I recently attended a meeting in my town of the ShareHope support group. This group is for people who have experienced the loss of a child during pregnancy, through stillbirth, or during the first few months of life. My sweet friend Stacey (great name, huh) 🙂 who has also lost her precious baby Conley, has worked hard to form this group and to reach out to parents going through this gut-wrenching pain.
Stacey has been after me to attend a meeting and I’ve had some conflicts, but I have also not been anxious to go. It’s been eleven years since Abby was born and died, and God has done a genuine work of healing in my heart. I will never get over my precious first daughter, but by the grace and eternal hope that I have through my faith in Christ, I live with the assurance that I will see her again. I have some really hard days, still. Her 11th birthday in March was a tough one for me. Maybe I was (and am, in some ways) still reeling from Robbie’s accident and coming so close to losing him. A support group is something I was never drawn to for some reason.
So, I took a deep breath and went to the meeting with one of my bff’s (to use Betsy-speak) Lisa, who delivered her sweet Landon at 18 weeks gestation six years ago. We were both nervous and didn’t know what to expect. It turned out to be a time of just talking about our children who had passed away and having the chance to tell those for whom this journey is so new that they will make it. The one thing I asked was whether or not we were free to talk about our faith, and it is ok. Without the Lord Jesus, there is truly no hope of being reunited with our children who are in Heaven. It did make me so sad to experience again the anguish that I know all too well. But at the same time, it reminded me that God has allowed an experience in my life that can be used for His glory – or as John Piper puts it, that I will not waste my life or anything that has come into it.
I still don’t know what my role in this group will be, but I know that God expects me to always give an answer for the hope that is in me (I Peter 3:15), and He will equip me to do it.