Remember those fancy old phones? They were antique looking, if they weren’t actually antique, often with gold or bronze finishing, and they were extremely heavy. Keep that image tucked away, as I back-story a bit.
Before Grace was born, I took a job as a nanny. I went into that position knowing the family from the day care center they attended, and I worked at. When I first began this job, there were two little girls, but a little boy was on his way.
I remember being so excited about the opportunity, because I’ve always loved working with kids. They ask very few questions (well at least not the dig-deep kind), and they don’t judge, they just love, and that’s pretty much all I want to do too. Plus, the added bonus was, I was going to be married soon, and I knew I wanted to be pregnant right away, and being a nanny gave me the chance to bring my baby to work. It was a perfect fit.
I couldn’t have predicted, on my first day of working there, that those three kids would become such a part of my heart. I loved them (and still do) as if they were my very own, and when Grace was born, her early years were spent with two older sisters and an older brother. I still thank God often that He blessed me with this specific family. The parents allowed me to help raise their three beautiful children, all of which I still brag about and love and consider my “first babies.” I’m extremely proud of the adults they have become and I like to think I helped a little in the process.
So the phone, still hanging onto to that image, right?
It was a favorite toy of Grace’s when we were at work. She and Nick would play with it and answer calls to each other on it, until one day it fell from the desk onto Grace’s little 2-year-old toe. She had a high tolerance for pain, so when she didn’t stop screaming, I packed everyone up and headed to the doctor’s office. It was just a short 20 minute drive, but by the time I got there, her big toe nail was completely black. I held tight to Grace while they cut under the nail to release the blood that was building up. She cried, I cried, and for the first time, I truly wanted to take someone’s pain and bear it myself.
Watching her suffer, scream in fear and agony, gave me a more intimate understanding of what unselfish love looked like. And true to my nature, I looked into how I felt, and dissected it, because that’s what I do. I remember walking out of that clinic and feeling a new connection to my Heavenly Father. I realize how vastly different the pain of her toe was compared to the pain of the cross, but I was able to grasp a little better what it must have felt like to watch your only child suffer, and how badly God the Father must’ve wanted to just ease the pain.
And then 2016 came upon us, and within 25 days of that new year, I again, felt an immediate new connection to my Heavenly Father, but now, it was because I was face to face with the death of my child, a pain that only few have ever felt.
Last Easter was difficult for so many reasons. It was the first Easter we didn’t make up baskets. Evelyn wasn’t feeling it, and I wasn’t about to push through on something I really didn’t want to do either. It was a holiday, and if you’ve lost anyone close to you, you understand that holidays are no longer filled with the joy they once were. And it was the first time that I could relate to God the Father, on a very personal level.
He gave His Son for us…gave. Let that sink in. I lost my girl, but I would never have given her up for anyone. His love for us was so great, so vast, and so unconditional, that He endured the death of His only Son, so that we would be able to experience a right relationship with Him. Not one that was based on what we did or could do for Him, but based simply on the covering or atonement of the blood of Jesus.
I’ve been asked by many people how I make sense of this past year, and I can honestly tell you, I don’t. None of it makes sense. I feel like we did all the right things. We prayed for safety, all the time. We dedicated that little life over to the Lord when she was just a baby. We had plans for her future, we had hopes and dreams. We trained her to love her family, which she did. We trained her to love God with her whole heart, which she did. If there was a handbook on how to raise up a good kid, I think we followed it pretty well, but with all that, this is where our lives are at.
Does that scare anyone? It scares me still. It reminds me that so many things are outside of my control. That the protection that we pray over are children, should be focused more on the protection of their souls, rather than the protection of their physical bodies. It reminds me that nothing earthly is promised to me. Not prosperity, not happiness, not health and certainly not safety from any bad thing ever happening.
Although, it also reminds me that I worship and praise my God, not for what He can do for me, but because of who He is. If nothing else “good” ever happens in my life, God is still good, regardless of any situation I might find myself in. If everything I hold dear is stripped away from me tomorrow, God is still good. If I find myself broken and depressed, again, God is still good. He does not change and neither does the amount to which He loves us. When we are lost in battle, whether in our minds, our emotions, or our souls, He watches, He knows and He loves.
Praise Him this weekend, tell Him how much you love Him in the way you love others. Give Him the glory that He deserves, not because your circumstances are perfect, but because He is God, and He is worthy of whatever we can offer back to Him.
Easter morning service will come around in just a few days. I will, hopefully, have the opportunity to worship with two of my three “first babies” and countless others that I know and love, but no matter who is standing on your right or left, keep your eyes focused on the One who never changes. Keep your eyes focused on the One who gave up His life so that you could have a life that never ends, keep your eyes focused on the Lord, His eyes are always focused on you.