The Waiting Game
On May 10, 2017, at 9:46 pm, we got to say hello to our beautiful Adaline Grace as she entered the world. Ten short minutes later at 9:56 pm, we sorrowfully said goodbye when she was called home. While her time here was just a flicker in this life that is a vapor, she moved mountains in my heart and in my mind, solidifying God’s hold of it. There were countless Sunday sermons when our pastor would mention “not everyone here is a Christian, you may not be a Christian” and self-doubt would begin to creep in. I would ask myself “Am I that guy; am I the wolf in sheep’s clothing; an actual Christian wouldn’t have my sin struggle, would he?” When we first received the news of the bone disease Adaline was diagnosed with, the only thing that made sense was God’s promise and it was at that exact moment I realized my faith in him was secure.
You’re probably asking yourself what does this have to do with the title “The Already, But Not Yet…” For nine incredibly long weeks we lived in a state of “your baby is not going to live; we don’t expect you to make it to full term; that being said, we don’t know when it will all happen; you could go to full term; there’s no way of knowing when” the already, but not yet. It was the most mentally taxing thing I have ever experienced. Every prolonged period of not feeling a movement was accompanied by the thought of “is this it, was today the day?” Every visit with the OB or Maternal and Fetal Medicine was stalked by the potential of not hearing a heartbeat. A feeling of needing to mourn or grieve was contrasted by the fact Adaline was still alive, she still had fight in her. How do you grieve something that hasn’t happened yet? How do you celebrate something you know is going to be extremely painful?
We chose to celebrate. To involve her when we could, for when we couldn’t, for when we were painfully grieving. Liz started taking photographs with her belly purposefully viewable in pictures as to involve Adaline. This lead to a hashtag for us to use to revisit in a time of mourning. I started writing about the ways she has blessed us by her story, which lead to this site. We also chose to let people in, to let them support us, to let them celebrate her, but to grieve alongside us as well. Our community rallied around us the night everything transpired and have steadfastly remained by our side till this day.
Through the rain
It is incredibly easy in moments of hardship to tell yourself “put your head down and push through.” What does that truly accomplish though? A mindset that is so nearsighted the only thing you can see is the pain and despair you are going through when you do decide to look up? Holding to a hope that is far greater than the pain is what is helping me weather this season of life. When I look up, I feel the immense sting of death, I battle back the tears of knowing I will never have prom photos of my baby girl, that I will never walk her down an aisle to be handed off, that I will never see her express the immense feeling of love from having a child of her own.
That, however, is not all I see.
I see a new heaven and a new earth where everything and everyone have been made new. I live in the pain of the now, holding to the hope and the promise to come.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. – Philippians 3: 20-21
As I have sat and reflected on our walk with Adaline and this notion of, already, but not yet, I can’t help but see similarities in the gospel. As Christians we are told of what’s to come but are also instructed of the work to be done till that day comes, persevering till we are called home, being ambassadors for the gospel.
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” – Mark 16: 15
With Adaline, there was a huge part of me that wanted to fast forward to when the “not yet” was reality and honestly, for selfish reasons. I initially had a hard time learning how to function each day knowing what was on the horizon and in my earthly mind and heart just wanted to get to a place where I could begin to grieve. As time progressed I felt a shift, from wanting to hit the skip button to celebrating her while we could, sharing her story, sharing God’s story.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8: 12
This is not unlike a lot of Christians. Hearing the good news of what’s to come, wanting to fast forward to the day we are made new again, but sometimes it’s for selfish reasons. We want to hit skip because the world is full of pain, suffering, betrayal, failure, etc. and we know it will never fully deliver.
It is completely okay, and expected, to yearn for the day we are called home but as long as you understand this:
There’s work to be done.