a couple of weeks ago, i had lunch with a good friend. she had just returned from a short-term mission trip to haiti, and i couldn't wait to hear all about it.
she told me about the camp they had put on for the local children. they had only planned on about 50-60 but over 100 showed up each day, including some adults.
she explained that though all of their food and supplies was budgeted to the max, somehow they always had enough for everyone. it was as if it had miraculously multiplied, just like the bread and fish that Jesus and His disciples handed out to the crowd so long ago.
she told me about how she came to find a very sick little girl. if no one had noticed her, surely she would have died. but somehow, they even had enough money left over to buy her medicine. they saved her life.
and that is just one story of many from her trip. numerous lives were touched. so many children got to hear about Jesus and see His work in action through others. and of course, my friend's life was forever impacted as well.
and... she told me that she felt her even being there all started with jonathan.
i'll explain: we had a "celebration of life" right before he was born, with proceeds and gifts going to the charity "heart of the bride" (HOB.) she came to the celebration to support us, got to hear about the awesome things HOB is doing in third world countries, and ultimately signed up to travel to costa rica and haiti to serve children in great need.
so, almost two years after jonathan's celebration of life, it sure was a blessing to hear how the Lord used that event in a series of events that led my friend to haiti to help save lives physically and spiritually.
the cycle began all over again for me on june 22 this year. it was the day, two years ago, that we learned something was wrong with our baby. and just like last year, the events of that day replayed on a loop in my mind. same with june 24, the day we learned what he had was a fatal chromosome disorder. and it goes like this on key dates throughout the rest of the summer and early fall, until the final two significant dates: the day jonathan was born (october 8) and the day we buried him (october 14.) from there i have rest until, apparently, june 22 comes around again. it's not a bad thing. it just....is.
two years on this side of it is a really good place. i remember hearing (and loathing) the phrase, "time heals everything" or something like that. back when the wound was still open and raw, that saying only mocked me, as time slowly dragged on with no relief in sight. i remember wishing i could just snap my fingers and be healed of the pain. looking back now, i can see how valuable the slow healing process really is; to be able to see how far you have actually come and to appreciate the process that brings not only physical and emotional healing but also spiritual healing. it's one of those experiences i wonder how people can survive without faith in God. to know that even in the hardest time of my life, i still had hope, peace, joy, and even contentment....and to feel this way completely drug-free....i know it was only because of my faith. and not the size or depth of my faith, mind you, just that i had at least the amount of a mustard seed. :)
also, i believe that because of my faith, i can sit here today and honestly say that i am thankful for my experience. meaning, if i were given the choice today to go back in time and change the events of 2009, i actually would not. this is where it gets tricky to explain. i know some people will get what i'm trying to say, and others will think i'm heartless. i assure you it's not the latter, really! but i am at a place where i am very content with where my life is today, and that includes the testimony of my son's short life and death. to go back and change that testimony now would be to lose out on not only my own amazing and transforming personal experience with God, but to also disqualify every good thing that came from his life and to selfishly cancel any positive effect that jonathan's life had on anyone else. i know for certain through the hundreds of messages we've received, that jonathan's life did in fact greatly impact others; not because of anything we did, as we know it was because the Lord used it for good (Rom. 8:28.)
i would never want to change any of it. keeping the perspective that this life is not all there is strengthens me to make it through each day i live here without him. my faith tells me that he is in heaven and that one day i will not only see him again, but spend eternity with him. my time here without him is equivalent to a small dash on a never ending line.
i don't want to live my short life here with incessant grief over missing him, or always wondering "what if?" (though i'm sure i'll have some days like that.) instead, i want to live each day celebrating the gift that jonathan was and still is to us and reflect on all of the good things, the priceless things, that came from his life. sure, i miss him greatly. but i remind myself that i will see him again soon enough.
so....yeah. this is where i am almost two years later. it's where i prayed to be so long ago now. it's a place i wasn't sure i'd ever be. i don't mean to sound like i have fully "arrived" at any particular stage in my faith or in my healing process, because there is always work to be done in my heart. but it's where i spend most of my days now, and it's a good place. where i used to feel like, "why does this have to be my testimony?" now i feel like, "i can't believe i have the privilege of this testimony."
that is what a little bit of faith + two years will do.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." ~ Psalm 147:3
"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
...He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live." ~Ecclesiates 3:1-8,11-12.