This week marks the one year anniversary of our family saying goodbye to our sweet, little boy Elliot. It’s hard to believe that it has been one year ago that Elliot was stillborn. This year has been full of pain and grieving… we said goodbye to Elliot, my Mother, my Uncle Don, I had a tumor removed (thankfully benign), and I walked away from my career. Wow.
During church on Sunday, I was reminded of how faithful God is to fulfill His promises to us. God provided 3 promises to our family over the last year: First regarding the past, then regarding the here and now, and the third is regarding our future.
PROMISE #1 – OUR PAST
As we were preparing to go to the hospital on December 21, 2011, I prayed to God in shear agony as I knew our lives were about to change. I prayed, “Dear God, please prepare us… I don’t know how you prepare someone for losing a child in such a short time frame between here and the doctor’s office, but, please, Father, prepare us.” God replied with a spoken word to my heart, “Do you think this is a surprise to Me? I have always known this was going to happen, so I’ve been preparing you for a long time.”
Since that moment, I have recognized so many areas in which God did prepare us – of course NOTHING completely prepares anyone for the loss of a child. But God did do many things for us leading up to Elliot’s death that proved His love and compassion for us. For example, a few years ago, I felt God tugging at my heart to start treating my body healthier. So I began to eat more appropriately, exercise regularly again, drink more water, etc. During my pregnancy with Elliot I was healthier than I’ve been in years. Since his death, I’ve never had to say to myself, “what if I would have been healthier.” In preparation for Elliot’s death, God gave me a clear conscience that I treated my body and, therefore, our child in the healthiest of ways. This is only one of many, many examples.
PROMISE #2 – THE PRESENT
The morning after Elliot’s death, Ron and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves, so, before the visitors started coming, we laid in the hospital bed together, cried, and turned to the only thing we knew to turn to – our Bible. Of the things we read that day, there was one verse that jumped out and grabbed both of us:
Romans 8: “But IN all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who love us.”
He promised us not just survival as we are going through this, He promises that we are overwhelmingly conquering. It is in Him we have an amazing strength that would otherwise not exist.
PROMISE #3 – THE FUTURE
1 Peter 5:10 “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
I’m so thankful to know that our suffering is not all for nothing. He has a plan to continue working in us and establishing us. This event will allow us to love and invest in others in a new way. This helps give meaning to Elliot’s short life. It provides drive to move forward and to do SOMETHING with the pain besides just wallow in it and hope it disappears.
Ten years from now, nobody will look back on this time that our family has endured and think, “Wow, what a tragedy.” I believe that many will instead proclaim, “Look what God did with it all. I can’t believe it.” Our family has grown tremendously this year. It has required seeking God’s wisdom, making some major personal sacrifices, and allowing others to invest in us, but I stand amazed at how God’s promises are in full bloom in our lives. We continue to run this race… I hope you’ll join me.