Monday, February 7, 2011

Now I lay me down to sleep...

This morning I called a man I've never even met! We became friends through that wonderful medium called facebook. James was a faithful listener and 'friended' me after learning that my radio show was ending. (He had been a follower on my facebook fan page which ended when the show did...and, like many others, joined me on my personal page.)

James and my husband are both ministers. His wife, Karen, and I share in the joy of being pastor's wives...but that isn't all we two couples have in common. And that is why I made the phone call. James and Karen were in an accident last Friday. Both were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. James has a broken leg and Karen is suffering from internal injuries. But both of them have suffered a loss with the death of the baby she was carrying...a precious baby boy who had only been growing in her belly for six months. James had posted on facebook, " baby beat me home." My heart broke for them.

When I visited with him on the phone this morning, he shared with me about having to tell his wife about losing their baby. He didn't want the medical personnel to tell her...he wanted to be the one to break the news. Members of their family and friends gathered in Karen's room to be with her because James wasn't in the condition to be there with her himself. Seven floors separated them when he made the phone call to his wife. This was their first child.

Something was done that I'd never heard of before. The medical personnel gave them an opportunity to have a photographer come in and take pictures of this little boy with his parents. The photographer was a volunteer with "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" - an organization that gives a family the lasting memories of professional and tasteful photographs of their child. You can read about them by going to and read testimonies of families who have used their services. There is also a clip you can view from a story done about this group on The Today Show in 2005. I wept as I read notes from families. And then I thanked God for the wonderful people who offered this service to grieving parents. James and Karen will have beautifully captured pictures of their little son, whose name was also his father's.

James and Karen's son will be buried in their family plot next to his paternal grandfather. There will be a place that they can visit, place flowers, and remember the life they loved from the moment they knew he existed. That is such a blessing to my heart, knowing that they have this way of remembering their son...through photographs and the knowledge that his earthly body is guarded safely next to Grandpa's.

Joe and I know that pain of loss...though all but one of our babies never made it past the first trimester. I've miscarried six pregnancies. We lost twins that would have been born in February of 1981. In 1983 when my pregnancy lasted 16 weeks, we felt we were finally going to have a little one to raise! But it was not to be. I had given up, but my husband (who has a faith not unlike Abraham's) believed we would have another child. Because it is a long and special story, I'll save that story for another blog posting. Just know that our God is faithful in His promises and we are the parents of a beautiful 25 year old daughter who looks very much like her daddy!

For a long time, I wondered how in the world God could ever again use me in ministry with the pain I carried in my heart after all those miscarriages. He began to use me once I was able to grieve and give Him my hurt. I have had the privilege to minister to women who have gone through the loss of a baby through miscarriage. I've also been able to pray with and help women following the sad choice to abort a baby they had carried.

Joe and I didn't have a place to leave flowers and remember the lives that once grew inside me as a result of the love God had given us for one another. But there was one thing that helped me with my grief...a simple poem written by Jennifer Maze Brown. I memorized it as soon as I read it! I'm not even sure where it came from...only that it is printed on a page torn from a magazine many, many years ago. I can't even find it anymore. In fact, Jennifer may be Joyce, though I'm not sure. I only know that it helped me so much that I printed it out on beautiful paper and framed it. It hangs in our home as a remembrance for those little children that I know are in Heaven right now. It is one I have shared with many grieving mommies when I felt they needed it most...and one I will share with Karen when the time is right.

Little one, loved without knowing.
Precious one in dreams so fair,
My empty arms long to be holding
My ‘rosebud’ that blooms over there.
If you had come to be with us
I’d have shown you the stars and the sea.
But your eyes see them eternally clear;
One day, you must show them to me.

See why it did so much for me? Pray for Karen...and for James. They will be going home to a nursery that won't be filled just now. Only God can heal their hurt. And He will. He always does.

(always remember: if you have a pulse, you have a make your life count.)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks that meant so much that will help us heal, love, & live on