thankful

It was mid November two years ago that my wife and I were taken off guard with bad news.  My wife was 12 weeks pregnant & her doctor had set up an ultrasound.  We went in for what we thought was a routine test to confirm that everything was ok.  The nurse moved the ultrasound device back and forth across my wife’s pregnant tummy.  We held
hands and watched the black and white shapes on the screen, waiting to be told what, exactly, we were looking at.  Then, as the nurse pulled the device away from my wife’s stomach and began to wipe it with a cloth and put it away, she casually told us, “yea, it looks like this terminated a couple weeks ago.”  We couldn’t comprehend what she was saying.

What had “terminated?”  And what in the world did she mean by “terminated?” This was just a test to confirm that everything was still “ok” in there, right?  Why was she tossing around words like “terminated?” The cold delivery seemed to amplify the impact of the news.  My wife had miscarried.  It was the week before Thanksgiving.  We spent the holiday trying to wrap our minds around what had happened and struggled to understand why.

In our time of confusion and pain our church family comforted us.  A surprising number of women had experienced this same heartache.  They willingly opened up old wounds and shared my wife’s sorrow.  Some of them had miscarried multiple times.  Women recalled painful memories in order to comfort my wife and assure her that she was not alone.

Almost exactly a year later my wife gave birth to our 3rd little girl. Again, the week before Thanksgiving. (November 17th). With the birth of each of our children, my wife has struggled with postpartum depression.  As we brought our new baby home and prepared for the holidays, the symptoms began to intensify.  This was her third time through postpartum depression, but this time seemed more severe.

As church folks often do after the birth of a baby, people began to bring meals to our home.  But somehow, with my wife struggling with depression, these meals took on greater significance.  These nightly visits from friends brought us more than food.  They brought comfort and peace.  They brought reassurance and strength. They brought concerned family members sharing our burdens. They brought love.

I ate meals that had been prepared by friends with tears in my eyes, overwhelmed by God’s love for me and for my family.  His love took on many forms.  It was meals delivered to our home.  It was a woman willing to sit with my wife, just to keep her company, or watch our kids so she could rest.  It was a friend who took our older girls to play at her home at a moments notice.  It was friends lifting up my wife and our family in prayer. Our church family became a very real expression of the love of God.

Two years in a row I have seen the incredible love of God expressed through the church. Of all the things I have to be thankful for, I am  most thankful to be a part of the Body of Christ.

“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 (NLT)

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