Yesterday, our family had the privilege of going to the hospital to meet and celebrate some dear friend’s newborn baby. As we walked from the parking garage to the front of the hospital I had a sweet moment with the Lord. The last time I walked in through these doors was exactly twelve weeks ago.
Twelve weeks ago, the week of Easter, Brett and I took the kids to our routine prenatal appointment. I didn’t have an ultrasound scheduled, but our doctor had said the kids were more than welcome to come hear the baby’s heartbeat at our appointments and they were so excited! Sadly, there was no heartbeat to hear. A few ultrasounds later, it was confirmed, our precious baby’s heartbeat had stopped at just 12 weeks. We were shocked, heartbroken and confused. My pregnancy had been textbook. I had been sick with nonstop nausea and fatigue, our 8 week ultrasound went perfectly, and our adorable little jellybean was forming exactly on schedule. My body hadn’t shown any indication that something could be wrong. As we left the doctor’s office, we all held each other and wept. Next, we called our parents and shared the terrible news then drove to our church and fell apart in the arms of framily (friends that are family). We knew we needed to petition God for a miracle. We went to church that night and worshiped our incredible Savior with all our heart and soul, declaring we loved Him no matter our life circumstances. As we crawled into bed that night, exhausted, I prayed and told God I needed something tangible from Him. I needed to encounter His presence and goodness in a personal way. Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” I needed to experience that promise.
That night, I dreamt I was with my childhood best friend talking about asking God for a miracle to resurrect my baby. A screen appeared and a little boy about Johnny’s age, with the same big smile as Johnny but with Elle’s fair skin and eyes, waved and said, “Hi Mom! I love you!” With a reassuring grin, he waved goodbye and ran off to go be with the Man in the background who was surrounded by other children. I knew immediately this was my son, in heaven, with Jesus- totally safe, completely joy-filled, and 100% ALIVE!! As I awoke peacefully yet abruptly, I heard the Lord whisper “Luke”. I woke up knowing my son was not dead, but completely alive in heaven and absolutely perfect! I was filled with joy and delight in having experienced HIM! HE, my baby, was a HIM!
We continued to pray and petition the Lord for a miracle for three days. In the end, we went back for another ultrasound and it was confirmed that our sweet little Jellybean, our little boy, had returned to the arms of Jesus. My body was not fully rejecting the pregnancy so we set up the needed surgery for the next day and proceeded to make plans for how to tell the world. As we left the office, I asked the Lord if his name was to be Luke and I immediately heard “Timothy”. I laughed out loud as that was the name I first heard for this child when we found out we were pregnant but because I didn’t want him nicknamed “Tiny Tim” I had written it off. Tiny Tim now seemed so appropriate. I ran it by Brett. He agreed, and named our son Timothy Luke, meaning “honoring God” and “shining light”. A life verse for us has always been 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” This now meant more to us than ever before.
The next morning, we headed to the hospital early. Anger finally hit. I had worshipped the Lord the whole way to the hospital but when I actually walked in those doors, put on the bracelet, and sat in that waiting room- anger rose up. I did not want to be going through this. I did not want to put my body through a surgery. I did not want to lose my SON!! But even as I sat waiting to go back, I said “God, I need you” and I immediately saw a picture of God crying with me and showing me He too knows the pain of losing a Son. There I was, being met with the most incredible display of kindness, validation, love, and empathy by the One who created the world. Who could ask for more? Who could ask for a more personal, loving Father?
I spent the next sixty days walking through the different stages of grief. There were intense emotions and with every one, God kept showing me pictures of Himself sitting next to me- so close we were touching, and Him patiently listening and holding me. If I am honest, at times I felt annoyed by this. I wanted Him to just fix it! But in the end, He showed me that what I needed most was to just experience it and have others be there for me. Two months after losing Timothy Luke, I awoke one morning to a feeling of etherealness. It was as if the heaviness I had been carrying around physically and emotionally had lifted and when I asked the Lord about it, He simply told me the grieving period had ended. This didn’t mean I wouldn’t still feel sadness but He showed me I had processed the grief, all of it, in sincerity. I had pressed in, felt each emotion, surrendered it to Him, and allowed Him to come into my heart to bring comfort and healing. I had partnered with God and actually experienced grief fully, rather than run away from it.
So now, just 12 weeks after losing our precious son, I courageously walked through the same doors of the same hospital to celebrate the LIFE of our friend’s precious little boy- and it was wonderful! Truly. As we waited patiently to go in, we watched the babies in the nursery. Brett hugged me and simply said, “We will be here soon” and deep in my heart, I know he is right.