The thought occurred to me, as I was driving home from setting up for tonight’s company Christmas party, how different this year is from years past. That’s a given though, I suppose. I was rehearsing my outfit in my head, and still trying to figure out what shoes I’m supposed to wear. Then realized that I’ll get to get a picture with John, and it hit me that just two Christmas’s ago, I was also pregnant. But that Christmas was painfully bittersweet. The days ticked by, knowing that the moment was approaching in which John and I would experience the greatest heartbreak we’d ever know. It was so hard to enjoy that season of our lives, despite how special Christmas should be for us all. I remember going to the same party that year (the first without Dad), knowing full well that I would only have a matter of weeks left with our little one. Every day was a different type of misery.
But here I am, this year, experiencing more joy and excitement than I have in years. The difference in hearing a baby’s cries in the store now, and being SO excited for the moment I get to hold our little girl and hear her own precious cries. When I was pregnant with Ethan those cries utterly broke me every time I heard them, because I knew the chances of us hearing his were slim. And while I still grieve for what we lost, I know that God still has beautiful things in store for us and our family. I know that Ethan would want me to enjoy every minute that I have with this new baby girl and not dwell on what we didn’t get with him. But rather be thankful for what we DID have. The moments, the peeking of his beautiful eyes into ours, the breathtaking noises he was able to vocalize in his short time here. I am grateful for them all.
I was talking to my brother the other day about God’s plan and trying to understand it. I still can’t wrap my mind around why He allows the things that He does, or why things happen the way they do. I know that wrestling with doubt and anger in times of struggle are REAL emotions, real battles, and I also know that they’re OK. I know that God loves us through them. And I know that someday, there will be a break in the clouds- so to speak- in our battles. A moment when we get a glimpse of why.
I spent an entire summer in a spiritual and emotional battle with God. Angry at why He was allowing our family to be tortured with so much pain, all at once. With time I began to accept that there had to be a reason. Someday, even if it were after I died, I would figure out the “why”. But my “Ah-ha moment” came as soon as I set eyes on our perfect little boy. He was the reason. He was everything… and worth every moment of heartbreak. My heart still breaks, every day. But he is worth it. I’d rather live a million days in a broken world, knowing that he was ours for that short time, than have never had the chance to hold him in my arms, kiss his precious nose, and stare at his beautiful face.
I guess all of this is to say, no matter what war you are fighting. No matter how big the struggle. Someday you will have an answer. That doesn’t mean that the pain will go away, or that your battles will be over. But you will get a glimpse of the glory of our God, and the perfection of His plan for your life.
This car seat may look like a simple thing to everyone else. And really, it is. But to me, it means something so much more. I’ve been slow to buy new things for this baby. I ordered a strolled during Target’s trade-in event (totally worth it BTW). It has been in a box in the garage since I brought it home. As much as I’d love to open it, every time I considered the thought I became petrified that I would have to end up returning it when things ended badly. My mom ordered us a bassinet. It too has sat in a box in the garage due to the same fear.
Last week I ordered this car seat. And in a huge, exciting step… we took it out of the box. And it sits on our kitchen floor, still, as a reminder to me of God’s plan, and His timing. I look at it and remember that this baby’s life was written into His book long before I was ever born. This baby was created with such a purpose, and is destined for a divine plan, just as each of her siblings were. And it is all, and has always been, a part of His perfect plan. Despite the heartbreak, the sorrow and grief, and the loss… she is a shining light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Recognizing full well that it may not be the only dark tunnel we ever cross through, she reminds me of God’s faithfulness, and that He will always provide us with His light, in and through the darkest of times… all the way to the other side.