Sunday, July 18, 2010

More wonderful, amazing grace from our Lord...


Many of you will remember that the Lord spoke strongly and clearly to Molly five months prior to Henry's death, putting words on Molly's heart asking for the sacrifice of letting our son be taken to be with Him in Heaven. Molly recorded these words in a journal during a women's Ignatian silent retreat put on by the St. Paul Seminary, a retreat she went on while four months pregnant (gender unknown at the time) in July of 2008.  Later that year in December our son, Henry, passed away, stillborn at full term (see this previous post where I reproduced some of Molly's journal entries). The direct knowledge that this was part of God's plan for Henry, for us, and for our family was greatly comforting, despite the great pain that it caused us, with effects that will last a lifetime.

In June of 2009, despite the deep emotion of the previous year's retreat, Molly decided to go on the same women's Ignatian retreat. Now, she was pregnant again, but just days before the retreat we had received the sad news that the baby would likely not live; there was every indication that a miscarriage was occurring (this was at roughly the 6-7 week point of the pregnancy). I remember discussing with her whether she would really be OK going to the retreat if she might miscarry while there, without me beside her. After prayer, she decided to still attend the retreat, and she ended up having another wonderful experience. In fact, she knew she was supposed to be there, because another woman at the retreat was also in the process of a miscarriage and they both were able to console each other and pray for each other. After coming home, Molly later did miscarry and we named the baby Jude. Jude's remains are buried near Henry's and we know they are together in Heaven praying for us and experiencing the full glory of God.

Flash forward to just last week, Molly and I were driving the kids somewhere in the van and conversing and (surely from God) something in our conversation struck her and she remembered God revealing a scripture passage to her during the 2009 retreat that she recorded in her journal (she also kept a journal during that retreat, similar to 2008). As soon as we got home she went and got her journal and read what she wrote (just as a reminder, at the time she wrote this on the retreat a miscarriage was in process with Jude, but we were praying for a miracle):
June 27, 2009

During mass - Reading from Genesis - to Sarah
"I will return to you this time next year and your shall have a son."

There was a moment after the second ultrasound when "How Great is Our God" came on the radio. (I also heard this on the way to the clinic and I was struck with fear). But this next time I heard it I felt as though perhaps God would show his greatness in a miracle rather in His ability to be the beginning and the end of life as He was with Henry. We had this song at Henry's funeral mass.

Then... during mass (I wrote this on a previous page) my translation says this: (from Genesis 18:10) "The Lord said, 'I will surely return to you in the Spring, and Sarah, your wife, shall have a son'."

I heard during mass, "I will return to you a year from now (or this time next year) and you shall have a son."

Immediately, I was struck that these words were for me. And I believe what the Lord says. It could mean several things:
- The child in my womb will be saved and the child (a son?) will be well a year from now.
- The child in my womb has passed, but the Lord, in His greatness, has in His plans a new son who will be born a year from now.

It is hard to imagine how all of this will come to pass, but I trust that it will. And I know that some day I will look upon the words of this journal and marvel at how God has "worked all things for good" as He promised to those who love Him.
After she read this out loud, tears in her eyes, we marveled how now we were indeed expecting a son -- a new son, Francis -- almost exactly a year after she wrote those words, just as the Lord had said. She was amazed that she hadn't remembered this passage in her journal until that moment in the van. Goodness, if we had comprehended this earlier, the 20-week ultrasound (when we found out the gender) wouldn't have had any suspense, of course this was going to be a boy!

All this was amazing enough to us, AND THEN here we sit in mass this morning, six days before Molly goes in to the hospital to be prepped for Francis' induction, and the first reading was Genesis 18:1-10, with the last verse being (from the NAB):
One of them said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son."
I (maybe dumbly) didn't look over at Molly because I knew it would make her cry (we immediately discussed after mass though :-). What joyful providence and care that the Lord has blessed us with! We know Francis is also (along with each and every one of our children) so very much part of God's plan for us, and we can't wait to meet him this coming weekend (if not before)!


Sarah said...

God bless you guys! You have brought tears to my eyes this early morning. God is so good! Greg and I are praying for you especially this week. We are so blessed to call you friends. Thank you for your witness.

P.S. Molly, I have been meaning to connect with you about my retreat at the seminary last month. But I know you have been so busy getting settled into the house and anxiously preparing for Francis. So, it can wait. I just want to say that it was a wonderful weekend for me, and I thank you for encouraging me to go. {Hugs!}

Anonymous said...

God be praised! Love and peace to you both and I do hope that bebe Francis does make his debut on my b'day! Caz

Anonymous said...

Praying for you all....what a witness of faith you both have. God's grace and mercy flows through you both!

Debbie (Nana) Koop said...

How great, awesome and incomprehensible is our God. There's so little we know about God's plan, but you are doing what is required - TRUST in the face of great suffering that God loves us more than we can imagine and that His plan for us is the absolute best possible Way.

Linda Olson said...

I was at Mass last Sunday and thought of you during the prayers. Not because of that Scripture (although it is one of my favorites), but just prior to the Sign of Peace. I had a paraphase of the words that Father was speaking float through my head--"...and protect them from all anxiety as they wait in joyful hope for the coming of Francis". I hope that those prayers were answered. Bless you all as you welcome a new member to the family!