Yesterday was a mix of God moments and profound sadness. I woke up and got ready for my day, and for some reason that I don't remember now, I checked my Facebook.
I rarely do that on weekends.
I saw a post to my newsfeed that a toddler had died in a housefire.
Normally, stuff like that makes me go "Oh, that's so sad...that poor baby", and then boom, I'm on to the next status update.
Yesterday was different.
I had known this little boy.
Last year I had the privilege and honor of being asked to serve in a small church here in our area. Their Pastor contacted me and I agreed to come for one year. With my Pastor's blessing and the prayers of my own church family, I set out to do what I could to help.
I ended up working with the children. Never in my life had I ever done so before, it wasn't my "calling." (Which I've noticed that working with children is hardly EVER anybody's "calling" in the church but that's a gripe for another day.) But these babies...all I can say is God put a love and a desire to help them in my heart.
Armed with nothing but blissful ignorance I stepped into the Children's Church arena. My plan was simple. Bribery.
(Hey, I'm not above it. Pop-tarts and juice work wonders I can tell you.)
And over the course of several months I fell in love with the children of that church. Quickly I found out that each of them had God-sized problems. I won't go into details, but these kids needed Jesus to be more than just a figure in a storybook. They needed Him to be real, and right in the middle of their stuff.
Over and over I heard these babies pray not for themselves, but for their moms, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends and teachers. Their prayers weren't filled with "thees and thous and therefores." They were simple prayers that cut down to the chase. I guess when you're seven years old and your mom needs to be healed from brain tumors, you aren't really into beating around the bush.
In the church there was one precious family with six children. The youngest was a sweet blonde haired boy with chubby cheeks. His name was Matthew, but his brothers and sisters all called him "Sandwich" for reasons I don't remember. I'm guessing it was because the boy loved to eat.
On Saturday, this family's life was altered forever. They lost Sandwich and all of their belongings in a terrible housefire.
As a mom, and a grandmother, I cannot fathom what it would be like to wake up one morning and life is normal and then the next day it's not. The pain and the confusion and the fear must be unspeakable.
But yesterday, as much as I was thinking of this sweet boy's mama...I was thinking more of his brothers and sisters who must be wondering right now where God is.
Oh my sweet babies. If you're reading this with your mama and your grand-mama...let me say this. I love you guys. But as much as I love you, and as much as your mama loves you, and as much as your teachers and your church loves you...if you could add all of that love together it still wouldn't come close to how much Jesus loves you.
In fact it wouldn't even be in the same universe.
Jesus loves you that much. Maybe right now it's hard to see Him, but babies, He is not lost. He is not on vacation. He has not forgotten about you. He has not closed up Heaven and left you alone. In fact, if you'll pull up a little closer to the screen I'll let you in on something.
I'll tell you a secret.
I know where God is.
Right now, at this very moment, God is with you. He's the one giving you strength to get through each day, and bringing in helpers who will give hugs, clothing, food and all kinds of different stuff. As a matter of fact, all over this place, everywhere that people can read your story...strangers are praying for you. People that God put into place long before this ever happened...are on their knees talking to Jesus about your family and asking Him to meet your needs.
And babies? Jesus is listening.
God is with you, loveys. He is with you.
(For anyone reading this post, a fund has been set up to help pay for funeral expenses and to help the family with the loss of their everything. Make donations payable to Nehemiah Church with a memo For Matthew Parker. Mail it to P.O. Box 111, Corryton, TN 37721. Prayers for this family are also needed and appreciated. Thank you.)