Today is a complicated day. It began twenty-two years ago.
Twenty-two years ago, I gave birth to Joshua David and William Scott Patton. Twenty-two years ago, I held Josh and Will in my arms. I counted their fingers and toes as I marveled at God’s creation. Twenty-two years ago, I emptied my arms so full of love and handed my boys into my Savior’s embrace.
No mother should bury a child, much less two in one day.
It’s been twenty-two years, and yet I still see their faces as if it were only a few seconds ago. Will laboring for life while his brother, Josh, rested peacefully in the blessed sleep.
I still hear my voice making melody in the midst of grief’s discordant sound. Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak, but He is strong… I hear John’s voice raise in song as it cracks from the weight of soul wrenching loss. Salty tears mix with the promises we claim.
Then there is my Savior. Emmanuel. God with us. I remember Him, too.
His presence heightened our senses as He entered the room. He tasted of heavenly honey, soothing the bitter brokenness which hung dense in the air. His presence was everything death wanted to steal but couldn’t wrench from his hands.
The ever-present I AM met us in the chasm between life and death.
Grief has long since done its work on my heart, and yet I remember.
Every March 19, I remember. I remember my boys– their lives and their deaths. I remember my marriage– our sorrow and our faith. I remember my Savior– His presence and the gift he left in His place, Healing’s Grace.
On this day, twenty-two years ago, Healing’s Grace began her slow, tender, painful, instantaneous work on my soul. She refined and shaped my life, a life death fought for years to take.
It is no small coincidence that this same Grace– the one that met me at death’s door– would work her way into my writing. That she would choose to give birth to something new and beautiful on this very day.
The day of our great loss.
For years I resisted her call. A call I own so beautifully in my everyday life. The call to motherhood. The call to bring life through my words. Words written to mothers. Words designed to cultivate her heart and tend her soul.
And so today, March 19, 2017, I step forward with Grace and begin again. I’m stepping out to tell my story and to share what I’ve learned along the way. I hope you will join me. I hope in the midst of this thing we call motherhood, that you find your way into and through Life’s Healing Grace.
With love to each of my children Andy, Katie, Josh, Will, & Blake-
Thank you for teaching me to chase life.
And to John-
Thank you for reminding me to embrace The Life who was chasing me.
With Joy Unspeakable,