Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord's and everything in it
Right after the loss of our baby, and at the suggestion of several friends who had walked this road before me, I attended a support group for women dealing with infertility, miscarriage, and infant loss. There are dozens of these kinds of groups in the Dallas area, but this one was connected to a really great church in our area and I needed something Christ-focused. I went in February, and I cried my way through my story, feeling almost instantly comfortable in this group of women because we all were in the same place. We all knew the pain of either waiting for a child or losing a child, some of us knew both. I think both are equally devastating.
At the end of the evening, I was given a small gift box. It was a memorial box filled with small things, commemorating the little life that we lost. There was a tiny handmade blanket, pinned with two tiny little metal footprints. There was tea and a candle and a book on losing a child. I cried as the leader presented it to me at the end of the evening. I cried most of the way home that night.
I skipped the March meeting, but I went back this week. And again, we took turns sharing our stories and where we are in the process of grieving. There were a few new people, and honestly, their stories seemed far more tragic than mine. Losing a child you didn't know is difficult and still devastating. Losing a child you have held and loved and rocked and nursed just seems so incredibly unfair. It feels like it would be harder. But as these women talked, I noticed a theme in their conversation, and I was kind of surprised. They talked about approaching life with open hands. About knowing that everything they have, including their children, is God's and that in the end, He is free to give and take as He pleases.
As I listened, every rebellious part of my brain stood at attention, ready to argue and fight. Because the baby I lost was mine. He was my first. He felt like mine. And I never even got to hold him. Except the more listened, the more it sunk in that he was never really mine, just my privilege to carry for eleven short weeks (nine weeks, if we get technical about the way pregnancy really works). And these women who had already let go in their hearts were so peaceful. They were so very confident in the God that had allowed such huge losses.
Over the past few days God has used their words to really speak to me. I can go back in my memory to so many different moments in my past where I clung so tightly to things that were never mine to keep. The lesson found in losing them was painful. The struggle to try to keep them was exhausting, and in the end, the result was the same. I always lost. You will do that when you fight with an Almighty God. I always ended the battle tired and broken.
So today, I am sitting in my little living room in my favorite yellow chair and I am determined. Resolute. My mind is made up (and will probably have to be made up a thousand more times because I am stubborn and selfish like that). I want to live life open handed. I want to be not only a giver of good things, because the things I have are not mine anyway, but I want to live in a way that leaves every one of my dreams and aspirations and my "things" up for grabs. I want God to be able to take them away and replace them with new dreams and new plans. I want to be able to live through the giving and the taking and still raise my open hands to say "Blessed be the name of the Lord".
My dreams for a family. They are Yours, Lord. My ideas for how my life should go. Yours. All of my expectations and things I think I deserve. Take those and fix them. Replace them with Your will. My money. Completely yours. My ministry. Also yours. My home and the things I fill it with. All yours. This earthly body that I have been given. It's yours, too. My life in it's entirety. Just yours. Take it all. Here I am... Open Hands.