Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Sunday, January 29, 2017
We didn't know we'd only get four days to hold him on this side of heaven. We didn't know that one of those days would be filled with needle pokes, a lumbar puncture, and a helicopter ride. We didn't know that the last picture we took was truly the last. We didn't know that the seventeen second video we took in the delivery room would be the only one ever taken. We didn't know there would never be skinned knees, training wheels, or graduation days.
I’ve been told countless times since Luke’s passing that I am strong, inspiring, amazing, or really any other word that people may believe will lift some of the burden I carry as I travel this crooked path through grief. I may even lead them to believe that I am those words when I post on social media or share Proverbs31 devotionals.
But do you want to know the whole truth?
I am none of those things.
I never have been. I certainly am not any of those things now in the midst of what I pray every day is the most difficult thing we will ever have to face.
On my ‘good days,’ you see me praise God and share the ways that He reminds me of His presence, not because I want to show how strong I am but because I want to show how amazing He is. I share those posts because I have to remind myself constantly of the good ahead, and I think maybe that the accountability that I’ll have by sharing it so publicly will help me as I carry on with life. From the Facebook perspective, you would probably think that I am doing remarkably well for a woman who stood and watched while doctors tried and failed to save the life of her newborn baby boy just a little over a month ago. Yes, there are some moments I am at complete peace with the fact that God has a plan and He knows how this awful situation for us can bring about Eternal Glory for Him. During this fleeting moments that I do feel that peace, I can actually feel joy when I hear how our testimony and Luke’s story has inspired someone to grow in their walk with God. Oh! My baby made a difference in this world after all.
But I feel a duty to share this truth with you. Other moments, honestly most moments, I am a wreck. The vastness of all the days on this side of heaven settles on me and I cannot even manage to breathe. I mean, I am just a complete mess of bad emotions. Anger, Guilt, and Fear creep up so quickly that they overtake me before I can even try to stomp them back down. More often than not, I am so much of a mess that I can’t even form the words I want to yell at God, so I just sit in my sorrow and sob. I moan at the ceiling and pound my fists into the couch cushions. I don’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for me. I tell you this so you will understand that my ‘good days’ are not some magic trick performed by Jesus, me, or anyone else. My ‘good days’ are a choice that I have to make every single morning…every single moment…over and over and over again; I am just stronger and more obedient in some moments than I am in others. And truthfully, the reason I don't cry sometimes is just because I'm not strong enough to let myself be that weak. I'm scared that if I surrender and let myself fall apart that I'll never be able to put myself back together again.
On the difficult days where the weak moments outnumber the 'good,' I don’t actually receive with open hands. I bring my bad emotions crinkled up in my shaking fists and throw them down at Jesus’s feet yelling for him to help me understand. Why did my baby have to die? What did I do to deserve this? I know it's not right. I may not deserve losing my child, but I don't deserve God's Grace either yet He gave it to me by sacrificing His One and Only Son. I see the irony, but I'm sometimes anger still wells I in me. Is yelling at God the best thing to do? I don’t know. I actually think it's not okay to yell at God, but I can’t help it. And I feel like God would prefer I meet Him exactly where I am rather than to turn my back on Him altogether. He knows my heart anyway, so I just bring it all to Him. There are times that I don’t have words at all, so I just sit still and wait. For what? I don’t know, but I wait. Sometimes I get just the push I need to face the day, sometimes I get nothing.
Really, I just want to know why. I get that it’s not for me to understand, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to know. I pray that God would speak to me as clearly as he spoke to Abraham. I want him to come sit on my bed and explain the beautiful out of my brokenness. Deep in my soul I understand that there is nothing on this side of Heaven that can possibly ease the hurt in our hearts. I truly believe Heaven is the only thing that can really put our pieces back together, but a chit chat with my Creator would certainly help ease the pain and fear in the rest of my days on earth. I guess that's the point in faith though, I don't need the clarity that I so desperately long for if I truly have faith that God is working things out.
I understand that people have learned things about faith and obedience from the way we have chosen to cope with Luke’s death, but that doesn’t comfort me. Angie Smith’s husband explains it so well in her book, I Will Carry You, when he writes,
…the last thing I wanted to hear was, “But you know, God is in control.” or, “Think of how he’s going to be glorified through this.” I know these things are true, but I don’t want to hear someone say such things in the midst of losing my daughter. “Look at all the lives that have come to Him through Audrey’s loss.” I’m aware of that, and I’m grateful because it gives weight to her life, but to be perfectly honest, I would rather He use some other means to save them and give me my daughter back. (Emphasis added.)
And, you know what? I feel terribly selfish and maybe even a little convicted as I type these words but I agree! I agree so much with what he says! I know my baby went to heaven and that I will see him again. I know that he will never know pain, heartbreak, or fear. I know that people may be led to Christ through our testimony, but my selfish heart would so much rather have him in my arms than to have this testimony that is so ‘inspiring.'
I don't know the answers to so many of my questions.
I may never know on this side of heaven.
But faith tells me that I will know one day, and I'm holding on to that truth with every piece of my heart.
Just don't think I'm floating through this grief on the Peace of God every single day. I'm not the picture of strength.
So be gentle and be gracious.