As I approached this February 8th, my fatigued mind and days have been busy with a newborn, Selah Joy Caroline. When I allow myself to enter the compartmentalization of grief, I’m repeatedly brought to the same three thoughts: “The Mighty One has done great things for me”, the newest Tucker David, and a friend’s words “Someday in your free time you should write a book of all the stories Tucker’s life has touched.” In summary, all three thoughts are a heart reminder of God’s faithfulness. And journeying through the todays of my life, I’ve really needed the reminder!
“For the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name.“ (Luke 1:49) I understand the gift of a child and holding a newborn is a high where praise and thanks come easy. However, I learned to give thanks in the valley low, and found the exercise to be healing and life changing. Altering my lens to see the gifts around me is a continuous need and secret of survival to live life fuller. Twelve years ago just a short time after Tucker’s death, I journeyed down Watson-Hulburt Road on a morning quiet-time walk. I was moved to cleavage-tear-prayers with my hands raised high, praying my uglies to God, that this was not my new-normal, my dreams and hopes dead, and left only with pain and trauma. That moment is forever frozen in time as my heart was washed over with the scripture “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.” (Joel 2:25) This restoration promise in scripture was not written about me, yet at that moment I felt it spoken over my heart by God. I prayed, worshiped and praised. What it meant I did not know, other than God had it, all of it – my grief, my heart, my son, my family, my hopes, my future – my uglies. These 2018 days while exhausted, have been slow, allowing time to ponder that scripture promise to my heart, and realize it’s fruition. Thank you Jesus, for baby Selah Joy Caroline. Thank you Jesus for all these gifts, for the works done these past 12 years. HE is faithful. My home is busy, my arms and lap are full, and there’s not enough of me to go around. I stand amidst a great mission field, and I love my new normal. HE’s got THIS.
Thought two: the new Tucker David. As we walk through life, we never know whom is watching. Whether we are on the mountain high or the valley low, we have great influence. This fall, a Sunday’s message had just been about suffering, delivered from a pastor dad that had recently buried his baby boy due to heart disease, and it stirred my mind and emotions. Also, my belly was growing more round with Salisbaby10, hormones flowing strong, and I was starting to battle the fear and anxiety that comes after experiencing the death of a child and carrying new life with hopes and dreams and lack of control. That same week, Tuesday, while waiting for haircuts a few hours before our family photo shoot, my heart was a little off from reminders of Tucker’s absence as we prepared props and his framed photo. I waited for my appointment, and scrolling through my phone I noticed a week-old, unread message from a sweet woman:
“Hi Darci, I’m not sure if you remember me but I wanted to share the impact you have had on my life and the legacy I hope it has. 11 years ago I started attending church for the first time with my family as 15/16 year old. It was the very start of my faith journey. I decided to volunteer in the nursery and I had the most incredible encounter with your son, Tucker. I admired his adventurous spirit and the joy he brought to me and the room. I absolutely loved that little boy. When he passed, I was at his memorial with my family and I witnessed the most beautiful tension. I watched you closely. I watched you mourn but also celebrate and worship the Lord. I was so confused but knew that you and your family had something different. I was in awe. At that memorial service I said to myself that I would name my future child after Tucker, and this past weekend I found out I am having a little boy, Tucker. I can’t wait to share this story with my little boy and the joy of knowing Jesus, even through suffering. Thank you for being an incredible visual of faith in my early journey with Jesus and I hope this would make you proud.”
Tears flooded. A timely reminder, that God has a purpose, Tuckers life had a purpose, every life has a purpose. This was a big HUG, and my heart was full. Fast forward to 2018, just last week I received another message:
“Hi Darci, congratulations on a BEAUTIFUL baby girl. God has a beautiful and mysterious plan, last week I? was diagnosed with Preeclampsia at 35 weeks, so with my due date out of the picture now, we are planning to be induced, on February 8th. I? was reminded of Tucker’s passing today and how these two events will fall on the same day. I? am so grateful and totally feel like I? have a little angel watching over me and baby.”
Such a cool God-story. Tucker David was born earlier this week, emergently, and I prayed and prayed for him. I hope to meet him someday soon, I’m honored to know his name-story, and I’m purposing to be his praying-friend all my days.
My last thought on this Twelve Years in Glory, is a friend’s comment, “Someday you should write a book of all of the lives Tucker has touched”. Between my fading memory and lack of time I doubt a book will be written, but there’s enough content for sure to fill one! However, it has been an excellent exercise to recall the stories. Someday in Glory it will be exciting and an honor to learn fully how God used two years and nine months of a little boy’s life, and his vastly deficient parents – for a greater purpose.
I’m encouraged by this February 8th reflections and happenings. I’ve been in a life-place of spiritual lull, exhaustion, and busyness. My 2018 word is REST, and I hope to do some reconnecting, repurposing and resetting on many fronts. We all leave our mark wherever we are planted. The horrific, traumatic loss of a child is unbearable, unexplainable, and incomprehensible. But it is survivable. I hope to not only survive, but thrive. Only with God.