The past two months have been hard. Well, even longer than that, but especially the past two months.
We’ve been dealt a blow regarding our son, Titus James. Without going into great detail, it is enough to say that he has some brain abnormalities and we do not yet know what all that will mean for his life and abilities, or even the length of his life. The doctor tells us that we should do as much as we can to help him grow and develop, regardless of how bad it might be, and so, between doctor visits and lots of testing, that’s what we’ll do.
This has been a hard and bitter providence as we’ve contemplated the grim worst case scenarios told to us by the doctors. I feel as though I’m on the Dawn Treader in Narnia in the Lone Islands approaching the terrifying darkness: The Island Where Dreams Come True, and the terror sets in as we realize, just as Lucy and Edmund and Eustace did, it’s really our worst nightmare come true. I cannot contemplate anything worse on this earth than losing a child.
Regarding this possibility, I’ve moved from grief to denial to grief to hope to grief to denial to grief to acceptance and so on. I am slowly getting some footing, for today at least. Our journey with Titus is largely hidden from us. We don’t know what it will be, we don’t have a concrete diagnosis, we don’t understand all that’s going on in his brain. But I’m finding real comfort in remembering that God does know all these things. Nothing is hidden from him.
And here’s what I know for myself: I know that tomorrow I’m going to get up and love Titus and each one of the people under our roof. Tomorrow I’m going to fix food and teach little people and get my oldest to her orthodontist appt. I’m going to do tummy time and sweep the floor and have the fireplace going. I’m going to light a candle and put on Christmas music and really smile at each of the kids. And I’m going to cherish every moment with the baby son that I longed for and prayed for and was finally given. He is a tender undeserved gift.
And some days I’m just going to scrape by and dinner won’t be made and the house will be a mess and I’ll rewash the same load of laundry in the washer for a week because I’m too tired and sad and overwhelmed to figure out how to get it to the dryer. And no matter which type of day I’m having, my God will still be kindhearted.
I also know that we can’t walk this road alone. The past few months have felt lonely, lonely because we knew even less than we know now–just a vague: something’s not right. And how do you ask for prayer for that? Most people just want to convince you that everything’s fine. And I wanted to believe it so badly.
So, I will write about this trial, when I have the ability. I’ll ask for prayers. I’ll accept the (beautiful undeserved) support from God’s people who love us and love Titus, I’ll share as much of my heart as I’m able. And when I’m not, I’ll still be here, probably more in need than ever. But the Lord has not forgotten us. He has not forsaken us. Our pastor quoted part of this passage today and it was a balm:
“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.
But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..” Is. 49:13-16
No, just as I can never forget for one millisecond my nursing son, even more so the Lord cannot and will not forget us. So whenever I’m feeling despair, I will remember that the Lord has compassion on his afflicted. He has graven us on his hands. He’s written our names in a Book. He became weak for us: the weak. He became helpless for us: the helpless. And he loves this son of mine immeasurably. He made my son in His own image and because of Titus, my picture of God is becoming more of who He really is. I have a lot to learn.