18 Years Later

It has been eighteen years. So much time has passed and so many things have happened. But, this day, eighteen years ago, was one of the most difficult days of my life. Hands down.

I still remember where I was standing when a woman on the other end of the phone told me that I needed to get to the hospital because my son was there. Despite my repeatedly asking her to tell me why, she made it clear that she would not be answering any of my questions. Someone drove me to the hospital. A feeling of dread settled on me and it was like nothing I had ever felt before. I arrived and walked into the room to which I had been directed. It was full of family and friends. “Where’s Tyler?” I asked. “He didn’t make it.” was the reply. Dread turned to full-fledge panic.

As the reality of the moment began to sink in, it seemed as if someone had knocked all the breath out of me.My world crumbled. In an instant. My heart had been crushed in to a million pieces. As I walked into the emergency room and saw my almost 8-month old son lying lifeless the pain pierced my already aching heart. It was pure anguish. I wept. I begged God to fix it as I held him tightly. Walking away from that hospital without my baby was more difficult than I can begin to explain. I do not know how I put one foot in front of the other. Pure anguish.

I would love to tell you that I responded by believing and doing all the right things in my grief. But, I didn’t. Not really. I wanted to die. I was angry. I was confused. I wrote in a journal almost one year later, “I really don’t think it’s fair that God separated us. I really try hard to understand. I continue asking why? People keep saying God has a purpose, but no one has been able to explain it to me yet. So, needless to say I am finding that hard to believe.”

Fast-forward 18 years.

There was purpose in my pain.

I knew all about God. But I didn’t know him. Now, I do. Intimately. Deeply. He is sovereign. Loving. Full of compassion. Unfailing. Unchanging. Faithful. And he knows me.

I didn’t really believe God. My perspective was skewed. Now, I know that God is who He says He is. Proper perspective of God (knowing who He is) enables proper perspective of everything else.

I didn’t really understand the depth of God’s love for me. I was just like all the other church kids. I grew up hearing a story, believing it, but not really getting it. For God so loved the world . . . He gave his son. Having lost a son of my own, I cannot imagine what would compel anyone to willingly give their son, their only son, to die. That was the depth of God’s love. Wow. Now, I know. He loves us so.

I am so unspeakably grateful for his unfathomable grace and unfailing love. Really.
I am so thankful that I can remember the anguish because it reminds me of God’s lavish love.

Yes. That’s right. God used one of the most difficult days of my life (even years later) to remind me of His great love. Even as I write through my tears, I am overwhelmed by his sweet love and remarkable grace. And that’s how he does it — that’s how he turns tears of mourning into sweet joy and gives beauty for ashes. He heals and restores and redeems. I love Him so.

Be encouraged today. He loves you, too.