able to steer my thinking back to the right path.  Having spent so much time on the ash heap in the previous years we understood how to grieve and he already knew my best way was to stay away from crowds and heavy ministry situations. I process grief best in a bit of seclusion.  He made the effort to clear me of my responsibilities and to manage the schedule wherever possible. 

In retrospect I think we could say that yes…2006 had indeed become a year of hope for us. Certainly not what we would have expected. But increasing our hope of Heaven, drawing us closer to His healing hand, and reminding us that ultimately our lives are not our own as He desires to be glorified through us.


Julie has four children on earth and two precious babies in heaven. She and her husband Ken oversee the counseling ministry at their church.

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