My hope is that this post will encourage you sisters in knowing the great treasure it is to take on another’s pain. Know that every act of remembering and holding others’ sorrows is a God given task to show Christ in a way that could be life altering. You are an essential part of how Christ leads us through the valleys.
May of 2018
She came up to me at the end of church and asked how I was doing. Tears filled my eyes as I confronted the stinging reality that the baby we thought would be adopted into our family had just been permanently returned to his bio-parent. I saw his confusion as to why we were leaving him. I broke when his zoned-out face would light up at the sight of me while being held in his real mother’s arms. And here was my friend, asking how I was doing. I don’t know what we spoke about, but I do remember her tears. There was my sister in Christ, taking on my burden and crying with me.
She was about 6 weeks ahead of me. It was our second pregnancies at the same time and the joy and doing it again together was so fun! Fun, until I started bleeding and was told we were miscarrying. Here I was with an empty womb, and that same dear friend came to my home, held me, and cried with me. Like a big sister filled with compassion and humility – my heart was given grace to face the reality of my loss. There is no greater honor or gift than to see someone go deep with you into your painful sorrows.
I was home after church another Sunday just days after our third baby’s due date came and went. Three women came down to our little apartment, three women who all had babies who were born very close to my baby who was with Jesus. They came into my home. They initiated. They pressed in bearing a message of remembrance, love and care. They gave precious tokens that constantly remind me of my daughter and of these ladies’ love. Each one of their children are so extremely precious to me. They hold a piece of our baby girl with them as I watch them grow into feisty toddlers now. They are a gift with more meaning than any other kind of gift could be.
I treasure these women. They are bold. They loved when it was hard to be vulnerable. Instead of retreat they pressed in with hands to hold me up in some of my darkest moments. And here is what I have to say: Your openness and bold love shows so much of Jesus, sisters. He is not fearful to go to the deepest darkest sorrows of your life and when the body of Christ exemplifies His heart, it welcomes healing. I have witnessed Christ in His people and have been humbled and strengthened by their tenacity to get into the trenches with me. So when there is opportunity to remember your sister in her trials, know that your act of remembering or giving her permission to cry or celebrating her loss alongside your joy – is one of the most meaningful gifts you can ever give.