The 4th Time Around
Four years ago I gave birth to our son. My sweet boy who died before he got to live. And I think he saved me from doing the same thing. Without him, I think I may have died before I ever learned to live. I did not have even one day to smell his breath or taste his tears, and I have lived many days since where I can barely breathe and taste nothing but my own. The journey to my child’s grave was also the journey to my own. Austin says he lost a part of me when we lost our boy. This is absolutely true. Everything I knew about myself and my God was shattered with the last beat of my son’s heart. In my case, it happened to be that which needed to die. That is the beauty of the broken, the glory of the scar.
Four has always been my lucky number. I went on my first date with Austin on 4/4. Having four beautiful children seemed so perfect. But what I have does not and will not ever make me complete. Who I am, because of who Jesus is and what He has done, does. I needed to experience giving myself away, piece by piece, to the One who gave Himself for me. I needed to embrace Grace. I needed openness and honesty and love in light of my battle wounds, not in spite of them. Jesus had scars, and He showed them. They were part of His story. Losing my son is my scar, and I will carry it for my life. The scar is a hope for what will one day be, a knowing of who I am in the mess now, and joy that can come with acceptance and healing, because of the pain. I always thought I was a survivor. But who I was did not survive losing my child. As I trade the ashes in for beauty, God has taught me that I am more than a conqueror. Because of Jesus, I am one who overcomes.
Watchman Nee said “Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered – someone who has gone through experiences with the Lord that have brought limitation, and who, instead of trying to break free in order to be ‘used,’ has been willing to be imprisoned by Him and has thus learned to find satisfaction in the Lord and nowhere else – then immediately you become aware of something. Immediately your spiritual senses detect a sweet savor of Christ. Something has been crushed, something has been broken in that life, and so you smell the odor. The odor that filled the house that day in Bethany still fills the church today. Mary’s fragrance never passes. This is who I am, not what I do or what I preach. You cannot produce impressions of God upon others without the breaking of everything, even your most precious possessions, at the feet of the Lord Jesus. Once that point is reached, God will begin to use you to create a hunger in others. People will scent Christ in you. That kind of life creates impressions, and impressions create hunger, and hunger provokes men to go on seeking until they are brought by divine revelation into fullness of life in Christ.” I pray to always be that aroma. My desire is to not worry with usefulness or gifts or works, but only to need and release His perfume.
My Princess whispered to me “I wrote something on my hand so I will never forget.” The upturned hand revealed the 6 letters that will forever break my heart. Lander. How can she be so willing to constantly live in the surrender, and I have to make the heart wrenching choice a million times a day? When surrender is offered, Truth is the only answer. My honest reply is “I did too.” She says she is afraid to wash her hands, she knows that the marker is not magic at all. I understand the terror of him being lost, out of sight and out of mind. How can her childhood wisdom be so much further along than my own? How can it take the rest of my life to tear down these barriers than she has not yet learned to build? She knows pain, she knows death…..ah, but she knows love.
What does mourning look like to you? What is your outward expression of inner pain? Mine is tied with a lasso, in the penmanship of his father, scarred onto the inside of my left wrist. It screams “Don’t dismiss what I’ve been through! Don’t forget what I’ve lost!” It also whispers “Things are not as they could be, or as He will one day make them.” It reveals this reality of mine has been accepted, and broken that which needed to break. It says I have a story. Most days, I hide it underneath sweaters and bracelets, and pretend my life is just as pretty as everyone else’s seems to be. But sometimes, I have to roll up my sleeve and show off my scar. So that, on the days that you doubt, you struggle, you break, I can say to you the two most comforting words I know… “Me too.” One day this will be made right, and I will be made whole. And so will you. When Jesus came back whole, He still had His scars. It will not be lost and it is not for nothing. Resurrection bodies are scarred bodies made whole. I am fallen AND redeemed, broken AND restored, wounded AND renewed. Here and now they coexist. It is not “or”, it is “and”.
My scar reminds me that I now seek His face instead of His hand. I don’t strive to know more about Him out there. Instead, I experience Him in here. I love Him for being Him, not for what He can do for me. And He loves me for me, not for what I can do for Him. I get to just be me, and that is enough. My Fairy cried and cried last night, saying she didn’t want her brother to die. And as every part of me was gripped in agony, The Still Small Voice reminds me of His presence, and I get to hold her even tighter and say “Jesus is right in this cuddle with us, and we are all three glad to be together, even in the pain.” She can sleep to that. And I can get off the ladder that I no longer need to climb. I can rest in the quiet because there is no need to be heard when I am already known. I don’t have to insist on the repair of my broken heart when He has given me a new heart entirely. As demands wither and desires swell, I can focus only on loving now that I know I am already perfectly loved. Instead of trying to keep a promise, I am surrendering to the One who made the promise. Someone famous once said “He can’t kiss your scars if you don’t have any.” That is precious truth to those of us with scars.