I have tens of millions of blog posts floating around in my head. Of all of them, this one makes the least "sense" to write today. However, it is what God is calling me to write. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I have been dealing with another bout of depression recently. Maybe it is because someone else needs to read it. Maybe because it will help me heal a little more and this is the proper time to remove the band aid on this scar. Maybe because I have been wanting to write all of my children's stories out and I can't write their stories without starting at the beginning of my road.
It was the end of March 2002. Patrick and I had been married for less than a month. He was still in seminary, I had graduated. I was looking for a ministry position. I had been asked to come to First Baptist Church, Granbury, Texas,as their preschool minister. It was a part-time position, but I was very excited about it. I was scared about how Patrick and I would weave married life, ministry, school, and family into one big tapestry.
I was about to be an aunt. My brother and sister-in-law were expecting their first child. I've never been more excited about a life! I called him Doodle Bug. Our family had been praying for him for several years. I was going to be the best aunt ever.
There were complications. His mother became very ill. They care flighted her from Eastland to Fort Worth, where we lived. I met them at the hospital. They stabilized her for a while. I sat in her hospital room, cross stitching a baby sampler, for about a week. Eventually the decision had to be made to do a c-section to try and save both of them. She was twenty four weeks along. The baby was a boy. My nephew. He was beyond tiny, the tiniest baby ever to be in Cooks NICU at the time. Matthew Dean. Following the c-section, I sat in that same hospital room, begging God not to take his mother. Her blood pressure was dangerously high. My brother had to be with the baby. I prayed over those numbers on the monitors constantly for hours until they ever so slowly came down. He was born on April 5th.
On April 7th I became the new Preschool Minister at FBC, Granbury. I asked for prayers for Matthew. As a family we prayed. As a family we lived in the NICU waiting room. We sang "Jesus Loves You" over him. We dreamed of his future. We believed that God would heal him. For three weeks we believed.
God didn't heal him. Three weeks later Matthew died. Our family was there, in a room the hospital provided for us. I held him. I loved him. I was so mad at God for not healing him. I watched him breathe his last breath. My heart shattered into a million pieces. My faith in God broke.
We buried Matthew. My family clung to Jesus. I could not fathom the words of my brother at the funeral of his son. He still had faith in God. I secretly wondered if he was faking it, I knew I was. My husband begged me to not give up on God. I told him there was no God. I went to "work" at the church. I was a preschool minister, sharing the love of Christ with children and I did not believe there was a God. This lasted for several months. I went through the motions. This greatly affected my performance and ministry at this church. I was young and naive. I wish someone had reached out to me and told me to get some counseling. I wish someone would have recognized what a life shattering event this was for someone whose whole life was children. When you are called of God to work with children and one so close to you dies, if will alter your perspective and should never be swept under the rug.
Even in my disbelief I cried out to God. I yelled, I screamed, I wept. I swore I could never go through that as a mother. I told God to never give me a child if He just planned to take it from me. (He didn't agree.) It took years to work through some of this. Some of it, I still haven't worked through. Some of it, I never will work through.
Many great things did come from this. There are too many amazing positives to this story to write. I do believe in God. I do believe Matthew is in heaven, playing with my children. I do believe if I had not gone through this first, I would not have come out of my own loss alive. Matthew's loss is the beginning of my path to motherhood. I believe God knows best. I believe He is in control.
This began my journey of loss. I would have been the best aunt ever.