Pain has a way of becoming all-consuming if you let it. Especially if you’re reminded of it often. When my husband and I lost our unborn baby, the immensity of the ache, the heaviness of our sorrow, and the enormity of the void we found ourselves living with was unimaginable. The day we saw our infant’s tiny body, lifeless, on the ultrasound screen was filled with shock and such deep sadness. After we told our other five children about our loss, we simply sat on the couch, holding each other, speaking softly, and weeping quiet tears. We were learning to live, to move forward towards a new “normal”. Not past our loss, but with our loss. A normal where we would always carry an empty void with us. A normal that would shape the rest of our lives, make us more compassionate, and more aware of the preciousness of life, vapors as we are. In those first few days after we learned of Elijah’s passing, we encouraged each other of rock-solid truths that we could cling to despite how we felt.
We knew that God is good, even if the circumstances aren’t.
We knew that God is love, and that He is the God of all comfort.
We knew that all life is created on purpose by the very Author of life Himself, and that even little Elijah’s life had meaning beyond what we knew.
As the days turned to weeks and the weeks have now turned to months, the ache has not gone away. I think of Elijah often throughout every single day. Our other children talk about him. We imagine what he looks like as he plays with Jesus in Heaven. We talk about the day we will get to see him. We laugh about how all the food he eats is perfect and how delicious Heaven’s cupcakes must taste. Little Elijah left a legacy; treasures that we began to uncover even on the day we found out that he had already flown away to be with Jesus.
We love deeper now because of Elijah. We are stronger as a family because our 6th baby knit us together in ways than we could have never imagined before. Our marriage is stronger, closer, and sweeter because of our unborn’s very real life. I’ve connected with other women who have had a miscarriage because now I’ve experienced the loss of a life as well. We have experienced healing because of the gift of our son, Elijah James.
While grocery shopping recently, my 2 year old asked for some more bubbles (his last bottle, he had managed to dump upside down the minute he opened it 🙂 ). Between the yogurt, chicken, and bread, I grabbed a package of 6 individual bubble containers and tossed it on the top of my loaded cart. It’s funny how even silly things like numbers remind me of Elijah. Most things come in packages of 6 or can be divided evenly among 6. I’ve always had five and then “one left over”. But on that day, I discovered another treasure from the brief life of my littlest son. As I was checking out my groceries, there was a little blond haired boy of about 4 with his mama behind me in line. At the prodding of his sweet mommy, this little boy kept coming over to my cart and picking up things that my two year old kept dropping out of the cart. His smile was so teasing and his eyes were carefree that I was suddenly overcome with the beauty of Elijah’s legacy. I had 6 bubbles. One for each of my kids. But in my youngest’s absence, it seemed most fitting to share these bubbles with another little boy.
I will never see Elijah’s smile or his eyes light up with the wonder of chalk drawings or summer bubbles. I will never hear his giggle or see his little body jumping up and down so full of life (at least on this side of Heaven), but I can share the joy of life with others in his honor. And as I handed this kind boy a bottle of bubbles and saw his eyes light up, the joy I felt knowing that I had uncovered a treasure left for me because of my son stole away my breath and my eyes flooded.
My little boy isn’t here with me anymore. I can’t feel him kicking in my womb and I won’t be able to watch him enjoy gifts that I buy him, but I do have something else. I have hope; beautiful, inexplicable, unyielding, stronger than death…HOPE. The kind of hope that knows beyond all doubt that I will see my son again some day. Not on a fuzzy ultrasound screen where death screams, but in colors more spectacular than I can know and in life that is richer, freer, and perfectly whole. I have a hope that will never fade, a hope that is more certain than the rising sun, it’s a hope that Will. Not. Disappoint. This hope is greater than seeing my son in Heaven because it’s a hope that offers freedom in this life, and restoration of all things in the life to come, not just my son’s heartbeat. It’s offered because of the life and death and resurrection of my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus walked this earth just once like the rest of us.
He lived a brief life compared to most, only 33 years.
Jesus also took a final breath as he suffered to take the penalty I deserve and you deserve because of our sin.
I think about that unknown moment when my little unborn took his very last breath inside of me and I my heart feels like it’s breaking with the ache. But I know that because Jesus took His last breath on the cross for me, for you, for my children, and for all who simply accept His free gift of salvation….There. Is. Hope!
My son’s heart never beat again, but Jesus rose again very much alive. Christ conquered death and conquered pain that there might be HOPE. And in that blessed hope, a restoration, a way back to a relationship with God, as He originally planned in the beginning.
Maybe you haven’t suffered the loss of a life, but I bet you know what it feels like to walk with pain. If you haven’t truly given your heart to Jesus, recognizing that without His death that paid for your sin, you wouldn’t have a chance at that eternal hope that will not disappoint. Consider giving up control of your life to the very Author of life who loves you enough to give you unyielding hope that will not disappoint. If God can give my littlest son life, eternal hope, and a beautiful legacy even though he was only a few weeks old, how much more can God do the unimaginable with your life?!