And When The Oceans Rage

Dave and I were in Cincinnati the spring of 2010. I was attending a conference for Operation Christmas Child. He was exploring the city.

But then the trip took a turn. My mom came from her room before we were supposed to head down for our morning session and said, “Kita’s losing the baby. Right now.”

I’ve always hated that wording. Lose. It makes it seem like Kita was out running errands and dropped her keys. But I knew why my mom chose those words about her grandbaby.

Sometimes we can’t say the word death, or even miscarriage, without falling apart. So we all said ‘lose’ and Dave held me while I sobbed.

And a woman approached us after breakfast. Her name was Mary. She’s from West Virginia. Most people involved with Operation Christmas Child know Mary. I didn’t. I hadn’t read Franklin Graham’s book where he shared her amazing story. This woman was a complete stranger to me.

But she walked up and said, “Yer losin a loved one today, but the womb will open agin.” And then she prayed over us as we all sobbed.

We went to the morning session, even though I just wanted to sit in my hotel room until night came again and I could sleep.

Kita and I are extremely close. We’ve been sisters for a decade. She is one of my best friends. And has been for almost a third of my life. And I wasn’t with her. As she was saying goodbye to one of her children.

I had already set up her BabyCenter alerts and was planning a baby shower and had her due date on my calendar. And there was nothing I could do to save this baby.

“The wind is strong and the water’s deep
But I’m not alone here in these open seas
Your love never fails
The chasm was far too wide
I never thought I’d reach the other side
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good”

It was my first time hearing this song. Everyone else knew it, but it was brand new to me. I sobbed and sobbed. Wondering how God could work these raging waters for good.

Someone else came up to see what was wrong. I told her the news. “Well, maybe it was for the best. It could’ve been disabled.” I politely walked away. I didn’t have time or energy to explain to a stranger how wrong it is to say that a child is better off dead than living with a disability.

We aren’t meant to experience death. That’s why it hurts so much. It’s easy to celebrate birth and marriage. Those were designed by God. They were part of the plan. But this decay. This breaking down of bodies, whether they’re a couple months old or nearing 90, it’s not part of the original plan. We are meant to feel out of sorts. We feel robbed, because something is taken from us.

God works things together for our good, because bad things happen and need to be redeemed. I have no idea how God has redeemed the deaths of Kita’s babies. Two babies. Or the other two nieces/nephews Dave and I have never held. Four souls carried by three different sisters.

But the word from the Lord, delivered from Mary, came to pass.

Three years ago.

In a couple of weeks, we celebrate my niece. She was our Labor Day baby. Kita’s womb was opened again. And she’s Aunt Lele’s little cupcake.

Joy came in the morning. Joy came after the mourning.

I often think about Tony in West Side story. “From womb to tomb!” Sometimes life starts and stops in the same place. And we don’t understand why. But we know it doesn’t end there. And we know He makes all things work together for our good, if we are His.

And we celebrate a little girl who runs to me when I walk into a room. She shouts my name. And asks me to get her a snack and play with dolls. I rock a fabric baby and listen to my niece hum lullabies. And I say a silent prayer for my sisters, who loved little ones from womb to tomb. And somehow kept going when the chasm seemed far too wide.

annaliese

 

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