It was a particularly hard week for me. I am thankful we know at this stage Arthur’s condition which gives us the ability to be better prepared at his birth. But that preparing is hard. There are decisions we need to make so we can make the most of our time with him. Stillborn, lives a few minutes, lives a few hours, a few days and we take him home. Delivery options, hospital procedures, perinatal hospice. Outfits for burial and keepsakes. It is so hard and so sad to think about these things while he is still here with us, but we need to.
While most people have known me for my sports activities, I have always had a little artistic side in me as well. I love to craft and make things. Unlike some other areas of my life, it is one of the places where I have always been patient and pay attention to the details. I haven’t done much of this since Adele was born. People say that pregnant women get the desire to “nest” during this point in their pregnancy, making their home ready for their new addition. I responded to this nesting urge this week with a little craft for Arthur. I bought an anchor and some paints from Hobby Lobby, and during one of Adele’s naps, I crafted away. There was something very therapeutic about it for me.
Why the anchor? Well, the name we chose for this blog is “Hold Fast Hope”. It’s a phrase from a verse in Hebrews: “we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (6:18). The following verse says this: “We have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor for the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place beyond the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf…” After receiving the news of Arthur’s condition, I have been clinging to this hope in a way that I haven’t since I first came to know of it. It has been this hope that has kept me from drowning in despair of the prospect of losing a child. It is this hope that I know will see us through whatever lies ahead for our family. And it is this hope that anchors our souls in heaven. And what is “this hope”? It is Jesus, who is the subject of this epistle to the Hebrews, whose atonement (Leviticus 16) covers us once and for all time.
Jesus. I have gotten to know Him well over the years, and in these couple of months the knowledge and experience of Him has gone deeper. What makes Him so special? And what makes Him someone I can pin my hopes on? He is the Son of God who lived a perfect life, yet died in our place so that those who would believe in and follow Him would escape the wrath of God that we deserve and enjoy life eternally with Him forever. He is our Redeemer. Yet he suffered much during his time on earth. It is this part of Jesus that has brought much comfort to me recently. He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He wept (John 11:35), tears of compassion for two women who had lost their brother. Approaching his crucifixion, he said to a few of his disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38) and then asked His Father to “let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39). Some of the emotion I see in him are the very things I am feeling right now. This Jesus knows what we are going through, not just the knowledge of the events in our lives, but the experience of it. The pain I feel from within. The sorrow and the grief. He knows it. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). He is different than any other god I have encountered out there. This is a God worth following and worth setting my hope in.
The anchor. If there is a symbol that can mark Arthur’s life and his impact on mine, I would like it to be an anchor. He is teaching me so many lessons and helping my soul to truly be rooted in the hope of Christ. ⚓