Sunday was a day for celebration. Even though it was Super Bowl Sunday, our celebration was bigger, more meaningful. For us all, especially for my friend Maggie and her husband Michael, It was a day that we had all been praying for, and dreamed with such hope that at times it seemed like an impossibility that it would soon be ours, but here we were: celebrating a baby we wanted with all our hearts. Their rainbow baby Reign had been sent to us and we were gathering together for her baby shower.
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. – Genesis 9:13-15
I will never forget the text I got that October 6th. A baby I had come to love and look forward to, a baby I could see clearly playing, hugging and growing alongside mine, had been born and just as suddenly as she came, Willow was taken away to live her life forever in Heaven. These kinds of things don’t happen, I mean, not to us, not so close to home… do they? Willow’s parents certainly don’t deserve it! after all, they adopted a baby with Down Syndrome from Bulgaria… why would HE do this to them?
The overflow of emotion in such a vast range of shades was almost impossible to discern, as our heads were trying to make sense of the indescribable pain our hearts were feeling. We learned that there is such a pain that our bodies really can’t even process what to do with it, and so we went into shock…. and we stayed there for a bit… while her absence was screaming so loud, laying bare and raw this ineffable pain.
Then, there was hope. In the most astounding of braveries, Willow’s parents decided to give this kind of love a second chance, and that’s when our journey into hoping, and dreaming again, begun.
And finally this day came, we are celebrating both the life that touched us so deeply even though she only stayed with us for four hours on Earth, and her baby sister, who we pray and speak in faith will have a long, fulfilling, purposeful life. These babies are teaching us that we can love and hurt at the same time, that we can trust in the midst of pain, and not in the absence of it. Willow’s life, though short, was powerful, teaching us that no matter what we do, we can’t ever earn GOD’s love or lose it, because it is not about us, but it is all about HIM, HIS plans, purposes, and Glory.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:11-12
Reign is teaching us now the power of grace, and the depths of love, both the love of our Father and the love HE places in our hearts, a love that heals, that is joyful. A love that learns to wait, to be still. A love that rejoices for other’s victories in the midst of our own brokenness. A love that is gentle. A love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes always perseveres. I cannot wait to see what else we will learn from this gift from GOD.