charlie's song

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When Kids Talk Theological Shop

Right now the kids are downstairs playing in our garden room.  There is a huge pile of pillows at the bottom of the stairs, and they are taking turns diving into them.  They are also, incidentally, in the middle of a deep theological discussion, and I just overheard them talking about Charlie.  I am so thankful I get to listen in on these playtime conversations because they give me a glimpse into what my sweet glories are really thinking and feeling as they walk through the deep waters of grief.  Kids seem to possess a remarkable ability to swing back and forth between jumping into pillows one minute and pondering life’s deepest mysteries the next.

As I was eavesdropping, I overheard Fred say, “Charlie died and we’re going to die too.  And then Jesus is going to come back and Charlie’s body is going to raise up from the grass.”  

I must say, I am totally impressed by Fred’s theological accuracy.  But more than that, I am thankful for it.  I am thankful that the Lord is tenderly shepherding my little ones through the excruciating sorrow of baby Charlie’s death.  I am thankful that they have had no bad dreams at night, and sweet memories during the day of the 300 days they had with their baby brother.   I am thankful that, by God’s grace, they get to see a mommy and daddy who love one another and are growing closer and closer through suffering…to both each other and to our Savior.  These are genuine gifts that only God Himself could give, and I am so thankful for them.

And I am thankful that my children get to see firsthand what it means to be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” just as Paul said in 2 Corinthians.  Sorrowful because life is so very broken.  Painful.  Messy.  And devastatingly sad.  Death is just plain sad, and every day that goes by new tears are being added to our bottles (Psalm 56:8).  But I am so thankful our kids also have something very real to rejoice in with us.  I am thankful that they have a genuine excitement for heaven, and a growing faith that God is good even when He does not give us the good gifts that we wanted.  The other day Emma asked me, “Mommy, why did God let Charlie die when we had prayed that Charlie would come to live with us?”  It was a good and honest question.  These questions are not easy to answer, but I am so thankful for these opportunities to sit with our kids at the foot of the cross and to feel our smallness as humans.  To sit there and feel the weight that God is GOD…and we are not.  To feel the reality that God is good…and that though we don’t always get what we pray for…He is still worthy of our trust.  To feel the weight that this place, this earth which is the only home any of us have ever known…is not in fact our true Home, and that someplace utterly amazing and extravagantly wonderful is yet to come.

Not a moment goes by when I don’t wish that God had chosen something different for Charlie’s life.  The human part of my heart desperately wishes that God had chosen to number Charlie’s days at 30,000 instead of 300.  But God didn’t.  And the same God who said “No” to that prayer and longing of my heart, also said “Yes” to my prayer that my kids would truly seek after God’s heart and know what is true about Him and His love.  Even my sweet Charlie is at this very moment standing in the presence of the living Christ, and knowing what is true of Jesus and His love.  It’s a hard way to get a gift…but it is a gift that could only be given by a loving God.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,

Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!

Hast thou not seen how all thy longings have been

Granted in what He ordaineth?

And so, while my heart aches, I have been given a way to rejoice as well.  And I smile as I listen to these precious little ones jump into pillows and talk theological shop.

His, Mist


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Pictures of God

Today I had a doctor’s appointment.  I knew it would be difficult.  Difficult to sit in the room where we once got our first glimpse of Charlie’s tiny unformed frame.  Difficult to be in the place where I got to hear Charlie’s strong little heartbeat countless times over the last few months.  And especially difficult to see the doctor who delivered our precious baby boy on the worst night of our lives.  And it was.  The moment I saw my doctor the tears began to flow.

I knew that this happens sometimes.  I knew that sometimes perfectly formed babies die in the womb.  Sometimes parents have to bury children.  Sometimes hearts are permanently broken.  I knew that this happens sometimes…it just doesn’t happen to us.  Not that I feel special, or that I should be exempt in any way from the sufferings of this world…its just that you never know which sufferings are going to be yours and you can never truly prepare yourself for things like this.

But sometimes it does happen.  Sometimes it happens to you, and when it does you begin to question if you really do have a very accurate picture of who God is.  I knew that God can only really be the “giver of life” if He is also the one who alone has the power to take that life away when He so choses.

