Surrendering of a son…
My husband recounted this day for me shortly after Tyler’s death. He informed me that all he could think about was Jesus in the garden. The intimate conversation between the Father and the Son, as the Son cried out, “Abba, All things are possible for you. Take this cup from me! Still, not my will but Your will be done.” (Mark 14:36). Ryan asked the same thing of God; That this suffering would be taken, the cup not distributed, but fully surrendering to the will of the Father. It’s often a “churchy” word that can get lost or overused, lacking no conviction when said. Surrender…to give over…Ryan would have surrendered his life that night. He asked God to take his instead. Only now I realize that in our surrender of our son, we were brought into a deeper understanding of the Spirit’s power. In His Word He instructs us to “give me your heart.” I pray that if you are struggling to relinquish or surrender your heart unto the Lord’s care because of pain that pierces so deep, that you will trust Him to take your burden and lighten your load.
Written one year ago, Memory of April 29, 2017:
Only a few family members and friends had the privilege of holding Tyler. As our families entered the room, the song “Great Are You Lord” was playing.
“You restore every heart that is broken. It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise.”
I finally understood this song. Tyler, lifeless as he appeared to us, but having only experienced the breath of God. Everyone held him; everyone cried over him, because he was so loved. The Spirit so palpable, so present, so comforting. As if He swept through the room touching each heart with His love. Songs of praise filled that room as Tyler was passed from one broken heart to the next, until finally being placed back into my arms. My Mom came to my side, the strongest woman I know, leaned down, kissed my forehead, and embraced me as she sang, “It is Well.” My sisters joined her as each of their hands rested on me, reminding me of the gentle touch God grants to the brokenhearted.
As our family left, I knew that they were forever changed with our burden. They wore it on their faces and now carried it in their hearts.
It was midnight. I had not seen sleep since the 27th. I knew that I would never get a chance to sleep with Tyler on our couch in the middle of the afternoon. I had already looked forward to the first day of school and returning home with only Tyler. I had the blanket in mind and just how wonderful it would feel to have him sleep on me without any interruptions. These “i” plans would never come to fruition. So instead, I used the same blanket and placed his head of curly locks on my cheek, his body on my chest and I slept. The sweetest two hours of sleep my body will ever know. At 2 am I woke dreading what God was asking us to do. I cried out to God to give me the strength to hand over our son. I knew He was asking me to do what He had already done, but I was not strong like Him. I needed Him to do it for me. If left on my own, I would have rather drifted into that sweet sleep never to wake again but be instantly restored to my son.
The time had come. Death was creeping more and more into his frame. At 2:48 am, I lifted our son into the hands of a stranger and kissed him one last time. Then, we wept. Our tears reached heaven that night. Our son already there, complete in form. But that doesn’t take our longing for him away.
My arms were empty. Ryan crawled in that hospital bed and we lay together fully embraced by one another’s pain and sorrow. We were both brokenhearted as we left that hospital with a box of memorabilia and crushed dreams, instead of arms filled with new life.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
Ryan held my hand and led me back to Tyler’s nursery as soon as we arrived home. My breath escaped me. My tears seemed endless. We got on bended knee and he prayed, again. Praising God for His goodness and His love. Our hearts were forever changed but not our God – He is unchanging.
“For do not fear, for I am with you; do not dismay, For I am Your God. I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10