Today marks the 4th Birthday of my little boy, Peter (If you don’t know the story read this post first: Remembering Those Gone Too Soon).
Even after four years, I still marvel at how God brings good out of suffering. None of us like going through trials because it is painful, but every ocassion is a call to deeper love from God. If we viewed suffering as a way of God showering us in His love, instead of as a punishment we would approach it differently. As St. Thomas More said,
“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”
It is easy to get caught up in our pain from time to time, but if we would stop, ponder, and really think about that for the Christian who loves God there should be no fear about death. And losing those we love, if they have loved God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength then knowing their passing is them entering life.
Shortly after losing Peter, I was a mess. I cried myself to sleep every night and every time I showered for three months straight. I was in a very dark place, my heart was broken. I remember the words a priest told me:
“It’s okay to be sad, but do not become bitter.”
These words hit my heart hard. It’s ok to tell God you are hurting and sad, but a completely different thing to become bitter towards God and others. I asked God to soften my heart and not let this suffering sour me.
My husband and I practice natural family planning and after losing Peter my charting was all over the place. I so desperately longed for another child to hold, but it didn’t seem likely.
However, after 3 months I found out I was pregnant (on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception). So much joy that day! I remember it was a Sunday and going to mass and just knowing that a new life was inside me. I remember texting my best friend to tell her the news with the hopes that I would put her into labor since it was her due date ( note: she went into labor the next day and I’d like to take credit for that 😉).
Close to a month later, on Monday, January 6th, I got to see the little heartbeat of our new child. There was a heartbeat! After losing Peter, I came to realize how little control we have over anything and how rare it really is to be able to carry a baby to term (1 out of 4 women lose a baby). Fertility is fragile.
On February 13th, a Thursday, I woke up bleeding. My heart started racing and I started crying saying “No, I can’t lose this one.” My husband and I went to the ER, but since I was still 13 weeks there was nothing they could do. So they sent me home and I just had to wait. My husband had to remind me to trust and pray. Trust and pray. I prayed with my tears. I begged God to protect this child, but also for the strength to accept His Will. A few days later I went to my OB and thanks be to God the baby was ok.
Fast forward to being 37 weeks pregnant, my doctor discovered during an ultrasound the baby didn’t have enough amniotic fluid. So I was scheduled for immediate induction.
On July 30th, a Wednesday at 3:45 in the afternoon our son was born. We named him Isaac for ‘laughter’ and Benedict for ‘blessings’. All the little things that happened with Isaac arriving I know were God at work. The nurses, Kathleen and Renee that were there with me when Peter was stillborn were also on shift when Isaac arrived.
Also, I didn’t realize it until later, but Isaac was born on a St. Peter feast day.
I love this Bible verse from the second letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
I tell you all of this to give you hope and pray that you will be comforted with the same comfort that I have received. Please feel free to share any trials you are going through in the comments. There are so many beautiful, hidden ways God is at work to comfort us in our suffering. Let’s pray for the grace to trust and persevere.
Happy 4th Birthday, Peter! St. Peter Jude, pray for us.