Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Pain of Unanswered Prayer (Happy First Birthday in Heaven)

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.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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)

18 comments:

ATurbeville said...

Nan, thanks for sharing. Keep clinging to that truth...we'll make it through, sister. Love you.

Pia said...

abby's such an angel. still breaks my heart when i remember her. it does because i prayed for her too. and maybe because i've experienced loss myself. but i'm glad that the pain didn't break your family.

keep trusting Him. He knows best.

Corry said...

((((HUGS))))

Words fall short, but God knows!

Missed ya, girl

God's Grace.

KayMac said...

Just a whisper of life on this earth, but Abby has touched so many lives, building our faith, through the words, the grief and vulnerability you have shared.

Thank you both!

martie said...

I remember this feeling when my first husband passed away 32 years ago this month. The anger I had toward God for not healing him and taking him instead of some bum with no family to mourn his passing.........but God is good! And after a few years I made my peace with Him....not that I will understand why in this lifetime, but I know one day I will see him again and the why's may not matter then!

Praying for comfort and peace for you and your family!

Thwarthwimple said...

Isaiah 64:4 (and its New Testament corollary, 1 Corinthians 2:9) come to mind. Press on; press on.

Pia said...

advance happy birthday, nan!

green said...

Abigail is at peace inthe arms of the Father.

You are right, we do not understand His plans but we do know he has our best interests in mind all of the time.

Excellent parade analogy.

Pia said...

happy thanksgiving, nan! =)

Pia said...

hi, nan! hope you had a merry christmas. (((HUGS)))

Ryan S. said...

i think you should lay hold of the blessed assurance that you and your family will be reunited with that tender child one day in the heavenlies. In the midst of all the turmoil in day-to-day life, it's easy for a believer to lose sight of an eternal perspective, but those believers who endure the ordeal your family has been through know eternity is just around the corner, and so is reunion with your neice Abby. Romans 8:28 should really speak to the heart of a family like yours that has endured such heartache.

Pia said...

nan! i'm so happy to hear from you again! missed ya, girl!

Pia said...

happy valentine's day, nan! =D

Chris Collins said...

Hey Nancy, thanks for your note on my blog. The trip was a pretty amazing experience, and I'm pretty thankful for it. I read your most recent post... I appreciate your honesty. I hope law school and the rest of life is going well.

Becky's Place said...

My husband showed my your blog a little over a year ago and it touched my heart so much we began to pray for you and your family all the time. Your Abby reminded us soooooo much of our Abby in the way that she looked and the fact that they were born 4 days apart. It hurt my heart and because it was so close to my Abby, looking at my Abby, made me cry for yours all the more. I've come back to your site often in the past year and I've continued to pray. My Abby still remindes me of your pain and I still think of you often. I have never lost a child quite like that but I have had two misscarriages (I know it's not the same thing at all) but I also know that the pain will go in time. Just keep remembering how much God has done for you and remember that he is looking out for you all and that even when we don't understand it, he has a plan and he is being glorified even in these things that seem so horrible. I'm still praying.

Becky's Place said...

Thanks for your comments on my blog. I enjoy photography and if I worked, I think that is what I would want to do but I've never taken a class and wouldn't have the start up money or anything for it. Mostly, though, I'm just enjoying being a mommy and loving on my babies in the short time that I have with them before they go off to do their own things. Thanks again for stopping by.

Pia said...

how are you, nan?

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