A year ago today, I was sitting in my first year Torts class text messaging under my desk with my sister Christine who gave me minute by minute updates as my sister Michelle was taken in for an Emergency C-section hours away in a NY hospital. I sat with my hands fumbling under my books unbeknownst to my teacher, anticipating the break so that I could run out of the room and give my sister a call. It was the longest two minutes of my life. (As my sister Michelle often says, it took two minutes for Abigail to be born and 10 minutes for her to pass away.) All I remember as I ran out into the hall was a text coming in from my sister Christine before I got out of the school that said in caps “SHE IS BORN AND BEAUTIFUL” and this picture which confirmed that message.
We were all so overjoyed. Never could we have anticipated that a year later we’d reflect on that day with such pain. Today is Abigail’s First Birthday, in Heaven.
Last night, my women’s small group discussed the pain of unanswered prayer and we looked at verses 21-26 from Lamentations 3. It begins:
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
I thank God that we were not “destroyed” by the pain that my family was subjected to just 10 months ago, but 10 months later, the pain is still so raw and there is still the lingering question of WHY. Last night, I confronted my anger towards God and spoke a lot of things that I’ve been bottling up for so long. I know that I will never understand why God allowed Abby to suffer or why THIS was His will but I trust Him anyway and there is peace in that. I know that His thoughts are higher than ours and that I do not know what bigger plan God has for any of our lives. Still, I admit that it was so hard to trust God again immediately following Abby’s death. But then I think back to the day that Abby passed away and the overwhelming sense of peace I felt after she passed. I KNEW that could not have come from myself. Feeling so greatly despaired, peace was not a feeling I could have manufactured. God’s compassion did not fail. And I pray with all my heart that they will not fail my sister or the rest of my family who suffer with her today.
Lon Solomon, the pastor at my church gave a sermon last month that really helped me to put this in perspective (text, mp3). He compared our perspective on the direction of our lives to us trying to watch a parade and not being able to see past what is directly in front of us. We cannot see what is at the end, but God can. I don’t know how all the pieces go together or what the purpose is, but God does and I know that His plan is not to harm me or my family and so I put my trust in Him and I just pray for comfort and understanding, though I resign myself to the fact that I may never fully attain the latter.
Today, I try to find comfort in knowing that my beautiful niece Abby, my sister in Heaven, is beyond pain and is happier than I could ever imagine, safe in the arms of the Lord… Though the pain of not being able to hold her or see her little smile or celebrate with her, as we always imagined we would, is more than I can bear at this time. There is always tomorrow…
“But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning.” Lamentations 3:21-23 (the Message)