Well, in just a few days my baby is 1. If you’re new around here, first of all HI. I am so glad you’ve found your way into this little corner of the internet. Second, Rory is a gift that came to us in the middle of an incredibly life-changing and unexpected season. I tried my best to share as much as I could as it felt right but to be honest, it left majority of what I did choose to share quite cryptic and vague. Even a year later, a little over actually, it’s not a story to tell. But to put it as clearly as I can, we have never experienced such heartache or left feeling so betrayed. If you’re into the Enneagram (hehe), I am a 9 w8. My two greatest fears are abandonment and betrayal… this year brought both in the most heart-wrenching and deeply confusing ways. Thank God for counseling. You see, the weirdest part about honor and navigating grief is that both must still co-exist. And thus, a story that impacted my life and the life of my sweet husband deeply may never be told. But, the best part, and the thing Paul and I have clung to the most is that,
1. Exodus says “You need only be still [silent], the Lord will fight for you.”
2. Rory was a tangible gift from God through a long endured season of heartache. We learned that grief and unexplainable joy can operate together. We learned that challenges truly do produce character and endurance. [Romans 5:3-4]
I am a better wife because of this year. I am a better mom. I am unexplainably, deeply soul-connected to Rory in a way the Lord truly gave as a bow-wrapped gift to us in the midst of what felt like the end of our world as we knew it. Oh thank goodness we endured and remained steadfast, believing our God is always good. Even when we can’t see it, He’s working. And oh my goodness, did He work all things together for our good and for His glory.
Now, back to my sweet Rory Liam. I tell you that preface, because the Lord told me when I found out I was pregnant with another boy that this baby was going to be a tangible gift and representation to physically carry through a hard season, specifically a representation of God being our Warrior and our King. I knew like a deep conviction the baby inside of me’s name had to mean “King.” And that, in a deeply spiritual way, as I labored through carrying my son, it would be the physical, literal reminder that God was laboring and fighting for ME. Y’all… I didn’t have a clue in January of 2020 when I felt this impression from God on my heart what was to come in the months ahead. I only knew that our dream of church planting was promised to begin unfolding in the coming year and that it would be a big year for us as a family because of that. I didn’t know the grief or unexpected turn of events to come. But, that impression became a promise I clung to.
When Rory was born, it felt cruel when my perfectly healthy, full-term baby had to be taken from me to the NICU. HOW was this happening? I didn’t understand. “Lord, haven’t we been through enough heartache? I will never forget the horrifying news, changing in my bathroom and stumbling around less than 24 hours postpartum into my pajamas, hearing a doctor walk into our room saying, “Rory stopped breathing.” I all but fell out of the bathroom half dressed to see if what I thought I heard was what I did in fact hear. “Haven’t I seen enough tribulation to understand the lesson that you’re my warrior and that you’re in charge and that you are fighting for me?” Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how many times I yelled “It’s not supposed to be this way!” over that year.
I have never yelled in the car or cried so heavily as I did the week my son was in the NICU.
Geez, I am weeping just thinking back to those moments alone in my car. Thank God we have a Father who wants us to honestly speak with him. Thank you, Jesus, for tearing the veil and allowing us to approach our God personally with our heart’s hurts and desires without fear.
I wanted to share [re-share for some of you] this story of Rory’s birth and, frankly, his life itself, because I know it can encourage somebody out there. I know there are times you can be sitting thinking, “MY GOD, hasn’t it been enough?” It can feel cruel and lonely when you feel the Lord is putting you through the fire or allowing you so much trouble to come your way. But, friend, I can tell you that I have never trusted God more than I do today and it’s because of the fire. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego has been an encouragement through this season. Not only did they get thrown into the fire because they refused to bow to sin, but their faith and then miraculous defeat of the furnace was a testament to everybody around that saw the miracle take place. Another appeared in the fire alongside them and saved them. Their testing, faith, and life proved God was good and real.
I don’t know who needs this, but hear me when I say it’s so very true that God sees you, hears you, and cares for you. He sees you in the fire and gets into it with you. God didn’t create sin or the hellish ordeals we come against in life. It’s because of the entrance of sin into our world that these things exist at all. However, because God is whole and perfect and without sin, He can see how the sin of others or the dark things we face can be for our good in ways we never could. He is working it all out and He promises never to leave us. Cling to that.
So, as we inch toward my sweet Rory Liam’s 1st birthday, I just wanted to reflect on how much my tiny [well, TBH not so tiny] baby has changed my life. And, I hope his life encourages you. I pray this story of Rory’s existence reminds you also that God is our Warrior and King. He is fighting for you. He is at the front of the battle going before you.
To my sweet son, thank you for teaching me of the goodness of God. Thank you, by your life and your being, for reminding me our God fights for us. I can’t wait to see how you live this out all the days of your life.