I know a woman named Shannon.
I've never actually met Shannon. We are both part of an online forum of women who have one thing in common: a child born (or due) in April of 2007. Someone recently described our group as online pen pals which I think is pretty accurate. We share funny stories, swap recipes and house-cleaning tips, discuss clothes, and talk about anything and everything kid-related. We rejoice with each other over new babies, milestones reached, job promotions, new homes. We encourage, sorrow with, and pray for each other when jobs are lost, homes are lost, family members are sick, loved ones die.
Shannon has a little boy about the same age as the Boogie. Her daughter, sweet little Reese, was born last September.
Last Thursday Reese stopped breathing during her nap and nothing could be done. She was perfectly healthy so it was determined to be SIDS.
I cannot look at her pictures without tearing up. I cannot pray for her parents without weeping. Since last Thursday I constantly pick up my own baby to hug her and cry and thank God for letting us have our girls.
It can be easy to take my children for granted, yet this has reminded me that I must not. They are a gift from God, a blessing from Him. "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." Psalm 127:3
Today was little Reese's funeral. I believe that her soul is in heaven with Lord -- like I wrote before, I don't believe that a tiny baby can have any understanding of what sin is, therefore cannot understand a need for repentance from sin. I believe that if a child dies before they have reached that age of understanding, God in His mercy will not hold them accountable for sin.
I believe that Reese is with Jesus. She will never know pain or sorrow or suffering! But my heart is so heavy for her parents. I cannot, cannot, cannot fathom saying good-bye to my baby and burying her tiny body.
Today was also the funeral for my coworker's niece, Michelle. Michelle had Trisomy 18. Babies born with this chromosomal abnormality have a very slim chance of even surviving their first year. Michelle was 34.
I don't know why Reese, who was perfectly healthy, didn't live to see her first birthday, or why Michelle beat the odds and lived to be 34 years old, but I do know this: God never makes mistakes. His way is perfect; His timing is perfect. I may not be able to understand it, or see the whole picture, but I can trust Him.
And I can hug my girls today ... and I can pray for comfort for grieving families ...