There were times in Noah's little life that I would sing to him. I never sang to Ava. I know, it's weird. People think that since I sing at church I just sing all the time. I don't. I sometimes sing in the car, I never sing in the shower and rarely do I just go around the house or wherever singing. At least I don't catch it. I just never felt the need or desire to sing to Ava. Maybe that's weird. I sang to Noah though. Not all the time, but in quiet moments where it was just him and I in his room. See, in the spring before we even found out we were pregnant, I learned and began to lead a song at our church, orginally written and lead by Lauren Chandler (Pastor Matt Chandler's wife) at Village Church in DFW. It hit home even before our life changed forever. It became an anthem for me. He is faithful. He is gracious. He alone is God. Lauren wrote this song around the time of Matt's brain surgery and health issues. It was an anthem of sorts for her too. It was proclaiming that even in struggle, hardship, suffering and pain that HE IS FAITHFUL. He doesn't change. His character isn't tainted. His love isn't thwarted. He is still God and he is sill good. So, I would hum it to Noah. He would go to sleep and (since I wasn't allowed to fall asleep with him in my arms- rules) I would just watch him sleep and try to find some rest in all forms of the word. spritiually, emotionally, physically. That song is just special. The chorus is written over and over and over in my journal on the page before the day Noah died. It kept me going. It still keeps me going. As we sat in noah's room and waited for him to enter heaven, we held him. It was quiet. Dr. J, us, the chaplain, we all just waited and waited. I began to hum and sing it over him and it got us through an hour or so. I began to play worship music on my phone and that song came on at one point. I just closed my eyes and tried to rest again. Trying to soak every single smell, feeling, touch, hand holding, head rubbing, kissing, squeezing and gazing in, that song just calmed the room. It is a moment I will never forget. I'm not sure if sharing it with all who read this is necessary, but I've kept it private enough that it feels right to let y'all in to that secret place. No one ever expects that they will have to make the decision to let their child go or not. You just don't plan for that day. For that moment. For that waiting time. You don't think that will ever be you. How does one live with the fact that they feel that they let their child just die. For once, I truly did not know how God would let this happen, but knew that letting it happen was the only way to heal my son, be obedient to Him and somehow move into the next season of life God had for me. For us. It was always us. It IS still always us.
I love my church. We are a close family, yet there are new people coming in all the time. The anniversary of our church was this last weekend and I was asked to lead the song. I had led it so many times before I left for Ft. Worth, yet, I had not since I came back. I didn't make it through practice. I wept. In front of the whole worship team and choir. It was odd. I felt like I could do it and then just couldn't. I prayed. I worked on it. I struggled with doing it at all.
Monday of last week, I got an update on my phone about Madison. We were at VBS and everyone was dancing and singing. I was in the very back weeping. Sweet Madison had gone to Jesus. How in the world would I sing Noah and I's song in a few days with the freshness of it all coming back to mind and heart and so many new emotions surfacing? I told Debbie no. I wouldn't be able to get through it. She called me Wednesday. She asked if I had thought and prayed about it anymore and what I thought. I said I would do it. So, I had committed and would have to follow through. I asked for prayer from my Bible study ladies and my family. It would be such a hard weekend, but I just had that unction from the Lord that I needed to get past whatever I was afraid of and do it. I realized this weekend that I have been afraid that if I got through that song, publically, and didn't cry or "feel" through it then it wouldn't mean anything anymore. It would just be another worship song or another chorus. It wasn't true. Singing it, leading it, getting through it as our entire church worshiped along was, indeed, better than hiding. It made it even that more special because I wasn't singing it as a reminder to get me through (although it still is) I was declaring it as a testimony. HE REALLY IS FAITHFUL. HE REALLY IS GRACIOUS. HE REALLY IS GOD.
My son died 4 months ago. He is faithful. My son died 4 months ago. He is gracious. My son died. He is God.
Here is the point. Without the gospel of Christ. I would not be able to get up every day. I would not be able to raise my daughter. I would not be able to look at someone else or their baby boy and not want to curl up and weep somewhere in complete pain and jealousy. If I did not have the hope of Christ, I would not have a reason to have joy, despite my hurt, to serve, even when it stings, to love even when I feel forgotten. Christ came and died in my place so I could have a home in heaven. WITH MY SON. I suppose heaven, eternity, eternal life, my need for Christ has never been so magnified than since my son died. Maybe part of God's plan all along was to draw me closer and many others, to Him and His reality of our need for Him. I have known him my whole life, but I am not sure I have ever NEEDED him like I have the last 4 months. Well, last 14 months. This journey is hard, long, rough and I would not wish it on my worst enemy, but I am thankful that through every hurdle I have learned something out of it and can add it to my healing. A new stitch is sewn.
I cannot finish this without thanking my church family. I am not sure y'all even realize how supportive, loving and precious you are to me. Some of you knew my struggle this weekend and some of you didn't. It never matters how much I hurt or cry or need to just stop singing and soak it all in, y'all are so accepting, loving and gracious to me through every step. Y'all encourage me, support me, push me and love me through every turn and I am thankful. We could not get through all of this without y'all.
I am thankful for this entire journey and I am thankful tonight for knowing The Stories. Matt, Amanda and Madison. Y'all will forever be a part of our journey and I am certain that Noah was one of the first to take her hand and show her all around. What precious little lives they had and they are continuing to spread God's truth and love throughout. love y'all.
dowload the song, You Are Faithful, from itunes (village church's album, God of Victory) it's worth your .99 cents!