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All the days ordained for her: Anna Elisabeth Baarendse...

This memorial is by Anna Elisabeth's father, Stephen Baarendse, who with his wife Sara allows its publication for the hope and comfort of other fathers and mothers whose little ones crossed the valley of the shadow of death at a similarly tender age. If readers wish to thank Stephen and Sara for their witness, feel free to send them an e-mail.

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Anna Elisabeth Baarendse

Stillborn June 24, 2009 after 6 months (24 weeks) in the womb

On Monday morning, June 22, we entered Lexington Medical Center for an ultrasound because Sara had not felt our baby move in four or five days. The Lord had blessed us with a memorable weekend. First, Sara and I enjoyed a fine date night on Friday, June 19. While Rebecca Becker watched our children, we dined at Ruby Tuesday and caught an early evening showing of Pixar’s new movie Up, with its wonderful theme of the adventure of married life. On Father’s Day, we witnessed Ava Joy Becker baptism and heard a message about God’s sovereign control over all of life from Psalm 33 by Pastor Dave Bindewald. The Psalm ends with these verses:

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee (Psalm 33:18-22).

Indeed, we’ve sensed God’s steadfast love (his Hesed) upon us, from beginning to end. Sunday evening we drove downtown as a family to hear Sinclair Ferguson preach with great feeling on Romans 6:1-14: “Do I know that I have died to sin and been raised to newness of life?” After the service, by a wonderful providence, I briefly met Iain Murray, who was visiting from Scotland. All of this happened on Father’s Day, while our precious baby was already dead in the womb, but gloriously alive with her Father in heaven.

On Monday we decided to take the whole family to the ultrasound...

The death of our Lord's little lambs...

This begins a new category of posts I've planned for years, but put off. If you visit an old cemetery, you'll see dotted across the landscape tiny gravestones with little lambs carved on the top. Jesus commanded Peter, "Tend my lambs" (John 21:15), and His command includes these little ones. Isaiah prophesied about our Lord:

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.  - Isaiah 40:11

Upon the death of their little one, Christian parents across the centuries have clung to the promise that their Lord will gather His lambs.

Move closer to these gravestones to read the inscriptions and you'll find a couple things. First, the stones often mark the grave of more than one child...