Our summer women's Bible study at church is on Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson. I missed the first 2 weeks, first due to Steve being out of town, and second, because I had just had Harper the day before. I was excited about doing a summer study, as most activities that we attend during the school year are on break for summer. I wasn't sure what the format of the study would be, but I decided to go for the third session. It was not easy. I tried to hold it together during worship, but the tears just streamed down my face. Although I don't play an instrument and definitely have not been blessed with a singing voice, singing is when I feel closest to God.
I only saw a couple of familiar faces that night, none of my friends were there. I was sitting by myself in the sanctuary, waiting for the study to begin, and a woman sat down next to me and said hello. I was grateful to not be sitting by myself anymore, but terrified of having to say anything. Luckily, the small talk did not involve children, and the study began. We sang a couple of songs, and then it was time for the speaker of the week. We then watched a video on the part of the book we would be discussing, and broke up into small groups. I went with my new friend to a table, and sat down next to more unfamiliar faces. Then, it was time to go around the table and tell a little about yourself. I knew I would have to tell what had happened, and I was going to cry in front of these strangers. I managed to say very little and explained that I may not be able to share much because we had lost our daughter a couple of weeks ago.
Everyone was very understanding, and compassionate, and they prayed for me before we started our discussion. There were a few times where I could've contributed to the conversation, but did not, because I didn't want to cry again. I did manage to say something at the end, but nothing worth noting. There was more prayer at the end, and then it was time to go.
The next week, I thought I was doing better. I completed all the homework questions ahead of time, I had not cried all day that day, and got through worship without crying (it would not be unusual for me to get teary eyed during worship before this happened, but the reason for it now made it uncomfortable for me). My friend from last week and another lady from our table were sitting with me, and we headed over to the table we sat at last week. There was a table nearby that only had a few people, so the leader and the other ladies came to our table. Great. More unfamiliar faces. I decided not to mention anything about Harper this time, as most of the women knew. I talked about how I was from upstate New York, and it was my son's 2nd birthday tomorrow. Discussion started, and I just didn't have anything to contribute. The leader from the other table asked if I had anything I wanted to share. I said "not tonight". I immediately looked down, my face turned bright red, and I was trying so hard to keep it together, but I couldn't. I was sobbing.
The grief and sorrow comes in waves, and without warning. As quickly as it starts, it can stop, or it can go on for hours, or the entire day. As I was trying to read the chapters for the next week, I was very distracted, thinking I cannot relate to this book right now. I am not in a place in my life where I'm trying to discover my purpose. But God can speak to us in moments where we don't think He has anything for us.
Yesterday, as we watched the video for this week's discussion, the author of the book said several times, "I am still standing". There were more new faces at my table this week, and I was able to say that I had a 2 year old son and had lost a daughter last month without crying. One of our discussion questions was, "what stood out to us in the video"? I blurted out, "I am still standing"! And I am, but only through the grace of God. It is not from my own personal strength. It is from God holding me up when I can't stand. It is from the prayers of people who don't even know me and those that love me. It is from the texts, emails, and phone calls. I am so grateful for everyone that has read my blog and sent me a message or a comment about it. I know that I have a purpose, and that Harper's death will not be for nothing. My greatest wish is that God would be glorified through my life and that my baby girl will not be forgotten.
I want everyone to know that all of your thoughts, prayers, and messages mean so much to me. I may not be able to respond in a timely fashion, or at all, other than to say thank you. Please know that thank you doesn't even begin to cover it. This is an emotionally draining time, and quite honestly, I am exhausted, and sometimes just don't know what to say. I have all of these thoughts in my head, but just can't always find the energy to say or write them. I find it easier to get some of my thoughts out in this format, but I will get better with responding to you with time. Just be patient with me.
I can do all things through Him who give me strength - Philippians 4:13