Sunday, September 04, 2011

September 4th

Today is my grandmother's birthday, my little cousin Lilly's birthday and our teammate's Wes's birthday. It's also the day that 3 years ago Lee and I found out we had lost our son Levi.

It's unbelievable that it has been 3 years since that day. The day that has forever changed me. Last week I read and finished the book "Heaven is For Real." A few people had recommended it but people recommend books to me all the time and I have to gently remind them that I'm not an avid reader (though I wish I was.)
This book changed me. One of the biggest ways it changed me is the way that I was able to picture Levi. Even 3 years later I would still have pangs of anger and sadness when I think back on the awful delivery that I had. Because we had only been in Costa Rica two weeks and I knew not a WORD of Spanish, I had so many fears about delivering. I had no idea what to expect and no one there was explaining anything. I will spare you the details of everything that happened during Levi's delivery but the part I get sick, angry, sad over is that I don't know what happen to his tiny little body after they took him away. I have voiced that out loud only a few times but that is the raw truth. It's one of the things that even 3 years later makes me catch my breath when people ask me how Costa Rica was.

When I read "Heaven is For Real" and read about how this little boy saw his sister in heaven that his mother had miscarried at 8 weeks. I couldn't put the book down. He described her hair and what she was doing. There was obviously a lot more to the story but it's as if a small peace of my heart and my fear was stitched up a little tighter. What a gift. What a gift that I can imagine Levi the way I want to and know that he IS up there being taken care of that he is waiting for me to get to hold him one day.

I know so many mama's that have lost their babies and I can't think of a better image of your sweet child getting held in Jesus's arms until you get there to hold them.

When I say that that day changed me forever, that would be an understatement. Because of the unbearable loss it opened me up to helping other mama's with their loss in a way that I would have never been able to otherwise. It made me doubt my faith and where God had called us. It made me hate prayer because I never even got a chance to ask for things to be different.

That's not the end of the story though. Questioning my faith has brought me to a place in my journey that is more real and more grounded. I still question at times and I still don't understand some things but I also realize that I'm not meant to. I realize that God does hear our prayers. When I started praying to God more like conversing with my friend and when I started asking God with the honest belief that He could change a situation, my prayer life changed.

God is still working on this Mama. I'm still on this journey of being a missionary in a foreign country and wondering some days what in the heck I'm doing. I still somedays think I'm the absolute worst missionary ever and need some "come to Jesus meetings" on a daily basis. But I also know that God is a God of ABUNDANT grace. I know that when I met Suzana for the first time after she had just given birth to a stillborn little boy that she would never get to hold and then had to walk up the mountain by herself (after a c-section) to take care of her 2 year old by herself because her husband found her useless when she couldn't give him the son he wanted and left that I had at least myself to give her. I was able to sit and listen to her grieving over her son and I could comfort her with words only a mom that has experienced something similar could give.

I might have had times in the last 3 years that I didn't believe in what I was doing or had doubts in the things I was reading or saying but all of it has brought me to this point. To this day. The day that I will be forever grateful that God gave me Levi to carry for 5 short months. The day that I can sit and look back and see God's grace and God's hand in my life. It's taken this journey to say that God DOES hear and answer prayers (even if sometimes we pray without believing). I mean I have a beautiful little boy that is about to turn two and I was told twice I was miscarrying him!

It was a hard balance when I first had Liam to completely be joyful because I knew that he wouldn't be here without losing Levi. I've come a long way on that one and today I'm grateful for Levi because of the gift of Liam. I know that one day I will see that sweet face and get to love on him. I also enjoy every moment with Liam (ok, that's a lie not EVERY moment:) but he brings me so much joy and I am so grateful for that. I wouldn't be doing Levi any justice if I didn't live a life full of joy and celebration.

So today we celebrate Levi. Thank you sweet boy for letting God use your short life to bring mommy to a place she needed to be. Thank you for the sweet reminder I have of you in your little brother Liam. Lastly thank you for the fact that I can picture you right now, a precious little curly head boy running into Jesus's arms.
Love you son


jaime mcnab said...

Wow Stephanie! What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing that with your blog followers and for letting us capture a piece of your heart.

Sarah Dickerson said...

Stephanie, your story is so touching. Thank you for sharing the story of your son. I am sorry for your loss.

Grammy said...

Dear Stephanie, I was there in CR and felt so helpless... we were told not to disturb you, not to talk about "it" I'm so sorry , I too experienced miscarriages and I wanted to listen and share hope with you. Yes we have a gift of life when we loose one and another is born , I think of that often with my middle child, what is God going to do with his life because he was so precious after loosing his brother.He turned 29 on the 2nd. He's a great husband and daddy and son any is involved in ministry in his church. Grieving with you for Levi,Praising God for Liam and who he will grow up to be.
Serving the Lord in Ecuador, Diane

Olivia said...

That was beautiful. Thank you for expressing your heart. I know it is hard. I love you and think about you all often. Miss you.

Valerie said...

Thank you for sharing, Stephanie. Thinking of you & your family....