1 Thessalonians 5:18 says,
"Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
This Thanksgiving, we gathered together as a mission to enjoy our Thanksgiving feast. We were told that after we ate, we would share what we are thankful for. No big deal, right! I could come up with a list of what I am thankful for each day of the year and never repeat myself. But this Thanksgiving was different. I ate pretty much in silence with My Dear staying close by. I prepared my assigned dishes and arrived just in time for the festivities. As we finished up, I recalled there would be a time of sharing. But, my head knew it should be thankful and my heart was hurting so much louder that my head and heart were certainly not in agreement. My Dear got a call from the shop where he works and let me know he needed to go. I took the opportunity to slip out. Just the thought of communicating before a crowd and struggling with gratitude was too much so, I bailed. I went home alone and let the children stay for dessert.
We flew to the states, at our mission's suggestion and hugged our families. We needed closure and the Lord had laid on our hearts to have a memorial to honor God and our tiny son Marc Oliver. As we grieved, we received many messages from folks sharing they had experienced a miscarriage (or miscarriages) and many had not told anyone. We needed Oliver's life to have purpose. I sent 3 messages and within an hour or so, a building, a pastor, and musicians were secured for a memorial service. We asked the Lord to show us who needed to be there and He did. It was a small group of family but many of the friends that were there, knew our pain. Oliver's life was honored along with 16 other babies whose families joined us that day. God was so detailed in the planning of this ceremony. Our precious, precious friends took care of the service, music, message, equipment set up...all of it. We simply said what songs we liked, that each life has purpose, and that our hope is in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What a gift to have friends who know your heart and lay aside their own plans and hurt to help you in yours.
Days, weeks, and months have gone by. The Lord has brought us up from the ashes. I realize, we are not the same people, nor do I want to be the same. The Lord has given us this experience so that we might love others as they endure similar situations.
2 Corinthians 1:3- says,
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
We have loved others who have lost children, but really, we had no idea. Now we do. We heal, step-by-step and day-by-day. Since we lost Oliver on a Sunday, our Sunday School class learned things were not going as planned in the pregnancy when they arrived to class. Some of them came by the hospital, but My Dear shielded me from guest. Before our friends in the states had gotten word, the church in Haiti held us in prayer. While these precious people stood outside of the door talking with My Dear, one of them said, "Now you know what it was like for God to give His Son. He has shown you that so that you might have the mind of Christ." What about that for a change of perspective. God, who gave His only Son for us, knew very much about our sorrow.
Many have shared with us their prayers for us. Thank you friends, families, and even some strangers who have been so kind to pray for us as we heal. Thank you to those who poured out comfort on us from the comfort they have received. We know that Oliver's life will continue to have purpose as the Lord gives us opportunities to pray with and for others who grieve. We have felt the Lord hold us tightly during this season of our lives. I am grateful for that. A young woman I cherish sent this quote to me:
"I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against The Rock of Ages." -Spurgeon
This song has ministered to me lately. The song itself is beautiful but the words of John Piper included in it.....oh man! They hit the nail on the head! Click below on "Shane and Shane" the artist who wrote and prefer the song. May it minister to you as well.
Shane and Shane