I stared over my mother’s shoulder as our newly bundled gift of grace lay silent and secure in his fleece green swaddle. Head covered in thick, black, baby-soft hair with cheeks pink and vibrant. Unintentional hues of spring greens filled the room seemingly applauding this life that was added surprisingly to us in our ending years. I looked over at my dearest friend whose eyes sparkled their own green amplified by moist joy tears. Every question that gnawed my thoughts of how I could raise a child now, were met with, “Somehow. Some way. By God’s grace and His strength…somehow” and peace would quiet the anxious soul. I watched him breathe steady and bent over my mother’s lap to kiss her new grandson. Tears of hot joy ran down my wrinkles.
Then, as I sat up in bed and stretched out my arthritis, I looked down and stared deeply at the eyes I just beheld in my dream. I inhaled the empty air that had been filled with baby freshness and could still feel tiny fingers wrapped around my heart. Dreams can sometimes feel so real to me, that it takes hours to shake their impact. But this one…
I grabbed my coffee, my devotional, and sat on the edge of the couch, where my Bible waited to speak to me. My heart hurt as images from my dream refused to disappear. I looked down at the opened page and read Isaiah 37:3 “This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them.”
“Ouch Lord!” my heart began to pray. “Lord, you know Mother’s day is hard. Help me from dropping into self-pity. I hurt alot from that uninvited dream.” I continued in prayer and tried to focus on everyone else’s needs and hurts and pains that I could think of.
I flipped on my cell phone and there on Twitter was a picture of a nursing mother. OUCH! I clicked on Facebook and a friend posted a story about a miraculous child birth after the mother tried to abort her baby. “Lord! Are you trying to torture me?!”
“Never!” interrupted the unmistakable voice of my God. “I Am never the One Who tortures a broken heart. I tend it. Heal it. Comfort it.”
I am very well aware that the enemy loves to infect our pain and hurts with lies about the Lord. The infection, if not stopped, can bleed into our beliefs about His character, His love and goodness and taints our pain with every wrong hue. He was certainly insidious, incessant, and intrusive about it this morning. Knowing the six children I have miscarried (and tend to remember more clearly on Mother’s Day), He kept whispering to my thoughts, “Six Shannon. Ask the Lord ‘Why did You make them, to take them?”
I turned my Bible to a Psalm I put to memory for this very type of battle.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits”
Forget not ALL of His benefits…and the writer lists that He has forgiven every single one of my sins. I sat before the Lord and glanced backwards over my years of rebellion against Him, then remembered hordes of things done as a Christian that grieved His heart and quenched His Spirit. On I read through this incredible Psalm and it re-centered my heart on truth and filled it with gratitude. The bleeding ache in my heart felt like a dull throb as the Lord’s mercy applied a healing salve of grace beneath a bandage of His comfort.
A little while later, somewhere between noticing the dust ensconced on window blinds and yelling for the dog to stop rolling in the mud, the Lord reminded me of a vision He’d given me a few years ago from John 11.
Mary and Martha’s brother died and they believed if the Lord had been present with them, death never would’ve come. I’ve had this wrong expectation of the Lord in many areas of my life. But His words from verse 40 echoed to me this morning,
Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
In all of life’s losses, waste places, wildernesses, and soul pains, the Lord has promised me…you…that if we believe, we will be able to see the GLORY that He will bring out of it. For every tomb, there is a resurrection; for every loss, there is a gain; for every pile of ashes, there is a beauty that only God Himself can bring. “He makes everything beautiful in His time” Ecclesiastes 3:11. EVERYTHING!
And where my treasure is, there my heart is also (Matt 6:21). Heaven is filled with my heart’s treasure of parents, siblings, friends, children, and my Jesus. The One Who will wipe all of the tears off every cheek. My cheek. This hope is much more impacting than a dream…
If you’re the one that has empty arms that longs for the weight of a child to press into them, or if the child you once held is now gone from your life, the Lord wants you to hear the words He spoke to His daughter in the past, “If you will just believe in Me, in due time, you will see the glory of the Lord. I have promised to work all of these things for your good and My glory.”
If you are the child that hurts for a mother’s embrace; one which is now only a memory or is a dream that’s never known reality, remember that your Father never withholds any good thing from you (Ps. 34:10, 84:11) and watch what a prodigal son does in Luke 15:20 (NLT) “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” You don’t have to be a prodigal to feel this Parent’s embrace. Somehow. Someway. By His grace and power…as you run to the Father, He runs faster and His love will envelop you like a swaddling blanket of compassion. You’re His child.