I’m entering the neurotic stage of my pregnancy, where a significant portion of my mental energy is consumed every day with monitoring those (still elusive) baby movements and fretting about how many more hours (if any) I will get with Baby Four. If I had my way, I’d spend my day on the couch eating ice cream and waiting for the baby to kick, but alas: I’m responsible for the daily care and keeping of two active children. I’m making plans for beginning our homeschool year in two weeks. Not to mention that my emotional energy is continually diverted to more urgent needs: the ongoing struggle of our extended family in a fight against cancer, lonely friends with husbands deployed overseas, an unbelievable number of our friends who have recently received bad news from doctors.
I’ve had several days recently where I’ve felt like my heart can’t hold all the sadness, much less have any room for celebrating daily gifts or savoring the big joys of a baby on the way and our last family wedding coming up in October.
It was timely, then, to take a break from my fretting to plan a third birthday dinner for “baby” Sam…the child who has taught me almost everything I know about faith and hope and resting in God’s sovereignty.
July 15 reminds me that we’ve faced grief before; we testify that God sustains us through unimaginable circumstances and that it is not just spiritual euphemism to say “we rejoice in our suffering,” knowing that the Lord of Hosts is on his throne overseeing every detail, even as he is Abba Father walking with us step by step along our dark path.
On Tuesday, we celebrated Sam’s birthday with another feast. My favorite moment was sitting with our family around the table, singing “Be Still My Soul” together with a stronger faith than when we sang it at Sam’s memorial service.
What precious, sustaining words (a thick rope, indeed!) to remember in these fretful and uncertain days:
Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
Today we studied the story of Hannah and Samuel at our ladies’ Bible study, and it sealed in the lesson. Samuel means “God hears,” and we know he does. Sometimes he answers our prayers by removing our burdens, and sometimes he bears us up beneath them. But we know that he hears our prayers and keeps our tears in bottles; he is near to us when we rejoice and when our hearts break.
These reminders are my daily comfort as we walk in the shadow of What Might Come, as we choose to get up and plan for the future and count gifts, all the while believing that truly, all is grace.