Friday, August 29, 2008

The "Club"

If you outlive your spouse, you are labeled a widow.
If you outlive your parents, you are labeled an orphan.
But if you outlive your child, there is no word in the entire English language crafted for you. It's just not supposed to happen.

But, it does. And so you become a member of this dreaded club.

Over the past year and a half, we have heard of other parents who are living this nightmare and our hearts ache for them. But specifically, there have been two families that have come behind us and impacted us greatly.

This past weekend was the 1-year Heavenly Anniversary of little Jude.

Some of you may remember his story. But 2-year-old Jude and his family were missionaries to Beirut, Lebanon and were visiting their extended family in our city last summer. After falling into the grandparents' pool, Jude was on life support for about a week. We all prayed and begged God for a miracle. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of people all joining together to plead for God to intervene and revive this little boy.

We did not even know Jude or his family but had heard of this situation through church prayer chains. It was a very difficult week for me personally as I felt like I was reliving all of those intense early emotions in slow motion. You see, we didn't have a week to pray for Robbie to be revived. We only had minutes. I remember crying, "Oh, God, please. Please. Give him breath." That was all I could say.

But these little boys did not awaken and they were not revived on earth. I do not know why. I mean, Jude's family were missionaries for crying out loud. That's what I kept saying in my mind. They were home looking for rest and relaxation from a very intense ministry. And then this tragedy happened bringing their world crashing down around them.

Bob and I went to the visitation for Jude and waited in the long line to speak to his family. We quickly told them that just a few months earlier our little boy, in very similar circumstances, had also gone to heaven. We told them that God is faithful and His promises are true. I slipped them a letter with our contact information, and we left. The next day we attended Jude's funeral. It was very surreal. It almost felt like we were hovering over Robbie's funeral watching it again. But it was also encouraging. Here were people who had gone through the same devastating loss and were raising their hands to praise God for His gift of salvation and eternal life.

The following day, Jude's father called us and arranged for us to get together with them one evening. We were instantly connected and established a tremendous bond as we were discussing all of the questions we had and the answers we didn't have. Robert and Chantal (Jude's parents) have returned to Lebanon with their 3 children and are continuing to minister and testify to God's love and faithfulness. We miss them greatly and, selfishly, wish they were here!

We continue to pray for this family daily because we know that the prayers are still desperately needed. Robbie's memory is not something that just creeps back into our minds on birthdays or holidays. I am still consumed with him almost every waking (and some sleeping) moment.

I feel that the Lord let us become involved with Jude's family so we could get to know one of Robbie's heavenly playmates. As I've posted before, I struggle with not knowing what my little Robbie is up to. But after following Jude's story and spending time with his family, we got to know Jude a little better. He sounds a lot like Robbie. They both LOVED being outside and the Veggietales. They were a bundle of energy, and we are all sure that those little boys are wreaking havoc on the golden streets.

We do not know why the Lord did not intervene in these situations. He could have. But that is another post. But we do know that He did not abandon us. Just as angels carried our little boys to heaven, the Lord is right beside us carrying us through the remainder of our earthly journey.

I will post about the other family that has influenced our grief journey later.


Maggie said...

Do you think God CHOSE not to intervene to save Robbie? God shed the first tear when Robbie died. God gave and continues to give you the love you need to live on without him. That's where God is at work. My heart goes out to your family and Jude's. I've been there.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not God chose to intervene is, at least to us, irrelevant. We know He is good. His sacrifice shows that He loves us -- and Robbie -- beyond measure. Someday this will all make sense. Until then, we'll trust Him.

L, sorry to steal the thunder on your follow up entry!

Clare said...

Lauren, this post is so powerful and inspiring! You are so faithful to the Lord and your love for him overflows to everyone around you (including me!!!) I think of you often and pray for you daily!

Love, clare

Anonymous said...

Lauren I read your blog often and I am stirred with so many emotions every time I read it. I laughed and I cry. You are amazing and I am so proud of you though I have failed to tell you so. I am so blessed to read your thoughts through this blog because I have been so inspired by your faith and preservance. I also love watchin Evely grow. Thank you for blessing me. Love , Your Aunt Fairy

Oatsvall Team said...

Sweet friend, I can hear your grief and faith all intertwined ... I love how you have reached out to others ... A sweet little girl just came home w/from China (and she had a heart issue) and she just passed away ... I question why God bring her to her forever family only to have her go home to heaven ... I am sure your questions out numbered your thoughts on most days ...

I love you friend and so glad I have found you again ... The heartache I have witnessed over the last two years around me does have me on my knees so much more ... Trying to stay close to the Father!

3 Peanuts said...

Oh Lauren, what a personal and touching post. As I have shared with and Robbie have inspired my faith more than anything else in the last year r two. YOU (and Robbie) brought me closer to God.
You truly are a remarkable person.
I remember this as though it were yesterday. I posted about Jude and prayed SO hard for him. it is all I thought about (we were at the beach).

Reaching out in your grief shows God's work in you.

Anonymous said...

Robbie and Jude are more alive than they've ever been. I believe that with all my heart because I have faith in God and His Word, and that's what His Word says. Is my faith SOOOO big? No, just about the size of a mustard seed, but the OBJECT of my faith is God. And He's pretty big! Robbie and Jude haven't suffered, although those left behind have suffered terribly. You have all shared in the sufferings of Christ, remaining true to Him even when you didn't like it and you didn't understand. Just as an earthly father doesn't give his children everything they want because of his wisdom, our Heavenly Father withholds things from us because of His wisdom and love. And we often don't understand. But what we DO know is that He loves us completely and perfectly and has our good and His glory in mind. These little boys didn't die. They moved, and you miss them like wild! But because of what Jesus, God's only and perfect Son, did when He took the sins of the world upon Himself and allowed puny men to crucify Him on an old rugged cross, you can join them soon!!!! Then you'll never again be separated or sad. Eye hath not seen or ear heard the unbelievable things God has prepared in heaven for those who love and trust Him!!! You have sooo much to look forward to!!!!