Some people believe that God is the cosmic “good.”  That everything “good” that happens to them is because of a loving, good, gracious GOD.  They also believe that everything “bad” or hard that happens to them is because of Satan, or sin, or “living in a fallen world.”  I don’t believe this for a minute.  That doesn’t sound like God.  That sounds like Santa Claus.  And Satan is the grinch.  I do not dispute that there is an enemy of our souls and that he comes “only to steal, kill, and destroy” but I do not want a shallow, simplistic view of God just because it makes me “feel better” about Him.  What happens in our life and why suffering happens is far more complicated than that.  The omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, Almighty-powerful-Yahweh of the Bible has made too many claims about Himself to be the “Santa Claus-God.”

“Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?”  Exodus 4:11

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13, 16

“See now that I myself am he!  There is no god besides me.  I put to death and I bring to life.  I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.”   Deuteronomy 32:39

I am not saying it is easy to wrestle with these passages.  I’m just saying that they need to be wrestled with.  It’s not that I didn’t think about these passages before Charlie died.  I did.  I wrestled with these very things deeply and often.   I spent four years of college studying Bible and Theology at an amazing Bible college, and in my spare time I took elective classes with fancy titles like, “The Holocaust and the Crisis of Evil.”  And I have continued to wrestle with these things long after college.  To wrestle with what it means that God is Sovereign over all things, and that He alone has the power to give and take away all things…including our very lives.

But it is one thing to wrestle with this and to try and construct a picture of who God is when you are sitting in a college classroom.  It is another thing entirely to wrestle with your “picture of God” when you are sitting outside a doctors office weeping over a lost child.

Yesterday I sharing some of this with my friend Catherine and she said,

“You know what?  I think you are “breaking-up” with your version of God.  I think you are “done” with this less-than-perfectly-accurate version of God and “breaking up” feels like the right thing to do.  Because it is.  That version of God is actually flawed and useless in the fires of sanctification, so I agree.  Break-up with that god.  That one is useless anyway.  Right?  Isn’t that what you are doing?  Finding that our dust-made minds can’t comprehend Him fully so we envision Him as we’d like and do our best to get it theologically correct?  But because of who we are, whatever we come up with never quite fits Him?  Just like a child’s coloring picture of mommy never quite looks like mommy?  Then the suffering comes and ultimately getting frustrated because the coloring isn’t enough like Him to satisfy?” 

Every time my kids come to me with their beaming faces and hand me a “picture of mommy”  I think to myself, “Hmm…I don’t really look anything like that.”  With limited drawing skills, pudgy hands, and broken crayons…they just can’t get me quite right.  But I sure do love them for trying.  And I proudly hang every lovingly drawn, poor representation of myself up on my fridge.

Deep down, I think that God does the same thing with each one of us.  He looks at our small drawings, poorly done through the paradigm of our limited minds and human hearts, and He thinks, “Hmm…I don’t really look anything like that.  But I love you my child.  Let’s get out a new sheet of paper, and begin again.”

I can’t wait for heaven.  I can’t wait to meet the little boy who is waiting for me there.  And even more, I can’t wait to meet this wild and mysterious and “unsafe” God who loves me unconditionally even with the very broken, very flawed pictures  I draw of Him.  He is too big to fit on a page.  Too beautiful to capture with our crayons.  Too complex, too holy, too majestic to be fully understood by our finite minds…and yet, He loves us.

We are so very blessed.  I feel broken, and confused, and weary, and small, and finite, and well, human.  But so very blessed to be His.

Love, Mist

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The Weight of Suffering

For the last year, almost every time I’ve gone grocery shopping with my kids someone has come up to me and said, “Wow!  You’ve got your hands full!”  Almost. Every. Time.  I’m not exaggerating.  A pregnant lady with three kids in the cart makes for quite the shopping spectacle these days.  But now, when I go grocery shopping and hear those words, something inside of me breaks.  Someone says, “You’ve got your hands full,” and I think, “You have no idea lady.”

It is one million times easier to take four kids shopping…then to go shopping with three kids and the broken heart I now carry.  I would so rather have so many kids in my cart that there is simply no room for groceries, than what I have now…a little bit of room left in my cart.  A little bit of extra space…because the baby boy who would have been there has died.  Now, I truly have my hands full.  And I feel utterly overwhelmed at times by this weight of suffering.

