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Hannah's Struggle

     Reading the Bible is like reading a novel—it’s full of stories about people who have struggles just like us.  Hannah was a woman who loved God, but had no children (1 Samuel 1:2).  I feel certain that Mother’s Day would have been painful for her.

     One of my dear friends has been trying to become a mom for several years.  Like many couples, she and her husband decided they were ready to try and hoped each month for the positive pregnancy test.  When it didn’t happen, they decided to seek professional help.  Several procedures later they were advised to see a specialist.  After hours of research, thousands of dollars and months that turned into years of exhaustive measures, they were finally pregnant!  Finally!  The first ultrasound confirmed that everything was normal and on track, but just a few weeks later their hopes were crushed and their baby was gone.

     Another friend of mine has a son whose wife went full term and then had the devastation of a stillborn child.  How does anyone cope with such losses?  What about the Mother whose baby goes to sleep one night and never awakens in the morning?  These are the stories that we hope will never touch our families, but in this fallen world, they often do. 

     The Word (1 Corinthians 12:26) reminds us that when one part of the Body suffers, the whole Body suffers with it.  This is God’s way of telling us to care for each other.  He sets the lonely in families and He admonishes us to treat others the way we would want to be treated.  How would I want to be treated if I lost a child or the hope of a child? 

      What can we possibly say to help when a friend experiences such loss?  The truth is, words are not what they need.  And sometimes words even make their pain worse.  We need to be careful, in our desire to comfort, not to give platitudes, such as “You’re young—you can always try again.”  Or, “At least your baby won’t have to suffer the pain of this life—heaven is a better place.” 

     What is most needed is our loving and compassionate presence.  Just being there for them, even in silence, is often comforting.  The grief process includes acknowledging the loss, so just being there to listen is what they truly need. 

     Practical help, such as providing meals that can be easily heated, will alleviate a grieving friend from the chore of cooking.  Offering to pick up groceries and to baby sit if she has other children, would be one less thing to think about.

     Ask what you can do to help—it may be laundry or vacuuming or going through the mail to weed out the junk.  Be prepared for her to have periods of grief that will come up suddenly.  Emotions are triggered by many different factors and will seem to come from nowhere. Continue to be an attentive listener, allowing her to share without trying to “fix” her.  If she is angry or bitter, resist the urge to give advice. Rather, keep her uplifted before the Lord--seeking the peace and healing that only the Holy Spirit can provide. A wise friend will listen more than speak, and wait to be asked before offering solutions.

     Jesus is our example of a loving and compassionate friend who wept for Mary and Martha when their brother, Lazarus, died.  He wept for the loss of His friend even though He knew that He was about to raise him from the dead!  God wants to comfort others through us, grieving with them in their times of loss, even though we too have the promise of the resurrection to eternal life when we leave this earth.  On that great day we will rejoice as Hannah did when God answered her prayer.  (Read the story in 1 Samuel 1). There will be no more tears or pain and we will live forever with all those who put their trust in Him.


“Heavenly Father, I ask You--the God of all comfort--to comfort every woman that has struggled with the loss a child or the hope of a child.  Minister to them with Your love and compassion and grant them peace in their hearts today.”  


Dedicated to Tara, Pam, Jessie & Mayra.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Dawn Sheridan Kollar

Reader Comments...
2011-07-11 10:34:57
"Dawn, thank you so much for being you, and for being there for me. You are such a beautiful source of comfort, and I love you for that. Your article couldn't have been more perfect. Happy Mother's Day, mommy Dawn. :)"
        - Tara

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