God doesn’t need another Angel

This is going to tick some of you off. That’s okay. Remember this is only my opinion. Hopefully it will get all of us thinking about how we view God and others, especially during difficulty.

Unfortunately, over the past two years I have had several friends go through the agonizing experience of losing a child. Most recently, my beautiful friend Katie. I was so blessed to meet the miracle that was Hallie Lynn Green. I am eternally grateful to Chris and Katie for allowing me into that precious time.

It is every mother’s nightmare. Which is why neurotic mothers, like myself, would get up multiple times once the baby was sleeping through the night and check to make sure he was breathing. Or the first night the baby sleeps waking up with the sun coming through the window and panicking, wondering if when I looked in the crib my child would be lifeless.

Many fear this, but no one actually thinks this will happen to them.

No one is capable of preparing for a loss this deep. No one.

Maybe you have lost a child or know someone who has. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you never will.

However, if you do, please, I am begging you, do not respond to their news by telling them that “God obviously needed another angel.”

Honestly, it’s one of the ridiculous things that Christians say when we are at a loss for words. Friends, it’s okay to be at a loss for words and avoid saying something as asinine as God needing to take someone’s child to add to His choir.

If God needed another angel, why not just create one? The God I know would not allow one of us to experience such intense sadness for the sake of adding to the heavenly host.

I have three babies in heaven. That’s a post for another time, but I can tell you that anytime someone said to me, “Aw, God needed a sweet little angel.” I wanted to punch them in the face.

I cannot imagine serving, loving and worshiping a God that manages the heavens and eternity that way. Can you?

I know that some of you reading this have said these very words to avoid the uncomfortable silence that looms over a conversation this weighty. I’m not calling you an idiot, I’m just asking that you please, be comfortable in the silence. Or, if you are unable to be comfortable, be uncomfortable for those few moments, usually brief, when you express your condolences.

The thing that meant the most to me after losing a baby early in pregnancy, was coming home to find a small vase of beautiful white roses on the doorstep. The card said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

That spoke volumes.

Pardon me while I step down off my soapbox. May you never experience the loss of a child, whether while in the womb or after birth. The pain and void that it leaves is indescribable.

I beg you, if someone close to you does lose a child, or someone you are merely acquaintances with or don’t even know, please don’t tell them that “God needed another angel, so He chose their baby to go back to Heaven.”

Do you have experience walking through this with a friend? Have you lost a child? What is your best advice for someone wanting to provide comfort after something so devastating?

Eternity

It’s something about the early morning that has always felt very sacred to me.

I don’t know if it’s the stillness or the anticipation of the dawn?

I know that the Father feels closer…more attentive. Or maybe I am more attentive?

This morning, I am preparing to attend a memorial service for Hallie Lynn Green.

Her physical life ended on this earth a little more than 4 days after her birth.

However, her legacy will live on.

It’s amazing to think that her life has affected so many people. People who don’t know Chris and Katie and will probably never meet them.

We will all be wearing green bracelets that have the verse from Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knewyou, before you were born I set you apart…” What a powerful verse!

When I read it, I think of the picture that Katie posted of Hallie’s hands while still in the womb. I love this picture. She is a masterpiece.

Throughout the last week, while reflecting on the happenings of this Christmas season and looking ahead to attending the memorial service celebrating this precious life, my mind continually went back to Katie.

Divinity by Sid Dickens

Katie made the ultimate sacrifice.

Katie made the decision, knowing that this pregnancy would bring with it a multitude of uncertainties, to carry Hallie for as long as God would hold her in the womb, with the expectation of having only a few moments with her, if any.

Katie is the one who faced strangers with a smile when they asked about her growing belly and told them of her little Christmas baby.

Katie honored God by trusting Him with the outcome of her obedience.

What incredible faith! She is such an inspiration to me and so many others.

So today, as we celebrate the life of this precious one, we also celebrate her mother, Katie, who has more strength, more faith, more trust and hope, than anyone I have ever known. And without whom, there would have been no Hallie.

Sid Dickens Eternity Memory Block

Please join me in praying that God will draw near to this family today and everyday, as they rejoice that Hallie has eternal security. She is now able to see and hear and her spiritual body is perfect.

Though this cannot lessen the pain of the physical separation, it allows them to look to the future with hope, confident that they will see their baby girl again in Heaven.

I woke up this morning with John 16:33 on my mind. Jesus was talking to His disciples when He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

Today, I bask in the light of the One who has defeated death and conquered the grave. To Him be the glory forever and ever.

