4-14-17

It is a quiet and dark night here in St. Louis. I am laying on my couch under a softly lit lamp and a warm cozy blanket. Emily and Blakely are fast asleep in the bedroom and I can hear the dull pur of the fan. I am sitting here writing this because my dang movie that I rented from ITunes won’t download fast enough. I have been wanting to write for a while and I really wanted to write something today since it is Good Friday, but as the day went along I never made time for it. So now in this quiet, calm and ambient moment I am writing something down (who knows what I will write).

Lately, I have been enjoying moments like these. The moments when my family is safe asleep in the other room and we are all snug away in the comfort of our little basement apartment. I love that I have a little family in a little home. It feels good like a cool glass of milk and warm cookies feels good.  The kind of good feeling that fills and warms the deep center of your body. I am feeling that right now as I write. I feel whole and complete and that this is the way things are supposed to be. My family is safe and sound in a good home with good food and good friends. I am so thankful for moments like these that I just want to stop time and sit in it forever. But sure enough the seconds keep ticking and the night gets darker and darker and sooner or later I will be asleep as well. Then I will wake up to a new day and another day closer to an inevitable moment that felt so far away 9 months ago but is uncomfortably close today.

Any moment now Emily could tell me it is time. Heck she could wake up right now and come out of the bedroom and shout, “Grab the bags, let’s go to the hospital!” Having that thought right now sends butterflies all through my stomach. There is a deep excitement that I feel for the impending birth of Blakely but at the same time a pressing pain. My heart locks up when I think about meeting Blakely face to face. It freezes because it is hurt and blessed all at the same time. It’s like my heart is caught in the middle of a tug of war with death and life pulling at both ends. Right now the rope is held in tension but when Blakely is born the rope is going to stay taught or it is going to go limp. I am so scared that the rope will go limp. I want more than anything for Blakely to live. I do not want her to die and I do not want to see her die. I do not want my family to be broken and crushed. I don’t want to have to bury her and I do not want to say, “Goodbye,” when I just met her, kissed her, held her and snuggled her.  I don’t know what I am going to do if death wins, but I know that I will break. I will cry over and over again and my heart will squeeze and twist and I will feel pierced and hollow.

Over the last few nights my prayer has been, “Father don’t let this happen, please let there be another way!” I am begging God to change the outcome that seems so imminent to the doctors. I am begging him to make this right and I know that he can and I know that he is able, but at the same time I know that he is still good and still God, even if he doesn’t. I write this last sentence realizing the weight of what I am saying – I really do mean it. Even if Blakely dies, God is still God, he is still good and I will still worship him.

If Blakely dies my family will always be incomplete… broken. Every child that we have in the future is 2nd, 3rd, 4th, but never 1st. Every family picture in the future will be a haunting reminder that someone is missing. Every family vacation or family moment will be incomplete because Blakely will not be there. Lately, these thoughts have been making me sad. They have been painful to think about and I have been grieving through these thoughts. Over and over again I keep coming to the same conclusion – this is not the way it is supposed to be.

So here on Good Friday, I want to say, “This is not okay, sin and death are not okay, broken families are not okay and broken people are not okay [pause]… but Jesus.” Let me say that this Good Friday I feel a little closer to the cross than I have ever felt before. It is at the cross where I see someone else’s child die and someone else’s first born pass away. It is at the cross where my God says to me in this moment, “Michael, I know how you feel – my family has been broken, my firstborn passed away – death has scarred me!”

I paused as I wrote this previous sentence, because it is a warm and comforting thought that my God knows what I am feeling. It is sort of like this blanket that surrounds my body and holds me snug. When Jesus died on the cross he wrapped me up and he wrapped my family up and he wrapped Blakely up and declared that we belong to him. There is no where that I could go or nothing that can be done to me that can unravel this love. There is nothing that can be done to Blakely that can unravel his love for her not even death. So two thousand years ago when Jesus died on the cross God projected his voice into the future where it sweetly whispers in my ear tonight in this present moment in my little home with my little family, “It is finished.” No matter what happens in my life it is all complete – I will be made whole again, my family will be made whole again, Blakely will be made whole again, because Jesus died and still lives. This is good and this is something that will keep my heart warm when the nights of my life get even more darker and the quiet gets even more deafening and the cold gets even more bitter.

