Month: May 2014

Grief and Hope

The Hannahs

After a late night out with some girls from the church celebrating the upcoming wedding of a dear friend, I woke bleary eyed to a wide eyed and already very awake 6 year old. “Momma- I don’t want to watch cartoons this morning, but can I watch The Sound of Music?”  “Absolutely”, I said. Not only with a bit of pride thinking how cultured my child is (tongue in cheek), but also with the hopes that I may get some time to myself as I adjusted to the bright sunlight beaming in my windows and the already brimming life scurrying around outside.

It’s no less than 5 minutes into the morning when nothing special, and everything profound happens.

I start another period.

It’s nothing that hasn’t happened one thousand times in my 39 years of life, and YET, it’s significance is profound for our little family. It means that we will continue to be our little family of 3.

Please, do NOT misunderstand me. Most days, my heart is full to overflowing. Most days, I revel in the intimacy of our small family. Most days, I am on the same page as God. But today; today, for some reason unbeknownst to me, is not that day. Tears well up almost instantly, and just as quickly, they can no longer be contained. So- I ready Ruby Love for church and send her off with her daddy, who with one look at my face just knows. And with no judgement or question, he kisses me on the face, tells me he loves me, and heads off to church with Ruby Love.

I will be 40 in October. Big deal you say; well, me too. The number, nor the age scare me. BUT FOR the fact that in my other life I am a women’s health nurse practitioner. I know. I know what 40 means. It’s not a magic number, unless you didn’t think you were through with your family, and then it becomes a bit intimidating.

We have been trying to have babies for 10 years. I have lost 3 pregnancies and carried one beautiful, perfect pregnancy to full term. We have walked with an 18 year old girl for almost 6 months with the promise of a beautiful baby boy at the end of it. It did not happen. We  submitted ourselves to the rigors of emryo adoption only to walk away, once again with empty arms and broken hearts.

God is good. He really is. Not ONE of the circumstances have we walked alone. Not ONE of these circumstances when the grieving lessened, did we not absolutely see the hand of God. We have mourned. We have wept bitterly. But we have NEVER done so without hope.

Funny enough, my middle name is Faith, which was one of the reasons Ruby’s middle name is Love. David and I had talked a thousand times about “our girls” middle names- Love and…….Hope. Faith was first. I have no doubt the Lord would know what would be required of me. And so it’s MORE than appropriate.

Love came second, but not without cost. Years of prayer and waiting and loss and trusting a good God. And so, Love entered our lived in March of 2008. Also appropriately named. When God’s love for us would come into question, we had merely to look in her eyes and be reminded. “Yes, my child. You are SO LOVED.” And the voice was quieted once again.

And so now Hope, she (or he) is the only one that remains.

My friends, we serve the God of the impossible. The God who heals and restores and redeems profound things. And this is where the quandary comes in .

I am 39 years old, have stage IV endometriosis, have lost 3 pregnancies and haven’t used contraception in almost 12 years. I know what all of that means. AND YET- I also know this; I serve the God of the impossible. The God who gave Sarai and Abram a son WELL past the age of conception. The same God, who with a few thousand marching men, MARCHING, not fighting, men, brought down the walls of Jericho. The SAME God, whose choice of plan for the redemption of all mankind involved his only, willing son, dying on a cross. This is the same God to whom I pray. This is the same God who both binds my broken heart as well as says to me “nothing is impossible with me.”

So………..what does it look like to walk in the midst of such profound contradiction?

Today it looks like this. Tears, many of them. Body shuttering sobs. Paralyzing, palpable fear that I have held, and nursed, and kissed the face of our last child. It looks like the privilege of dressing and sending off a beautiful 6 year old girl with her daddy to the gift of a church, full of family who have loved us, wept with us and pray and hope with us. They pray with us for healing in Mack’s life, for the promise of family for us. It looks like a 5 mile run in 75 degree perfectly sunny weather, and then coming home to start a beautiful Milanese risotto with saffron given as a gift from my dear friend Ruthi on her trip to Spain last month. And it looks like sipping a beautifully crisp glass of Traminer wine on the back balcony of my sweet little apartment overlooking terra-cotta roofs with Chris Thomlin reminding me that “You are God alone. In the good times and bad, You are on your throne, we are not alone.”

And THAT friends, is the profound mystery of the God we serve. There is room for both. For overwhelming grief that can and does in fact, coexist with a Hope that says “with Me, NOTHING is impossible!”

The Body of Christ (a brief update)

In the past seven days our church (Chiesa Evangelica Nuova Vita) has celebrated the baptism of three new believers, hosted a two-night dramatic presentation of the gospel of Mark, sponsored and hosted a three-night panel discussing the impact of human trafficking, sent a team to the streets of Bologna to minister to prostitutes and sent…

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