As losing Isaac gets further behind us, I am finding it a little easier to accept that this is now a very real part of our family story. I still don’t know what God wants to do with it, but I do know that He will redeem it. I also know that God doesn’t waste anything and especially the most deeply painful experiences in life. He always seems to use those the most.
I am excited that my husband and I get to meet up with Jacob and Brittney on Saturday at a cabin to spend the weekend together…just the four of us. It will be so good to hug their necks again! I was talking to Brittney the other day and found myself thankful at how well she is doing. There is no denial of what happened or the pain that she feels along the way, but it seems as though maybe she isn’t hurting quite as deeply or as often. It sneaks up on her, in sometimes inconvenient circumstances, but she is able to handle it well and deal with the emotions later when she is alone. Truthfully, I’m not sure I could do that, but she is different than me and so much stronger in many ways. It blesses me to see God giving her what she needs to walk through this and that when she is at the end of herself, she leans whole-heartedly on Him. Isn’t that the way it should be? Everyday. For all of us? We need Him every moment. Grieving just seems to make that picture so much clearer and it is a blessing to be reminded of that.
I also think that because so many have shared their grief, Jacob and Brittney have not had to bear all of it on their own. I think that’s why God said to “…mourn with those who mourn.” He knew it would make our burdens of grief so much lighter. It makes me want to be sure that I offer to do that for others who are mourning.
Another thing that stands out in my mind is when Jacob told me that God had been faithful to answer he and Britt’s daily prayer for their son: that he would come to know Jesus as his Lord at an early age. It’s not the way any of us would have chosen, but a sure answer indeed.
I wanted to share more God moments with you as we walked through this journey. In my last entry, we were still at the hospital. As we waited to take the next steps in getting Brittney’s labor started, I was told that it could take quite awhile until delivery. My heart was so heavy for Brittney. By now it was evening. I knew if I didn’t get some sleep, I would be no help to relieve those who were going to stay with her through the night as she started labor. I cannot tell you how heavy I felt. I would have to leave our daughter. As a parent, you love and care for your child and then slowly let them go over the teen years, little by little. And then letting go more when they marry. But this was truly a new level of relinquishing. I simply had to trust God with her.
I drove home, crying much of the way. I texted several friends and family to pray for Brittney’s labor. My dear friend that I was staying with offered me tea and toast, a warm hug and a listening ear. She was mostly quiet and just sat with me. That was what I needed and it was all either of us could do. I slept restlessly that night praying off and on, but woke up feeling just as burdened and not sure how I would get through the next hours nor how Brittney would do over that time. But within the hour, I got word from Britt’s doula that she was going into transition and that I should get to the hospital! I can’t tell you what a relief that was! God was intervening, caring for our daughter in ways no one else could. It didn’t matter that I was there. It mattered that God was there.
When I got to the hospital, Brittney was definitely in that place of total concentration as she handled the contractions with such resolve. Her husband, Jacob, was an amazing coach. He was so in tune with Brittney. He was a rock for her. He wouldn’t let himself cry in front of her and spent almost every moment at her side. It was such a blessing to see the two of them working together in one spirit. It is something that only God can create in a marriage. They were two weeks shy of their first anniversary.
At one point, I left the room because I needed to cry. Hard. Watching our daughter go through such intense contractions, knowing that she would not be getting the end result she had worked so hard for was a painful thing to experience. I was overwhelmed with sadness, but also with such a feeling of gratitude that she was able to be so strong through it all. Within a couple of hours she was ready to push. I was told that she would probably push for quite awhile-easily a few hours. But guess what? God had other plans. She pushed for about 1/2 hour and little Isaac was born. She had a labor that lasted less than 12 hours from induction to delivery and she didn’t tear. It was the birth experience that Brittney had wanted and, I believe, the first step in the healing process after losing baby Isaac.
I always imagined that when a baby is born sleeping that there is no joy in the room. That everyone is somber. I am not sure what others have experienced. For us, there was an amazing amount of joy with some sadness mixed in. It was such a gift to be able to hold Isaac and look him over from head to toe. To see whose hands and feet he had. Whose ears and nose. Isaac was fearfully and wonderfully knit together by God Himself and that alone was a blessing to behold.
We spent the next few hours enjoying Isaac. We took LOTS of pictures which we are so grateful to have! We laughed a lot. We cried a little. We made memories that we will all cherish forever.
I will write more in a later post. I want to leave you on this note of joy. With God, joy can always be found because HE is our joy. And this joy can overshadow even the deepest grief. God is just that good.