Written by guest author Christi Moreno, a member of the Dallas Area Hope Mommies organization.
“There’s no heartbeat.” Four words no parent ever wants to hear. My husband and I have three daughters, so at our 20 week sonogram, the four words we were hoping to hear were, “You’re having a boy!” But on September 13 of 2016, those other four words changed our lives forever. We left the office, drove home, and told our daughters the baby we all wanted so badly was not going to be coming home with us. Two days later, we delivered the son we hoped for, but not the way we had hoped to. Angel was stillborn due to chord issues. The pain of saying hello and good-bye to our son in the span of a few hours was crushing.
While we were in the hospital, I received a Hope Box. It instantly brought comfort to my aching heart. I knew that even though I would be leaving the hospital without my son, I would not be leaving alone in my grief. The first few days after we lost Angel, calls and messages came continuously from friends and family offering condolences, prayers, and love, but as the days passed, the quiet set in. I was left feeling alone. I longed to connect with people who really understood what I was going through and who could offer empathy and comfort for the ache in my heart. Within six weeks, I attended my first Hope Mommies’ dinner where I got meet with other moms and talk about my sweet son. I could feel my healing begin.
Five months after we lost Angel, we found out we were expecting again, but we did not get to meet baby number five either. At eight weeks, I became a Hope Mommy to a second baby.
We named our second hope baby Emmaus. I had heard a sermon about the road to Emmaus just two weeks earlier and found myself relating to the disciples in a profound way. Sitting in church, I remember being moved by the actions Jesus took with disciples as He met them on the road to Emmaus, on the path they were walking in the midst of their grief and doubt. He met them there, in that place. He shared the words of the prophets, broke bread with them, prayed with them, and because of that they recognized Him. When Jesus revealed Himself to them, He restored their hope and faith, and then they went to tell the others. The name Emmaus just fit. There was hope in the pain and the loss, because of Jesus.
I wish I could say that recalling the sermon and Jesus’ faithfulness made me whole. It didn’t. I wasn’t there yet. It was like someone hit a pause button on the healing I had been experiencing. I wasn’t worse, but I stopped moving forward in my healing. I felt like the disciples felt on the road to Emmaus before Jesus arrived.
Luke 24: 17–21 And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”
There it was: “but we had hoped.” Past tense. They had been there with Jesus, had a close personal relationship with Him, trusted Him for years, but now after three days and a difficult loss, they were left lost, defeated, and doubting all Jesus had promised, and they didn’t even recognize Him, and I was stuck there with them.
Almost a year later, I went to the Hope Mommies retreat, trying to be hopeful but carrying more anger than I could admit. I wanted to hope again. I wanted to believe all of the Scriptures I knew by heart. Before the retreat, I would hear the song, Good, Good Father and change the station. Hearing it literally made me angry. So what song did we end up singing at retreat…every session? You guessed it! Only, I could not change the station this time. I could feel God speaking to me, and as He did, all the anger I had been hiding from and wrestling with slowly gave way to tears of release and brokenness as I felt our Father say, “Just because this doesn’t feel good, does not mean I am not good. You are loved by Me, in your anger, in your grief, in your hope. I love you, and I want to know you. Let your anger go and hold on to Me instead.” I physically felt myself unclench my fist in that moment and raised my open hands to Heaven. In that moment, I knew I had to stop making my relationship with God about my feelings and instead focus on His promises. I had to let go of my anger and heartache and cling to God and His promises instead. I needed to come back to hope in the present tense.
I left the retreat restored with my hope and joy renewed. I pray that if you are in a place of loss or grief or despair that reading my story helps. I pray that you will be willing to let God restore you and your hope.
These verses have helped me as I cling to hope and God’s promises in place of my doubt and anger. I pray they will help you.
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:12
“Sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
May your joy, your hope, and your healing be in the present tense.
In His Love & In Hope,
Hope Mommy to Angel & Emmaus Moreno
Christi Moreno lives in Allen with her husband Jacob Moreno. They are parents to three daughters: Caitlin, Samantha, and AnaMaria here on earth and to their son Angel and baby Emmaus in Heaven. Christi has been involved in Hope Mommies for two years.
Hope Mommies is a non-profit Christian organization whose sole purpose is to come alongside moms and families who have experienced infant loss, bringing comfort, encouragement, companionship, and hope as they continue to walk this side of eternity without their beloved son or daughter.
Resources offered by Hope Mommies:
- Hope Boxes: This is how most moms are introduced to Hope Mommies. Hope Boxes are made from photo boxes and include a Bible, our Anchored Bible study, The One Year Book of Hope, a daily Bible Study, a journal, a brochure about Hope Mommies, and comfort items (a candle, tea, lotion, and tissues).
- Monthly Dinners: Time for moms to connect with other moms and share their stories. Our Dallas Chapter currently offers dinners at six different locations across the Metroplex.
- An Annual 5K/Balloon Release to honor families and their babies.
- Family Gatherings throughout the year, including a memorial service at Christmas time and family picnics or play dates in the summer.
- Hope Groups: 10-week Bible study focused on Jesus and the hope we have because of who He is and who we are in Him. These are offered twice a year, in spring and fall. Moms can participate in person or online.
- Annual Hope Mommies Retreat: Our retreats are offered twice a year. This is a weekend where moms come together and heal. We have several sessions with a speaker and praise and worship music. There are also small group break-outs and several activities to help moms talk about their babies and honor their memory.
To learn more, or to find a chapter in your area, visit hopemommies.org.