There are moments in time that literally seem to freeze,
held forever within our hearts,
whether for good or bad.
The moment you said, “Yes” to the man of your dreams,
the time you saw your bride walking down the aisle,
that slice of heaven when you saw your child for the very first time, whether biological or adopted.
These pieces of our lives grip our hearts and weave our stories with emotions and thoughts to build precious memories.
We had five fabulous babies that were growing up fast and we had decided that our proverbial “quiver” was full. We were done having “Little Adams’”. Yet, after several months, both of us felt God tugging at our hearts to trust Him for another baby. After lots of conversations, we decided to step out and follow in faith, so we started trying for another sweet bundle.
One month passed and then two, which, for us, was usually when we would have conceived.
The calendar changed several more months and we began to discuss whether we would pursue medical intervention to conceive.
Every month we took a test, letting our kids see the results before us then tell us the outcome.
Every month was a disappointing, “No” until January 2014.
The kids walked into the living room with stunned grins, “You’re pregnant?!”
We cheered and laughed and cried and praised the Maker of Life. We celebrated every sweet moment after that in ways we hadn’t in other pregnancies.
Every day was uniquely precious.
March 4th, 2014, I began spotting in the evening. Light spots turned to heavier bleeding and in my heart, I knew, even as I wanted to believe the best, our baby had died. That night, I wept on my husband’s chest even as his confident assurances attempted to assuage my fears. The bright morning of March 5th found us sitting in a darkened ultrasound room where we saw the breathtaking form of our baby. The first thing I said, even after I had seen for myself that there wasn’t a heartbeat was, “Oh Love, look at his perfect spine!”
And it was. Perfectly created.
We saw every detail beautifully crafted and knit together. Our sweet son.
But we also clearly saw that there was no heartbeat in our precious boy. A fact confirmed by the tech in a moment that broke our hearts in ways we hadn’t imagined before.
The technician left and my husband held me as this new, horrible reality gripped us. I shook with sobs and a searing pain that would lessen, but would never go away. We drove home and with heart-wrenching sadness told our other five kids about the loss of their brother. We named him Elijah James and held each other as we wept.
The morning of March 7th, my husband and I drove to the hospital to “have our baby”, but we wouldn’t leave with a bundle of joy, just an empty womb and a sadness that we were somehow supposed to live with for the rest of our lives. I hated that day. Hated going in, carrying a baby inside, and leaving…empty.
Truth be told, I learned a lot from Elijah, despite that emptiness and hurt; I still am. But on that delivery day, I prayed for one thing amidst all my questions of,”Why?!”
I begged God for redemption.
Even if I never carried another baby, I asked God to redeem my heart, my hurt, my emptiness, even the memories of delivering my silent son on a sunny day in March.
Redemption is the reason I love to tell Elijah’s birth story.
Redemption is the reason our daughter takes pictures of the sky “for Elijah”.
It’s the reason our son keeps a pile of baby toys on his bookshelf because they remind him of his little brother.
It’s the reason our kids draw pictures of our family with Elijah in them.
Yes, our hurt brings us together, but it’s the surety of hope that knits our hearts and points us to redemptive love of God. A good God who intentionally planned for our life to not simply be a vapor, but rather for us to live fully and eternally in a new world where all pain and emptiness is erased.
My son runs freely with His Creator today, even as we sit here with eyes that hold both loss and hope in salty tears. The miracle of redemption is seen so beautifully in a conversation the kids and I were having about Elijah. They were happily talking about meeting their brother, playing with him, and running Heaven’s hills with him. As sweet as those thoughts were, the kids transitioned seamlessly to the glory of meeting their Savior and worshiping Him with angels and with every other believer.
The joy in their eyes magnified.
Elijah wasn’t the point, Jesus was.
And right there, hidden in the life and death of my unborn, laid redemption’s secret. It was never about our loss, never about our pain, or even about Elijah’s brief life, but rather the whole point was to show us Christ more clearly. To allow His redemption to overwhelm our emptiness and remind us that there is so much more.
March 5th is still a hard day for me as I remember those moments forever tucked away in my mommy heart, but March 7th is Elijah’s delivery day redeemed.
It’s his birthday – a chance for us to look into the hope of redemption anew as we send our balloons heavenward,
knowing that our son is very much alive and living with The Hope, Jesus Christ.