The last few days have been really hard.  Sundays are always hard for me.   It’s probably because every sunny, relaxing Sunday reminds me of the last Sunday of our “old life.”  The Sunday we found out Charlie had died.  The Sunday we were hit by the incredibly staggering loss of our innocence, our happiness, and our precious baby boy.  I said “happiness” intentionally, because I believe we will again find joy.  Joy is a fruit of God’s Spirit at work in us…but happiness is based on happenings.  And I really believe that that was the last of our carefree, happy Sundays.  Charlie is not here.  Someone is permanently lost.  And he has been replaced by the weight of suffering.  And the wait of suffering.  One day this will all be made right.  Until then, these days feel long and hard.  Especially Sundays and Mondays.

But yesterday, on the 6th Monday of my life without Charlie…I happened to be read one of my favorite parts in one of my favorite books, “When God Weeps.”  And there…God met me.

“Try this story.  You are walking down a street, minding your own business, when you are accosted and forced to carry a huge and heavy basket on your back.  You’re ordered to walk three blocks, turn left, go two blocks, turn right, then proceed straight on.  Staggering under the weight, you stumble on, bewildered and angry.  The weight of the basket is crushing.  Your back is breaking.  The whole thing is meaningless and haphazard.  You resent how the heavy burden consumes you, becoming the focal point of your entire existence.  

When you are halfway down the third block, reeling under the burden, you finally bellow, “What gives!”

The truth is then revealed.  The burden you are carrying is your child, injured and unconscious.  “What?’  On top of that, you discover you are not trudging through a meaningless rat-maze but the most direct route to a hospital emergency room.

Immediately you straighten.  You inhale new vigor.  Your knees quit buckling.  Adrenaline and fresh energy quicken your pace, and you move forward with a new attitude.  Why the change?  The suffering your going through involves a relationship.  Not just any relationship, but one with your child.  It is the love you have for your child that quickens your step and buoys up your heart.  Your relationship gives your burden meaning.  Even your twisted path makes sense.  You know where you are going.  Your journey has a positive end- the hospital- and this instills hope.  

Suffering has no meaning in itself.  Left to its own, it is a frustrating and bewildering burden.  But given the context of relationship, suffering suddenly has meaning.”

Suffering suddenly has meaning.  What if this is true?  Can you imagine how much it would change our lives?  What if these heavy burdens each one of us carry…what if they actually meant something.  What if a relationship we have with Someone we love deeply was actually what was at stake in midst of all the senseless, blinding, raging pain?

The broken heart.  The empty womb.   The cancer treatment.  The adoption wait.  

The baby’s grave.  

What if someday we will actually look back with Heaven’s hindsight and see beauty and purpose in the miserable weight of the sufferings we carried?

In the blinding and searing pain of today I would be tempted to dismiss this simple story.  Some days I honestly don’t think I’m going to make it because the weight of losing a child feels so heavy.  But I know that this analogy of suffering was written by someone who has suffered deeply.  It was written by Joni Eareckson Tada who has spent almost fourty years of her life confined to a wheelchair, carrying the heavy weight of being a quadriplegic.

What if its true?  What if this is actually a very good picture of God’s beautiful and redemptive purposes in this broken world filled with broken hearts?

And most of all…what if it is true what the apostle Paul said that knowing Christ is to be treasured above all things?  What if it’s true that that relationship gives great meaning to our suffering, and eternal worth to all our pain?

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…”  -Philippians 3:8

Most days, I still feel like I can’t even breathe.  But maybe there is meaning in the weight of a relationship more precious than breath.  More precious even, than life.

His, Misty

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A Grief Defined

The other day Reid took Fred to Target to go shoe shopping.  They were standing in the shoe department and another little boy was there with his mom.  They were trying on shoes and suddenly the mom called out, “Charlie!  Come here Charlie!”  And right there in Target…the world stopped.  Then, without skipping a beat, Freddo got a huge smile on his face and exclaimed, “Daddy his name is Charlie!!”  We have a Charlie!”

“We have a Charlie.”  A part of me was so happy to hear that Fred has not forgotten his sweet baby brother even in the smallest ways.  The other part of me just wanted to cry.  What does it mean exactly to have someone…someone so precious to us and such a part of us…and yet to not have that little someone with us every single day for the rest of our lives?

