Ethan is my Spring.
My baby turns one year old today. Just like everyone says, it went by in a flash.
I remember in the hospital while my nephew, Jett, was being born almost six years ago, I was crying not out of joy, although that was there, too, but out of self pity and despair.
I was pregnant, newly widowed and miserable.
Crying, I said how sorry I was to be ruining the beautiful day for my dear sister, although her grief mirrored mine as well, and I had never even thought about having a third child before, but it was so painfully obvious to me that I never would have another child.
I remember being consoled and being told that I didn’t know that to be true, but Oh Yes, I knew.
I know it was an odd thing to cry about, but in 2009 I cried all of the time about anything and nothing, through all four seasons.
My life and any dreams for a future died with my husband on that cold day in January.
My second born child, Thomas arrived on my husband’s would have been 30th birthday a few months later in the heat of the summer. I felt God loving me that day not just because of the date and the gift that this precious boy could share this with his daddy in heaven. But just as I had the hands and feet of Jesus surrounding me the winter before, people arrived again to help me with this chunky newborn baby. God provided.
The next winter seemed colder and longer than any I had experienced before. I knew I wanted to be mentally and spiritually healthy for my children and I couldn’t bare for me to miss their childhood crying in my closet. Instead of praying, I cried out to God and let the groans of my spirit speak for me. The winter dragged on.
He knew I needed that hope of Spring, of rebirth, of new life.
So when the season of Spring finally arrived, as promised, I was shocked to feel not only the whisper of warm wind on my skin, but a thawing of my heart as well. Warmth was returning and it was glorious.
I soaked up God’s promises and claimed them as my own, since they were meant for me…and as they are your promises to claim as well.
“Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:3 (emphasis mine)
He WILL respond. He promises.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
He IS close and SAVES.
Once I gave over my grief to God and His promises permeated my mind and spirit daily, I felt the renewal like a shock to my system.
I know it was a gradual coming, just as the seasons do not change over in one day (although in Arkansas they seem to change daily during the transition.) But the realization that joy had returned even while I was grieving came as a shock. Like my friend Reba had prayed for me, my smile finally met my eyes that day in early Spring of 2010.
Flash forward years later, God not only delivered on His promises to restore my spirit and show me what joy there was in living for Him…He then started showing off with His blessings. 🙂
Marrying Tyler, another complete surprise I had not asked for but received, the kids loving their earthly dad so completely, the Culp family embracing us as their own, I could go on and on…and then baby Ethan was born the day after a snow and ice storm. My adorable bundle of Spring had arrived.
Six years earlier in the pit of despair I could not imagine how I would get through the day, and yet God knew. He knew how and He had it all lined out if only I was willing to take the step towards Him. One obedient step day, it was a decision I had to make because love isn’t demanding or forced upon us. He gave me the choice so I would be free.
One obedient step led to another, and to another until this day March 4, 2015. New life from a story of earthly death. Never imagined, or even dreamed of back in that cold winter season. Yet, I held onto the hope in those promises and here we are.
Ethan is my reminder of Spring.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5
The hope of eternal Spring is what sustains us all.
“Heaven is real, and everyone on earth has the choice to go there. Nothing on earth compares with heaven…A person in heaven wouldn’t even want to come back here. While I wait for my turn to be with You in heaven, help me to live purposefully and be devoted to doing your work.” (GriefShare Session 13)