The Kids are OK

One of my friends and his wife are presently suffering through miscarriage and all of the pain and grief and confusion that accompanies it. In speaking to this friend yesterday, I recalled part of my life's testimony which I have had only a few occasions to relate. After sharing with him, it occurred to me that I had never committed this portion of my story to writing. I share this on Father's Day in the hopes that it might be some small glimmer of encouragement to those for whom this day is marked with grief. – Ron


Waves

My spiritual life has been a series of undulating waves – lifted high one moment to spy a distant land of hope, floundering in a trough the next, trying to keep my head above the waves, and calling out for help. One evening in October of 2008 was one such moment when I felt as though I were going to drown, and I begged God to speak to me and give me some indication I hadn't been forgotten. Praying thus, I fell asleep.

The Dream

I found myself barefoot on a muddy hillside at night. The air was chill. Before me was a two-story brick house with all of the lights on. "Come over here," a man holding a water hose called out to me from the driveway. "Stand on this rock and let me wash your feet off." I complied. He seemed as familiar to me as a relative, but I couldn't quite place him. "Let's go inside and talk," he said. I followed him down the sidewalk lined with monkey grass, up the steps to the porch, through the door, up more stairs, and through a baby gate. Inside were our children and some other children I didn't recognize. He saw me looking at them, and said "Don't worry about them. I'm watching them. The kids are OK." He continued, "Be very careful in your relationship with Alison. Don't allow a wedge to be driven between you."

And then I woke up.

The dream had felt absolutely real and I had the strongest feeling that God had spoken to me, but I had no idea what it might have meant. I asked Alison, and she didn't have an interpretation. I spoke to my dad, who likewise had no idea. I told my friend Donnie. Told my pastor. No idea. 

I put it aside and forgot about it.

Undone

In 2009, after determining we'd outgrown our two bedroom house, we sold it and moved to another part of town. Alison conceived, and our excitement in adding another child to our family soon gave way to grief after discovering she had miscarried. This grief was soon amplified by a second miscarriage.

The depth of emotion was more than I could hope to convey with my simple words, but suffice it to say we were undone.

One Sunday morning we both fell apart. Neither of us could face the happy faces and warm handshakes. We felt completely isolated. We were an island of garbage at the bottom of the biggest wave we had ever faced. We cowered in its shadow, and it would crush us. Who knew our pain? Who could we talk to? Could we even talk to anyone about it? Why was this happening? Why? We spent the entire church service sitting together in our van weeping. Both of us engaged in the ugliest of ugly cries. Why, God?

Alison became pregnant again and we were terrified. It was a difficult pregnancy, and the next spring our fourth child was born in a grueling and brutal delivery experience. Our baby had survived, and we were relieved. Even so, I was bitter at God for years over the two we lost. I could never forget those children.

Life moved on. Seasons changed, our children grew, we worked on our house, planted things, planned things. Grief would occasionally bubble to the surface, but we just kept moving forward as best we could. But our "Why, God?" never really went away. 

One evening I took the trash out. It had been raining for weeks and weeks. I stepped out on the grass of our muddy hillside. The air was chill. Before me was our two-story brick house with all of the lights on. Why was this so... familiar? Suddenly there came a distant echo in my mind, "Don't worry about them. I'm watching them. The kids are OK."

I ran down our sidewalk lined with monkey grass, up the steps to our porch, through our door, up more stairs, through our baby gate, and with tears I told Alison, "Jesus said the kids are OK."

Not Forsaken

I'm no closer to understanding why, but I know without a shadow of doubt that God cares. That He hears. That He knows.

He never forgets His children.

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
— Deuteronomy 31:8