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Come and find solace as you get to know us who share in this journey of grief. We have been praying for you and extend our deepest and sincere sympathy. We “hope” you experience comfort and peace in this safe haven of love and support.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

12 Candles (Part 2 of 4)

There is a second observation I had about those 12 candles, lit in honor of our children upon that cake, adorned with Matthew 19:14.

Those 12 Candles...

Burned silently, as the noise from the rest of the world surrounded us.

As we sat in our private room, I could hear the background noise in the restaurant just beyond the stone fireplace wall that separated us from the rest of the world. I heard many things as we sat silently in that room...sports being played and broadcast on big screen televisions, people enjoying time with family and friends, couples on a first date, and healthy children laughing. The all went about their lives as we sat in collective remembrance of a part of our lives that was missing.

It is undoubtedly tempting to get caught up in this as we travel this grief journey. For me, the most difficult holiday in the three years since Chloe's death was the New Year following her death ~ January of 2007. I was absolutely not expecting to feel the hurt that I did on New Years! I had made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas just fine...what was the deal with New Years?! I bring this up because I came to realize that my reaction to this holiday is the very thing I described above. A new year was dawning, time was moving on, people were going about their daily lives. To them, Chloe was the past. To me, Chloe was my present hurt, heartache, and longing. I remember so well those feelings, as if everyone had just forgotten about her except me. Those were lonely days, but I praise God that He never left my side.

In 2 Timothy 4:16-18, Paul is writing to Timothy about his ministry in preaching the gospel and says this:

"At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed..."

Now Paul wrote this while imprisoned and had been persecuted beyond belief for the cause of Christ. While the context is different, Paul's words in his letter resonate with that loneliness I felt as the rest of the world moved on, and expected me to do the same. But the Lord was by my side and gave me strength. Not only that...He has used Chloe's life as a conduit for the gospel to be shared.

So, to sit in a room nearly three years later, illuminated by twelve shining candles that represented the precious lives of children who are far from forgotten, accompanied by their parents who have come to be dear friends, I was truly blessed. Blessed to call them friends, and blessed to be a part of remembering each one of these unforgotten babies whose lives matter. While the rest of the world moved on around us, almost as if in fast forward, we sat in pause quietly amidst the glow of the candlelight, to acknowledge our children with anticipation and an even sweeter longing for heaven.

While it is easy to get wrapped up in the here and now, the hurt and the grief, we must fix our eyes on Christ! Because of God's mercy, our children reside with Him in His dwelling place. A great book I recommend is John MacArthur's Safe in the Arms of God, which discusses the eternal state of all babies, based on Scripture. Life on this earth is nothing compared to eternity in heaven. A passage that has brought me much comfort is found in the Psalms. Psalm 84, verses 1 and 10 read...

"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty...Better is one day in your courts, than thousands elsewhere."

Part 3 of this series of posts on the 12 Candles will delve further into this very topic ~ our children's heavenly home.

Will you be joining them?

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