How different the 12th day of life can be!
The day that Janie Beth would have been 12 days old is the day that she went to church in a casket and we celebrated her life. Then, we followed her to the cemetary on a sunny, cold afternoon. It was a beautiful yet extremely sad day. It was the only time that she was in church outside of my belly. (Granted, she is in the ultimate church in Heaven! But, that doesn't always soothe my soul.)
Fast forward 10 months, and Joy Michelle is 12 days old. It is a Sunday, and the question in my mind is whether to go to church or not. For a while I couldn't figure out what my problem was, all of my kiddos have gone to church rather young, but stayed in the carseat or sling to keep germs away. It made me want to cry to think about taking her to church. What was up with me!?! Then, it dawned on me that I never got to carry Janie Beth to church to worship in my arms. I didn't get to show her off to everyone and get compliments on how cute/pretty she was. Was my soul ready to do that with Joy Michelle, and to do it 12 days after her birth just as I went to church 12 days after Janie Beth's birth to celebrate her brief life?
I decided this was another way that God in His infinite wisdom chose to show me mercy and grace. Just as I walked through the NICU again this time, I would walk to church 12 days after giving birth. My arms would be full, but my heart would have a hole. My face would be full of joy, but if you really looked closely you may have caught a glimpse of grief. I was blessed to sing praises to my Abba! Praises of a totally different kind than I sang January 10, 2010.
We sang this verse of Because He Lives January 10, 2010:
How Sweet To Hold A Newborn Baby,
And Feel The Pride And Joy She Gives;
But Greater Still The Calm Assurance:
This Child Can Face Uncertain Day Because He Lives
I could not help but think of the difference between singing that verse then, and if I was to sing it now. It was so sweet to hold Janie Beth. She filled me with pride and joy, and I have the calm assurance that she is face to face with Jesus because He lives! Now, it is so sweet to hold Joy Michelle. She fills me with pride and joy, and I have the calm assurance that she can face uncertain days because He lives!
The day was bittersweet and I was on the verge of tears most of the day. I cannot express how thankful I am that Joy Michelle is here and I can hold her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her. At the same time, I cannot express how much it pains me that I cannot do those things with Janie Beth. She floods my heart often. Yet again, God amazes me! Once again I feel opposite emotions at the same time.
Janie Beth and Joy Michelle have both blessed me beyond measure, but in very different ways. God is the best Father!!! He knows exactly what I need. He knows exactly how to bring healing to the deep recesses of my soul. As usual, His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts higher than my thoughts!
God brought me through a bittersweet day, and I have full assurance that He will bring me through many more! Thank You, Abba!!!