Since giving birth to baby Charlie I’ve thought a lot about what it must be like for the women who give their babies up for adoption. I’ve always had great respect for these women, because I imagined it would be very hard to carry a baby in your womb and near your beating heart, and then give that little one away to someone else. I. had. no. idea. Obviously, it is probably a little different when you chose to do this. But in the end, I can understand what it feels like now to say goodbye to the baby you carried for nine months. Right now, I have a jiggly belly, a sore body, a broken heart…and empty arms. But I didn’t chose to give up my baby boy. I feel like he was stolen. By God.
As I was ruminating over that one today I was reminded of what my dear friend said on the day that her baby girl was born…which also happened to be the same day she had to say goodbye to her little one. My friend said,
“My very first thought when they told me my baby was no longer alive was something along the lines of, “She is God’s and He can take her if He wants.” I believe I said that out loud because my doctor said, “You do not know what you are saying.” And though I didn’t reply verbally, I said to myself, “Actually, that is the only thing I know to be true right now. That is the only thing I know.”
And it’s true. I might feel like my baby boy was stolen right out of my arms. And he was. I might feel like all my dreams of living life with my precious son were taken away from me in an instant. And they were. I may even feel overwhelmed, and confused, and sorrowful, and angry with God for being the one to take away my Charlie James. And I am. A lot. But I know God can take it. The Psalms make it very clear that the Lord wants us to bring our honest hearts before Him. He made my heart…I know He is well aware of what’s in it.
I also know that my baby boy was not exactly “stolen” by God, because it isn’t stealing when you take something back that rightfully belongs to you. Charlie was taken away from me…by the God who made him. It is God alone who gave my little one life…and God who took him out of my arms. It was God who gave my baby a beating heart…and God who chose the moment his little heart would stop. God abducted from me…what was rightfully His. And while we are still shell-shocked and devastated, and will always be sorrow-full about this… I know deep down that LIFE is loss. Life, in all its beautiful gifts…is all given by God. And at some point, it will all have to be given back to Him. I think Ann Voskamp says it best,
“Yet I know it in the vein and the visceral: life is loss. Every day, the gnawing…
What will I lose? Health? Comfort? Hope? Eventually, I am guaranteed to lose every earthly thing I have ever possessed.
When will I lose? Today? In a few weeks? How much time have I got before the next loss?
Who will I lose? And that’s definite: I will lose every single person I have ever loved. Either abruptly or eventually. All human relationships end in loss. Am I prepared for that?
Every step I take forward in my life is a loss of something in my life and I live the waiting: How and of what will I be emptied today?”
Emptied. I like that word. It’s just as true as “Stolen” but softer and sweeter because it acknowledges that everything we have is borrowed…and at some point we will be emptied of everything we love. At some point, I will have to give all of this “back.” God has lovingly let me borrow the gift of being Reid’s wife. And some day, when death do us part…I will have to give him back to God. God has graciously given me the gift of 4 sweet babies to love, and oh how keenly I know..at some point I will have to give them all up. At some point I will be emptied of every baby I carried in my womb.
Having already experienced the first of what we be a lifetime of loves lost…I now see more fully the sweetness of Heaven to come. After spending our whole lives being given gifts…and then having to give them all back…we will eventually, finally get to keep them forever. We will finally get to be filled up with things that we will never have to be emptied of.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4.
The old order…an order of emptying, and losing, and suffering through the goodbye of every single person we love will finally come to an end. And we will finally be in the presence of the One who emptied Himself of everything as well…so that we could actually know Him and be with Him. This, is good news.
Until then, the emptying rages on.