I have had the privilege of meeting this year with an amazing group of women at our church who are actively seeking to be more godly, wise and engaged mothers. The group is called MP3 ( Mothering with his Power, Passion and Purpose,) and it has been so amazing to meet with other moms who are in a similar season of life as me. Our group proved to be a dynamic and transparent bunch of women, who have had amazing journeys; with God guiding their steps even before they were aware of his work in their lives.
It is funny how seemingly innocent decisions are God-Ordained and used to bring us glimmers of hope and chances to build relationships that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. I was able to experience an example of God moving, in a perfect and necessary way during this last semester of our bible study. Our group takes a five to six week break over the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, and we meet back again for the spring semester the first week in January. I always look forward to resuming after the holidays. I find myself weary from the busyness of the holiday season, and ready to settle back into familiar routines.
This year was especially busy, I spent Thanksgiving in the Labor and Delivery department, with a little Potter baby who was determined to make an appearance too early. Labor was stopped and I went back to work to get my job in order so that when I went on maternity leave, everything would be settled. I was planning on working until after the New Year. Little did I know that Potter J. had different ideas, he was born a month before his due date, due to a placental abruption. By God’s grace only, we were in the hospital when it happened and were able to deliver our precious boy without tragedy…
Little did I know, that same day, up the street at the other hospital in our town, another mama was preparing to meet her preemie son, who was too small and too fragile to survive on the outside. She is the sister of a good friend of mine, a friend who walked the long road of grief with me, a friend who prayed for me, and loved me gently while I was broken. While I was holding my precious, healthy and beautiful son. She was beginning the heartbreaking journey of loss, grief and the slippery path that death creates. Her son lived for one hour, and then slipped peacefully into Jesus’ arms. A tiny boy who left a huge hole.
Fast-forward to the first week in January. I sat in our classroom snuggling my sweet little Potter J. and a gal I had never seen before walked into the room, saw me holding a baby, started to sob and left. Odd I thought, but whatever….maybe she was having a bad day. Our group leader who happens to be a very gentle and wise woman, went out of the room to find the crying woman. A few minutes later they both came back in. The woman sat directly across from me, and I caught her eye a couple of times. We went around the room and introduced ourselves, and told about our husbands and kids. We had gained some new members over the Christmas break, and wanted to start out getting familiar with each other. We got to me and I introduced myself,
“I am Jessica, my husband’s name is Kevin, and I have 4-boys: Cooper is 7, Mcguire is 4, Mercer is 3 and Potter J. is 3 weeks old. I am also the mom to a little girl that is living in heaven with Jesus, her name is Ireland Elizabeth.”
We went around the rest of the room, and got to the lady who had left crying. She introduced herself, and then went on to tell us that she had had a baby boy a few weeks before, but he had passed away. I saw myself in her eyes, the tears were too familiar and painful to watch. I handed Potter to a friend sitting next to me, and went around the room and just hugged this broken mama. I cried with her, and I told her that I was so sorry. That it is not fair, that it hurts, that it is just not ok. I don’t know how long I held her, but I was so thankful that she made it into our group.
This introduction, began the day when I understood why God had allowed Ireland to die. He wanted me to be a comfort to another mama who wanted more than anything to go back to December 18th and just have one more moment with her baby inside, safe and healthy and alive. I was so grateful for the year of loss that I had already experienced. It gave me the chance to gain some perspective (not much, but some) and to be able to just hold this hurting mama and let her weep.
That day, I was reminded that God is always moving, always working and always preparing people for encounters that will show us his unending love for. He showed me that day, that he loves me enough to place next to me another person, who knows the pain of great loss, and the blessed hope of an eternity together. I am so thankful for a God that brings people together in situations like this, to help bear each others burden.