Ordering a Headstone

After Ezra’s birth, we took some time to rest but have since hit the road and have been as busy as ever. It has been surprisingly easy to get back into our routine and live life as normally as possible. While there are still those moments where I ache for my little one, I have been busy enough to distract myself from the hole that remains in my heart.  However, one little detail, one little decision totally threw off that routine for me and has sent me back into the pit of emotions I found myself in the week following Ezra’s birth.

After putting off the decision for a few weeks, it was time to order a headstone. There is nothing at his gravesite to show he is there. Not even his name…I feel like somebody dropped the ball on that one! Thankfully, I know he is right next to sweet baby Wesley Tolson.

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Picking out the actual stone was not the hard part. That was easy because, well, there wasn’t much to pick from, and we had a few non-negotiable things that we were looking for. But when it came down to picking a “phrase of endearment” for Ezra’s headstone, I was at a loss. How do you honor a precious little life, acknowledge a deep sense of loss, and praise the Savior who got you through it all in four words or less? If you’ve ever read my blog you, of course, know that I am a wildly wordy woman! I can take the simplest sentence and stretch it into a vividly descriptive paragraph fit for a fantasy novel. So, naturally, this was difficult for me.

I put undue pressure on myself to come up with this perfect phrase, although my husband who knows me so well it scares me, reminded me that nothing we picked would be good enough for me. I was afraid he was right!

After much googling, debate, and discussion, as well as a tearful visit to our precious boy’s gravesite, Paul basically forced me to make a decision. In fact, he threatened to smack me if I came home from the cemetery without my mind made up. Of course, he was kidding!

I feared that I would feel like it was all over. This seemed like the last step and the last thing we would ever be able to do for our baby. I know, it’s kind of silly; he doesn’t know and doesn’t care. And as my sweet friend, Stephanie Cornwell reminded me during a particularly stressed-out moment, he is too busy worshipping at the feet of Jesus to care what his headstone says! I knew she was right, and thankfully, after the decision was made, I didn’t feel the way I feared I would at all. I felt as though I let out a big, satisfying sigh. 

It’s not over, but one of the hardest parts is.

The phrase we chose for our sweet baby’s grave is the phrase that my precious friend, Holly Pearson had engraved on the beautiful necklace she had made for me and gave me on the day of Ezra’s memorial: “May God Be Glorified.”

For these grieving parents, those four little words just say it all.

All Things Added

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

At times, I have felt a little silly about how much I don’t know about India, the country to which our family feels lead. For months, we prayed that the Lord would send laborers to India to fill the great need for the gospel among its millions of inhabitants. I don’t think I ever really thought the family to be sent would be the Taube family. However, when it came down to make a decision and begin raising our support, it was a no-brainer. God had put India on our hearts, and it was there to stay! Here is an excerpt from my blog the morning after announcing our plans to begin deputation to reach the country of India:

Last night, during the teachers/workers meeting at Vision Baptist Church, my dear husband wrote me a little note. This is not an unusual occurrence in any given church service or meeting, but this was a very special note.

It read,”Pastor asked me if we wanted to announce that we are going to India tonight.”

replied, “Up to you, babe.”

“Are you 100% in?” Quite a weighty question for note-passing, wouldn’t you say?

After a shorter pause than I would have anticipated, I quickly scrawled, “YES!”

I have to be honest, at this point I knew little to nothing about this country to which we had dedicated our future. In fact, I just about Googled myself to death the night before our first meeting because I was nervous that someone would ask me a question I couldn’t answer and my cover would be blown. I had just about blindly surrendered to serve in a country I was totally clueless about, and I was a little embarrassed about it.

But I felt a peace I couldn’t begin to describe, and aside from the self-consciousness of my ignorance, I really didn’t care that I was so clueless. I had surrendered my life to Christ, and I had submitted myself to my husband. When I told God I would follow Him anywhere I meant it, and I told my husband the same! A few days ago, we returned from our survey trip to New Delhi. I am overwhelmed just thinking about how God answered many questions and provided peace for many concerns during the short time we were able to spend in the country.

Despite my ignorance I have found the promise in Matthew 6:33 to be absolutely true! I’m thankful for my husband’s wisdom as he lead me to seek God’s plan for our lives and trust Him to take care of our needs as we did.

It’s not perfect, of course, and it would have never been my first choice based on the few things I had heard about it in the States. Maybe it’s the comforting peace of knowing we are following the Lord in our lives or maybe it really is just because many things about India really “rock”, but I am feeling great about moving here in the near future! It could also be that the Roberts are doing an awesome job and making it look easy, but I guess we will find out soon enough and have a great example to follow when we do!

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Getting Used to India

Well, we have been in India since Tuesday night, June 11! It’s definitely been an interesting and eye-opening experience! I’m not shocked that things are different; I had prepared myself for that. But the reality  of actually seeing all of these things and being personally affected by them is a whole other story!

I’ve had time to adjust, and I’m realizing that, while it will be challenging, I can get used to all of these things. 

I can get used to having a “Revolving Door” as Autumn refers to hers.

I can get used to always being the passenger and never the driver.

I can get used to living in a heavily populated area.

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I can get used to only being able to call my family at certain times of the day and not just when I feel like chatting.

I can get used to wearing clothes that aren’t necessarily “my style” (learning to love it!).

I can get used to eating a mostly vegetarian diet that is heavy in spice (I already have! I love the food here!).

I can get used to extremes in weather: the heat, the humidity…even the monsoons.

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I can get used to people ALWAYS being around (maybe).

I can get used to the stares and unwarranted attention.

