I can hardly believe it has been ten years. Some days it seems an eternity ago, and others, it seems as if it was only yesterday. It was ten years ago that a very difficult pregnancy ended several weeks early, and my second child came into the world.
It was ten years ago, as I lay on the operating table after an emergency C-section, violently shaking with the aftereffects of the anesthesia, that I wondered where my baby was. I groggily asked the anesthesiologist if it was a boy or a girl, but he wasn’t sure. I thought that was odd, but in that post-op state of mind, I figured that maybe he just didn’t know. After a few more minutes, I asked again. This time, he answered slowly, reluctantly, “It’s a boy, but he is having a hard time breathing.”
It was ten years ago that I began praying for my son, begging God to help him breathe, pleading for the life of my son.
It was ten years ago that God answered my prayer, not with the answer I so desperately wanted to hear, but with a sorrowful, “No, Sarah. My grace is sufficient for thee.” As I lay on the table, I knew. My son was not going to live.
It was ten years ago that my husband and I heard the news from the doctor, “Your son has responded to the latest round of treatment, but I’m afraid it is too little, too late. It will only give you enough time to say goodbye.”
It was ten years ago that I held my dying baby in my arms, touching his tiny face, watching him struggle, and still praying, hoping that God would do a miracle.
It was ten years ago that for the first time, I realized the magnitude of God’s love for me. I would not have traded my son’s life for any price, if I had had the choice, but God sent His Son, His only beloved Son, to die for me, to taste death in my place, to pay the price for my sin, and not for mine only, but for the sins of the whole world.
It was ten years ago that my husband and I committed the tiny life that God had given us so briefly back to the Giver. Nathan, our gift, a precious few moments of life committed to our care, left our earthly arms to rest in the eternal arms of Jesus.
It was ten years ago that I entered the valley of the shadow of death. My world came to a total standstill. It was the darkest, bleakest time of my life. The sleepless nights and tearful days became the new “normal.” The huge, painful lump in my throat became bigger, and finally settled in my chest, making conversation difficult, and laughter impossible.
It was ten years ago that I claimed by faith, God’s promise, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Faith was the only way I could claim that promise, because I could not envision or even imagine a morning of joy.
It was ten years ago that I decided I would not give up on God because He had allowed this tragedy in my life. I read my Bible, prayed, attended church, all the while secretly wanting to slap the next person that quoted Romans 8:28 to me. Oh, I knew that God did work out all things for my good, but I really didn’t want a verse flippantly quoted to me by someone whose life had never been shattered into pieces. It sounds scandalous for me to say such a thing, but it is the absolute and candid truth.
It was ten years ago that I began to know and experience, in a whole new way, God’s sustaining grace. The strength that helped me to get out of bed each day, to care for my young son, Josiah. The grace to endure thoughtless comments, when all I wanted to do was lash out in hurt. The grace to see other mothers hold their babies when mine was gone. The grace to reach out to others when my own grief was so great.
It was ten years ago that God began to give me a deeper compassion for people who are hurting. Even now, when I hear of the death of a child, a miscarriage, or stillbirth, my heart breaks for those who have lost that precious child, because I know the terrible, overwhelming grief and loss. I can truly sympathize because I have been there.
Yes, it was ten years ago that Nathan came into my life. My life is forever changed because of the hour that I had with him. The sorrow is still there, but it no longer casts a shadow over everything. I still cry when I think about my son. I still miss him and mourn his loss. I still feel guilty when I say I have four children, rather than five, simply because I cannot talk about it without crying. However, I know I will see him again some day. I will be able to share with him the love that I hold in my heart, and in that day, I will, for the first time, truly understand all that God was doing in my life.
These are a few of the lessons I have learned in the last ten years:
1. God’s grace is always sufficient.
2. Romans 8:28 is still true, even when it doesn’t feel true.
3. Joy will come in the morning. The night of weeping may be long, but eventually, the dawn will come.
4. God loves me. Enough to send His Son to die for me.
5. People really do care, but sometimes they don’t know how to let you know.
6. Life is uncertain. Treasure every moment.
7. God’s plan for your life is good, acceptable, and perfect, even though you may not understand it.
8. Faith will sustain you through any trial.