Testimony Tuesday {Amy’s Retreat Experience}

It’s not something you sign up for, or even a thing that passes through your mind when you make a commitment of faith to leave all and follow His plan for your life. When I moved to Bucharest, Romania to work as a missionary with orphan kids, I couldn’t have ever imagined where my life would take me. Would I have still come, If I knew?

I can still remember being led down a long white hall, the kind from communist times, which is no surprise since Romania has recently come out of all that. I was led into a hospital room that seemed darker than usual. I was left alone for the first time since I found out that my baby girl’s heart was no longer beating. I was unaccompanied with my own thoughts and mind—trying to grasp what the mind cannot even comprehend in such a moment. I finally felt the freedom to cry—that secret, bitter, raw depth of a mother’s cry for her daughter. It didn’t last long because I was caught by the nurse, and she seemed to want to fix this problem by encouraging the doctor to give me some calming medicine. A solution possibly to quiet me, numb the pain, or make me forget. Forget that there was a dead body inside a living one.

I asked my husband to stay with me in that small, single hospital bed. It was hard hearing the cries of babies in the maternity ward. They succeeded in numbing the pain that night. Soon after, I was too tired to even think, and I slept. I felt safe with the freedom to mourn with my husband, and in front of him—that raw stuff. Yet, I didn’t quite feel the same freedom in front of many others. Of course, it was my issue, or maybe it was that nurse trying to turn off that switch. Who knows, but I learned quite fast that it’s not something many people want to have a conversation about. Unless you’ve walked that road, there isn’t much to say that will comfort the soul in such a moment. The truth is, those who just sat with me, really did encourage me more than words could have. That other part of talking about my daughter freely didn’t really come until later, when I was introduced to Hope Mommies.

I became acquainted with Hope Mommies about a year prior to joining the online community.  It wasn’t until I read about a beautiful experience shared by a Hope Mom about the retreat, that I decided to join the group. It seemed God’s plan for me to go on the retreat was also in the works. I joined the group in November, and by March I was in Texas for “A Beautiful Inheritance Retreat.” Maybe for those living close by, it doesn’t seem like much, but coming from Bucharest, Romania isn’t quite as easy mid-school year; especially as a teacher. How God opened all the doors for me to attend was nothing shy of a miracle.

From the moment I arrived at the retreat, everyone was so receiving of me. They asked questions about my baby girl, Joy, and wanted to see her picture. I had hardly ever presented anyone her picture because of the reactions that have hurt in the past, or there was the lack of response when I showed it. So, I hid her picture away—only to be seen by my husband and me. But at this retreat, my baby was called sweet and beautiful. Though I know this and believe it in my heart, it was beyond refreshing and encouraging to hear others say that about my baby girl.

Seeing her name written everywhere—on a rock, a cup, on beautiful papers, and on my name tag as “Joy’s mom”—was something I can’t even describe with words, it was lovely.  That weekend I was encouraged through my pain and understood. I didn’t feel like the failure that couldn’t keep her baby in her womb, or feel the judgment of not doing enough by myself or others. Here I felt loved, accepted, understood, and reassured that there was nothing I could have done. They also asked the hard questions—Are you ready to try again? And if so, are you ready or willing to walk this road again if God wills it? I think only a fellow Hope Mom could ever really ask these questions. These are questions I am still working through. They challenged me in my relationship with God. I was encouraged by my small group, the uplifting gifts, the prayer and reflection rooms, and building lifelong friendships with other Hope Moms.

Another memorable moment was the balloon release. It was my first balloon release, and I loved writing a special note alongside other Hope Moms. Some had lost several babies and were able to recognize every single one of them by writing special notes with their names on them. As we let our balloons go, I got a little worried for a moment because my balloon was lagging and not really taking flight. I was afraid it was going to get stuck under one of the buildings, but it finally caught some wind. Though it was one of the last balloons to lift into the air, it did—it soared so high. I likened this to my grief journey. For the past 4 years, I was just lagging and barely making it through. I was not the same person as I was before my loss. Every moment was so difficult to push myself forward and find my joy again. God used this moment at the retreat to give me that push forward. I’m no longer lagging on the ground, but I’m taking flight in my relationship with Him—moving forward with a new-found hope of this beautiful inheritance that I have in Him.

Although I didn’t sign up to walk this road of grief, I do it alongside other women of faith that know as well as I do that we can’t do it alone.

 “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
Psalms 16:6

- Amy

Hope Mom to Joy

I am an English and drama teacher in Bucharest, Romania. My husband, Cristian, and I have been married for 7 years. We have one baby in heaven, and we are in the process of adopting our 11 year old boy, Gabriel.  We enjoy serving in church together. I help with our children’s Sunday school program and women’s bible study. I love reading and building up my library.

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2 Replies to "Testimony Tuesday {Amy's Retreat Experience}"

  • Jena
    October 3, 2017 (10:43 am)

    It was a pleasure meeting you at the retreat! I loved reading how your experience there has lifted you! You are loved by so many. We are all connected together by the weaving of our stories and the God we serve, whether we are near or far!

  • Jess C.
    October 4, 2017 (11:55 am)

    What bravery and humility to share your story with the world, Amy. I am so happy that you are connected with other women who can identify with your loss and express in the same tone their hope of an inheritance and JOY!

    May God continue to use your story and Joys story to bring glory to himself and healing to others.

    15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
    16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him.
    17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
    19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
    20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. – Colossians 1:15-20

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