It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Ecclesiastes 7:2
One of the events of the last month that has touched my life deeply and that I want to be sure to record is that of the birth and death of a special baby.... and the birth and life of his twin brother.
(The parents of these babies have been very open with their story, and I have asked for permission to talk about how their story meshes with mine.)
I am one of 4 leaders of a ministry at our church called Hopeful Hearts. We minister to women enduring infertility, miscarriage, infant loss. I have not endured all of these things personally, but between the 4 of us we have walked all of these roads in our own lives. And we have all walked with others through them as well. Personally, I have suffered through infertility and miscarriage. Before my second child was born, I endured 14 months of infertility. I realize that many people try much longer than that to have a baby. I walk with them on a regular basis now. But when it is your pregnancy test that is negative every month, 14 months seems like a life time. Finally, after 2 years of hoping for him, Jackson arrived. Our family of 3 grew to 4, and that was perfect for a while. A few years later Baby 3 who we named Kate came... and I lost her to miscarriage. 6 months later Baby 4 who we named Camden came... and I lost him to miscarriage as well. I have written much about that time in my life on my other blog. The things that I had to reconcile because of the loss of those 2 babies were incredibly difficult. My relationship with Jesus was rocked. I lost my footing... but I have since found a more sure place to put my hope. So many good things have come from those hard losses. I could write a whole blog about that. So many heart wrenching things... but so many good things. One of those things, is that I have been given the opportunity to now use my life's experiences and the things that the Lord has taught me through them to walk with others that are walking through similar things. (and sometimes, very different things that involve similar feelings) Hopeful Hearts has given me a place to serve. A place to reach out to others in the way that I longed to be reached out to years ago. A place to make the lives of my lost little ones take on meaning that might otherwise get lost in our culture that is quick to try to sweep pain and grief under the rug. It is a place where I can use my story of Jesus rescuing me from my pain... from myself... to tell others that He can do the same thing for them. A few months ago, at a monthly support meeting, all 4 of us leaders were coincidentally able to say that we are now able to say that we are thankful for the story that we have been given. By God's grace, we were all able to say that we would not change it for anything... and mean it. That took several years for us to be able to say, but for all 4 of us, it is now true. I would have never imagined that it could be so...
The reason I tell a snippet of my story on a blog about someone else's is to give perspective to why I would serve in a place where visiting someone in the hospital during a time of the worst loss of their life could be something that I know that I am called to do. I want to do. I am beyond humbled and honored to do.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4
So, back to the story of the sweet babies...
Their mommy is a part of what I call "the sorority that no one wants to be a part of but most everyone that joins is thankful for". Hopeful Hearts. For months, I have hoped with her and prayed for her to become pregnant. Finally, she was... and she was not only pregnant, she was pregnant with twins. There is so much to the story of the Adamses that could be told, but I will jump into the middle of it on the night of February 2. After many weeks in the hospital, at 23 weeks gestation, the twin baby boys were born. Baby Titus who had literally moved into a position to block the birth canal and keep his brother safe only lived for a few minutes after he was born. His brother Asher is currently 3 weeks old and is still fighting for his life in the NICU.
When I got the call that the babies were born, I knew I had to go. I wasn't sure if the family would want me there or what I would be walking into, but there is just something that happens when you know that it is scarier not do the right thing than to do the thing that feels scary. I was compelled. I was certain. I had to go... if even to sit in the hall and pray. As I had done once before, I grabbed my camera as I walked out the door. I didn't know if they would want me to take photos, but I have walked with enough other women after loss to know that the photos of their babies are some of their most valuable possessions when the dust settles. Even if they are unsure if they want them at the time.
As my friend Allison and I walked into the room where family & friends were gathered, and where Titus was brought to be held and loved on, it was peaceful. For hours on end there was prayer and love and tears and peace. Jesus was welcomed there, and He was near. Music played in the background the entire time... not a shuffle of songs, but one song repeated over and over. It will forever be called "Titus's Song" in my mind, but it is really a Matt Redman song called "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)". If you don't know it, you should look it up!
That night I learned more about surrender from Asher & Titus's parents than I ever knew. I saw, once again, that while death is not what we would ever wish for... for a Christian, it is not terrifying. It can be a gentle release from this life as we step into eternity with our Lord. I saw faith in action that night, and my faith was strengthened.
Seeing life literally slip away, I was reminded that we are not here for long. I was reminded of the intensity and intentionality that I should live my life with. I walked away with the resolve to love my children well. To serve others well. To live each moment to the fullest. To share the hope that I have.
I was encouraged to see that praying "Thy Will Be Done" can be lived out without fear. I saw, first hand, peace that comes with surrender.
In his little life, Titus reached me. And I am only one of the thousands that he had a similar effect on. His tiny life served a huge purpose. His days were numbered, and he accomplished all that he was to do with them... which is very big things. Things that I know will be realized for years and years to come.
Thank you, Robyn & Bryan, for sharing him with so many. Thank you for sharing him with me. Thank you for allowing the Lord to work through your lives in a way that has been so very painful and yet full of so much hope.
As little Asher comes to your mind, please keep him and his parents in your prayers. He has a long road ahead of him. It will be difficult.
It has been a month since I have blogged. A month and 2 days, actually. And I don't feel even a little bit bad about that. With my other blog, I would get behind, feel so bad about that, then do one of two things - kill myself to catch up on recording all the events of our family's life, or I would feel bad about it, write a post to explain my lack of bloggitity, or simply just throw in the towel.
This is a no guilt blog, so I won't be doing any of that here.