We came back here today – a kind of pilgrimage of peace – six months after our last visit. Last time I sat in these hands we were preparing for our IVF embryos to be transferred in. We were so full of hope and expectation having recovered from the devastation of the events of the new year.
And in the weeks after our visit to these hands, joy did indeed follow. But a few weeks later so did more loss and pain and grief. The hands in this picture are called “Entrust”. To me they symbolise God’s hands holding me. I thought last time I was here that God would hold me and we’d step forward proudly into carrying new life. But it didn’t happen that way.
For a while after our miscarriage in July I didn’t want God to be anywhere near me, but today as we rounded the corner and could see those hands in the distance, I was trying hard not to run in my eagerness to clamber into them once again. God’s hands have held us through the anxiety of the procedure, the faith in the waiting, the high of our pregnancy and the low of our loss.
The first time we saw them I thought that they were confirmation of our promise and that all would be well. I sat in those hands today and I cried again over the memories of this summer. I watched two white swans swimming peacefully in the lake nearby and I thought of my two little lost loves. I have spent months being angry with God over this moment from May but I had misunderstood his meaning. I understand now that God loves me enough to go before me to set up moments of encounter. Before we knew what was coming, He knew. He knew how bad it was going to be. He knew the depths of fresh, awful pain to which we would sink. He knew that we would need holding and holding and holding. God told me recently that He showed us these huge tree-trunk hands to remind us that He was holding us before, during and after and that we are safe in His care. He reminded me that we will always be in His hands and that we can trust Him even in the worst circumstances.
I see now that God gave us this encounter before the hardest moment of our lives, to keep us steady just when we needed it and to remind us that we weren’t abandoned in our pain but held before we’d even gone into it.
We sat in those hands again today, thanked God together and took communion. The bottom line is, I need God in it all. Each day we get to choose – do I want to know you God, do I want to trust you? In the pain, the despair, the healing, the fragile glimmers of hope beginning to resurface, I come back to “Yes, I trust you”. It’s not always easy, but I know whatever comes He will always hold me.