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Proverbs 4:6-7 says “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Yes, we start with the scriptures, our absolute source of wisdom and truth. This quote from Proverbs is certainly not the sole guidance for wisdom in our lives, but these specific verses make an excellent point - pursue wisdom and understanding at all costs. Have you made a decision resulting from many hours of thought and planning that turned out to be the completely wrong plan of action? Did you abandon that plan and consider other options as soon as it looked like things were going in the opposite direction? Probably not. Our human nature tends to insist that we have decided on the right path regardless of the obviously destructive events caused by that decision. Now, let’s back up to the beginning of our planning process and add one extremely important element - prayer. These initial planning steps would read something like “you have thought about it, prayed about it, slept on it a few times, prayed some more and let God help you decide on the plans to make and the route to take.” Will this approach guarantee success in life? Yes, if it is God’s Will. There is an old song that says “he never promised you a rose garden.” As a scriptural reflection, I like to modify this to “God has promised us a rose garden, along with the thorns.” (see Matthew 26 and James 1, although we are not necessarily going to find a “rose” garden mentioned) How this apply to our lives today? We all have authority figures in life who make a great difference in our perspectives and outlook for our time on earth. Enjoy the time and experiences with your own father while you can. After he passes from this life, you realize how much time and opportunities were lost over the years. Due to any number of circumstances, a physical father may be absent from the picture. That doesn’t mean that a father figure doesn’t exist, though. With the absence of our own fathers, we can turn to others to fulfill a mentoring role. This father figure may be a pastor, uncle or even an older brother. We can benefit from mentoring/sharing experiences in Bible studies, Men’s prayer groups and other faith based civic clubs. We should also offer our own experiences and time for the purpose of mentoring to someone who may be in dire need of a positive, Christian, male influence. So many people have great knowledge and experiences that can add to our lives if we are open and willing to recognize the opportunities for understanding. One of my father figures is a college instructor. He took time to help me to understand not only the subject matter in class, but how to work with others and impart knowledge to the younger generation. As we worked together to solve the logic problems presented in technology studies, I gained great respect for those working so hard to instill knowledge in future generations. Our teachers deserve great respect and a much better pay scale than we are willing to commit tax dollars to support. To borrow a phrase from an advertising slogan - "wisdom and understanding, priceless." As a “computer guy,” trainer and author I have tried to “pay it forward” by working closely with friends, coworkers, church members and many others. Look around in your community for opportunities to show God’s Light to others. Faith is one of the few things in life that grows even greater as it is spread across a wider area.

Stephen Link is the author of “The Journey Along God’s Road To Revelation,” (wwwords.biz/journey-along-gods-road-revelation/) which is a guide and commentary carrying you from Genesis to Revelation in one year. All profits from this book go to the Middlesex, NC Free Will Baptist Children’s Home (www.fwbchildrenshome.org/). He is the principle owner of Link Em Up LLC (wwwords.biz) which provides technology training, web design/hosting, self publishing consultation and more.

I know that there are books and websites out there dedicated to Miscarriage and how to deal with its post-traumatic stresses. This is not one of those. This article does not answer the how and why of the miscarriage. I know that all those resources are available everywhere on the internet. This is only an attempt to answer this question, “Why am I hurting?”

But before I go any further, allow me to tell you my story. My wife and I married young. We were so in love that the moment we got married, we wanted a baby right away. After a month in marriage, we discovered she was pregnant with child. I was excited, and so was she. We straight away started preparing for this bundle of joy who was slowly forming inside of her. To us, it felt like this baby was really taking its time in there. The ultrasound revealed that we were going to have a baby boy.

My wife had started going for antenatal visits with the clinic and all seemed normal. One night she felt something moving in her belly. She had felt movement before, but she told me this one was different. I asked her if it was painful, but she wasn’t in any pain. The next morning, I went for work and my wife went to the clinic to be checked. I was in a meeting when she called my phone, the caller ID showed that it was she who was calling. I put the phone on silent intending to call her as soon as the meeting ended. Then she called again. I rushed outside to pick the call and she just went straight to the point, “they said the baby has no heartbeat.” “What?” I replied. I asked her how they arrived to such a conclusion and she explained. The Midwife told her to go to the hospital and be seen by a doctor.

My heart descended, as I dialled a doctor’s number. To make the long story short, we finally learned the baby died intrauterine at 25 weeks, a missed abortion. The doctor told us to go home and come back the next day for the baby to be expelled. I have always thought that bonding between man and baby is not necessarily strong till after birth. However, I found myself in deep pain after the fact.

