During Holy Week Oaktree got together with the Antioch community and the Acton Vale Missional Community to take part in 24/7Prayer.
It was a brilliant week and I was involved with the all-night youth session on the first night which was epic in itself. Every time we do this I love watching how the room evolves and seemingly comes alive with the prayers of so may decorating the walls.
Ruth and I had a slot from 2 till 5 am on the Saturday morning which was really amazing. It was great to have time with little distraction to engage with God. I shot some stills and some footage to try and capture the spirit of the room or the feeling of the room.
Today is quite significant because it hurts… Today was the due date of our baby who we lost during the summer.
There are lots of emotions whirling around my head today and there is a knot in my stomach that is seemingly tightening as we go through the day. It’s as if by the end of the day something is going to happen… but then tragically I’m reminded that it’s not.
The day we learnt our baby had died is on repeat in my head this morning. It was the day of our first scan. I’m remembering the concerns because of the previous night’s scare. I remember the nervous excitement. I remember praying before we went in. I remember thinking I couldn’t wait to meet him (we always thought our baby was a boy). I remember trying to figure out how the photo machine worked. I remember walking in with Ruth clutching my hand tightly. I remember the Sonographer greeting us, putting us at ease and noticing that we were a couple who seemed very much in love with each other. I remember her starting out, applying the gel to my wife’s stomach and running the gizmo over it and then her expression changed. She was very good, she was excellent in fact. You would hardly have noticed that tiny subtle change in her expression that I can’t even describe, but it was there. It was that moment when my heart began to beat harder. Then I remember the utter horrific, memory of seeing the empty void on the screen of where our little baby was supposed to be. It didn’t look right. I’d seen enough ultrasound pics to know that it wasn’t supposed to be just black. I didn’t know what was wrong but I knew something was dreadfully wrong. Then I remember that realization creeping through me like a massive icicle penetrating my body to the very core of my soul. I remember realising before the sonographer said anything that our baby wasn’t alive…
. . . n u m b . . .
She told us she needed to check a few things and not to worry just yet. I remember looking at Ruth and seeing the confusion spreading across her face, I remember seeing the calm before the storm of turmoil begin to brew in her face. The anxiousness, worry and for her too, the initial numbness. I remember that I began to pray. It felt like a hopeless desperate prayer ; “Please God, Please God, Please God……”
. . . n u m b . . .
I remember Ruth getting dressed and us getting our things with the shock flooding through me like some sort of emotional paralysis. I remember walking through the reception. I remember being given the refund for the photos as if this was some pathetic kind of consolation prize. I remember sitting on a bench outside the hospital not speaking for a while. I remember having to make those first few calls to the friends and family who knew we were expecting. I remember driving home feeling cold and completely devastated. I remember sitting on the sofa at home with my wife sobbing so hard that her sobs shook the whole sofa. I remember feeling so completely lost, empty and in disbelief.
. . . n u m b . . .
I wanted to scream in anger, I wanted a hole to open up and swallow me in to nothingness, I wanted to run away, to cry, to shout, to hold on to Ruth with all my might. I wanted to stop time, I wanted to go back in time and fix it, I wanted God to stop this, I wanted to punch Him in the face for letting it happen….
. . . n u m b . . . I was so so so angry with Him. And yet, I prayed.
I prayed for His protection on my wife, on our marriage, on the two of us as we came to terms with it all. I prayed that He would ease the pain, that we would know His love and that He would take care of us. I knew that the following months would be full of pain and angst and I asked Him to help me deal with it all. All I could do was pray – there was nothing else left to do.
Reconciling this pain with my faith
This whole thing has been a really painful process and its been difficult to figure out how to reconcile the pain with my faith but it hasn’t been as hard as some might think. The only thing I could do to keep a hold of my sanity was to hold on to God and my faith in him. The song below was a major anthem during the last 6 months and it still has such a powerful message.
I need to make one thing very VERY clear:
God does not give us suffering
I cannot believe that God would put us in a situation of suffering on purpose. God does not give people diseases and he DOES NOT KILL BABIES! I cannot believe that he does any of these things as it goes against what we are taught about him in the New Testament so much. I believe he allows bad things to happen because in order for us to have free-will there will be consequences and in a world where people make selfish choices that ultimately lead to heinous actions it is in this world that we live and operate. Sometimes he does intervene and that is where the debate really is – Why does he sometimes intervene and other times not? I’ve asked myself this a thousand times and I’ve asked Him a thousand times and I think I will do so for the rest of my days. As long as I live on this earth I don’t expect to fully understand why he let our baby die.
What I do know is this: We have a very big God. We have an amazing God! We have a sovereign and gracious God without whom this whole experience would have been unbearable. It is with great Thanks to him that I, for the briefest of moments, have been a Dad. I never got to hold or touch or even see our baby but for the brief time that Ruth was pregnant, I was a Dad and that makes me so incredibly happy! I feel so privileged to have experienced it so briefly knowing that so many people will never have that experience. I feel privileged because I know that we may never have another pregnancy because we took a long time to get pregnant and so for us, our little baby was a precious miracle, but we still have hope that we will get pregnant again and soon. It doesn’t mean that this doesn’t still hurt. I miss our little baby. I wish we had a little bag in the car packed with all the hospital stuff ready to go. I wish I was helping Ruth up off the sofa each day. I wish we were in a place of excruciating excitement instead of this drab disappointment.
This time has grown my faith
This time has grown my faith. It has not been easy though. This is not a blind ignorant faith. I’m talking about a faith that comes from experiencing something that is bigger than me, than my ability to explain and bigger than this situation. I’m talking about the darkest times during this experience where I have felt so alone and yet I have felt God let me know that he has my back. The knowledge that it would get easier and things would be better.
The above song is about holding onto God with everything we have in the hardest of times but the bigger picture is while there have been times where it has felt like I’ve been dangling by a thread, desperately trying to hold on to Him, I’ve seen that it is He who holds His big and mighty hand underneath us holding us like a massive safety net.
And so I pray – I pray for those who have lost in this way. I pray that they would know some of the Father’s love in the way I have. I pray that they would find comfort in God and I pray that they would not pose blame on God or themselves. I pray that they would have another chance and I pray that we will have another baby too.