Saturday, April 30, 2011

Clues Through Siblings

I wonder often, what would Jairus be like today if he were alive?

Hazen 4 months old
In the womb, he moved similarly to Emma. He was always doing somersaults and flips. I used to tell Mark he was so joyful. Would he be calm and smiley, like Emma was at this age?

When he was born he looked just like his brother Hazen, except for the shock of black hair Jairus had. Would he be passionate and giggly maybe even colicky like Hazen was at this age?
Would he always want to face out and be a part of the action or snuggled into the Moby wrap as I went through the day? Would his favorite place be the exersaucer or the floor or the laps of his siblings? What does his smile look like? What's his laugh sound like in the ears? Would he be his Daddy's boy from day one or prefer his Mommy for this small window of his life before inevitably growing "too big" for that?

Emma 4 months old

These are the kind of things I wonder.
Things I miss experiencing with my little guy.
Things I'll never know in this life.

I do know a few things...

In the presence of the Lord, there is joy untold. Jairus is always filled with the joy of being with the Lord. All God's creatures there sing a new song. Jairus gets to sing, and dance in heaven. Christ went ahead and prepared a place for him. He is right where he is supposed to be, right where he was created to be. He is loved and cared for. He is a coheir with Christ. And he is happy.

And that'll get me through today.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

4 Months Old

It's April 28th. 
Which means 4 months ago today our precious little boy was born to us. 
He was already in the arms of Jesus. 
And my heart still aches. 

I miss him all day every day.
But you might not be able to tell.
I smile more and laugh more. 
And my heart still aches.

We're making memories everyday
But he's not a part of them.
First smiles and giggles and falls have never come
And my heart still aches.

It may be true, he's better off there
and I know in my head that it is...
He with his loving Creator, his time here was fulfilled.
And my heart still aches. 

We love you baby boy. 
We miss you everyday. 
You will not return to us, but we will go to you.
And then the heart won't ache.


Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm looking for Polar Bear

For a light hearted break from the heaviness of the joyful Holiday we just experienced...

I'd like to introduce you to Polar Bear
Emma's shot of her Polar

He came to us one sunny afternoon in San Diego while Mommy and Daddy were riding a roller coaster at Sea World. When we returned to the stroller and grandmother holding our baby daughter, we were amazed that a teddy bear could "just fall into the stroller" like that...suspicions towards Oma arose...
4 months old with her new friend

Making sure he's not an imposter
It was love at first sight for Emma and her Polar Bear has never left her side. When she started speaking she called him "Podis" which was too cute for words. She later corrected herself and us, thus renaming him "Polar"

Instead of a pacifier Emma sucked on Polar's tail....strange enough on its own but add a mouth with baby food remnants and its just plain nasty. To this day, after Polar gets washed or is found after he's been missing, Emma absent-mindedly rubs his tail on her face. I recently asked her why she does that, she said she's "checking just because" so who knows.
As Emma grew, along came Hazen. But Polar was always right there with the two of them. A beloved friend of all. Emma is sometimes willing to share her "Covey" as she calls all stuffed animals. And whenever she is, Hazen makes sure to get some good time in with Polar. He's like a superstar.

Hazen (4 months old) gets some Polar love.

To prevent a slip up, we had two polar bears for awhile. We'd rotate them so one was in the wash and one was in her arms. We were pretty sneaky about it, and it was months before Emma caught on. But then the reason for the second bear came to fruition as one night we came home from the park....with no polar bear. We looked for days, but to no avail. He was gone. 
After Polar went swimming at a campground
Polar's been with on every trip we've ever taken as a family. Accompanied us to various weddings, holidays, birthday parties and countless trips to the grocery store. He often goes missing, or "hides" as the kids say. I often find him in the back of a kitchen cupboard under a pan holder (I'm told he's "taking a nap" and I should leave him alone) or in a backpack Hazen is playing with and Emma is screaming about, or a shoe box in the closet. Hazen loves Polar too, and always helps Emma look when she can't remember where Polar is hiding. He's really a member of the family. Like a pet that's always trying to run away...
Now I try to keep a very tight eye on Polar, he only comes along on certain family outings, limited to places where other people know who he is. Namely our church, where when Polar goes missing, the wonderful people of Hope will send out a search party to help us find him. If you see me wandering around looking bewildered, its a 50-50 shot I'm looking for either a child or for Polar Bear. Both usually turn up. 

