7 Months

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Seven months…

Today marks seven months since I saw my princess breathe her last breath. It marks 7 months since Hannah was ushered into heaven where she could be treated like a true princess, a daughter of the King. It’s 7 months that I have walked this earth with a broken heart.

Princess Hannah turns 1!

(We tried our best to treat her like a princess while she was with us! This picture was taken at her first birthday party, which was also Noah’s 7th birthday party and our going away party. She loved her princess outfit!)

After 7 months of valley walking, I’ve fully accepted that my baby girl is in her forever-home. However, it’s harder to live with the fact that I must live without her, that I must continue in my calling with a broken heart, that the likelihood of my homegoing is still decades away. How can I carry around this broken heart for so long?

Some days, it seems unbearable. It’s hard to breathe my next breath at the thought that I still have so much to live for. I do have a lot to live for. My boys and Aaron are enough to keep me choosing joy, but it seems like I’m dishonoring Hannah when I’m choosing to move on with life. The guilt is caused by lies straight from hell, I realize that, but that is where Satan has tried to attack me. Because no matter the steps I take to arm myself against the devil and his lies,  this fact remains: in comparison to what is waiting for me in heaven, I can’t stand the reality that I’m stuck here, in this cancer-ridden, fallen world.

Many of you who follow us on facebook know that my dad was recently diagnosed with cancer. Oh, how I hate cancer! I never thought I could hate a disease so much; it is a retched consequence of the original sin.

My dad with Hannah at Christmas

And yet, God continues to prove Himself trustworthy and good. Every time I’m feeling down, I am given a gift straight from heaven. Whether it’s something a friend says or something I read in a devotion, God is real and alive and speaking to me. He saves me from the snares of Satan and puts me feet on solid rock.

Here are just two examples of the way He’s spoken to my heart the last month:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

That is my life verse for this season. While it may seems like forever until I get to join my princess in heaven, once I get there it will be so overwhelmingly good that all these troubles will seem like nothing. This broken heart will be healed and whole the moment I see my Savior face-to-face. What a glorious day that will be!

The second example comes from a book called God Remembers: A Spiritual Journey After Loss of a Child by Sherry Bibb. It’s a book of sayings, Scripture, poems and essays. While it wasn’t my favorite ‘grief book,’ (I’m not much of a poetry fan) there was one entry that really comforted me. It made me feel normal.

Will Power

Sometimes it is with great exertion of my will that I cling to faith that says God is good and only does what is best for me.

Sometimes the pain in my heart is so overwhelming that it would block out the enjoyment of any beauty around me.

Sometimes the desire for my heavenly home is so strong that I am tempted to bypass the good things God has for me right now.

But I make the choice – To believe in the goodness and wisdom of God. To see the beauty despite the pain.

Sometimes I am surprised by joyful sensations and situations; simple pleasures and treasures.

Sometimes God speaks to me from His Word and comforts me in ways so real and precious.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the abundance for which I have to be thankful, and say God and life are good.

That pretty much sums up this phase of grieving. Most days are good and normal. Then, a wave of grief will pass over me unexpectedly. I’ll cry and wrestle with God once again. In the end, every time, God renews my strength and joy. He is so good!

Walking our path

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God that school is going so well. The boys and I love it! They are learning so much, and I do enjoy being back in the classroom as a teacher.

2. Praise God that He is Healer and Comforter. Pray that He will heal my dad of cancer. (My dad was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer. He has another CT scan on the 16th to see if there is cancer anywhere else.) Please pray that He will comfort my parents through this process, especially through all the waiting.

3. Praise God for the church! I attended the 10th anniversary of a children’s home (orphanage) yesterday. It was a blessing to witness the body of Christ caring for the children in such practical and sacrificial ways.

Sacrificial giving

4.  Praise God for a wonderful vacation. We went to Enashipai, a resort and spa in Naivasha. While there, we swam, ate a ton of food, played and visited Crescent Island. (I intended to write a whole blog about it, but I didn’t….I’m sure you saw Aaron’s report.)

Boys at Crescent Island Enashipai

5. Praise God because He answers prayers. After requesting prayer about the purchase of a vehicle, so many people get us good information. We’ve decided to wait on that big purchase…We’ll be asking for wisdom again in a couple of years. 🙂

6. Praise God for my precious boys, the visitors who come to Tenwek, and all of you who support our ministry. We love you and appreciate you so, so much!

The boys tie-dyed their Kelleys in Kenya shirts!

7. Lastly, please continue to pray for our broken hearts. It’s a scar that is well earned and of great value to us. Just pray against the attacks of the enemy. Pray that we remain steadfast in our faith and that we always remember to put on the full armor of God!

Thanks, friends. We do love you!

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3 responses »

  1. I have never experienced your grief, but totally can understand the feelings of guilt you feel when you feel yourself smiling, or laughing….you aren’t alone in those feelings. I think anyone that has experienced loss has those feelings. Your sweet little baby, her story, your story has touched so many. Your whole experience has brought a world of people, that have never met, feel like family. Hannah and her short time on earth has given inspiration to so many because or you and Aaron. Smile and laugh and feel no guilt! You are doing God’s work and your sacrifice is Hannah’s story!!
    Blessings,
    Marianne

  2. It has been 3 years since my little one left us. Most days are good. Some days, grief will sneak up on me and I find myself blubbering like a baby over something relatively simple or silly. Example – last week – I ordered my first seasonal eggnog latte. First sip and I was immediately transported to the hospital, waiting on results and ended up spending the next few hours blubbering over every other sip. Note to self – avoid eggnog at work in the future. I don’t think the pain of losing a child will ever truly go away – but it does change. Rather than being a debilitating thing that shakes me to my core and makes me unable to breathe, it’s (at least most of the time) become something that fuels me. I know my son would want me to be happy and healthy and live life. I know that while he was here, he was loved – so tremendously. He was wanted and needed and cherished for the amazing little miracle that he was.

    Your little girl is the same. A miracle. Loved. Cherished. Wanted.

    Can’t give you any comfort or more words of wisdom than to say that you are not entirely alone. And here’s a virtual hug to get you though your day.

    Cheers.

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