I was flipping through a devotional that I began over the summer (but unfortunately haven't finished). It's David: 90 Days with a Heart Like His, by Beth Moore. It's amazing and I highly recommend it. My plan was to start it on June 1st and end it on September 1st. And then I was going to do the Jesus: 90 Days with the One and Only devotional from September 1st through December 1st, just in time for Christmas. Great plan, right? Okay, so it didn't happen. I'm still on David. But I'm not giving up, I'll just keep on truckin'. (By the way, click on this link if you want to see those devos.)
Anyway, sometime in early to mid-June I was on Day 5 (hey, I'm being honest. I could've said it was June 5th and that I was right on track). I was reading about Hannah praying for Samuel and ultimately giving him to the Lord.
Near the end Beth asked this question, "What works the hardest against your heartfelt desire for your children to be used by God in whatever way He chooses and desires?"
My answer was this: "I just can't stand the thought of them being taken from me. I wouldn't knowingly put them in dangerous situations - but God might! That scares me. The thought of them dying and being taken from their earthly home, even in the context of it being for God's glory, is unbearable to think about. But it happens. I just want them to be safe and happy and healthy, but I know God's plan doesn't always mean those things."
I had no idea that in just a few short months I would indeed be giving my child over to God. When we kissed Joshua's cheek and handed him over to the nurse, sobbing and feeling so empty, we recognized that it was the Lord we were giving our son to. I might've handed him over almost eight weeks ago, but I feel like I've done it every day since. Not a single day has gone by that I've not revisited the day we lost him. The burden of losing our son is so great - too great to do alone. Every day I have had to give my sorrow to the Lord and lean on Him.
Hannah prayed for a son that she vowed to give over to the Lord for all the days of his life. She did so during his life, not his death, but I still feel a similarity. Day 5 of this David devotional really stuck with me, and I know it's no accident that I read it. I think it was preparing my heart for what was to come. Hannah gave Samuel over to do great things for the Lord, and I know that Joshua's short life has brought glory to God as well. Gary even shared with me the other night that he's almost thankful for what happened because of what the result has been. We've grown closer and stronger in our marriage, we've become aware of the loving community surrounding us and have learned how to love others as a result, and we've been able to share our testimony and dependence on God through our strife. Even at my MOPS group on Tuesday morning I was able to share briefly what happened, but it opened the door to talk to other moms who are hurting. I was surprised by the number of moms who spoke with me afterward, either relating their own experiences or just thanking me for opening their eyes to the hurt others have been through.
I ended Day 5 ended with this prayer: "Thank you for today's lesson, Lord. What a good and faithful mom Hannah was. Please show me how to pass my faith on to my children and teach them about You every day. It's a scary calling with HUGE responsibilities. Help me to be a mom like Hannah who willing hands my children over to you."
Joshua's death wasn't my idea. But even had he lived, I would've had to hand him over to God, just like I try to do with the girls daily. I can only continue to pray what I did back in June, that I can be like Hannah, and give my children over to the Lord willingly. It's kind of hard to swallow the fact that back in June God knew Joshua would die. But He's a good God, whose purpose in taking Joshua wasn't malicious. He put this devotional in my hands in time for His truth to marinate my heart before my world was shaken. He knew.