By Claire Ryu

Parishioner Claire Ryu shares her experience of God’s faithfulness and lovingkindness even in the midst of her sadness.

This year, 2019, has been a year of celebration. Our son Samuel Hosanna Ryu turned ten- a decade old! Samuel’s 10th birthday has been such a joyous milestone for our family. It has also been a year of remembering. Remembering the ten long years of waiting and crying out to the Lord for a child. I could relate to Hannah in the Bible for those ten years. I too was “deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly” (1 Samuel 1:10). I remember how my husband Bobby and I used to hold each other and dance each month after realizing I was not pregnant yet again. We called it ‘dancing in our disappointment.’ We invited God into our sadness and pain, and danced. We sure danced a lot during those ten years.

Yet in the waiting- in the pain and sadness- we also felt God’s love and comfort. God was with us. He was dancing with us. As He was with us, God gently used the waiting to expose idols, untruths and misplaced shame in my heart. What was wrong with me and my body? Would other people think I was somehow being punished by God?

Would our families and friends always look at me in pity and disappointment because I had no children? Would I truly be able to rejoice with friends and family who had fruitful, growing families?

Through the waiting and dancing in disappointment with Bobby, God gently led me to a place of peace and freedom. Freedom from the shame and idols in my heart. He helped me to trust him and surrender my plans and desires for having a child to him. In the freedom of surrender and the peace of a quieted, resting soul God was with me.

After a decade of dancing in our disappointment, God gave us a new dance —dancing in our delight! Also like Hannah, when our son was born, we worshiped and called his name Samuel, for “I have asked for him from the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:27). The name Samuel means ‘asked of God’ or ‘heard by God’. We held our Samuel in our arms and danced! And God was dancing with us.

This week there will be a blessing of pregnant women at the 9 am and 11 am services.

Claire lives in Wenham with her husband Bobby and son Sam. They attend the 9 am service. Claire works for the Hamilton Wenham School District as a teaching assistant in the Therapeutic Learning Classroom. Although a California girl at heart, she is learning to appreciate the beauty of the four seasons.