I always wanted to be a mom. As a little girl I told my mother I would have twelve kids. I started babysitting at the age of 12. I was a nanny by the time I reached high school. I ran church nurseries and children’s Sunday Schools after I got out of law school. The primary reason I was depressed on my 30th birthday was because I hadn’t met anyone with whom I could start a family.
After we got married and found out we might not ever have children, I started removing myself from baby/kid activities. I missed friends baby showers. I avoided zoos and parks on the weekends. I would shop on-line rather than walk into a Babies R Us. I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to process the fact that I wouldn’t become a mom. But I still went to church. Most Sundays I managed. Baptism Sundays were brutal. But December was the worst. I associate Christmas with children. I mean it’s a holiday celebrating the birth of a baby! I remember December 2008 particularly because we were a couple of years into trying, and failing, to get pregnant by that time. The preschool children’s choir came up and sang songs. In those little children’s voices. I sat at the back and cried. I had no idea what my life would look like if I could never celebrate Christmas with a child of ours.
As acute as that pain was, so acute I can still feel it on my heart like a scar these years later, I cannot comprehend the pain of the parents this Christmas season that just lost their children in Connecticut. I truly cannot fathom the depths of the sorrow I would experience walking into my church and seeing those same children sing while knowing mine were gone. The pain of wishing for a child must pale in comparison to knowing your beautiful child and losing him or her. I drove to work this morning in silence trying to process what their Sunday morning looked like yesterday. I couldn’t do it.
I have nothing new to say on this unspeakable tragedy. I have no magic solace to disperse that would work as a fast-acting salve on their ruptured souls. It is unfathomable to me. Unfathomable.
One of my best friends gave birth to her beautiful daughter early. She lived for nine days. I was with her and her husband in the NICU family room when they held her as she passed away. I could not fathom it then. I cannot fathom it now. I sat with her for weeks, months, as she despaired. After two miscarriages, now this. I had no way to hold my hand over her heart and piece it back together. I told her this, and I still believe it, even though the words are so much harder to utter now that I am a parent and the pain is so mind-bogglingly severe – I can’t know what you are going through. I am so sorry, but I do not know your pain. God does. I know it sounds so far off, but God lost His only Son. His Son died a violent and horrific death. God’s heart was broken too. The earth shook and the rocks split as God mourned His loss (Matthew 27). God knows your pain today.
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me….
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations. (Psalm 61:1-4)
Praying today for all those mommies and daddies and families. Praying for sustenance. Praying for the Lord’s utter closeness. Praying for restoration out of the ruins.