Thursday, September 3, 2009

From Mourning to Dancing: Part IV

From Mourning to Dancing: Part III

What follows is an email that my father-in-law wrote to us sometime during the late summer of 2005, while we were still in shock over Nathaniel's Trisomy 18 diagnosis. Although of little comfort at the time (in fact some of it probably made me angry), I now hold his words, and the Truths the convey, very dear to my heart.
Dear Peter and Amy,

This letter has been very long in coming. I'm sorry.

I've been thinking and praying about you and Nathaniel and wanting to encourage you somehow in this tough time.

I can't say, "I know how you feel."

I don't.

I do, however, know how I feel (even though Mom sometimes accuses me of being a "non-feeler"), so I'll try to express that.

I'm sad. I'm especially sad for you. Dashed hopes are always sad. The fact that it happens so often in our lives doesn't make it any easier, and this is a much more significant even affecting a little person you love and for whom you have waited months.

I'm not angry with God, but I admit to wondering what He has in mind for you. My trust in God has grown over the years to a point where I don't often accuse him of improprieties, but He often surprises me by things He does or allows. When that happens I'm sometimes a bit like a Pinocchio questioning the wood carver! It's so absurd and the extreme of pride to think that God might need my advice, but here it is! Pride is what doomed Satan to expulsion from heaven, and it is probably the root of all other sins. Nevertheless, I'm still finding roots of it in my life as I work my way through my reactions to your situation with Nathaniel.

I know that God is good, loving, gracious and merciful. He is totally wise and knowing so that He applies those qualities in our circumstances from a perspective that is eternal and perfect. Yet I question him! We humans dare do what no other part of creation does. And He puts up with it.

All this is to say that God is also using your journey to do some molding in my life. I'm also convinced that God knows what He is doing, but we may not see the answers in this life.

So, yes I'm sad, but I'm growing.

I want to ease your pain without knowing how. I do know that God loves you very much. I do know that God never promised a life without trouble, but did promise the possibility of triumph in that pain. The pain you feel is very uncomfortable and I am unable to relieve it. I feel like the Old Testament king who in desperation prayed, "God, I don't know what to do, but my eyes are on you."

I'm so very sorry you are going through this. One crowing truth that made an impact in my mind and heart today was this: No matter what pain I go thought in life, Jesus warned me in advance that there would be trouble and He is totally worthy of my life regardless of that pain.

Does this cheapen the experience or the pain we feel? Not at all. Although it doesn't provide answers to the "whys", we know that we are accompanied by one who understands, and one who wants to make us stronger as a result. It removed us from the category of "victims" and makes us "soldiers" in a battle whose final outcome is victory for those who remain steadfast.

I love you,

From Mourning to Dancing: Part V


  1. It's pretty amazing that he was so willing to express his feelings to you both and felt the strong need to do so in writing.

  2. Oh, Amy.
    His words carry such honesty, such love, such grace. How beautiful and precious to have this letter.

    I am humbled by your journey and pray for you and your family as you share it with all of us.

  3. Wow. A very integral part of Nathaniel's story and what heartfelt truth he speaks.

    Again, I thank you for sharing this.

  4. I can't even think of what to say. That must have been so hard to read at the time.

  5. I can see this being hard to swallow when you are in the middle of extreme suffering, but the fact that you have it posted on your blog now shows its impact. I'm glad I got to read it.

  6. Thank you for posting this. It is interesting how true those words are.

  7. I love your father in law so much too! He is a precious gift, any you and Susanna are so lucky to be part of that family (and I, in turn, get to be part of it too! So everybody wins!)

    Thank you for sharing this story with us.


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