charlie's song

Heaven Is My Home

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Dear Friends, Thank you for sticking with this blog.  Sometimes I feel like I’m on the verge of shutting it down.  I have this insatiable longing though: 1. For God to be glorified through our baby boy’s life, and 2. For Charlie to not be forgotten.  Somedays it is that fear alone that drives me to blog on.  I’m just so very sad that none of you will ever really know our son.  With my other children, you may someday have an interaction with them that gives you a chance to know them more.  You might have a chance to hear Emma’s heart and to see that she is one of the deepest, wittiest, and most tender little girls the world has ever known.  And then you’ll say things like, “Emma is such a clever and tender little girl!”  Just like I say funny things like that about your kids.  But with Charlie, knowing him in that way (at least this side of Heaven) is forever gone.  You never had the opportunity to see his beautiful smile.  You never got the chance to hear him say something funny that made you laugh.  And I didn’t either.  I hate that.

I feel like I can’t even tell you much about our precious son, because those things too are so devastatingly limited.  I just keep thinking about his tiny little ears.  Charlie at 37 weeks, actually weighed more when he was born than Sophie did at full term.  And yet, I was struck by how he seemed to have the tiniest little ears of all four of our kids.  Charlie had Emma’s long and narrow feet, Freddo’s cute dimpled chin, and Sophie’s sweet lips, but I was struck by how Charlie’s precious ears were so unique to him.  There.  I got to tell you one small thing about my baby son.  I feel better already for having shared something with you about him.  Now when you think of Charlie you can think of his miniature ears and at least a part of who he is can truly be remembered.

But today I wanted you to know something else that is precious about our son.  When I pray about the impact I long for our kids to have on the world I often think, “What do I hope my kids reflect to the world about God?”   I really believe we impact the world, not by what we bring to it, but by what we bring of Him to it.  I am so very thankful for how my kids remind me of the character of God.  Emma, a sweet five-year-old who actually has the capacity to “weep with those who weep” by the graveside of her baby brother…reminds me daily that our God is a tender God.  And somehow, by God’s infinite grace He is helping me see ways that Charlie’s life is also being used to teach me more about the character of God.  Emma’s life teaches me that God is tender.  Charlie’s life teaches me that God is in Heaven, and Heaven is my home.

I obviously already knew that God lives in Heaven.  I’ve read Randy Alcorn’s excellent theological rendering of Heaven.  I’ve read every passage in God’s Word on Heaven more times than I can count.  I’ve lead Bible studies on Heaven, sang songs about Heaven, and given talks on Heaven.  But it is another thing completely to be moved by God to long for heaven.  I love how Colossians 3:2 says, “Let heaven fill your thoughts.”  Now, because of how Charlie’s life has glorified God…it actually does.

On the night Charlie was born I got a phone call from a friend of mine whose daughter had also died in the womb.  In the throes of shock and grief she said something to me that ministered deeply to my heart.  She said, “You know, as more and more of the people I love most start to go to heaven…the more it feels like heaven is my real home.  Suddenly, half of my family is here and half of my family is there…and I feel torn between two places that really feel like home.”  I know that as believers Heaven has always been our real home, but I promise you…when you lose someone you love deeply, someone whose presence actually feels like home because of your love for them, your view of heaven is changed forever.

I vividly remember my first thought when I saw Charlie on the night he was born.  I looked at our precious son’s tiny frame and thought, “He is already gone.  Charlie is not really here.  He is with Jesus.”  And my very next thought was, “Oh dear God, can I please go with him?”   I think I’ve cried out those very words a hundred times since Charlie was born.  I ache to be with our son.  To know him and to live life with him in heaven.  I know that Charlie is never coming here, but rather that I am moving closer each day towards going to be with him.  I also long so much more now to be with Jesus…this Jesus that I’ve known for a very long time but suddenly am clinging to and putting my trust in like never before.  Now, heaven fills my thoughts.  I think about being with them, but I also just think about what it must be like there for them.  I care like I’ve never cared before.

But I also long to be here.  My family is in two places and my heart aches to be with both of them.  Jesus’s loving presence has been incredibly alive and real to the five of us over the last month as our family has muddled on through this broken world.  And Jesus’ loving presence has been incredibly alive and real to Charlie as He holds him today in Heaven with His nail-pierced hands.  Jesus is here.  And Jesus is there.  Charlie is there.  And we are here.  And finally, for the first time in my whole life, I desperately long to be in both places at once.  To be in both places were Jesus is.

And so, that is what I can tell you today about our sweet Charlie James.  Charlie’s earthly body…has adorable ears.  And Charlie’s eternal soul… is safe in the presence of the living Christ.  And thanks to my sweet son, the heart of this prone-to-think-too-often-and-highly-of-earth-Mommy, has been forever changed.  Heaven now fills my thoughts.

As I think about those I love who are already there, I am reminded today of the words of my Grandma’s favorite hymn,

I’m but a stranger here,
Heaven is my home;
Earth is a desert drear,
Heaven is my home;
Danger and sorrow stand
Round me on every hand;
Heaven is my fatherland,
Heaven is my home.

What though the tempest rage,
Heaven is my home;
Short is my pilgrimage,
Heaven is my home;
And time’s wintry blast
Soon shall be over past;
I shall reach home at last,
Heaven is my home.

His, Mist

“Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.  For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.  And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”  -Colossians 3:2-4


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