I guess that is the definition of grief.  To love someone so much that the loving has impacted your life.  To love someone so much that even when he is no longer here…you have him in some way.  You have him in your thoughts, and your memories, and your story.  I’m realizing that grief is not only having to live the rest of your life without the person you lost, but it is also living with someone.  For some, grief means living without the mom who held you when you cried, who taught you how to make banana bread, and showed you what kindness looks like.  People might not know that the mom you no longer have has taught you those things, but you still have a mom and you have her in that way.   For others, grief means living without the husband who saw you through five decades of life.  Who thought you were funny, and knew how to hold your hand at just the right times.  People may not don’t know the sweetheart who made your days sweet…but you still have him in your heart and your mind in that way.

And for us, we have a very special baby boy who will always be part of our family.  He will always “match us” from his dark hair to his classic Zeller cheeks.  He will always bring tears to our eyes when we’re at the park and we hear someone yell, “Charlie!” to another little boy.   And he will always be the first thing on our minds when we read and hear Jesus say, “I go and prepare a place.”  On the very last of my numbered days…I know that my sweet Charlie will be on my mind in a very special way.

The reality is that just as we “have a Charlie”…Charlie has a Mommy.  Charlie has a Daddy.  Charlie has a big brother, and big sisters, and grandparents who all wanted to live life with him so very badly.   And when you love someone you just can’t help but give a part of yourself away.  A huge part of my heart is missing permanently.  The part of my heart that left when Charlie died.  Some days I feel so alone in my grief.  I feel like no one around us understands what it is like to have to learn to live with half their heart missing.  And they don’t probably.

But the longer we live, the more we will all have to live life without the people who made our lives, well, OUR lives. To those of you who have already experienced the loss of someone precious in your life…I am so very sorry.  Grief is universal, and it happens to everyone at some point, but that does not lessen the pain.  Grief is broken and painful and messy.  It has changed me permanently, just as I’m sure it has changed you for the rest of your life.  And sadly, more loss will be coming.  To all of us.  Maybe in a week.  Maybe in ten years.  But loss is coming.

And then finally, one day, the Father who was with us through the loss of every parent, and the Friend who was with us through the loss of every friend, will turn to us and say, “Welcome! We’ve been waiting.  It is your turn to enter into the joy.

And finally, there will be an end to grief.

His, Misty

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The Journey Home

First, thanks so much to Catherine for her guest post over the last few days.  I am so thankful for her continued perspective and encouragement in my life as I walk this long journey Home.  And that’s how it feels right now.  Very long.  Last year on my birthday I definitely thought to myself, “Wow, I’m getting old!”  Not, like, super old, but recent birthdays have felt more like I’m moving further away from something I love, rather than closer towards.  It has felt like life is getting short.  Up until this last birthday of course.

Now…I look forward to it.  Now I view every birthday as one year closer.  Suddenly, Earth has lost a little of its hold on my heart.  Before Charlie, there were times when I would hear the ticking of a particularly loud clock in our house, and I would feel myself getting more sad with each passing tick.  Tick.  One second gone.  Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  Three seconds more.  Gone forever, just like that!   That is what I used to feel when I heard those solemn ticks.  I would find myself actually spiraling into despair if I dwelled on them too long.

But not now.  Now I get to the end of each day, and I think, “I did it!  I’m one day closer.”  It’s not that life is now meaningless.  These last few weeks have felt deeply meaningful, and the raw feeling of loss has made the sweet moments even richer.  Yesterday we went on a family hike in the gorgeous green hills by our home.  It was so great to be together as a family…but one of us was not there.  It was so much fun to enjoy God’s incredible creation together.  But I kept wishing that Charlie was close to me, wrapped up warm and tight in my Ergo baby carrier.  It was so fun to start off the hike with our classic family cheer…“Gooooooo….Zeller’s!”  But one tiny hand, one little voice…was missing from our cheer.  And he always will be.  He is just not here.  And there is no way around that hurt.

A part of me is afraid that I will never again experience a moment of real happiness, without feeling this new sadness too.  And the other part of me is terrified that I will.  I’m afraid that I will start to bury this sorrow in my heart, and move on like Charlie never happened.  Move on because it hurts too much to remember that he did.  To remember that he is missing, and my heart is broken now.

Today as we were hiking, I happened to glance up at the beautiful sunlit hills just over the horizon.  Then I noticed how they were cut off from us by an ugly barbed wire fence.  On the other side of the fence there was brightness and beauty that we could physically see, but could not quite get to.  As I looked at the view in front of me I was struck by what a great picture it is of my life right now.

