Gosh, it is so hard to wrap my head around this day, and I’m sure it will be just as hard in 15 years and in 40 years.
Today, Leeland would have been 3 years old. I still remember a lot from that day. I remember 3 years ago, close to this time, we were returning home from the University of Iowa Hospital with one less person than we had left with.
I remember walking to the bed after a graciously short labor and getting ready to push, and I remember when he was born asking, “is he alive?” Maybe no one heard me, or maybe no one had the heart to say it, but the question was answered for me almost immediately.
I remember being surrounded by people who loved us and loved our little Leeland.
I remember how hard it was just before we left the hospital. Jamin and I sat on that bed clutching our new, lifeless baby, and he said, “I don’t ever want to let him go.” The nurse came in and asked if we were ready, and we both knew the answer would never really be yes, but we said it anyway because we knew the moment had to end eventually. I remember handing his little body over to that nurse and feeling like I was a vase that had just been shattered on the floor. I knew I wouldn’t stay that way forever, but in that moment I felt more broken than I had ever felt in my life.
Now, here we are, three years later, and, oh, how good my Jesus has been to us all this time. I will never stop proclaiming His goodness!
In our darkest days, He lit the way for us. When we couldn’t bear the heavy load of loss, He brought people around us to carry it with us. He has not only sustained our marriage, but strengthened it during a time that could have destroyed it. He has given me opportunities to share my story for His glory and the encouragement of others, and He has given me His peace that makes no sense. He fills me with joy even in the midst of grief. He is near to the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds! I am constantly amazed at this story God has written for my life. It hasn’t been easy, and I’m sure I haven’t faced the hardest parts, yet, but He is true to His word. He works all things for the good of those who love Him. God is so good. He always has been and always will be!
I can’t fathom what heaven would be like today. Celebrations there must be truly amazing. I imagine Leeland celebrating his birthday with his aunt and grandpa and great grandparents and with the One who loves him more than we ever could. It has probably seemed like a mere blip of time in his eternity.
Happy Birthday, Leeland! What a privilege it is to be your mama – to carry your story as part of my own. You are loved beyond measure. We wish you could’ve been here with us for longer, but we are so thankful God gave us those extra months with you. You are our miracle. Your life here was a beautiful testimony of God’s power and mercy, and your story continues to glorify Him, even in your absence. We love you, sweet boy.