Oh Polar I love you too, and one day you will sit on a shelf instead of under Emma's arm, so we're going to enjoy our time with you, little teddy bear. Because you remind us of the love and joy of childhood :)

The Road to God

Here's some words that bare the soul: 

Jesus is the only way to God.

It is a truth of the Scripture and of daily life. But people don't like it. It seems exclusive and prideful, right? Here's the thing - every single world view is, whether right or wrong. If you believe in a religion that says you have to work hard to please God, than you believe those who don't agree with you are damned. If you believe in achieving a higher sense of being, than you are condemning those who believe in God, putting your own sense of self above theirs. If you believe "all paths lead to God" than you are saying that those who believe there is only one path to God are wrong, thereby discounting your own argument that everyone's way is the right way. 

It's been more of an intellectual understanding for me in much of my life. But now I see it in a new way...

When Mark and I held Jairus in our arms on December 28th, he was lifeless. And we knew without a doubt (as you do for your living children, but with more punctuated reality when they are no  longer living) that we would have done anything to save our son's life. We would not have given him up for any price. We would have never let him die if there was anyway around it. No parent would send their child to die. They would step in and save them, even die in their place. A parent would spare them death.

So when I think of God the Father and God the Son, I observe this: Think of how much I love my children, and they are not perfect. They make me crazy sometimes, but I love them with my whole being. And I am not a perfect parent, not by a long shot. I lose my temper, I ignore them, I struggle to understand their needs. But I would do anything for them. 
God is a perfect Father in every way. He doesn't fall short, doesn't lose His temper, doesn't forget. And His Son is perfect in every way. There is no conflict between them, no separation or frustration non rebellion. No strain in the interaction at all. Just perfect love and community and relationship.  

If you could be "good enough" to get to Heaven, if you could reach enlightenment on your own  power, if you could believe in many different gods and get to the True God, then God the Father would never have allowed His Son, to die. He would never have sent Jesus to earth knowing full well the pain and agony it would be for him to die on the cross and pay for our sin. 

A father would never give up his child if there were any way to save him. And God is a more perfect Father than we can even conceive. He sent His Son to the world, because there is no other way to be reconciled to Him. Jesus had to come to earth. There was no other way for God to get His children back. If there were any other way, He would have spared His Son. A parent would do anything to spare their child's life. 

The Father loves the Son. And He loves you as His child as well. And that is why Jesus was willing to come and to die. Because God sees you as His beautiful, wonderful child. And you are worth dying for. He gladly suffered and died so that you don't have to. Because He is also your Father. 

Little Jairus died, there was nothing we could do about it. God knew beforehand what His son would go through, He did not have to send Jesus to earth. So we know that it was not an easy choice for the Lord. It was painful. And He had to keep His eyes on the prize, to remember that it would all be worth it. Because He desires to be with you. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Grave Is Conquered

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’  Then they remembered his words.
Luke 24:1-8 (emphasis added)

Friday was the dark day of reckoning. Christ took my sin upon Himself and willingly suffered my penalty for my betrayal. 
Saturday was the day of silence, when hope seemed lost and Jesus friends ached for His presence.
But now, it's Sunday. 

The tomb is empty! 

Jesus paid the penalty for sin and conquered all His enemies, even death. So that He has true victory over all evil in this world. He is the conqueror. And not even death can hold Him down. Only Christ has the final say over the grave. And His word has been given, death shall not have the victory.

Jesus is alive!

The promise first whispered in the garden of Eden has been fulfilled. God has come and rescued us. He has beaten His enemy, Satan, and the power of sin has been destroyed. 

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
  “Where, O death, is your victory?
   Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The glory of that morning is unknown. Oh but it must have been amazing! Jesus arose early on the 3rd day, with no one but His Father and the Spirit present. What a celebration they must have enjoyed together! What extreme and utter joy! What a beautiful morning! He had done it, He had done battle, and He had won. 

Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Day God Was Silent

Imagine you were one of Jesus' early followers...

