Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Prayer Shawl

Three years ago tomorrow, my mother-in-law, Linda Evelyn Hubmeier, passed away. Although I know she is in God's loving and eternal care, this has been the greatest tragedy in my life.

She was the most faithful woman I know. Linda relied and trusted in Jesus - she was a great Christian example to follow. She loved her family with a passion. But this post is not about the wonderful person she was, because I can't do that justice in words. This post is about a gift she gave me after her death.

When Linda's cancer returned for what would be the final time, someone she knew knitted her a prayer shawl. With each stitch, this friend prayed for Linda. Of course, I don't know what the prayer was, but I imagine it was for comfort and healing. I remember how much she loved that beautiful cranberry-colored shawl, and she always had it nearby when we visited. She said she felt such warmth and caring when she wore it. She even joined a Prayer Shawl Ministry at church, so she could provide this same comfort for others.

During this time, Chris and I were in the middle of our struggle with infertility. When Linda died, I felt such great pain. Of course, I mourned the loss of this beautiful person who I loved deeply. But I also mourned that she would never know our children. I know how much she wanted to meet them. She once told me "I'm on my knees, praying for you." And she certainly was, probably more than I realize.

Months after her death, Chris and I had been through many failed IUI attempts. Our doctor recommended we move on to other technologies, and together we decided on IVF. I have to tell you, at this point I was hopeless. I knew, without a doubt, that I would not get pregnant. I was tired and I was scared, but we plodded on.

IVF is a complicated procedure. Chris gave me injections so my body would produce a lot of eggs. Our doctors removed the eggs while I was under anesthesia, and fertilized them with Chris' sperm. After a few days, they put the embryos into my uterus, and then we waited. For two long weeks.

During the Two Week Wait, we traveled to Michigan for Shari and Luke's wedding shower. It was a fabulous day to celebrate their love, and it was also my 30th birthday. Sometime late in the afternoon, a group from my in-law's church asked to speak to Chris and me. I was actually nervous. It sounds crazy to me now, but IVF is so controversial and I was afraid they wanted to talk to us about that. But in reality, God was about to intervene and comfort us.

They presented us with a beautiful shawl. While it was wrapped around my shoulders, the group explained that Linda had begun knitting this shawl when she was sick, but passed away before she could finish it. She didn't have a recipient in mind, she only knew she would give it to someone who needed it. I know she prayed so much love into that shawl. Each stitch is a beautiful, loving prayer to our God. After her death, another member from church finished knitting the shawl. Then the "Prayer Shawl Ministry" kept it until they could find the right person to have it.

And that person was me. As they wrapped the shawl around me, I burst into tears. I could feel so much love from Linda, and I had the first glimmer that Chris and I would be okay. The group prayed with us and I let my heart feel hope. I wore the shawl for days.

Four days later, I found out I was pregnant with Evie.


Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

This almost made me cry...what a beautiful story of love. She was a special lady, and I can only imagine how much the shawl means to you.

Anna Grace`s Jie Jie said...

What a beautiful story!

Jen said...

That was a beautiful post! Telling that story is a wonderful way to honor her.

Rebekah said...

What an amazing story - wow! Thank you for sharing something so near and dear to your heart.

bluedog said...

What a moving story. It brought tears to my eyes thinking of my dearly departed beloved grandmother. When I was struggling with miscarriages, Grandma, good Christian that she was, would tell me that God would give us a child when the time was right. It breaks my heart knowing that she's not around to see Avery grow up. But not a day goes buy that I don't mention Great-Grandma to her because she was such an influence on all the women in our family, and it's her legacy that her life story be told to future generations.

Kelsey said...

Aww Beautiful post!

Scarlet O'Kara said...

What a beautiful post. You are blessed to have such loving memories of this special lady.

My mother-in-law died less than 3 months after I married her son. While she really wanted to be a grandmother before her death, she lived long enough to make sure that each of her children found the love of their lives. Her first grandchild was born 9 months to the day of her death. January 2009, will be the 10th Anniversary of her death...and all five of her grandchildren (all girls) are so very much like their Angel Grandma!

Kim said...

What a wonderful and beautiful story! Made me cry.

I just want you to know that I have really enjoyed reading through your blog today. I've added it to my feed reader so that I can keep up with it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I just found you through the blog train. I cried as I read this. What a fantastic way to honor your mother in law.

Shari Baby said...

i love you sarah! prayer works.