Friday, February 15, 2013

Sacrifice and Stopping - How to Love

"Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me." - Psalm 23:4

"I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." - Psalm 16:8

"The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" - Psalm 118:6

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." - Isaiah 43:2

We need to know that others are with us, especially during the times that make us afraid or doubting every good thing. 

As Cole has gotten older, he's been able to tell us more about his dreams, and also about his nightmares. When he wakes up from a nightmare and is especially afraid, he often climbs into Dean's bed and then quickly falls asleep again. While others around him sleep peacefully and move on, Cole is stopped in his fear. In finding a companion, even an unconscious one :), Cole can again move on with what he needs to do... sleep. Togetherness brings comfort in the time of need.

Hearing about what Mollie went through with Eve's accident (see 2.13.13 entry) brought me back to some of our early days  in the NICU with Dean. Yes, totally different situation, but in the face of tragedy, life comes to a halt. While we are stuck in the hospital waiting, being monitored, undergoing tests, others are carrying on with their lives, possibly aware of the desperation involved in the current situation, but likely not. 

My sister-in-law's friend recently had her baby at 29 weeks gestation. Clearly, this is quite premature and so the baby is going to spend a good amount of time in the NICU. My sister-in-law asked me what were some of the most helpful things for us when Dean was in the NICU for 5 weeks. Hands-down, the best thing was when someone came with us just to sit in the NICU with Dean. He wasn't doing much, there wasn't much going on, but he was our son, and our lives were stopped while he was there in that hospital. Nothing meant more to know that someone else would sacrifice the privilege of busily buzzing through life and just *stop* to be with us. We quickly learned that since Dean moves at a different pace from most people, much of our lives would be lived in slow motion. It means the world to know others who will move at whatever pace we have no choice to but to exist in and to see us through. 

I know that so very many of you have been and still are praying for Eve and her family, and I know that many of you have prayed and are praying for Dean and for us each time we go through a challenge. Most comforting of all, the Bible relates so many accounts, just a few of which are written above, of a God who stops all things just to be with us in our time of need. What a blessing to have a God who cares about the times that our journeys come to a dead-end, and who then comes beside us until we get back on track. 

Have a loved one going through a hard time? Just *stop* with them. Do something to let them know that you are significantly present in their suffering and can ride it out a bit until there can be at least a small respite in their pain. Yes, pray and do their laundry for them, drop off meals and keep their kids for a bit. But nothing can comfort like stopping and being, just the way our great God loves his children in their time of need. Love as God loves.