I have read (on americanpregnancy.org) that the bond between a pregnant woman and the baby growing inside her is unique. A woman can begin bonding from the moment she has a positive pregnancy test. Bonding for the father may start as he experiences physical signs of the baby, such as seeing an ultrasound picture or feeling the baby kick. However, especially for men, real bonding may not develop until after the baby is born. This is why men may seem less affected by loss by miscarriage.

I asked myself why I was hurting. I hadn’t known this baby. Apart from the ultrasound, I had not known him, and beside the baby kicking, I did not have any serious contact with this baby. And yet I discovered that I loved him like crazy. I seem to remember that I wasn’t hurt as much as I was angry. My heart was filled with anger and resentment. I didn’t know who else to blame, but God. I thought that it was cruel of Him allowing such a thing to happen to me or especially, to my wife and baby. I remember receiving the news of the miscarriage, kneeling down on my knees, looking up to heaven and asking the Father, God, to heal this baby and bring it back to life. Yes, I dared asking God to breathe life back into the dead baby in my wife’s womb. I felt I had the right to ask for such a thing from God seeing I was a Christian and I had never asked for much from Him.

At the same time, I had heard that there was a group of pastor evangelists who had been in the area for some days, conducting crusades and praying for the sick and performing all sorts of deliverances. That night I ran to find the place they were holding the crusade, desperate to save my baby. I came back home to get my wife, who I took with me in the cover of the night for prayers.

When we reached there, there were so many people such that it was very difficult to get through to the stage. But we finally made it, but the pastors were busy laying hands on people and praying for the sick; at the same time many were being invited to the front to testify of what the Lord had done for them. I thought that maybe, just maybe, one of those testimonies would come from me.

When we reached the front, amidst all the commotion, a pastor spotted us and he asked me what I needed God to do. I explained to him what we were told at the hospital, and that I wanted my baby to live. He laid hands on us and declared that the boy shall live. The next morning we went back to the hospital believing that the ultrasound would show a heartbeat, this time. There was no heartbeat, still.

When they finally expelled the baby from my wife, I was not allowed to touch it owing to some African traditional belief that the man is not supposed to touch the dead foetus. I withdrew from everybody else and cried. I prayed to God for strength. I wondered why the same power that was at work within me could not save my baby. I am a Christian, and I had prayed for God to protect and keep my baby alive by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit. I always thought that things like this would not affect me to that point, but I was wrong.

Perhaps I will not be able to tell you why you are hurting, but I believe that the Lord could not have orchestrated such a misfortune. I have come to learn that certain things will happen to us as children of God, but not because God wants them to happen. Throughout that time, I learnt that I loved this baby way before it was born. I understood that the love I had for this baby was a miracle. I understand that there was something about a father’s love that nobody has understood yet.

When Jesus was born, there was joy in heaven. We know this by the multitude of angels who sang praises to God in Luke 2:13-14. This is to indicate how much the Father had already loved the Son. I know how painful it is to lose a baby, the anger and disappointment. Disappointment in the things you have put your faith in. But in the long run, as a man, you are required to lead your family through this grieving process. Allow yourself to be filled by God. It does not help that everybody is expecting you to be strong and brave throughout this process, but the Holy Spirit is your only ally.

After all these things had passed, I found myself on my knees, again. I was praying to God and seeking answers. I didn’t want to ask Him why any of those things happened. No, I just wanted to be with somebody who loved me, cared and was stronger, wiser than I. I had no other place to run to, but back to God. As I prayed, I heard strong calm come over me, as if a hand rested on my shoulders, and palming me on the back, a still, small voice said, “Don’t worry, I am always with you. I have always been with you.” I cannot express how much comfort that gave me.

Right now, a year later, we have been blessed with a bouncing baby boy. He is just what both my wife and I have always wanted. Glory be to God. Stay with God, and do not lose hope. He is right there with you.