The Day I met Hallie…

(I began writing this on Tuesday evening (the 20th) only hours after meeting the newest edition to the little Green family. I have since struggled with whether or not to post it. It is an up close and personal look at my heart and that feels scary.
After several of my friends who don’t know Chris and Katie said that it would give them a better understanding of the whole situation, I decided to share it.
)

Hallie Lynn Green entered the world via c-section on Monday, December 19th, weighing in at just under 5 lbs. and 18 inches long.

Those of us who know and love this family were unsure what to expect. Buckhead Church was on high alert all day as we waited for updates. The air was somber as there were so many uncertainties.

No one anticipated that Hallie would enter this world the way she did. She truly is a miracle. The only way I can tell you about the experience (through my own eyes), is by writing Hallie this letter.

Dear Precious One,

You are so strong. There were many expectations set for you and you have exceeded them all! You are so amazing!

I had the honor of meeting you today.
You are beautiful.
You are a fighter.
You are light in a dark world.

I, along with so many others have been praying for you since we first knew of your existence in your mother’s womb.

I spent many days praying for a miracle, that the doctors were wrong, that God would show off by defying all odds.

I prayed that you would be healthy and whole.
I pleaded with the Father for what I thought was the happy ending.

He had other plans.

You are a miracle, Darling. You are tangible evidence of a God we can’t see, but trust is there. You are the product of faith lived out.

As I looked at your perfectly round head that fit in the palm of my hand, I marveled at this tiny masterpiece that God had knit together. How silly of me to think that my plans were better than His! How utterly foolish to pray anything other than, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

His ways are not my ways, little one. I can say with great certainty that He knows the end of the story.

At times I want to turn the book to the last page so that I am not surprised by the ending, but that is not how the Master works. The story unfolds as it’s happening and He is never surprised.

Let me tell you a little bit about your mommy. She is one of the bravest women I have ever known. She has shown us all what unconditional love really means. From the beginning, her faith never wavered. She has been a testimony of faithfulness, trust, selflessness and grace.

She trusted the Father implicitly. As her belly grew and people would ask about gender and due date and all of the things they tend to ask a perfect stranger, your mom would smile and say, she’s a Christmas baby.

She has an immeasurable amount of strength and courage. It is evident, my darling, that you too have an immense amount of courage and strength. Thus giving you the nickname “Little Fighter.” That’s what we call you in our house. The boys came up with that name. I think it’s perfect.

I couldn’t get too far into this letter without telling you about your daddy too. He has been strong for you, your mom and your sisters. He has exuded confidence in the promise of God’s word. He has documented, through some amazing pictures, your development in your mother’s womb. He has prayed for you since your conception.

It is not without difficulty that your daddy has walked through this. Men, by nature, are fixers. He could not “fix” this. He could not ensure your safety, he could not plan further than the 24 hours in front of him. He could not protect your mommy’s heart from the uncertainties of the day.

So he did what he knew he could do. He provided a safe place when your mommy needed to cry. He offered stability in the midst of uncertainty. He trusted God with a child that he knew was His to begin with.

There have been many, many tears. These tears encompass the entire emotional spectrum. Disbelief, anger, sadness, acceptance, happiness, confusion, lack of understanding…the list goes on and on little one and it will continue to grow.

Here is what I know, at the end of the day, the Father’s hand has never left you.
As I sit here pouring out what has been so difficult to verbalize, I ask the Father for wisdom and discernment. I ask Him to guide me in the coming days as I selfishly wish for a “Hallie update” every 5 minutes. I ask that He help me when I don’t know what to say, not to say anything at all. There is often times understanding in silence.

You are a blessing, Precious One. A gift. A beautiful example of what God can do when we listen and accept His will for our lives. You’re mommy has taught me so much about what real faith looks like. For that, I am eternally grateful.

There are people on this earth, those who will never meet you or your family and yet they will be in heaven because of the impact that your life has already made.

As I close this letter, I am listening to the rain hit the leafless branches on the trees, as it pours from the sky. I believe that God acknowledges the heaviness of heart in different ways. I would like to think that today, He is showing me in a very tangible way, that He is acknowledging mine.

Love and Light,

A Not so Silent Night

As I think about Christmas, the gifts, the fellowship, the stress….the birth of Christ, I am overwhelmed by the incredible truth that Jesus came as a human being, knowing that he would have to experience the pain of this world and one day take it all on himself so that we could live…

Being a mother of 3, I can’t help but think of Mary. I thought of her more last year than I ever have…until this year.

