Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ezra's Second Birthday in Heaven

Today is Ezra's second birthday in heaven.

This day and the anticipation of it has been mixed with joy and sadness.

We do, truly, have joy in knowing that our precious baby is with Jesus in heaven. We don't just say that to make ourselves feel better, we KNOW that this is true. Heaven is our destination and our baby simply arrived before us. And when we arrive in what will feel like the blink of an eye, joy will abound when we join him. Out of all of us in our family, he is the most safe, the most content, the most complete, and he is experiencing the most joy. We are so thankful for his LIFE. Some of you may have noticed that I hardly ever use the word "death" or "died" when speaking of Ezra. For one, it just hurts to use those words. "Death" sounds like the end. I will only speak of his LIFE. Secondly, while death is something that his body went through, life is only thing he knows. Life is what he is experiencing right now. How alive do you think we will feel when we are constantly in the presence of Jesus? When our eyes are fixed on eternity we can have the true perspective that Ezra was brought to life through leaving this earth.

We have sadness because we long for our child. My arms still ache to hold him. Now that we have added Asa to our family, my arms are indeed full, but I mourn the loss of Asa and Ezra knowing each other and being brothers on earth. We watch Asa play and grow, and it is amazing and blissful, but there are moments when we pause and realize that we are watching what could have been with our Ezra. Watching Levi and Asa play, knowing that someone is missing. Just last night, we were all sitting down eating dinner together and I instinctively looked around for a second feeling like someone was missing. When I told Steven how I was feeling, I realized that the person missing was Ezra. I think of him every time I walk into the hospital. You never get over the loss of a baby.

When I think back, I can hardly believe it has been two years since the unthinkable night when I gave birth to a sleeping child that we would never have the chance to know on earth. The pain we felt then and the growth and strength that we feel now are a testimony of God's goodness. He is real. He is present, kind, and gentle in our pain. He has a plan for the torrential downpours of our life. And when the rain has passed, beauty will come forth out of the mist. I am looking at my sweet little Asa as I write these words. Because of Ezra, we have Asa. That is insurmountable. Only God could have such wisdom and knowledge of the eternal outcome to determine those circumstances. We choose to trust Him over and over again, even when it's terrifying. Even when it's overwhelming. Even when it's depressing. When we drag our tired, empty bodies before God and ask him to fill us, He delivers! Jesus says "my peace I give you", and though it may not come immediately, it does come. As surely as I live and breathe, I can say with confidence that those who seek God and his kingdom will know peace in the midst of their trials and tribulation.

"For the Lord is good
And His love endures forever.
His faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 100:5

Happy second birthday in heaven my sweet little Ezra! Mommy and Daddy love you so much, and we eagerly await the day when we get to hold you again. Until then we will do as you have taught us with your life - to seek help from God. We will keep our eyes heavenward as we wrestle with our earthly loss of you. We will seek God's kingdom, where you are dwelling now, and we will run toward Jesus knowing that you are just on the other side of His glory and splendor. We will miss you. We will love you. We will wait for you. And on that wonderful, glorious day, we will see you my sweet baby. 
With tears of love and joy,

Ezra Shepherd Sweat

He is our help from God,
Shepherding us home,
pointing us toward eternity.