Thursday, May 29, 2014

Six With and Six Without

Another May 29th...Six years of memories with our Hannah and six years of memories without her.

This year, we broke even in our time with her. The first six years were looking forward everyday to see a tiny hand grow, a tiny tooth bud, a crude skill refined, and a perfect one acquired. Those were years spend in investing, years of hopeful anticipation to see our little girl grow and become who God had made her to be.

Then the growth stopped. Life as it was known to us became still. Death reigned. The hopes, the anticipation, the prayers were all engulfed in the sovereign package of His goodness.

When it all ended, we were left with the promise, He is good and all He does is good. Psalm 119:68

Six years later, I can still say, He is still good! The last six years were spend looking back through tears at the hands that never grew, the tooth that never fell, the many skills that were never given a chance to be refined. In our humanness we resorted to days when we would choose intentionally not to remember. We closed our heart at the past as if the pain would go away... Until we learned, that the sovereign package had every grace we needed to face our fears, our dashed hopes, our losses. Our aching hearts also received His great comfort in letting go and be comforted until goodness swept inside the places of vacuum and started to overflow. Strange as it is, our comforted grief became light to many and that death gave birth to many lives.

When the life as we knew it in her diminished and became none, a holy life took over and grew. We are still learning that in the hands of the one who overcame the world, life only grows... in strange ways!

 The healed wounds became holy scars. Joy oozed out of the healed wounds that took us by surprise. "Really, is that even possible?"

After twelve years of birthing Hannah and six years of growing her and six years of wanting her, We are still able to say with the aches and joy, He is good and all He does is good.

There may be many more years left, until we see her again, I am almost sure, the first thing Hannah would say when we meet her would be, "welcome home mama, isn't God good in all He does?"

Right now, Right here, "Happy twelfth birthday, Hannah." 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

He Has Need of Your Unmet Needs

Have you ever felt the weight of an unmet need that is weighing down on you with frustration and perhaps confusion wanting you to give up your godliness and be just a human for a little while? Maybe you  could indulge in your flesh a bit and and forget the cares, after all, the world needs a happy Christian and there is no way you could keep way you can match grace for your frustration. What do you do when an unmet need makes you less of a Christian and perhaps meeting it an ungodly way, maybe just a harmless giving in,  brings you more completion, helps you be focused, gathers you together to become a better Christian or even a better person?

What do you do when the world beckons to meet your need that grace seemingly is no match for, at the moment, and all of it so that you could be a better you?

It does not make sense why you should not when the benefits can be counted to make you be more. BE MORE? That's when the question rises. Be more like who? Be more like the father of lies? Yes, if that is where I find my match. The way of grace is the way of cross. It is not easy. It is the narrow path that stumbles many. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Mathew 7:14

God's ways does not make sense and it certainly is not for the faint of heart. He says, " I have a purpose for you. For you to make much of me, you need to be dependent on me. If this unmet need is what it takes for you to be dependent on me, I want that need to be unmet. I have need of your unmet need. Direct it to me and make it a sacrifice. Let it break you down. Let it leave you doubtful, vulnerable, shattered, less than a gathered self, shattered and perhaps confused. Let these "breakings" magnify the need. Let the wounds bleed and sores putrefy. Let the hopelessness awaken and beckon a healer. Let it make you realize the depth  and magnitude of your need and what and who it takes to fill that need."

It takes such a work of breaking in your life for every valley to be lifted up and every mountain and hill to be made low. It takes work of such a magnitude for the rugged terrain to become a broad valley. Isaiah 40:4
The scripture says "Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh will see it together."(Isaiah 40:5).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Remembering Hannah Today

When something that is received from the hands of a good God is perceived as bad or cannot be appreciated, there are two ways to cope with it. Either we can choose to trust in this God and say, " I know you are good but I'm struggling to trust you with this. Help my unbelief... increase my faith." Or we can give up on God and say, "You are not who you say you are," and be bitter the rest of our days.
It had been 5 years of consistently choosing God's goodness over our comfort. Five years of walking in the valley of shadow of death. Five years of relearning to build our lives again. Five years of fruitfulness from brokenness. Five years of God's faithful restoration. Five years of even trusting God while driving with little kids again.

Father, thank you for bringing Hannah home before us. We miss her but we know who she is with. We long to be with you and her!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Hannah

At The ER

“She is no more…She is with the Lord!” The words that came out of my mouth must have sounded like rocks hammering away on a failing heart. Those words ripped my husband’s heart apart. Blood oozed away from the periphery of his body and he became pale like a dead man. He opened his mouth to say something, but mumbled something and nodded his head in disbelief.

