Hidden in the old park where Reid and I got married there is an exceptionally great tree. Last February…before we were even pregnant with Charlie…we took some family pictures under said tree. I love our family. I love trees. I love family trees. But today my heart feels sad and heavy as I look back on this happy moment in our lives. Heavy because baby Charlie isn’t in this awesome picture with our family. Sad because we will never have the chance to go back to this tree to take a picture with all six members of our family. Just one of a lifetime of things that will never be. And I don’t mean in a, “Well, they could have been memories…but now they won’t be” sort of way. I mean in a, “That is just not what God had planned from the very beginning for our story”…kind of way.
I was thinking about and struggling with this a lot this morning. And I felt like God was saying to me, “Will you believe that this was my “Plan A” for your life? Or will you believe that something went wrong…that something happened that I couldn’t stop… and now this is my sad little “Plan B”? As much as it hurts and I physically ache as I try to get through these long and messy days…I really do believe that God planned this for our lives. That even though God crys with us and collects every one of our tears in bottles…that He planned this as His plan A. If He didn’t…is He really God? If all God can do is make up plan B’s and C’s and G’s and Z’s in response to the things that happen to me…is He really the Sovereign Lord over my life?
I just don’t think our God is that small. It’s a crazy thing, but when I am believing the truth of God’s Sovereignty over every moment of my life…I can (even as the tears pour out of my eyes) have almost joy. Joy that He is so powerful and strong and sovereign that I can trust Him with all my messy pain. Joy that this did not catch Him “off guard,” or suddenly force Him to make “other” plans for our lives. Joy that He actually GAVE Charlie life…and that He alone could take him away. Joy because this really does make all the Scriptures about Him being powerful and sovereign, and, well, GOD…make sense, and that otherwise they just DON’T make sense in so many ways. Joy that what Job said to his foolish wife in 2:10 really is true…“Will I receive only blessings from the Lord, and not adversity?” He either gives me all my life or none of my life..and I am clinging to that truth today.
I can’t take only the parts that I like and say “This is from God.” The beautiful moment at the park when Reid and I celebrated our marriage. The sweet moments I have each day with the babies I got to bring home to live with me. The fun family picture times under majestic old trees. Who made the trees? Who made the cute kids under the trees and then graciously allowed me to bring them home to live with me? Who made the littlest member of our family who I so badly wanted to bring back to this old tree? Who took that little one away to a far better place with far far better trees? I’m going to go out a limb and say “God.” God. God. God. God in answer to everything. God…who gave all of the good…and all of the devastatingly painful things in my life.
I long so much to hold my little boy today. I wish so badly that God had chosen for us to get to bring him home. To get to watch our sweet baby grow into a little boy. A little boy who loved to climb trees. To get to watch little Charlie grow into a man. A man who knew the Creator, Author, and Perfector of our faith, our lives, and our stories. But that is simply not the story that God chose to write for our lives. I’m struggling with that a lot today. But in the midst of the struggles, I am certain of a few, precious, unwavering things…
God has numbered all our days. Yours, mine, and Charlie’s. (Psalm 139)
God is good and does good, and even on the darkest of days I can trust Him with my and my children’s lives. I can trust Him with every jot and tittle, and even the hardest chapters of our stories. (Psalm 119:68)
God doesn’t just “work” all things for good, He even intends hard things for good. I love that Joseph could tell his brothers after years of suffering and pain, “What Satan intended for evil…God intended for good. (Genesis 50:20)
God has graciously given us the joy of making a little person named Charlie James Zeller. And that we have the joy and privilege of forever loving this little person who will forever be a part of our family.
Even if our little Charlie will not be in a lifetime of pictures we will be taking…he will always be in our hearts, our lives, and our tree. And I have a feeling that baby Charlie may very well be the person who God uses to have the most eternal impact on our family tree through his very short, but infinitely meaningful life. No one has ever caused me to seek the Father’s heart…like my baby boy. No one has ever caused me to bow down in fear and awe of who God is…like my baby boy. And no one has ever caused me to long to know more about Jesus and the place that He is preparing for me…like the littlest shoot of our family tree.
Oh my sweet baby boy. I love you and miss you so very much today. But I am so thankful you are a part of MY tree…and thankful for all your precious life is teaching me about the Maker of trees, of lives, and of families.
It really is a magnificent tree. When the New Earth comes…I’ll show you Someday.