In the last two years, we have endured the losses of five babies. Each time, I wondered what God's plan was in all of the heartache.
Several days after the loss of our first baby (a son we named Samuel Richard), I was driving home from an appointment and heard a woman on the radio talking about the death of her brother. He was the youngest of 8 children and at age 20, was involved in a terrible car accident. She spoke of how her whole family came together and praised God for his 20 years, singing praise songs and praying around his bed as they turned off the machines that were keeping him alive.
She said that as she looked around the room, experiencing the deepest sadness of her life, she felt as if God was asking her, "Are you willing to give me thanks for that which I may never give you the privilege of understanding?" I have remembered that line because in my deepest sadness the first night we found out Sam had died, every time I woke up (which was countless times--I didn't sleep much), I had some random praise song in my head and I kept wishing it away so I could live, more like wallow, in my sadness. I didn't understand why these songs were playing, uninvited, over and over in my brain. But when I heard this woman speaking, she was speaking directly to my broken heart and answering the elusive WHY?.
It was after Sam's death that I started the Support After Miscarriage (SAM) ministry at our church because in my desperation for help and answers, I called my church--they could direct me to no one for help. Well, I talked to our associate pastor but I wanted to talk to someone who had walked this path before me. Since there was no one for me, I decided to make sure that another woman wouldn't have to feel as alone and scared as I did during those times.
This brings me to the reason for tonight's post. A close friend lost her precious baby today. She found out last week, during an ultrasound, that her baby had no heartbeat. Her husband called me on the way home from the doctor's office to ask how he could best comfort her. After our conversation, I immediately called my friend (they were in separate cars) and tried to comfort and mourn with her. This couple lives about 90 miles away so the phone is my only channel to support her. I wish I could do more but realistically, what I needed during those times was someone to listen and offer advice; I didn't necessarily want folks hanging around my house when I was feeling that low. I am saddened to receive her calls, knowing that her heart is shattered and she's feeling at her physical and emotional worst right now. And on the flip side, I am anxious to answer to calls because I know what it would have meant to me to have someone to call. It's such a double-edged sword--but it is mine to wield and I must be diligent in doing so.
So while I may never have the full "privilege of understanding" why God's plan for me included such sorrowful losses, I believe with all of my soul's strength that helping this friend, at this time, endure her suffering was part of His plan all along. I wish I could be supporting her through something completely joyous, but alas, we were not promised a life without affliction. But we are mandated to love, support, and encourage our sisters and brothers, especially during the darkest of times.
We don't have to like God's plan; we just have to trust it.
Tonight I go to bed praying for the baby who joined our five angels today, the mother whose heart is filled with anguish and mourning, the husband who sincerely wants to support his wife, and that God will give me the appropriate words to encourage my friend as I strive to be the kind of friend I am called to be for her.