The little heartbeat ... a pin-sized star flashing on the monitor, pulsing away. Life! I could see it. Tears of joy.
We had been trying for a few years. Seen doctors. Hired a nutritionist. Prayed. Cried. Prayed some more.
It was a little girl. We were convinced.
Andi Rae Hussmann - maybe.
But this morning ... a different story.
If I hadn't see it on the monitor I would have seen it on the nurse's face. He was all business. It's a different expression when the news is good.
Not life. A void.
My wife is tougher than me. I shook and cried. She "just wanted to go home" - wanted to cry alone.
No clue why, but I went to the grocery store and paced the aisles, nothing in my cart but chips and salsa. I avoided people I knew, ended up in the same aisle three times with no idea how or why. Talked to my brother on the phone. Couldn't remember or didn't address what I needed to buy. Numb. Found an empty spot near the greeting cards and sobbed. Bought a dozen pink roses. Not sure who I bought them for. Andi - maybe.
Maybe it's premature to write this, and maybe I'll look back on it embarrassed, but one thing I know is that what I experienced today happens a lot, to a lot of people. It's our second time down this road.
My blog gets more hits from two phrases than any others. They are:
"God, when is this pain going to end?"
"Where do I go from here God?"
Today I hope to add a third:
"Why did I have a miscarriage?"
I'm going to talk about that. But first I want to share thoughts that might help any who stumble across this site. No order, just "streams of consciousness" writing. Whatever plops on the page.
1) It hurts. Like Hell it might seem to some. Especially if you've had several. Especially if there are no children so far. I just want to say I'm sorry. Really, truly, sorry. Even if it just means some random stranger you've never met and probably never will meet cares. I do. I wish I could change it for you. I'm sorry you hurt like this. It's awful. Lousy.
2) Don't give up. I know it's the "right thing" to say and sometimes it's hard to tell if one is saying the right thing because it's right or saying the right thing cause it's the only decent thing ... but it's still the right thing. You can't despair. Hold on to hope.
3) Better days are ahead. I don't know what that looks like for everyone, but I know this ... when we had our first miscarriage it felt like, well, like someone had died. And people can be so unconsciously cruel with their comments. Many view miscarriage as a "failed pregnancy." But I know it doesn't feel like anything so benign. It feels, in a way, like a child died - a future vanished. But I also know this, after our son was born, our second pregnancy, I wouldn't go back and change the outcome of the first for anything. It's a weird "alternate reality" sort of justification, but the thinking carries over into almost all intense suffering I've experienced. It's cliche, it's ugly to say at times, but it's true. Time heals wounds. Even if your battle has been much harder than ours, and there are many, look to God for help. Lean on others. Take the next step through the next day and "plod on, plod on, plod on." You will come through.
4) Why? Why? Why?
Somewhere in Kenya there's a woman who was pregnant and then she cramped, and she bled, and it hurt, and she cried, but there's no doctor, no husband, no bed to lie on. Dirt floors. She has to get up. Work. Her other children won't eat.
I have friends who have tried for years. Nothing. Friends who have tried every medical option. No luck. Friends who carried a baby for 8 months ... stillborn.
Broken hearts that women with children and nearly every man could never relate to. So. Much. Pain.
This morning on Facebook I requested prayer before the ultrasound. Dozens are praying. Some fervently I'm sure.
I snuck into the bathroom during the procedure.
"Jesus ... you've got to do this for me. Life! Put life into that baby."
Yet, here we are.
Doesn't God answer prayer any more?
If I'm wasting time with prayer ... am I wasting my whole life following God, loving Jesus?
What in the world is going on?
I'm not sure if you feel the same way I can feel, but it seems I can either grow bitter at God, wondering if He even cares, if He ever answers prayer, or I can blindly go on with my life and pretend I'm not disappointed and don't have big questions, and run along with all the other people who skim over the parts they don't understand.
Neither of those options seem good to me.