Jesus died on Friday afternoon. They took His body down from the cross, sobbing as they did so. They put His body in a tomb. What had just happened? Wasn't Jesus the Messiah, the One who was going to bring freedom and harmony to the world? Wasn't He going to save them? How could He be dead? Were they fools to have followed Him the past three years? Would they be next to die?

Saturday is the day Jesus lay dead in the tomb. The disciples did not know the future, they lived through the pain of Friday and the silence of Saturday. The fear must have been unbearable, the confusion and the pain. Maybe anger. I imagine they cried out to God with all of their being. And yet there was no answer.

If you've gone through a time of true and deep suffering in your life, you know how the disciples must have felt. You think you're within the will of God, following the plan He has for your life. And then in an instant, its all gone. And what do you do now?! You feel hopeless, angry, sad. There is physical pain as well as emotional. It's agony. And it doesn't seem to make any sense. And God is silent. Or so it seems.

We have to blessed understanding now of what it really meant for Christ to go to the cross and die. We know what Sunday will bring. But Jesus' first followers, did not. All they knew was that Jesus was dead. It seemed there were no answers to their questions, no response to their prayers.

Sometimes you live in the suffering of Friday, sometimes in the silence of Saturday.

But Sunday's coming.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Where is the "Good" in Good Friday?

It's the darkest day of the year. To call this day "good" seems ultimately inappropriate at the surface. It is a day to remember the torture, beating, mocking and hanging of the only truly innocent man in history. 

The suffering of Jesus was intense. Severely brutal and excruciatingly painful. Let's not get to comfortable with what it meant to "be hung on a cross and die." Let us not be so familiar with the story that we go numb to its painful reality. To be whipped with pieces of glass and stone, to carry rough wood on a bleeding back, to have long thick thorns shoved into your scalp, to be stripped and spit on and punched. To be mocked and screamed at. To walk toward death, without objection. To willingly choose to suffer. And to die. 

No one would do that. 
Why did He?

For love. 

There is a deep chasm dividing a Holy, Perfect, Just God from people who are filled with selfish ambition, greed and hate. He cannot be OK with sin (things that fall short of perfection) and still be just. But the deep love God has for His children never ever changes, no matter how deeply they hurt Him or how far they run from Him. So to get His children back, God the Son offered to take the penalty the children deserved. He was perfect, yet willing to take the penalty for the sin we are guilty of. It is a love like no other. 

Maybe you're in a place of pain in your life. Where suffering is ever present and you wonder what the good in any of it could be, what God could possibly be doing to allow this pain in your life. Good Friday is the day Christ suffered greatly (though there was MUCH suffering through out His entire earthly life, being rejected by His family, harassed by the religious leadership, having attempts on His life, the sorrow of experiencing death and more). His was agony of not only the physical pain of torture, but the emotional pain of being abandoned and betrayed by his friends, being laughed at in His pain by the very people He was in the process of offering Himself as the forgiving sacrifice for. Even as He hung on the cross, Jesus asked the Father to forgive the individuals who were crucifying Him. Suffering is not something that God is removed from, that He cannot understand and relate to. He knows the pain you are in, and He joins you, suffers for you, weeps with you. And there was spiritual pain as God the Father poured out His hate for sin onto His beloved and innocent boy, and then turned His face away when He could bear the sight no more. Jesus knows your pain. He knows even greater pain than any of us ever have or ever will. You're never alone in your pain, the whispers that you are, are lies.  

When we were in the hospital with our son, my husband Mark remarked soberly upon seeing the frail, lifeless body of baby Jairus, "Now I have a sense of what God the Father felt as He watched the lifeless body of His Son taken down off the cross." It was agonizing for us to see our son so still and limp, how much more so for God the Father to see His Son.

As we remember today that Jesus went to the cross, let us not forget that His love is not shallow or without reckoning. The love of God for you is so deep that He counted it worth suffering and dying so he could be with you. It amazes me continuously that he loved Jairus enough to go through all that suffering, knowing full well the length of our little guys earthly life was short. His gift is humbling and awesome. The Lord loves each of His children, no matter how few their days or long their years. His intense love is proven in His intense suffering. He took the punishment sin requires. He had to get you back.

He did it for you. 
Will you accept it?

For love. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter's On It's Way, So What?!

