Last week we went camping at a campground on Lake Huron. One night Geoff and I took the boys down to the beach and watched the sunset.
It was beautiful...there really is nothing like a Lake Huron sunset. The water was fairly calm, the wind was gentle...it was a peaceful and calm moment.
Within hours though we were hearing the rumbles of thunder. The kids were getting very agitated and you could feel the storm in the air.
We put the kids to bed and as the wind picked up we decided to walk back to the lake to see the storm rolling in. It looked a bit like this only much darker and many more clouds.
As I lay in bed that night listening to the rain pounding on the trailer and hearing the wind howling (incidentally there was a tornado warning in effect so it was quite a storm!!!) I was struck by the contrast of the evening and by how that reflects parts of my life.
My pregnancy with the twins wasn't all picturesque like the sunset picture but most of that was my own doing....the stress of the arrival of twins took it's toll on me at times but really I was very lucky to have no health concerns. I enjoyed the time being pregnant with the twins... the ever-growing belly, the tiny flutterings I felt so early, the many ultrasounds. I loved telling people I was having twins, I loved planning for their arrival. I never once considered that the outcome would be anything but a close to full term (for twins) delivery and two healthy babies coming home. I shopped for twin gear, set my mind on finding as much used as I could. I imagined the work of two babies, but I lived for the joy of doing things with two little mirror images, of watching them grow up together and of watching others watching us...multiples attract so much attention!!!
I didn't plan for a storm, especially not one as destructive as TTTS. I wasn't ready, I didn't practice tornado drills or learn how to rush to the basement to be safe from the destruction of this storm. My heart sunk when I learned of the diagnosis and it shattered as the fierce winds of TTTS crashed into my womb, stealing one child and spinning the life of the other in serious peril. Maybe it was actually more like an earthquake with a the initial destruction and then many aftershocks....the blood transfusion, my water breaking, my hospitalization, the ups and downs of being away from home, the strange test results, the arrival of my boys...one full of life, one still and quiet, and then the weeks and months of grieving and coping.
Definitely a storm I wasn't prepared for. But is anyone ever really prepared for the storms of life? Is there a way to be prepared for the storms of life? Can you ready your heart for grief, for loss, for disappointment?
In my opinion, no...not really. But you can know that through it all God is with you. He is there, holding you up as you here the most devastating news of your life...'I'm sorry, this baby has no heartbeat.' He's there for you when you don't know what to do, what the future holds...'we might be just saving a very sick baby'. He holds you in the palm of his hand and keeps you safe when no one can really be sure what is going on...'Mrs. Tummers, there is a very good chance you will have this baby in the next 24-48 hours....he's very underweight, he'll need ventilation support...he has a 60% chance of surviving and may have neurological damage'. And He's there enveloping you in His love when the most emotional events of your life leave you so filled with mixed emotions and so raw that anything and everything can make you cry...'he's fine, he's doing great, listen to his cry.... Jodie, here is Cole, he's perfect and beautiful'...so tiny and so still.
And through it all love remains...it is the steadfast bond that holds us all together....keeps us strong in the storms of life.
I found these words of this song, Love Remains by Colin Raye running through my head...
We are born one fine day
"Children of God on our way
Mama smiles daddy cries
Miracle before their eyes
They protect us til' we're of age
Through it all love remains"
"Kingdoms come and go but they don't last
Before you know the future is the past
In spite of what's been lost
Or what's been gained
We are living proof that love remains"
"We all live we all die
But the end is not goodbye
The sun comes up the seasons change
But throught it all love remains
An eternal burning flame
Hope lives on and love remains"
And it is just so true. Life goes on, things change, storms blow in and out but through it all God is with us and Love Remains. You can't plan for it, can't prepare yourself for the future. But you can trust God and know that He is here for you. You can know that you will make it through this with the love of Him, the love of your lost loved one, of your family, your friends and of yourself. You will see that beautiful sunset again, it will always return. And really, it is always there, in behind the clouds, the wind, the thunder and even the devastation...the beauty is always there....you just have to look.