Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I am still standing

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


  1. Wendy, Thank you for sharing your story. It is a testimony of God's grace and sufficiency. I pray that He holds you and Steve in the palm of His hand as you weather this storm together. I am a firm believer in the sanctity of life and am convinced your baby girl is with the Creator of the universe and the One who loved us enough to give His Son for us. - Sharon

  2. Wendy - you are so strong to share your story here, thank you. What a wonderful way to celebrate and honor your precious baby daughter Harper. You, Steve, Joey and Harper are in my thoughts and prayers. May God give you and your family peace in this difficult time. Someone else wrote this, but I wanted to share this poem with you:
    I'm just a little baby
    who didn't quite make it there;
    I went straight to be with Jesus
    but I'm waiting for you here.
    Don't you fret about me mommy
    I'm of all God's most blessed
    I'd have loved to stay there with you
    but Heavenly Father knows what's best.
    • Many who dwell here where I live
    waited years to enter in,
    they struggled through a world of sorrow
    and their lives were marred with sin.
    So sweet mommy don't be sad,
    wipe those tears and chase the gloom,
    I went straight to be with Jesus,
    from my lovely mothers womb
    • Thank you for the life you gave me,
    it was brief but don't complain;
    I have all of heaven's glory
    suffering none of the world's pain.
    Thank you for the name you gave me,
    I'm thankful for all you've done.
    I'll be waiting here for you
    in heaven up above.
    I would have loved to stay with you,
    And lived life by your side,
    But the Lord has called me home,
    I know it's hard to understand why.
    • Thank you mommy for making me,
    You made me out of love,
    I can't wait for the day I see you again
    So you can see what I've become.
    I'm an angel here in heaven,
    The Lord's here by my side,
    He wants me to let you know
    He's sorry he made you cry.
    He has a plan for me up here,
    And a plan for you here too,
    Someday we'll be together again,
    And this I know is true.

  3. Hi Wendy,
    You probably don't remember me, but my husband (Ryan Hulse)works with Steve. And I remember you from your beautiful wedding! I am so sorry to hear about your sweet Harper. I cannot imagine how your heart must be hurting. Please know of our love for you and your beautiful family. I have full confidence in God's plan for forever families, and I know that you will be with your Harper again.
    You're in our prayers!
    Much love-
    Amy Hulse

  4. "He that conceals his grief, finds no remedy for it." That's merely an old proverb, but it's also the truth. Staying silent will eat you alive - you are doing the right thing. Let those strangers see the tears pour down your cheeks, offer your thoughts to readers. Harper's life was short, but not meaningless...

  5. Dear Wendy,

    I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter, Harper. I hope other women who have had a similar experience read your blog, see your strength and how you are healing, and that it helps them. I have three children, but before I had my first, I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks. I still remember how I felt, and how hard it was, and can only imagine how much harder it must be for you at 33 weeks. My heart goes out to you and your family. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Jennifer McClaine
    (I work with Steve, but am based in Morristown, NJ)

  6. Dear Wendy,

    I am so very sorry for the loss of Harper. She is so blessed to have so much love for her. I hope that by being able to express your feelings in writting that it will help you heal. I will continue to say prayers for Harper. Much love to you and your family.

    Tracy Scott
    (Honeywell BTR)

  7. Wendy,

    I worked with Steve in Buffalo and we met a few times. I was so saddened to hear what you went through. I can't even begin to imagine what you are going through and fully understand that no words anyone gives you can make it better. However, I just wanted to say to you to hang in there because (a) while your sadness will always be a part of you it WILL become less painful with time and (b) try and rejoice in the wonderful things you have in your life, your beautiful son, loving husband, friends and family, and let them help you heal- and understand, they NEED you as part of their lives and want to be there for you.

    Peter Scheidle