At Ben's Celebration Service, our pastor shared 1 Thessalonians 4:13. That as Christians, we "do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope."
Hope. Such a powerful word.
We grieve. Yes, we grieve. We cry, remember, laugh, celebrate, sob, and hurt. Christians feel the same emotions as the rest of the world. We are human. But we are also Christ-followers. And our God has conquered death. And we have the promise of heaven if we decide to surrender the control of our lives that He asks.
Because we belong to Him, we have Hope.
I remember having a shirt in high school that read: "No Jesus, No hope. Know Jesus, Know Hope."
This is our hope: Ben is in heaven. We will see him again. And we still have a God-given purpose to fulfill while we are still here on earth.
Without the possibility of hope, I would have crumbled months ago. I wouldn't have had a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I wouldn't have been able to let the funeral home carry Ben's old body out of my house the evening he breathed his last. I wouldn't have been able to let them bury him in the ground. Because I have hope, I know that this was not "the end" for our son. It was just the beginning.
I'm learning that it's okay to cry. To grieve. To mourn. The reason we grieve so much is just a reflection of how much we loved Benjamin. We feel his loss. We miss him being an active and physical part of our family. And that's alright. But rather than dismiss the pain, seal it away in a jar... we need to accept it. Welcome it. And see it as a part of healing. Because we will be with Ben again and for him, it will have felt like only a few minutes since he had seen us last.
Hope. It makes all the difference.
I saw a picture of hope today at my doctor's office. Her name is undecided, but even at only 24 weeks gestation, she is definitely a Sauer and she is just beautiful.
Through everything - the heartache, the pain, the anguish - God chose to bless us with another life. Even before we had learned of Ben's diagnosis. Perhaps God knew we would have needed this gift from the beginning. And we couldn't be more honored.
I will admit, though, that I'm a little scared. Having had gone through the events of the past few months, there's a part of us that would like to think that we're somehow exempt from future trials. That we've "paid our dues" and are now officially off-the-hook from any hardship that may occur in the future. But we know better. God never guaranteed that. In fact, He guaranteed the opposite: that we would have trouble here on earth. But to take heart, He has overcome the world!
We don't have much choice as to what happens to us here on earth. The only choice we have is how we react to it.
It requires a little more faith than I feel like I have most times. But I'm learning to trust. To let go. And give God permission to continue to use us as He sees fit. I don't expect to get it right every single day. But that's my goal, that's where I'm headed. And by God's grace, I know He'll guide me in the right direction. One day at a time.
For now, I choose to celebrate the God of Life, who richly hands out miracles on a daily basis. One of my miracles is comfortable in heaven. Two are sleeping soundly upstairs. And the other is quite cozy at 1 pound, 11 ounces, kicking her mommy from the inside.
Wow. How lucky can a girl be.