Sometimes Super Bowl Sunday has more than just football. Sometimes we get to celebrate babies and rainbows instead!
Baby Reign was a rainbow baby, and this Sunday we were gathering together for her baby shower.
For those gathering, especially for my friend Maggie and her husband Michael, it was a day that we had all been praying for, and dreamed about with such hope. Yet at times it still seemed impossible that it would soon be real.
There we were: celebrating a baby they wanted with all their hearts. At the same time, remembering another beautiful baby, her big sister.
Why rainbows on Superbowl Sunday?
“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 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 couple years before this Sunday celebration. A baby I had come to love and look forward to (Willow, Reigns big sister), a baby I could see so 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.
The overflow of emotion in such a vast range of shades was almost impossible to discern, as heads tried to make sense of the indescribable pain hearts were feeling. And there was that pain our bodies can’t even process or figure out what to do with it.
So shock set in….
And we stayed there for a bit…
While her absence was screaming so loud, laying bare and raw an ineffable pain.
But 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, the day had arrived.
We were celebrating two lives. A life that had touched us deeply, even though she had only stayed with us for four hours on Earth. And we were celebrating the life of her new baby sister, Reign, who we pray and speak in faith will have a long, fulfilling, and purposeful life.
These babies were teaching us something so profound and contradictory:
They were teaching us that we can love and hurt at the same time. That we can trust in the midst of pain, and not just 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.
She was and is loved by God.
Because it is not about us, but it is all about HIM. HIS plans, purposes, and glory.
Is that just thoughtless “Christian-ese”?
That type “Christian-ese” that people give us in times of loss.
How do we process verses like Jeremiah 29:11-12 when we loose someone:
“’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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.’” – Jeremiah 29:11-12
It seems contradictory, sarcastic, or even hypocritical in times of loss. Sometimes people throw it out there because they don’t know what else to say when you loose something.
And you just want to tell them to take that verse and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.
Because it doesn’t resonate with our deep pain.
But, somehow, baby Reign is teaching us about the power of grace and the depths of love. The love of our Father and the love HE places in our hearts.
A love that heals.
A love that is joyful.
A love that learns to wait, and to be still. That rejoices for others’ victories in the midst of our own brokenness.
A love that is gentle. That always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
I cannot wait to see what else we will learn from this gift from GOD. And in time, maybe we will learn a little more about the mystery of pain and loss.