I am a planner and have been from an early age. I planned out my college career, marriage, children, and the home of my dreams in my head. After college, I married my best friend and high school sweetheart. We bought a house and settled in for a long and happy life together. We added two daughters to our family, and I felt content with everything in my life. I believed I controlled my life and my future. I brought God along for the ride, but I did not want to give Him control over my life. Could God turn my tragedy into triumph?
Everything changed with the birth of our third child in 1993. William Charles arrived in the world with many severe congenital disabilities. After testing, we learned he had an extremely rare chromosome condition. We lost our son nine days later as he died in my arms. My world shattered, and I grappled with the loss. I questioned God on why He allowed this to happen to me. Nothing felt like it would ever be perfect again. For the next couple of years, I wandered through the days, weeks, and months in a dense fog of grief. It appeared to be never-ending. I fell into a depression, which made me think I would never laugh or be happy again. However, God stood ready to take this tragedy and create something beautiful while turning my world upside down in the process.
Jeremiah 29:11, ” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
In January 1997, I attended our church’s annual meeting. I still felt lost in my grief, but I saw glimpses of returning to normal. During the days since William’s death, I learned to lean into God, and I felt His strength guide me. The meeting included a presentation about a mission trip to Haiti. As I listened, I felt or heard a whisper telling my heart to go to Haiti. I wrestled with this idea of a mission trip since I hated camping. I squirmed at the thought of bugs and lack of creature comforts. How could I go on a mission trip? I felt ill-equipped for any ministry. Why would God think I could do such a thing?
Well, long story short, I landed in Haiti in July 1997 for a week-long mission working with impoverished children. The impact of the trip changed my life. The children I saw wore rags and were filthy. Their stomachs distended from constant hunger. They dug through trash piles for scraps of food to stave off the emptiness in their belies. Slowly, I discovered a purpose in the trip as we handed out food rations to the poor little ones each day. God showed me how I could make a difference for poor and neglected children in His world. I realized I could be God’s hands and feet to forgotten children.
Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Twenty years have passed since that first mission trip. Through the years, I watched God accomplish miracles for these children and in my own life too. I started a charity organization, and through it, God allowed me to operate orphanages in Myanmar and Nepal. These home currently care for 55 orphans. These beautiful children called me mom. During the years, we also adopted two teenagers from Kenya. My family circled continued to grow, and I loved it.
I still wish my son had not died. Tears still well up occasionally when I think about him. But, God provided me with something more than just death and depression. He gave me hope and purpose amid the pain. He blessed me beyond I thank God for my son, and I thank God for all my children around the world. I could not imagine how my life would be different if I allowed myself to remain in the fog of depression. I said “YES” to a much better option by following Christ.God gives hope and purpose amid the pain of life. Click To Tweet
Yvonne – #blogger, #speaker, and #author
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
100% of the proceeds from sales of my book, Turning Mountains Into Molehills, go to help the orphans at Orphan Relief Effort, Inc