One of the uses of the word ‘should’ is to “express what is probable or expected”, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Today “should” be my first child’s first birthday. Instead, I am soaking up baby snuggles from my precious 3rd child, who is the first child I have the blessing of snuggling on this side of heaven.
If sweet Joy had been born in June of 2017 as expected, I would be chasing a toddler today instead of watching a newborn sleep as I sit here and write. Though I did not know it then, the most painful experience of my life would lead to one of the biggest blessings in my life.
For believers in Christ, there are no unfulfilled “should’s” in life. Before the dawn of time, God knew that Joy’s earthly purpose would be perfectly completed in 13 short weeks. Because of this, she will never have to experience life in this fallen world. The first thing she ever saw was the face of her Savior. What a wonderful thing to never know anything besides heaven! The eternity that I can only anticipate on this side of heaven is her reality – the only reality that she will ever know. She will never know anything but glorious un-ending worship in the presence of God.
In this life, I may never fully understand the purpose of Joy’s short life. Or the even shorter life of her baby brother or sister. That is okay, I don’t have to. My job is to keep my eyes on God and trust, for I only see a small microscopic picture of my life. He sees the grand, overarching plan – how each piece is interwoven with every other piece in ways that I will never know until one day I see him face to face.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV) “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been known”
Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”
Psalm 139:13-18 (ESV): “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them. Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you”
Psalm 139 is a beautiful psalm. David declares that there is nothing he (we) can do that God does not know and nowhere he can go that God does not see. He declares that God knew him in such a detailed, loving way even before his birth; while he was being formed by God inside his mother. This is true of me, Joy, and everyone who has ever been alive for even one minute in the womb. Joy’s little life went perfectly according to plan, not one second longer or shorter.
I won’t ever watch Joy blow out her first candles, crinkle up wrapping paper or eat her first bite of cake. But I will always celebrate her life in my heart and know that she was a gift from God that I feel so blessed to have had the privilege of stewarding, even for such a short time.
In honor of her birthday, here are a few things I have been reminded of by Joy.
- Life is a gift. Make the most of each day. Live each day as if it was your last. Don’t put off for tomorrow what you need to do or say today – your tomorrow may not come.
- Treasure the small moments in life. They are a gift as well and are not promised to last.
- God is faithful. In the big and small; the seen and unseen, he is faithful to his children.
- God is a big God. He is big enough for my emotions, thoughts, and questions.
- God is enough. He is the only thing that will truly satisfy my soul.
Happy Birthday, Joy! I don’t know how or if birthdays are celebrated in heaven, but if they are I am sure you are having a grand time! You are loved!