About two years ago, I walked into a labor and delivery room and my heart linked up with Morgan Grantham. No stranger to suffering, Morgan navigates unfathomable grief, and on that day, she was welcoming one child into the world all the while grieving the loss of another. Since then, Morgan has inspired and encouraged me with her words, her grace, her generous vulnerability, her courage, and her enormous heart. At the end of our most recent photo session, the moon shone and little Ethan kept pointing it out and I thought about how Morgan reflects hope, just like the moon. I asked her if she had anything she wanted to share on the subject and what follows is the gift she wrote for all of us. Read it and let it bless you, Morgan's thought on hope, reflections of her Creator's love, promises, grace...
According to the dictionary, hope is a “feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” According to the Bible, hope is the expectation that God will fulfill His promises…it is a confidence that everything He says is true. Every. Single. Thing.
October 9, 2018
317 days after our sweet Katie Bug died, we “welcomed” our Baby Ethan into this world. Hope looked and felt very different than it did one year earlier. As I look at these pictures two years later, I am brought to tears. I can remember these moments as if they were yesterday and yet, a lifetime ago. In terms of literal time, there are only 2 years between then and now, but in terms of grief and trauma and healing and hurting, it is also a lifetime. These pictures, my first time to meet Candace, were traumatic for me. I was bringing a new baby into a world that can and will hurt him…physically, emotionally, spiritually and everything in between. The brokenness of the world had already killed my daughter…what did that mean for this baby…and his big brother? I didn’t have hope, but I did confidently expect that hope and healing would come…I was adamant and even aggressive in the search of it. If I looked hard enough, I would find it again. If I just “stayed the course” in the valley, eventually, at some point, I would begin to climb again. We were doing the best we could…it was all we had to give. Stay the course…believe with confident expectation…read and learn…stay in the Word…pray…go to counseling…raise your boys…be a wife…do all the things you’ve been doing…stay the course…hope and healing will come…it has to...beauty from ashes…redemption from despair…rescued from abandoned.
I don’t remember when I desired to have birth pictures taken, but I do remember the why. My mind and heart told me that this baby would be celebrated…I would celebrate this baby because that is what has to be done…babies are a blessing and by everything in me, this baby would not be a replacement of Katie and would not be treated as such…he would be loved and nursed and cared for all the days of his life…however long or short. I was aggressive in my search of healing and these pictures remind me of that pursuit.
years ago, our Gavin was celebrating his second birthday with his big sister and we were going through the days with our family. One year ago, I almost took my life from trauma and grief I wouldn’t and couldn’t let go of. Today, I can say with confidence that hope lives in me…I can feel in my heart the confident expectation that my God is an awesome God and everything He says is true and by his stripes, I AM HEALED. I can say, without shame or blame, that I rejected the grace that God offered me and my pursuit of controlling my own destiny, my own hope, led me to the
pit of hell. I only allowed myself forgiveness for things I felt worthy of begin forgiven for…Katie’s death was not one of those “forgivable things” on my list…it is the ultimate failure as a mother and a wife. I survived a car accident that killed my baby…my daughter…my first born…my side kick…my love…my husband’s daughter…my son’s best friend. I searched long and hard for small details to blame myself for…anything and everything…it had to be my fault…just had to be. I controlled the grace I received.
I can’t earn God’s grace, but I can choose to receive or reject it. I chose to reject it…until…
We will welcome our 3rd little boy at the end of 2020. We are closing out this crazy year with a baby and my heart swells with anticipation and excitement for what is to come for my family. My marriage is healing, my heart is healing, God is working His miracles minute-by-minute and day-by-day. My heart also breaks for what we’ve lost…Katie would have been…Katie could have been…Katie….Katie…Katie…God is also working His miracles in that, too.
The fact that God can, and does, use the brokenness of this world to save a wretch like me is a miracle. None of it was wasted time. I feel like I can stand tall, without shame or blame, and live out Romans 5. Verses 3 and 4 can be, and have been, painful, lonely, scary, devastatingly heartbreaking, and many other things, but getting to ve
rse 5 is a miracle. Sure, I’ll
go back and forth, up and down, with each trial and suffering, both big and small, but I can do it now with hope in my heart. I can live through the fires with the confidence that what God says IS true and His promises will be fulfilled from the first sentence of the Bible to the last.
Knowing I can walk through the fire and come out the other side tattered, bruised, and tired…but with hope…there are just are no words to describe that kind of comfort this side of heaven.
So, when Candace called and was talking to me about hope, I know exactly what it looks like…because I can see it in the faces of this family…my family.
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces per
severance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5