“At this stage we should be able to see arms and legs, we should also be able to hear a heartbeat, but we don’t”
All I remember is nodding and saying, “ok.” Then the tears came and they wouldn’t stop. I don’t remember the words my doctor said after that. And the days that followed felt numb. I wanted those days to end and I wanted them to stretch on forever, because I wasn’t ready to let go, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
In the weeks and months that followed I struggled with how to honor our son’s life. I filled my pregnancy journal with my notes and thoughts. That helped, but felt like talking to a wall. I tried expressing my feelings in art but I didn’t know how. The only thing that gave me any comfort, was worship. I poured my heart at my father’s feet, hoping He could help me make sense of the mess.
Days after we lost our baby someone told me something that changed everything. She said that we all have a purpose in this world. And some are so amazing that they complete that purpose in a shorter time than most. It felt like someone saw my son for the amazing creature he was. Not something that happened to me, but a real person with a purpose and a calling. A victorious being who came, fulfilled his purpose, and left. And that changed the trajectory of my life. From that day on I felt a passion settle in my chest that my son’s life would matter and that he would change the world.
Every time I counsel, serve, or share with anyone, I feel like he is my strength. A reminder of what truly matters and that if a small baby, who never opened his eyes on earth can make a difference, then so can I!
I didn’t know at the time how much I would need that guiding light, I soon learned. We were able to live in our own home when our daughter was 2 years old. Our house was a matchbox essentially that didn’t even have hot water when we moved in. Friends and family poured out love on us and helped us make the matchbox a home. But the struggle was daily. I remember very vividly putting duct tape over holes and cracks, Hanging blankets over hallways and doorways, placing plastic over windows, and wearing jackets inside to keep out the bitter winter days and nights.
I also remember on night, days before Christmas, laying in my bed drifting off to sleep to the sound of thunder and rain. The sounds of the storm were broken by the unmistakable sound of a tree falling on our roof. I spent the rest of the night telling myself it was just a louder thunder clap, but I knew the truth.
We got up the next Sunday morning and it was still raining so we all headed to church without being able to inspect the damage. Standing in that sanctuary I didn’t even have the words to pray. My husband and I were both working 2-3 jobs each and barely surviving. Even putting groceries on a credit card occasionally. The hole of debt grew by the day, and duct tape couldn’t fix everything. Duct tape couldn’t undo whatever damage the tree did. There was no rescue in sight. All I could whisper to my savior was, “help us.”
The song faded and the band began singing the next song. “Before I call, before I ever cry, you answer me, from where the thunder hides” The tears sprang forth from my eyes. God was calling out to me in the midst of the storm, in His still small voice. “Like a hurricane that I can’t escape, tearing through the atmosphere, your love is fierce!” All night I feared the power of the storm, but what the storm fears is the fierceness of God’s love. And in one motion I wasn’t afraid anymore. How can I be afraid of the storm when I am the daughter of the one who made the storm!?”
When we got home from church we went to inspect the damage. And the God of miracles showed his power to me that day. I saw a tree laying across our matchbox house at exactly the strongest portion of the roof. A few inches to the left or right and it would have made a hole big enough to walk through. But it hit it right where it was strongest. Satan didn’t have to get behind me that day, he was already under my heel. He was already there before I laid eyes on that tree, because I knew that no matter what, the storm trembles before God.
I think of that tree a lot. When the storms rage and I lose sight of Christ because of the waves, I think on that tree that was meant to destroy us. Because the strongest point of the roof, also happened to be exactly where our bed rested underneath. A hammer blow mean to kill, empowered us to see God’s hand at work. I think of Christ’s own tree, the cross meant to snuff out the light, that saved us all.
That’s what searchlight means to me. To be that strong roof above someone’s head, to be that word that changes the path of a life, to be that shelter in a storm. My prayer and hope for my community is to empower people through being a shelter and empowering people to be a shelter. So that we all can stand in the face of a storm and say that we are not afraid of the storm, because we are the children of the God who made the storm.