Last Thursday I hung up the phone with Gene to answer the other line. The caller I.D. let me know it was our 8 year old daughter Alivia calling. Since school had been out for 10 minutes, I knew she would ask me where her Daddy was so I answered the phone with an enthusiastic "Hi Liv! Daddy just pulled up to your school".
She quietly said okay, but then said, "Mom, guess what?
A boy in 4th grade, Logan...his mom went to wake him up this morning for school and he died."
Gene said it was so sad as they were walking to his truck she started telling him what her principal had shared with them and she just started to cry really hard. She wasn't friends with Logan, but did know who he was in this small school. Her sweet self was just so sad for him and his Mom and Dad.
And she couldn't grasp how he just didn't wake up.
He was fine on Wednesday and dead on Thursday with no explanation.
Later that night she said, "Mom, just think about that...dying so young. It's just so sad."
So we talked about how if she were to die where she would go and she smiled at the thought of being with Jesus. I smiled too, but inside I was ready to burst into tears at the mere thought of losing her.
That night Alivia was in no rush to go to sleep.
And the fact that she was up an hour after her bedtime remained unspoken by both her Dad and I. Along with many of her schoolmates, the fear of going to sleep and not waking up in the morning was running through Alivia's mind.
Logan had so much life to live. He had talked about how excited he was about the carnival the school's PTO was having Friday night.
He had plans and death was not one of them.
We've had kids in this school for over 10 years now and so I called my friend Tammy after Alivia went to bed. Alyssa and Aaron both had Tammy as their 4th grade teacher and she has told us that she'll make sure she gets Alivia next year. But this year, Logan was blessed to have her as his teacher.
She told me as Logan was walking out of her classroom Wednesday afternoon, he turned around and said, "Ms. Schaefer, can I have a hug?"
Her response was "Of course you can Logan" and with her arms opened wide to receive him they hugged each other tight.
For the last time.
Tammy would've never let go if she had any idea of what was coming.
But that's just it...we have no idea what tomorrow holds.
In the book of James chapter 4 verse 14, James bluntly asks us a question:
What is your life?
But before we can think of some intelligent meaningful definition to describe our life, he bluntly answers the question for us:
You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Oh. Okay, I wouldn't have chosen those words to describe my life, but okay.
Before that though, James makes a simple statement before asking and answering his own question above:
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
Okay, so to break it down, we are pretty much clueless about 24 hours from now and our life is here for awhile then just vanishes. Just a mist.
I think of when I iron something and I press that steam button and a burst of mist comes out and then just like that it is gone.
That's how James described our lives. And since all Scripture is God-breathed, that means the Almighty Editor approved James' description that is sure to knock anyone off their pedestal of importance.
So what are we supposed to do with that information?
I can see why people choose to live under the motto of, "you only live once".
I mean, really, what's the point?
Especially if that mist only is here to see 9 years.
99 is much easier to accept than 9 short lived years.
Here today, gone tomorrow.
When I think of the loss of Logan in the 4th grade, how am I supposed to tuck my Alivia into bed each night and trust I'll see her alive in the morning?
How do I sleep at night believing that tonight she'll be doing cartwheels at gymnastics instead of lying lifeless in a morgue?
The truth of it is, I don't know anything. I can plan all I want to. I can stay up all night and make sure she doesn't stop breathing, but the bottom line is, there is only One who knows how many days this child has on earth. And He, not me is in control.
But if I'm real honest here, knowing that God is fully aware of the date and time of when Alivia will push out her last breath doesn't make this God loving Momma sleep any better.
See, I want some kind of assurance here Jesus.
I want to know that I will never have to bury any of my children because in case You didn't know...parents DO NOT bury their children. It is not natural and it is not fair.
This classified information You're keeping to Yourself of when a child's life won't be lengthy...not cool.
A single mom isn't supposed to tickle her 9 year old son in an attempt to wake him only to find him unresponsive... forever.
A mother and blogger named Sumi isn't supposed to be thousands of miles away on vacation from her husband in her home country only to pull her precious 3 year old princess Jenna's lifeless body out of a pool.
A fellow blogger named Mel, who used to share her fashion expertise with us isn't supposed to find out her 12 year old boy Andrew has brain cancer and 3 months later be forced to plan his celebration of life.
NOT supposed to happen this way Lord.
All the time. Everyday.
And after hearing of such tragedies, those of us with our kids still alive, cry for the Mom left without her child to hug or kiss. Our hearts sincerely ache for her.
Then we hug our kids tighter and kiss them more than usual for a few days and we selfishly and quietly plead with God to never let her heartache become ours.
We watch her at the funeral and wonder...how is she even coping, eating, surviving this loss and we mourn for her mother to mother.
But we do not want to know her pain firsthand.
I have never met little Logan's mom before so I have no idea of what she knows of Jesus.
But the other two women, I've read their hearts on their blogs and realize that they cope because of Jesus. They have hope as they focus on Jesus.
Sumi misses her Jenna
And Mel her Andrew,
but as much as both Moms want their children with them, they both know that their children are now with Jesus.
Does it make life easier for them...both would probably tell you no, but as hard as life without their children is each day, it is Him Who they keep leaning and crying out to and praising.
In March, Sumi wrote these words: I surrendered Jenna to him again. I told him it’s OK. I am OK with her being with him. My heart is still broken, but at moments like these, all I know is the most indescribable peace. It truly defies words.
And Mel wrote this just yesterday: I am finding grief to be an unpredictable emotion. I smile, laugh, cry and experience disbelief all in a matter of minutes. Sometimes I simply cannot believe that Andrew had brain cancer and died. A year ago this time, he was skateboarding, doing his artwork, and rushing through his math assignments. Knowing we will all be together in Eternity pulls me through many rough and rocky moments. Because, truly, this life is only a breath.
Last night I crawled in bed with Alivia and just held on to her.
When I was holding her and kissing her cheeks I wanted it to last forever and yet I know that the only thing that can stand up to Forever is Jesus Christ Himself. And without Him, tragedy or not, this life is impossible.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that of course, I don't ever want to experience life without any of my kids or grand kids, but I know if I was forced onto that path...I will make it.
Only because I serve a God that is worth anything.
As I type that last sentence above I type it with much confidence as I have the background noise of my daughter's exhaling and inhaling escaping from her bedroom.
But what if it was complete silence pressing in on me and her bedroom was suddenly empty like Jenna's, Andrew's and now Logan's? What if her final day on earth was too soon? What if every mother's nightmare became my reality?
Would I still be able to tell you that I serve a God worth anything?
I only hope that if God were to allow my world to not just shake, but to tremble, that HE is Who I would still choose to worship, even through the deepest pit of pain....
just like Sumi and Mel are doing.
Two beautiful women...two beautiful children...One worthy God.
We love You, sweet Jesus and we know you love us.
Yes, Jesus loves me...the Bible tells me so.
Click here to visit Sumi's blog and hear her sweet 3 year old Jenna singing
"Jesus Loves Me" and listen at the end to what she says to her Mom...beyond precious.
And please click here to visit Mel's blog and read
that he really wants you to get.
Be blessed by both of these beautiful children of God.
And also by their hurting, yet God loving Moms.
Two women who take being faithful to God to a whole new level.