Fortunately, someone else has done a better job with this topic than I could and I want to refer you there.
The sermon is called "A letter to Henry" by Gregory Boyd. It deals with a family that lost their son, Henry. I suggest you watch the whole thing, but if you're pressed for time, jump to 35:30 and watch from there. It's Boyd's video response to the parents.
Maybe this blog has been all for me ... a place to reflect ... I don’t know.
What I do know/believe is that God is still on His throne. He’s all good. Always. Never changing. And He’s going to make it right. In a flash.
If you’ve stumbled here and want to talk, let me know. You can email me with the contact tab at HLHussmann.com.
For those of you that don't speak Christian-ese, an altar call is when the preacher says, basically, "Come to the front of the church and do something with God." It might be pray, sing, receive prayer from others, whatever.
In this case there were about forty of us who had come forward and were standing around worshiping God. The band was playing. People were raising their hands. I was lost in thought when the preacher, Jerry Hendley, said my name into the microphone.
I looked up.
He was pointing at me.
Everyone else was looking at me.
"I think you are supposed to preach here in two weeks' time."
I did my best not to go to the bathroom on the spot.
I managed to nod at him but somewhere in my belly small animals started gnawing on each other. I wonder what I looked like from Jerry's perspective. I'm sure my mouth was hanging open as I looked around at all the people smiling at me. Some of them were clapping. Someone behind me was patting me on the back.
Did you people not hear what he just said?! This isn't a time for whatever that happy-happy thing is. Stop it!
I wouldn't sleep for two weeks.
Well, that's an exaggeration, but sleep didn't come easy. Whatever those beasts were doing in my stomach, they really did it at night. And now that I think about it, they battled all day, all week, too. 14 days and I didn't relax.I was a condemned man walking toward the electric chair.
I studied, I prepared, I paced around my room going over my points. I sought people's advice. I read the Bible and underlined passages. I made pages of notes. I considered fleeing the country.
The day came. I white-knuckled the pulpit.
I preached for an hour.
No joke. An hour straight. Maybe without a breath.
And it was teerrrrrribble.
I rambled. I said "uhm" a lot. I started with a disclaimer - "I'm not very good at this, so bear with me." (Don't do that by the way.)
I chased rabbits down winding trails.
Did I mention "teerrrrrrribble"?
I tried to listen to a recording of that miserable sermon about a year ago and couldn't get through the first 5 minutes. It was awful. So embarrasing.
But people were kind.
"That was great," they said.
"I got a lot out of that. You have a gift."
I'm conviced they were all on drugs.
But, the craziest thing is, I believed them.
I started to pursue doing it more often - taking it seriously.
Up till that point I had taught some Sunday School lessons and small group Bible studies, but after that I took every opportunity I could to preach.
I took a public speaking class.
I studied people I thought did it well and I recorded myself on video, playing it back and taking notes.
And now, I think if you talk to people that know me, they'd say it's what I was designed to do. No question about it, it's a huge part of what God created me for. I love preaching and I've done a lot of it.
So what's my point?
It's this: I'm thankful for Jerry Hendley, and others like Mark Randall and Art Heinz, who saw something in me that wasn't actually there. I'm thankful for leaders that looked at my potential and not who I was at that particular time. They let me learn and grow and put up with my lack of ability, seeing something in me that would develop over time.
I've been reading a ton on leading people and one principle I've seen is that to build a great team you have to invest in rookies ... and you have to let them get in the game and play like rookies ... allow them to make mistakes and learn. No one learns to play the game on the bench. You can't teach reflexes, split-second decisions, and last-second movements. No drill or instruction will do it. Players have to play and no one plays well at first.
I want to be a guy that looks around constantly, finding people who are teachable, coachable, and willing to nod their heads in the middle of terror and say "yes, I'll give it a shot." I want to find the next come-from-nowhere contributor, not only in the church, but outside it as well. I want to invest in projects that become team leaders.