With a beautiful friend spending the next 24 hours (give or take a few) with her baby girl in her womb, knowing that once she is born, her life will be short, I am flooded with all kinds of emotions. Most I am unable to articulate.

My heart is heavy. Knowing from firsthand experience that a mother’s heart is never prepared to let her child go.

So my mind races with thoughts of what Monday will look like for Katie.

I think of her husband and her two daughters, how they will be affected, what they will be feeling. However, it isn’t the same. A mother spends more than 9 months feeling this little life move inside her womb. She talks to her, sings to her, names her (Hallie), pats her belly as if to say, “I’m here and I love you already”. There is nothing to prepare her to let her go…

Mary knows what it is like to lose a child.

The perspective of a mother watching her beautiful baby boy smile and coo knowing in her heart that one day she would also watch him die. I can’t fathom it.

I think of her, watching her precious little one (the Savior of the world) run around outside, playing and laughing, the sun reflecting off of his hair as she thinks, “When Lord? When will it be? How much time do I have?”

Over the weekend, Chris and I took our boys and a friend’s daughter (who we love to pieces) to the Nature Center. They love it there. I had to be all but dragged as Friday is my pajama pants day. I threatened Christopher with wearing pj pants in public, but he didn’t seem the least bit concerned.

Once we got there and realized that we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves, I was able to exhale.

The beautiful flowers and plants that we had seen blooming only weeks ago were now brown and leaves covered the ground. The signs of fall were all but gone and winter was announcing its arrival.

It’s amazing how different the exact same tree looked, stretching to the sky with its now naked branches.

It was an overcast day, but the sky still looked amazing and the breeze was just enough. It was as if God was acknowledging sadness.


I loved hearing the kiddos squeal with delight as they ran through the crunchy leaves, stopping only to climb on a rock or pick up a stick to throw into the river.

I watched them look in amazement at all the different creatures along our path. The dirt was even fascinating to their young minds. Their imaginations were taking them to far off places with invisible swords and maidens in distress. Where the good guy always wins and rides off with the girl.

As I watched their interactions…their complete lack of concern for time…the looks on their faces as they ran around corners, stopping at each clearing to see if there were fish surfacing the water…my mind went back to Mary.


Did she watch Jesus play this way? Laughing and jumping? Throwing rocks and sticks into the water as he called to his siblings?

Did he know from the beginning the enormity of his glory? Or was he able to maintain that child like wonder? His father is God after all! The Creator of the Universe.

When looking at my own sons, it’s rather difficult to take in.

Did Jesus scrape his knees and have common childhood illness’? Did he run to his mother for comfort?

What if he had come as he deserved? There would have been no Bethlehem. There would have been no animals or Shepherds at his birth. There would have been no Mary.

But he didn’t come as he deserved. He came as a helpless infant.

I’m guessing that Mary experienced the pain that childbirth brings that is like no other pain in the world. And that when Jesus was born, it was not a silent night. I’m guessing that she screamed out under the labor of giving birth and that Jesus cried, as every healthy baby does, after being delivered.

I would also guess that his father, Joseph, was the doctor and the nurse. There probably weren’t many midwives on the streets of Bethlehem that night.

So why? Why did he enter the world this way? Or at all for that matter? You have to admit, it’s a strange way to save the world.

I think he did it so that when I look at my son, I realize what an incredible sacrifice was made. I can relate to the pain of giving birth. I can relate to watching my babies grow and thanking God for the time with them and the incredible gift that they are.

There really wasn’t any other way.

There are many, many things that I do not and will not understand in this life.
That’s okay. I’m not called to understand, I’m called to believe.

So in the case of sweet Katie and baby Hallie, I have to believe what a friend said in prayer the other day… that little Hallie’s life has already had more of an impact than many of us will make in a lifetime. Another said that the only reality she will ever know is Heaven. (Now that is a beautiful visual)

The difficult part is not for those who go meet the Savior. It is for those of us who are left behind with the unanswered questions and a sadness that aches as if it will never heal.

How do those without God do it?! How does one who does not believe in a Savior (other than themselves) survive pain that is so unjustifiable? I cannot wrap my mind around it.

In the Father I have a promise of something more than this world. That is what keeps me hanging on during the rough moments.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

In this world there will be sorrow. For those of us who know that this world is not our home, we cling to the truth, that a man, Jesus, came as a baby in a wooden manager filled with hay and then died on a cross made from a tree (one that his father had created), taking all of our guilt, shame and defects, upon himself so that we may not perish, but have everlasting life.

I look forward to meeting Mary and talking with her as one mom to another.