The Church calendar calls this week "Holy Week" It's Passover on the Jewish Calendar. The week long celebration of God delivering the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. Thursday will be the big Passover feast, the last meal Jesus ate with his friends. It will mark the anniversary of Jesus being betrayed by one of His closest friends and going to the cross to die. 

This I'm taking some time to focus on what "Holy Week" means for those of us who trust in Jesus, particularly Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 
Friday will be a hard day of remembering the penalty that Jesus paid for our sin. It was not a free and easy gift to give us, it cost Him everything. It is called "Good Friday" because of the good work Christ accomplished, but the goodness is not something to be taken lightly. It is the day of sacrifice and suffering. 
Saturday will be a quiet day, the day God was silent, the day Jesus lay dead in the tomb. The day His followers questioned and feared and wept. And were unanswered in their prayers. 
Sunday is the celebration of the single greatest event in the history of the world. When death is conquered and hope is finally realized. Sin is not only paid for but loses its power of control. Our relationship with God is finally restored. It is the fulfillment of all the hope of Christmas. For on Easter Sunday, Jesus came back to life!!

It'll be a time of remembering, being sober-minded about ourselves, and waiting. And then a time for celebrating and rejoicing!! It's the highlight of the year, the basis and foundation of our faith. The cross, burial and rising to life of Jesus is the good news of Christianity. It's the life giving truth that sets it apart from "religiosity." It is purpose for each day and hope for the future. 
Easter is the fulfillment and the Hope for all of us who love Jesus. 

In the midst of remembering what God has done, there is sorrow and confusion for Mark and I. Easter will be our first major holiday since Jairus died. I'm nervous for all the holidays we'll face without him now, knowing that we should all be together but are not. Thinking of how he would be a part of the fun Emma and Hazen will have. So I'll be sharing how that is all going too. We're trying to figure out how to celebrate and include him in our festivities. 

It's going to be a hard weekend for us, but we know there is true reason to rejoice this Easter. Our son is in heaven as  result of Jesus rising from the dead, and that is worth great celebration!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Community, A Home, A Church

I wanted to take some time to brag on our home church for a bit...

7 years ago I moved from small-town-America to "The Cities" and started attending Hope Community Church in Minneapolis. A year later Mark married me and joined me in the metro. Hope went from being our church, to our home. Whenever people bring up to us the possibility of relocating within the country, we can say with great confidence that the Twin Cities is our home, it's where our Church Family is, and those roots grow deep. 
It is a truly rare finding to be in a church community that is (1) Christ centered (2) Bible focused & (3) in tune with the reality of people's lives, "warts and all". 
Ours is a young congregation, the average age of those who attend Hope is around 24 years old. Hope was started originally on the campus of the University of Minnesota as an outreach to students. It's grown from the original 14 founders to over 1000 people on a Sunday not because of the great worship music (which it has), nor because of the great preaching (which it also has) but because it is a place that continues to seek Jesus with earnestness and honesty. It is a place to wrestle with questions and to be real with others, with yourself, and with God. Hope just wants to be a place where we show off how great God is. And He is great. In every sense of the word. 
When Jairus died, we were a little unsure how the church community would respond. Because we are such a young church, there is not (as one of our pastors says) the group of "little old ladies who have walked through loss before many times and so know immediately how to step in and help when tragedy strikes." But there was no time to worry about that, as the response was immediate and comfortingly overwhelming. Before we even knew what had happened, there were wheels in motion to help us in anyway possible. We've been surrounded by amazing friends at our church from the first moments of letting go of little Jairus. I don't know where we would be without the support we've received. It is a true testament to the power of community. 
Here are some of the many, many ways we've been blessed by our church family. I can't mention names as there are too many, and some I do not even know. The outflow of love has been wonderful and continues to be so. You, Hopesters, are our son's church family. Thank you for letting him be a part of Hope's story. You have served your Lord well. You have loved us well. And it shows off Christ to us and to those around us. 

