Monday, September 15, 2014

We are the same.

Matthew 11:28
Come to me, ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

I watch her from across the room.
Her curly blonde locks poking out of her dark knit hat.
His little body is still, quiet, sleeping.
She stands close to the cold, white steel bars that close in around her baby.
She gently touches his tiny hand, rubbing it back and forth, being careful not to touch the tubes and wires going in and out of his body.
Her lips do not move, but I see her deep breaths go in and out every few minutes, as she does her best to hold back the tears.
Her smooth flawless skin reveals her youth. She is young, very young.

It's the day of our little guy's cardiac surgery.
His body is motionless, quiet, still, sleeping, paralyzed under medication.
I stand next to the cold, white steel bars that close around my baby.
I gently touch his chubby little hand, rubbing it back and forth, being careful not to touch the tubes and wires going in and out of his body.
My lips do not move. They lay frozen and I am almost shell shocked at what I see.
I take deep breaths every few minutes, doing my best not to break down into tears.
My heavy eyes that hold new age lines reveal my age. I am older, much older.

We are different, yet we are the same.

Two mothers.
Two babies.
Two stories.
The same kind of pain.

The room is full of them...
mothers, babies, stories and pain.

It is the following day and I sit next to him. I rub his little arm and I whisper close to his little ear, telling him that I am near, oh so near. I whisper how my life has been enriched by his love. I tell him how I need him to fight through this, to be strong and to get better.  I tell him that I don't know what I would ever do without him. And even though he was unexpected, he was purposefully placed within my arms, and that I don't recognize my life without him in it. I pray with everything in me, for his healing and for his life and to be all that he needs me to be right now.

I let the tears fall as I hear the swishing noise of the ventilator as it breathes for him.

I think of her often, his birth mom.
As I sit next to his hospital bed, she floods my mind.

I wonder, what those few quiet moments were like for her.
As she held him close to her in that hospital bed.
I see her as she rubs his little arm and whispers close to his little ear, telling him that for a small moment, she is near. She whispers how her life will forever be changed by his. She tells him that she needs him to fight through this, to be strong and to be the best that he can be. She tells him that she doesn't know what she will do without him. And even though he was unexpected, he was purposefully placed within her tummy, but she can't give him what he needs right now. With everything in her, she prays over his life.

She lets the tears fall as she holds him close, memorizing his tiny face before she tells him goodbye.

Our pain is different, yet we are the same.
We are mothers.
He is our baby.
It is the same story.

I see this girl several times during the week that we stay in the CICU waiting for our boy to get stronger. Her curly blonde locks sticking out of her dark knit hat. She is alone each time.

There is shift change and I go across the hall to get some change out of my purse to get some much needed coffee.

There she sits. Alone.

I go to walk passed her and then I pause. I turn back and introduce myself and sit next to her.
I open the conversation by asking how her little one is doing. Her voice responds gently and meekly.
She explains that her baby is only 3 weeks old and has been here, within that steel crib since the day after he was born. He was awaiting his second heart surgery and would go on to have a third in a few months. My heart cracks for her as she speaks. She goes on to tell me that she is there alone that she is only 18 years old, and how she drove herself and followed the ambulance, that held her very sick baby,  just one day after giving birth to her son. Just one day after.

We talk and giggle like close friends for a short while, because in those few moments, we are the same. We are no different.

We continue to share our babies' heart stories and in those few moments, He enters in.

I ask her if I can pray with her. She responds with just a nodded yes. In her eyes I see the sigh of relief that someone has come, someone has come close enough to her to feel her heart and the pain and worry within.

I grab her hand and we close our eyes.

We pray for just a few moments and as I finish speaking and look up, I see the tears flowing down her face.

She thanks me for praying with her and for speaking to her. She confesses to me that I am the first person she has spoken to in 3 weeks, besides nurses, surgeons and specialists. 

She goes on to tell me that she couldn't talk to anyone because of the fear of what they would tell her. Their stories of their babies may be too much for her to hear, when her sweet tiny boy lay in the bed next to theirs. My heart cracks a little more with every word she speaks.

I hear Him whisper,
  "Tell her she is not alone in her pain. Tell her I am here. Tell her I see her. Tell her I see everything. Tell her she belongs to Me. Tell her your story of loneliness. Tell her what I am for you, I am also for her."

I respond to God in hesitation, "Oh, Lord, how is my story like hers? How will it help her?"

With a lump in my throat and a fast beating heart, I tell her what God whispers to her. I tell her His words of love and my story of loneliness growing up in a house with a half litter of children. And yet, still, I always felt alone. I tell her how He swept me up out of that loneliness and held me close to Him. I tell her that He has always been my Rescuer and how He has saved me time and time again.  I tell her that loneliness does not exist when God is near. I tell her redemption is near. I tell her He is near.

Her tears flow like a waterfall and she thanks me for stopping and talking to her. She tells me that she doesn't feel so alone anymore.  She tells me that she feels Him close now. She tells me, with the taste of tears on her lips and a smile in her eyes, "I know He is here with me and me and my baby are going to make it, because I know we aren't alone."

I walk out of the room to get my purse and that change for that much needed coffee, and I am overwhelmed by what God has just done. And I think to myself, "We're not so different after all."

We are His daughters.
Our stories are different.
His love for us is the same.

How many times do we separate ourselves from others because, frankly, they just don't know what we are going through? They can't possibly feel what we feel. We tell ourselves that our differences are just too much and our similarities simply not enough.

Maybe, just maybe, it's actually our differences that make us the same.

Doesn't He tell us that even though we are all uniquely designed, that we are all the same?
That His love for each of us is no different.
That there is nothing that we can do to make Him love us anymore or any less.
Doesn't His Spirit usher us all in and make us run to the same exact the cross, to Jesus?

Romans 2:11
For there is no partiality with God.

We are all different and we all have different paths to take, different struggles to walk through, different triumphs to be held, different places and faces to see, but we are all here for the same thing...
His glory.

His and His alone.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are ALL His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 

(emphasis mine)

When we are tired and weary, it is the same God who comforts you and who comforts me.
When we are broken and experiencing life's painful blow, it is the same God who mends us and makes us whole.
When we are chained and bound by sin's clawing grip, it is the same God who defeats the enemy and sets us free.
When we are lost and alone, it is the same God who rescues and saves us.

He is God and we are ALL His. We are the same.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that ALL who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(emphasis mine)

The world is full of them, people, their stories and their pain.
Someone within your reach needs you today.
Someone needs to know that you have come with your story of redemption.
They need to know that what He has done for you, He can do for them.
They need to know that even though their run may look different, and their strides not the same as yours, that we all run the same race.
They need to know that even though the waves crashed against you, and at times pulled you under leaving you breathless, you did not drown.
They need to know that you survived and that they can too.
They need to know that He is not just your hope and their hope, but He is the Hope.
They need to know that they can run to Him, just as you did, and be saved. Be rescued.
They need to know that they are seen by Him and loved by Him.
They need to know that they are not alone.
They need to know that we are all the same.
That each of our stories are but His story.
That we are ALL His.

Lord, let us not be held back by our differences. Let us help each other by embracing one another with the same love that You give to us. The love that shows no boundaries. The love that does not recognize differences, but sees us all the same. The love that sees us all as Yours.

Yours and yours alone.

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