Thursday, November 12, 2009

In A Second

Recently I traveled to California to visit my sister who has a new baby. One of the nights I was there took us to a local coffee shop where her husband and his band were performing. As they got set up my sister went over to talk to the bass player. She asked him about his wife. With sadness in his eyes, he said she wasn't coming to the show. You see, a year and a half ago that same man walked into his 3 year old girl's room before work to kiss her goodbye for the day and found her lying in her bed all ashen and gray. She had had a seizure overnight and passed away in her sleep. Her mother's screams could be heard by the neighbors. She hasn't been able to live life ever since. And as we sat and listened to her husband and the band play another woman walked in to give my sister a hug. It was a woman I'd recognized from a picture I'd had up on my own blog for a while. Her son was by her side, but her husband wasn't. He suddenly passed away last Christmas after a dirt bike accident.
Leaving the coffee shop that night my heart was heavy for these women who had lost so much. So as I checked my facebook account when we got home, my heart broke a little more. A friend of mine was mourning with a friend of hers who had lost her husband just as suddenly...last week. They agonized over how to tell his 4 year old daughter that he was not coming home. And then my mind wandered to Abby, a contestant this season on The Biggest Loser. Her husband took her 3 year old daughter and 2 week old son out for a drive and they were hit head-on by a man driving over 100mph. Her entire family was killed instantly. And as she stood on that big scale with all of America watching she said she battles every day to lose weight and be healthy because it would be easier for her to just die than live without her family.
Just a few days earlier I had read in Parents Magazine a story of a mother who lost her 1 year old daughter to a rare intestinal deformity that had only just been diagnosed. She sat in the hospital room with her child's body and would not let the nurse take her daughter away to the morgue. She had been in charge of watching over this baby girl since before birth. What pain and torment it must be to let someone walk off with your baby and know that in this life you will never, ever lay eyes, hands, hugs or kisses on them again.

It is a fact of life that everything can change in a split second. One second everything is perfect, the next your world is blown apart and your life is in disarray. I am amazed at how many of these stories and experiences I was confronted with in the span of a week. It makes my mother's heart want to grab onto my babies and never ever ever let them go. It makes me sad. It makes me fearful. And I know I need to throw it all at the feet of the one who has the whole world in his hands, as the song goes. Because, as I'm sure you know, not one of those people had any control over what happened to them or their family members. They could not have changed one thing. It was out of their hands.

I don't know why things like that happen. I don't know why one person loses a child and another does not. I don't know why God takes some people sooner than others or why we must go on living without them. I don't know. And so I pray.

Lord, the kind of pain I have heard about this week seems like it would be unbearable. I feel as though I would crumble under it. I don't know if I could walk through that fire. But so many people around me are. First of all, Lord, I pray for them. For those people who no longer have to wonder if they could handle such a blow, because they have already received it. I pray for those who have lost children, spouses, entire families. Let Isaiah 43:2 be true in their life. As they walk through this tremendous fire, let them not be burned, for your presence is protecting them. Father, be their conforter, their friend, their shoulder to cry on and their reason for continuing to live. And, in ways that I cannot even imagine, please carry them through the grief and healing process. Let them see glimpses of hope every day and be assured of your presence by their side.
And Lord, I pray for my children and the children of all those reading this. Let your protection cover them. Keep them safe and preserve their lives. Steer them around dangerous situations and strengthen their bodies from the ailments of this world. But if they do get injured or sick, I pray you would bring doctors and nurses into their lives that can work your miracles. And if you choose not to, I pray that you would endow us all with courage and faith to get us through the hardest of hard times. Surround us with friends that, in joy or in pain, will help sustain us, encourage us and walk with us. And we pray that the words of the prophet Isaiah will ring true in our lives in any and every situation:

"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze."

I pray with all my heart that our children's lives would be long and full. But, Lord, if it not your will for them to be long, I pray that they would be full just the same. Fill their lives with love and laughter and hope and grace and pour these things forth from them.

But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:1,2

Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

"For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29: 11-13


  1. Wow. Powerful stuff. I'm totally bawling! That's a "good morning" for you! Jk. SUCH a great reminder. I just pulled my baby boy onto my lap and hugged and kissed him tight.

    Lord, it is so easy to be overcome by fear when we take in the world around us, and realize how fragile the lives of our sweet families really are. Give me grace for my kids Lord. Let me live each day knowing they are yours, and I get the privilege of keeping them for as long as you give me. Let me live each day fully loving them. Help me let the little things go fill every day up with love. Help me to savor each day I have with them.

  2. Thank you for this, Heidi. I'm looking forward to chatting a bit tomorrow! Love you.