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Encountering God in the Valley of Grief

“There is no heartbeat.” These were the words from the doctor that took their world to a standstill.

“We were shaken at that moment. We were in tears, and we did not know what to do or who we could turn to,” Amos shared. “All we knew to do was to hold on to each other and seek God for His peace.”

The whole family had been anticipating the arrival of little Nathan, and Carmen’s pregnancy had been a smooth one up till this point. The news was incredibly devastating for the young couple. No one would have expected to be in such circumstances after 36 weeks of pregnancy. Everything had been prepared - a baby cot, clothing and other essential items.

Amos added that planning for the funeral of their first child, choosing the casket and preparing for cremation was something they had never imagined doing. “My heart was just so broken,” he shared.

As the child had been carried to full term, going through delivery and confinement was especially difficult for Carmen. “There I was in the hospital, having to do all those blood tests, and when I saw

other mothers carrying their newborn babies, I really broke down,” she recalled.

These questions continued to linger after the funeral. The season of grieving was filled with its ups and

downs. But as they took their questions and pain to the Lord, He showed up and gave them the comfort

they needed.

Letting Go

“I didn’t even know how he looked like, and that was something that I had to really surrender to the Lord,” Carmen said. As the baby had passed on for almost 1.5 weeks before they found out, the body was not in a condition suitable for photography.

When she was talking to the Lord at the hospital one day, it struck her that the pain she was going through paled in comparison to our Father in heaven’s pain. God knew His Son and loved Christ dearly, yet He gave Him up to die on the cross for all of mankind.

“There are so many times we pray, God we want to know and understand Your heart, but I never thought to understand it this way,” she added. “His love for us is even greater than we can imagine, and that is enough.”

Choosing To Worship

During the difficult moments, Carmen and Amos spent time in worship, and that really helped them through the trial. “We spent time just praying and praising the Lord, and there was such a sense of peace and assurance that entered the room. It’s like the words in Philippians – the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, that became real to us,” said Carmen. “We didn’t know what was happening, but we knew that God was with us,” Amos added.

Their faith in the Lord and confidence in who He is gave them strength to overcome the grief and the need to have answers. “We have met the Lord and experienced His goodness and there is no denying that He is still the same faithful God, and so we know He is still good even when we don’t understand. Nothing can change that,” Carmen shared.

John 12:24 says that “…unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” In the same manner, in choosing to surrender to die to themselves, Carmen and Amos believe that there will be fruit produced from this.

Staying Connected With Community

The Lord truly used this season to strengthen their marriage and to bring their families together. The support of the church community did not just encourage them, but demonstrated God’s love in action to their pre-believing family members.

“Many times, they didn’t know what to say, but they showed us that they love us, and that they were walking and standing with us,” Carmen shared, adding that their cell members were also very understanding, and stepped forward to hold the fort when they had to take a break from leading the group to rest and grieve. “The visits, words of encouragement and prayers, they really meant a lot.”

“If you are grieving today, give yourself time. Cry it out, and reach out to people if you need support. Don’t shut yourself away for too long. Get connected with community,” she said.

“Do things you enjoy, count your blessings, and look back upon what God has done in your life. Remember the promises He has, and don’t allow yourself to dwell on this incident.”

Sometimes you have known the greater works of God and He takes you to a place of testing, a place where you’ll ask yourself, “So what have you built your life upon?” Amos and Carmen believe that this was what they experienced in the valley of grief. “When you know God and trust His character, nothing else matters. Love is the answer.”

The Lord Restores

Six months after Nathan went to be with the Lord, Amos and Carmen went on a family trip to New Zealand and found themselves gazing at a beautiful sky full of stars one evening. “I started to tear and ask God if this was what He showed to Abraham,” Carmen recounted with a smile. “It was a reminder of the promises He had

for us.”

As they admired the wonder of God’s creation, they were filled with awe that the same God who made the universe also knows His children intimately. A week after, Carmen discovered that she was pregnant with a little girl whom they would name Eden. This brave and lively little girl turns three this year, and is truly a testimony of the faithfulness of God in their lives!

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