Yesterday two books arrived on our doorstep. The exact same book, from the exact same place (amazon prime), at the exact same time. It seemed like it just might be God-ordained so I started reading said book last night. In the book, the author shares about how her baby daughter’s birth date (and the few precious hours of life they had with her before she died) was on April 7th (04/07), and how Philippians 4:7 was a very significant passage that God had given her for their most intense season of grief. It has encouraged my heart deeply over the last few days to hear stories of other people who have walked the lonely road of grief and have continued to walk with Jesus through each painful step of the journey. At the same time, it can be hard at times to see my fragile and bleeding heart on day twelve…while others are on month twelve or year twelve of a similar journey. These have been the twelve longest days of our entire lives…and the journey feels dark and never-ending.
This being the case, as I read those words I thought to myself…”I wonder if there are any special places in Scripture that coincide with baby Charlie’s birthday?” In the darkest night, it is amazing how you will grasp and search for even a pinprick of light. But grasp I may and grasp I might, knowing that our baby boy was born on the 28th of January, and desperately hoping God would speak to me from somewhere in the Bible at verse 1:28. There just aren’t too many books of Scripture that even have 28 verses, and I felt very much like I did in high school (which was definitely the last time I have engaged in what I like to call “Dartboard Bible Reading.”) I vividly remember the last time I took this very mature approach to Scripture in a moment of desperation and longing. I was in standing on a rooftop in Shanghai, China at the time…which makes sense seeing as people often do strange things in foreign countries.
But I’m not in a foreign country right now. Or am I? Absolutely nothing looks the same since we said goodbye to our baby boy. Food tastes like cardboard, everything sounds too loud, looks too glaring, and feels too surreal, and I am so very tired all. of. the. time. Yes, grief actually feels a lot like being in a foreign country. And so, desperately longing for the Lord to speak to my broken heart in this dry and weary land, I prayed, “Lord, please give me something from the verses that match Charlie’s birth date. Please speak to my heart in some way. Please remind me that you are real and that you are still the same God who came to Hagar in the dessert…the “God who sees.” I know you saw her, a stranger in a strange land, utterly broken and weary…please show me that you see me.” And then…I went through every single chapter 1 of every book of the Bible hoping desperately that there would be one meaningful verse 28.
I decided to start backwards. I was really hoping for something powerful and mighty from Revelation, or soothing and fluffy from Ephesians maybe. It started to feel like a very hopeless pursuit and foolish idea by the time I hit the minor prophets of the Old Testament, but I pressed on anyways. And then…there it was. I didn’t even realize what book of the Bible I was in until I had read the verse twice in utter disbelief. Here is what God said to me from chapter 1, verse 28…His fresh mercy for today.
28 “So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.”
And there it was. The very verse the Lord spoke to my heart on the night Charlie was born…is still God’s words of comfort for my broken heart today: “For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” As I read I Samuel 1:28 I heard the Lord say once again to me, “Give your baby boy over to me…all over again today. And the next day and the next. For as long as it takes.”
I honestly don’t know how I am going to surrender this longing to love Charlie every. single. day. The longing to hold him tenderly in my arms, to kiss his sweet baby cheeks, to wipe his tears away. All of that gone for a lifetime. How do you give so much over to God…every single day? But God reminded me through my awesome, spiritually mature dartboard Bible reading today… you do this one day at a time. As I threw the darts at His Word praying He’d speak, God said to me, “Give me your sweet boy. Give me your longings. Give me your tears pouring from a broken heart. Give them to me one day at a time. Just like I am speaking to you (the very same words in fact) one day at a time. Give me your fresh surrender…just as I’m giving you My fresh mercies.”
Ok, Lord Jesus. Ok. One day at a time.
Please pray for us as we walk this very long, very daily journey.