No one is fulfilling his or her potential completely. I want to fulfill mine, but more, I want to help others toward their God-given destiny. And, in the end, doing that is what's going to help me reach mine.
I'm convinced when Jerry Hendley pointed at me he was not only helping me find my place in God's plan, but he was fulfilling his own.
I want to be the guy that takes my eyes off myself, looks around me, and points at people.
"You have a calling from God."
"Let me help you fulfill it."
The title pretty much says it all.
Kara and I are moving to Louisville, KY. We're planting a church - Daylight Church.
There. I said it.
It's officially officially official.
I've sent it "out there."
I've been in Murray, KY for coming up on 22 years, working with Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at Murray State for 17 of those. It's been home. Our friends are here. My wife's job is phenomenal ... really phenomenal. My church here is fantastic and our home is beautiful.
But Louisville keeps me up at night.
It's pretty much all I can think about.
Yeah, I'm facing fear ... fear of failure, fear for our financial situation, fear of being afraid ... but more than that, I'm excited.
I have a vision for a unique and amazing church - a place where lives are changed, people fulfill their incredible potential, and hurting people get help.
Shouldn't I temper my expectations? Be realistic about how hard church planting is?
Yes. And I'm trying. But I really believe God is starting something special. What keeps me up at night is a vision that almost seems impossible. And it is impossible without His help. I know He is going to do something great and He's going to bring the right people to walk this journey with me.
I believe God has prepared me for this moment. In some ways, it's the moment I hit "publish" at the end of this blog. It feels like the moment of no return. Wow.
So ... if you want to know more details, you can check out the church's website here: http://www.DaylightChurch.com
And if you'd like a more in depth look at what we're doing, our time frame, budget, etc ... you can see our church proposal here: http://www.DaylightChurch.com/proposal.pdf
That might be enough for a lot of you. If so, feel free to stop reading now. But if you'd like to see more on how this could involve you, keep going.
Here's how you could help:
Please be in prayer for us as we make this transition.
Pray for my health, our finances and budget, specific wisdom in all the tons of decisions we need to make, and for our house to sell at the right price at the right time. (Anyone in Murray need a great home? Let me know.)
If you'd be interested in participating in our regular prayer list, please post on the Facebook chain, message me, or respond to this email.
2) Join with us financially.
As you'll see in the church proposal, planting a church takes money. I've never been one to really target fund raising and this is a whole new world for me.
I'll be raising money for the next several months and many of you will hear from me personally. But if you'd like to play a part in planting this church, please let me know. No pressure, no worries, but I believe it's going to be a great place to invest.
3) Come to Louisville with us.
I know I'm walking a thin line here and I have no desire to pull anyone away from something God is already doing in his or her life, but I also know team church planting is far more effective than flying solo. We're gonna need a lot of people to launch our first service. A music team, nursery workers, greeters, administrative people, and a whole lot more. We already have about 8 people (including Kara and I) that have expressed an interest in being involved. We need more.
If you are at a transition point in your life and looking for an exciting adventure, maybe Louisville's the place. I gotta tell you though, I'm going to be selective about my team, so be prepared for that. Same as above, if you're interested in joining us or just learning more, get a hold of me.
4) Help me make connections.
Do you know people in Louisville that don't have a church but might be interested in something new? Connect me with them.
Know some Louisville-area property that might make a perfect location? Shoot me a note.
Know anyone who has an interest in the Louisville area as far as ministry is concerned? Someone that might invest some time or money in a new church there? Or someone just itching to help plant a church somewhere, anywhere? Pass me the info. I'd love to connect.
Oh, and share this post with your friends.
That's the gist of it. I'm happy to answer any questions. Let me know.
I know we can't do this alone and I'm believing God is going to put together a large group of people that want to see Daylight Church come to pass.
Check out the website, read the proposal, and see if God would have you be involved in some way.
Now here comes the "butterflies in the stomach" moment of hitting "publish."
Here goes ...
Breathe, H. Breathe.
Okay, now. I'm ready.