July 29th is a day our family will never forget. It was a day that took us by surprise, the day we found out our pregnancy was in trouble and our son would be born in the next 24 hours. I was only 27 weeks pregnant and Harrison would be born at only 1 lb 8 oz.
As I think back on the emotional past 7 months, I’ve started to think about the day before that day. The day where everything was normal, where we were enjoying time vacationing with Josh’s family and taking in the beauty of Colorado. Except for the beginnings of a headache for me, it was a great, normal day. Josh, his brothers, and his dad had gone out to play golf that afternoon, but were driven inside by a sudden thunderstorm.
I had forgotten about that storm and really that whole normal “day before” until about a month ago. As I’ve revisited those days, I can’t help but be struck with what an interesting illustration that thunderstorm on July 28th was. Little did we know of the storm that was coming our way the next day, and that storm would continue in many ways through the next 3 months in the NICU. Those stormy days were scary. They were overwhelming at times. They were filled with the joy of holding our sweet child, but the heartbreak of leaving him at the hospital each night. Those days were not what we would’ve wished for, not how we wanted Harrison’s birth story to go. The storm came rolling in and we weren’t expecting it. But we were oh so thankful for our safe shelter.
One of the places in scripture I kept returning to during those Colorado days was Psalm 27. A friend mailed me a devotional by Paul Tripp called “A Shelter in the Time of Storm” which walked through this Psalm. As literally everything around us seemed so scary and uncertain, what sweet promises these were to read. In verse 5 of the Psalm David writes, “For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.” One thing that struck me is how “in the day of trouble” is a given. To be honest, I probably skim over that reality, hoping trouble won’t happen to me. It is not an option of whether or not we will face trouble. David did and we will too, and sometimes it will hit us out of nowhere. But what a beautiful promise in the midst of that hard reality. When those days happen, he will be our shelter. When things around are scary and uncertain, we are invited to run to him for protection, life, and his very presence. As Tripp writes, “You can be sure of this - your day of trouble will come. Yet, in your trouble God hasn’t left you alone. What is it that he gives you in your trouble? He gives you himself! He is what will keep you safe.”
The Lord’s supper also offered a tangible reminder to us of God being our shelter. One Sunday as we took the elements in the middle of our grief, the minister challenged us to consider the hope we have in the gospel through a quote in the movie, Return of the King. Sam asks Frodo, “Will everything sad become untrue?” Yes it will. Christ the King will satisfy every unmet desire we know and experience. The gospel forced on us the promise of Harrison having a good Father when we wanted so much for him to be okay. Christ could be trusted because he died for us. That hope in the new day when we see Christ face to face gave our hearts rest in the storm.
During this season when we’ve had so many days of being afraid, it was, and still is, so tempting to run to other things - people to help us feel better, doctors to reassure us, food to comfort us, TV to numb ourselves from the reality of the situation. But it is only in the shelter Christ provides that we find the hope our soul really needs.
Harrison continues to grow and is thriving. He is healthy and close to 11 pounds now! We are trying to keep him healthy through the winter so we are at home a lot. We look forward to bringing him to church finally in April. Thank you again so much for your prayers and support as we’ve walked through this season!