Attempting to bridge the gap between reality and disbelief, he shook his hands away from mine and asked, “They couldn’t do anything to save her?” “No”, I nodded, trying to be composed, and accepting the tragedy of my daughter’s body pronounced dead a few minutes ago, by the chief of the Pediatric Trauma ER.

This Was Not My Idea Of Life

“Mom, why do you go for work? Why can’t you stay home with me?” She asked me from under her covers, her muffled voice directed at me, as she was just waking up, one morning. I was already up and making preparations for the day. I had written down Hannah’s schedule for the day, handed it to her grandparents to follow through, made sure the baby had enough milk thawed out for the day and was heading to the transitional care center, where I worked as a Physical Therapist.

The day was packed. Six hours at work, come back, nurse the baby, take Hannah to the library, take the grandparents out for grocery shopping, dinner plans…My mind was already shutting down at the pace of our life. But, this was America. The land of opportunity. “Need not think more, everybody does it and still survives! Just go on with the rat race of building our lives.” I comforted myself. I was just not sure, if God had called me to do the same thing everybody was doing around me.

“You stayed home all day for so many days when the baby was born, why not now? Please can you take me to the park today? “Hannah’s pleas were further complicating my clouded mind. This was not my idea of life. I was sucked into so much activity and did not have the time or energy to invest in what was most important, serving my husband and building our children.

Determined to bring a change, I looked at Hannah and nodded at her. I walked to the next room, picked up the phone and called the clinic where I worked, requesting for a day off, if their schedule allowed. The supervisor did not think so. My heart sank. I walked back into the room, wanting to console Hannah, but the phone rang. This time my Supervisor thought she could tweak the schedule a bit, so I could stay home. Hannah was excited as she learned about the prospect of a picnic with her mother and all the fun she was going to have with me!

God is Sovereign

I felt a thud, lost control over the steering and the car swirled, I felt like I was in a high speed carousel swaying me, only, it was tragic! Was my foot on the gas or brakes? Or did I leave all control and let the event take its course? Nothing I did could stop the swirling. I was on a trajectory! I turned my gaze over to the back seat in the midst of all this commotion. There was Hannah … with her eyes graceful! I knew she was gone. It had only been 2-3 seconds, but it felt like eternity for me to get to the back seat.

I managed to make some phone calls, do some resuscitation on her, scream at the top of my lungs for help, ran like a mad dog between the car and the street, not wanting to stop resuscitation, but wanting more help . I remember the truck driver calling 911 and then joining me in the back seat as I was screaming and calling on God to revive her, while my hands pushed up and down on her little chest. He prayed with me as I called on the top of my voice, “God have mercy and revive her.”

In a few minutes, I was sitting by a social worker in the pediatric trauma ER of Harbor-UCLA. She was sent there to prepare me for a possible shock and help me cope with the possible death of my daughter. I knew what was coming up. My brokenness had already set in. I embraced the sovereignty of God in one hand and the plea for mercy on the other. I bargained, I pleaded, and I cried, I promised, all the while my heart sensing vanity. My knowledge of the most Holy made me know that He was a sovereign God and He knew what He was doing. A few minutes ago, in the van, with the paramedics intubating her, I gave her over to God to do what seemed best to Him. The knowledge that He is sovereign, translated as peace that He will also sustain. As soon as I stepped into the ER, there was peace that He was in control.

In between the lines, tubes, the doctors, the nurses all the commotion and noise, I saw her…so graceful yet so unresponsive. The chief asked me, if I wanted to hold her hand while still alive (medically) before they pronounced her dead. I held her hand with the knowledge of the Most Holy sustaining me at perfect peace. A friend from church, Anita, who happened to be one of the nurses resuscitating Hannah held me tight and cried over my shoulders, as I took Hannah’s lifeless hands and cried out to God, “ God have mercy on me, be merciful to me and raise her Father, in your Son’s name I pray, Amen.” Nothing happened. I saw the eyes of the nurses and doctors tearing up, as they took off their gloves, wiped their eyes and patted my shoulders or hugged me to console me. They had called off the resuscitation and pronounced her dead.

That day I prayed to God in the name of Jesus whom I had trusted since I was 14 years old. A friend had the guts to walk up to me during recess and ask me if I knew Jesus. She shared the joy of her life with me. I did not have to think twice. I was aware of the vacuum in my life. Growing up in a home with an alcoholic father and a mother who tried to patch up in whatever way she knew, I was a problem kid with a scar. A scar, that resulted from being misunderstood, and unloved. When I heard the gospel that day, I knew only He could heal my broken heart. I heard I was created in Him before the foundations of the world and that He had a purpose for me. As a fourteen year old girl my life was changed radically. My folks thought I was insane and assured themselves this was just another passing season of my life. Many seasons have come and gone, knowing Jesus was never a passing season in my life. After nearly two decades, Jesus continues to be my stronghold, and my commitment and love for Him has only grown since.

