This week I attended the memorial service for Ava Harms, a baby in our church who had an early start to life and sadly, an early end. I don't know the Harms family, I only know of them. I have had brief sightings of them; generally around church now and then, on those occasions when we happen to attend the same service. Yet, I feel heartache for them as if we were the closest of friends. Their sweet little girl had a degenerative brain disease that shut down her little body, and they lost her on her first birthday. And although I don't know this incredible family, I can't recall an event in my life that has affected me the way this has. I don't even know them. I've had so many reflections on this sweet baby's death this week that I feel compelled to record my thoughts. I think that this tragedy has changed the way I will mother my children going forward. It has certainly changed the way I've mothered them this week. I don't think I've ever spent hours at a time playing with them, neglecting all other duties and medial pleasures, but this week, I have.
My first, and probably most prominent thought is that I can't fathom how I would function if I lost one of my children. How do you breathe? How do you move? How do you keep on? Each morning since I found out about Ava's passing, I've woken up thinking about Sarah Harms, the mother of sweet Ava, and I've felt this literal heaviness, this severe aching at the loss she must feel every minute of every day. I'm perversely compelled to imagine myself waking up with the nightmare of London being gone, no longer just down the hallway fast asleep in her crib, and the heaviness I feel for Sarah builds, and it suffocates me for a minute or two. (Then I feel selfish for feeling so badly, since I still have my baby in the next room.)
And then I think of their faith in our Heavenly Father. What should be my first thought, is instead my second. I want to have the kind of hope and faith that Sarah and Matt (the parents) have. I think of how the theme of Ava's memorial was God's faithfulness and goodness. I think of how Ava is nestled securely in the arms of Christ right now. I think of how she is made whole. I think of how her little eyes that fluttered open every now and then here on earth, are open wide in Heaven. I think of how we sang "It is Well" (one of my favorite hymns), and "Great is Thy Faithfulness," at her memorial, and how haunting, yet comforting the words were. I think that I want to adore and know my Lord so much more than I do.
And I pray for the kind of love for my Creator that Sarah and Matt have for Him. A love that doesn't understand all, but has faith that God's love is bigger and purer than I can conceive.
Oh Lord, give me a love for you that is greater than all else. The kind of consuming love that allows me to place you above even my children.
My sweet, beautiful, healthy children. Why do I get this and not Sarah? (Another purposeless and futile thought.) There is so much sorrow to balance with so much hope. I don't see clearly, I know I don't, but I want to know your heart oh God. Teach me, show me. And in the meantime, thank you for my Noah and London. Help me to protect the sacred moments you give me with them.