October 23, 2015 · Personal
When we lost Owen so suddenly, with only a few hours to say goodbye, I relived the trauma of that night on repeat for months after. When that happens. When you watch the ventilator take his last breath for him, see the heart monitor flatline and know that the miracle you were holding out for isn’t coming? I felt something for the first time that blindsided me. I felt unloved.
In the aftermath, that’s where God so persistently met me. Pursued me. What felt like went out of His way to show me tangibly time and time again…that He LOVES me. Through worship music. Through others. And eventually…through His Word.
For years and years, I was always embarrassed that I have had a relationship with Christ since I was four years old but was approaching my thirties and had never read the Bible cover to cover. Genesis to Revelation. I mean, we have a pastor in my family, people. I wasn’t about to advertise this. I kept this one close to the vest.
That’s how the enemy likes to feed us lies and keep us where we are. He knew my weaknesses. He knew I wanted to read the Bible but was embarrassed that this would be my first time through it. He was trying everything in his power to keep me from cracking it open. He knew the battle that was coming.
I made the decision to put aside my insecurities. Do it. I started reading through when I was pregnant with Owen in the winter of 2012. I chose the chronological plan, instead of reading the Bible front to back. I wanted to know which stories came before others. It was an interesting way for me to tackle it and I was motivated.
When Owen passed away…I stopped. For the first time in my life, the Word felt lifeless. Appropriate, I guess, since so much around me had become lifeless as well.
I couldn’t read about faith as small as a mustard seed. I couldn’t read about moving mountains. I couldn’t read about the power of prayer. God’s faithfulness. About His healing. His love. Because I wasn’t feeling any of that. I didn’t experience any of that in the early hours of October 20, 2012. Not even close.
Little by little. Step by step. I began to dust off my Bible and flip open to the place the bookmark remembered for me. To the last time the Word MEANT something to me. Longing to get to that place in my faith again.
It wasn’t opened every day. There were times where I let my emotions get the best of me. My grief. My schedule. Or my distaste for discipline and routine. Something in me just said, “Nicole. It may take time…but you need to reach this goal and crush it.”
Today…this morning…surrounded by a warm cup of coffee and a dimly lit room…I did it. I finished. For the first time in over three years my bookmark had no home. I closed the book of Revelation and smiled as I pictured Owen cheering for his Mommy. Knowing all the while that she could do it. She could tackle anything she set her mind and heart to now. She’s a different person, after all.
During these three years of struggling to read the Word when I was drowning in grief, God’s Love was all I could see in the verses I read. The same Love I was questioning. The same Love I didn’t think I could feel again…was there all along. In His Word.
It’s all come full circle now. I see the pieces coming together and didn’t even realize the significance until today. That’s what amazes me about how God works and when He reveals awesome things to us. His timing is impeccable. I needed to finish the Bible and reach this goal to be able to see THIS:
As I was holding Owen that last night, knowing our time was coming to an end, I wanted to do something I had thought about for the three weeks we were with him in the hospital. More than anything, I wanted to sing him “Jesus Loves Me.” If it wasn’t for the help of my family, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the first line that night.
The lyrics to this song hang on a piece of artwork that was gifted to us and on display at Owen’s funeral. I walk by this piece daily in our kitchen and always thought those lyrics were meant for Owen. To remind me of that last night and how it took a whole family to be able to gather enough strength in our voices to sing it.
Never realizing until today that these words are also for me. The simple lyrics of a familiar childhood song still apply…to me.
“Jesus Loves Me…this I know…for the Bible tells me so.”
I just needed to reach this summit to see it for myself.