Friday, July 24, 2009

Middle of the Night

How do you shield your children from the reality of death?  Do you pretend it isn't a fact of life and ignore it?  Do you guard them from thinking about it and constantly divert their attention to juvenile things?  Or do you talk candidly about it, helping them think about it in a healthy way? 

The reality of death is really everywhere.  You really can't teach your kids Bible stories without running into this theme rather quickly.  Disney films don't even try to hide the fact that people pass away, even if it is always the villain.  Going to museums forces you to talk about people who lived a long, long time ago.  "And, then what happened to them, mommy?"  Oh, yes...then they passed away.  Of course, Mark's death has had a big impact on us all.  Haley must have heard us talking to different people about it and thinking about it in the quiet hours of the night, because at 12:30 one night she scratched at the door and came in looking tearful.  

"What's wrong, Haley Jane?" Colby asked as I laid still, pretending to be asleep.

"I've been thinking about something a lot and want to talk to you."

"Okay...."  She climbed in our bed and continued talking, a little choked up. 

"Do you remember the skeletons in the museum?  There was a big one and a little one."

Darn...why does she have to be so astute?

"I know that people die when their hearts stop beating.  So....I'm just wondering which day that is going to happen to me."

She finished her sentence and starts to cry.  "Can you sleep with me in my bed tonight?"

I squeezed my eyes shut and rolled over close to her, empathetic to her pain. How could I comfort this little prototype of me when the reality is that life is full of pain and loss?  How can I possibly help her face a future that is littered with unknowns?  How can I help her answer questions about God that I still have? 

"Haley, I have a question for you..."  The crying softened as Colby began to talk quietly.

"Did you give yourself life?"

Silence.

"Well...what do you mean?"

"Did you make yourself alive or did God make you alive?"

"God."

"God gives life and takes away life, and it's not for you to worry about."

Colby went on to talk about the mystery of God's sovereignty and the beauty of the gospel--how deep all our sin is, and yet how much deeper the love of Jesus is to take on Himself our punishment.  A sweet peace came over the room as she listened to his calm, confident voice assuring her that Jesus had conquered death and we really had nothing now to fear.  When he finished talking he offered to go to her room to cuddle her until she fell asleep.  

"I don't need you to come now....  I'm not going to remember everything you said tomorrow--but I'm okay now.  Good night."  

It was really interesting.  She couldn't promise that in the morning she'd be able to articulate everything he had said, but somehow the truth of his words created a pillow of trust that she could lay her head on that night.     

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?"
John 11:25
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So, I wrote that post a month ago, but never published it.  This last week I have been thinking a lot about that conversation and how comforting it is to know that GOD ALONE gives life and takes it away;  we really can't change anything by worrying about it. After we got home from Greece, we found out that I was pregnant.  Surprise!  It was fun to think about life with another Garman, and Colby was confident that God would bring balance to our home with some testosterone.  I was sick in the mornings, couldn't fit into my skinny jeans anymore, and was just trying to do everything right.  We had planned to go camping 4 hours away, and even though I was nervous about it, I didn't want to spoil the party by backing out. 

 Unfortunately, I can't go into every detail at this point (which I normally do to adequately paint the picture), mainly for the sake of my male audience comprised of single, innocent, young boys (Does Noah still read blogs to practice reading?  I'll spare him and Bobby-O if he is reading...).  Here are a few things that I remember happening:

1.) Blacking out and hyper-ventilating on the floor.  Looking up to see Colby, Dagny, and a doctor who happened to be there towering above me like giants, as I floundered on the ground like a fish out of water.  Yelling, "I can't see!!!" to which Colby responded, "That's because your eyes are closed."  (Its okay to laugh;  I can laugh about it now).

2.)  Okay, I guess there is really nothing else funny to write about it.  I lost the baby on Saturday and it was really traumatic.  My first reaction was, "The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord..." Since that moment, it's been a struggle to continue to trust God's goodness and His love,  but He has been walking me through it.  I'm surprised by how aware I've been of God's presence this week and how comforting it is just to feel Him so near.  This heart-break has been a reminder of all the people who are going through equally if not more devastating circumstances than me.  It's allowed me to be in prayer for them more fervently, and for this I'm thankful.  I haven't cried or really felt sad about it since Tuesday which is when I read THIS.  Derek is our "boss" and our friend, and he just lost his mother to a disease she had been fighting for almost 30 years.  Reading about this woman's relationship with God, her enjoyment of life despite her circumstances, and her ability to trust God's heart really encouraged me to not give in to a pity party.  God offers us help in the midst of our pain, and His presence really is enough to get us through if we turn to Him instead of blame Him.  


 

9 comments:

cosas del mar said...

I am so sorry, Annie. I will be praying.

The Burkes said...

Annie,
My heart hurts for you.
We love you!
Jessica

The Wires in Virginia said...

I'm sorry, Annie. I love you!

Anonymous said...

Annie,
I am so very sorry. I wish I could be there to give you a good long hug.

-Marisa

beckers said...

annie, i love you. i am praying for you.

Kimberly said...

I'm so sorry, Annie. You and your family are in our thoughts & prayers.

Josh and Jadey said...

Thanks for posting this. You know you are in my prayers... Oh how we miss you and Colby and the girls...

Amanda said...

Annie, I am so sorry. I miscarried about 2 1/2 years ago, and it was the song Blessed Be Your name that got me through. Despite the good or the bad I chose to praise my God for who He is. He was and is my strength and only He can heal your broken heart. Since then, God has blessed us with a sweet baby boy! God is always faithful! Praying for you and Colby!
Amanda (Clint and Jen's friend)

Jennifer said...

You guys have been in my prayers since hearing this. Unfortunately, we have walked this road and it is not an easy one. We will continue to pray for both of you, but especially you, Annie. We love you guys!!