Wednesday, March 26, 2008

When Opportunity Knocks, Go Visit It at the Hospital

We've been attending our other church since December, and became members in January. I say "other" church because so many of my friends who read and comment here are from the church we moved away from, and though we're no longer members there, we still feel such a connection. And all of that is completely irrelevant.

The new semester for Community Groups over here began in February, and since James works so long and so late through the week, the only groups that could work into our corporate schedules are on Sunday nights. The weekend the groups launched, however, we had out of town guests and weren't able to attend anywhere. We planned to attend the next meeting two weeks later, but every other week since groups began, someone in our home has been sick or out of town. That said, we've not plugged into a group thus far.

At one point, though, we did make contact with a group (before we knew we were having guests), and the group leader has since been very faithful to connect with us through e-mail. Yesterday, in my Inbox was a request to bring meals to a family that belongs this particular group. When I read through the e-mail, I was intrigued. It seems there's a family in our church needing meals because the wife/mom is in the hospital on pregnancy bedrest. She's been there now for three weeks and has several more weeks to go. Group member or not, after having been in that exact same position only six years ago, there was no way I was missing out on serving that family. (It's been six years?!)

I immediately responded to the e-mail to be included in the meal rotation, but I went a little beyond that. I got the lady's phone number and called a stranger strapped to a hospital bed. 'Cause forcing myself upon imprisoned strangers is apparently how I roll.

I approached her with trepidation and gave her out after out, as far as getting off the phone was concerned. But she was interested in talking and we actually had a great conversation. I shared Gracie's birth story with her, and she shared her current state with me. We bemoaned the bad side of hospital bedrest and we truly understood one another. And I think because I intimately knew where she was at, she seemed to feel free to share with me some of those things you don't want to tell others for fear of not being "in faith," which was such an amazing honor.

And she's absolutely "in faith." In fact, she has the most beautiful faith. She's struggled through this whole pregnancy, which began as a beautiful surprise. She's laid flat for 23 days now with many more to go. Doctors continually inform her of their limits and of her own, and she knows without a doubt that every moment her baby grows inside of her is yet one more moment that God has mightily shown up. She's an awesome woman indeed.

I was surprised at my ability to even talk to this stranger, because I'd just spent the morning with my Millie having coffee and whining about life. (Seriously, I don't have coffee with Amy just to whine, but she pulls it out of me. What a friend -- it gets good when the tears start flowing.) We'd talked a little more about my season in life and upcoming anniversaries and I still can't help but get choked up. Because of that, because I was already so sensitive, I was surprised that (1) I asked for her number, (2) I dialed the number, and (3) I talked to her without becoming a blubbering idiot.

Then, to my own surprise, I asked if I could some see her. Seriously, the words fell out of my mouth before I realized I was even thinking the thought, and before I could sidestep or retract anything, she said yes. Not that I would want to sidestep or retract my request, but I don't generally dial up strangers to get into their business, and I definitely don't invite myself to their hospital room. But she said yes and seemed truly pleased that I wanted to come.

In spite of the fact that I'll be right back in the middle of the place where my baby died, I find myself excited. I'm excited to go visit this woman (her name is Karen) because I know how I can pray for her. I know the things you go through physically, emotionally, and spiritually when your pregnancy ties you down. I understand where she's at in every sense of the concept. My prayers for her will not be abstract, but rather, specific. I can listen to her stories and nod my head with knowing, and she can take comfort in the fact I really do understand. I go visit her tomorrow, and I'm so excited to have been invited and included in a place where, but for the grace of God, I do not belong.

"Carry each other's burdens,
and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28 NIV


  • Someone Being Me

    I think its great that you reached out to this woman who is in a scary situation. Being pregnant and in the hospital is a scary and isolating experience. I'm sure she appreciates someone who has been there that will come and see her. One of my favorite memories of being in the hospital before Bear was born was when one of my friends from church came and brought me snacks and prayed with me. She came in the middle of the day when everyone else was at work or taking care of errands. That meant a lot to me. And I was only in the hospital 3 days before Bear came. I can't imagine 23 days with many more stretching ahead.

  • Happy Mommy

    I am reading your blog for the first time tonight. My heart has broken for you as I have skimmed through your thoughts and posts. I can't imagine the courage it will take for you to go to the hospital tomorrow to meet this woman from your church, but I do know God is going to use you in a mighty way! I will pray for you and for Karen! You are going to be the blessing she needs!
    We Both read several of the same blogs.

  • The Dukes Family

    I love that, Amanda. You blessed this woman so much in ways you don't even know. I know it was so huge for you to call her and reach out to her, especially at this time of year with Zachary's birthday so near. You are such a Godly woman to heed His voice and use your life to reach out to others.

  • taralynn819

    Such a vivid picture of II Corinthians 1 - "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

    Empathy is so powerful.

    My cousin's wife is also presently in the very same situation. They have no children, just 3 miscarriages (one at 5 months!), and they are so hopeful about this new pregnancy. I guess once you realize how much good bedrest can do,you will go to great lengths to see that child born to term and healthy. This is her blog, below, but she hasn't written much lately. I think she is 9 weeks so far. I hope this is it for them!!!

  • Julie

    Amazing story.
    So inspirational!

  • Jenny James

    Timing is everything, huh? What a cool opportunity to befriend someone new and pour into her life when she needs it most. And it seems she might be able to pour into your life as well.
    You've been in my prayers so much lately.
    Love you!!

  • Amy

    So very proud of you...

  • Ceci

    I am glad that you did call. I have been in similar situations with parents having cleft babies. I am normally a withdrawn person, preferring the safety of people I know very well. But when I find out someone's having a cleft baby, I offer to fly across the country to sit with them during the first surgery! (PTL my hubby works for an airline and I fly free!)

    Just know that God wants you to reach out, and by being faithful to that, your faith is deepening, and so is your beauty!


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