This special ministry Of Jacob's life God has blessed us with has so many levels. This past year, I have looked so many mommies in the eye and hugged them and God has used that to minister to them and me. I am grieving. That hug or conversation or card that was initiated by me is not only to help the recipient but also a help to me. As you know, I consider it a true blessing to use my son's life to touch others. Could it be selfish? Sure, it could be. Because I get so much out of it....they feel comfort in knowing that I "get it" and I get the blessing of seeing my son's life still at work here on earth. But I took my efforts out and God brought forth so many more opportunities that bared much more fruit than my efforts could have ever brought.
I have received a few emails and phone calls from some friends with some concern in their voices since these last local contacts God has brought our way. Right here in my home town, in a matter of a week, I hugged members of 3 different families at wakes, hospitals, and funerals who had losses, plus received at least 5 phone calls and emails from others who have had a loss or anticipate it. My friends are just concerned for how we are doing with it....many of them have said that they don't think they could do it. That's the beauty of it....it's not natural to be able to do it....that shows God's hand in it. What does this do to a mother who's sweet baby boy was born just over 9 months ago and passed not quite 5 months ago? Keep reading and maybe you can decipher it.
Levels. Levels build on the foundation of the Lord. God has blessed this ministry with different levels. Informing level, emotional level, family level, onlookers level, grief level, levels I don't even know about yet. It is ongoing.
When speaking with these mommies, God gives me strength to inform. It's not emotionless but it is factual...if any of you have had a conversation with me, I am not one to beat around the bush...I say it how it is or was because that's what I know. I can get carried away in details sometimes and lose my point (and this is evident in my blogging too) but it is the facts of Jacob's life that many of these mommies want to hear just to get a glimpse of what they may be able to expect or how we dealt with something. Is it drudging things up? No...it is what it is and I have no problem sharing it....the question is, do you want to hear it how it actually was? I've had two specific instanced where a parent asked if I went out without Jacob. Now this is quite the loaded question....how do I tell them that I did and he died while I was gone. I do not feel regret in our story but I do know how this may be perceived. I've told both of them that I didn't want to answer them but as the conversation led on, I just didn't feel right not to....I have nothing to be ashamed of...it is what it is. God made me realize that this is my story to share that HE gave me and who am I to edit the work of the Lord....that day was huge in my life and if given the opportunity to share the specifics of how God worked that day, then I can share it.
But the emotional level is kept very secure. The Holy Spirit has given me discernment on my role and limits in these families lives. I am a stranger. I am emotionally unable to feel what they feel because their baby is not my own. I felt that way about Jacob and no other. I am simply there as an encouragement of surviving it.....to hug and be there as a friend...not a mommy reliving the life and death of her son. I had no idea what I was going to do when I met sweet baby Rachel in the hospital. God has given me a true peace that my son Jacob now lives in the presence of the True King and no baby here on earth could replace him....Rachel was a true test of this and it stood strong....I do not have an unhealthy desire to see a glimpse of Jacob in other babies. Was I totally cold? No! The emotional part is very much the same as it would be for anyone to see a sweet baby not made to live in this world for very long. It is not easy for anyone to see a baby struggle for the next breath if there even is another one. It is not easy for anyone to see tiny white coffins, baby pictures and tearful eyes at a funeral home. It is not easy for anyone to think of what to say to a mother who's baby's body is no longer holdable. It wasn't any more difficult for me as Jacob's mother as it would have been prior to him...I thought it should be but it really hasn't been...if anything, it is easier...can't explain that....it just is. I can be a comfort to other mothers and not have to relive losing my own son. How can this be comforting for these families? I "get it" because of my child, not theirs. They don't have to worry about me or how I am feeling. I am purely there to be a support to them because I understand the kind of loss they are experiencing... (that is going to be hard to understand but maybe you will get it). The Lord keeps this emotional level under strict security and has not allowed me to actually feel my loss over again.
Another level is our family. The Grapes family was the first family we were blessed to minister to as a family. Jason came and supported the family members and the boys helped shop for a meal for them. We all attended the service together. It was OUR ministry as the family of Jacob Ryan...not just me as the mother of him. This was nice but it threw 3 more concerns for me in there....Jason, Joshua and Jonathan. How were they going to be? Does the Lord have their lives guarded the same way mine is? But again, the Lord sorted things out and allowed us to know our limits and we obeyed that and enjoyed this ministry together.
Then there are the onlookers...the balcony level. I have become more aware of this level as time goes by. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, friends, neighbors, church members, etc. of those who have lost a child have come to me personally and said how us being involved has blessed them. How we have helped like no one else could. This level is a testimony of how God uses our lives when we don't even have a clue. Again, I can take no credit for these instances....my efforts have been towards the parents, but the Lord used us in the lives of those who surround these parents and they, in turn, blessed me for noticing this ministry. Cool.
Grief. It is a level unto itself. The foundation is the Lord but grief is the ground level that this ministry is built on. I miss my son. I am still on this journey. Living life with a loss is rough road. This ministry is because of my grieving but it is not to take this journey from me or make it any easier. It blesses me tremendously but I still have my rough road. I still have my nights of disbelief. I still have my nights of rummaging through his belongings. I still have my unstoppable tears when I cling so tightly to his blanket that smells of him. Those moments where I just want to feel him on my chest again, hear his sigh, touch his tiny everything. This grief has nothing to do with Rachel, Johnathan, Kayden, Joel, Poppy, Miller Grace, Mary Grace, Maddox, Eva, Tristan, Isaac, Asher, Hannah, Emma, Christian....(it is sad how this list goes on). It has everything to do with Jacob. No one elses babies can initiate these moments. They are mine. and this ministry has opened the doors for me to grieve with others but there are moments that are just mine. It is my separate journey that I am traveling. This ministry is an offspring of my grief....not grief being an offspring of my ministry. (I just love it when that statement of clarity comes to mind...so profound....well to me anyways.)
So there is some of it. A few things that have been spinning in my mind. It is good. It is healthy. It is fruitful. It is the Lord's work. It is the life of Jacob Ryan continued.....
4 days ago