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who has:
prayed for us
prayed with us
organized care groups for us
cooked us food
bought us groceries
run errands for us
sent us emails, cards, and facebook notes
looked forward to our baby with us
shared meals with us
cleaned our house
participated in our son's funeral
attended our son's funeral
helped make a photo album of Jairus for us
laughed with us
cried with us
shared memories they have and hopes they had for Jairus
told us ways in which our little one is missed
given us books
given gift cards
done childcare
played with Emma and Hazen
shoveled our driveway
called (even and especially if we never returned your calls)
hugged us
asked us how we're doing and meant it
sent me to the spa for a day of relaxation
taken photos for us
held our hands
adored our boy and told us how beautiful he is
and for all the ministering to us that hasn't been mentioned here. Thank you. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Song of Shared Sorrow

Music reaches into the depth of our souls sometimes. Be it for joy or sorrow, memory or loss, healing or hurting. The ministry of music touches every life in some way, great or small. This has been incredibly true for us.
It's so confusing to look around at the suffering present in the world. We live in a broken place where we see and experience suffering, or maybe we choose to turn away and ignore the pain of others rather than doing the work of wrestling with how a just God allows such things. Innumerable people are hopeless,hungry, homeless, broken, hateful, empty. God knows the hurt, even more deeply than any of us, as He is intimately present with each and every life He has created. And He doesn't rejoice in death, rather He weeps at the suffering of His children. Don't forget that. You are not alone, nor misunderstood.

18 Bullet Holes 

18 bullet holes in the body of a priest 
They say he was eating a hot dog when the ammunition was released. 
They say he was always fat and lazy but he was an awfully nice guy. 
That's just one more death to show you you never know when you're gonna die. 
You might be facing the beast 

Sometimes, God, I feel like I'm living in a bone grinding mill 
And every time I hear the sound I can barely stand still 
It's a thing I can't quite make out sometimes but it seems to keep getting louder- 
One more body from the valley of the dry bones getting ground up into powder 
Against Your holy will 

Oh, God, it hurts so bad to love anybody down here 
Why don't You come and help me out? 
Cause I can't even see clear 

The funny thing about the way a girl gets destroyed 
About the way that deal goes down 
Is that everybody pretty much sees it coming at the sister 
From all the way across town 
And she isn't always blinded, she isn't always far astray 
She just might not be thinking, she might be having a bad day 
But when you choose, you choose, and when you drown, you drown 

Last night I dreamed that You swallowed me into Yourself 

And I was floating on the sea inside 
When I landed on the shore, I saw all these people that I thought had died 
I hadn't seen some of them for ages 
They had left without a single word 
And when I said something to them, not a single one of them had heard 

They were all looking right through everything like it wasn't even there
Some were full of anger, some full of fear 
And then I recognized that something very sad 
But very beautiful was happening right here 
They were all caught outside standing alone in a very heavy rain 
And when a raindrop landed on my tongue 
I didn't need You to explain 
That these were Your tears 

Oh, God, it hurts so bad to love anybody down here 
Oh, that's right, You know so well 
One thorny crown, three nails, and a spear 
One thorny crown, three nails, and a spear 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Big Brother Hazen

I've shared a few stories of Emma's experiences with processing Jairus's death. But not much about how our 2 1/2 year old, Hazen, is doing. Here's the lowdown on our second born...

First of all, Hazen is 2 1/2 years old, and so his understanding of what is going on with his family is much more limited to the day to day happenings. For a two year old, even the idea of "having a baby" is kind of foggy. Hazen knew there was a baby in Mommy's tummy because we told him so. But all he could see was that Mommy's tummy got bigger and bigger and Mommy carried him less and less. We brought the kids to an ultra sound and upon seeing the images on the screen, Hazen asked when we were going to watch 'Cars.' So, its a little abstract to say that he fully understood what was meant by "having a baby." 

Hazen's reactions to the loss of his brother have been minimal. He doesn't really know what he's lost. Which is a blessing for him I think, as it just breaks my heart to think of what a huge difference it would have been for Hazen and Jairus to grow up together, brothers, best friends. But Hazen doesn't know that he should miss that hoped for future so he's fine with it.