Andrew Simwanza is the founder and President of the Chrisma Life Church, currently headquartered In Zambia. He is passionate about the spiritual growth of all Christians, until we all attain to the equity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. He is a husband and a father of one son. He is a speaker and minister of the gospel. His audience, apart from the Church congregants, range from pastors, University/College students and Church leaders. Andrew believes that writing is the one most effective way of reaching the masses with the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. andrewsimwanza.wordpress.com

Our home was always open to our friends and relatives. My parents wanted a big family, but Mom wasn't able to have more than the four given her. The year I approached eleven, in fifth grade, Mom and Dad took in foster children. Debbie, fifteen, arrived with her caseworker, carrying her possessions in one brown paper bag. She came from the jail because they said they had no room at the Children's Home. Her smile lit up the room and she settled right in to being part of the family. She shared my room from that cold February day. Debbie's personality brought many friends her way and she even had two boyfriends in succession. She practiced and practiced in our side yard for majorette try outs. She was really happy one day coming home, walking in the door, “That Reverend Hatch is a funny guy.” Somehow my parents found out she had a bag of weed in her sock. They sent it out to be tested and were told it was only oregano. Debbie laughed at that. Mom tried to instill some lady like character. She was intensely opposed to Debbie smoking. Debbie would say she quit, but then the smell told on her. One Saturday morning, Mom, in anger, sprayed and sprayed perfume all over Debbie, more because she lied than the actual smoking. We had a great summer. The summer of '72 goes down in my record books. Debbie loved to swim and accompanied me to the pool. My parents took us and Aunt Eleanor and my cousin Elaine to Indiana to see the older sister, Paula. Debbie and Elaine were the same age and I felt stuck between childhood and wanting to be a teen, a little rebellion setting in. We traveled to the Jersey shore, Wildwood, with my sister and niece, too. We camped and spent the days in the ocean. Debbie dove and swam. One time surfacing, she gasped, “I lost Dominic's ring.” She kept diving and searching for that class ring, but never found it. August, we felt like family. Dad took us and our two friends to Niagara Falls for a day trip. The trip happened to fall during Hurricane Agnes. She showed her furry all the way north and inland. A truckload of pigs overturned on I-90 in New York state. Our camper van didn't have a radio, so Dad had no idea what he was driving into. We did indoor activities, which was fun, too. Debbie attended church camp. She came home, “saved.” But then she started acting truly bizarre and rebellious. She ran away in mid August, before school started. Dad stayed out all night searching for her with the police. Mom and I didn't sleep well, so we were up when Dad stopped in. Wearied, he told how they were all over West Middlesex, and out to Kiwanis Park. “I was wet up to my knees and half way down my shirt from the grass and my tears.” Debbie wasn't his natural daughter and she hadn't lived with us long, six months, but that day, I saw Dad loved her wholeheartedly like all of us. I never felt jealous or better. Dad had so much love, we all felt special. He always wanted the best for us and in us. Debbie had to leave our home and we were sad, but everyone advised my parents to be careful for me, as I was eleven. On Father's Day 2016, the ache of missing Dad wasn't there as the past years. He had been gone for twenty six years. I try to live like he did. And Dad lived Christ. That is the best way I came up to describe his life. I remember as a young child, I thought, I see Jesus, when I see Dad. He wasn't above any job at home. He wore an apron and cooked. He ran the sweeper and cleaned. He loved his yard. He painted our three story house using a double ladder perched on a picnic table. Mom almost had a heart attack with every thud. On rainy days, he car pooled the neighborhood kids to school when it was his turn. Dad knew his Bible because he read and studied it. He never went beyond eleventh grade high school formally. As my husband said today, the Army Air Corp only took the top ten percent. His dad and my dad were both in the Air Corp during WWII. Dad held a responsible job as a sergeant, assisting an officer. In later years, Dad took a real estate course and passed his test. He could have been a nurse. He had what a nurse needs, great observation skills and gut instinct. He cared for my mom in her illness and didn't give up on her recovery. He wouldn't accept her being an invalid and two years after being temporarily paralyzed, she walked. I found a page of Scotty dog stationery my mother wrote on a year and a half after Dad died, yesterday when I was looking for the picture of him hanging cloth diapers. She talked of her grief when someone you love dies. She wrote how well he took care of her. I turned the page over and she wrote, “God healed me for a purpose.” Mom remained a widow for eighteen years. A love great and strong held her. She knew he was a wonderful husband and father. I say she made an excellent choice when she was seventeen. As I remembered the story of Dad searching for Debbie as she watched them, I thought how Christlike he was. Tears wetting his shirt as he wanted to rescue a daughter, hiding in tall grass. And he would have done that, crying for any of his kids or our friends. His heart enlarged with love cared for anyone.

Mollie Lyon is a registered nurse and a published writer. She started telling stories with drawings before she could write. She is married to one husband thirty six years. They have two adult daughters, two cats and a dog. Her father was a great influence in her life. You can read her stories of family, faith and musings at missmolliesmusings.blogspot.com and read about her books at www.amazon.com/Mrs.-Mollie-Lyon/e/B00GS92154/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0​