When Will The Suffering End?

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Right after Thao died I had the fleeting thought that I had paid my dues. The unimaginable had happened. Thao died. I lost my son. 

I had been convinced a few months earlier that I would never lose a child. That the Lord would not allow that kind of pain and suffering in my child's life. 

But I had been corrected. 

And yet I still thought that maybe I was safe. The rest of my life I could rest assured because I had already spent my time in the hospital. I had already surrendered. The Lord asked for surrender. I dedicated my life and my marriage and my family to Him. Done.

Check. Check. Check.

But friends, where in the Bible does it say once you have suffered enough, I will make the road easy for you? Your journey will be full of only good things. Your life will be easy. And comfortable. 

No where. 

The Lord says this world is fallen and broken and sinful and a wreck. Because, sin. 

The Lord also says He gives us the gifts of joy and hope and salvation and heaven. Because, Jesus.

I lost my son. I lost three precious babies before I held them. I waited three and a half years for my Congolese babies to come home. I lost a lot of stuff in a house fire

And none of those things have stolen my joy or my love or my salvation or my Jesus from me. I love my life and I enjoy my days!

Because the things I cling to are eternal, not earthly. The thing I will hold most dear to my heart cannot be bought with money or contained in a house. I hold onto Hope the most of all. 

Because of Hope, I know that I will see Thao again. 

Because of Hope, I know that I will meet my precious babies face to face. 

Because of Hope, I endured the wait. 

Because of Hope, the stuff I lost was put into perspective. 

Because of Jesus, my Hope. 

So, dear friends, when will this suffering end? 

As long as we walk this blessed earth, we will endure suffering. We will walk alongside the suffering. We will bring the suffering into our homes. We will be the suffering. 

It will ebb and flow. Some days just finding shoes for five kids feels a lot like suffering. Some days soggy carrots and messed up meal plans feels a lot like suffering. Some days I feel as though I carry the suffering souls in my own. Some days suffering is holding my child as he takes his last breath or watching my house go up in flames. Some days suffering is holding a hurting child and loving them anyway. 

Do not run from suffering. 

We can't take anything with us, but we can see other souls ushered into Jesus' arms by the way we live through the suffering.  

Be like Job. 

Praise Jesus through the suffering.  (Job 1:20-22)

Be like Job's friends. 

Sit with the suffering. (Job 2:13)

To My Baby I Never Got To Hold

I wanted to share more of my story this month. That was my plan, anyway. But life happens. And things come up. And if I’m going to be completely honest, at the end of a long day, it’s hard to go to this place. It’s difficult to talk about the sadness. Some days I just want to rest in the joy that the Lord has so graciously given me

But the truth is, there are hurting hearts (including my own) and I need to go to this place. It’s so good to see where I’ve been so I can see where I am now. And how faithful God is, even in the depths of despair. Because that’s what it felt like after my first loss as a mama. The little one who made me a mama. I never held her in my arms. I never listened to her cry. I never knew her the way I’ve known most of my other children. But her death left such a hole. The feelings I had after losing this baby were big. And scary and sad and lonely and to be quite honest, I’ve just never felt so low. It was a very difficult time for me. Now I understand that’s what depression feels like. Now I understand how real those feelings are, even if they don’t make much sense. Even if you know truth. Even if you have support and community and an awesome understanding, loving husband. Loss is hard. And you cannot predict your grief. This is my story. My first pregnancy. My first baby. My first miscarriage. My first loss.

My surprise pregnancy.

God knew all along about you, sweet baby. God created you in my womb and placed you in our hearts. We would not have chosen the timing, but that was just a gift from God. Because we were planning to wait until...the house was finished. The money was there. The time had passed. The traveling was done. We were waiting to have it all together. Everything checked off our list.

Isn’t that a joke? To be ready? We weren’t ready. But we were willing. And we were so in love with you from the moment we knew.

We both had a feeling you were a girl. So we began to dream of you. I dreamed you had dark hair and dark eyes. I dreamed of holding you in my arms. I dreamed of feeling your soft skin against mine. I dreamed of raising you. Watching your daddy hold you close. I dreamed a lot while you were inside of me, precious one.

You were my dream come true. I dreamed of being a mommy for as long as I could remember. You were my answered prayer. My adventure. My baby.

And then suddenly you were gone. I can’t explain it but, I just knew. One day I felt you. And the next day I didn’t.

I don’t have any photos of you. I don’t have any photos of my growing belly. But I have vivid memories of deep grief. I have memories lonely days and scary nights. I have memories of feeling despair. Of feeling withdrawn. Of feeling like I didn’t know how to feel better. I wanted to be normal and happy and find joy. But I was just so, so sad.

And I remember your daddy crying with me. Holding me. And wanting to care for me, fix it, take away the pain, comfort me. I sobbed into his chest. We were just heartbroken losing you.

I remember the exact outfit I was wearing. I remember the exact moment they told us. I remember the kind midwife, with tears in her eyes, telling us to try again.

I remember losing you, my baby. 

I remember daddy telling me that you will always be our first.

I remember being thankful. I was thankful because your short life gave me hope. 

There was a time I wasn’t sure I’d be able to carry a baby inside of me. Just to know that you were there, gave us a glimmer of hope. To hold our own baby someday, to pray for life. We are still so thankful for you, precious Lucy. 

I lost you here, little one. But you wait for me. You are safe. You are whole.

Oh Lucy, dear, you gave me such hope in those few weeks of knowing you. You left such sorrow.

Thirteen years have passed now. I am so thankful to have known you, even if it was mostly dreaming. I am so thankful for the promise of heaven. I am so thankful to know that some day you and I will embrace. You are remembered. You are precious. You are hope. You are a little light to me. You are so loved.

photo credit: my hubby. he rocks.

photo credit: my hubby. he rocks.