One of the deepest heartaches for any parent is the loss of a child. No matter if the child was a grown adult, a school aged student or a still-born infant . . . I would even add to this list that there's also great pain in the loss of a child who did not make it out of the womb. Failed fertility treatments leave deep wounds of "What could have been." (With nothing to show for it except drained bank accounts!)
As hearts ache, it seems everything in our world says, "Just move on. Get over it."
But I'm a firm believer in lament.
We can't move on if we don't speak our truth before God first.
Some of the best lamenting is done in communities where the grieving can know they're not alone.
For this reason and may more, today I'm offering a prayer I wrote that is meant to be a resource in congregations to honor children both that are a part of communities and those who have been lost. October is National Infant and Pregnancy Loss month and I'm glad to participate in it. I hope your congregation will too.
Congregational Prayer in Remembrance of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month
God, today we want to thank you for the children who are a part of our community.
For the children that fill our community with laughter, with song and with questions
For the children that teach us in this over scheduled world how to play, how to walk slower, and curiously take in the world’s wonder.
For the children that try our patience one minute but embrace us with joy the next
We say thank you.
But, God for all the children we see and celebrate, we know there are many who we do not.
For the children who filled their parents’ hope muscles with more joy than they ever thought was possible but whose cells did not grow and multiply fast enough.
For the children with names were already spoken aloud and lived in their mother’s wombs 6 weeks, 8 weeks or even just 12 but not any longer.
For the children whose life span could be counted in hours or days but not years.
For the children who were held but whose futures are empty.
We say thank you, God, with tears in our eyes.
For it’s true, our hearts ache for all the moments of what could have been. Our pillows fill with tears of dreams dashed. Our souls overflow with loss beyond what we thought we could bear. But still, today, we want to stop and say thank you God for these children. We acknowledge them. We claim them. And we pray for peace for them and us.
Keep teaching us to welcome all your children in our community of faith.