At every crossroads, God appointed mentors for me. My friend’s mother who showed me, that there is another way to live life, the one that is lived in obedience to His Holy Spirit, for His purpose. Life in our home was centered on verbal abuses, harsh language, tip toing around the insanity of alcoholism, fearful of abandonment, insecure from unjust blames and guilt. That day Jesus began lifting those burdens and patterns and clothing me with a new nature. A new nature, that He will finish weaving, and grant to me when I lay aside my “tent” and see Him face to face.

God led me to place far from home for college education. There I learned the first lessons of standing alone for God and not following the crowd. I took quite a few punches of oppression as I was singled out as a “Jesus freak” and “not so cool.”

In time, God blessed me with a God fearing man. His home was so much different than mine. The parents loved their children selflessly. The mother was sacrificial and submissive. I am blessed to be part of a family that knows God, worships God and lives to glorify God. My husband had a different childhood than mine.

In his own words he says,” I was raised with good morals and values. As I grew up I found myself as the obedient son, always doing the right things and getting the right grades. My brother shared the gospel with me and put me in a bible believing church as I left my parents in Dubai and came down to Kerala for my college education. As I started attending that church, the truth of the gospel helped me examine my heart. I discovered that “self” was on the throne of my life and I was living for my purposes. I was not aware of a Maker who made me to fulfill His purposes in my life.

The scriptures taught me that my good deeds were like filthy rags before God and that I was sinful even with my “ best obedience and best grades” All I could do was cry out to God to save me from the death that I would face, because the bible says the wages of sin is death. God was merciful to forgive me my sins and accept me as his son because His Son died for me and paid the penalty for my sins. “

Together we have walked quite a decade as partakers of this grace of life. We know God has a purpose in our marriage. We have gone through some real trials in our marriage and lives. We have seen lives been born and die. Yet, we do not exalt the death of our child, but we exalt the death of Jesus. The death of our child cannot save anyone, but the death of Jesus can.

A Counter Cultural Vision

Our focus is on displaying the beauty of God through our marriage. God chose the example of marriage to show the relationship of His son to the church. It is lofty in His eyes, so we take this institution seriously. God has also put in our hearts, a counter cultural vision of seeking His name and doing what pleases Him as we live for His glory.

(This picture was taken on her 6th birthday)

Today we celebrate Hannah's 10th birthday in her absence. There would have been balloons and presents, had she been with us today. She would have grown up some more...There is pain when I think of her growth and what she would have been to all her siblings. I accept God's sovereignty. Our lives have changed tremendously since God has allowed this in our life. He has made us ministers of His hope and grace to many. I yield my life to Him knowing its is His and He will bring beauty out of ashes

Monday, November 8, 2010

Come over and Join me

I have been thinking of writing and sharing what the Lord has taught me for sometime now. I did not find it suitable to continue on this blog because I started this with another purpose. This blog is a memorial for Hannah. Some time later, I would like to wrap it up and and make it into a book. For now, I'll just leave it open and come back here if I wanted to share anything regarding Hannah.

Mean while I started another blog. It is more of journaling and sharing whatever the Lord has been teaching me. I hope it will be an encouragement to you. You can go there by clicking  here . Thank you for being a part of my grieving journey.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

A cake that never saw 8 candles.

Dear Hannah,

With feelings of pain mixed with hope we celebrate your birthday. Celebrating your birthday is different in your absence. Do we celebrate or do we mourn? Do we sing or do we cry? I do not know my child, but I know we have a common place where our hearts are united in hope. And that is in the presence of our Lord.

When the birthday reminder that was set on my phone beeped today, I did not know what to do. I lifted my heart to my God and tearfully remembered what it would have been if you were here. Your position as an older sister is still open but never to be filled or taken by anyone. Down here on this earth, we are bound by time and space. So for us time translates to years and ages. we age and we grow. But I remember how different it is in heaven. Heaven is not bound by time or space. There is no aging and so there might not be birthdays. But I know only to live as a human and in my human understanding I celebrate your 8th birthday.

May God's name be glorified in that cake that never saw 8 candles.
May God's name be glorified in the balloons that were never blown for you this year.
May God's name be glorified in the toys that were never bought and the fun that we never had together celebrating you and singing over you.
May God's name be glorified in the absence of my firstborn.
May God's name be glorified when you did not go to second grade,but all your friends did.
May God's name be glorified in the wound that surfaces every year as your memories washes it to the shore.
May God's name be glorified in and through our lives in your absence and in all the pain and tears and may the purpose for which God allowed it take completion in every way.

The desire of our soul O Lord, is for your name and for the remembrance of You.