Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Finding our way

First time for my small group to meet....first time someone asks how many children I have.....First day of women's bible study(this morning). All of of a sudden I realize I am being asked to introduce myself. My heart is pounding as it's almost my turn. I'm thinking "ok, I'm going to be in this bible study with these women for a while and it's a pretty small group, so here goes"...."I'll be real honest, I hate introducing myself lately!" and the crying begins....I just am never sure what to say. I just can't bring myself to say I have three children. She's not here but she'll always be our little girl. We have four children. It's ok to say it. I don't always need to explain it. I went on to ask the ladies not feel awkward around me or think they shouldn't bring up Alaina. Well I guess I shouldn't tell people how to feel...I hate it when people tell me what to do or how I'm probably going to feel. I've been in the awkward place before of not knowing what to say/do and I need to remember that. It's just sometimes more hurtful/awkward when she isn't mentioned. I love to talk/think about her. I really can do it a lot without crying but sometimes it just hits me when I don't expect it...like this morning when I had to say my name and tell about myself. At our small group we were asked to share prayer requests...now how in the world can I share anything else???? We need prayer...lots of prayer as we're trying to "figure out life" without our little girl. It's a humbling place to be when you burst into tears in front of a large group of people...some you've met that night for the first time. But, I won't have it any other way. I long to be real and honest and not just say "please pray for us as we're in a new town and for Billy's new job." Let's just dive right in. I don't have time to stay on the surface.

I can't describe how much I miss Alaina. All our kids are super fun but she just had a unique way about her. So, so special! It hurts deeper than you could imagine. I think it's possibly the worst pain you could ever experience. But I hope you read our story and are amazed by God...not by how we're "handling" this but how awesome and wonderful our God is. If not for Him we couldn't handle it...we couldn't go another day. God brought me to this verse yesterday...

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised." Romans 4:20-21

Please pray for our next few days. My parents will have our kids in Butler and Billy and I are headed to North Carolina for some time away. Pray that I will not worry about them while I'm gone. I want to enjoy the time with Billy and rest. Just pray that God would guard my heart and mind.

"To God be the glory, great things he hath done,
so loved he the world that he gave us his son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the earth hear his voice,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the people rejoice.
Oh come to the Father through Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he hath done."


Amy said...

Sweet Hope, EVERY time I read your post I am amazed at our wonderful God. It truly is very worshipful to hear your heart - HIS heart flowing through you!!! To hear you struggle through this makes God so much more real to me. It truly is Him who changes our hearts and makes us whole!!!
I am so glad that you are past the hard part of starting with a new small group. It is out on the table and I will pray that these women become another of God's vessels of healing in your life. i pray that He gives them strength to be your friend despite the awkwardness that they may feel. i pray that He enables them to rise above it and minister to your heart. I am praying that God will bind Satan from you and Billy this weekend and that it will be a renewing time for the both of you. I hope that this weekend is full of real fun and real laughter.

Christie Mulkey said...

Hi Hope,
I read a story about the settling of the Northwest recently, and the narrator mentioned that when asked how many children they had, everyone said something like, "Three living, two gone ahead." I suppose because almost everyone during that time lost a child, there was no hesitation to express the "now and not yet" nature of their families. I definitely think of you as a "mom of four."

thewheelerfamily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thewheelerfamily said...

Oh Hope, I am in tears every time I read your posts. I too am amazed at our God and how He is using this in our life to cherish every moment with our kids. Thank you for sharing your heart and I know that the women in your Bible study will be pillars of strength for you. I am so thankful for sisters in Christ. We hope to see you guys in October!

Jaime said...

Hope, I commented on your last post, but it did not go through for some reason. It's been awhile, so I have no idea what I wrote. I continue to pray that God will strengthen you and Billy. I can sort of relate with you on the introduction thing. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked "Do you have kids?" My heart sinks every time--I should be a mommy by now! I respond in different ways, depending on my mood. But most of the time, I say, yes, I have a son, and then lead into our testimony of what we went through. I know it is not the same, but please know that I am praying for you and thinking of you often.

Shea said...

Hope, enjoy your time away with Billy. Maw and Paw are going to love your sweet ones and spoil them rotten! A mother of FOUR is what you are. Always! Much love.

Danny and Jennifer White said...

I love you guys and will continue to pray.thanks so much for sharing.

Kristin said...

Hope, I will definitely pray for you while you're on your trip with Billy.

We love you and still think of Alaina daily. We're praying for all of you.

Anonymous said...

Oh Hope. There are so many firsts that you are going to experience. I pray everyday that you and Billy just continue to let Jesus carry you thru these difficult firsts. Let people know that you have 4 children,Alaina is a part of you, she will always be with you. You had 4 wonderful years with her and why not share them with the people that you meet, let them know just how wonderful of a little girl she was, it is a wonderful way to remember all the great times and special moments that you had with her. I pray for you and Billy as you go on your trip. I pray that you are able to relax and truly enjoy spending uninterupted time with one another. We miss you and love you.
Kari Veenstra

The Hannahs said...

Dear Old Friend,
You are being lifted up daily. I send you so much love and so many prayers.

Becky said...

