Blessed assurance January 05 2015, 2 Comments
Typically, a bed in the old J4 NICU didn't have a wall or window, just a sweet little neighbor on either side with curtains as a divider. There was a walk-way that ran behind each bed spot with the mirror image set-up across the isle. When Bryer got moved to Bed 6, we were so happy to have wall space to hang Remy and Sander's cute creations and paintings for him...and the window was a welcome blessing. Natural sunlight! I loved pulling the blinds and letting the sunshine fall all over Bryer. It made his eyes sparkle that crystal shade of blue and that made me happy. It occurred to me one day as I was rocking and staring at the blank wall behind his crib, that we should be intentional about this space. Yes. We needed to make the most of it. It was right by a drinking fountain that other parents, visitors and staff frequented. Hmm. Ok, I thought. It could possibly make for some encouragement as they got a drink? Maybe? So, I reached out to friends and family asking that they send a prayer or encouraging scripture or their kid's drawings and we would put them on his wall. They started coming in…from our friends and their littles, my cousins, Bryer's cousins, my aunts, Bryer's aunts, uncles, C'ma, Papa….and of course a prayer from me:) I found a place for each one. It was so uplifting. I read them, sometimes aloud and sometimes silently, as I put them up with whatever medical tape at my fingertips. There. I stepped back. It was done and it was wonderful.
In the end, it became this sort of proclamation of faith....if you had read even one of the postings....you'd know just how over abundantly the baby boy in Bed 6 was WANTED and intensely LOVED. (Writing that just filled my eyes with tears and made my nose sting). Oh Bryer, you are still so loved, buddy.
As the days went on, wouldn't you know, it turns out that the wall most certainly blessed me more everyday than it did those people at the drinking fountain or anyone taking care of B like I had intended! :)
It never got easier leaving Bryer there…in fact it got harder as time ticked on. I guess I felt a sense of comfort knowing he was literally surrounded by God's word and prayers from those who loved him…especially the prayer from me. I felt like I was in constant prayer for him, but just the fact that I had one of my prayers posted near him felt like I was covering him ALL THE TIME. I would find myself, when he was settled in his crib, walking over and reading every one of them through, sometimes softly over him, sometimes just to myself. There were other times, I was on the other side of his crib and could only see the ones that were in larger print. I'd read and pray those over Bryer too.
On one particular night in March 2013, it was dim lit and I had already gone through the necessary steps to ready myself for leaving. I was standing by his crib. The heaviness of the black and blue diaper bag hanging on my shoulder mimicked how I was feeling. The bag had been brand new at his birth, one of the few new things I bought for Baby Largent #3, but at only 5 months old, it already seemed so worn. If I had to guess, I was probably wearing my reversible Nike blue zip-up…I wore it all the time…oh and a hat because who had time for washing and fixing hair? His night-light cast a warm blue glow from within his crib and his noise maker played the ocean waves.
Sigh. I just looked at him as I tended to do.
His paci had fallen and laid by his head on the boppy. Little Cow was tucked beneath one arm. I could see the red glow of his pulse-ox monitor from beneath the sheet that blanketed his small body. "What's going on with you, buddy? Where are we headed?" As I looked up in thought, my gaze focused on two scriptures posted to his wall. I read them out loud as I had done many times:
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you Hope and a Future." Jeremiah 29:11
But this time, I didn't want to hear it.
With wet eyes, I questioned, "Really, Lord? Really? How does this apply to Bryer? You have plans to prosper him and give him hope and a future? Please, enlighten me. I'd sure like to know where we are headed. Nobody can tell us. Can you please?" Before I could question anymore, my eyes moved down to read the one below it:
"For those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
"But Lord, will Bryer ever sit-up or roll over? Let alone walk or run? Will he ever eat again by mouth?" I adjusted the weight of the bag on my shoulder and breathed deeply. I looked at my boy again. So many unknowns.
My heart began to fill with that familiar feeling of angst.
Back to the wall my eyes went.
I read them both again. But, this time, it was as if God, with His warm breath of Heaven, wiped clean the lens. The foggy lens from which I had been reading had been clouded by the earthly HERE and NOW. But in that moment, I was given Clarity and Perspective.
This was pivotal for me in our journey with Bryer.
By the time I finished reading them aloud, the burden on my heart had lightened. It's amazing how scripture can do that:)
Ok, Lord. You are right.
If not here on earth for Bryer…then there in ETERNITY. Your ultimate plan and future for us is to be with YOU forever. That's why you created us in the first place! No matter our condition or brokenness on this earth, we will be made new in Heaven. We will be made complete with the fullness of life. Yes, we will walk and not grow weary…run and not grow faint all the days of our eternal life. This is THE plan and future for us…and for my Bryer.
I had known this to be true, but it was a fresh revelation at Bed 6 that night. And oh how I needed it.
It was also a paradigm shift. I read scripture differently. I think about our time here on earth and our deaths differently. I think about what my hopes and dreams are for Remy and Sander so very differently. More important than any accolade, athletic achievement, relationship, degree, physical appearance or career status for my children, I desire that they be saved from this world, just like Bryer. Of course, my heart's desire is for them to live a long, blessed life here, and I pray to go home before them. But I want them there. In heaven. I pray they would one day choose to be held by the blessed assurance that is Jesus.
(Pause) Blessed assurance (more pausing and thinking) ... I've not thought of those particular words coupled together in quite some time. They come from an OLD hymn during my orange church pew days as a child. I am digressing, but let's see where this takes us. I just googled the lyrics:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
Wow. Perhaps you or someone needed to hear that hymn today. It certainly uplifted me. When I think of Bryer, yes, this is his story! This is his song! He is praising our Savior all the day long! What a beautiful and most comforting thought.
Heaven...another beautiful thought.
One of my three is there. Two to go. It might seem like a weird way to look at it. But then again, I don't look at things the same anymore.