So, I'm reading this book.
And after reading a certain chapter, I closed the book and wept. And this is what I prayed:
Oh God, I do not know when this pain will go away. It doesn't feel like it did last year, but I'm sometimes surprised by the pain that shows up fast, out of nowhere-- the longing for my son. I've heard from women whose babies have died that they never "get over it"-- that the grieving looks different, but it always stays, even once they have other children to fill their arms. It has been a little over a year and sometimes it feels like it has been a day... it is so surreal.
But at the same time, I am not in despair, and I have to ask you, would you tell Ben that I love him tonight? Oh God, will you lean close to my son and whisper to him that his mother loves him? And that I miss him and I long for him, but Lord, I don't want to bum him out. I know that he exists, that he is alive somewhere, that he is with you, so just kiss and hug him and tell him that I love him so, so deeply. And if a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a moment, tell him that I'll be with him shortly-- even if that's 50 years from now-- and that I long for that day.
But here's this: Lord, I prayed for him-- I cried out to you for this child the way Hannah cried out for Samuel, and I told you before he was born that he was Yours for all the days of his life. I dedicated him to you. So I don't know how much sense this makes, but Lord, I pray that he still fulfills his destiny. I felt so strongly before he was born that you had created him to be a worshipper-- that my son was a musician, that he would glorify your name with his voice and his hands, so I pray that even in heaven, my son would fulfill his destiny. You knew that he would be with you early-- you knew the plans you had for him just like you knew the plans you had for me when I was born. I long for him, but I say yes to your plans. I say YES to your higher ways. I release him, as pitifully as I am able, into his destiny-- whatever that looks like. It's too high for me to understand. It's too supernatural. It's too otherworldly. It's so beyond me. He is with you, and to be with you in your presence has to be so much more alive than to be here in my presence. So again, I bless your plans. I thank you that I am his mother and that I will see him again one day, and I say let it be with him according to your will-- and I thank you that your will is perfect. And that you have given me so much peace.
Know that I feel perfectly kooky praying like that sometimes.
I mean, seriously-- praying "for" someone who is already dead? That doesn't even make sense to me. It's like, whatever-- game OVER, right?
But his life was just beginning. I have just had the hardest time accepting that it was over for him. Don and I have talked about it so many times, and we always end up talking about Ben in the present tense, wondering what God's plan for this whole thing was. Knowing that life on earth is a blip on the screen-- 80 years or more if we're lucky-- so it's entirely possible to have been created for something beyond life on this planet. That, like my friend Winter said so long ago, our sons' destinies were to be with the Lord early.
Ah, friends, we have hope, don't we?
I mentioned a book... I'm hesitant to put it here because, well, these types of books bring out the skeptic in me (which is funny to even say, and if you ever saw some of the prayer sessions I was a part of in the Schools of Intercession, Worship, and Spiritual Warfare in YWAM, you'd laugh at me calling myself a skeptic about anything prophetic, because we saw some amazing things in those prayer times-- though I confess, one of my biggest struggles as a believer has been "intellectualism"-- which is just a fancy way of saying that my dork mind has the temerity to actually think it's smarter than God).
Anyway, I'm totally putting the book title in here and I'm going to type an excerpt, too, because I was profoundly blessed while I read. So far, every single word the author has written has brought glory and attention only to God, never to herself, and has not contradicted anything I know of the Word, and these are things that I look for when I read prophetic books (this is a woman's account of prophetic insights into heaven-- it's fairly radical). I first heard about the book on Facebook-- a dear friend had posted the link on her page and I clicked on it because, I mean, really, who isn't going to at least be a little curious when they hear someone say that the Lord took them into heaven during one of their times of intercession (and if you know any real intercessors-- the kinds whose prayer sessions last so long that they take lunch breaks-- you know that God does crazy stuff with them. And that makes perfect sense-- they spend hours and hours on their faces before Him, listening to Him, talking with Him. There is something very precious about the relationships built with the Lord in the place of prayer)? And this lady was saying that He had taken her up repeatedly.
