I do count weeks. Every Saturday, I think about how my life is so drastically different than I thought it would be. Every Sunday morning, as I get ready for church (or not, considering we seem to have been under THE.MOST.SNOW.EVER these last few weeks), I replay being wheeled down to the car....holding my bags and things in my lap and not being able to fathom how that could possibly be happening to me--leaving the hospital WITHOUT Matthew. I type that and am sickened at the memory.
Ten weeks ago my baby boy was born. Ten weeks ago he died.
I've mentioned that some songs just get stuck in my head, even in my sleep. Some songs I know I'll never sing again. Some songs I'll never be able to listen to without sobbing. Some songs will always be bittersweet but I'll sing. Some songs I'll never listen to again because there's just too much pain in them. But ALL songs stay in my head and I hate that I am not able to control their appearances or their incessant repetition.
So, they come. For the last week, three songs have been making the rounds in my head. In defense of my control of their presence, I have to say that one or all of them seems to be playing in my car nearly every time I use it.
Hold My Heart by Tenth Avenue North is one. More specifically, several lines from this song play constantly:
I'm on my knees, begging You to turn to me
I'm on my knees, Father will you run to me?
One tear in the dropping rain,
One voice in the sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breakin' heart?
One light, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say You are
Won't You come close and hold my heart.
"If You're everything You say You are, won't You come close and hold my heart?"
I cannot emphasize enough how many, many times I have said this to God. How many, many times I have been on my knees...BEGGING and PLEADING these very things. Most poignant to me is the "IF" before "You're everything You say You are..." because as scary as those words are--those questioning and heartfelt words--they are honest. I am always amazed when I look at some of the blogs of women who have also lost their babies because they seem SO SURE and SO UNSHAKEN.
I am so.not.there. I am shaken. I am desperate for God to prove to me He is there. Be it wrong, call it faithless...whatever it is, it is where I am. I always cringe inside when people are so kind and generous to me in telling me how inspiring I am or how strong I am because here's what I am really feeling...I'm challenging God.
Not too inspiring, is it?
The next song taking occupancy in my head on a 24/7 basis is Heaven Is the Face by Steven Curtis Chapman and specifically these words:
And God, I know, it's all of this and so much more,
But God, You know, that this is what I'm longing for
God, you know, I just can't see beyond the door.
But in my mind's eye I can see a place
Where Your glory fills every empty space.
All the cancer is gone,
Every mouth is fed,
And there's no one left in the orphans' bed.
Every lonely heart finds their one true love,
And there's no more goodbye,
And no more not enough,
And there's no more enemy (no more).
"And there's no....more.....enemy."
This line is on SERIOUS replay in my head. Probably one of the more repetitive lines I have encountered in 10 weeks. The other night, for the 4 and a half hours I tossed and turned in my sleep, this line looped in my head. In fact, I actually 'woke up' with a START at 2:47 and almost felt like I could HEAR the words. For the most teeny, tiny brief moment, I felt a sliver of peace.
No more enemy.
I may or may not have mentioned that in our Adult Bible Fellowship class (always Sunday School to me!) we have been going through a series entitled "Tough Questions" and the 10-12 weeks have appropriately been focusing on how God could allow evil and suffering. Each week is a different discussion topic. Topics have been based on questions such as, "Why do innocent people suffer?" and "Why doesn't God change things?" and "Does a loving God send people to hell?"
Seriously. There are mornings when I think there is NO WAY I can sit in on those discussions and there are mornings that I think there is NO WAY that I can't. And though they are HARD, HARD, HARD....we obviously are right where we were meant to be.
I've wondered, though, about one topic: "Is the devil for real?" I admit that I've sort of wondered why the reality of the devil is part of this series because it explores the actuality of a specific, purely evil and purposeful creature--not just the concept of evil, which is what seemed to be the bigger picture.
Some very, very relevant things have come from that discussion though. There IS an enemy. He is not looking to convert you to a hell-raising satanic devil worshipper. He doesn't have to.
He's just looking to steal you from God.
That's all. Take you from God.
And how easy to do so? How much easier does it get to do that than to plant one little seed of doubt. One little question of how God can possibly be real. And the snowballing begins.
Let me tell you this, friends. I have now experienced what I know to be the worst, worst, WORST feeling in the entire world. The scariest, darkest, deepest, most earth-shattering and devastating feeling in the world.
And it wasn't Matthew dying.
It was feeling abandoned by God. It is feeling unloved. It is feeling alone. It is questioning His very existence.
Checkmate for the enemy.
And I AM ANGRY! I am SO ANGRY that he took my son....my beautiful and precious son. I am SO ANGRY that my miracle was TAKEN just to try and take me from God. I am FURIOUS.
Every second of my pregnancy was just inundated with thanks to God. Every second of my being, I gave thanks to God for the amazing life I had. I went NOWHERE without thinking of how blessed I was to have a wonderful husband, a beautiful home, wonderful family and friends...and my miracle, Matthew. And the ENEMY took it. With one fell swoop, he shattered my world, but more....he took away the only security I have ever had--God.
Or, he's trying to.
Which leads to the third song that has been prevalent in my mind--Follow You by Leeland:
And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.
Use my hands, use my feet
To make your kingdom come
Through the corners of the earth
Until your work is done
"I'll follow You."
That's all I can do.
NOTHING makes sense to me. NOTHING. Doesn't even come close. In fact, the only things that 'seem' sensible are awful for me to think about: God "CHOSE" me for this pain. God "CHOSE" to not save Matthew (though the more I think about it, the more I am grateful that my baby son does not suffer). God "CHOSE" to let the devil do this. God "CHOOSES" to remain silent to me.
So, knowing that none of that makes sense, and that I can wallow in that or choose to follow still...I choose to follow.
I don't know how. I don't know what I am to do. I don't know why I am to do it. I don't know much of anything these days.
But I DO know this:
Matthew was a miracle. Plain and simple. I have (and you've seen) pictures of him when he was EIGHT CELLS. EIGHT. They had to be magnified hundreds, maybe thousands of times to even picture them. Those eight cells turned into a wiggly, music-loving, chocolate cake and red-meat craving, dark-curly haired, huge-footed, chubby-cheeked, great sleep-patterned, soft-skinned, almond-eye shaped, dimple-chinned, LONG miracle named John Matthew.
And how else could that be without God?