{ Written Friday September 23}

Today was a tough day.

For the two complete strangers who's faces are now forever etched in my head,
who's lifeless baby I held in my arms, today was just plain drenched in the pain that is a parents worst nightmare.

Today was a tough day.

 And it happens every day to hundreds of thousands of mothers and fathers around the world. Parents watch in sheer hellish anguish and their babies die right before their eyes. Some in hospitals, some in homes, some in remote jungle villages, some in tragic accidents, all of them too soon. All of them so many experiences short of what we as parents hope and pray and dream for our children. A parents greatest joy turns to the greatest nightmare in a second and nothing will ever be the same again.

Today, for hundreds of thousands, was a tough day and it will continue to be a real and painful struggle for as long as they breath this side of heaven I imagine. Actually, I can't imagine and I won't even begin to think I can.

I had spent the morning feeling like I was getting a lot accomplished. I had edited a chunk before the sick little one even made it of bed and I had written an awesome blog about Haiti... Then the call... Could I come to the hospital to take photos of a baby who was critically ill and possibly not going to make it through the day? Heart drops and immediately forms a watermelon sized lump in my gut. Tears stung, I have done this before. All the  awful came back, but yes I will come.

Babies who are snatched away from their Mommy's snuggles and kisses is by far on my top ten list of most hellish things that can happen on this side of heaven. It just doesn't seem fair at all. Yes, I believe God is sovereign, yes, I believe HIS plan is perfect, but it still hurts like nothing I can even imagine. I have seen Mamma's loose babies, I have watched in anguish and felt my soul bleed out for them and it isn't pretty. It's messy and ugly and it stays....

Two seconds before, I was just thinking of how productive I was being and also wondering what I was going to do with 4 kids and two dogs and a football practice after school got out since the hubs was gone for the weekend. What would we eat tonight, how could I entertain them so I could slam out some edits and be done with photos for a while? Why can't I ever seem to catch a technology break, my computer is slow, the dog is pacing and driving me nuts, worries of friends and loved ones weighing so heavy on my heart.

 And then the call and ashamedly I asked God why... Why me God? What in the world do I have to give these people right now? I am so empty and burdened and bogged down. What could I possibly have to offer them? And if I am really truthful and let my ugly out,  I was afraid of how bad it was gonna hurt me, fearful of the additional pain I was going to have to experience with them. Not sure if I could possibly take bearing the burden of one more person.

 And then I hung my head and simply let the tears hit the floor in shame.
In pain.
In exhaustion.
In righteous anger.
In Godly sorrow.
In relief that I could finally feel something really deeply since being back here from Haiti.

And He ever so effortlessly reminded me in that moment, that I didn't NEED to HAVE anything for them. I just needed to be. To be me, to be there, in the moment with a willing spirit and a whole lot of faith that GOD was going to go with me and fill in all the important places if I would just say yes. And so many things I had been wanting to say about Haiti that I could never put into words flooded out...

Sometimes we just need to be willing to be, to lay out every burden and pain and sorrow and bit of anger and insecurity and doubt and just sit there with our messes at HIS feet.

Today His feet were in the NICU of Greenville Memorial with two brand spankin new parents who were experiencing a hell like none I can ever imagine. I, having just returned from a place I love so much, so burdened after watching sick babies all week long without Mommy's like these that were all around me, peering into their babies through big plastic boxes am a mess. No I am wrecked. I am forever broken and forever changed and I can never go back to who I was before. Reality shifted.

Then, in an instant, another Mamma's worst nightmare broke through my reality of petty little worries like a freight train and my whole heart felt as if it were laying on a puddle around me in the floor... Five days, five days God, it just isn't long enough... Someone else's pain now became part of my own.

Logan Chase lived 5 days on this Earth. I swear to you he was smiling. I have pictures to prove it. Even though his little, tiny, lifeless body was an empty shell of his parents hopes and dreams, I swear his sweet lips were pursed in a smile and I am going to believe it was because the last thing he remembers is being scooped up by the father and into a place where there are no more tears and no more pain and no more plastic boxes to be stuck inside. Logan is free.

If God did anything that day through me it was simply to give them a chance to come together on last time before that sweet baby was carried away and create a memory. They got to honor the life of their baby boy by sharing with a complete stranger how much they loved him. There were smiles even in the sorrow as they sweetly shared things with me about their 5 days together. We laughed and smiled so many times about how cool he was to get to meet Jesus with a Mohowk, bc his hair was the only thing Mamma could touch while he was alive due to all the machines and tubes. She had rubbed it so much that it was standing straight up and it was divine...

Thanks for all who prayed for us on Friday, I prayed with them, huddled over their sweet boy and although I floundered for words of any significance, I know my Father heard them. I know that he honored my seemingly awkward words because my heart was offered up to Him- broken and poured out.

 Please continue lift them all up as they wade through the tidal wave of grief that is coming. Pray that they don't get swallowed up in the quiet times after everyone is gone and the silence comes. Pray that they find people to connect with and Pray that they find strength in the father because today won't be the only tough day....



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