Good morning, my beautiful baby boy.
It’s been quite awhile since I last wrote here, and I’m not exactly sure why I’ve found myself typing here again, not sure who will read this but hoping the words spoken are an outpouring of the Spirit and can provide comfort for someone, while also healing little pieces of my broken heart as well.
This morning I have been feeling the rising tide of grief, its pulling me toward the depths, attempting to submerge me in anxiety, pain, guilt, and unmet longing. Unlike the tides of the sea, its timing is more unpredictable and often inconvenient. But it is welcome here, because grief coincides with the closeness of you. For if I cannot hold you and watch you grow, then my heart can at least welcome the clenching pangs of grief to remember you and wish for you. And much like the tides of the sea, its ebb and flow forever ongoing, the waves of grief will continue for as long as there is breath in my lungs…for I love you that much, sweet boy.
Sweet buddy, as I’ve written here before, when a new year arrives, I ask the Father to reveal which fruit of the Spirit He wants to cultivate in me in the coming year. Just one. And this year, He whispered gentleness. It’s not a new word for me, my natural first response is certainly not always gentle. I can be controlling and anxious, and the opposite of anxiety is gentleness, and the two cannot possibly coexist.
As I have thought about this word, this fruit of gentleness, I assumed that once again, the Lord is asking me to be more gentle. More gentle with your beautiful sisters, with your precious daddy. With my tone and my body language, with my reactions and expectations. For not to merely say “gentle” words, but for my physical being (unclenching my jaw and releasing my fists; the tone of my voice calm and loving.) And all of this is good and true. I want all of these things. But why is it so hard for me?
Your daddy and I were talking the other day, tears streaming down my face. I talked about the struggle, especially this time of year. From about Christmas time to your birthday, a shift occurs. I tighten. I clench. I control. I harden. I numb. I avoid. And gentleness disappears. In our conversation, we talked about the timing and its leading to you. To your birth, to your death. But not only that, but the physical and mental trauma of the bleeding, the hospital visits, the doctors, the worry and gut-wrenching fear. The news, the delivery, and the handing your small earthly frame to the nurse and watching you leave our eyes and arms forever on this side of Heaven.
It was traumatic, baby boy. And I think our minds and our bodies remember that trauma even before we do in our consciousness. I think this physical and mental shift occurs cyclically, reflecting the timing of trauma even from years past, even before we recognize or understanding or are even willing to admit what is happening.
So in that moment of reflection with your daddy, hashing out the uncomfortable and painful realization that I still struggle, that after nearly five years, my body won’t allow me to release it. Which then creates an anxious heart, overflowing into a lack of gentleness toward those I love most.
So we discussed what to do, what things might help assist me in cultivating peace and gentleness, as I cried and cried in what I felt as defeat. An imprisonment.
But our sweet Savior, my Harrison. Our precious Jesus who is the face of gentleness. As I sit here, holding your blue teddy bear and listening to soft songs of worship, I hear them. His tender whispers to me have me undone. He told me that I have an invitation to be gentle with myself. The word gentleness is for me this time.
So you see, my baby, He loves me that much and it’s almost too much to take in. For if I’m not taking care of myself, my soul, my mind, my body…if I’m not gentle and nurturing myself, then of course I won’t be with those I love around me. I guess I always thought that sounds selfish, or that the fruit of the spirit to cultivate should be focused only on others, but by focusing more inwardly on this heart work, the direct result and impact will be on your sisters and your daddy.
I love you so much, my forever baby. We’ve got birthdays approaching-Hope will be 4, you will be 5, and Kate will be 8. I promise to be gentle with myself, allowing my heart to feel the ebb and flow of the tides, the joy and gratitude, the pain and the longing. Like I’ve said before, there is room for it all, especially at the feet of Jesus. Thank you for pointing me to Heaven, buddy. For making our family better, for being used by God to show us firsthand how He can resurrect beauty from ashes. Thank you for making me braver and stronger than I ever was before you.
To Heaven and back, my baby boy. I love you I love you I love you.