As I sat down to do school with Luke this morning, he noted that we are at the end of January. My heart sunk instantly. It was February 2008 that we were blessed with a little boy named Asher (Happy) Joseph and it was the same day that he was born that he entered into the arms of his Heavenly Father.
Four years later, February still steals my breath and leaves me struggling to see the story the Lord is writing in our lives. February 2008 is probably the single most defining month in my faith and while it brings feelings of joy and love it also brings with it a sense of sadness.
Often times that sadness is served with a side of guilt. I mean it has been four years...shouldn't I be over it? I have no intention of coming here and whining and woe is me-ing, but if I am being honest it still hurts. I have seen the hand of the Lord in my life and it has been GLORIOUS and Asher's life has a HUGE part in that, but if I am being transparent, I have to say it still brings a sting.
Sometimes it frustrates me that in our society we are expected to ever "get over it". I for sure don't think it is healthy to dwell on it and let us consume us, but largely our heartache and pain make us who we are...to deny it is to deny a part of ourselves. Instead of fearing the pain we need to FEEL it.
February 2008 was a tough month for me. It began with maternity photos in an effort to soak in every moment we were given and ended with a preterm birth and saying good bye to one of the most amazing little men I have ever had the privilege to know and love.
Slowly, I am learning to disregard what society tells me is acceptable. I am learning to listen to the prompting of the One who defines wisdom. He is whispering...He holds me as the tears fall even four years later...he embraces me and encourages me to enter into the pain and really feel it as uncomfortable as it is, that pain has purpose and beauty will come of the brokenness...but we have to be unafraid to feel it.
So often I push it aside...I feel the floodgates begin to open and quickly slam them shut pretending they aren't bulging and ready to burst...I know February is a bittersweet month for me...it brings the only memories of my sweet fourth born that I have, it also brings the memories of the most tangible love I've known through His hands and feet in others. It also brings an aching to hold my sweet four year old boy and kiss him and know him.
In this season in my life, when I want to push the pain away I am more and more feeling the presence of my God pushing me to embrace it...to enter in and to feel it. The greatest compassion comes from a heart that has known pain. Though uncomfortable, I am honored to share in his suffering. I pray that he continues to use my pain for His good and for Him to give me the courage and strength to enter into the pain of others and show them the comfort He has shown me. February might be a tough month for us but it is also a sacred month...I know His grace will be enough...it always is.
The truth is that sometimes God's gifts don't come in neatly wrapped packages with a bow on top...sometimes they come in pain and heartache and day by day I am learning to accept the gifts He gives no matter the form...even when they don't feel like it...His gifts are good. I can honestly say, knowing what I know now, if given the choice...I would still choose having Isaac and Asher even knowing I would not get to keep them...the love and blessing far outweighs the pain...the pain has been a pathway that has opened my eyes and heart to so much and for that I m so grateful.