We’d waited six years. We were finally pregnant and having twins (yes, TWINS)! My husband and I beamed like giddy children. We’d just look at each other and start giggling. TWINS! As TWINS magazines arrived at our doorstep, we dreamed, “Will we need a bigger car? Two nurseries?” Everything changed!
We anticipated our appointment that morning with Dr. Taylor, but his fatherly face looked different this time. Gently, he explained the test results. One baby would soon die inside me. The other child would feed off her sibling until she was born.
Numb. It’s the only way to describe that moment. We left his office and sat motionless in the car. Silent. We just looked out the windows and tried to hide our tears. We waited … prayed … then waited some more.
Thirty-six hours later, I was rushed to the Emergency Room. I’ve never known such chaos, such panic. My water broke. My panicked husband yelled, “What’s happening?” The nurse reluctantly replied, “She’s losing the babies.”
Our daughter, Debryn Hope, entered the world first. Our son, Paul Francis Lanier IV, soon followed his sister. They were beautiful, so perfect. Their little fingernails…I just really remember their fingernails.
As Debryn and Paul struggled to breathe, we were warned that neither of them would survive the night. We held them close…christened them…sang to them…and then gave them back to God. Paul lived about thirty minutes. His sister survived a while longer.
The day before Christmas, 1989, we buried our children. It was the coldest day of the year, but our hearts already knew that. I recall brief glimpses of the funeral, but mainly, I was too numb to feel anything.
After the prayer, the funeral director led me from the children’s grave into the limousine. Sitting alone, I began to feel it. I cried out to God (screamed really) with an anguish I still remember vividly. “Where are You? Don’t You see what’s happening? Do You even care?”
For months I struggled to make sense of it all. I still don’t have it figured out. But this I know: God is for me. He never left me. He never gave up on me. God believed in my future more than I did. I do not believe for a moment that God caused our pain, but I know He redeemed it and uses it every day to heal others.
Nine months later, we did give birth. We began a ministry called Hope. The enemy sought to bury us along with our children, but God took that very heartache and planted it in a promise! For more than 31 years now, hundreds of people gather every week to declare the Resurrection Power of Hope.
I drive by that cemetery where the twins were buried several times a day. It’s not cold there anymore. In fact, we can almost feel the grace flowing from that little grave.
I don’t know your story, but I know everybody’s got one. Perhaps you approach the holidays longing for a yesterday that cannot return. Maybe a seat around your table is empty this year. Perhaps memories of laughter and love dancing across the room no longer twirl there anymore. Just the thought of how things used to be triggers a tsunami of tears that won’t stop.
Wherever you find yourself now, please believe me: God wants to redeem even the most painful pieces of your story. He never wastes anything, not even death. He loves you too much to leave you hopeless in your sorrow. The very thing satan uses to bury you, God will use to plant you! For comments or prayer, please contact Dr. Lanier at www.HopeCommunityChurch.tv.