It's funny how things come up.
I'm surfing facebook - linking, linking, linking... and all of a sudden I find a link of a family whose baby boy died last month.
He was 10-and-a-half months old. One and a half months beyond where Tenley is.
It's like a literal fist in the stomach. The way the emotion hits, I mean.
The worst of it is that reading about and feeling that family's pain isn't so foreign. The horror of a life-changing discovery... and the same emotions of "This cannot be happening." run though me as I picture the moment she found her dead child.
I can even imagine what it would be like to call the police... family... friends. How to share the unthinkable...
And so - initially - I just cry. For that mom who writes, "I checked 10 times each night. And that night he just looked like he was sleeping peacefully - but he was gone." For the little boy who is so bright and beautiful in the pictures. For his big brother who is now an only child again.
But in the middle of that grief comes a new one emotion.
One I fight with all my being 'cause it's a bad one.
The fear can be overwhelming.
Ahhhh... why sugar coat it?
It is overwhelming. If it wasn't normal to be this way, Jesus wouldn't have had to tell his children how to fight it.
I had to make a hard choice.
Close facebook. Breathe. Be still. Do not run to their room. Pray.
My children are the Lord's gift to me. I have no guarantees. I know His plans for me are good. All the days of my life are leading me to the moment I will fall at His feet with tears and cry "It was all worth it!" I know this will happen. So I must fight to believe it in this fearful moment.
I ask His protection of my little ones as they sleep. To keep their heart's beating - lungs breathing... and all the while I know it could happen to me. My sweet baby girl could die of SIDS.
But my purpose is not to prepare myself for the worst.
It's to prepare myself for whatever He has for me.
I've lived one "worst-case-scenario".
There was no preparing - no planning in the world that could have lessened the sting of that heartbreak.
But Jesus held me. And I know that He still is. And still will. And will never let me go.
After reminding myself of these things, I did - of course! - go check on her.
She startled and gave an annoyed cry at my prodding.
I opened a window to cool it down. I made sure she wasn't over-bundled - and that the fan was blowing on her every once in a while.
I watched her chest rise and fall.
I loved those little baby lip movements and hand twitches.
Her soft spiky hair after her bath... her perfect round little belly stuck up in the air as she stretched her legs out.
I thought about the way her smile lights up the room. How quick she is to giggle, to give affection and be playful...
I cherish everything about that child. I love her so much my heart breaks.
Perhaps - I won't be so grumpy when that same little baby wants to eat 3 times tonight.
Or when she gets angry that I would dare put her back in her own bed.
Or when she wakes up her sister who bellows, "TENLEY!! YOU'RE TOO LOUD FOR MEEEE!" and chaos and confusion reign in our house between the hours of 2 and 5 am...
I'm thinking that maybe the heartache and fear of tonight have accomplished something that needed to be done.
I am reminded of where I've been. I am reminded of the grace that has been shown to me. And I'm reminded of how much I love being a mommy - with all it's ups and downs and sleep deprivation. I remember what it took me to get here: to get them.
I remember how I longed for my arms to be full after Autumn was gone... and how God has given each of my arms a daughter to cuddle.
I have confidence for the future because of my past. Because of what He's already done.
Thank you, Lord.