During most of our 35 weeks of pregnancy, Hazen would pray every meal and every night for the baby, saying something like "thank God for baby in Mommy's tummy." Then one day Mommy came home and her big tummy was gone. And everyone was sad. But Hazen kept on praying, "thank God for baby in Mommy's tummy." It became a sort of ritual for a number of weeks. Hazen would pray. We would thank him but remind him that the baby came out of my tummy, but baby Jairus died and went to live with Jesus in Heaven. Hazen would nod, and the next day repeat his learned prayer. Eventually Emma became the voice of correction, "No Hazen, there's no baby in Mommy's tummy. He's in Heaven, remember?" Hazen would nod. And so the cycle repeated itself over and over. They always say toddlers learn through repetition. Explaining death is no exception to this rule. 

He is learning compassion...sometimes. Upon entering a room and seeing someone in tears, Hazen now walks up to them, offers up a big hug and takes your face in his hands. "It's ok, It's ok." He softly murmurs over and over, patting you on the cheek and whimpering along with you.  But simultaneously he's a fiery two year old and so if he has had enough of the melancholy atmosphere he'll just start yelling and having a good old fashioned temper tantrum. It depends largely on how much sleep he's had.

Which brings us to the fact that Hazen is not sleeping through the night anymore. The last 3 nights we've been able to sleep until 5 or so in the morning before he wakes up, but for the last few months, he's developed a new routine of climbing out of his bed (we had to take the side off the crib because he climbed out so often we feared he's fall in the middle of the night) and walking down the hall to our room. He wakes us up and says "hi." We tell him, "Go back to bed and go to sleep," and Hazen replies, "ok." and practically skips back to his bed. You might think its cute, but its not cute when it happens 9-11 times per night. When he first started doing it, we tried to be understanding. After all, sleep disturbances is one of the most common expressions of grief that develops in children less than 3 years old when there is a death in the family. And one morning, 3 months ago, Hazen did wake up and we were gone, and then we came home without the baby. So we figured he had good reason to make sure we were still at home in the middle of the night. But now we're just exhausted and ready for him to get more sleep so we can get more sleep. 

The difficult balance with him being 2 1/2 is we never know for sure what is a reaction to the change in our family and what is just normal toddler behavior. Because for Mark and I, everything right now is a reflection of Jairus's death, we sometimes attribute Hazen's behavior to this sense of change in our family that he doesn't understand and is trying to get a grip on. But its not necessarily the case with Hazen. As with his big sister Emma, he just accepts the fact that our baby doesn't live with us, and that's the way it is. So its hard to know how to react and when to react. I prefer to fall on the overly sensitive to his needs side, but my own fatigue and frustration often get in the way of my capacity for patience and understanding. We know that Hazen can tell we are different. And that he is not thrilled about this change. But as far as how much he understands or how he feels about it, we're largely in the dark. Because he can't articulate it and probably doesn't understand it enough to tell us anyway. So we pray for him. And hug him. And wrestle with him. And tell him that he makes us happy. And that we love him. I guess that's all any of us can do. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring's Arrival

Spring has finally come to frozen Minnesota. We're ignoring the weather report of rain/snow mix later this week and trying to enjoy the sunshine. Emma and Hazen are having a blast riding their bikes in the driveway, having campfires in the back yard and going to the park whenever we need to run off some energy. Its good to be outside. I'm raking leaves (was all that raking last fall of any benefit?! You wouldn't think so with the amount our huge tress continued to shed after snow was on the ground in November.) and preparing the garden for veggies and flowers. 

Spring in the Midwest is when you get to re-meet the neighbors you haven't seen in 6 months due to the hibernation mode we all go into. A couple of ours have stopped by to offer hugs, cookies and condolences as they heard what happened to our expected bundle of joy during the long winter months. This spring was supposed to mean introducing Jairus to the neighborhood, wearing him in the Moby wrap and gardening with him on the bouncy seat in the shade. Instead we're trying to make the yard look nicer than we feel, enjoying the kids but feeling that there is an empty space where their brother should be, we're ordering a headstone and planning picnics in a cemetery. 

When I was cleaning up toys during nap time today, I looked over and saw this...

I've been watching the 2 kids use the 3 bikes for a couple weeks, they are both just between 2 of them, size and coordination wise. But today when I saw the 3 little bikes lined up on the driveway, it really broke my heart all over again. All the would be memories of the 3 of them riding in the driveway, coloring with chalk, going on adventures in the woods across the street, playing in the's never going to be our reality. The dream has ended and in its stead is the hurting and the inevitable asking of answerless questions.