24 thoughts on “4-14-17

  1. My thoughts and prayers are with Mike and Emily this early morning. As I opened this post, my heart broke again for my niece and her wonderful husband.
    They are truly a special set of parents. Blakely feels their love right now. Dark skies lay on the horizon. This is wrong. Many ask why? Only God knows. What I know it that our God is loving and kind and is with them right now. He is also still in the miracle business. One year ago I was suffering with Leukemia, stage 2. Doctors ordered 6-8 chemo treatments. I was given only 5 years to live. God and I knew better. After only 1 round of chemo, I am now in remission. Praise Him. These two people are the strongest couple I know, stronger than I was, especially their faith. Blakely will be blessed to have them as parents. I pray once again, Lord, please be with these children and give them strength to face the future. We will rejoice with them, cry with them and keep on loving You. Thy will be done. Your uncle and I love you with all our hearts.

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    1. I pray God will give you strength when it is needed. Your perspective is right on. I pray for Blakely to live….if it is the will of God. Only He knows the future and what it holds for us. He will not give us more than we can bear. Let me tell you my story. A story of pain and grief that transformed into a story of love, strength, and faith. My, daughter has a son with Downs Syndrome. We just celebrated his first birthday April 8th. We all knew he had Downs months before he was born. Our anxiety was through the roof. Then we learned that he would need open heart surgery soon after he was born! So needless to say, he spent many months in icu at Shands about 150 miles from home. It was touch and go after surgery, but our little Jesse was a fighter! Oh, my daughter has 3 older children who stayed with my husband and I. She never left Jesse, but she missed her children so much. There is so much more I could say, but I tell you all this to show that hurt and pain and grief are part of our journey, but we must hold on to the love of God through it all!! I was so afraid of what having a grandson with Downs would mean for our family, but that little boy is amazing! We all love him so much because he is so easy to love. He brings a joy that is hard to describe. He is perfect just like he is; just like God intended! God bless your family. I am praying for you all to receive the peace that passes our human understanding.

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  2. Michael, your words and understanding of God’s mercy and grace bring tears to my eyes but also a hope to my heart. I am so sorry that you are having to go through all this that is so difficult but also rejoicing in how the Lord is meeting and teaching you both. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

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  3. I ache for you Mama’s hurting heart. It is so hard when it is our children who must go through suffering. With our words, we cling to “HIS WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS” but our hearts are still broken. Your sweet tender words are beautiful. Love and prayers surround all of you.

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  4. Thank you so much for putting your faith, your pain, your beautiful heart on display. I pray for this crushing weight to be taken off your family & for Blakely to emerge into life whole and healthy. We serve the God of miracles – the miracle may be that someone is brought to Christ through your words, your pain, your experience. That would be a truly magnificent miracle – but I deeply pray for Blakely to defy the doctor’s tests & scans in a miraculous way….for her to be a part of your family here on earth and in Heaven. I saw your precious parents at a funeral yesterday & I marveled at their selfless grace – their presence led to many prayers for sweet Baby Blakely. Please know that you, your family & Baby Blakely are a part of our prayers multiple times per day.

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  5. This is so beautifully written. My wife and I lost our son in January. I know the pain of seeing my newborn lying lifeless in my wife’s arms and the pain on her face. I pray that your baby is the miracle child that will make it. Stay strong, and rely on family and friends during your time of need,they are an invaluable resource. Stay strong, and rely on your faith, and I believe you and Emily will get through this.

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    1. James, I am sorry to hear about your son. This is not the the way it is supposed to be. Things like this should not happen. Thank you for telling me that you know the pain and you know the heart ache. It is good to know that there are people who have walked through this journey. I am praying for you right now – I am sorry brother. Thank you for encouraging my family.

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  6. One of the sentence that stuck out to me, especially since it has just been Easter season is, “Over the last few nights my prayer has been, “Father don’t let this happen, please let there be another way!” I am begging God to change the outcome ” Isn’t this exactly what Jesus cried in the garden while his disciples slept? He too wanted this cup to pass over him so much so…..”And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”……….. Our Lord knows exactly your pain, joy, sorrow, expectation……. You have our prayers. Roorda family

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  7. My 11 year old daughter just told me that she prays for you and your little family every night. She has heard me talk about Emily from time to time…mostly when the subject of Clifford the Big Red Dog comes up 🙂 Emily and I have the same name – Emily Elizabeth. My daughter is Mallory Elizabeth. I told her about baby Blakely and she decided on her own to pray for you…

    I have known Emily since she was about 4 years old. She has always been near and dear to my heart. I will never forget that she was with me on my wedding day right up until it was time to walk down the aisle. I never told her how much that meant to me. I don’t even know if she remembers…it was almost 15 years ago. She has always had such a kind loving spirit and I truly pray that God blesses you in the most miraculous of ways.

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    1. This is so sweet. Thank you for sharing this with us. Tell Mallory we are so thankful for her prayers and that her prayers mean the world to our family. It touches my heart that she has chosen to pray for us of all people. We are truly blessed!

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