When I was in college at the University of Kentucky, I began volunteering my time at a Pregnancy Help Center. That’s when it happened: I met young women who shared their fears that God could not possibly love or forgive them. I also met life, life in the womb. And so two passions began to grow within me- to be a mother, and to share the love of Jesus to a broken and wounded generation.
Shortly after college I began working at this same Pregnancy Help Center. The passions grew stronger. I counseled women seized by fear, who chose to end the life growing within. I worked with women who chose to place their babies for adoption and women who chose to push through crushing odds to parent their babies. I got pregnant. I continued to meet these women. I sought to minister God’s deep love to them. They left my office and I wept, clutching my womb. Living the opposite of what my clients were experiencing made me grieve for them even more and solidified in my heart the sacredness of life in the womb, a gift to be cherished. I well remember the days of praying for their pain and I also remember the days of rejoicing at their miracles- babies that should’ve been born in crisis due to abuse and neglect and they were not. I met the God of miracles who loved babies and their broken mothers. My last task at work before leaving to be a stay-at-home mother was to write a book, a manual to help clients process their decisions and subsequent pain and grief.
I couldn’t wait to meet her…my baby. I couldn’t wait to birth, hold and love the precious daughter who had been nestled in my womb for nine glorious months. I couldn’t wait for our life together to begin. I was ready. The countdown had begun. But at 37 weeks, my sweet Anna died. She was gone. We were gone. On February 25, 2005, all five pounds and five ounces of her fragile and feminine body were ours. We spent the day enveloping our daughter in what should have been a lifetime of love.
Late that evening, our precious nurse Alice, came to take Anna away. We said good-bye to our baby and held onto each other and wept.
Where was the God of miracles who loved and saved babies? Where was the love of God I had spent years proclaiming to bruised and broken women? The counselor became the client and God was now a mystery to me. I ached, screamed, wailed, fought and then, I was loved. The God I hated and accused has become the God I adore…really really adore. How does this kind of transformation and healing happen? How does one go from anger to joy, from pain to peace, from hostility to tenderness? I’d love to tell you how it happened for me.
If you have found your way here I imagine that perhaps your pages are etched with sorrow. Perhaps you have an intimate and painful relationship with grief and you are looking for help, for hope? Perhaps you find yourself asking questions like, “Why God and What next?” First let me say this…I am so deeply sorry. I ache with you and for you. I have been there. In fact, in so many ways and in so many seasons, I am still there. I know the unquenchable ache of death. I know the bitterness, the loneliness and the scariness of grief and I know the pain of a plethora of negative thoughts and feelings toward God. But I have also come to know big and beautiful measures of hope. These are the things I long to impart to you here. I long for your grief to be soothed and cushioned with whatever comfort, hope and truth I have to offer.
So welcome to the Grace to Grieve. It is my urgent and pleading prayer that together we can find the Hope to live.