Wednesday would have been her birthday. Today marks the anniversary of her death.
I will not likely forget hearing the news that Sunday morning. The moment is seared into my memory. Several of us were piled in a small room sleeping on the floor. The hospital staff had graciously offered the space, and it was an improvement on the uncomfortable, unforgiving chairs and sofa in the waiting room. It was a tight squeeze, but I appreciated having people whom I loved dearly within arm’s reach. The door cracked open and the light from the hallway cut through the darkness. It was so bright. It seemed intrusive. Cold. I squeezed my eyes shut very tightly thinking that whoever had just opened the door might go away. Perhaps they had the wrong room. But, they did not.
I do not remember who came to the door; nor do I remember which of my sweet friends coaxed me to answer. But, the instant I stepped out into the cold, bright hallway I was fully aware. A nurse was waiting for me and she suggested that I get scrubbed up and go back into the NICU to see Haley. So, I did. You would have never known by looking at this beautiful baby that hidden inside was a malformed heart. She was born 4 days earlier and had undergone heart surgery 2 days after that. During the second trimester of my pregnancy, she had been diagnosed with hypo-plastic left heart syndrome. I knew the situation was critical, but I was still believing that everything would be fine. In my mind, she simply was not going to die. That could not happen to me. Not again. It couldn’t. I told myself that God would not allow me to lose another baby. No. Way.
Yet, it happened. She died. A short time after I saw her that morning, a doctor gave me the news.
When Tyler died 15 months earlier from SIDS, I was confused and completely broken. Now, I was in a full-on crisis of my faith. There were so many unanswered questions. I began to doubt everything. The overwhelming doubts led to fear and anxiety. I felt as if I were standing on a rug, and any minute God was going to pull it out from under me. How could a loving, compassionate God not want to intervene? What did I do wrong? Has believing in God all these years done me any good at all? I was angry. So very angry.
I really was trying to see God, but my perspective had become terribly skewed. In my damaged (and very wrong) perspective, I served a God who was distant; He was a dictator and could not possibly be concerned with my heart or my pain. My God had abandoned me when I needed him most–not once, but twice. I never doubted the fact that he was God; but, I questioned His character and doubted His integrity. (Have you ever been in that spot?)
Now? After all this time?
Here’s what I know: God is so unbelievably good. (I’ll save the story of how I got there for another time.)
I am so overwhelmed and in awe of Him and His unfailing love. I am so grateful that I can look back and see Him at work. He is masterfully weaving all the strands of my life together into something beautiful and good. It may not be beautiful to people who walk past me in the grocery store or drive past me in the carpool line, but it is beautiful to Him. To me. I am so thankful that He uses all things — every moment, every tragedy, every tear, every failure, every success. It’s true, nothing is wasted. All things work for good and for His purpose, because I love Him and He loves me. That’s His promise. I am so thankful that I belong to Him.
Take heart, sweet friends. Be patient in suffering. Be full of hope. He sees you. He loves You. He holds you in the palm of His very strong hand.