A Joyous Blessing Instead of Mourning
Updated: Oct 2, 2021
Today’s blog is brought to you by a gentle soul who I’ve had the privilege of befriending through online author circles, let’s welcome Nancy Lee who loves to encourage others by sharing true inspirational stories on her blog. She is a former Christian school teacher and Recreation Therapist/Activities Director. She and her husband live in a small town in the Mohawk Valley in Upstate New York, an area rich in history and natural beauty. They are blessed to be the parents of four amazing young adult children and a son-in-law. Nancy loves to hike, explore, and walk her three small, mixed-breed dogs. She also loves to spend time with her family, read and write.
The early morning sun streamed in the window. For a moment I felt the sweet promise of the new day, but then I remembered. I had lost the baby. I rolled over and buried my head in my pillow and wept softly so as not to wake up my husband.
I tried to get more sleep, but my head was swirling with thoughts. It just didn’t make sense to me. We were so excited. We were so thankful. The news that we were pregnant came on the heels of losing my father. The thought that God was bringing new life into the family was such a comfort to us. And then, a week after we had shared our wonderful news, I lost the baby.
I rolled over and glanced at the clock then slipped out of bed. I trudged down the stairs and, leaving the lights off, went through the motions of making coffee and chopping onions to put in tuna salad for my husband’s lunch. When he came downstairs, I handed him his lunch and ushered him out the door to leave for work, careful to avoid making eye contact. By then the kids were up so I started making breakfast. I might have fooled my husband, but not my son.
“Mommy are you crying again?” he said as I set his breakfast on the table in front of him. I wiped a tear off my cheek and turned away mumbling, “Maybe it was the onions,” thinking how perceptive he was for a five-year-old.
His little sister didn’t seem to notice. I walked into the other room so they couldn’t see the tears. I was getting worried. The dark cloud of grief was not lifting. I thought about calling my mother. But I decided not to bother her. It had been less than two months since she lost her husband. And she had already visited twice this week. She came over on Monday when I went to the doctor, and he confirmed that I lost the baby. My husband dropped me back off at home with the kids, and Mom came over thinking she would catch up on the laundry, cook dinner, and watch the kids. But I had other ideas.
“Mom, please just sit with me,” I begged her. So, she sat with me all afternoon as I lay on the couch and the kids played. Then she came over again and spent another day with us.
I looked up at the clock. Nine o’clock. I took a deep breath, picked up the phone, and dialed the doctor’s office. The receptionist put me through to the nurse practitioner I saw on Monday when I lost the baby. I mustered all the courage I could and said, “It has been four days, and I’m exhausted; I am still achy, and I can’t seem to stop crying.”
Her response was neither encouraging nor helpful. “I don’t know what to tell you,” she said. “Of course, it’s a loss.”
I set the phone down feeling embarrassed that I had called her. Then I picked it up again. “Maybe I should call one of my sisters,” I thought. But I talked myself out of it. They were all grieving, too. And I didn’t have any friends at church yet—we’d only been going there a couple of months. I went into the living room and plopped down into my recliner. I closed my eyes, feeling alone as tears streamed down my face.
A little hand slipped into mine. I opened my eyes and looked into the face of my daughter; two months shy of three. She looked at me with her big hazel eyes. Dark wispy curls outlined her face. Without saying a word, she crawled up next to me, squeezing her chubby little thighs against mine. I slid my arm around her and we sat in silence, side by side, squeezed together on the chair. I felt the warmth of her love. I felt the warmth of God’s love through her. The black cloud of grief faded to gray, and I could see the blessing God had placed right before me. Not one but two precious children who, in their sweet innocence, loved me unconditionally, and at their tender ages were tuned into the emotions of their grieving mom.
I felt gratitude well up within my heart, and without thinking, picked up the hymnal sitting on the table beside me. I flipped through it and began singing, tears streaming down my face. Chelsea didn’t seem to notice the tears and sang along the best that she could with her sweet little voice.
The words that I had sung mindlessly so many times suddenly took on meaning and comforted my heart. These words, written years ago have ministered to souls throughout the centuries. I felt more hopeful with each page turn. We sat together singing for hours.
“. . . Leaning, leaning, Leaning on the Everlasting arms. . .” “O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, a shelter in the time of the storm. . .” “. . .Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee . . .” “I’m so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me . . .”
Twenty-five years have passed since that day, and I am still in awe of how God reached out to minister to my grieving heart through the love of my little children. Since that time, God gave us the gift of two more daughters, and I am now the mother of four amazing young adults who continue to be a source of inspiration and strength for me.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
Nancy’s—7 Answers to 7 Questions—
Favorite musician at present...someone/band you must listen to in the gym or on a road trip, no exceptions, they're getting played. Who are they?
A tie between In the Valley Duo and Sorrow Estate. (Upcoming singer/songwriters from the Capitol region of New York State.)
Do you name your vehicle and if so what’s the name, why, and do you have any swag to represent your ride?
We used to name our cars when the kids were younger. Our favorite was Carlos. There was also Sanchez and Estaban. (Now I must name my current car.)
The junk drawer in your CAR…which item is most valuable?
I never leave home without an ice scraper/snow brush in any season. A close second would be a pair of scissors.
Historical figure you most identify with and why?
I am intrigued by the courage of my great-great-grandmother, Susan Brownlow Boynton. As a young widow home alone with her baby, she held a gun on a group of confederates that attempted to remove the Union flag flying outside her home in Knoxville, TN, and replace it with the confederate flag. She stood her ground, and they ran away. (If you google her name, you will find her story.)
What are you hungry for (not food), something you quest after, that motivates you?
I am blessed and motivated when I hear stories of people who overcome obstacles and live victorious lives, of people who are determined to serve Jesus every day no matter what life throws at them.
Where would you like to spend a year of your life…no limits on how it’s done?
There are so many places I would love to spend time, but more important is who I would spend the time with, so my answer is any beautiful place surrounded by my loved ones.
What is your soul message, a one-sentence legacy for your posterity?
Every day is a gift from God.
Where can you find more from Nancy?
-From the Fire Ring Blog, Vol. 1, No. 17