The warm, perpetual sunlight streams through an open window, lighting the room with radiant splendor that only the One could create. It washes over every infant, telling them instinctively that it’s time to greet the new day. There’s a soft, gentle breeze that brushes the white, diaphanous curtains aside as it makes its way in to touch every cherub-like cheek…a kiss good morning from their Father. The Celestials are gliding throughout; His children tasked with caring for the little ones. They effortlessly move about the room, unwrapping the heavenly bundles of joy, bidding them to arise. Meredith, particularly, delights in his assignment. He gets to tend to his great-granddaughter until the rest of her family gets there. Moving to her cradle, he loosens her snuggy and smiles as the sight of her moves him to tears…
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need.”
She sttttrrrreeeeeeetttchhheeeesssssss and yawns…a looooonnnng, sleepy yawn…as she emerges from her cocoon-like blanket. She flashes that one-dimpled smile and those baby blues at Meredith, bringing a huge grin to his ageless face. He scoops her up and holds her close to him as he walks over to the window. As he carries her, he closes his eyes and breathes in deeply the smell of fresh, Spring Magnolias. The scent of a baby…
“He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.”
Meredith gently places Mia in her bouncy on the windowsill. She giggles as she looks out through the window to her family. Mom is washing her face at the sink while dad irons her clothes for her. They, too, are starting their day. She knows that they are saddened that she’s gone before them, and this knowledge brings a tiny tear to her eye. Though she’s completely and utterly happy where she is, and she wouldn’t give ANY of it up to go to them, she still can’t wait for the day when they’ll be together again.
“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.”
Meredith leans in and tenderly wipes the tear from her eye. “Soon, Baby Butterfly.” He whispers with quiet reverence in her ear. “Very soon.”
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.”
How do I accurately convey the pain and the grief to you? How do I share our strength and our weakness to you, allowing you to see into our nightmare while showing you that it’s not one without hope? The answer is simple…God’s grace and mercy.
I don’t know if the story above is accurate. You hear stories of what Heaven is like for babies…children…adults. You envision all sorts of scenery and angels. I’ve had my grandfather taking care of Mia on my mind for the last few days. It’s an image that brings a bittersweet smile to my face and a tear to my eye. Not only do I miss Mia, but I also miss him. He was the one that taught me to write. He was the one that taught me anything I know about the arts and literature. He was, and is, my muse.
In my mind, our loved ones that precede us take care of those that we lose before their time. Maybe it’s just a coping mechanism. Maybe it’s just the dream of a grieving father. Or maybe it’s something more than that. Maybe, just maybe, it’s God’s way of helping me and my family to find some peace.
The Psalm that I’ve been quoting is one of the most famous and widely recited Psalms in the bible. Psalm 23:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
And I’m so very glad He led me to it today. Through all this time that I have been mourning Mia’s loss, I have never once read this scripture. As I look at it now, it has everything I need. In it, He promises to guide me and lead me to my peace and green meadows. He assures me that He will not leave me to go through this alone. And He tells me that if I follow Him, the Great Shepherd, I will have eternity to be with Him in His house. I will have eternity to be with Mia again.
If you’re going through the unbearable pain of losing a loved one, especially a child, pay particular attention to verse four. Even if it’s not a death that you’re experiencing, even if it’s some other type of pain or trial, this verse is for you. This is what it says about the Valley…
“Death casts a frightening shadow over us because we are entirely helpless in its presence. We can struggle with other enemies- pain, suffering, disease, injury- but strength and courage cannot overcome death. It has the final word. Only one person can walk with us through death’s dark valley and bring us safely to the other side- the God of life, our shepherd who offers us eternal comfort.”
Lena and I have been having a very hard time lately. I’ve found that I’m running out of gas. I haven’t been able to lift her spirits like I was early on because my spirits need lifting themselves. Please continue to pray for us and our family. Specifically, please pray for us to find that peace that only He can give. Pray that He brings us through the valley soon.
May He bless you and your families abundantly.
Here’s a new one from MercyMe that really hits home. My hurt is colliding with my Healer even now…