Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Gospel Hidden in the Torah

Currently Mark and I are working our way through a DVD set that we’re borrowing from a friend (thanks, Chris!).  It’s Chuck Missler’s “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours.  It’s certainly not your typical study.  Chuck enjoys digging deep and can be pretty technical.

I wanted to share something profound from Genesis 5 that he shared.  Now, Genesis 1 – 4 is packed with exciting topics, such as the creation of the world (Chuck delves into scientific topics here that can blow you away).  And of course after Genesis 5, you get into the flood.  But Genesis 5 is a genealogy that most people skim past.  But Chuck brought up the fact that Hebrew words all have specific meaning – even these proper names.  Of course, the names were not translated into their English meanings.  But if you take the ten names listed (Adam through Noah), what do you get?  For example, Adam means “man.”  Seth means “appointed.”  Enosh – “miserable/mortal.”  Kenan – “sorrow.”  Mahalalel – “the Blessed God.”  Jared – “shall come down.”  Enoch – “teaching/commencement.”  Methusaleh – “his death shall bring.”  Lamech – “despairing.”  Noah – “comfort/rest.”

Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing comfort.

Right there – hidden in the Jewish Torah – is the Christian gospel.  It’s always amazing to find a fingerprint of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, knowing that the human who penned it could only have been ignorant of the authentication stamp God was putting in His scriptures.  From the beginning, God had his plan to redeem us - it's part of a beautiful love story.

I found this clip if you’d like to listen for yourself.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Silent Loss

Between our second and third sons, in the spring of 2004, we experienced our first miscarriage.  The emotional pain – and the length of that mourning - caught me by surprise.  I knew, through friends, that miscarriage was hard.  But of course there’s nothing like going through something yourself to truly bring it from your head to your heart.

Once again we find ourselves in a season of hardship, having gone through three miscarriages starting in July 2011.  Mark and I have had several conversations throughout this time, and we desire to communicate from our heart on this issue that touches so many.  One thing that comes to mind is how miscarriage underscores how precious the gift of children is.  Pain and loss emphasize the fragility of life and help us to experience gratitude.

Another thing I’ve longed to communicate is quite raw, so forgive me if this is awkward.  Of my four miscarriages, three have been quite early, so that the physical experience wasn’t very different from a regular cycle.  One occurred a bit later, at 8 weeks.  The day after the miscarriage began, Mark and I had a date night scheduled.  I decided to go forward with that, thinking that a night away may be helpful.  As it turned out, the miscarriage really ‘kicked in’ and as I sat in the movie theater, I could feel something passing through me.  It was a strange, surreal time as I stood in the bathroom stall afterward, trying to process what to do.  I was clueless about the reality of a later miscarriage (and 8 weeks is still quite early), so I was caught off-guard.  After all, the ultrasound tech said there was no longer any sac, yet here it was.  The medical world may simply deem this as ‘tissue’ to be discarded, but my heart told me to gently wrap this little one that we mourned so that we could have a time of memorial together.  When I came out, I was in a numb emotional place and shared with Mark what had happened.  He cried and hugged me, and we headed home.  

We were able to place our itty bitty baby in a little box and have a memorial in the backyard as a family.  We each shared the things we mourned about this baby.  The children shared their hearts that they were sad to not get to hold this baby, to not watch this baby grow up.  We were able to express the reality that we would meet the baby one day in heaven, and how exciting that would be.  It was a sweet, healing time that I’m thankful for.

Shortly after that miscarriage, my neighbor experienced a miscarriage at 11 weeks and we spoke on the phone.  She hadn’t started bleeding yet, and I shared with her my experience to give her an idea of what to expect.  She was able to avoid the medication often prescribed to ‘hurry things along’ and was able to avoid a D & C.  Later, she shared how glad she was that we got to talk.  She was able to pass the baby naturally and was able to see her little one – perfect little nose, ears, mouth – the sweet reality of this person she was carrying.  She expressed that seeing her baby actually helped to bring closure and was healthy for her emotional healing.  Without expecting what would naturally occur, she may have chosen a different route which would have emotionally separated her from the physical experience and would have left her in a numb emotional place.

After speaking with her, I felt anger regarding how miscarriage is dealt with in our society.  This silent, painful process is often treated in such a dry, medical manner, so that women are left in an emotionally numb state – unable to walk through the mourning process in a healthy way.  I encourage us, especially as women, to share our experiences with one another and to embrace the grieving that is very real regarding losing a child – whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or a child that was born, lived, and then passed.  Ignorant words can be spoken, resulting in mothers feeling frustrated and hurt.  A future baby cannot replace the baby that was lost.  Minimizing the reality of a baby (for example, with a very early miscarriage) does not minimize the pain, but rather leaves mothers feeling invalidated.

There were a couple of books that were uplifting to me through these miscarriages.  While they are not specifically on miscarriage, they were very timely.  One is “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  This beautifully written book (truly – a piece of art) expresses how to experience joy in life amidst the raw pain that we are sure to walk through.  It’s a real life-changer, whether your pain is monumental or whether your pain is regarding the dullness of life – dishes, diapers and all.  Another wonderful piece of encouragement is “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo.  This amazing non-fiction captures a four year old’s experience with heaven that occurred when he died during an operation.  One aspect of it included his meeting his miscarried sister, whom he’d never been told about.  He shared impossible-to-know details regarding her and many other things.  We know that we will meet our miscarried children in heaven, and this book was a beautiful reminder of that fact.  It was healing not only for me as a mother, but also for my two oldest sons who read it.

My hope in sharing our experience is simply that by bringing it to light, it will be an encouragement to some of you who have walked this same journey.  Our culture is often silent and confused regarding miscarriage.  Mark pondered this after a conversation with a customer over the register, as tears came to her eyes over her recent miscarriage.  Sometimes it helps just to know that you’re not alone in your pain, and that your pain is certainly very real.