I love watching Emma and Hazen enjoy the spring weather. And I am so glad it's finally here. But my heart is still stuck on a cold night in December.

We miss you little guy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What the Eyes Will See

When a baby is "born sleeping" one of the heart pains is you never see their eyes. Its one of the big questions when  you have a baby, right? What color eyes will they end up with? Who do they look like and which features are from where. It has bothered me greatly that I've never seen Jairus's eyes. I have often dreamed I am holding him and he scrunches his face the way babies do just before awakening. But I always wake up before his little eyes gaze into mine. 

Now, I have my assumptions. Jairus's hair is dark brown, almost black. And based on that I can figure that he probably has dark brown eyes like my sister, or maybe brown and green hazel colored eyes like Emma. But I'll never know for sure. 

This morning at preschool Emma got to bring in the "blessing bag." It's a yellow bag filled with books and a journal that each child takes a turn bringing home and filling out. They read the books and talk about blessings with their Mom/Dad/Grandparents and then fill out a page in the journal about what blessings are in their life. The child then brings the completed work back to preschool with them and gets to share about their blessings during "group time." Emma dictated her blessings to me and I wrote them down, then she drew a picture. Her list included things like: family, TV and movies, polar bear, cousins, friends, God takes care of us, her tricycle, etc.. 

When it was time to choose something from home to bring into the class to show and tell about her blessings, she told me she wanted to bring in her polar bear and a picture. "A picture of what Emma?" "Of my brother Jairus, the one where he is sleeping." She then ran up to the nursery and chose one of the photos we have in a frame sitting in there and brought it down to put it in her back-pack. I'd told her about a month ago she could bring in a picture to show her teachers Jairus if she wanted to, but she hadn't really mentioned it since then and I wanted to leave it up to her. I was a bit surprised, needless to say. But so proud of her.
When I dropped Emma off I told her teachers that she had brought a photo but wasn't sure if she would show it or not (I wanted to give them a heads up) and then I left my little girl at school and took Hazen to run errands. Upon picking her up a couple hours later, Emma's teacher, Ms. Kelly,  told me Emma talked a lot to the whole class (which is very unusual for her, she usually doesn't speak much at school, just keeps to herself. Go Emma!) and showed everyone the picture she had brought in of Jairus. Ms. Kelly said Emma told everyone her baby lives in Heaven, and that "he never opened his eyes here. So the first thing he saw when he opened his eyes, was God."

That really blew me away. I am pretty sure we'd talked to Emma about Jairus getting to see Jesus in Heaven, but not for a while. And it's definitely not something she's been talking about lately. It reminded me a lot of something I read lately in the book "Heaven is for Real." In which a little boy (Colton) who had a visit to heaven when he was 4 years old after his appendix burst was at a nursing home with his Dad, visiting a man who was dying... 
Colton reached up and grabbed [his] hand...Colton peered earnestly up into [his] 
face and said, "It's going to be okay. The first person you're going to see is Jesus."

And Emma's right. Once again her child like faith is humbling and comforting to me. God is the prize of Heaven. His glory is the light of Heaven. There He has perfect relationship with His children, the way it was always supposed to be here on earth (and will be again one day). I may not know what color Jairus' eyes are, I don't know their sparkle or how they change when he smiles. But I do know that Jairus is in the presence of the Lord. I know that his eyes get the gaze upon the beauty of the One who loved him infinitely. Jairus sees God. And that is a very beautiful thought to behold. And, I'm certain, an even more beautiful sight to see. 

This is what Emma calls Jairus' "sleeping picture"
I think she's right, he looks all snuggled in for a rest :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

And So Will Always Be With The Lord

Passed on from darkness and into the light
Gone now from sadness and dreams held so tight

Inherited sin yet Grace is enough
Joyous for you though these days are tough

When God called you home you were glad to obey
"I will go Lord!" was all you could say

No longer in waiting, all hopes are fulfilled
There is joy everlasting as the Father has willed

Gone now my baby, but only for now
Beyond understanding, the why and the how

One day this will all seem eternity past
When we find ourselves in the home that will last

On the wings of an eagle, away you have soared
And so will always be with the Lord