I listened and wanted to roll my eyes, but couldn't. Don and I both sat on the couch and listened to this very nice, very normal lady being interviewed in what looked like someone's living room and couldn't help but smile. We were both waiting, though, to hear about the babies. We knew that something was coming about babies. If you're reading this and you've ever lost someone, you know that feeling-- that constant curiosity to know where they are, what it might look like, how it might feel for them. I have always known with 100% certainty that my son is not alone and that he is loved and that the Lord has let him know that his mother and father did not willingly give him up but that we bless the Lord's plan for him, but I have also wondered.... will he be an infant still when I see him again? Will he be a grown man? Who is taking care of him? Have our grandmothers seen him? Have our grandfathers kissed his face? Have our friends and family who have gone on before us been able to coo over him, the way babies on earth get adored and cooed over? Oh, I pray so. I pray that my friends Ellen and Stacie have held my son, and that my grandmothers have playfully argued over whose side of the family he resembles (they're both out on that one-- he was his father's side of the family, all the way). I wonder if Winter's boy Josiah knows him, and if Susan's boy Will, four days younger than Ben, has become one of his playmates.
How does it work, Lord? How does it work?
I should say that I don't think about this all the time-- just sometimes. Sometimes I give myself permission to dwell on it because it's fascinating, but I can't go there often because I am aware that these sessions usually end in weeping. And that's okay, too, but life would become fairly unmanageable if that was a daily event :) .
Anyway, I know that I have many, many new (and old) friends reading this blog who have also lost babies, and I wanted to share this with you-- I'll post a link to the website where you can buy the book if you're interested in reading the whole thing for yourself.
p. 74 (a couple of pages into the chapter about "heaven's nurseries")
...[The] nurseries hold all the babies [aborted, miscarried, stillborn, etc.]. They are received by Jesus and He heals the wounds of their hearts. They are cared for by angelic beings who sing to them as they rock them in their arms. The breath of God nourishes them as they grow ever so slowly. Because of the goodness of God, a 20 year old mother could miscarry her baby and 50 years later die and go to heaven; her baby would only be around 3 years old (in earth years). She is given her baby when she arrives and she gets to raise it. How wonderful for all the parents who thought they had completely lost that privilege!
... The first illustration is of [an angel] and a baby named Precious who was miscarried in 2006. This baby girl was wanted very badly by the parents and one day she will be restored to them, because they have received Jesus as their Savior. She will be treated like a princess until their arrival in heaven. There will be many surprised women who did not know they had miscarried a baby, because it was so early in the pregnancy. What a shock when they arrive and find a little "package" waiting for them.
The facilities where the babies are cared for are very beautiful. There are arched ceilings with openings at the top which cause the rooms to be bathed in a warm peachy glow. Flowers are growing right out of the walls and tiny birds come and perch on the branches to sing for the babies. The babies' beds have the appearances of beautiful sea shells that come out from niches in the wall. Every baby's name is etched in the wall above them; embellished onto lovely ribbons if it is a girl and on stately shields if they are boys. If you have a baby in heaven and you haven't named it, please do so...
Some of the angels appear to be male and some female but they all wore soft ivory gowns with pale colored sashes. They held the tiny babies (some only inches long) in the palm of their hands and the bigger ones against their chests. Even though these babies are tiny, they are different than the babies here, because they do not necessarily need to sleep. They do rest, but they also play. They already have the ability to "know" things and they can communicate. They are raised in the perfect love of God and joy is an automatic part of their lives [just like I prayed for Benjamin before he was born-- that he would know the perfect love and joy of the Lord from the womb]. It was the most beautiful place, filled with the peace of God. Their little faces reflect the Glory of God and they will know Him as we all should know Him.
from Revealing Heaven: An Eyewitness Account, Kat Kerr
See what I mean? Precious. What if?
Here's the bottom line:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Because whatever the truth is, it's good. Wherever our children are, it's okay. As long as my God is the God He keeps on showing Himself to be-- the one who comforts me in the middle of the night, who saves all the tears from my eyes, who cradles me like a little child, who never disappoints me, and who fills my life with good things-- yes, GOOD THINGS, even in the valley of the shadow of death. As long as that God is with me and fills me with His Spirit, it's all good. It's all going to be okay. Because whatever the plan, even if it's not this one, it's perfect.
But I'm glad He's cool with us wondering.
And I hope this lady's right.