I have been trying to think about what to write. Love is such an ambiguous and defining concept at the same time. It kind of reminds me of how one's heart can be full and broken at the same time.
How it can rain even when the sun shines.
How hope lives even when it seems like there's no reason for it to do so.
I had no idea of how I'd be able to express what love means to me.
The other night as I was trying to fall asleep (and it was hard because my Little Billy Goat was grunting away and I wondered if he was about to get up or not!), it hit me...I knew what I wanted to write about.
I wanted to write about what love has meant to me in the last year, two months, one week and 3 and a half hours.
When one's child dies...or any great loss occurs, I guess...I think it's natural to question God. Goodness knows I sure did. And honestly, still do. I don't necessarily question "Why?" because I have come to realize that there is just no answer that will satisfy me on this earth. I question more along the lines of "How?"
How am I supposed to go on without a piece of my heart? How do I celebrate everything I have to celebrate while I mourn all that I have lost? How am I supposed to sit in the pediatrician's office, hear "Matthew" called, and not tear up? How am I supposed to function like the world expects me to? Now that Luke is here, it seems as if I'm expected to stop being Matthew's mom because I am Luke's mom. How do I keep the game face going?
These are the questions I ask God on a regular basis.
He answers in Love. One of the foundations of Sunday School is that God is Love, right?
Let me be frank. When Matthew died, God did not feel like love. In fact, God did not feel like love for a long time. I've always said it's time that gives perspective, not necessarily healing. Time allows one to see where God works and how He's worked when one can't actually see it in the moment.
And there is no doubt that every second of my life, I have been in the heart of God's love. As the nurses were begging Matthew's little heart to beat, I was loved. Doctors and nurses and techs were holding my hand...praying with me and for me...covering me and our family with scripture. When Matthew died, as John and I cried together on the phones, there was love. Mom and my neighbor Connie and my sweet nurse Jade held me and Matthew was ushered into Heaven with his daddy on earth gently and achingly letting him go.
A dear and sweet Texas friend cried to me about how she just wanted to "Love us like Jesus" did...I hadn't even heard that song, and I remember her telling me, "Oh, Lori...it's for you...I just want you to know so many people just want to love you like Jesus." Several months later, after having the strength to listen to the words, I know that our family most certainly has been loved with a love that mirrors the unselfish and unconditional love that God is.
From a church full of people I don't even know gathered to share their condolences at the loss of my son...to people randomly visiting Matthew's grave and sending me emails and messages from all over the world to let me know how much 'our story' has touched them, we have felt love. Every weekly phone call to let me cry and work things out...every 28th with flowers delivered remembering my boy...every card and gift and amazingly thoughtful package that has been sent for Matthew and for Luke...every person who has found me on FB or on the blog and has just let me know they pray for us and will continue to do so...every word of encouragement, every understanding hug and hand-holding...
We have known love.
John and I are so often just amazed at the kindness and generosity of so many...many that would be considered 'strangers' if for no reason other than we've never even 'met,' and yet...treat us like family!
This is love. Every dark minute I screamed at God, "WHERE ARE YOU?" He'd show himself in a perfectly worded email, or phone call or song on the radio or simple little butterfly on my front porch.
His love may not have been blatant--as blatant as perhaps we desperately look for when we are hurting--but so, so, so abundant nonetheless.
His love has been gracious and generous in the work of His people...those who have loved us and cared for us and continue to shower us with thoughts and prayers on a regular basis.
And has meant the world to us.
I doubt this is going to even come close to what I wanted to express when I started writing this. Mainly because as usual, I cried as I wrote it and so in the name of guarding my heart, I sometimes withdraw. In any event, for my sweet little Luke--whose life is such a blessing and has already been so blessed by so many--love means the world to me...it means we will see our Matthew again and no matter what happens to us on this earth, we are not alone.
To celebrate LOVE, I am doing a giveaway! I have never done one before, so honestly, not sure of what the parameters should be, but I'll just ask that you post a comment. Anything you want to say is fine...but if you'd like to share something special, I'd be honored to read it too. I'll keep the giveaway open until Sunday evening...and hope you like Thirty One! I have had FOUR friends tell me in the last week and a half that they've become consultants and I don't blame them because the products are SO amazing!!! I figured since it was so cold and gloomy for most of the country, something warm and anticipatory of the beach and summer weather would be appropriate!!! This is the link to my sweet friend Shannon, who is donating Beach Utility Tote with the flip flop name tag...and can be embroidered if you like. Cute, cute, cute...and so needed, I think, to push us toward the warmth in the middle of this winter!!! My thanks to Shannon and happy entering!