Hope in the Midst of Hurting | Part II | 6 Months Later
It’s been almost exactly three years since I wrote part one of Hope in the Midst of Hurting. Tannan and I had just went through the toughest week of our lives. We lost our sweet 6 week old baby, Malachi, through miscarriage and our world was flipped upside down. I had never felt hurt so deep or longed for heaven more than I did in those coming months.
Fast forward 6 months later, after months of trying to get pregnant again and lots of negative pregnancy tests, we had finally given up. We decided, due to my wedding season coming up, that we’d need to put it off and try to get pregnant again the next year. Low and behold the Lord had different plans and gave us our sweet rainbow baby, Maci Grace, right smack dab in the middle of my wedding season.
Even though it wasn’t ideal timing on our end, it was the sweetest gift after (what felt like) a really long season of grieving. SO thankful for our sweet baby girl!
What we didn’t realize was that the Lord would use our miscarriage and our babies life to teach our hearts so many lessons. Malachi’s short life was used to change ours forever.
In the years that followed I would learn what it looked like to empathize with others in a way I never knew how before. God’s good like that. He takes our darkest moments and uses them to shape us into the kind of lights he wants us to be to the world. And that’s exactly what I felt like He was doing. Shaping. Molding. Bending. Twisting. Sharpening me in ways that felt uncomfortable, but ways I wouldn’t trade for anything now.
Hit that fast forward button one more time and push play on October 7th, 2019 and you’ll find a chapter of my life that shattered me.
I’ll never forget getting woken up by Tannan at 6:45 in the morning calmly letting me know that my dad had stopped breathing and that he was headed over to my parents house (who lived just 6 minutes from us). My mom had called 911 and they were on their way, but he hadn’t had a pulse in over 20 min.
Those next minutes were filled with me pacing back and forth, crying out to God… “Jesus, put breath in his lungs, please, please, breathe life back into his lungs, Father.”
When I got to their house shortly after getting the kids situated, I walked into the front room to see my dad. Lifeless. I knelt down beside him and held his crazy big, strong hand as words just kept spilling out of my mouth repeatedly “You’re still a good God. You’re still a good God.”
Those next moments where chaotic and ugly as we watched him be put in a bag and wheeled out the door. The same doorframe he had built with his own hands 24 years ago, just like the house we were standing in.
You see, something you need to know about my dad, Jack, is that he was a builder. There wasn’t a thing he couldn’t fix or a situation he didn’t have a solution for. If me or my sisters ever had a boy around long enough to shake my dad’s hand, it soon became apparent to those boys my dad wasn’t someone to be messed with. Seeing as one handshake, with those big strong hands, could bring anyone to their knees.
That big, strong, patriarch of our family was stripped away from us in a blink of an eye. One moment he was the worlds best Bam Bam to Marcus, Maci and Elle (our little niece) and the next moment we were faced with a harsh reality. One where we’d have to remind them of how much he loved them through pictures and videos instead of his endless hours of puzzle building or bedtime stories he would so excitedly be a part of.
And this reality? This reality sucked. So.so.bad.
The hours that followed were hard. The rest of our family flew in from out of state as we tried to wrap our heads around what was going on.
The next morning we all sat around a table in a funeral home helping my mom make decisions that were impossible to make. Followed by us all gathering around our sweet dad, after that meeting, and somehow saying our last goodbyes as we all held his hands and prayed and worshiped our Heavenly Father over our earthly father’s body.
And in those moments there was such an insanely deep peace. It’s those moments where scripture about “peace that surpasses all understanding” comes and breathes life into you.
God didn’t choose to save my dad’s earthly life on October 7th, but He had secured my dad’s eternal life 40 years ago. And because God is true on His word, we have a deep deep hope that we will see my dad again.
But here we are. Now… in the present and not to eternity yet. So what now?
The first week of grief is like a truck hits you and you’re trying to figure out which way is up, down and how to get your head to stop spinning. The second week is a mixture of wanting so badly to get out of the black hole, but not knowing what path leads you to the light. Then the following weeks are a conglomeration of numbness, chaos, planning, crying and basically all the feelings one could feel.
We wanted so badly to let my mom know she was going to be ok… and we wanted to get to “ok” as quickly as possible. All the while making sure to not gloss over the loss and really “grieve well” (whatever the heck that means).
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about grief over the miscarriage and now this, it does NOT like to be hurried along. And it doesn’t like to be hidden away or put on a shelf. It wants its rightful place and to have its stay for as long as it dang-well-pleases.
And that it has.
I got pretty use to the response “not great” whenever someone would ask me how we were doing. And I was really ok with sitting in that for a moment. Because it wasn’t great. It was hard!
The miscarriage was the hardest pain we had felt up to that point in our lives (and a pain that felt similar to loosing my dad) but there are FAR more consequences to death when you’ve lived 56 years on this earth. And grief made sure we knew the difference. Everyday a different reminder of what we were missing out on by not having him here. Everyday a different kind of hurt.
But ya know what the same sting of grief reminded me of? That He really is still a GOOD GOOD God!
In the deepest of hurts that I’ve felt these past 6 months has been the deepest of dependencies on Him.
I remember telling someone that after we miscarried, it’s like I had a set of things I knew were suppose to help me with the “grieving process”. And when I did them I really did feel better. So even though the Lord uses our own motivations to do His work, it’s like I had a calculated response on how to “get over it”. Whereas with this all I had nothing. NOTHING. If I was going to get out of the black hole it was gunna have to be because Jesus, Himself, did a rescue mission to come get me!
And praise the Lord He did just that!
A final fast forward will get you to today. April 6th, 2020. Where 6 months have passed and somehow we’re starting to breathe again.
The Lord has sustained us day by day, minute by minute and somehow we’re still here. Even past all the unknown and anxious days.
Because He’s good like that.
He doesn’t leave us to ourselves. He gives us His Holy Spirit to remind us that this place isn’t our final home. That someday we’ll see my dad again and be able to share with him all the incredible ways that the Lord worked through his passing.
There’s SUCH a long and winding road still to go (and apparently a world pandemic is a stop along the route) but I have a feeling He’s gunna sustain us. I mean He’s done it so far. Why would He stop now?
I’m writing this for myself as a reminder of what the Lord’s doing in our lives, but I’m also writing to encourage anyone out there that’s going through hardship. Loss, uncertainty, fear and anxiety can only steal what you allow it to. Look to Jesus. He wants to take your burdens. He wants to give you that undeniable hope and peace that you’re longing for. He wanted to give it to you so bad that He laid down His life for you to have it.
Because well, He’s good like that.
And… if anyone would want to see this, my husband, Tannan, did a phenomenal job speaking at dad’s celebration of life service. And at minute 34:30 all of us kids say something we loved about him. He was a man among men! We miss you dad!
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