Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Saying Goodbye - A Mother's Testimony

     There is so much about this type of grief that can’t be shared, but my heart longs to write . . . has always needed to write, during the emotional moments of my life.  What I CAN tell you is that the labor was long, and difficult, and tearful.  I can tell you that my husband was wonderful, and went through every step of this tragic journey with me.  I can tell you that people were praying for our family on every corner of the globe, and that we felt God’s Presence, His grace, and His strength, in a way we had never known before.  And on Friday morning, December 16th, 2016, Our Little Boy, Joshua David Kelley was delivered.  He was very small – his face not quite as fully developed as we had imagined – but his tiny legs, and knees, and feet, his arms and his hands, were precious.  Mommy kissed his feet several times before she told him “goodbye” . . . I kiss our Charlotte’s, now, and think about those sad kisses, every time.  How VERY grateful we were to God that we had our sweet girlies to come home to! Whenever they give us a hug or rub our backs, it heals us.  Whenever they smile, or giggle a contagious giggle, it heals us.  Whenever they ask a child’s question about the loss of our baby, or about heaven, it heals our hearts to answer them. 
     A Methodist church group in the area, evidently donates blankets to the hospital for sad deliveries such as ours, and we received a purple one.  It is a soft blanket, that, for now, still smells like the hospital.  The familiar smell and sounds of that floor made me weep when we first walked up to the registration desk, but now the smell of the hospital on that blanket brings me comfort.  I’ve been sleeping with it, lately . . . maybe to somehow help the Mommy heart that would have been snuggling a newborn . . . And we have the most precious wind chimes hanging in the kitchen – “Forever In Our Hearts” wind chimes that friends in college sent to us, after they learned of our sad news.  Joshua never made a sound, but those wind chimes do, and it, too, heals Mommy’s heart.
     On Sunday, I tried to rest the remainder of the day, but my heart craved the blessing of sitting in church and hearing the Christmas hymns being sung.  I was so thankful to be there with our family, even for just the morning service.  The girls wore their Christmas dresses – Jacqueline’s was a special sparkly present from Grammy & Grampa – and Charlotte got to ride in her new front-facing car seat for the first time. She must have felt like she was on the rocket ship from the “Little Einstein” shows, because she automatically began saying “pat-pat-pat-pat” for the take-off. J Even amid our grief, we smile and we laugh.  Only God can do that, Dear Friends!  I pray that none of you ever have to go through such a horribly dark tragedy as we walked through, this past week, but if you do, GOD IS THERE!  And you have no idea how beautiful those valleys can be, when He is by your side! 
     This past Wednesday night, I stayed at home and rested, in anticipation of labor the following day.  I’ll never forget how in the quiet peacefulness of those hours alone, I was able to listen to instrumental music and stitch a little blanket outfit to put on our baby.  The photo of it makes my heart smile.  It was what he was wearing when we said our sweet goodbyes.  Only God can make such moments beautiful.  From the delivery and the precious farewells, to all our memory-making for Little Joshua, to our hugs and family moments with our girls, and even anticipating a special Christmas – How we thank and praise the Lord for such unforgettable days!  He is our Rock and our Fortress, and He is good! Please always know that, Friends! We have been walking through the “valley of the shadow of death”, and God is here!  My husband and I are going through that valley together, and are becoming more in love with each other than ever before.  There is no anger in our grief – Our God is trustworthy! And how He sweetly sends His comfort our way! People from church have brought us meals and washed our dishes; have even offered to help us wrap our Christmas presents . . . I will never, ever forget this December . . . And that is why I desired so to write to you all, and to share . . .
     Psalm 145:2 declares, “Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.” Every day . . . not just the good ones . . . Even on the day your body refuses over and over again to accept the sorrowful fact that you are being forced to go into labor . . . Even on the day you hold a very tiny, lifeless body in your hands, and have to say “farewell” . . . Even on the day you come home from the hospital with no little newborn to cradle and kiss . . . EVERY day . . . Psalm 55:17 “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”  No matter when the tears come, God is there.  He loves me so much that he even keeps every tear in a bottle (Psalm 56:8).  “ . . . yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”  (Psalm 57:1) He is the “God of all comfort” (II Corinthians 1:3).  Do you know my Sweet Savior?  Have you trusted Him to save your soul?  Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  He stretched out His arms, when He died on the cross for your sins and mine, and His arms are still open for you to run to, today.  Romans 10:9 promises us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
     This peace that we know in our trial and our tragedy?  That isn’t something you can find in a medication, or in a counseling book, or even in the sweet reassurance of a friend.  Our peace comes from GOD, and YOU can know His peace, as well! His salvation “full and free” is available to ANYONE who calls upon Him in sweet, childlike faith.  I pray that if you know Him not, that you will trust in Jesus Christ, today! 
     Do you know why this Christmas Season can still be bright in our sorrow? Because I have not “lost” our Baby Boy . . . This Mommy knows exactly where to find him. J We shall see you again, Little One – because Heaven is our home. 

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