04 October 2010

. . . even if he does not . . .

 . . . even if he does not . . . 

A little over two years ago, three beautiful women and I spent a beautiful, heart-searching, restful, exciting time together. I'd seen all of them before, in college, but we didn't know each other until we met blogging.

When we came together, we were all at crucible times in our lives. There were big decisions, daily struggles, important questions, and we came together not to find answers or to make it better, but to figure out, together, how to live in the pain, the crunch, the stress of that place.

We found community. We found rest and forgiveness and a place where we could each be ourselves in the fullness of what that means. We found that a community God had joined together could be strong, even if it didn't make sense, even though some of us hadn't been sure we should really get on that plane, go, and reach out.

Kirsten was one of those women. It was her home we invaded, her food we ate, her wine we drank, her town we explored and came to love.

Eleven days ago, I stayed up late to pray for her son. Ewan was born beautiful, and with a broken heart. Eleven days ago, so many around the world gave up sleep and work and prayed him through a surgery even the doctors weren't sure he'd survive.

Over the last eleven days, I have cried great tears. I've prayed, beseeched, sent love and peace and rest and clarity and strength. I've spoken words and simply told God that he has to pray for me because I can't find the right language to say anything at all.

Last night, we prayed again. I fell asleep with Ewan's name on my lips and woke with it in the same place. But he was gone by the time I rose, safe in Jesus' arms, knowing love the rest of us only imagine.


I've looked at pictures of him off and on all day. I love his spirit, how he knows his mama and the baby wisdom in his eyes. I've focused on the photo above, where he sees her eyes and grips her finger. This was a precious baby, a loved baby, a little one who knew who held him and how secure that hold was. When I remember Ewan, I'll remember that.

And I'm left with a phrase that came from that special weekend two years ago. Three men, about to be thrown into a fiery furnace because they wouldn't worship falsely, asked if they were really that committed to their God. Could he save them?

They replied that he could, that he was great and worthy and he could do it. But even if he did not, they would choose to follow him. Even if he let them die in the heat and the flames, the would choose him every time. Even if he didn't show up, even if they looked like fools, even if he let the situation play out without any intervention, they had made their choice.

Eleven nights ago, God intervened. He made a miracle. Last night, he did not. But even here, even when he did not, my friend is choosing hope. That's no small statement. That's a huge, world-shattering statement, and a precious, tender one, too. What a legacy for the tiny one they love so much!

Pray for Kirsten and for James, as they bear this burden, as they bear pain and emptiness and the weight of questions I cannot imagine. I wish I could hold her tonight.

These last two weeks, walking alongside in my small way, following from afar a story that had taken up residence in my heart, has changed me. I don't know how yet. But I know this: my friend has a heart that can say even if he does not . . . and I aspire to have that heart, too.

12 comments:

terri said...

i don't know how you did this. i feel like i can't find words at all but you've found just the right ones. i love you sarah, and i love how you've honored kirsten and her little one here in this space.

kirsten michelle said...

Sarah, thank you for this offering. I thought of this phrase too and another that reminds me of it:

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

My heart chooses it freely, even though my arms are aching with emptiness, and even though I the memory of the smell and feel of him is fading. My heart hurts like it never has before, and yet ... thanking God for the grace of being able to say in all honesty: even if He does not ...

I love you so much.

Courtney Holder said...

Thank you Sara for sharing this story. I love the hope and light that flows from Kristen. I'm so sad about Baby Ewan.

Jennifer said...

I love you, Sarah. Thanks for encouraging all of us with your precious words.

Daniel said...

I'm a friend of Kirsten's through my sister Rebecca Redin. I don't know whether you happen to know her or not but that's how I found this blog.

The verse that you centered your dedication around, "even if he does not," is amazing and very much gripped me as that is one bible verse that has been ringing in my ears since Ewan's birth. Thank you for providing such a beautiful commentary to that special verse. I'm encouraged to see tender believers (such as you) surrounding James and Kirsten with love during this difficult time.

blessings!

Nadine said...

So beautiful! You have a way with words! I don't know how she's doing it but she is an amazingly strong woman and I look up to her for that more than she'll ever know!!

christianne said...

Oh my gosh, Sarah. I have goosebumps all over my arms and tears in my eyes. I am so thankful for the way you recalled this phrase that became so meaningful to us on that special, unforgettable weekend.

This is such a beautiful tribute to a woman we both love fiercely and the babe we've all come to adore.

Dear sweet Jesus, hold Kirsten and James in your arms. It brings me gladness to know Ewan is right there with you, Jesus, holding them too.

mircat said...

THANK YOU for expressing these thoughts so beautifully, Sarah. You've captured what I've been struggling to articulate throughout this experience.

Sarah said...

Terri - And yet these words feel so paltry, feel like trying to offer a handful of sand and finding it has slid out of your fingers. Thank you, and love to you, too.

Kirsten - I love you, too, today and always.

Courtney - Kirsten radiates light, doesn't she, even now. It IS amazing.

Jennifer - You're welcome. And thanks so much for stopping by. I love to see you here.

Daniel - I do know Rebecca - among other things, we were in England the same semester. It seems many minds are running along similar tracks - even if he does not . . . Thank you for being here, too.

Nadine - Thank you for your sweet words and your love for my friend. She is strong and amazing, and I love watching her continually choose a strong and amazing God.

Christianne - And I, in turn, have tears reading your comment. Thank you for loving Kirsten so well - it's so beautiful to see.

Mircat - You're welcome, though the words, many times, are as much not mine as they are mine. Some days, Jesus speaks through these fingers. Bless you as you grieve this, too.

di said...

such knowing words...
they're touching a deep place for sure. love you all and how you love each other so well.

Kelly Langner Sauer said...

I've been weeping for weeks over Kirsten, broke on Saturday with her post about "if you need to go home, Ewan, it's okay too..." I didn't know what to pray, but to just lift them up to God...

I am changed through this. Because He did not; and He did. I will never be the same...

Leslie said...

Yes. Even if He does not. I think that heart is only put within us by His grace. I am looking at little Ewan's face full of love for his mother. It is so obvious. Like he knew, somehow, and understood, somehow, and looked a lifetime of love through those precious baby eyes. Weeping with you and your dear friend this morning.