I can even get used to monkeys in the street (Varanasi).

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What I can’t get get used to, however, is that the masses of people I push my way through are nearly ALL lost. The majority have never even had a chance to hear the gospel I’ve grown up with. I pray that this will be the one thing I will never become accustomed to.

I can’t get comfortable living here and getting by on broken English without constantly being aware of the great need of the gospel in the country that will become my home. The reality of the void of the gospel in this country has to be the fire that fuels me to learn (language, culture, etc) and grow so that we may be able to plant churches, train leaders, and give God ample room to do an amazing work among the Indian people.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s going to be hard to return to the United States. Not that I just love the way of life here because I don’t (yet). It will be easy to return to my normal American way of life, but in just this short time, I’ve been challenged to want to be here. I want to learn the language (like YESTERDAY!) and culture, and I want to get started in the ministry as soon as possible. My last post was about how much I love deputation, and I do, but I’d like it to hurry up and be over so we can come back to India and get started on what we believe the Lord would have us to do! I’ll TRY to be patient…

I’m so thankful to have been given the opportunity to come on this trip and to see all that I have seen. Please pray with me that we, collectively as believers, would never get used to the need of the gospel around us. In the US, in India, or wherever the Lord takes us.

Filling in the Cracks

A date night, a pedicure, and a new hairstyle
(all provided by sweet missionary friends). 

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Family time at home and friend-made meals/”fat week.”

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Boating in Tennessee, and now camp at Fort Bluff.

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ImageHealing looks a lot different than I thought it would.

While I am painfully aware that none of these things can bring back my boy, I am pleasantly surprised how they have helped bring ME back little by little (and trust me, there’s a long way to go!). I should also mention that this version of myself I sense rising to the surface is not the same as the girl that walked into the ultrasound room on May 14; it’s a different “me,” forever changed, but, thankfully, not a finished product.

The Lord has shown Himself to me in BIG, incredible ways through my time with Him, and I am not discrediting that in ANY way. I praise Him for His faithfulness to speak to me through His Word and the Holy Spirit; I guess I just kind of figured that would happen! 

But He has also whispered His love to me through fuzzy feelings, comforting conversations, and summer sunsets. Perhaps, I have just become more sensitive to His hand in my life, more aware of His constant, comforting presence, and more in awe of the beauty that He surrounds me with to the point that EVERYTHING seems like a hand-crafted gift of love from my Father. I feel like a dried up sponge soaking up every drop of His goodness, and though my arms are empty, my heart feels full. Naturally, it remains, for the moment, broken, but I trust Him to continue to fill all the space the cracks provide with MORE of His overwhelming, perfect love and MORE of His boundless, infinite goodness.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

 

Deep Love

I woke up thinking about Ezra this morning, as I have every morning since his “birthday.” I was recalling something I didn’t share much in previous posts: One thing that truly amazed me throughout the whole experience was the power of motherly instincts.

Even though I knew in my mind that my baby was dead and with Jesus, my heart could not handle the thought of my sweet boy suffering any pain or loneliness. I didn’t want him to be born in a toilet; I didn’t want him to lie in a morgue, cold and alone; I didn’t want him to be opened up for an autopsy. It all seemed cruel and uncaring, and it didn’t seem fair to my baby.

While I held his tiny, frail body, I made sure to support his head like I would with any newborn baby. My heart broke as his skin deteriorated, his shoulder came out of socket, and his little fingers and toes began to detach. I sent for the nurse to take him away because I could not handle it anymore. My heart couldn’t grasp what my mind knew: My baby was dead and could no longer feel anything.

Maybe it was best that way. Maybe it was best for my heart not to understand that my baby couldn’t feel me holding him, touching his tiny lips and face, fingers and toes. Maybe it was best to let my heart believe that Ezra could hear mommy and daddy assuring him that we loved him and would miss him every day but that we were happy he was with Jesus. Maybe it was God’s grace that let my heart be fooled. 

But as my heart has come around to what my mind knows, I have been comforted knowing that God’s love is far beyond any earthly love: including the seemingly boundless and powerful love of a mother for her son. I will never sing, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” without being reminded of this. For unbearable pain I sent my baby away, just as the song reminds us: “The Father turns His face away, as wounds which mar the chosen one bring many sons to glory!” He watched His Son die an undeserved death on the Cross of Calvary so that a sinful people could be saved; there was a greater purpose in his pain.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand (Isaiah 53:9-10).

God is not ignorant of the hurt that I have endured since the passing of my son. I believe He feels it just as I do, as my Father who deeply loves and cares for me. There are so many passages showing Christ’s compassion for His children. Isaiah 69:3 says, “In all their affliction, he was afflicted.” He feels the pain of His children!

As I cling to this belief, I must also grasp for the hope that there is`a greater purpose for my pain that my Father would look on as I suffer this loss on earth. He will show His power in my pain, and He will receive glory in this tragedy.

And if that is not comforting enough, I can rest knowing that, as a sweet friend reminded me, “Ezra will never suffer the pain of this life. All he knew of life on earth was the love and safety of being inside of you, and all he will know for eternity is the love and glory of Jesus.” There’s no risk that he won’t know Jesus, and there’s no chance of him ever feeling pain, heartache, or loneliness.

I can’t yet say that I am pleased the Lord would take my son. I’d give anything to have him in my arms now, and especially come September 23, but I have to believe it is far greater for him to be with Jesus, even if for reasons I won’t fully comprehend until I see HIM face-to-face.

Until then…

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me (Psalm 137:7-10).

Oh, how He loves me!