I am stuck here, in a sometimes lovely, but often dark and blurry place, and right in front of me are glimpses of a bright and glorious place just beyond.  I can’t get there yet, because there is an ugly fence that cuts me off.  The fence of death.  I’ve always had a deep fear of that fence.  Always wished it wasn’t there.  Always wanted to avoid it at all costs.  Always known it was excruciatingly painful.  And it is.  Death, like a sharp, barbed wire fence…almost always hurts.  There are very few deaths that do not involve physical pain, and great anguish for the soul.

But for the first time in my life I feel like I have been given a raw glimpse of the beauty that lies beyond.  The beauty that makes it worth it.  I have been given a glimpse, because someone I love so much is suddenly not here.  It is that quick.  One ticking of the clock…and he was gone.  “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”  The place on the other side of the fence.  The place where the child I love so much spent the day hiking with His Savior.  The place where someday I will too.

As I listen to the clock tick quietly on I thank God for my precious son who has taught me what is true.  What has always been true.  That those ticks are a countdown to something wonderful.  I know there will most likely be agonizing pain involved in getting through that fence, but for those of us who know the Prince of Heaven…infinite joy is waiting there.  And Charlie is waiting there with Him.

In this my heart finds hope for today.  And something to wake up for tomorrow.  An opportunity to know Him more…the someone Wonderful I am moving towards as the clock ticks on.

His, Mist

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Who is God when a Baby Dies? (4 of 4)

Guest Post By Catherine Arnsperger

For those of us who have suffered loss, let us sit in ashes at the feet of God.

God is God and we are not.

Sometimes that was all I could even say to Him. “You are God and I am not.”  Sullen.  Defeated.  Broken.  “You are God and I am not.”

This God, who knows where are the storehouses of the snow and who created the ostrich to be stupid but to run fast and who created the Behemoth and the Leviathan and to Whom everything under heaven and earth belongs…

Let us sit in ashes and confess that we are just human. 

Broken-hearted humans who do not understand for we are only dust.  We came from the dust.  We will return to the dust.  We are not God.  OH LORD, YOU are God, we are not!  Let us confess, as we wrestle, that we believe that He is God and He can do what He wants.

But He is good.  Good in a way that is so marvelous we cannot even comprehend.

But, as we sit in ashes, let us also confess that we expect Him to keep His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9).

The promises that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

The promises that He will bind us up as we are broken-hearted (Psalm 147:3) and poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).

Let us confess that we expect blessings to come from this pain and we expect wisdom to understand and for Him to be revealed in glory to us.  

And let us cling to the greatest promise of all: that His Son’s blood was enough to pay the price for our sin so that we might be united with Him forever after we, too, die!

We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die.  But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead.  And He did deliver us from mortal danger.  And we are confident that He will continue to deliver us. (2 Corinthians 1:8b-10 NLT)

You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but You will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. (Psalm 71:20 NLT)

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever. (Psalm 73:26 NLT)

O God, listen to my cry!  Hear my prayer!  From the ends of the earth, I will cry to You for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for You are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.  Let me live forever in Your sanctuary,  safe beneath the shelter of Your wings! (Psalm 61:1-4 NLT)

He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak.  But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29,31 NLT)

What then is the conclusion?  Do we then sit in ashes forever?  No!  There is joy and restoration and life to be had because of the redemptive work of our God, the one who designed His glory to include our salvation and our purchase to become daughters and sons.

And Job?  The Lord blessed Job!  The Lord showed Job that He was God and Job was not through great suffering.  And when it was all over, God blessed Job.  God blessed Job many times over.

Is there a blessing in the grief?  Is there really joy in the morning?

Yes.  I promise.

You know what?  I can see blessings in my own life.  Some obvious blessings are our three living children, all born after Abigail and (wowzers) all boys!

Another blessing is that I have a higher view of God and His perfect and pleasing will and for that I am grateful.

Eight years out?  I am grateful that He allowed me to suffer much hardship, He restored me to life again and lifted me up from the depths of the earth (Psalm 71:20).

I survived this and now I know how to survive trials when they come again, for they will come again.  Because Jesus promised we would have trouble.  And it takes trouble to teach the heart.

But truthfully?  I am just grateful for today’s reprieve from suffering.  Hearing God from a whirlwind takes its toll on this girl, a girl made from dust.

