My hope is not in trees

Three days ago we labored, gave birth, and said goodbye to our tiny daughter Lucy Pearl.

I thought about waiting to write. Waiting until I’ve managed to wrap this up in a neat little package in my mind. Waiting until I can speak in past tense of trusting God in the midst of the pain and sorrow and confusion. Waiting until my physical strength is back.

Right now I feel like a weak mess. Right now, trusting God is a mental choice, not a feeling I can lean into.

Lucy isn’t the first baby we’ve lost. She’s the fifth, in a row. Three of them were so tiny we never even got to name them. But Lucy and her brother Luke were beautifully formed, with tiny fingers and toes and fingernails.

We were past the risk of early miscarriage. We were past the hardest part of pregnancy, in which we tried to be thankful for the horrible nausea and fatigue and the toll it took on the family because that meant the pregnancy was strong.

So many people were praying for Lucy. So many people were praying that my body would be a healthy and safe place for her to grow.

And then there were the trees.

We moved to a new home this past summer and there are four stately aspens planted in a row by the barn, tall and beautiful. I felt like they were a gift – a memorial for the four babies we’d lost. And I hoped, and prayed, that they might be the only ones.

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It’s hard to even write that. I knew the trees weren’t a promise. I said as much to friends. But they brought me hope and comfort. I hoped they were a promise. I hoped they meant we’d get to meet and grow up with our baby.

A good friend looked me in the eye after we got home from the hospital this week and asked point blank: “How are you feeling about the trees?” And I told her, honestly, that I was struggling with being disappointed with God. Why did my Dad let me hope? Why were there four trees there? Why didn’t he choose to let us keep Lucy?

And my friend said simply, “Ask him. Talk to him about it. Cry all over him. He can handle it.”

So that’s what I’m doing.

I’m deciding (sometimes many times a day) to trust him. To believe what I know is true: That he’s a good God. That none of this surprised him. That there truly will be a day when this suffering and sorrow will pale next to the explosive joy we’ll feel when our family is reunited forever. That somehow the loss here will make sense there. Or that it just won’t matter.

The first time we walked through this, when we lost our son Luke, we felt wrapped in God’s comfort like a warm blanket. This time it hasn’t felt as obvious.

So I get to choose: Will I believe that God is the same today, yesterday and forever? Will I trust that he loves me as much now as he has proven in the past? Will I say, like Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him”?

Oh man. That’s a scary, scary thing to write. In practice, I’d much rather be a fragile daughter than a daughter who can face lions. I’m so glad it’s not up to me.

For today, for this moment, I feel glad to be able to say, “I choose to trust you, God.” And I feel thankful that he isn’t just the object of my faith, but also its source. As long as he gives me enough for this moment, it will be enough for the days, weeks and years to come.

This spring, we’ll plant another tree. And we will thank God for the five children who will someday be there to welcome us into eternity with him.



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5 responses to “My hope is not in trees

  1. linda burr

    oh marsha! i am so sorry…crying at this news and also feeling sad and frustrated and angry and ‘why?! why?!’…my heart is breaking with you in this…i was thinking about you just last week and feeling so happy that you were feeling better and good and this was really going to happen..there was going to be another baby and you had made it through..and God was going to bless you with this little life after so much heartache…this was an answer to so many prayers and desires….it just made me so happy to think about it and about you…and lucy…the trees make me very sad….i know you will see them all some day…all of your babies and it will be beyond any kind of love and joy we can know here in this life..but my heart is breaking at this news. i am so sorry dear friend. praying for you and kerry and the kids…praying for God’s comfort and for faith. love you…..

  2. I am so sorry for the loss of little Lucy. It is so hard to grieve ones own precious baby. May the Lord of grace and peace give you comfort and wrap you in his arms of love. Lucy is beyond the sorrow now and celebrating eternity with Jesus and her other brothers and sisters. They will all be there in the loving care of the Savior until that day when you will all be reunited. See them in your heart laughing and singing, climbing and playing, and let your heart be warmed with the thought of them. See them in the faces of the children you hold everyday and allow your heart time to cry, and time to smile at the antics going on in heaven. I wish I could hold you Marsha. I love you so much.

  3. Anna

    Hi Mush, thinking of you today and little Lucy playing in Heaven with Jesus. Love you. — sister

    • Heather

      Praying every day. I don’t understand why this happened but one day, when He can look in your eyes and hold your face in His hands, I know He will help you understand. Love you guys.

  4. Jennifer

    Love you my cousin. Can’t imagine all the feelings you must be experiencing right now, but I’m thankful that you choose to trust Jesus. He has brought me through loss and pain as well. Different loss. But He held my hand and lifted my chin to His face and held me with His love. I think of you this way. Standing before Jesus, weak and feeling broken, but nonetheless allowing yourself to be held by His love. I’m sorry you must feel this again. ♡

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