The Missions Field of Mourning

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Pregnancy and infant loss knows no boundaries.

It touches every continent, every culture, every community.

Stillbirthday aims to do the same.

 

The perspectives, traditions, customs and philosophies surrounding birth & bereavement are many, and include the aspects of:

  • pre-conception
  • conception
  • gestation
  • birth
  • personhood
  • motherhood
  • parenthood
  • family structure
  • death
  • mourning

When we think of the missions field, stereotypical images and words may be the first to enter our minds:

Savages.

If we’re honest, we think of exotic lands filled with savages, and if only they could know that Jesus Christ is a very real person, who really died for them, who is the only way into Heaven

if they would just listen to us

then we could bring them their only hope and their only beauty:

Salvation.

And if we’re honest, those who are not Christian, think of those of us who are as sharply arrogant, justifying our own divisiveness in the name of the Lord but who, in the same breath, claim to be the victims of outrageous discrimination; we Christians can be ruthlessly narrow-minded.

Persecution.

So, what is it like, to be a Christian, Caucasian American woman who is the founder of a global resource for birth and bereavement?

It is so much more than a hobby, an idea, a ministry or a work.

Birth & Bereavement is a missions field.

But to articulate this correctly, I do need to make sure that you know what I mean by a missions field.

  • 1. Birth & Bereavement is a place filled with real people, who hold to traditions, customs and beliefs that are as ancient as history and feelings as fresh and raw as rain.

It is never the one sided giving relationship most people might think it is.  It is always an exchange, that grows everyone involved.  It faces stereotypes, emotionally charging terminology and starkly different morals, values and beliefs in ways that promote a shared humanity and reveal an uncharted potential for love.

 

  • 2. It is filled with the most gorgeous hues of hope, the most stunning shades of life and the most vibrant colors of love.

It is to sojourn to a land that is familiar and foreign all at the same time.

Just as in the very word “missions”, Birth & Bereavement is so much more than many people would think it is.

{photo source}

  • 3. It is riddled with darkness, despair, wars on many fronts and attacks from all directions.  Intruders in the night creep in to rob us of the very sustenance we need, to rape our vulnerable spirits and to plunder our hope.  The persecution is real. 

And, no, I do not use these descriptives lightly at all.

  • 4. It is an all-consuming work.

It is a misunderstood work.  It is a lonely work.  It rips into every belief we have ever held.  It requires sacrifice to the deepest degree.  The result of these conditions can eat into our own health, in every way and on every level.  It requires explanation of the umpteenth time to our loved ones – and to ourselves – why we persevere.  It offers little rest.  Each need is not the next to serve but is the first all over again.  Preparation, education and training are essential, but so is humility and so is endurance.  It requires a delicate dance of daring to allow ourselves to be seen while simultaneously mirroring back to those we are serving.  It demands vulnerability.

  • 5. The fruit of the labor is global, and eternal.

It is neither a denominational effort nor a doctrinal agenda.  The rewards are not shiny and the accolades are not shouted.  The feedback is but a whisper.  It is in the breath of the bereaved and weary mother who sighs in forlorn, as she wearily pulls her feet forward anyway even when the will to live has escaped her.   It is in the unseen moments, long after our work is done, when the weary traveler discovers the bend in the journey where grief unfolds into healing.

 

It is a work that requires workers of all skills and abilities and demands the participation of many degrees.  Here are but a few:

Whoever you are, wherever you are, you are invited.

What’s more, you are needed.

 

 

 

 

 

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