This was a post I never wanted to write. But this blog is about our life. Our real one. And we can only live, and love, and glorify God out of the actual lives He has given us. So it is out of that…my very broken life, and deeply broken heart from which I write these words.
Many of you probably didn’t know, but a month ago we found out that we were pregnant with a new, glorious little person. I think the best way to explain our emotions in that moment would be to share the two reactions from others that meant the most to us. The first was exactly how we reacted. The second…was the opposite.
A month ago, Reid called his little sister to tell her the news that a new life was growing inside my body, and our hearts. Immediately, she broke down. She couldn’t even talk. When she finally did talk, her first words were, “I’m so excited. And I’m so scared.” It meant a lot. Because it was exactly how we felt. We were so very excited for this new life the Lord has given us to love. And so very scared that we might experience even more heartache and loss. You have no idea how much faith and courage it took to trust God to get pregnant again after having to place the body of our precious Charlie in the ground. But we don’t want to live lives dominated by fear of anything or anyone except God. It was a step of faith we felt like He was asking us to take, and so we moved forward with tears and trust. Excited. And scared.
The second reaction that meant the most to us…was from our kids. At first, we had really hesitated to tell them. They, like us, are still very much walking through the grief of not getting to keep baby Charlie with us. I was afraid of telling our kids about the new life growing inside of me before we were in the 12 week “safe zone.” But after losing a healthy, full-term baby you realize that things like a “safe zone” are just ridiculous words we humans invent to try to manage and control our sorrows. There is no such thing as a “safe zone” with God. Our lives…all our lives…belong to God. And because of that, we want our kids to grow up knowing that every life is a precious gift from God, and worth being celebrated and loved from the very first moment. And so, in another huge step of trust, we told our kids. And we were absolutely blown away by their response.
The moment we said the words, Emma and Fred rushed up to my belly and began hugging and kissing the baby inside of it. Emma exclaimed, “Oh baby, we love you baby! We love you and we can’t wait to meet you!” And that was that. Absolute, uninhibited joy and celebration for this new life. And as I watched their fearless joy, I felt so deeply challenged. My joy has been so cautious. But their joy…knew no bounds. Even though they knew what it is to bury a baby. Even though they knew what it is to hurt so much over dreams and love lost. And yet…the moment they found out there was a new baby in Mommy’s tummy…they were all in. Filled with joy and hope and love for this precious new life. Emma has told me every single day for the last month how excited she is about this new baby. And every day I’ve had to remind our kids, “God has given this baby life. And only God knows if He has chosen for this baby to live with us on earth or with Charlie in heaven.”
And now…we know too. We know where God has chosen for Charlie’s little sibling to live. And it is not with us. And it hurts so much. This week, after 8 wonder-full weeks in my womb…another one of our children has gone to be with Jesus.
This week started out with so much hope. On Monday, we saw our precious baby’s heartbeat. The heartbeat was strong. And the baby appeared healthy and whole. And in a story only God could write, this baby’s due date was January 28th 2014…one year to the day our sweet Charlie James was born.
But today, our sweet new baby, joined Charlie in heaven. And as I held Emma this morning and felt her tiny body wracking with sobs, I was reminded of how much has been lost. A baby has been lost. A sibling has been lost. A friend has been lost. A dream has been lost. And though absolutely nothing compares to the loss of Charlie after 37 weeks with him…that pain does not lessen this one.
I just keep thinking about a trick the Nazi’s used to play on their prisoners. They would release them for one whole day…just so they could arrest and imprison them again. There is a breaking in being given a moment of freedom and hope after suffering, only to be brought back to a prison of pain once again. We are in so much pain right now. And we desperately seek your prayers.
For my physical pain. My body feels really wrecked from carrying five babies in six years. I have been pregnant for almost all of Emma’s life…so much so that when someone asked her what her parents do for work Emma said, “Daddy goes to meetings, and Mommy goes to doctors.” It’s true. I’ve been to the doctor three times this week alone. And my body is incredibly fragile and broken right now.
And then, there’s my heart. Our hearts are hurting so very much. Our emotions were already raw as we were by no means done processing the loss of our precious baby son. But if we waited until we were no longer hurting over Charlie’s life…I can promise you that that wait would never end. I have many friends who have been given “rainbow babies” after the loss of a little one. Sadly, for now, and maybe for forever, we’ve just been given more rain.
It took so much faith to began this journey with another little person, and there have been many tears and much sorrow over my sweet Charlie James, even as I carried this new life. I still cry out to the sky daily asking God why we could not have kept our perfectly healthy baby boy. And now I find myself crying out to God over another precious love lost. And that’s of course, what we seek your prayers for the most. For our faith.
In the months since Charlie died, there’s been one Mumford and Sons song that has continuously been on my heart…
“So give me hope in the darkest that I will see the light, cause oh they gave me such a fright. I will hold, as long as you like, just promise me that we’ll be alright.”
There is just so much darkness right now. So many things that scare and overwhelm us. Ironically, it was one year ago today that we found out we were pregnant with baby Charlie. And now, one year later, we bury, if not the body, but at least the dream, of another baby we had wanted to know and to love here on earth.
I have cried out to God a thousand times over these last few months of darkness, “I WILL hold…as long as You like…but You have to promise me that we will be alright.” And I have wondered many times if God and I are actually going to be “alright” in the end. There have been many moments it has felt very hard to trust Him. And today, is another one of those. It is not easy to keep praying that prayer when all around me, and all within me, there is so much sorrow and loss.
But that IS the prayer of those who trust in Jesus. It doesn’t matter the circumstances. Those who are His…are called to love Him and to hold unto Him…NO MATTER WHAT. And in His kindness, the one thing that matters on even the darkest days of our lives…is His promise that our relationship with Him…will be alright. And at the end of the day, even on the best and worst of days, this is all we have. No matter who you are…this is absolutely all you have. We have Him.
Please pray that God would give us renewed hope in what feels like the never ending darkness that has become our lives. Pray that we would hold…as long as He likes and calls us to walk this dark road. I am in a lot of physical pain right now. We are in deep emotional and spiritual anguish as we navigate through these new shadows in the valley of the shadow of death. A valley we never really left. A valley that has sadly become a new home for us. We don’t know for how long we will be called to live here. We just know that we have been called to hold.
I had wanted to be holding something else. I had wanted to be holding the babies God had given us to love. And now, those two babies we had so very much wanted to celebrate on January 28th, are both celebrating in a far grander place. A place where heartbeats never stop. Where people never ache as bad as we are hurting right now. A place where people always live. And some day, we will meet our little ones there.
Until then, we would desperately appreciate your prayers.
Until then, by the grace of God alone…we will hold.
And wait with tears and trust.