Tuesday, September 16

Rejoice with those who rejoice

Mourn with those who mourn....

I have always loved that verse and I strive to live it out. When we found out we were expecting in the middle of August, my husband said, "Now is the time to rejoice." Initially I was hesitant and cautious, fearing what could happen, but my husband was adamant we celebrate our miracle of life.

So we did. We went out to breakfast, out to dinner, planned, dreamed and shared our excitement. We got baby books and looked up things online about the size of our baby each week. We told our families and a few friends.

And last Thursday when we learned our baby had died, we have experienced the second half of that verse lived out for us. Family, friends and co-workers have mourned alongside us with prayers, calls, flowers, food, cards, and e-mails.

Often people say I don't know what to say...and that's ok because we don't know what to say either. It's ok to say you don't know what to say. It's not ok to say nothing at all.

An insightful comment by author Nancy Guthrie says that she learned through her grief not to be ashamed of tears. The tears of others made her realize her pain had touched them deeply. If something they said led her to tears that meant their words touched her deeply. Either way, tears show care and concern and genuine empathy.

I read an article by Jill Briscoe one time that talked about the ministry of presence. She said it is good to send gifts and Bibles and study materials to people living in other countries, but it is another thing to offer the ministry of presence.

I have appreciated the prayers of many and the practical gifts like food and unpacking and doing things around my home.

But it is the ministry of presence that touches me so dearly. I am so thankful for those who have offered the ministry of presence in my life during the last week.

When someone is grieving, the ministry of presence allows them to talk, process, ask the hard questions and sometimes to laugh. We still need laughter in the midst of our pain.

This ministry of presence is so powerful. And this week God has taught me through the hands and feet and presence of others.


Karissa said...

YOUR willingness to be present with me in this difficult time in your life is a blessing. Thank you for talking, for processing, for asking hard questions with me, and for some laughter. Perhaps our husbands are more the source of our laughter (falling in hot tubs and talking about extra incisions), but they're good laughs nonetheless! You amaze me daily with your maturity, your openness with others, and the love and honesty you have with the Lord.

Lynn said...

I'm so, so sad for you and your husband, Stacy, at the loss of your baby. I drop in here occasionally to read your words of encouragement. I mourn with you. May the God of all comfort hold you in His arms during these weeks and months.