April 1, 2016

Aaren Gutierrez: Bleeding But Still Believing

Sorry changed it’s meaning in my life on April 18th, 2014…

However, it all started the morning of April 17th while going through my second pregnancy with my son Benjamin.  I remember waking up heading to the bathroom to start my day. My very first thought was Benjamin should be up soon. I got to work by 4:30 AM and started my day like no other. Around 10:00 AM it seemed like my whole world came to a stop and the last 2 days were replaying in my mind in slow motion. Fighting to find the memory of when I last felt Benjamin move, kick, push on my Blatter- ANYTHING, I struggled to find it. I text my mom right away she gave me peace explaining that this happened to her with my oldest brother, she didn’t feel him for 3 whole days but he was safe sleeping. I decided to try and wake him up. During my pregnancy with my oldest son Elijah, I quickly learned he LOVED spicy foods, Benjamin wasn’t a fan. I decided to try something spicy to see if he would react to it, nothing. I moved and pushed him around in my tummy, nothing. I ate candy and soda to see if he needed a little energy, nothing. I finally got the courage to text my husband Joseph about what I was experiencing the last few hours. He prayed with me to comfort me as I tried to gather myself at work. He advised me to call my doctor to see if there was anything I could do to change what I was feeling.   I’m a very protective mother so I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t overreacting.  When I reached my doctor the sound in his voice was nervous, he advised me to get to the nearest hospital and he was going to meet me there. When hanging up the phone I broke down right then and there at work. I pulled myself together and headed to the hospital.  When I got there I had hope and thought, “Watch when I get there he’s going to start moving.” I felt a peace that everything was going to be okay. We got into the room and they searched for a heart beat- nothing. They quickly moved to an Ultrasound to get a for-sure answer on what they believed, had happened. They broke the news to my mother who and I . . . Benjamin’s heart had stopped beating. The next couple hours were filled with a lot of decision making. They admitted me and started the delivery process. That night seemed like the longest night I had in my 21 years. I felt like God was punishing me. I stayed awake listening to the cries of all the new babies that had entered the world in the last 24 hours, knowing that I wouldn’t get to hear that high pitched cry- broke my heart over and over again all night.
April 18th Benjamin Joseph was born at just 3 pounds. We spent the next few hours holding him and stared at him wishing it was all a bad dream and I would wake up. I envisioned him being a healthy 7 pound baby. I pictured him rolling, crawling, taking his first steps, his first words. But we knew that this world would never hear his voice.

Family came in from everywhere to love on us. I spent the next few hours saying “I’m sorry you came all this way.”

“I’m sorry I’m such a hot mess.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”

As the night came to an end I watched my husband place Benjamin in his bed knowing that he was never coming back. I wept in my husband’s arms “I’M SORRY you had to say goodbye.” I felt like as a mother I had ONE job and that was to protect my child, and I failed. It didn’t just cost me, but it cost my whole family. “Joseph I’m sorry I couldn’t keep him safe.” He held me the rest of the night as I managed to fall asleep.

April 19th was the first time I expressed anger towards God. The feeling I felt when I left the hospital empty handed, was nothing but a hurt and brokenness that I couldn’t explain, but I knew I would never be the same after that. The next couple months were filled with so much darkness. I didn’t think this could happen to me. I struggled with the thought of: did the devil take my son or did God? I refused to see any good in such a horrible event. I expressed to God that he took what was MINE. He promised me that Benjamin would do great things in His name. He would take part in changing the world. I was so angry with God.

Walking through this journey I look back and realized that I spent a lot of time saying sorry to a lot of people.

To all of Benjamin’s aunts and uncles, “I’m sorry for not giving you a nephew that would have been absolutely amazing.

To Benjamin’s grandparents, “Im sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry.”

I would apologize for breaking down in the middle of restaurants, stores, and randomly at the dinner table as I looked over and saw what would have been his high chair.

Some days are good, some are bad but if you asked me today I would be able to tell you:

I’m not sorry for breaking down and crying at random moments in fact it was those moments of breaking down that built me up.

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)

It was the long nights of crying that God drew close to me.  It forced me to remove all “church masks” and just be pure and authentic with Him.  When I called upon Him in TRUTH, He reveled truth to me, and loved me through my darkest nights and hours.

“For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

Don’t get me wrong- those were some really really really long nights, but God taught me it was okay to cry.  Crying doesn’t reveal the lack of faith, in fact I believe crying proves a deeper level intimacy.  So cry, in fact weep your eyes out, yell and scream your prayers if you have to, because God is not intimidated by your frustrations.  God is looking for “Worshipers who will worship him in spirit and in TRUTH” (John 4:24).

Again God is begging for us to be truthful with Him and honest, which means we don’t have to hide behind a fake facade of faith.  We can come to him with all of our hurt, pain and frustration!

I’m not sorry for questioning my faith.  This was one of the hardest sorrys to push through, because I felt like asking questions meant that I didn’t believe. Thankfully, while reading scriptures I realized I wasn’t the only person to ever ask God questions, “Why, Lord, do you stand far off?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”(Psalm 10:1)

Thank you David! For some reason David always makes me feel better about myself.  If you read all of the Psalms the pages are filled with questions, because we serve a real God who is not afraid of your real questions.  In fact it’s those questions that I wrestled with, that brought me strength to keep enduring the fight.  It never brought Benjamin back, but they did bring me hope that he was safe in the arms of the one who was holding me up during the times I couldn’t hold myself together.  Don’t be afraid of the questions you have in your heart because Gods not afraid of them.  It’s okay to have questions, but it’s even better to seek God for the answers!

I’m not sorry for struggling with my faith at my darkest moments… in fact it was those moments the brought me closer to God, than ever before.  During Job’s darkest moments he says things like this,

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”(Job 23:10)

I believe it’s this statement proves that even though I might not have liked everything that I was enduring, God was using the weapon formed against me to build a weapon within me!

Since losing Benjamin I have been able to help 3 women who lost their children and give them a glimpse of a God who makes good come out of bad.  I also have been hired on a mega-church staff and have the privilege of leading over a 100 volunteers.  I still have my difficult moments, I still have moments of questions, I still have moments of breaking down, but I still have a God who loves me and gives me hope that one day I will see my beautiful baby Benjamin again!

Aaren G.


 

Aaren Gutierrez serves as the Family Ministry Volunteer Experience Coordinator at Oasis Church of South Florida. She is the supportive wife of Pastor Joseph Gutierrez; Student Pastor. Mother to son, Elijah.

In her capacity as Volunteer Experience Coordinator, Aaren has used her experiences to touch the lives of so many who enter into her Family Ministry, molding them to live beyond themselves. She shows this example every day, not only to the adults and teens she serves with, but also to the many families that call Oasis Church their home.

Aaren can be reached at Aarengut@gmail.com

Be sure to follow her on Twitter and IG: @Aaren_Gut

Comments

  1. Karielis says:

    This is amazing story and definitely can help others….

  2. This was so encouraging. What was so encouraging to me was that she points to a loving God who knows how to deal with our frustrations, and life’s disappointments. “I’m not sorry for breaking down and crying at random moments in fact it was those moments of breaking down that built me up.
    “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)
    It was the long nights of crying that God drew close to me. It forced me to remove all “church masks” and just be pure and authentic with Him.

    Thank you for sharing this testimony, for being vulnerable, for being “for real,” and refocusing me to a “for real” God.

    • Jannelle says:

      Yes, Becky!

      This truly was a transparent post and it blessed my life!

      I’ll be sure to send her a “Thank you” to Aaren for sharing her heart!

  3. Chelsea Kuhns says:

    ❤️❤️

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