Derek: New Life, New Joy, New Trials
Never did I know such a short and innocent question could be so painful and difficult to answer.
--“Is this your first?”
--“How many children do you have?”
These are a few questions that Jordan and I have had to face many times throughout this pregnancy. Just another scar left in our life by Claire’s battle with Leukemia. These are simple questions that will always have a complicated answer for us. Do you avoid Claire’s story and her memory to keep the tone of a casual question light? Do you answer completely truthful with a stranger, and watch their smile drop and tears fill into their eyes as they are left speechless by this unexpected response? I’m not sure if anything well ever be simple again. Colossians 4:6” Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” The tongue is powerful, and I pray that in these difficult situations God will lead me to respond in a way to bring him glory.
“I know you are excited.”
Yes, we are very excited to meet our son, but it also comes with a level of anxiety and fear. We are preparing to enter into unchartered waters. Grief is an angry monster that can rear its ugly head at unexpected times. Jordan and I have never experienced the birth of a child while mourning, and we are aware it may raise many memories and emotions from Claire’s birth. This may be an extremely painful experience among the excitement. At a time when most parents are glowing with joy and wanting to share this experience with the world, we are aware this may be a very stressful time where we need to process many conflicting emotions. Therefore we approach this glorious day with excitement, caution, and fervent prayers for strength. 1 John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” God knows we wish to welcome this baby boy into the world with a joyful heart while we remember his sweet sister. Only the Lord can help us strike that balance and share it with family and friends, so that we may glorify God for all the grace and goodness He continues to grant us.
“I hope you get to experience real joy again.”
Derek will bring a joy that only a child can bring, but our lives have not been devoid of joy since we lost Claire. To date, she is the best experience this life has given me. Being her mother was a privilege, and one I do not regret despite the grief afterwards. Every life she touched, every soul she revived, every memory she created continues to bring us joy. As does the strengthened walked Jordan and I share with the Lord due to her short and powerful life. Nehemiah 8:10 ”This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Lord help us deal with our sorrow, so that your joy may abound in us as we meet Derek and remember Claire.
“Things will be better when Derek arrives.”
Derek is not a band aid to cover our wounds or a Tylenol to ease our pain. That is too lofty a purpose for a precious young boy to be held to upon entering this brand new life. We look forward to welcoming Derek into our family, watching him grow, and seeing God work through him. Derek is a new child, with a new life, a new purpose, and a new path to follow. Jordan and I are thankful for each and every blessing he will bring into our lives, but we do not expect him to take away our grief. Only God, prayer, and time will help that. Psalm 30:5 “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” We know that sorrow and mourning are temporary in the sight of all that is eternal. We ask that our focus not be on these momentary trials but on the perseverance and faith they develop which leads to joy in the morning to fully be experienced upon the Lord’s return.
Psalm 139:13-16 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”
Lord, thank you for Derek. We anxiously await tomorrow to learn this new child that you have hand knit for us, just as you did Claire. She was a beautiful fit into our family, and he will be too. There are so many questions about him that we look forward to discovering the answer. What will it feel like to hold him? What will he look like? What kind of personality will he have? What is your plan for his life? We are thankful for the blessing of welcoming another child into our family tomorrow. A baby always brings a new joy into a home. I do believe Derek is going to be a ray of light in our home, but it will not take away from feelings we have for Claire. We do not know how we will feel in the days, weeks, and months to come, but the Lord has been faithfully by our side to strengthen us. 1 Peter 1:8-9 “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Lord, I come to you tonight laying my family at your feet. I ask that you be near to us as we prepare for all tomorrow has to hold. Children are a precious gift, so we ask that you heal our hearts and strengthen our faith as we approach Derek’s fast arrival. We wish to welcome him in a way that glorifies you, and cherishes this wonderful gift we have been given. Claire will not be far from our thoughts, but grant us thoughts of peace, grace, and happiness as we meet her little brother. Bless our family with an unending love for you and your goodness to us.