Monday, August 30, 2010

The Rest of the Story . . . {Updated}

So it all began the summer of 2007.

Robbie went to heaven in January of that year. And Eveley was born that April. Our lives had been a roller coaster of emotions. We were still so horribly sad and missed our Robbie terribly.

At church, on an August Sunday morning, our pastor requested prayer for a family whose little 2-year-old boy, Jude, had fallen into the grandparents' pool. Jude was on life support and the entire community (and practically the rest of the world) was praying for a miracle. The family had started a "Caring Bridge" blog to keep others informed on his progress and to stay encouraged because of the immense prayer that was taking place for their little boy.

Because of the similarities, the story hit pretty close to home and I began following this family's story. As I read their posts, I found that we had even more in common than I first realized.

Robert, Chantal and their family were serving Jesus in Beirut, Lebanon. They had come back to the States for a few months that summer to visit Robert's parents -- who lived in our small town. Robert's brother and his family (serving in Ireland) were also here visiting.

The summer, expected to be full of family fun and relaxation, took a tragic turn when little Jude fell into the pool one afternoon. While on life support, we all prayed for God to do a miracle and heal sweet Jude. I found myself on the floor (literally) begging God to restore him and bless this family. The past 8 months had been excruciating for us, and I would never wish that on anyone else.

Writing from the hospital, Robert and Chantal continued to praise and trust God. They wrote that it was their wedding anniversary - August 23 - and that they shared this anniversary date with Robert's parents.

I found this interesting since Bob and I (along with Bob's parents) also share the wedding anniversary date of August 23.

Jude went to heaven the following day, August 24. When I got the news, I cannot tell you how sad I was. ("Sad" seems like such a short and insignificant word to describe those strong and profound emotions.) But I was so sad that this sweet family was just beginning the painful journey that Bob and I now found ourselves upon.

I really sensed a strong pull to meet Robert and Chantal and to share our story with them. After speaking with one of our women's ministry leaders at church, she agreed to go with Bob and me to the evening visitation at the church. I brought a copy of the eulogy from Robbie's service and sealed it in an envelope with our contact information on front. After waiting in the mile-long line, it was our turn to greet the family. We shook their hands and quietly mentioned that we recently had to say goodbye to our little boy under similar circumstances but were rejoicing that he and Jude were now in heaven with Jesus fulfilling a whole new purpose. There wasn't a lot of time to chat but I gave them the envelope and told them that we would continue to pray for their family.

The following evening, Robert called us at home and asked if we would come over to their house. That meeting was the beginning of a deep friendship that was truly orchestrated by God Himself. We shared stories of our Robert Emmet and their Jude McKay (my maiden name). We encouraged each other with the TRUTH of God's word and His promises, and we reminded one another that this world is not our home. In other words, this is a really bad chapter in a really awesome book.

Their family returned to Beirut a few weeks later, but we continued to pray for and encourage one another even though we were on opposite sides of the world.

This summer, Robert and Chantal and their children (now including baby Nour Hope) came back to the States to visit for several weeks. In what was a beautiful continuation of our story of friendship, we were able to celebrate our anniversaries together this year.

It has been 3 years since our little boys went to heaven. And we cannot even imagine what they have been up to. But one thing is for sure: our perspective of life will never be the same.

We were never intended to be, or feel, complete on this earth. The absence of Robbie probably enables us to remember that more so than normal.

Robert said that they are able to feel "homesick" much easier in Lebanon. There, they are surrounded by war-torn buildings, rubble, and threats of war. The world to them is not very appealing. They are simply storing up treasures in heaven.

But here, in our beautiful little town in the United States, it is much harder to long for an eternity elsewhere.

Robert and Chantal joked that they would probably get to see the boys sooner than we would since they lived in the volatile Middle East. Can you imagine having such a perspective??

A few days later, I was able to take Eveley and Caleb to hang out with Chantal and her children over breakfast. That was a sweet time! (Eveley thought Chantal's name was "show-n-tell"!)

Their family has now returned to Beirut. But our time together reminded me that God is the Author of our story. His perspective is the best because He sees the first and the last. Frankly, it is much easier to just surrender and TRUST Him with our future.

I thank the Lord for peeling back the curtains of heaven on occasion and giving us a small glimpse of His masterful plan. It is truly awesome.

[Side Note: my laptop has a virus so I cannot post any pictures right now. But you can see some pictures in the post below and here.]

{Update: So, my friend read about my laptop virus and contacted me this morning offering to help. And it has been healed! Thank you, David! I said a big prayer over this laptop this morning, and it has been answered. Another great reason to blog...}



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I'm so thankful, Lauren, that you and Bob have chosen to believe God. It's made all the difference.

3 Peanuts said...

Oh Lauren, this is the 3rd time today a blog post has tears rollng down my face. I remember too much of this too clearly. We were in Hilton Head on vacation and someone (maybe you?) e-mailed me to pray for Jude. I too was on my knees begging God to save him. I felt immensely guilty having a family vacation while a family I did not know was going through what there were experiencing. I knew you and I knew what you had been through. It broke my heart and still does that Robbie and Jude did not get to be here longer with your families.

I LOVE what you wrote though about God being the authors of our life. It really is the right perspective to have. You have taught me so much through your faith my friend. Thank you for that. I hope you were able to reach out to that other Mom too. I would imagine it would be so comforting to hear from someone who knows what you are going through.