Today, I went to the funeral of little Abigail.
She lived for only 9 days.
Her parents, Paul and Becky, are members of our church.
Our Body has been in shock to this loss.
It kicked us all in the stomach, and we've felt a little sick since we found out.
It was just about a week before that we all received the joyful announcement of her arrival via e-mail.
How could this happen?
As a body, we are learning how to grieve with them.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn .
We mourned together as the Body of Christ today.
Our hearts were collectively broken in one place.
They showed a slideshow of little Abigail and her family.
The beginning showed her nursery, with her name written in wooden letters on her wall, just like many of our children.
Then came the hospital photos, just like all the mothers in the room have, holding a new baby, wearing a hospital gown, tired but beaming, our proudest moment caught on film.
As a mother, I know what it means to endure a long, hard pregnancy, your body swollen with the promise of new life. I know what it's like to feel their every little move inside of you, think about them day and night, and then finally, the most difficult and most magical experience of delivering a baby. There's hardly words for it.
Becky looked beautiful in those picures, holding Abigail.
Paul looked incredibly proud, grasping his tiny swaddled baby girl in his big Dad hands.
And their little Kaylynn...sweet big sister...holding her sister so carefully, her face lit up.
But as the slideshow continued, new pictures came.
There were tear streaked faces. Becky's eyes were swollen. Paul's smile was gone. They held their baby, saying goodbye, church members around them.
I have never had to do this and just feeling their pain today hurt too much. My head wanted to explode as I tried to cry quietly.
We sang songs about our Great God, who knows all things even when we don't understand. We sang about His faithfulness. We can trust Him. We can cling to Him.
We sang about Him coming again "O glorious day!"
I could only think about the fact that this is not our home.
It never will be. Our lives really are fleeting. But our eternity awaits!
Because Paul and Becky know Jesus Christ, without a doubt, they will see Abigail again.
They know she lives. She's already at home.
Praise God that Paul and Becky are so grounded in their love for God! They really and truly know Him and live for Him. They will receive strength, they will have peace, but it won't be their own. I know they'll draw it straight from the source of all strength, joy, and peace.
God is more than able to carry them and hold them through this.
He is near to the broken hearted.
They will hurt, cry, experience deep grief, but they won't do it alone.
Our world is broken.
Sickness and disease will always reign here.
But if we know Him, we'll go home...to a perfect place where we don't endure sickness...where we don't bury baby girls.
Our church wants to rise to the challenge of loving this family the way we should.
I was glad to receive the challenge from others that even if we don't know them very well, we are still their body. We all need to rise up around them, not only in prayer, but by personally being with them.
I have heard from people who have experienced deep loss that we often avoid them after a while. We don't know what to do...what to say.
Once we've brought them a green bean casserole to eat and attended a service and hugged them, we're at a loss as to how to grieve with them.
I feel like I'm apart of a real family in this church. I want to love them as such.
Please pray for Paul, Becky, and Kaylynn.
They will all try to sleep tonight...they'll all have to learn to get through each day and have joy again.
They'll never forget Abigail! None of us will!
Pray that this family feels God's nearness and peace right now.