If my daughter’s name is Tzeitel, why Hannah’s Tears?

Chalk this up as frequently asked question #1. Why did I name my memory box program Hannah’s Tears if my daughter’s name is Tzeitel? So many people name their programs and organizations after their heavenly children, and I think that’s great, but that thought never entered my mind. I’m not sure why, but it didn’t.

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When we decided, shortly before Tzeitel’s due date, that we wanted to give back in some way, and to make sure that families didn’t leave the hospital empty handed like we did. When we first decided it would be memory boxes, and that we wanted to provide them at the hospital, we knew we had to come up with a name, before we started talking to people. My husband had been doing some Bible study about women and families in the Bible who suffered infertility and/or baby loss. He said that as he studied Hannah, in 1st Samuel, that the usage of “the Lord closed her womb” it means that she hadn’t given birth to a live child. I knew immediately that I had to name my program after this sweet mama who cried out to the Lord in her grief.

1st Samuel 1: 1-9 (NKJV)
Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name 
was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 

 

The story goes on to talk of how she prayed for a son and said that she would give him back to the Lord, to serve God all of his days, and that she was blessed with such a son, Samuel. As I think about her story, I can only imagine her life, her pain. “And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb.” Reading this makes me think, did Hannah hear the things that we hear? There’s nothing new under the sun, so I’m sure the same taunts that are used today were used then. “Why don’t you have any children, Hannah?” “Is there something wrong with you?” “When are you going to have children?” “Are you trying to have children?” and so on. We all know the things that people say without thinking, that dig at our bereaved hearts. Where do you turn when those things are said to you? Do you turn to anger? to hate? to bitterness? It’s a hard choice to make… bitterness is easy, anger is easy. To make the choice to turn to God in our sorrow is a really hard choice to make.

 

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For me, my faith has been the biggest part of my healing. If it wasn’t for God, I don’t know where I’d be. My faith in God allows me to know that when I die, I will go to Heaven, and that my baby girl is there waiting for me. It allows me to know that Christ died for my sins and I have accepted His blood as atonement for my sins. It tells me that God is in control, and that no matter what goes on in this sinful world, that in the end, He wins. It allows me to know that even when bad things come, He uses that to draw me closer to Him, and that He will also use it for good in the end. Through my loss, I have been able to meet hundreds of families that I would have otherwise never known. I have been able to touch the lives of people with His message and do things I would have never fathomed. I would have never chose this path for myself. I would have chose the “easy” road, I’m sure of it! But God knows the big picture. I’ve heard it said that life is like a big tapestry, but we can only see the back, it doesn’t make sense to us, it’s just a jumble of all of these different colors, thread sticking out all over the place. It looks ugly. But at the end, we will be able to see the front, to be able to see how God interwove all of the experiences of our lives together to make a beautiful picture. One of my favorite pastors to listen to, Dr. S. M. Davis of Solve Family Problems, has a wonderful sermon available called “What Happens when you Miscarry”. This sermon has been a great comfort to me. In it he talks about that God doesn’t allow us to see what we will go through in the future, because we aren’t ready for it yet. He prepares us each day, each moment, for what we will go through in the future. But we have to trust Him for that. I pray that you would trust God today, that you would know Him. If you don’t know Him as your Savior today, please, read the book of John, as it clearly explains the life of Jesus and His sacrifice in His death, and how He was raised from the dead.

I love being able to share my faith, and I love being able to share about my girl, but to me they go hand in hand. ❤

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How do I define myself…

I was told this last week, you can’t let your grief define you, and I very much agree. At one time in my life, my grief did define me. I felt like I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t clean the house, I didn’t want to see people, all because of how sad I was and the toll it was taking on my body. That was a very rough time in my life. It took me several months after Tzeitel died to get to where I felt like I was human again. I just wasn’t myself. I would never want to go back to that place again.

 

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How would I define myself today? Child of God, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend. I love to spend time outdoors, love time spent behind my camera capturing God’s beautiful handiwork, I love making crafts, and I love a rainy afternoon cuddled on the couch watching a movie. I love being joyful because I know that I am saved by the blood of the Lamb, and that He has a plan for everything. This is how I define myself. Grief to me is like the seasons. We all have our winters, where life is hard, and we don’t feel like we can go on. But we cannot stay there forever! We have to go into the spring, where life is new again and we learn about who we are in our “new normal”. I will always miss my girl, I will always be her mama. But as the seasons change, we learn how to go about our lives in a new way. Part of that to me is to use what I have learned over the past 2 years to help others to find hope and joy again after loss. That is why I make my memory boxes, that is why I am going through training to start a support group. Not because my grief defines me, but because I have hope and joy, and I want others to have it too! My grief does not define me, Tzeitel does not define me, but being her mama, and a bereaved parent, will forever be a part of me, and who I am. 

❤ Dawn