“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” —Romans 15:13
It was early morning September 1st—now ten years ago. The phone rang. It was my dad. In between the tears he said, “Mom’s gone.” My brain didn’t comprehend his comment—wait, she is in remission, I just spoke to her yesterday, and she wanted some dangly earrings! We bought them! She hasn’t even seen them yet. How can she be gone?
Mom had been diagnosed with cancer about three years before. She fought so courageously. She clung to her faith. She knew that, should this be the end, she would meet Jesus. We had many talks about my fear of losing her. I was 36. I had a 3-month-old baby. I needed my mom!!! Her reassurance was always that while she wanted to be with us, she was secure in her eternity, and we should take comfort in that. We also knew that our immediate family were Christians and that even death is not a goodbye but a brief separation until we are reunited in heaven.
As we prepared for the funeral, I kept trying on different dresses in my closet. Why are none of these fitting? That’s strange. I assumed it was just from stress eating from the past couple of weeks.
We continued the following days in a fog grieving and honoring the memory of our precious mother. She blessed us beyond measure. Her life was a testimony that she lived in public and private. She loved the Lord—oh, did she! Her Bible was well-worn, and I loved seeing her constantly reading it ever since I was a little girl. That, in itself, helped fuel a love for Jesus and the Bible in her children. Her loss would leave a Jesus-sized hole.
Not even a week had passed when I realized my dresses not fitting and my loss of energy may be for another reason…yes…positive…I was pregnant. Wow. That’s a lot to take in. I was still so deep in my grief that smiling seemed wrong. But, oh how excited we were for this baby. We had been praying for her and this would complete our little “dream” family! Propst party of four!
The doctor would confirm that we were already three months along. Amazing! We both felt as if the Lord had sent this child to help us heal from the grief of my mom. We had a renewed hope. This child came from heaven as my mom went to heaven. We praised Him for this gift and the timing!
We set another doctor’s appointment, and in a few weeks they did the ultrasound measuring how much she had grown since the last visit. Then we would hear the heartbeat again. My favorite part.
The ultrasound tech kept moving the tool around. Searching. Searching. My husband sat quietly beside me. She stepped out to get the doctor. I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I assumed that was normal.
The doctor came in and after a few moments of searching she confirmed. No heartbeat. That little baby we had prayed for would not live. Her little heart had stopped.
Three days later I was in the hospital saying goodbye to the baby we would not see again until heaven.
Wait. Wasn’t this a gift from God? We were sure He had sent her to help our grief! What was this?! She had given us hope to fill our grief-stricken hearts. We were already at rock bottom. Now this? All within four weeks?!
In the days and months ahead, I poured myself into my Bible looking for something that would explain how this could happen. Then it happened. Just as if Jesus had said it out loud to me. The baby was not your hope. I AM.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.” —2 Corinthians 12:9 (NET)
Oh…I knew that. But, in my grief I saw this gift as my hope. Then the gift was taken away. For people who don’t know Jesus that would be the end. Just loss. But we know that we can’t place our hope in things of this world. Even if we feel it is from God. Our hope has to remain IN GOD.
The Lord has continued to use our loss to comfort others. He has used it to refine our walk with Him. He has used it to open doors for us to share about the love and hope we have in Jesus. While I don’t know numbers, I pray that others have come to know Him because of our story.
Thank you for giving me the gift of my mom. I look forward to our reunion in Your presence. Thank You for speaking to me that day to remind me that no gift replaces the hope that You provide. Continue to use our story to glorify Your name and to bring others to You.