9 Months

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9 months and counting. How could it feel like the last 9 months has flown by and yet feel like eternity since I’ve seen her sweet face…and still have to wait another eternity to see it again?

Sweet Hannah

Sweet Hannah

On these month markers, we usually take time to look at pictures and videos of our short 14 months with Hannah. The boys love to see how cute and silly she was, how they interacted together, and how much they have grown since then. It’s good therapy to remember and laugh at the good times we had. All of our hearts grew 3 times the moment we laid eyes of our sweet princess. I’m so blessed that my boys have a sister. I absolutely loved how she immediately wrapped them around her little finger, changed them, made them knights in shining armor. I am blessed to have witnessed that phenomenon…and I miss it.

My 4 kiddos last Christmas

My 4 kiddos last Christmas

The boys are back to being boys. With the overabundance of boys here at Tenwek, testosterone is never is short supply. They’re out conquering the world with lightsabers and superhero masks. They rarely stop to be soft and silly like they did when Hannah was with us. I miss the sweetness, beauty and spunkiness Hannah brought to our family. But God has given me hope in a glimpse of what I lost.

MKs with (Nerf) guns

MKs with (Nerf) guns

Right now, there is a family living next door to us. They’re here for 3 weeks and they have a 15 month old girl. She has brought that tenderness out of my boys. It’s precious to see that they haven’t forgotten all the things Hannah taught them! It’s also hard not to feel saddened by their obvious longing to have their baby sister back. Jacob has asked to take naps (and he rarely takes naps and never asks for one) in their house. Levi tries all his crazy antics to make her laugh, but he’s sadly failing on all fronts. (Hannah was quite rough and tough for a girl, and she loved Levi’s insanity.) He doesn’t understand why she cries at him, and apparently doesn’t care, because he’s relentless! Noah, too, loves to make this little girl laugh. His tactics are quite effective though. Those two were cracking each other up the other day at chai. Too, too cute!

God has been speaking to me about suffering well and teaching the boys to do so. I pray that I’ve been doing a relatively good job so far, but I’m thankful that He’s been bringing sermons and blogs and devotions and Bible studies all together at this really hard season to remind me that what I do and how I handle my grief is important. People (specifically my boys) are watching. My boys are learning how to walk through the valley. They’re learning that God is sovereign and good and loving, but life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people. They can do all the right things, obey God to the best of their abilities, give their lives to serve Him and yet still suffer. It’s an important lesson, one that they are learning young. I trust that God will bless them in their suffering, that He will be more real to them because of Hannah’s death, that each of them will serve Him wholeheartedly all the days of their lives, that they’ll willingly and joyfully choose the narrow and oftentimes more difficult path when God asks them to do so.

I’m sure I could write an entire post about what God is teaching me right now, but I’ll save that for another day. Today, we are taking a little family trip to Narok, a town about an hour away from here. We are eating lunch at a coffee house that serves milkshakes and hamburgers. We’re shopping at Naivas, but I’m pretending that it’s Target! We’re just getting away from Tenwek for a few hours in order to have some undivided family time, to do something we did quite frequently in the States, to avoid our precious friends for a few hours! (I love you all, but I need someone new to look at! :)) Although there won’t be Christmas music or a toy section to explore, I’m hoping it helps my homesickness for an American Christmas. If nothing else, I’ll get some Christmas cookie ingredients…and a yummy milkshake!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God for being in the details.

2. Praise God for always giving us what we need (and not always what we want).

3. Praise God for the awesome, Christ-centered Advent we are having this year.

4. Praise God for Navais and Narok Coffee House.

5. Please pray for the boys’ hearts, their lives and their faith. I know God has big plans for each of them!

6. Please continue to pray for my dad, who is going through radiation, and my whole family as they celebrate Christmas without us.

7. Please pray for the Tenwek community, that we’ll be patient and loving and compassionate with each other, especially as we celebrate Christmas without our families (some of us for the first time).

