"He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of the sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize how beautiful You are,
And how great your affections are for me.
And oh, how He loves us, oh..."
This song, by David Crowder, moves me to tears every time. I think of how heavy life can be sometimes, and I cry because I realize how I often forget God's love for me. I forget how He is always there carrying me, pushing me forward, in times of sorrow and in times of joy and how sometimes I choose to ignore Him. In my thoughts and in my actions, I refuse to look at the heaviness of life and realize God's love and His glory.
Max turns 1 on Saturday. One year. What an incredible first year. I looked back at the pictures of Edgar and I waiting to go back to the OR before my C-section and I find them so ironic. If you were reading a book of our life and you read our sheer excitement and anticipation, maybe you would pick up the clues that darkness was about to set in, but we were completely oblivious. As I think back to all of those moments and how it set our lives on a path that we never imagined we would be walking, I can't help but think that we were made for this. Our faith prepared us for this. This won't be our only encounter with suffering in this life. It won't be the only time that God carried me through a hard time. It's not the last time that God will push me forward. When I think back to all the times in my life that I knowingly avoided suffering, I feel like I missed an opportunity to know myself and therefore, I missed an opportunity to know God.
I can remember in the first 12 days of Max's life, while he was in the hospital, I went through about two days of complete darkness. Two days of questioning everything I believed in. Wondering, how did God allow this to happen? Two days of rejecting every offering of prayer and support from friends and family. Why? What did it matter? I didn't pray. I didn't know what to say. Where should I begin? Should I start with my anger? Should I start with how inconvenienced I felt? Should I start with how I wanted everything to be? How about how lonely I felt? How about how badly I missed my husband? How about how I just want to be home with my family and not stuck in a hospital? Where? Where should I begin?
"'Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.' And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground." --Luke 22:42-44
But the funny thing about darkness is that there will always be light. After two days of darkness I experienced my own personal Easter. All of the sudden my eyes were opened to all of the miraculous things happening around me. People in the hospital that I had never met laying down all of my fears. The power of prayer lifting all the heaviness from my shoulders and carrying my cross for me.
It's because of the darkness that I can appreciate the light. I am now able to look back on Max's first year and rejoice that we were given such a strong gift from God. As Max continues to fight for his life, he continues to improve mine. I am a better mother because I have experienced and will continue to experience my son's suffering. I am grateful that God has entrusted me with Max's life on earth and I am grateful for our suffering.
I have come to believe that affliction is always "eclipsed by glory." God has blessed Edgar and I with another precious life to care for. I sometimes wonder if how Max entered the world will become our new normal. I know that it's not likely, but it's the feelings that I have. If this is our new normal, this is what we were made for. Our faith has prepared us for this.
(For MT and TT-- I love you.)