A Reason To Hope

haddon's feet
A season has come where I often weep
My eye wastes away with little sleep
I rage war against doubt and hopeless fears
My pillow is drenched with endless tears
But when a spear to the soul conveys my grief
O, the Almighty God brings sweet relief.

My little one has departed from me
and has joy that will last for eternity
Yet sorrow upon sorrow builds in my heart
for the years I must wait while we are a part
But my child sees Christ, and endless bliss
And I could never ask for more than this

So Lord we wait for your return.
And trust your promises are firm.
You know the grief of weighty loss
Your son bore sin and death on the cross
You tell me: “Remember! My Son conquered death!”
And so, never fear your baby’s last breath.

Goodness and Mercy in The Shadow of Death

(written December 9, 2011)

Coming across a promise of God that is stated in the Bible is very different for me now. I feel like I have to stick my circumstance into the verse and read it that way in order to process it. One caught me today in Psalm 23: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” The psalmist is so certain, surely, goodness and mercy will follow me. So, God’s goodness and mercy, it’s not just only there in the good days, but all your days. When I read that I rewind it for a second and say to myself, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, including the day Haddon died.” So, because all my days include a death of my firstborn, I’m glad the psalmist includes all my days and I’m glad he includes surely, telling us it’s not just a sentimental thought to use however you want. And as I sit here tonight, having some fears about getting back into our day to day routine (sometimes it’s just the normal days that are so difficult without Haddon), I can read about God’s  goodness and mercy that are promised me tomorrow.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” is written after the psalmist writes “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” The goodness and mercy of God follow you, even through the valley of the shadow of death? I’ve seen the valley. God promises his goodness and mercy in the very shadow of death. When we sing in church, and any song includes a “valley”, like a trial or suffering, I have to fight back tears. There’s so much meaning behind singing of God bringing me through a valley now, because it’s real, it’s not a general valley. I remember a few days after Haddon went to be with Jesus and we had all our family in our house. I was doing fine, then heavy grief hit me like a train and I panicked. What do you do? People picked it up rather quickly I think that I wasn’t doing well and started to leave, and I went to my bed. I wept so hard, harder and even louder than I have in my whole life. So as I read about God’s goodness and mercy following me all the days of my life, I think about that day, my lowest day. God promises that even on that day there was goodness and mercy.
Practically, I wonder what God’s goodness and mercy look like to me. And how do they follow me everyday? There could be several things mentioned here. I feel like trusting that there is goodness and mercy following me every day, means I have to also be trusting the bigger picture. I think it means I have to remember God has given me salvation that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading made possible through Jesus, and that there is coming a day when Christ will return and the suffering I’m experiencing now will result in the praise of Him. That’s another promise found in 1 Peter chapter 1, and that’s what I think of when I read about goodness and mercy following me, leading up to his great return, and we get to see all trials and suffering bring glory to him, and seeing that suffering will also be no more. That’s  another promise in Revelation 21.
So (as if I haven’t typed it enough times in this post) “surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life”, including the difficult days of getting back into routine tomorrow.

When He Returns, With Him I’ll Rise

(written December 9, 2011)
I’ll have to admit, when Haddon’s grave marker came I didn’t feel ready to see it. Even though I wanted him to have one, it was difficult to see something that was going to remind me of his body, which is not where our hope lies, but our hope lies in his life now with Jesus. But I’m thankful it didn’t take me long to come to love looking at it and feeling so proud of his name that is printed in big letters. Also, our quote we decided to use on it will always remind us of what’s to come: Jesus Lives and So Shall I, When He Returns With Him I’ll Rise. I remember the first time I heard this song was very soon after Haddon passed, it was a sweet thing that the Lord brought to my ears in time of sorrow. Ernie and I both found this to be very fitting to add to his grave marker, in hopes that it will encourage others who come to the cemetery to visit their children’s graves. Ernie told me a few days ago that there is a new grave of a baby next to Haddon, and the service for this baby was just ending as he was walking up to visit Haddon’s grave. We especially hope that our words we placed on Haddon’s grave can be used by God to comfort them in their grief that has begun only days ago.

I thought I’d also bring up a fear I have, and how the Lord is growing me in it. I know at some point my memories with Haddon in the hospital will not be as detailed, and they won’t feel as if they were yesterday, sometimes that brings great fear. Usually, about once a week, as I’m trying to fall asleep, my mind goes back to the hospital and replays the nearly 5 days we were there as if I’m testing myself to see how much I’m remembering and what it is I’ve forgotten. I feel like I don’t really realize that’s what I’m doing until I’ve reached the end and I’ll think oh why do I do that? So, this is where I pray to have truthful thoughts that reflect God’s word. On this earth, my memory is affected by sin, which brings about forgetfulness or blurry memories, and a lot of precious things to me won’t always be crystal clear after time. This shows my need for Jesus, not only is my memory affected by sin, but everything is. Also, if I really think about why I’m so afraid to lose details about Haddon, what it comes down to is me fearing that it affects him somehow. His brothers and sisters will have memories with us and we will treasure those, so I don’t want to lose any short moments we had with Haddon and my heart frets. But this isn’t what God wants for us, when the things he gives us on earth are gone or begin to fade, he does not want us to fret or put our firm hope in them. My hope is not in detailed memories of Haddon, but that he is standing with Jesus, and we know that when those of us who belong to Jesus actually see him face to face, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2).