My husband and I just celebrated our 11th anniversary this past Saturday. When we spoke those vows of “for better or for worse” eleven years ago, we never dreamed that the “for worse” would mean saying a temporary “good-bye” to our sweet Heaven-born Nathaniel. God was so gracious and loving to us through the days and weeks that followed. His peace is continuously with us as reminders of our loss come before us still. Nathaniel’s due date is still a little over a month away and I know that day will bring more tears, yet even more of God’s peace!
In the difficult moments that came after we learned that our son had gone to be with Jesus, my husband and I spent time crying and praying. We are thankful for the moments when even though we don’t know what or how to pray that the Holy Spirit is there with us interceeding for us with “groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26) God gave my husband a strength that I could lean on through those days that followed, and this continues.
When we were in the hospital we were given opportunity to spend time with our son. This was truly one of the hardest times in our lives, but a time we would not trade for anything! In it we knew that precious peace that passes all understanding! We got to hold our son, our little Nathaniel, and sing to him and read Scripture and talk to him and tell him the things that were on our hearts. Even though he wasn’t “there”, being able to do these things helped us, and reading the Scripture reminded us that he was living those beautiful truths right now!
Someone once told me that I would not be able to think of my son without thinking of Jesus and I have found this true over and over again! In the familiar passage about the rapture in I Thessalonians 4:13-18, I wrote Nathaniel’s name in the margin because he is one of those “which sleep in Jesus”. This passage has a more intimate meaning to me than it ever did before!
On our wedding day, my husband and I were focusing on the “for better”, but we are so thankful that God knew about the “for worse” and gave us the grace and strength we needed (and still need) for those times. We still have sad days, but we know because of the hope we have in our Savior Jesus Christ and His shed blood and finished work on the cross of Calvary, our future can only be “for better.”
A dear friend who has two Heaven-born sons said this on Father’s Day and it truly expresses how I feel about my husband during our son’s Heaven-going:
” I truly believe that it takes more love for a daddy to graciously accept their children being taken away, than to love them here in this world.” – Honorah Stewart Deatrick
A verse that has been special to me lately is the one I’ll close with. May it encourage you today as well:
“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Psalm 73:26