“This is my Savior!” she thought to herself. Tears formed in her eyes as she took in the details of this baby. Not just any baby, God’s Son, the Promised One!
Anna clasped her hands, tears of joy finding their way down her wrinkled cheeks. She would have wonderful news to share with all that entered the temple today…to all that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Christ was born, their salvation was here , their future secure!
- Who am I preoccupied with today?
- Am I looking for the Lord’s return with as much anticipation as Anna waited for the Savior?
- Am I sharing with others the redemption that has come through Christ?
- Is my life happily filled with service to my God?
I have a video tape of our youngest daughter Allison helping me make cookies. She is standing up on the step stool stirring the dough. I asked her what we put in the bowl and she answers in her crackly three year old-voice,
Planning an event can be huge! My sister’s son was married last weekend, and while everything was beautiful and appeared to go as planned, I know of at least one detail that got a bit confused. Our efforts and good detailing beforehand don’t always end up with the results we had planned for.
Nighttime can be a fearful time for some children. My girls were no exception to the fear of “things in the dark.” My husband affectionately referred to those things as “Hanger Man.” If the closet door got left open in the bedroom and then the lights were turned off, the things in the closet could look like all kinds of scary creatures! As parents, we did what would could to alleviate their fears. Closet doors were promptly shut, night lights were clicked on, a story was read, prayers said, and music was turned on. Many nights their daddy would even lie down with them (guess who went to sleep first?). Going to bed was an event! I even would occasionally put a surprise under the girls’ pillows to reward them for getting into bed promptly. We went before them to ensure their safety and peace of mind in order that they might sleep well and not be afraid.
A man working in the produce department was asked by a lady if she could buy half a head of lettuce. He replied, “Half a head? Are you serious? God grows these in whole heads and that’s how we sell them!”
“You mean,” she persisted, “that after all the years I’ve shopped here, you won’t sell me half-a-head of lettuce?”
“Look,” he said, “If you like I’ll ask the manager.”
She indicated that would be appreciated, so the young man marched to the front of the store. “You won’t believe this, but there’s a lame-braided idiot of a lady back there who wants to know if she can buy half-a-head of lettuce.”
He noticed the manager gesturing, and turned around to see the lady standing behind him, obviously having followed him to the front of the store. “And this nice lady was wondering if she could buy the other half” he concluded.
When a person has lost a loved one they don’t really need a lot; just people that care. Often, however, it’s hard to know how to show your love. It’s difficult to know what to say. One preacher from our area slapped my husband on the back after we lost Ashley and said, “Well, you’re young, you can have another baby!” Needless to say, he was not a comfort to us, though I’m sure he meant well. If I may, let me list some things that might help you to be a blessing to someone you may encounter that’s experienced an infant death.
- Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. Just put your arm around the parents and tell them you’re sorry and leave it at that. If they’re believers, they know Romans 8:28. This is not the time for mini sermons. They’re hurting and just need a shoulder to cry on.
- If you have a child the age of the one that has died, be sensitive about bringing it around the parents for a while.
- Use the baby’s name when referring to him/her. This is a sweet reminder that this child is a real person and is now alive in heaven.
- If the couple has other children offer to babysit so they can spend some time together alone.
- An ornament in the baby’s memory is a touching gift. I look for baby bootee ornaments and then write the child’s name and year of their birth/death on the bottom.
- Give a live plant or tree to plant in the baby’s memory.
- Listen for opportunities to meet special needs. My mother and mother-in-law bought a beautiful soft blanket to wrap Ashley in. We had no preemie clothes and the funeral director had told us he would wrap her in gauze (not exactly a comforting thought). They made a diligent search for the perfect blanket. This touched my heart beyond words.
- Take the mom out for coffee or lunch and just let her talk. Ask questions about the baby’s features, the reason the couple chose its name – topics that will allow her to remember her baby without digging for details of the cause of death, etc. She may wish to talk about that, but let her bring it up.
- Remember the couple on the year anniversary with a card, and again, use the baby’s name.
- Try not to share your own story at this time, if you have one. Even if your situation was similar, no one can really say, “I know how you feel” because everyone’s circumstances are different.
Grieving parents are not touchy people that you cannot help; it just requires some sensitivity to know how to help. I pray these tips will guide you the next time you encounter someone who is hurting.