I hear these two questions multiple times every day.
And my answer truly is, " Yeah, I'm doing okay."
I hesitated to write this post, because I don't want people to think I'm lying, putting on a face, or even bragging. This is the honest truth. I am doing okay.
Now, I'm not great. I don't feel wonderful. I am not all sunshine and rainbows. But you know what? I'm also not Scrooge; I'm not depressed; I don't spend all my time lying around and crying. Maybe just lying around...
So many people are, I think, worried that my husband and I aren't handling the death of James well, but in fact, we're doing pretty darn good, given the circumstances. Yes, we cry (or at least I do). Yes, sometimes I'm sad and wish James were here. Some moments are definitely harder than others. And I hardly ever stop thinking about him. But most of the time, we go about our daily lives just fine. Not as robots or automatons, but consciously, like normal people do.
You see, Jon and I don't mourn like "those who have no hope." This parting, however painful it seems now, however long it feels to us, is really just a fleeting moment in light of eternity. Jon and I both know we're going to heaven when we die, and we know James is there now. So, really, very soon we'll be able to see our baby again.
My dad has been preaching in the book of Revelation, going through the whole book verse by verse. The last couple weeks he talked about the Millennial Reign. There's too much to go into detail, but one of the verses he spoke on talks about how more than we ever could imagine will happen (during the Thousand Year Reign), and that gives me hope that maybe, one day, I'll get to not only see my James again (oh joy eternal at that idea alone) but that maybe I'll get to see him grow up (cue happy tears). I really hope that maybe I will.
So, every day that passes is one day closer to seeing James again.
But sometimes that just isn't enough. It's HARD to lose your baby before he's even taken a breath. But oh, the people he managed to touch even so! As my sister put it, his "branches have touched so many." The little girl I used to nanny got saved. I know of another who is seeking God because of what happened with James and seeing the strength and grace that God has so obviously poured out on Jon and me. My family has gotten even closer than we were before. Jon and I are closer to each other. There is so much pure good that has happened. God can, of course, make good come out of any circumstance, but it seems like so much more; it seems like this was James' purpose. And I have full faith in God that his death was part of God's plan; that it was not "just something that happened" but that it was an important part in God's symphony.
|My sister's friend gave this Bonzai tree to my sister, to remind her of James. It was because of this tree that my sister thought of how James' "branches have touched so many." I just love the analogy.|
But knowing all these things... I don't think just knowing them would have made this cross of mine easier to bear. No. All the glory, all the praise for how well Jon and I are doing through all of this... that's all God's. HE has been so present in our lives. HE has given us grace to wake up in the morning, grace to make it through each day, grace to sleep at night. GOD is the one who is holding our hands, leading us on, giving us hope, even through all our sorrow and pain. And there is a lot of sorrow and pain. But it's not unending. We haven't given up hope. Someday we will hold our own baby, one we get to keep here on this earth with us for a little while. I have full faith in that. I am still scared. What if I miscarry? What if the baby is stillborn again, or worse, what if we get to see that little baby grow up and start to bloom, only to have God take it away again, too soon, by our human standards? What if, what if, what if. But even through all this, we are comforted. We'll have our baby, some day. And we will cherish it, and love it, and hold loosely, for things are fleeting.
I always wondered how Job could say, "The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away; blessed be the name of the LORD." I know, now. Because we as believers will always have the GRACE and MERCY of the Lord, even when things are hard and when they don't make sense. Even in the face of great trial.
I gave my son up unwillingly; how much harder it must have been for God, who must have loved His perfect Son more than I could even imagine loving James, to give His Son up willingly. How much He must love you and me! I have but one prayer: that because of James, because he died, that you might finally see God and accept His love and mercy. That you might acknowledge your sin, acknowledge that you deserve death in Hell and turn to the living God for forgiveness, for everlasting life in heaven with James and Jon and me. We would so love to see you there.
If you have questions about how to get that chance, to see James in person for real some day, to see him alive and happy and ...perfect... please, don't hesitate to ask me, ask a pastor, ask a friend. Because this... this is more important than the life of my son. This was the reason that he died. The reason Jesus died. Don't let those deaths be in vain.