Monday, November 28, 2011

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

My dear, sweet friend, Holly, wrote this and posted it on her blog tonight.
I love you, Holly.  Thank you. 

Dear Jude,

You don't know this, but you changed me forever.  Your sweet little life had many lessons to teach, and I am your pupil.  Some of them I knew already in theory, and you helped me to grasp their truths more firmly.  But God also used you to open my eyes to things I never realized before.  I'm so grateful to have been part of your life... so honored to have known you.

Your mommy is one of my closest friends.  Four days after you left the world, our baby Aidalie came into it... and although we rejoiced and celebrated her, we were mourning our loss of you.  We still are. We will miss you until we see you again.  But we know that while we have lost you, you have gained everything, and that quiets our distress.  There is so much hope in knowing that right now you are unshackled from the chains of your broken body, and you are more alive and more complete now than you ever were before.  You are, in this moment, fully and truly Jude.

Being myself a mommy, I know all too well that we are led into some of the most profound realizations by our children.  Although you never uttered a single sound, here are some of the things your life spoke to me.

1. The gospel is true.   As I watched your mommy and daddy go through what they did, I often found myself surprised at the quality of their well-being.  But when I reflected on this I realized that it should be no surprise at all, because the object of their faith (Jesus) is real.  Their faith in Him is seeing them through even the toughest days without you.  How wonderful to witness at work the living hope they have in Jesus.  It is this same Jesus we hope in to give us freedom from sin and righteousness before God.  It's the gospel... and it works.

2. God loves me.  I saw this in your mommy's eyes every time she would look at you.  Her face was flooded with affection.  She looked at you and was so proud that you were her little child.  The world may not have esteemed you or counted you as important, but you were because of this love.  I, too, am no one special.  I am also very broken.  Your heart was frail, but my heart is broken in a different way, a way that is my own doing and my own fault.  But my Father loves me anyway.  He looks at me with delight.  It's His love that makes me valuable when otherwise I wouldn't be.

3. We are all "terminal."   Our life is a vapor that comes and quickly vanishes.  The vapor of some may linger slightly longer than others, but when viewed in light of eternity, our lives are so very short.  We don't like to think or talk about death much in our culture.  But we would do well to remember this little detail of our destiny, and allow it to shape the way we live now.

4. My children belong to Him, and to Him they will return.  Jude, your mommy and daddy loved you fiercely... but you weren't theirs.  In the same way that they had to (and continue to) surrender you up to your true Father, so does every parent.  So do I.  My children were never meant to belong to me.  I know I can't keep them.  They were meant to be offered up as a sacrifice of highest price to the Lord.  So, I should not make them the center of my identity or the source of my greatest joy.  Someday, they will leave me in one way or another.  But Jesus promises never to.

5. I should view the challenges of parenting through the lens of eternity.  Sometimes, Aidalie wakes me up several times per night.  My middle child screams and cries for a total of 5 combined hours per day... or more.  My oldest child leaves behind him a trail of destruction everywhere he goes.  It is tempting to feel resentful toward my children moments like these.  But, Jude, you have shown what a gift they are.  You have reminded me not to take even the struggles of raising my children for granted.  Thank you for helping me love and appreciate my babies more, even in the tougher moments.

Jude, you were just a baby... but you helped draw the hearts of many to the One who came as a baby 2,000 years ago- Jesus.

You were born with the burden of a fallen humanity on your shoulders.  Jesus was born because of this fallen humanity- and He willingly took the burden upon Himself.

It is said that the greatest emotional pain we can possibly know is to lose a child.  Your mommy and daddy felt this immense sadness at your passing.  But God the Father gave His only Son freely; it was actually His plan to do so!  And, His sorrow was infinitely greater. (How deep is His love for us!)

Many peoples' lives have been changed because of you, precious baby boy.  God is wise to have used the life and death of a beloved child to reveal some profound truths.  But there is One greater who changes us so much more.

Isaiah 11:6-10 says:

"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.

They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—
of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious."

The "little child" who truly changes our lives is Jesus.  And one day, He will lead all those who belong to Him into world where babies no longer die.  Humanity will be restored to the way it was always supposed to be.  Even nature will be healed- calf and lion, cow and bear will lie down together.  Your heart will not be broken there, Jude, and neither will mine.  It will be glorious indeed.

Until then... our family misses you every day.



amyfaith said...

Holly, thank you for the awesome letter to Jude. Mandy, thank you for sharing this letter and yourself.
My 36 yr old daughter is someone people stares at and the world may never "get". She, like Jude has been a teacher in my life. Thank you Lord for sharing these babies with us, Thank you Lord that they love you!
love & prayers continue from colorado.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful beyond words and it speaks so to my soul-thank you for sharing Mandy and Holly.

Jen said...

What an amazing person your friend Holly must be. She shows great wisdom.

Andrea Bullok said...

Such a beautiful letter. I too have learned so much through Jude and am so thankful you have allowed him to become part of our individual stories. Thank you for continuing to share despite your sorrow. God continues to shine through Jude and the faith of his parents. Continued thoughts and prayers to you!

Shane & Karis King said...

Amazingly true words Holly wrote ... amazingly ture feelings for both you and Brandon. We keep you in our prayers, and will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I especially appreciated number 2.

Ruby Jean said...

I found you! I had been reading your blog a week prior to finding out about my baby girl. I am so sorry for your loss and grieve with you. May you find rest and peace in the loving arms of Jesus as I know your Jude already is:)

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