“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” -Numbers 6:24-26
I’ve heard those words probably a million times. Growing up in a PCA church, its a very standard benediction. I honestly never gave it much thought. The words are truly lovely though and I wish I had paid closer attention earlier. They showed up in one of the many grief books I’ve been thumbing through. It was offered as an encouragement for mothers and fathers who have lost a child and are facing the hallmark holidays of Mother’s & Father’s day. I’m not sure why today of all days I ended up that particular section of that particular book, but I’m thankful for such a beautiful reminder of God’s particular brand of awesome.
I remember setting George’s delivery date. I was so anxious to meet this little man. He had made it to 36 weeks so my OB said it was time to schedule his c-section. After talking with the various doctors on George’s team, it was decided that since he had made it to 36 weeks, the odds were very good he could survive to 38 instead of the 37 we originally planned. This had me terrified. I think I even cried on the phone with my doctor… She was wise and kind and let me cry and then told me we were going to do extra monitoring to make sure nothing happened to my sweet boy. We settled on either Thursday, February 9, or Monday, February 13. She told me to discuss it with Adam and let her know. We decided Monday would be better for a whole slew of reasons. February 13, 2017, is when we would finally meet our precious George Mason.
I hadn’t bought many clothes at that point for him. We knew at best he was going to be in the NICU and any clothes were likely just going to be a hassle for his team of care takers, and at worst he wasn’t going to come home at all. It was my way of protecting myself from the pain of having to go through an entire closet worth of clothes that would never be worn by the infant they had been intended for… Well, after we set his delivery date, I went to the store and bought a sweet little valentines outfit for him and a card for Adam that would be from his two precious children. I planned to fill out the card and have it in the hospital bag so that Audrey & George could give it to their daddy on Valentines Day. George was born in the wee hours of February 10th. He had plans of his own and came early. But then he died that very same day. I hadn’t filled out that card yet… as we left for the hospital in a terrible rush on February 9, I grabbed it and threw it in the bag. I just figured I could fill it out while Adam showered or something. I so wanted it to be the sweet surprise I intended.
As February 10th closed out, I completely forgot about the card. It wasn’t until I went to unpack the hospital bag on the 11th that I saw it. I just remember being so heartbroken… I didn’t even know what to do with it. Should I fill it out as I had planned and sign both kid’s names? Should I have it be just from Audrey? Should I throw it out and just ignore Valentines Day?? I ended up doing nothing. I didn’t fill it out or sign it. Adam happened to stumble upon it later that day anyway and felt the same… What do we do with this? I don’t know what the right answer is to that question. The worst part though, is that stuff like that is going to happen every holiday and every special occasion. My son isn’t here to sign a card but he’s a part of our family; how should we include him? Just having to think about that breaks my heart.
This is SO not how its supposed to be. Then I remember verses like the blessing in Numbers. No, this is NOT how it is supposed to be, but it is how it is. I have to live through the yuckiness of being in a broken world. I have to bring my pain, tears, anger, whatever to God. He knows. He feels the same pain about this broken world… that’s why He sent Jesus. I have a God that loves me so much that He sacrificed His own son so that this earth and all its crap isn’t the end or the way it will be forever. So many Sunday services have ended with those words from Numbers. Today, I’m going to ponder those words and feel them deeply in my heart. God is gracious. God will give me peace. He is light itself and He is going to shine so brightly into my life. He already does and continues to do so in ways that I could not have even imagined I needed.