Whenever I doubt God, all I have to do is look at this picture of you. Yahweh gave me three beautiful, brown-eyed, brown-haired babies. My audacious prayer was for a baby that looked like my side of the family. It makes me laugh that God said yes. What I didn’t know then is that the biggest no of my life was included.

I tried to watch your baby videos this time, in honor of your birthday and the day you ran to heaven two days before that, Miss Trisha and I decided we needed to grieve by looking at pictures and watching videos of you.

My memories have been wiped clean so I wasn’t sure what was on the home videos and it took awhile to find where you started. But then there you were! It was bath time and there was one-month-old you.

So calm, just reclining there while the warm water trickled down keeping you safe and content. You were my third baby so I knew what was coming when the water stopped. I tried to circumvent it as best I could by having sister hold the towel all ready for you.

But when the water turned off I couldn’t grab you fast enough before the cold crept in. I saw your little face screw up in protest and your little arms and legs flail against an unseen enemy.

The me in the video scooped you into the waiting towel. But the me watching it all go down saw a microcosm of your life and I wanted to scream, “Grab him quick, help that boy!” Because I knew what it felt like for the cold to creep in. And I knew it was my job to stop it.

Moms are made for just that. For scooping up and wrapping tight, for catching and holding close. Our toastiness spreads to you and everything is okay because we are there. We’ll always be there.

What happened? When did that stop? Why couldn’t I stop the cold from creeping in?

I would’ve stood between you and cold forever.  Like a sentry on duty I would’ve stood my ground. More than that, I would’ve fought with everything in me until the cold killed me, not you.

Now I am in danger of succumbing to the cold myself, save for my greatest weapon — Truth. There was a time you existed before I even knew you. The only Person that knew you then was God. He was forming you, intricately weaving you in my womb before I even knew I was your mom. He was designing your long slender fingers, and size 13 feet. Your broad shoulders and the cleft in your chin. Your strong jaw and the curls I prayed for, this boy, formed for 18 years, 363 days. God knew the cold would creep in. And He was waiting to save you from it with all the light and warmth in the world. Home. Where we’ll all go when sin is done and the curse removed.

He didn’t design me to save you, as much as I wanted that role. But I’m not the first mother to whom God has said no. Eve was always destined to mother Abel, and Mary was always destined to mother Jesus. We were assigned a sacrificial purpose —  to love you forever and to trust Him when the cold crept in. 

It’s cold here now without you. Your dad and I wait for the Giver of Life to breathe His warm breath upon us, to thaw our hearts into beating again. We’ll live out of obedience to Him. And we’ll lift a sacrifice of praise to the One who thought you up in the first place. We’ll search His Word. And we’ll believe He has a purpose for us staying here even when the cold steals our want-to.

Dear God, heaven with no sun makes sense to me now. You will be the sun. You will warm and sustain us all. I wish I could be there with Tristan where no cold will ever creep in again. Since You’ve ordained us to stay here please use us for Your glory. That’s all that matters now. And help us want to.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.