Empty Arms, Full Heart
Empty Arms, Full Heart
"Gone? What do you mean gone?" But the furrow between my doctorís brows and the downturn of his lips gave the answer: My baby had died. I was five months pregnant and at a regular checkup when I found out this devastating news. My mind reeled as it searched for answers. Did I do something wrong? Did I not love this baby enough? How could this happen?
I was to have labor induced a few days later and it was a day that came with dread. I knew the physical pain of childbirth but I also knew the joy that came afterward when that pink bundle came screaming into the world. All I could think about was the pain in my heart. I was on a roller coaster ride of emotions. My husband said, "I donít know what to feel because I am not as intimately involved as you right now." He expressed what many felt but could not put into words.
I believe our society has become complacent regarding life before birth because of the acceptance of abortion. We find it hard to relate to a couple that has lost a baby to miscarriage when we have not physically seen or touched this small life. These babies are real. Life begins at conception, not physical birth. They are moving, breathing human beings and are Godís children.
A few days later when Kelly Jo was born I remember holding her tiny, lifeless body in the palm of my hand. She stretched from the tip of my middle finger to just below my wrist. I studied her tiny fingers and toes and the small curve of her face. Would her hair have been blond? Curly? Would she have had blue eyes or brown?
The birth of my three other babies filled me with joy and excitement, especially when I brought home that new baby. The warmth of their body snuggling into mine and the sweet smell of a newborn baby. Now as they rolled me out of the hospital I thought, "I am leaving empty armed."
Afterward, when I walked through a store and heard a baby cry I thought it should be mine. When I saw a pregnant woman I thought it should be me. I felt such loss and hopelessness. I read a wonderful verse in 2 Corinthians 1:3b-4, "Ö the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." I realized that God used my experience not only to draw me closer to Him but to help others.
Philip Yancey in Where is God When it Hurts? said, "A wise sufferer will look not inward, but outward. There is no more effective healer than a wounded healer, and in the process the wounded healerís own scars may fade away." (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI 1990, 1977, p.193). How true these words are. By sharing my experience with others God has truly given me a full heart. A heart full of compassion and encouragement to help other hurting souls.
I encourage people to:
* Love them. (Matthew 22:37-39)
* Pray Together. ("The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" -- James 5:16b; "Carry each otherís burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" -- Galatians 6:2.)
* Praise Together. ("Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everythingÖ" -- Ephesians 5:19,20.)
* Pen your thoughts. I found journaling to be healing to my wounded soul. Sometimes spoken words are not enough.
Six years have passed since Kelly Jo was born. She is a real part of our family. We are asked how many children we have and the answer is "four living, plus Kelly Jo in heaven." It is hard for some people to understand how we can keep Kelly alive in our hearts. Just like my husband said, you may not be as intimately involved but that does not make it any less real.
I remember when my dad and brother died and Megan, my 5-year-old, said, "Just think, Mommy, Grandpa and Uncle Rick will be the first to hold Kelly!" Through the eyes of my child I saw the hope that only comes from God.
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How precious and true! Thanks for sharing your pain and your victory.
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