Today I went to the cemetery. I had to. This morning I had gone to Target to buy Easter candy. I was about to go through the checkout line when all of a sudden…I heard it. The piercing cry of a newborn. There was a newborn baby boy an aisle over from me, and when I heard his sharp cry I seriously thought I was going to throw up from the pain.. Right there in the middle of Target.
I made it out of the store, and wept all the way home.
The sound took me right back to a moment in hospital. I had just given birth to Charlie and the nurses were lovingly wrapping up his tiny body in swaddle blankets. Suddenly we heard the cry of a baby who had just been born in the next room over. Words cannot even begin to describe the searing pain of that moment. To hear from another room what I wanted so very badly to hear in ours. I had wanted to hear my baby boy cry. Just once. To see his beautiful eyes. Even for just a moment. I had wanted his LIFE. And all I had was his death.
And now, if i want to be near my baby I have to go to a cemetery. To the special spot called “Babyland” where the little ones are kept. Did you even know that there was such a place in cemeteries? Neither did I. I know that Charlie, my Charlie, the one with feelings, and thoughts, and intellect, and will… is not actually there. But his knees are there. And I wanted so very badly to put bandaids on those knees. To kiss them when he fell. To watch them as he grew tall into a boy and then a man.
I had felt those very knees kicking inside of me. I had wanted those knees so bad. And the pain of it all is beyond words.
A few weeks ago a girl wrote to me and said, “I just want you to know how much your words encourage me that even if the worst thing ever happened to me…God would carry me through it.” I’ve thought a lot about those words, and I want to affirm them again and again. These have been the darkest and hardest days of my entire life. And yet, everything about who God is, and absolutely nothing about who I am… has carried me this far.
The moment I found out Charlie had died, it was like someone had taken a beautiful glass jar, and thrown it violently to the ground. So many dreams, so much innocence, so many anticipations and hopes…SHATTERED in an instant. And for the last 8 weeks, I feel like I have been laying on the floor next to my shattered life. And yet, God has carried me. Every. Single. Day.
And I know that NO MATTER WHAT you are facing today…if you turn your face to Him and cry out to Him…He will carry you.
I keep thinking about the words to my favorite hymn, “In Christ Alone.”
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From a life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand
From the moment when I heard that first cry in the silence of our hospital room…all the way up to this very second, the Jesus who commands my destiny has carried me. And I know that He can carry you.
As Easter approaches and everyone rushes to the store to buy jelly beans and chocolate bunnies, I do not want to miss the truth of what Easter is really about. It’s about an empty tomb. And the Jesus who conquered DEATH, and walked right out of it.
Jesus died to bring us back to God. Will you let Him take you there? Will you let Him love you?
From life’s first cry to final breath…Jesus will carry us. All the way into the presence of God.
If…we let Him.