16 Jun Awaiting unspeakable joy
About the time Jude our third son was beginning to be formed by the hands of a loving eternal Father, tucked away safely in my womb, cancer was growing in the body of our first born Jeremiah, still unknown to us. The beginning of two very different stories that are linked through the heart of our family.
As Jeremiah grew sick the dreadful nausea of pregnancy was taking over my body.
And then Jeremiah was hospitalized. Several things including leukemia were ruled out. During this hospitalization I could hardly stand up during the night to care for Jeremiah because I was so sick. We went home, nothing had been diagnosed.
After this hospitalization one of my doctors found a heartburn medication that made my nausea tolerable. God was gracing me with a gift as he knew our world was about to be turned upside down.
Jeremiah got sicker and sicker. He lost the ability to walk which had been so hard won just 9 months earlier when he turned 4. He would cry and scream when we would move his legs. All the while little Jude, tucked under my heart, was being formed by the hands of a mighty God.
And then on a Tuesday evening, when I was 13 weeks pregnant, we found out Jeremiah had leukemia (he had a bone marrow biopsy that day) and we were to leave for a hospital 8 hours away the next morning to begin treatment. The next morning we packed up and left our 2 year old with family.
We were at St. Jude in Memphis for almost 3 months and then came back to our home to finish treatment at our local hospital for the next couple of years.
I had to avoid changing Jeremiah’s diapers and cleaning up vomit when someone was there to help to decrease chemo exposure to my precious little one growing inside.
I wasn’t able to sleep right next to Jeremiah to protect my vulnerable baby from chemo. How do you love your two treasures when one needs you to be close because he is beyond miserable and the other needs you to do something else because he is forming? I did my best to balance the needs of both.
There were nights in the hospital, taking the stroller in and out of the shuttle bus, carrying medical supplies from the hospital, holding Jeremiah who was weak, navigating pregnancy hormones, premature contractions, etc.
And then our precious Jude was born. Jude had a gentle, happy demeanor. He spent hours at the St. Jude clinic with Jeremiah and me, the staff would walk around holding him:), and he would spend days in the hospital with Jeremiah and me when Jeremiah was impatient.
Such challenging times and yet Jude was also balm to my heart in the midst of all going on.
Year after year since his birth I am in awe of God’s gift of laughter in the midst of pain.
Jude is God’s constant reminder of His personal goodness to me. He cares about each of us so personally in the face of long standing suffering.
In this last month as Jude turned 4, God lovingly showed me a tender and powerful insight.
Today, beloved, I have a precious, joyful, strong willed (easy baby he did not stay, ha ha), active Jude. But the hardship of his pregnancy and the baby stage are behind.
And now if you would grace me by thinking of and picturing your hardship, your heartache.
The Lord opened my eyes on a new level to the stunning reality of this verse:
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are not seen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 17-18
For those who follow Christ (if you don’t you can choose to start following him today!), there will be a day when the hardship will be fully behind us. There will be no more hardship. None. We will get to behold Christ, all the treasures of the kingdom, and our inheritance in Christ. We will fully behold the joy for which we endured.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
So just as the hardships surrounding the beginning of Jude’s life are behind there will be a day when our hardships will be behind.
So if you, like me, at times become weary from suffering, please think upon regularly, maybe daily, that all our sufferings are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory. Jesus will wipe away all tears, your tears. I pray you do not lose heart. That you would daily abide and seek refuge in Christ, the one that will keep you until the day He returns and you experience joy unspeakable.