In about a week, one of our dear friend’s’ sons will be one. He is the little brother of one of Audrey’s friends and their family is so special to us. As I was thinking about this precious little boy’s birthday today, I was suddenly and vividly brought down memory lane to February 7, 2017. Our small group met on Tuesday nights and since my c-section was scheduled for the following Monday, the group prayed over and for and with us. I don’t remember any of the exact words that lifted to our almighty Father that night, but I remember the hope. The intense, God has got this, our boy is going to live, hope. It was oozing from every word. Hope for a miracle. Hope because we know who God is. Hope, because it was all we could do; everything was in God’s hands.

Our prayers from that evening weren’t answered in the way any of us would have wanted. The ideal outcome was a healthy and living little boy. Instead we buried an infant. A seven pound, 19” long, little man  I didn’t know on February 7th that 10 days later we would be attending a funeral, but I knew that our community was a huge blessing. That everyone’s hope on that night felt like armor for our hearts and the greatest gift a week later when we had to say goodbye to our son.

We left our group that night with full hearts and nervous minds. God was with us in that room that night. He was with us every day of our pregnancy. He was with us during the signs of labor and through the c section. He was with us when we met George Mason and when we cried over him. He was with us as we desperately cling to his last breaths. And he was with us as we got the nod from the nurse that our son was no longer with us. God was with us every step of the way, and that night it felt much more obvious than it had in months.

I’ve never thought about that night before today. In all the details I’ve had to sort through in the journey of grief, one of the best memories never made its way to the top. But as I think more about the specifics of that night, I remembered something else. That was the night that this precious soon-to-be birthday boy’s parents told us that they were expecting. Our hearts left full. Full of hope for what would come in the next week. Full of gratitude towards our God who had given us such an incredible gift in our community. Full of joy and anticipation for our friends and their new life.

Next week we can celebrate the one year birthday of a little boy who is incredibly special. And if his birthday is the trigger for one of the best memories in a year of sorrow, I’m even more thankful for his precious life.