Hello friends among the blogosphere.
For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to you, as well as apologize for the infrequent postings lately. The end of the year was a rather rough one for the Gensheer family, and so I have taken some much needed to time away from the “normal” routine of life and that has included time on the internet and blogging (Stephen – I just got your “tag” on me yesterday, so I’ll have to put some thoughts on it and get back to you; I’m looking forward to your visit here to St. Louis too).
I realize that through the blog, I now have a new community of people with whom I communicate and interact with, so I wanted to include an email update we sent out to our friends and supporters back home in Augusta, GA regarding our recent tragedy and how we spent our break over Christmas:
We were excited to finish this past semester for several reasons. One of the biggest reasons was that we finally had a newsletter to send to you – our friends and supporters – with some exciting news, and we were greatly anticipating our time in Augusta to share with all of you what God was up to in our lives in person.
I finished my last exam on a Friday afternoon, and after Maggie and I finished packing, we started to stuff our newsletters into envelopes and get them ready to be sent out the following morning. In that newsletter we include the news that we were in fact pregnant and expecting our third child. We had just found out about three weeks prior, and had only told a handful of our closest friends and family. We were excited, and couldn’t wait to share the news with everybody.
The next morning, I woke up early to shuttle some friends to the airport, thinking I would be the only one up that early (4:30 AM). Maggie also awoke to discover that things were not quite right and was worried that she was “losing” the baby. That morning was spent in anxiety and fear after several phone calls to the doctor. The day ended with an evening trip to the Emergency Room while driving through a snowstorm only to receive the news that whether we were pregnant before or not, we certainly were not pregnant anymore.
We had miscarried the baby.
Some of you know immediately what this feels like as you have experienced the same thing. We were ambivalent; we had no idea how we felt because we felt too many things and all at the same time. For several days we were a mixture of anger, fear, anxiety, grief and sadness. Our time in Augusta quickly went from excited anticipation of reunion and catching up with all of our friends and supporters, to one of retreat, reflection and healing.
We are still processing our thoughts and feelings, and we are thankful for the many of you who have quietly understood our need for a break, and even those of you with the kind and gracious words of empathy at certain times. We thank you for helping to validate our feelings and process this tragedy, without quickly dismissing it and jumping to the facts of the matter.
We believe that in the wake of this experience – this tragedy – there are many things that we believe as Christians that often seem unsatisfying, maybe even canned, though I know them to be true. Something that has helped me personally to process this is a blog post from Desiring God ministries that just happened to be posted the following Tuesday after this happened. Here are the few sentences that stood out and felt like some sense of comfort from the providence of God:
“Experiences are very powerful. They often feel more powerful than promises. So it’s tempting to interpret prosperity and ease as God’s blessing and tribulation as God’s displeasure. And sometimes they are. But often they are not.
Actually, what we see all the way through the Bible is the Lord training his disciples to trust his promises more than providences…In the Bible pain is often the path to unspeakable joy and prosperity is often an obstacle to it. What’s going on?
Simply, God wants us to treasure what we can’t see more than what we can. “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18). And we find out that it’s pain more than prosperity that makes us look for what our eyes can’t see, and long for a satisfaction that doesn’t exist in this world.”-“Trust Promises, Not Providences” by Jon Bloom
from Desiring God Blog (December 18, 2007)
I am not claiming that it is easy to trust in His promises more than His providences. I do know that He is good, that He has a plan, and that ultimately every wrong in this world will be righted. I also know that I have to live in this world as it is – in all its brokenness, tragedy and unfulfilled hopes, and through it all, there is so much that I can take for granted in between the Kingdom of God being here now, and still not yet.
This is something else that God is teaching us. That in the way we functionally live, it is easy to presume that life will carry on unhindered by the realities of a fallen world. Maggie and I have almost jokingly (but no less seriously) commented that maybe one day we’ll get to a point where we can learn whatever it is that God is wanting to teach us in a less tragic ways. We appreciate C.S. Lewis’ observation that God often “screams to us in our sufferings,” and I have no doubt that there is more in this for us to take-away; but for right now, we’ve been served well to relax these past couple of weeks.
Thank you to each of you for allowing us to remain in your thoughts, concerns and prayers over this past year. We pray and hope that you will continue to remember us and lift us up to our Heavenly Father as we start to head back into another year of seminary.
We have communicated through our newsletter a good bit regarding what opportunities await us in terms of pursuing the ministry God is calling us to, as well as our pressing need for both prayer and financial support. If you haven’t received it, forgive us, and if you would be so kind as to supply us with your most current mailing and email address, we can gladly put one in the mail to you in the next couple of weeks.
Thank you dear friends and fellow laborers in the Gospel with us,
430F Covenant Lane
St. Louis, MO 63141