Two years ago, on this very day, we found out that you had died. Your little heart, the one I cried happy tears over seeing, had stopped.
Two years ago we were celebrating your sisters birthday, and were excited about the big news we were going to be telling everyone soon. Two years ago, we had a very confusing day.
And while I've gone back and forth all through this birthday month (because this IS a big birthday month) I'm not quite sure where to place this day. See, you were already existing with Christ by the time your dad and I got word, so this day is really just a day we got the news of it. I tell my heart to see it as your little 'everlasting' birthday party. Because, while it might not have been the day you woke up to heavens gates, it's the day my heart had to accept that you did.
This day has been one of the most cataclysmic days I've ever lived.
About a month before, I was walking along a path with your sister and I started praising Jesus. You see, I had started feeling better. I thought you were being extra nice to me. I thanked God for answering my prayers. Your several weeks here were so rough on me, harder than anything I've experienced even since, and I desperately prayed for relief. And then it came. And so I praised.
So, to find out weeks later that those praises were actually over your death? Oh, sweet baby, I can't tell you how quickly those praises turned bitter in my mouth.
Your life was an unexpected celebrated surprise, and your death was my heartbreak.
When we were in the hospital, desperate for good news, I saw you. I had seen you before-moving around with that little heartbeat, so I searched and searched for that again, and while I saw you-I didn't. Your heart wasn't beating and I started praying desperate that God would make you lazarus and bring. you. back. Dear. Jesus. Please.
But he didn't.
Yet, when I prayed those prayers I heard him. And while I sometimes try to convince myself it didn't happen, I KNOW it did. And so I won't deny it.
I prayed and our God responded in a way I've never experienced since. Our God was loud and clear and as I prayed for a miracle he responded with two words.
And as we strolled back to the room and my heart started breaking because I knew what was coming I kept hearing it. His voice, flooding my brain and my heart as my eyes flooded and my fists clenched.
I'm here. I'm here. I'm here. I'm here. I'm here. I'm here.
It was loud and I couldn't think straight and I kept thinking "am I actually hearing this!?"
(this isn't my proudest moment, but you want to know how I responded?)
I've thought a lot about why I responded like that. I think it shows more of my heart than I'd like. Nothing like an encounter with God to show how much I need an encounter with God. I think my mouth said those words because when your creator flooded my heart with his presence, I somehow knew that meant that YOUR presence wasn't coming with it. And it showed what I worshiped.
And as we looked the nurses in the eye, and as they cried while they explained just what happens when a mothers body lets go of her baby, and as we drove home and called our parents and wept and wept and wept,
your life started to change me.
Before my thoughts of you were logistical. How am I going to handle two kids close together? Double stroller? Shared bedroom? Is this going to be insane? Yes. Yes it will be, but WE CAN DO IT!
But, now my heart was asking harder questions.
How could a God who loves his children, kill their babies? How could my body go A MONTH growing around you without letting me know something was wrong? Is God really kind? How could a God who is the AUTHOR and GIVER of life refuse it to the ones who follow him? Was it my body? Did I do something? Am I broken? Did God want this? Did he even care?
Your life, sweet baby, unveiled my deepest doubts and ugly fears and gave them arms and legs and feet and fists. And those fists waved in fury at the heavens and my mouth got tighter and tighter till at one point I told your dad I wasn't praying again.
But Your dad, when I said those words, led me back. He pushed me back. Dragged me back. Back to the feet of Jesus. Your dad reminded me that I can have fists, but they're for banging on heavens doors, not for waving in bitterness. Your dad didn't have answers, but he refused to turn his back on the one who does. -Oh, I'm so excited for you to meet your dad, sweet baby. God is kind and good and so loving, and getting to be married to your dad is a reminder of that.-
Bit by bit, as the days moved on, your life made room for God to shape me. You living and dying brought about my worst fears and Christ is putting them to rest. While we all face death sometime or another, you allowed me to feel death in my own flesh and allowed me to realize, perhaps for the first time ever, why it is so imperative that Jesus ever even walked on this earth.
I had to decide if I would take and drink from whatever cup He gave, and actually continue to trust in a God who allows a world to exist where my babies die and I sing praises unaware.
I got to experience, because of your existence, how kind God is to the mourning mother. I got to imagine how beautiful it must be to wake up never knowing the ache we experience here. I got to wrestle and settle on the reality that God? and Eternal? They aren't ideas for the weak. They aren't concepts that we desperately hold on to just to get through (although, I'll be the first to admit I'm weak and desperate.) They are the reality that linger in our souls even when we try to shake them.
And so, two years later, I look at your life and death and I can't help but sing praises.
There's a lot of ways this day can go down. But once again, we're gonna end it the way it should be ended.
Thank you. Thank you that I got to experience the life of a baby, even one I didn't get to meet.
Thank you that I got to feel the fragility of life and become so aware of how much you are the creator of our beings.
Thank you that you solved the problem of death and that you made it so the grave wouldn't be the final answer. Thank you that you took it one step further and give us joy and abundant life while we still breathe HERE. That you can take literal dust and turn it into glory.
Thank you that you gave us another one, even when that baby died too. It forced me to let go of any claims I had on what only you can do.
Then, thank you for giving us Elias.
Thank you for teaching us the tenderness of life and allowing us to become wild about praying for expecting moms and allowing us to see that you keep bringing life after life after life after life into our hearts and homes.
Because you're so good.
Thank you that if I was broken (and I probably am) you can bring life from me anyways. Thank you that nothing gets the final word other than you.
Thank you that you allow us to live eternal with your created, regardless of their number of days here.
Thank you for letting me rejoice over that little heartbeat.
And lastly, thank you for allowing us to go through dark valleys, and to see and be able to share that there's life after death. Even here. in these days. We can do all things through you who gives us strength.
And the life abundant you give is even more beautiful than I could have hoped, even if scars come with it.
I love you, kid. See you sooner than a vapor.
Your Sister In Christ,
"And when on earth I breathe no more, the tears oft mixed with tears before, I'll sing upon that joyful shore (!!!) thy will be done."