I miss my little helper!

I miss my little helper!

Let me end with two quotes by godly men:

There is a glorified Man on the right hand of the Majesty in heaven faithfully representing us there. We are left for a season among men; let us faithfully represent Him here. ~A.W. Tozer

Every believer may be brought to understand that the only object of his life is to help make Christ King on the earth. ~Andrew Murray

Amen!

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8 responses »

  1. The tears are flowing as usual, as you share your life…most of them are for the joy you have chosen in serving our Lord and living a wonderful new life…way across the world! The other tears are because I miss you all and little Hannah so very much. Making plans for our Christmas Gathering and wish you could be here, but am praying for new experiences in celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus and comfort, peace, joy, and love. God is with us always and everywhere. Luv ya bunches and bunches…Hugs and Kisses for all.

  2. I enjoy reading your posts. I am a mom of 5 and I have laughed and cried with you and I don’t even know you personally. Merry Christmas to your family, no matter how you can celebrate.

  3. I’ve been following your story since Hannah got sick and I saw a post on FB asking for urgent prayer. Thank you for sharing your heart. We don’t know each other but we are sisters in Christ. Just know that prayers are going up from Winter Haven, FL. God Bless you and your family and thank you for your service.

  4. I look at her picture. I never met her or you or your family. I still can’t believe she is gone. I cry every time.

  5. My heart aches for your family because we too have gone through this with our first son. I understand what you are feeling about waiting so long to see her again in heaven. Our little boy was 23 months old. This happened 43 years ago and I still miss him. But, the time has gone fast believe it or not. Please enjoy your boys and your life with your family and it will go fast too!! You won’t have to worry about forgetting her, you never will. We had another son after him and a daughter…;-) maybe you too!! As I follow you on facebook, I will pray for your family and your ministry!! Love to all.

  6. Hi, THis is Lynn Riddlebarger. I don’t even know how I found your blog back in early summer but I read it then. I kept reading it every month that you posted and then it became very real to me. You see, my husband was in the hospital all summer with stomach cancer and he died in August… on the 14th… and your sweet little girl also died on a 14th, ( I am so very sorry she had to leave you, I’ve miscarried 3 times but never lost one that I could actually hold). But now, I know that pain of losing someone you love so much. And it was on the 14th. And now I really read your posts even though I am 5 months behind you on the time frame that its been. I’ve thought about writing to you before, but I had to this month. I loved what you said about suffering and teaching your boys to suffer well. It seems so much like what I’ve been writing in my own journal. ( I don’t post on a blog) I want to suffer well and teach my youngest that too. He is 10. My older 2 are in their early twenties so it seems different for them. Thank you so much for sharing your posts and writing that in your 9 months post. Its just been 4 months for us but it seems like its been at least 9 long months. I’m praying for you too. I know their is still so much pain even when you are trusting God, or at least really trying to. I’m trying to do this well and be a good example. I know I’m not doing as well as I’d like to be. My youngest one needs so much from me and I am so overwhelmed with all the duties added to my plate now that I am the leader and only responsible parent. I keep asking God if He’s SURE I am the one for this. My 21 yr old is also a very wayward son and lives at home with us still. Its just so much but I know I am learning and growing. I just have to keep progressing and trusting God. May God bless you and comfort you in the middle of your pain, Lynn Riddlebarger Colorado

    • Hi Lynn, I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t know what it’s like to loose a husband, and I know that every situation is different with grief anyway. Please know that we are praying for you and your children. May they grow closer to God through their suffering. May the Holy Spirit fill you to overflowing every day so that you have the energy to suffer well and care for your children. God is faithful. God is good. God is enough. And may He bless you and your family, especially during the next week as you celebrate Christmas. God bless you!!

  7. Hi Stephanie, i have been praying for your family as you experience your first christmas without Princess Hannah. Our little girls are having a Christmas like no other…….
    God bless you richly!!!!

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