Born into Life There Instead of Here

05212012prairieconeflower01squareOne of the hardest journeys a parent can take is that of their unborn child’s death. I know this road firsthand. The despair and the grief that sucks the very will to live out of you. The cowering fear that gnaws. The rage and bitterness that burn like gall in the throat. The numbness. The resistance and isolation. The quiet, yet pervasive longing to die, too.

Two years ago, I woke up on Nathan’s seventh Home-going day awash with complete joy and gratitude for his short life, his unwanted death, and his life at Home with Jesus.

I still reside in that place of joy and gratitude today.

But there is a certain kind of grief that doesn’t end.

One can feel the depth of unhindered joy and still know the ache of this grief.

I remember during the week when I did the holy work of carrying our son’s body – of being his living grave – that we prayed for a miracle to occur. We longed for His breath to quicken within the dead body we so loved. When we were scheduled to return to the hospital to start the induction process, we insisted on another ultrasound. Just in case.

But I knew he wasn’t going to come back to us.

IMG_20130528_183858No matter how much we prayed, I knew in the deep places that he had already been born into life There instead of here. I knew that it was just me and the Spirit again in my tabernacle of flesh. There was no Nathan inside of me anymore. Just his tiny, avocado-sized tabernacle waited to be birthed here. A shadow of his truest birth There.

When my holy work was done – when his body came on that late Friday afternoon – I remember feeling so grateful that my work was done. That I had done all that I could for him and now I could rest. I worshiped there in the deep place where only He can hear me. I felt like David who, upon hearing that his son had indeed died, “got up from the ground…washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes, went to the Lord’s house, and worshiped” (2 Samuel 12:20, HCSB).

There was nothing more I could do. I was too stubborn to withhold myself from Him. He had been too good to me for far too long to walk away. So, I gave myself up to Him.

But there is a certain kind of grief that doesn’t end.

No matter how deep the joy runs, no matter how steadfast the peace remains, no matter how content one may be – you always know that death is unspeakably wrong. That it should not be this way. That none of us should know what it is to grieve. That death is a foul beast that never should have come.

We were created to live, and that is why we fight so ardently against death. We know, at the very core of who we are, that we were meant to live forever. We know that if all had gone the way He originally intended, we would still be tromping around Eden with our first father and mother.

And that is precisely why, in His kind mercy, Abba transformed death into something infinitely good through the resurrection of His Son. For the follower of Jesus, death is not a curse; it is a gift. Death is but the gate clanking on its hinges as we run up the path Home. Death is the last good gift He gives us here so that we can be There.

03052015icyheartIt’s terribly hard to believe sometimes. This grief that doesn’t end – this elemental resistance to death that our earthbound selves cling to – it makes it so terribly hard to believe that death is the last good gift He gives us here so that we can be There. But it is. And just because it’s terribly hard to believe doesn’t mean it’s not true. Sometimes the hardest truths to believe are the truest truths.

Can you see it? The grace at the heart of the ache? It’s there.

Because He is There.


One thought on “Born into Life There Instead of Here

  1. Beautiful. Your way with words is so honoring to God and Nathan. Some day you will be There and you will be with Him and with your son. Grief will give way to eternal fellowship and peace. What a joy to hold onto!

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