Sunday, December 21, 2014

"I Go and Prepare a Place for You" ~ From Heartbreak to the Echo of Jesus

As we stumbled and shoved (and itched) our artificial Christmas tree together, the children giggled.  They thought we looked a little like monkeys doing a "dance of our people".

We pulled out ornament after ornament.  Each child has an ornament for each year.  Even Jonathan has an ornament.

I didn't even see it coming.  My heart caught instantly in my throat.


Losing your son, even one you only held in a vision given by God, is not something you just "get over".  His name is rarely brought up outside of our immediate family.

Yet, Jonathan's life mattered.  He was not just a little boy in a laying room, his grave just a hole in the ground his body was tossed into.

He was our son.  Even more important, he was a child of God.

Rachel came to me the other day (out of the blue) and said, "I miss Jonathan."  Our little five year old's heart was so intertwined with her brother (that she never met on earth) that it was physically aching.

With each heart beat I heard, "I go and prepare a place for you." (thump) "I go and prepare a place for you." (thump) "I go and prepare a place for you."

I miss my son...painfully.  It feels like part of me is missing...a bleeding muscle torn out of my heart....

"I go and prepare a place for you" (thump) "I go and prepare a place for you" (thump) "I go and prepare a place for you."

....and then I sat at Church today and heard it again....

"I go and prepare a place for you."

...and I looked down the row.

(Right) Jael scooting her bottom, trying to find the perfect snuggle while maintaining a comfortable position with her prosthesis.  Rachel, beautiful in her Christmas dress legs strewn across her grandmas lap.  Next to grandma was Anna, her wavy hair flowing everywhere.  Sarah, listening intently as the preacher shared tantalizing morsels of God's Word.  Max, tall and lanky for a twelve year old, sat taking his spot at the end.


(Left) Warmth covered my side as Bekah slid as close as she possibly could to me.  Gabriel looked up with his huge brown eyes that caused my mommy heart to just melt.  My beloved, my groom, sat next to Gabe. Then my breath caught in my throat.  Next to him...


"I go and prepare a place for you" (thump)....

....sat Benjamin.  Less than two years ago our Benjamin sat in a metal shed, day in a day out.  He had scars from bite marks on his face.  We sat with doctors when we came back asking what no parent wants to ask a doctor. "Does he look like he was sexually abused?  Is his liver function normal after years of being drugged?  Has the infection from his rotten teeth gone into his jaw?"

I looked at Benjamin, sitting there making his noises, teasing his daddy....and remembered all of it.

"I go and prepare a place for you." (thump)

With each heart beat, something became clearer and clearer.

"Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven."

Matthew 6:10b

You see, in this world we live a temporary life.  It is designated and separated by a span of only years.  We have a limited time to live.  We have a limited time to listen.

As Jonathan lay in a crib, soaked in his own urine, day after day my Savior was with him.  I can picture Jesus whispering in his ear, "I go and prepare a place for you son. I go and prepare a place for you."

Day after day, I picture him hearing Jesus' voice.

In that moment, for Jonathan it meant Heaven.  Jesus was preparing a place for him.

I don't think Jonathan is the only one hearing Him though.

In beds on this cold dark winters night...in the Ukraine...in China...in Ethiopia...in Russia...in Moldova...in the United States...

Jesus' voice echos.

"I go and prepare a place for you."

In families around the world, a hole grows, slowly expanding in someone's heart.

"I go and prepare a place for you."

Into a papa's mind a swirl, a thought begins to form.

"I go and prepare a place for you."

A mother turns to her husband and is scared to say a word, should he feel differently.

"I go and prepare a place for you."

A family starts feeling like someone is missing.

"I go and prepare a place for you."

Jesus, forever and always, is ever present in our lives.  He didn't stop living when He left this earth.  He continues to this day "preparing places" for his children, the (for now) orphans of this world (and it's not just in Heaven).

Someday we will reside with Him in the beauty of His presence, but now he works on our hearts.  

"I go and prepare a place for you."

Do you hear it?  Do you feel a hole being created in your heart?  Do you feel the heat in your arms as your heart is wrapped around another child?  Do you feel the ever expanding dimensions of your family?

"I go and prepare a place for you."

I can imagine Him whispering.

I'm hoping and praying you're listening if it's your child that hears the voice of Jesus tonight.

I hear it.  Do you?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As tears stream, I pray you do. Jonathan did in another way.  In the way it's truly meant in the scriptures.

Jesus prepares our hearts in a similar way.  He creates beauty and awaits us both in Heaven and just a glimmer of an echo here on earth.  He waits for us to listen.

It's a journey that's hard...oh so hard.  It's also a journey that's blessed...oh so blessed.

As I looked down that pew at Church, I realized what I would be missing if my heart hadn't broken, if I hadn't had the opportunity to pray Jonathan into Heaven.

I have two sons from the Ukraine now...one in Heaven and one making the craziest face at his daddy.

Oh hear Him whispering friends...it's beautiful.

*Until that day I see Jesus face to face (I can hardly catch my breath thinking about that day), I am so thankful for the opportunity to listen to Him.  It's a privilege and honor...never a burden.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” 
John 14:1-4

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven."

Matthew 6:9b-10

1 comment:

In the joy of following our Heavenly Father, we sometimes choose to proceed with a whisper, a verse, or a downright shove...no matter how we follow Him, the momentum that follows is like nothing we've ever experienced before.

Join the momentum...it is a beautiful place to be. It's not always easy, but then the best things never are.

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