Facebook is one of those things that I find incredibly helpful and also miserably hurtful. It is a place to document and easily store memories of all kinds. To share the happy moments with friends and family afar and to share the burdens of pain in the unimaginable. I absolutely love being reminded of all the wonderful things I've chosen to share publicly. Seeing Audrey's sweet face in those first few months, college graduations, weddings... the joy and celebration is such a highlight in the black hole of social media. Except recently the memories it's sharing with me are a reminder of my grief. Our children would have been almost exactly 23 months apart, if George had been healthy and come on or around his due date. Effectively 2 years. Which means that all of Audrey's firsts line up on the calendar pretty well with where George Mason's would've fallen. I know every baby is different, but when I go through the pictures and see how quickly my newborn daughter changes and develops, I can't help but think that would be my precious son about now.
Associating those memories with what would and could be for George doesn't make them any less joyful. Audrey was a serious bright spot in the shadow of losing my mom. Every smile, coo, giggle, reminded me of my mom and how much I wished she was there. Each of those baby firsts was an answer to my prayers and longing to become a mother. Every snuggle (and every cry) was my comfort in what I thought was the worst days of my life. My mama never got to meet Audrey on this earth. She died just weeks before this precious little girl was born and I honestly didn't know if I was going to be ok. It felt like there was absolutely no way that I was going to survive losing my mom and becoming a mom all in a month's time. As I look back on that first year with Audrey and without my mom, I don't remember the pain as much as the joy. I remember the giggles much more intricately than I remember the tears and heartache. I didn't know it then, but God was preparing my heart. He was building an unshakable foundation of trust for me to cling to for the rest of my life. He was preparing my marriage for whatever might come swinging. I don't hate seeing the memories of Audrey but I do see them and wish my son were here. I don't think that George Mason not being here is going to change the ecstasy with which Adam and I welcomed Audrey into this world. If anything, she will make us appreciate George Mason's short life all that much more.
George Mason's day was beautiful and awful all at the same time. His life was a precious gift that we will always cherish, be thankful for, and mourn, simultaneously. If nothing else, those memories of Audrey have given me another opportunity to not only remember and celebrate my son, but to see just how much God loves me and is in my corner. When I didn't think there could be life after losing my mom, God gave me Audrey and all the strength of His army of angels to get me through. I survived and came out the other side with a new understanding of who the God I'd been serving my whole life really is. He is a God who cares immensely, loves unconditionally, and knows who I am because He knew me from before there was time. If my God is capable of giving me the strength to raise my daughter in the wake of losing my mom, He is most certainly capable of guiding this life after losing my son.
As I reflect on those first months with Audrey I'm also going to remember sweet George Mason. I'm going to thank God for his wonderful though short life. I'm going to trust in the Father who has proven again and again His faithfulness to His people and specifically to me. I'm going to also remember the times when I doubted or fell short of keeping faith, even if only for a minute, so that I can hope to be less tempted by those thoughts in the future. God is good. He is for me. He is powerful and awe inspiring and He is kind and caring. He loves his people and holds true to his promises. My prayer is to sink into that. To know that. To believe that. I know I can’t do this life without Him, so I pray I will keep digging into His Word and clinging to the things I know to be true; not just because He said it, but because I've experienced it.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. - James 1:2-3
Lord, let me count it all joy as I live each day. Let me be thankful for YOUR steadfastness as I work through towards my own. Let me know that at the end of all of this, I will be lacking in nothing. That you will have completed your good work when the gates of heaven open and I am reunited with my son and my mama and I join them in worshipping at your feet; singing Holy, Holy, Holy!