Saturday, January 10, 2009


When I saw the Footprints on the walkway of the Arataki Visitor centre last Sunday, I remember the first time I read the poem "Footprints in the sand." The poem impacted me so much and probably more than many people who read it.

The scenario happened almost twenty years ago, I had just been told that my newly born baby son, Andrew  was dying. I wasn't told about his lethal situation before he was born, and it was just so difficult to accept that a well form baby could be so sick inside.

My pastor's wife and best friend Owlyn Dickson had informed the Church, The Auckland Baptist Tabernacle to pray for us and give us practical help especially with D then almost 5, and G18 months. 

Betty Stevens had sent this poem Via Owlyn, and there I was seated next to Andrew's cot and reading.

Footprints in the Sand
  One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
  Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
  In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
  Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
  other times there were one set of footprints.
  This bothered me because I noticed
  that during the low periods of my life,
  when I was suffering from
  anguish, sorrow or defeat,
  I could see only one set of footprints.
  So I said to the Lord,
  "You promised me Lord,
  that if I followed you,
  you would walk with me always.
  But I have noticed that during
  the most trying periods of my life
  there have only been one
  set of footprints in the sand.
  Why, when I needed you most,
  you have not been there for me?"
  The Lord replied,
  "The times when you have
  seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
  is when I carried you."

  Mary Stevenson
  Copyright © 1984 Mary Stevenson, from original 1936 text, All rights reserved

I did not ask God," Why me? It's unfair!" But I did tell God I accept Andrew but to tell me in time "Why me?"  I think I am confusing myself here. What I mean is I did not ask God, why did you gave me a dying child? Rather, what I mean is what is the purpose of giving me a dying child? AmI making myself clearer?

A few days later, a very good friend and a doctor at the hospital B.T. told me that I was probably the best Mum for Andrew. I loved him, and I did not abandon him, as did a mother in  the next cubicle.

Forty days later, I saw a crying mum. I went to hug her. The husband asked what was wrong with Andrew. I said," He is terminal." The poor mother hug me tightly, and said," So is my boy, we just found out that there was nothing they could do for him, and we just made the decision to turn off the machine." She hugged me back. We were two poor mums with dying babies. 

The husband thanked me, prior to my telling her that Andrew was terminal, for some 2 weeks after giving birth to her baby, she had not uttered a word and everyone was so worried for her..

That was when I said, "Thank you, God, You just told me that was why you chose me to be Andrew's mum. You gave me a special gift to comfort grieving mums." 

I have moved on, Andrew was and is and will always be part of me. He gave me the gift to encourage bereaved parents, to comfort them. Some people don't understand, and tell me to go for theraphy because they think I should not talk about him. My Grand dad, who lost his son when my 4th Uncle drowned at four years old ,was still telling us about this uncle and how he drowned when Grand dad was in his seventies. I guess, it takes a bereaved parent to understand one another.

When John Travolta's son died, I heard his wife saying  something to this effect," It is not right for a parent to bury a child." The Chinese have a saying," The Grey/white hair saying goofbye to the black hair." I have heard, this is the worst kind of grief. My grand parents buried two young sons. When I had Andrew, I thought of my Grand Mother.

I am with these two organisation, because I believe I have much to offer.

Today my Associate pastor Judy Ashman shared in her sermon how she was able to help this young mum whose baby had just died. I was thinking, it can't be a coincidence, I had wanted to write this post for a while. And this morning, I was thinking this morning is the time to write it.

Let me quote what she preached:


Now tears are his food day and night. He is filled with sorrow, mourning, despair. And yet in the midst of this turmoil he remembers the joy of intimacy with God and he makes a choice to put his hope in God, to trust God and actualy to praise God. As hard as it was, I encouraged this young mum to do just this, to trust God ad to praise God even though her baby had died. It was a terrible time of grief that day and in the weeks and months that followed, but prayer gave me a link to the anchor of hope. to jesus my strong anchor in the time of trouble.

Judy emailed me, I am sure she doesn't mind me sharing this. I felt touched with what God could do with the young mum's life.

Hi from Judy

Sunday, January 11, 2009 2:43 PM

Hi Ann
I went to your blog site tonight and was so blessed to read your story.

 I wish I could have shared the update of the story of the young Mum I talked about in my sermon (there was not enough time) because she has used her grief to speak into the lives of so many other Mums who have lost babies. She joined an organisation that works with Mums who have had stillborn babies and has shared how God walked with her through the pain. Now, when she looks back she can tell me that "God was working things for good in the midst of the tragedy." It seemed so hard, almost cruel, at the time to encourage her to praise God but because she did just that she impacted so many lives. 

There is power in praise and she knows that at a deeper dimension now than before the tragedy. I know she will never forget her little baby, Sam, and I hope she will also never forget the God who knows, the God who cares and the God, Jesus, who has walked the path of suffering and who promises to walk with us in the midst of our suffering.



1 comment:

Deb said...

Hee hee hee I see you picked up the art of changing text colours! I'm so impressed. Jia you!!

p/s I met Fishy's mum and dad on the NY view hill and passed them your blog address, maybe they'll drop by and leave a comment.