Monday, April 6, 2009
Eulogy from Hope's Memorial Service
• Entered our world on March 1 2009 at 3:57am. Entered heaven March 22 at 7:10pm (the dash on a tombstone represents the life lived by that person). Hope’s dash lasted a short 21 days but she impacted the world more in just 21 days than most people do in an entire lifetime!!
• Throughout Hope’s journey she has referred to as our “warrior princess” and that is EXACTLY what this little girl was, she was a warrior princess! A warrior is defined as one who is engaged or experiencing a battle. Hope and her precious parents were in a battle from the time of Hope’s diagnosis until she went to be Jesus. They lived 24/7 in the most intense battle of their lives for her life for the last two months. I CAN NOT EXPRESS HOW PROUD I AM OF THEIR EFFORTS AND THE WAY THEY FOUGHT THIS BATTLE WITH SO MUCH GRACE, SO MUCH COURAGE, AND SO MUCH FAITH! Aaron is the baby of our family and he takes a lot of teasing as the baby, but he demonstrated more strength and more steadiness than any man or Daddy in his shoes could ever. Throughout the process, our family stayed in close contact through phone calls and such. And after each phone call, we all were blown away at Aaron and Sara’s strength. We would call them hoping to encourage and build them up and hang up being completely humbled because usually they were the ones encouraging us instead!
•When one loses a spouse, they are called a widow or widower. When one loses a parent, they are called an orphan. But there are no words to describe the grief of losing a child. Unfortunately this is not the first infant our family has buried long before we felt it was their time leave. Part of the grief we feel as Aaron and Sara’s family and friends is the loss of what might have been though Hope’s life. Knowing what amazing and beautiful people Aaron and Sara are, Hope was destined to be do great things but God had other plans and He REALLY used her short 21 days on earth to minster to her world in ways that will last lifetimes.
• But although baby Hope has left us, Hope has not left us. Hope is defined as a confident expectation. Those who are believers in Jesus and the power of the promise of the cross, we grieve differently than the rest of the world… simply on the foundation of Hope in the promise of the cross and the promise of a faithful God who has told us that one day we will be reunited with Him and our lost loved ones.
• The day after Hope passed away, I had a long conversation with Aaron and he was so full of Hope it amazed me. We talked about Jesus the night before his death (Jesus prayer). When Aaron and Sara received Hope’s diagnoses, they were determined not to let her illness be in vain. They wanted God’s glory is to be on display in Hope’s life. I was 100% confident in that the fact that God knew how many curly brown hairs were on Hope’s head and that He knew how to fix her heart and He was going to bring complete healing. We all wanted God’s glory to be displayed through healing Hope’s heart! Yet God choose to reveal his glory not in her healing but in her death and we are ok with that!
• As we learned about Hope’s death, we eventually came to a place of submission. Although the end result wasn’t what we asked for and planned, God’s fingerprints and faithfulness were all over this entire journey!! From the way, he provided for Aaron and Sara’s needs at every juncture on this journey to the way in which He brought us comfort and peace in the midst of walking thru the valley of the shadow of death. God’s glory has been on display throughout the entire story of Hope Elizabeth Maus life and even in her death.
• Shortly after Hope condition was diagnosis, Aaron had a dream one night with Jonah playing and dancing with his sister Hope…. I thought we would see that dream become reality on this side of heaven but I was wrong! We will see the two of them together dancing one day; we are going to have to wait just a little longer than we expected.
• I know many of the family were not able to meet Hope in person but that the fact they never met her doesn’t reflect the amount of love and affection they held for this precious baby. I know in the first few days after Hope’s passing, we struggled with the fact she just wanted one opportunity to hold her. Hope had two loving aunts, three uncles, and LOTS of great aunts and uncles and cousins who loved her to pieces! One of my favorite things about being an aunt is the ability to hold and cuddle our nephews and then hand them over to mom when they get fussy or tired. One of my favorite things about being an uncle is our ability to spoil the crap out of them, get them loud and obnoxious toys, and then send them home to Mom and Dad when the party is over. In some ways, as family is natural to feel cheated out of those fun family moments. But even though we were not able to hold Hope on this side of heaven, we have assurance that one day we will and we can eagerly look forward to that precious day!
• In that phone call with Aaron the day after Hope’s passing, we always talked about the concept of time to us. (2 Peter 3:8). I am thankful that the God we serve is SO BIG that He can not be bound by time as know it. Today we grieve because we didn’t feel like we had enough time with Hope. But as believers in eternal salvation, we KNOW that we will spend eternity with her and that our time here on earth WITHOUT her doesn’t even compare to the amount of time we will spend WITH her in eternity! When we lose a loved one, its human nature to want to question God and ask “WHY?!” “Aaron and Sara love you with their entire beings God, why would you choose not to heal their innocent precious baby? How can a loving God allow suffering?” But I have not heard Aaron and Sara ask God “why” once! Psalm 115:3 says “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” So today or tomorrow or next month, if you feel surrounded by grief and want to question God…Remember the answer to our questions of why is ALWAYS simply this: because He’s God and we are not! His ways and his thoughts and plans are always higher and better than ours. This question remains.. “can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be our arrogance that makes us think God owes us an explanation?” Aaron and Sara love and serve a God that is so big and so great, our puny little brains can’t understand him at times and we only limit God when we insist on making Him small enough for us to understand.
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand