Today, on the 14th anniversary of Matthew's delivery, I held a three-week-old baby girl in my arms while celebrating the upcoming wedding of one of my COMMITTED girls at her bridal shower.
It was a beautiful way to spend such a personal day.
Fellowship. Delicious food. (I love quiche!) Fun conversations. Purposeful conversations. A devotion to encourage and affirm the future bride. Games of familiarity and frivolity. A time of affectionate reflection.
It was a sweet day.
Holding a new baby was the perfect way to reflect on the life of my son.
Anyone looking at me probably saw a "precious new baby" in my arms. But there is so much more going on behind the scenes. The tiny bundled creation was not the firstborn child in her family. She is the fourth. Her mother suffered three miscarriages and all of the heartbreak and sorrow that comes with each one.
I will never forget the evening I spent with her and her husband after their first loss. After hours of talking and sharing, she took me outside to show me the plant her husband lovingly placed in a flower pot to forever remind them of the life of their firstborn child. After staring at it for a few minutes, I asked if I could pray with them. I held my sweet sister in my arms while I begged the Lord to comfort them both. And as I prayed, she wept.
The dam holding back all of the emotion gave way, and she fully surrendered to the pain, allowing the tears to wash it all away. She would not let go of me, and her husband stood silently next to us knowing that this time, she didn't need him.
She needed a woman who understood. A woman who has buried her own child. A woman who has walked through her same sorrow. A woman who asked the same questions, experienced the same fears, felt the same confusion, and imagined that she, too, was drowning in despair.
That day, in those unforgettable moments on her front lawn, the Lord chose me to be that woman.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. II Corinthians 1:3-5
And today, the Lord circled back, allowing me the honor of not only hugging this precious young woman once again but taking her sweet baby, the one she has waited for and prayed for, into my arms and holding her close to my heart.
The heart of a mother that still aches for her son.
The heart of a mother that mourns his loss though the tears have ceased to flow.
The heart of a mother that praises God because everything He does, everything He allows, is for a purpose. Even the pain.
The heart of a mother that knows that without the loss of Matthew, she would have never learned how to sit in sorrow with other women who weep for their babies.
The heart of a mother that never wants to forget those darkest of days, because, without memory, compassion grows cold.
I never know how the Lord is going to minister to me on Matthew's anniversary, but I know He will.
And today, He used the precious six-pound body of a newborn baby to let me feel close to LIFE. Fresh, sweet, innocent, beautiful, not-a-care-in-the-world life.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You. Psalm 139
This is the day the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!
Thank You, Lord, for the gift of our son. By Your providence, his life began and ended in the womb, and forever changed ours.