The Lord gave and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

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Dan's Letter

From: Dan Arnsperger
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 11:37 AM
Subject: It is with great pain yet still glorifying God . . .

Dearest Friends and Family:

This is the single most challenging email I have ever written.  As many of you know by now our beautiful baby girl died in Catherine's womb less than 24 hours before our scheduled induction.  We found out when we arrived to the hospital at the scheduled time at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, January 28, 2005.  Catherine, through a c-section, delivered our beautiful baby girl around 1:00 in the afternoon.  Abigail Grace Arnsperger weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. 

Demonstrating our planning personalities, all the names on this list are people that are our good friends and family.  We created the list to send to announce Abigail's birth a few weeks ago, in preparation for the much-anticipated day.  For a while, I debated about sending this note to a smaller group, if even sending it at all.  However, after much prayer for wisdom I feel strongly that this is the right email for this hour.  As I think about the content I still have to write, I think it will be a long note.  After reading this email, I don't care if you delete it, forward it, or save it.  What I do beg of you though, is please process through it.  Consider what God's role is in your life and if you need to respond.  This is the wisdom that God has given Catherine and I over the last excruciatingly painful 3 days. 

Abigail Grace is such a gift from God.  I have loved the name Abigail for a long time, in fact before I knew Catherine.  When Catherine was about two months pregnant she was doing some name research and found that the meaning of Abigail is "Father's Joy."  From that point there was no turning back, Abigail was the name.  I had always wanted the middle name to be a family name.  We debated about many family names but eventually Catherine felt strongly about the name Grace.  I love that name.  Where would we be without the gift of God's Grace?  Abigail Grace Arnsperger, the name is a perfect blend of her father and mother's desires. 

There is no abnormality or defect that caused her death, we just believe with all our heart that this is Gods plan for her life.  There is no reason to ask "what if" questions or point any blame our God is a sovereign God and we know this is His will.  We don't know why this happened and won't fully know until we join our precious Abby in heaven.  However, we have already seen glimpses of God being glorified during this experience.  Those little nuggets and the thousands upon thousands of prayers have totally sustained us.  

As you read through this I think a natural question is what do I do with this information.  I have a few thoughts.  
 

  1. I want all of you to know these simple truths:
    1. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.  John 3:16, John 10:10
    2. Man is sinful and separated from God.  Therefore, man cannot know and experience Gods plan for his life.  Romans 3:23,  Romans 6:23
    3. Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin.  Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life.  Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, John 14:6
    4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives.  John 1:12, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:1-8, Revelation 3:20 
  2. I pray that each of you will accept these truths into your own heart, into your own life.  We have a God of love, a God who has a plan for our lives.  For more information on the above 4 points go to www.greatcom.org/laws/
  3. If you are struggling right now with any hurt or suffering, you are not alone.  God loves you.  God loves us.  God will provide for us.  Take comfort in knowing that God is in control.  In a devotional book I am reading, an analogy was made the other day.  It said that the only difference between a surgeon with a scalpel and a killer with a knife is intent.  However, the surgeon is inflicting pain that will eventually bring about a greater good, even if that greater good is sometimes hard to see.  God is our great physician, our great surgeon.
  4. If you have kids, nieces, nephews, or just friends who have little ones, let them know how much you love them.  I am a father now of a beautiful baby girl.  Though she is in heaven, no one can take away my role as a father.  I am hurting so deeply because my love is so great.  Please today give some love to the little kiddos in your life.  On that note, believe it or not (I believe it with all my heart) we have a Father in heaven who loves us even more that that.  He loves us so much that he willingly sent His son to die for us.

The final thing I ask for is your prayers.  Pray in particular for my beautiful bride Catherine, she is such an incredible blessing in my life and I hate to see her suffer.  Please come up with some way to remember and pray for us not just today, this week, or next week.  We need some real prayer for a long time.  This is such a struggle.  Over the last few days, God has blessed us with a doctor that is the most amazing man.  God has blessed us with nurses that are angels, put here at this time and this place to be strong for us.  God has blessed us with family that is wonderful.  They grieve with us, laugh with us, love on us.  God has blessed us with a network a friends that is not only wide but incredibly deep.  These friends have been pouring into us and providing such encouragement, such comfort.  God has blessed us with the gift of his love and salvation.  God has blessed us with the last 9 months of knowing this living, precious baby Abigail Grace in Catherine's womb.  I wouldn't trade it for anything on this earth.

At the company where I work, they pick a theme each year, sort of a word or words to focus on for the year.  Last year the word was "passion" one of my favorite words.  I love to live a life of passion.  This year it was announced the word was "deeper."  It has taken me a little while to allow this to sink in, really grasp what this is all about, how I live it out day to day.  Friends and family, I have realized that at this time and place God is teaching me to go even deeper, deeper into relationship with my most amazing wife Catherine.  Deeper into relationships with friends and family.  Deeper into my passions in life.  Most importantly, I need to go deeper with God.  I need to pour my life into loving Him and knowing Him more.  I need to seek where God is working and join Him.  The verse to leave you with, the verse that we will take deeper in the coming months and years is Joshua 24:14 where it says, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  I pray that you will consider doing the same.  

Blessings and Love!

Dan Arnsperger