In the Midst

Monday, November 16, 2015

I've struggled for the past almost 3 months to find the words I need to say.  Honestly, I don't know if I even have them now. 

I've believed in God for as long as I can remember.  I believe that Jesus died for our sins and is our salvation.  I believe the Bible is the divine inspired, God-breathed word of God.   I also believe in Heaven and that we will be united there with God and our loved ones after we die. 

In other words, I'm a Christian, a full-fledged follower of the one and only Living God. 

So, by default, it should mean that my faith will carry me through the loss of my daughter. 

Logically speaking, right?

I wish.  Man, do I wish.

I've always naively thought that faith alone was enough.  Enough to fill in the gaps.  Enough to make things better.  Enough to understand. 

Enough to escape the pit of grief that falls endless into the dark abyss. 

But having a faith in the midst of the depths of my grief does none of the above. 

In fact, it does quite the opposite. 

I have a hole bigger than all the oceans in the world.  Nothing is better.  And I'm more confused than ever now.

When it was first suspected that Everly had Trisomy 18, I thanked God for her healing.  I claimed my inheritance and thanked Him for it before I knew it to be true or not. Time and time again, I prayed.  I took care of unforgiveness in my heart.  I continued to be in the Word.  I not only prayed for myself and Everly but for others and thanked Him for the countless blessings.  I was in a relationship with Him.

Though I had an intact prayer life before being pregnant with Everly, the hope I carried that He would heal her drew me closer to Him.  I spoke to Him so much each day that I felt like He was on speed dial. 

But now she's dead.

So much of what we do as believers is to praise God when things work out, when there's a 'happy ending.'

"God is faithful" when your loved one was miraculously saved in the car accident.  

Routinely, "God is so good" is a common sentiment when a loved one's medical ailments are healed, in remission or remedied. 

But what happens when that's NOT your story?  When YOUR miracle never came?

In recent months, I have spent a great deal of time researching various theologians' take on this question but I have also sought out insight from fellow grieving parents.  When we don't know, we just want answers.  Need to understand.  Crave a way to make sense of the insanity. 

Grieving dad of two sons, Kyle Matthews' recent blog entry "Why would a loving God let my children die?" addresses this and speaks my heart.  With his permission, I have reposted a portion below with the link above to read the post in its entirety. 

"I still believe God is everything I knew He was before. Holy. Just. Merciful. Good. Sovereign. Wise. If you’ve spent any time in church, you may be saying, as I have heard, “But this is an easy answer! When Adam and Eve sinned, sin entered the world, and that is the source of cancer, and sickness, and natural disasters, and all these things we wonder how could happen if God is truly good. Sin and Satan have temporary and partial reign on earth until God casts them away.” This is wonderful logic on how these things can happen, but it doesn’t answer the larger question; why do these things exist at all? Why must we wait on God eliminating them? Why is “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Revelation 21:4) delayed? What justifies this reign of struggle and sin on earth today? Why did Robyn’s and my sons die, along with so many other sons and daughters?

I have no answer. I have felt God’s presence, and know He is real. I have faith He is God, and I rest in this knowledge. I hope in my life I can have a greater understanding of why death and pain continue. I hope I can feel more peace than unrest. When I think on the vastness of who God is, logically I find no other response than worship and adoration, and I am humbled in admitting my hurt, my loss, and a foolish pride often keep me from these responses. I am frustrated how difficult this is for me."

And while I don't know the answer, I know that no one else does either.  Here.

We all sit and wonder, sometimes fists raised in anger, sometimes heads hung in sorrow, but always desiring, needing to know why. 

Why?  Why did He not offer a miracle in our story?

My heart is irrevocably broken.  The loss of a child is a game changer.  It is a cataclysmic loss.

Nine months out from the last moments I had with my sweet girl, I cling to the idea that my hope in salvation and that my faith in God will carry me through. 

The pain is still so visceral that it feels like it is not enough right now. 

Hope and faith are crucial but in the abyss of never holding my child again, never feeling her warm skin, never touching her body, never hearing her laugh and all the other 'nevers' that will make up the rest of our the is not enough.

So I will do all I can...continue to hold onto my faith, holding onto the knowledge that one day on the other side of the veil, the answers will be revealed. 

I will continue to be thankful for God's mercies he bestows upon us, the ones that remind us that it is His hand that does carry us through this darkness. 

I will continue to worship Him, some days with a tender heart while other days, I question but knowing that He can handle that. 

I will continue to try to maintain, strengthen and grow my relationship with Him, knowing that relationships...all of them...have ups and downs. 

It hasn't been easy.  It won't be easy. 

But it's all I can the midst. 

Chick-fil-A Update

On August 4, 2015, Everly’s Angels held a successful spirit night at Chick-fil-A on Waters Avenue in Tampa.  The evening was full of friends, fellowship and, of course, yummy food!  Many of our friends joined us for a common goal…to raise funds for the bereavement boxes heading to the NICU at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital. 

It was quite a pleasurable evening chatting, visiting and sharing the heart of the foundation with others.  Many children were in attendance and they, likewise, enjoyed their evening making new friends.  Neighbors, co-workers, family members...Everly’s Angels friends invited them all and they showed up in force!

We even were blessed to have a special surprise visitor join us…Dr. Julia Niebauer, Everly’s #1 “angel doctor” from the PICU!  My family and I were just so honored to have her join us and share in the evening.   She was and is so very important to us and to have her support means the world!

Chick-fil-A @ Waters Avenue graciously donated 20% of our total purchases back to Everly’s Angels.  With help from all of our friends and supporters, we raised a whopping $365.47, which includes proceeds from Chick-fil-A and donations.   This will be used exclusively for our bereavement boxes, tools and memory making items for families in the last moments with their baby/infant/child. 

We are blown away at the love and support shown to Everly’s Angels Foundation.  We are humbled and so grateful for each one of our friends and supporters who believe and are working alongside us to fulfill our mission. 

A special shout out to Chick-fil-A staff and management for allowing us to host the evening, their generosity in donating a portion to the foundation and their excellent care of us and our supporters!  Thank you so very much!

Want to check out all the fun from the night?  Click here to hop over and see!