The sound of the heartbeat monitor made a slow decent into a flat line…My heart knew before I heard the final beep, that he was gone.
It's been almost eight years since I last held my sweet laughing baby boy in my arms.
Eight years of aching to hold him. Eights years of knowing my life will never be the same. Eight years of being gloriously ruined.
As a young wife and mother, just barely 22, I was planning my child's funeral.
Looking at my four-year-old, I wondered how to go through the pain of watching her grieve while trying to keep it together. My world felt like it had just shattered. Thankfully, my husband is steady and constantly pointing me back to Christ. I'm grateful that God saw us fit to be a match.
God was not taken by surprise by Benjamin's death. He knew my husband and I would need each other. We are forever bonded as we walk this road of grief.
I wanted to have some control over this. I didn't have a medical reason so I cried out to God asking Him to give answers, a reason, something to hold onto; but deep in my heart I knew there wasn't going to be an “answer.” The SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) label wasn't what I wanted. I wanted a medical fix, not an unknown.
When there are no answers, the only we can do is to turn and fix our eyes on Jesus. << Click to Tweet
God used this shattering of my life to show me how to fully surrender to Him, to allow Him to mend the broken pieces for His glory. It was hard then and it continues to be, but it's been beautiful. We were carried by God's people, the church, who stood in the gap through prayer, phone calls, food, spending time with us, and even money to help lighten our burden. It was comforting to know that they were with us, walking this road and lifting us up before our Father in prayer.
I thought I knew who God was, but in this suffering I found a new intimacy with God that I had never experienced before and haven't since.
The SIDS label and the lack of answers made me realize that God is in control and He was going to use this for His glory and my good. The surrendering was easy in a way because it came from such a broken place that I saw my need for Jesus more clearly. It was hard in other ways because I realized that I could do nothing to change what has happened. I can't bring Benjamin back.
The wrestling is in a daily surrender to God's will and being totally dependent on Him. << Click to Tweet
I was totally dependent on Him for daily breathing. I felt like I was sitting in His hands and a physical peace washed over me. It still felt like my heart had been ripped from my chest, but I was still breathing because of my hope in Christ.
He gave me a peace that surpassed my understanding.
It doesn't mean that it's easy. Scripture tells us over and over again, this life will be marked with suffering.
Romans 5:1-5 says Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
The pain of losing a child is something I can't describe. This feeling is only truly known by someone who has walked the same road. It goes against the natural order of things.
For me it came with long nights of crying, days of feeling like I couldn't even go to the grocery store. Other days, I’d go through the motions just so people will stop asking “how are you doing?”. I had mixed feelings of wanting to talk about my child and share my story but then holding back because the feelings are so raw and painful the words can't come out, only tears. At the same time I needed to share with speak, so everyone wouldn’t forget my child.
The community that surrounded us exemplified how Acts calls believers to live. It demonstrated a beautiful picture of how God takes care of His children.
It was such an emotional roller coaster, of grief that overwhelmed and then receded like the tide. I'm thankful for those who cried it out with me and allowed me to grieve in my own time and in my own way. There were women who walked with me then, and still do today, by sending texts on his birthday and death date to remind me that they haven't forgotten. They remind me that God is using his story for His glory. Even though I live miles away from them now, they are a reminder that we need community and friends to walk with us through life. Not just in the joyful moments but in our darkest moments as well.
What I can tell you are things I have learned along the way:
- God's promises are true.
- He never leaves us or forsakes us.
- As we walked through this valley He hems us in and never lets us go.
- He is with us in the grieving.
Our hope is in Christ, that one day we will see Benjamin again. We will see the weaving tapestry of God's faithfulness and grace poured out as we walked this road and followed God through the valley.
Elizabeth Myer is married to her high school sweetheart, Mr. B. with whom she has 4 children. Originally from the south, she loves all that it entails; sweet tea, hot summers, beach, BBQ (which I crave), drawn out accents, college football (SEC), saying: "y’all", "bless her heart", and "sugar". While she never wanted to leave, the Lord had other plans. He brought them out of our comfort zone and into New Jersey! She blogs about homeschooling, adoption, being a wife and mother, but mostly about what God is doing her life through the chaos and struggle as she relies on Jesus daily.