Today’s post is in honor of October 15th National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and dedicated to my friends who have babies in Heaven. You are each heroes to me for getting up in the morning, facing your grief and walking forward with the grace of Jesus shining through you.
Sometimes in this thing called life, we are thrown into the pain and suffering of this broken world with a front row seat. Perhaps the closest we will get to the heart of pain is the loss of a child.
As parents, love is birthed in us at the moment of conception. We begin to dream for, pray over, and protect fiercely this little baby that we cannot even see with our eyes, but whom we love with our very souls. Our perfect picture is a healthy baby that grows into an amazing adult who will surely bury us before we bury them. Anything short of that goal is almost too much for our frail hearts to handle.
Last week our dear friends, Daniel and Lisa, lost their baby unexpectedly late term in their pregnancy. It is in that moment when you feel the earth’s horrifying gravity a little too heavily and yearn for the sweet respite of Heaven. Words are too inadequate and we know that only Jesus can truly provide a soothing balm of peace in the darkness of grief. It is simply breath stealing.
Daniel and Lisa’s oldest daughter and our oldest daughter, Delaney, have become fast friends in the last several months. As a pastor’s kid, Delaney has been on the forefront of grief many times. She has been with us for too many devastating visits and has held the hand of several friend’s facing the harsh reality of loss. Perhaps that is why Delaney latched on to Emily’s grief quickly and carried it with her as her own. She delivered a gift to her friend, stood by her in small group, and cried over the sadness in her heart.
A few days later at Delaney’s cross country meet I watched my girl run in the distance and enjoyed seeing her long stride push past her own pain. She was running with literally everything in her body and I could tell she was focused on doing well. Delaney is not naturally competitive, but this day she was running with a new determination.
When we got in the car I told her that I was proud of her for trying so hard. I was stunned when her answer came from the back seat, “I was running for Emily. I just thought of her the whole time and did my best for her. When I was struggling, I thought, ‘Just keep running.’ And so I did.”
I wasn’t expecting that at all and the beauty of realizing that she was still carrying that grief on behalf of her friend caused hot tears to roll down my cheeks.
God’s own wisdom often comes from the most innocent of moments, doesn’t it?
I sat quietly in the front seat contemplating what Jesus was speaking to my heart. It had been such a long and difficult week and His sweet presence in the car was a welcome lift to my weary soul.
“Stacy, do you hear those words? When you feel pain, JUST KEEP RUNNING. When you want to stop, JUST KEEP RUNNING. When you don’t know what to do, JUST KEEP RUNNING.”
And that’s true for all of us, isn’t it?
Daniel and Lisa…JUST KEEP RUNNING.
Greg and Kristina…JUST KEEP RUNNING.
YOU…JUST KEEP RUNNING.
And the really beautiful piece of being a part of God’s family…You are not out there on the course alone. When you think that the grief might overtake you and the pain is too much, just remember that there are many people who aren’t just running with you…they are running FOR you. And they are fighting for you, praying for you, and pulling for you.
You aren’t alone. Just keep running.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.