Three weeks ago, I received a text message from my older sister, LeeAnn.
She was five months pregnant. Was glowing with that glow that only a pregnant woman can. We had yet to find out the sex of the baby so we all started calling the baby, P-Nut. At Thanksgiving, me and my whole family lovingly talked to P-Nut, all the while patting and rubbing LeeAnn's belly.
The text I received was on the day LeeAnn was suppose to get the ultrasound to find out the sex of P-Nut. The text read: No lung development, nonfunctioning kidney. DNC scheduled for Thursday. Talk to you later.
What? Such an emotionless message from my sister who was so looking forward to becoming a first time mother.
I looked up at the ceiling. I don't know if I was looking for God... Or thinking maybe he'd write me an explaination in the ceiling plastering... But I couldn't understand. Whether or not she would say it alound, this was breaking my sister's heart.
And it was breaking mine too. I have three neices and nephews and am about to have another one in about a week. But each one is special and P-Nut would have been no different.
Why had God given, just to simply take away? There's a worship song I've heard before about praising "the God who gives and takes away." But at that moment, I didn't want to serve a God that could take away. How cruel.
My sister went through with the DNC after begging the doctors for someway to save P-Nut. But there was none, aside from a miracle. P-Nut was born dead.
And if all that wasn't enough. My sister was taken into emergency surgery from complications. She almost bled to death.
All the while, I try to smile and hold back the tears while the rest of my family tries to wrap their brains around what had just happened.
LeeAnn had P-Nut's (named Ashley David) body sent to be cremated. And the next week my family held a memorial service for Ashley... Just weeks away from Christmas. Pastor Steve talked of the greiving process and how Ashley had not been forgotten by God and was in the arms of Jesus.
But how could we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the Savior, while grieving the loss of one of our own?
Praising God in the storm, admist the turmoil, when the world is falling apart. Is easier said than done.
It's so hard to keep loving God and praising Him when you know He could have prevented your pain. Keeping the faith is more difficult when you know He's testing that faith.
My favorite scripture of all time is Isaiah 43:1-4 which reads:
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush [a] and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.
I have verses 3 and 4 tattooed down my left arm and they bring me encouragement during tough times and on bad days.
I've interpreted it many ways at different times in my life. And this past month when I read these verses, this is what I heard:
Listen, this is what the Lord says-
he who created you, Amanda
he who formed you, Mandie
Don't be afraid, because I've rescued you,
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you say goodbye to Ashley,
I will be welcoming him with open arms,
And when you've cried so many tears, you fear you'll drown,
The flood will not sweep over you.
And when you walk but don't understand where I'm leading you,
Trust me, for I will not let you go.
Because I am your God,
the Holy One, the ONLY one, your Savior,
I would pay any ransom to get you back,
I would give up treasures to have you back.
Since you are my precious and honored daughter,
And because I love you,
I will give anything in exchange for you life,
I will even die on a cross in exchange for your life.
Lived Through by Mandie Described at 7:41 PM