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Faith Like A Child

One of the most interesting things about walking through grief with small children is seeing things from their perspective.  I could write a book from all of the fascinating things that Freddo alone has said.  Some things are sweet, some things are funny, and most things bring tears to my eyes.  Yesterday we were driving to Trader Joes to return some “blossoming branches” I had recently bought.  Yes, I am that girl who returns flowers that I paid $5.99 for.  As we were driving to the store Freddo asked, “Mommy, why are we returning those branches?”  “Well,” I said, “they never blossomed and they’re kind of dying so we’re taking them back.”  And then, from the back of the car I heard Fred’s sweet little voice say, “Speaking of dying…we’re dying!”  Said of course, happily.  Full-of-faith.  And quite matter of fact.  And that’s how it goes.  One minute we’re just breezing through our day together, and the next moment I’m hit with the deepest realities of life.  From the mouths of babes…

Over the last few days my friend Catherine has shared her story on my blog.  A story so similar to mine, from a heart so like mine, that at times I am overwhelmed that God would give me such a gift as her friendship.  On January 28th, 2005…exactly 8 years to the date of Charlie’s birth…Catherine also experienced the greatest heartbreak of her life at her baby Abigail’s silent birth.  It is incredibly kind and providential of God that Catherine was remembering the birthday of her daughter, on the same day we were walking through Charlie’s birth.  It is equally amazing to me that baby Abigail was buried on the same day as our sweet Charlie James.

I remember waking up the morning of Charlie’s burial and thinking, “I honestly don’t know if I can move my body through this whole day with such a broken heart.”  And then I checked my email.  The only way I can describe Catherine’s words to me that morning is that I felt like I was a bleeding and wounded Katniss Everdeen…and I had just received healing medicine from the Capital.  Catherine’s email began with, “Today you bury Charlie.”  And then she shared from her equally broken mother’s heart words from the Word that would get me through one of the hardest days of my life.

And she’s written me an email every day since.  Emails filled with heartbreak, because she knows exactly how broken I really am.  And emails filled with truth, because she knows exactly how much I need it.  Truth about God’s Sovereign plan in suffering.  Truth about God’s always and forever love.  And truth about how those two truths come together as the Sovereign God of the Universe continues loving each one of us.  He continues loving Abigail and Catherine, me and Charlie, and you and those you love.  Loving us as we are all suffering.  Loving us as we are all dying.  Dying, and yet somehow also moving closer each day to finally being alive.

It’s amazing to see Fred’s faith-filled and willing acceptance of the incredibly difficult truth that “we are all dying.”  To watch my kids willing acceptance of the truth that Catherine shared in her guest post that, “God is God and we are not.”  My kids just take that in and say, “Ok.  You’re God and I’m not?!  Got it!  I’ll surrender to that.”  I, on the other hand, hear those truths and my heart struggles against them.  I don’t want everyone I love to be “dying.”  And if I was honest, sometimes I don’t want my life to be so totally and completely out of my control…even if that means that it is in God’s.  Sometimes I see the deep child-like faith of my kids and I even think, “Maybe they just believe God THAT much, and trust Him THAT much because they don’t really understand what it means that Charlie has died.”

But deep in my heart, I know that isn’t the case.  Most three-year-olds have not stood next to the freshly tilled earth and looked into their baby brother’s grave.  But Freddo has.  Most kids have not seen the tiny casket of the baby brother who used to “kick” them through mommy’s tummy, and who waved at them during an ultrasound.  But Freddo has.  Sometimes I think Fred might have a more realistic picture of death than many adults do.  And maybe also a more realistic picture of eternal life.  Most kids have not read the story of Jesus and Lazarus so many times that they have it memorized by now.  And when I hear Freddo’s sweet voice running around the house and yelling, “Jesus is the resurrection and the life!”…I know he believes it.

I really believe that Jesus wasn’t kidding or exaggerating when He said that we should have faith like a child.  He meant it.  He meant that we should hear what He says, and believe His every word.  Like Freddo, who truly takes God at His Word with joy and matter-of-factness.  As I ponder the deepest question of my life…”Who is God When A Baby Dies?”  I am so very thankful that God has given me a picture of true faith in the heart of my sweet Fred.

His, Mist

Kids…you’ve gotta love them.