Local Chapter Testimony: “Rooted in Christ”
Read the testimony below of a Hope Mom and her experience with a Hope Group at her local chapter to encourage you! We praise God for the comfort He gives us that we can in turn share with each other (2 Cor. 1:3-5).
Spring Hope Group registration is currently open. This semester only in-person groups will be offered. We will resume online groups in Fall 2018 with the launch of a new study! Learn more about Spring 2018 groups and locations >> HERE.
If you are interested in finding out more about establishing a local chapter in your area, please email our Chapters Coordinator, Lauren Stone: chapters (at) hopemommies (dot) org. Chapter applications are open through March 2018.
The first time I was supposed to meet a Hope Mommy, I stood her up. It was completely unintentional. After emailing with Jamie who heads our local chapter of Hope Mommies, we decided to meet at a coffee shop close to my house. Nine weeks after the death of our daughter, grief had changed my ability to remember. Even now after more than seven months, if something does not immediately get added to a calendar, it is not going to happen.
The morning we were supposed to meet, I received a text message right as I was beginning a Pilates class. “I’m wearing blue shorts and am in the corner. Looking forward to meeting you soon!” I immediately called Jamie, apologized profusely, and said I would be there in 15 minutes. Because Jamie had also experienced the loss of a child, she understood. She knows that our brains are never the same, especially so soon after our child departs us to be with the Lord. She offered me so much more grace and forgiveness than I was offering myself. We rescheduled.
This grace-filled interaction was my first introduction to the community of Hope Mommies.
Our firstborn, Isabella, was born in June 2017 at 38 weeks. When I showed up to the hospital in labor, the triage nurse immediately noticed that our daughter was not tolerating contractions and I quickly had an emergency C-section. The first time we held our daughter was 30 hours later when she died in our arms. I did not even know full-term infants could die after a healthy pregnancy. And I did not know anyone else that this had happened to.
When my mother told me about Hope Mommies and I explored the website, I was shocked at the similarities between our daughter’s story and the founder, Erin’s, story. The more I read on the website the more amazed I was at the way God used other moms in extraordinary ways that were only possible through these heartbreaking stories. Once I saw that in-person Bible studies were beginning in the Fall, I knew I wanted to join.
I was terrified to walk into the first meeting. My biggest fear was how I would react to the other women. To be brutally honest, I did not understand how women who had experienced miscarriages specifically could be so heartbroken that they would need an entire Bible study to work through the pain. I recognized these thoughts were judgmental and I prayed that God would open my heart to the suffering of other women. God not only answered this prayer to understand others’ pain, but he also surrounded me with a community of godly women seeking him through the incredible sorrow of losing a child at whatever age.
Over the course of the fall, five of us met weekly to study His Word as it related to the loss of our children. None of our stories were the same. Two women had late first trimester losses, two women were in their second trimester, and I lost Isabella at 38 weeks. Three of us had lost our babies in 2017, the others were several years earlier. While our stories were different, we sought the Lord together, encouraged each other both in person and throughout the week, and grieved together. I have never felt such an instant bond with strangers before.
God used the study to teach me more about grieving with others. How to allow others into my pain and how to walk beside them through theirs. One of the most challenging parts of the study was, and continues to be, hope. I know I can trust the Lord with my life, with my daughter’s life, and with my pain. While I can trust him, it is often difficult to hope. Especially to hope biblically where the hope is anchored in Christ, his character, his word, and truth. Many days I feel like it is easier to have eternal hope than present hope. Eternal hope in the knowledge that I will see Isabella again. Present hope is often a challenge. As I have struggled, the other Hope Mommies have walked with me, encouraging me in the Lord, and sharing their own journey of daily living in the promises of God while still here on earth.
The most striking difference for me that I have seen between Hope Mommies and other organizations for bereaved parents is the hope we have in Christ. All grieving parents are struggling to find hope, but without Christ, we can only anchor ourselves to what we see and feel, and the experiences of others. The Hope Groups are rooted in Christ, and studying the Bible with the other grieving mothers has opened my eyes to truths in the Word that never mattered to me in the same way before Isabella.
Now that the fall study is over, I miss the other moms. I miss hearing updates on their lives, talking with them, being able to be real about the difficult struggles that they too understand. Laughing when we forget items because our memories do not work like they used to. And I miss the encouragement that comes from doing life with others who trust that God uses the trials in this world to bring glory to his son. That even when our hearts are breaking, we can rest in the hope of Christ that one day, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?'” (1 Corinthians 15:54-56)
Hope mom to Isabella