Samuel saw a bundle of multicolored balloons floating in the sky that escaped from an event and he said, “For Luke!” I love that my 2-year-old sweetheart thinks all floating balloons are for his big brother in heaven. He did understand those balloon releases on his brother’s birthdays. 😊🎈
For Luke on your 4th birthday,
You have given me so many things, my first sweet son. You changed me. We were so excited and ready for you to come. You were so close to the time to be born, but then you were suddenly gone without warning. We heard your heartbeat on a Thursday, felt you kick throughout church and lunch that Sunday on Mother’s Day, and then the next morning came those words at your 39-week appointment, “There is no heartbeat.” It changed our lives forever. I miss you, extra sharply around your birthday. This year, your birthday is also Mother’ day, which is appropriate since you first made me a mother.
One of the things you have brought me are friends. Wonderful women and families I would never have known if it weren’t for you. They live a few streets away to across the world, and they have been such a blessing to me. God gave me people who experienced firsthand what your loss was like. They walked that dark path with me and understood when other people couldn’t. He also gave me deeper relationships with people who couldn’t understand firsthand, but who opened their ears and hearts to love us extra and help us through.
You also gave me a deeper relationship with God. I know now that I can get through unimaginable things because He is always with me. I have felt Him carry me when I couldn’t carry myself. I have cried out to Him in anguish and heard His reassuring words. When I asked, “Am I ever going to feel good again?”, He showed me Ecclesiastes 3:
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. 5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. 6 A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.”
We were having the time of tearing down, crying and grieving, but the time to laugh and dance would come again.
The greatest thing you have given me so far, my sweet Luke, is a completely different relationship with heaven. I grew up believing in heaven and thinking of it as a good place to go when you die, but I was never truly excited about it like I should be. I pictured a place full of angels and people in white just singing old hymns all the time. It honestly sounded a little boring. But once you were in heaven, my precious boy, I was deeply intrigued with it. I wanted proof that you were there and I wanted to learn all I could about what it is like there.
God has used you to grow my relationship with heaven immensely. Instead of it being a remote, far-off place, it feels like the true home I am missing. All the bumper stickers and songs about not being of this world resonate with me in a new way. I am so excited to get there! I picture you jumping up and down at the gates when I arrive. I have read about the great waves of love that wash over you when you step into heaven and I can’t wait to feel it. I try to imagine how I will feel being in God’s presence and hugging you again. I picture beautiful flowers and diverse places. If this damaged world has so many beautiful things, how much more beautiful heaven is! I know it is amazing far beyond what my mind can conjure.
This new relationship with heaven has changed my attitude too. When I get a new scar, I no longer lament about its permanence. Instead I am reminded that this body is just temporary. When I am grumbling about my recent lack of vacation or travel, I think, “Oh well. Maybe I will get to travel in heaven.” When I get timid talking about God, I feel more boldness from the certainty that someday everyone will see and know. “Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess…” Romans 14:11. I want everyone I love to get to be there too. You have released me from many of the worries of being anchored to this Earthly world.
I am so thankful for you, my precious boy. You have been a great gift to me in so many ways. I don’t know if you are 4 years old in heaven, or still a baby, or fully grown. I don’t know how you will be when I get to see you again. But I am not worried about it. God’s plan is perfect. I know you are safe and so loved. You went straight to our home without experiencing any of the hurts in this world. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving me Luke and for giving your life so that I can be with you both at the perfect time you have set for me. I don’t know how the rest of my story goes, but I do know how it ends.
I recently got my first mammogram and had to fill out some forms before hand. One question really bothered me. It said “Date of first live birth”. That just struck me wrong. To me, it said “don’t tell us about your firstborn child, your first son. He doesn’t count. Just tell us about the one who’s alive on earth. That’s all we care about.” I had to fight off angry tears. I haven’t had something strike me in that way for quite a while, so it surprised me. I’m sure there’s a reason they need to ask that specific question, but I just didn’t like it. It also reminded me that there are enough births that are not “live births” that they needed to specify that. Such a hard thing on this broken earth.
God continues to use my experience for good and I continue to make Luke a part of our family and our life. Tomorrow will be one month until his fourth birthday. This time of year is always a little bit harder for me, but I don’t feel so torn about what to do for his birthday this year. I want to celebrate it! Get a cake and release balloons. Maybe go out to eat to celebrate. That is what has been comfortable and what I want Sam to see. My mom asked me if I had plans for it and I appreciated her remembering to think of that. Hopefully some of our family can be part of it with us this year. Last year the weekend did not go very well. So I’m hoping for better things this year.