The "how many children do you have?" was one of the hardest for me too. Sometimes I would say 2 and then go home and feel so guilty that I didn't say 3. At first it was just too painful to talk about. When someone asks that, even now, I start feeling panicky, like I can't breath, But now I always say 3 and try to leave it at that. If they ask more (ages, etc.) I tell them. Of course I start crying and they look stricken.
The first bible study I went back to after Adam was killed, I had a full-blown panic attack. I grabbed my purse, turned to my friend sitting next to me and said "I HAVE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE!!" then I jumped up and RAN(not just fast walking) out. Oh,well. I didn't go back to Bible Study until this month. Just do what you can do and don't feel guilty about what you can't.
I think about you and Billy often. If you ever want to talk, Please don't hesitate to call or email me.

Aimee said...

"How many children do you have?" That question can tip me one way or the other. One day, you ask me, I can handle it, the next day, I will probably lose it on you. People never know what to say, but you are right, not saying anything cuts way deeper. Remember my post.. "Hello, my name is Aimee Weathers and my baby just died." I was going through exactly what you are going through. You are doing right, Hope. Be who you are and if people don't like it or can't handle it, then oh well. But, there will be a special few, that will embrace you. These are friends for life. They love you even when you are needy and not much fun to be around. Hold on to them tightly.

We love you all and think of you often. You will always be a mother of four.

Enjoy this time with Billy. Its wonderful to see that you are putting your marriage first.

Anonymous said...

Prayers for you today, Hope. I am always glad to hear EVERYTHING. I love it when God speaks to you from Scripture...He is a LIVING God!!! And how precious are YOU to Him that He continues to give you a light to your path in this way. Those words are God-breathed into your soul for supernatural purposes.
I keep your family picture handy and Alaina will always be engraved in our hearts as an integral part of who "The Atchisons" are. Much love,

Amy R Smith said...

Hope, thank you so much for sharing your heart on this blog. I pray that Billy and you will have a wonderful time together in NC and that God would continue to be ever close by for you.

Anonymous said...

I have spent the last hour of my life crying over a child I never knew and a family I will never be acquainted with in this life but I can tell you this, Our Lord used you and Alaina, Hope, in a way I could never imagine a stranger in my life. I experienced a pain as if I were there and a “hope” that changes my view of my own sinful life. I pray for your family and I thank you, Hope for sharing the most amazing faith I have really ever witnessed.
I resolve to honor God by living a more trusting life through your example.
A struggling sister who just got to climb over the wall...

Michael and Jennifer Werneth said...

i so love your heart! i can't imagine how you miss alaina. i know that she was so, so special and that the ache for her is always there. i love the pictures of her and how i feel like i'm getting to know her. thanks for being willing to share her with us. please feel free to talk about how wonderful she was when you're around me! she will always be cherished as your little girl and one of our covenant children. i'm glad you are in a bible study and so glad that you and billy are getting time together. your marriage is so beautiful and the time i spent with yall inspired me to cherish mine more. i will pray for a sweet time for both of you and freedom from fear or worry. i love yall!

Kara said...

This is the first time I've posted a comment, but I've been keeping up with the blog since Alaina passed on.
Thank you for sharing your heart, your family, your pictures with all of us. Greg and I remember you, Billy and the kids in our prayers. And we do see God's grace in all of this. You point us to Him. You can rest assured knowing that.
And when I think of your children....I think of all four of them. Though she's crossed the Jordan, she's alive, she exists. Praise God He lives, and because of that, so does she!
Much love,
Kara Liechty

kim said...

Dear friend,You have been on my heart so much this week and I have been praying for you. God brought you to my mind often.

How I love you. How I love your willingness to be real. How I love how God so clearly is holding you and giving you strength for the moment.

Yet, How I sit here and cry with you as I read of your aching heart. Of course it aches. You are, and will always be Alaina's mama, even today as she is with Jesus.

How I love you friend, we will be praying for your time away too.

Because HE lives,

Beth Scott said...

Dear Sweet Hope,
I am awed and amazed by what God is doing in your life. As I read through your posts this morning, I have been crying and feeling your struggle. I know it is only God's grace that carries you. Although I haven't posted before now, I HAVE been praying for you and the family.
Thanks so much for sharing your heart so openly. It inspires me to want to REALLY live out the gospel in my daily life. Rich and I both love you and Billy and your family so much. I pray that your trip was restoring and refreshing.
I have so many things in my heart as I write this, I don't really know how to say them all. You know what that's like!
Just know that we love you very much and are praying for you and miss you all!

JJMERKEL said...

Hope, we are thinking of you today, as we always are. We love you guys.

Jill Williamson said...

Oh, how I love that hymn. What an encouragment you are to me. I was talking to April Brown about you today. I tucked Jadyn in last night and God brought you to my mind. I just went to my room and prayed for you. I thought, "How does she do it everyday without her daughter....it shows how little my view of God is and THEN I read your blog of the verse you put and this precious hymn and I am blown away by HIS Comfort to you. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. You make me long for God more.
I will pray for your trip with Billy.

Anonymous said...

IMHO it is a good idea to tell people "how to feel"--because you are not really telling them what emotions to have. By telling them it's o.k. to talk to you about your daughter, you are giving them permission to share in your grieving.

Lots of folks in your age group have not gone through the loss of any close relative, and they have no idea of what grieving is like. They might think (incorrectly) that if they say nothing, this will shield you from more grief.

God's help to you and all your family during this time.