Anna Miriam Lawrence was stillborn on Sunday, August 14, 2016 after a full-term pregnancy. This lament was written and shared by Orion Lawrence at the funeral on August 17. Please keep Keren and Orion in your prayers as they finalize preparations to launch to the Ama of Papua New Guinea.
The joy with which our hearts were filled
When first the news we learned,
The fate of being childless
Had now, at last, been spurned.
In mission lands ‘tis harder still
Than here in the USA
To bear the mark of childlessness
For people often say,
Have you tried this, have you tried that?
This potion you must take.
How empty is your husband’s heart,
Some other he must take.
You matter not, don’t measure up
And cursed you sure must be.
You have no right to teach about
The care of a baby.
What right have you to talk about
Prenatal care to me,
Or how my smoke and alcohol
A detriment will be?
O Joy beyond all joys to know
A babe would soon be born.
Our emptiness from early years,
The laughter and the scorn,
Was now all but a distant past.
The joy grew more, and more,
For with this brand new little one,
This type of grief was o’er.
My wife’s sister in a distant land
Was pregnant, this she knew.
They talked of lots of different ways
To raise and train these two.
The joy they shared abounded more
As onward sped the days,
Until a little boy was born
Across the ocean waves.
We all rejoiced, a little boy
Was added to their fold.
We waited so expectantly
Our own little one to hold.
Oh joy unbounded filled with love
For this our little child!
Hearts filled with ecstasy and pride
Now we had counted up the cost
To follow God indeed.
To go to distant mission lands
Wherever He would lead.
We knew we might have to leave our babe
Upon some lonely hill
Far in the dark green jungle,
Yet we would follow still.
We knew that on this path we trod
Grave dangers lay in wait.
In going to the mission field
That death could be our fate.
And trusting Him completely
Though blood or tears we’d spill
For there’s no better place to be
Than the center of God’s will.
O pain unbearable and sharp!
O emptiness and loss!
O cruel fate, to come to this?
O can we bear this cross?
For ere we heard a single cry
While yet inside the womb
Her heart, it just stopped beating
Her first cradle now a tomb.
The sobs came loud and o so fast,
The wailing so forlorn
For this our child we had waited for
Was from our bosoms torn.
Those little feet, a thousand times
Her mommy’s belly they had poked,
Her little lips forever silent
Ere a word they ever spoke.
Her smiles we would never see
Her voice we’d never hear,
Her first words, Mama, Papa,
Would ne’er on earth bring cheer.
Her little tongue ne’er had the chance
To ever lisp the name
Of Him who died on Calvary’s tree
The human race to claim.
O Lord, why did this happen?
Come the questions thick and fast.
And we can only trust that He
Will make it clear at last.
And yet, through tear-dimmed eyes we see
By faith, a different land.
A place where we forever
Can hold her by the hand.
A place where flowers ever grow,
And nothing ever dies.
Our home, it is eternal,
Up there beyond the skies.
Oh Father keep us near to Thee
And hold us in Your hand.
Guide us through this sorrow
The way that You have planned.
And so on earth we journey
We’re pilgrims in this land,
We know that someday shortly
We will take her by the hand.
Oh first we will go meet Jesus
The One who gave His all.
The One who lived and died for us
The One on whom we call.
She will join us as we gather
With praises o so sweet
We will cast our crowns before Him
Down at His blessed feet.
And then she will get a chance to meet
Some from across the sea
From India, and Bangladesh,
From far off New Guinea.
And there we will sing a better song
One great big family
From North and South and East and West
What glorious harmony!
And so Dear Jesus, this our plea,
Your children here below:
Please dry our tears, and give us peace
Your love to us please show.
You are the One who sees it all
And in eternity
We will understand You did what’s best,
For Keren, Anna Miriam and me.