11.27.2013

Infertility and Why Husbands Should Lead in Comforting and Counsel.

    The Introduction: 
           Theological precision has its rightful place, and with equal footing, the serving of these truths must be compassionately timed, especially within intimate relationships. Eclipsed by my own pride and ignorance, I stumbled in this area many times early during my marriage. Desperately wanting to convey Godly leadership within my family, I found myself weighing every conversation to guard against baneful theological regurgitation and the impact it might have without thoughtful consideration. Oftentimes I would be paralyzed by own frustrations and excuses. On one hand never fully trusting the Lord to give wisdom on certain situations and on the other hand never truly knowing how or when to present what I believed to be the woman I loved.  This became fully realized on an autumn morning during our first year of marriage.
A chilling wind rushed into our lives in August, which left me staggering for theological balance.  I received a call in my office to come to where my wife was teaching preschool. Jessica had passed out while cleaning up the floors after the children’s lunch. Lying on the floor, through tears, she began to describe the incredible pain she was having. Helplessly I knelt beside her held her hand and listened. Little did we know, our first child was already in the hands of The Creator. Prior to that moment I thought I knew how to lead, but the winding road ahead was quickly becoming foggy and more treacherous.
A few more difficult months and years went by for us. Doctor visits. Hospital visits. Calendar marking. Testing. Surgery. Build up excitement and expectations on the foundation of professional direction and faithful prayers, would crumble every 28 days. There was no longer a point of the denying the fact: Jessica and I were infertile. In spite of all the evidence that showed we were capable of having children, the Lord had closed our womb.

Now, how was I supposed to begin to navigate the multitude of decisions and questions that we had. Are we to embrace our infertility with joy in light of the commands in the Scripture to procreate? Are we now disobedient to this charge? To encourage and comfort my wife, should we pursue all courses of fertility treatment? Even when we may have moral/ethical dilemmas with some treatments? How do I know when I should risk emotional hurt for a greater good for us both? How can I compassionate love my wife in this season and at the same time speak truth and direction when it seems antithetical to our situation?  These questions were just the beginning to our journey in infertility.

2.20.2013

Healing after a Failed/Disrupted Adoption


To the Reader,
You may have gone down this path or know someone who has. If so, I pray that this ceremony can bring comfort in such times.  ~John

Ritual of Healing for a Disrupted Adoption
Chaplain John L. Craven
18 FEB 2013


This ritual of healing is primarily for a couple that has recently experienced a disrupted adoption. Due to the nature of the event’s intimacy, I recommend that this ritual be performed with just the couple experiencing the grief and loss. A recommending place for this ritual would be an open park with view of the skyline toward the west. A place where the couple can see the sunset would be fitting and beneficial as well, but not necessary.

Place: A neutral (preferable not familiar) secluded place/park with view of the western skyline.
Time of ritual: A few minutes before sunset, 10 minutes.
Items: A helium-filled balloon with weight, picnic blanket, flashlight.


Instructions: Place the blanket on the ground comfortably. Place the balloon and attached weight in the middle. Couple may wish to sit side by side facing the sunset with the balloon as a center-piece. Begin the ceremony when both of you are comfortable and ready. There is absolutely no reason to rush this moment. This is between the two of you and the Sovereign Lord. He knows your heart.

Opening Our Hearts to You
(Holding hands in prayer)

Husband:Lord, you say in Isaiah 41:10, “…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
…Lord, I need you now with me..
[pause in silence]
Wife:Christ Jesus, you say in Matthew 28:20, ‘And behold,  I am with you always, to  the end of the age.’
…Lord, I need you now with me.
[pause in silence]
Husband: “Lord, David writes in Psalms 23, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
…Lord, we need you with us. Please meet with us. Amen.


Our Confession, Your Assurance
Wife: God, we don’t know what will happen to precious [insert child’s name].
Together: But You know.
Husband: God, our friends and family don’t know how to comfort us right now.
Together: But You know.
Wife: God, we don’t understand your hand in all this right now.
Together: But You know.
Husband: God, we don’t know the answers right now.
Together: But You know.
Wife: God of heavens, in my brokenness and hurt how will I be able to strengthen [husband’s name] right now.
Husband: He knows.
Husband: Lord of all creation, in my heartache and grief how will I be able to lead [wife’s name] right now.
Wife: He knows.

[pause in silence]
Husband: Your Word says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” God hear our prayers not only for ourselves, but for [insert child’s name.]We will treasure the short time you gave us with [her/him]. We recognize that as we let go symbolically of this balloon, only You truly know the final destination. We will watch and pray as it leaves our hands, and we will trust You alone for its safety. In the same way that [insert child’s name] left our hands, only You know where [he/she] will go. God please grant us your comfort as we watch [him/her] leave our side.

Release the Balloon.
[Wife unties weight, and together they let the balloon go. Watch the balloon until it is out of sight.]
[pause in silence]

Our Continued Hope

Wife: Right here. Right now, As the sunsets,…Lord our only hope is in you. You say in your Word, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” May tomorrow’s dawn bring new hope to us. Amen.