We haven’t been out to Hillside for months. The snow and our busy lives kept us away. But standing at the grave it is easy to open the flood gates. Suddenly four years disappears and it all happened yesterday. The darkness, the emptiness, the fear, the grief – it’s all right there – like a blanket engulfing me. I have my baby wrapped tight to my chest, impatient with my stillness. I watch my toddler’s exuberance in the big, wide open space that he has all to himself. Life – so much life – right before me, and death too. Death that left a big hole in my heart.
A mommy doesn’t get much time for reflection and that’s not a bad thing really. Life goes on in Heaven and life goes on here on earth. Reflection is done on the fly, in between the peanut butter and jelly and during the diaper changes and in the middle of a quick chat with a sweet friend on my front porch.
In my fly-by moments of reflection it has occurred to me today that in all of God’s dealings with me over the last years I have been totally, completely, utterly helpless. He is the One that has shut doors, opened others, led us down the path of Sorrow and then opened up the way to Joy. I am struck by God’s decision to give us these two and then take them away. I have no idea why He did it, but there was nothing I could do.
It’s easy to believe that a mother is the one who gives life to her children. I could not do that and so two children died. But that is a whispered lie. A mother doesn’t give life. God gives life. God takes life. God sets the lonely in families and God keeps the lonely out of families.
And God gives life to mothers who cannot nurture and sustain it. That was me and that was Judah’s birthmom and my sweet baby girl’s birthmom. There is very little difference between us three women – all of us are helpless to sustain the life that has been given us. God created these lives anyway.
The children whose voices fill my home and my head and my heart these busy, crazy days; whose little chocolate hands pull and prod; whose little spirits are never satiated but always want more. These children will one day realize what I have seen – they are helpless before their Maker. He gave them life. He brought grief into their hearts before they were born. He gave them to me – to Josh – and in that act created a new family. He did it all.
There is nothing else to do but bow and say what I am teaching Judah to say, “OK, Jesus. I love you.”
This is so precious, Bryonie! My heart bleeds for the loss of your two dear little ones and rejoices at the gift of your two dear little ones. How confusing life can be sometimes! The only way to understand it is to say with you and Judah, “OK, Jesus. I love you.”
This is beautiful, helpful, wise. Thank you.
Lovely, Bryonie. I’m so sorry for the road you have walked. And so thankful for your reflections. I became a mom on 4-4, and so it is a day of celebration in our household. I just kissed my teenager birthday boy goodnight. But each year I also awake thinking of what that date means for you and Josh and all who love you. Each year I remember Jack’s tears as he told me in the “fellowship hall” what you had suffered. This date is forever marked by the reality that God alone brings forth and takes, sustains and nurtures. My son doesn’t belong to me. . . and Hannah and Ebenezer are part of the way our Savior taught me that. Praying for you this week.
Covenant St. Louis
My dear Bryonie,
I’m so glad you have a beautiful day to visit the cemetery! So many who love you remember along with you. We revisit your pain and sorrow, so it is a blessing to be able to also share with your continuing growth and learning as you open your heart to us. May the Lord continue to use the all too brief lives of Ebenezer and Hannah to to challenge, teach, and comfort us! Love you!
Been thinking of you guys this week…<3
love you Bry…what a humbling truth you write and how amazingly our Lord manifests these truths to each of us how He sees fit…so much love to you and Josh
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.
Bryonie, the image of you next to the babies’ gravestone with your arms literally full… well, it gets to me. I praise God for the blessings he’s given you, for these children we’ve prayed for all these years!
*sniffle* what Rebecca said.
It took me a few days to come over here to read this.
Much love to you.
You are a blessing in more ways than you know. Love you ALL so much.