Saturday, October 20, 2007

Joy to Sorrow

Autumn Elizabeth Lee Manz's heart stopped beating October 19th, 2007, and she was born still on October 21st.

This blog post - written October 20th, 2007 - was the first public acknowledgment of our new life as grieving parents after receiving the news.

Since it was written, God has proven Himself strong not only by sustaining us, but by blessing us with two more healthy daughters: Peyton Grace Elaine (October 19th, 2008), and Tenley Breanna Lynn (November 6th, 2010).

We are humbled by these two beautiful gifts.

Autumn is missed every single day... but we cannot doubt God has made us into the parents (and people!) we are because of her loss.

To read more of her story - and ours as we continue to live and grieve - follow the label "Autumn Elizabeth Lee" at the end of this post.

They will start at the most recent - but track backwards to read them in chronological order.

Around 5 pm yesterday Kurt and I received the news that our baby's heart stopped beating sometime during the night or morning.
Our hearts are aching for this loss - the joys of expectation shattered and broken.

I, truly, am undone.

And yet... this has been hand-picked by our God for us to bear... and we do not want to dishonor him by dull-minded complaints.
He knows our hearts. He has examined our frame and found we are but dust... and he knew the second that our baby's life left. Not only that... but he decided it. I write it with tears streaming down my face... but with conviction in my heart.
He is a Man of Sorrows - he was acquainted with grief... no one else could sympathize with us as Him... and we love Him more for this.
We've just come home on a pass from a very long day at the hospital where the doctor inserted a drug intended to soften my cervix and bring on labor... and although I'm cramping and spotting there is nothing that said we couldn't come home and try to sleep - as last night was full of sorrow and tears. We will be heading back tomorrow morning to retry another insertion - or sooner if my water breaks. And then the plan is to enter full-scale labor and push out the baby normally.

Please, please pray for us, and for our families... half of our grief is seeing the sorrow of our parents who we love so dearly... and knowing that this baby was a cause of joy for so many.
We will be planning our baby's funeral in the coming days, and will need strength for that. God has already used our little one's death to spread his fame... and we are glad for that.
God does what is best - all the time. For He is all-good and all-wise and always does what is right. We cannot see clearly now - but truly: the 'shine' of this world has been somewhat dulled by the pain of our baby's death... and we remember that this world is not our home. We are waiting and hoping for something better. We know that joy does return, but we have been sobered and taught to always seek God as our source of comfort and happiness.

This is not what I would have chosen - but "to whom else will we turn"?

Today in the hospital, Kurt read me a passage that made tears stream down my face: "You who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice: though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold which perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ - whom having not seen you love."

Our faith is precious: pray that we would guard it and continue to love Jesus - even though we do not see Him. The coming days will be hard - devastatingly so. But God knows. I want to feel, as surly as I feel my husband's hand holding mine, that our God is there when we hold our baby and say goodbye and that He is trustworthy and without fault... because that is true.

Thanks everyone.
Kurt & Kendall


Allie said...

Dear Kendall and Kurt,

We have been praying for you since this morning when we heard the news, and we will continue to do so. I wish I could do something else to help too, but I know all we can do is pray. Our church will also be praying for you tomorrow morning.

Allie and Paul

jaime said...

Kurt & Kendall...words can't express what I'm feeling right now...I'm overwhelmingly sorrowful at the loss of your baby and yet so incredibly comforted in knowing that our Lord is the God of all comfort and joy and has promised to persevere you both til the end. I've been praying for you (and your parents) all day and will continue to do so...much, much love in Him - Jaime

Julie said...

Dear Kurt and Kendall...what overwhelming sorrow and disbelief I feel at the loss of your precious child...words cannot describe...We have been praying for you and your Mom and Dad and family and will continue in prayer. I praise Him for the peace He is providing amidst this terrible storm...a testimony to His incredible greatness. Oh how our faith is precious and even more so when we face trials. I praise Him that He is your source of comfort and happiness and I know that He will continue to be just that even in the very difficult days to come. In this huge trial, His glory, His goodness, His mercies will be revealed. We love you both. Julie and David

Laurie Bearce said...

Kurt & Kendall,
We at NCBF are praying for you and your family. I am grieving with you. I cried with you yesterday and I'm crying with you today. Yet I rejoice in God's faithfulness to you. He is so loving to give you the gift of perseverance and more love for Him. It's the trials that draw us closest.
I am thankful you've blogged on this and let us all be joyful with you and now sorrowful too. You're not alone. 2 weeks ago this same thing happened to John Piper's daughter. I am so encouraged by your love for our good God! I remember several years ago a family in our church (in Oklahoma) lost their son in a tragic accident. They reacted the same way. They took it from the hand of a loving God and loved him more because of it. Outsiders are watching you. They are marvelling at how though you are "undone" you are not defeated. You have not lost your faith. Only God can bring that about in a person. I am praying that God will comfort you and lift you up. This is hard but God will see you through. I love you.

Sarah said...


I am praying for you. I am so sorry for your loss, but pray that God continues to use it to make himself known to you and to others.

Victoria said...

Kendall and Kurt,

My heart was heavy as I read your post. I am encouraged to see that you have the right response in the face of this trial. I will be praying for you both during this time and hope that your hope will continue to be in the Lord. He truly does have our best in mind. Keep looking to Him! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

In Christ,

Melissa said...

you are in my thoughts and prayers. i am so sorry. love love love to you guys!!!

Mrs Manz said...

To all of you, our beloved sisters and brothers: Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou! I love you all and am so thankful for your prayers. :)We are bruised, but not broken - and we know how our Lord treats the bruised reeds... Amen? :) We feel his tender love daily during this... and your prayers are coveted and received with humility.Words cannot express the joy that my heart feels when reading your words of encouragement and love - and we are thanking God for all of you.