Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Psalm 46

Music has always evoked emotion in me.

I love listening to music. If it is a happy song, I will dance along and sing loudly...if it is a sad song, I will cry. It has always been this way for me. I also tie myself emotionally to music, if a song came out during a specific time in my life, every time I hear that song, my emotions go back to that place. For example, mine and Todd's song is "I Could Not Ask for More" by Edwin McCain. When I hear that song, my heart travels to our wedding day when we danced together to that song. All the emotions I felt then, I feel them just as strongly today. My song memory goes back to very early childhood. I can hear a song that came out in 1986 when I was 4 years old and it will evoke an emotion in me that will remind me of childhood. I love that I have that connection with music.

I am going to tell you about the song that holds more meaning to me than any other song.

About a year and a half ago I was listening to Pandora, and a song came on by this husband and wife duo, named Jenny and Tyler. The song was called "Season". The song's chorus says "show me what this season in my life is for, I've been trying to seek You, seems You're shutting every door, show me what this season in my life is for, cause I want so much more..." This song came to me at the exact right time. Todd and I were in the middle of trying to get pregnant but we were having fertility problems (at that point we had been trying to get pregnant for 3 years). We were trying to seek God in all of it and this song described our life so much. At that time we were trying to figure out what God wanted us to learn through that time of our life. The song encouraged me so very much. Now when I hear that song, it takes me back to that place, to where we were spiritually. I loved that song so much, that I looked up the group and downloaded all of their music. I love their music (you should go to their website, www.jennyandtylermusic.com and listen to their music, they are so talented!)

Well, months later, in October, I got pregnant with Gideon. I downloaded the most recent album of Jenny and Tyler sometime in November, I think. I listened to all the songs on that album many, many times. One song stuck out to me more than the others and it is called Psalm 46. It is based on that Psalm in the Bible. That song is absolutely beautiful. The music, their voices, the lyrics...gorgeous.  I listened to that album every single time I was in the car. It quickly became my favorite album and I would listen to Psalm 46 usually 3-5 times every time I listened to that album.

I had no idea a the time what that song would mean to me in the future

 It goes like this:
The Lord is my refuge and strength
therefore I will not be afraid
though the mountains give way and fall into the sea
He will come and rescue me

The Lord comes to me at break of day
He reaches down to guide me in His way
though this oceans roar in this dark and stormy sea
He will come and rescue me

Hallelujah, He is with me
Hallelujah, we cannot be moved
Hallelujah, He is with me
Hallelujah, I rest secure

Be still and know that He is God
He will be exalted over all
come and behold His strength and majesty
He will come and rescue me

Hallelujah, He is with me
Hallelujah, we cannot be moved
Hallelujah, He is with me
Hallelujah, I rest secure

When I would sing this song while pregnant, I would think, "Wow this is so true. Yes. Amen"  I would sing to the Creator of all things, the Father who cares for us, the God who rescues us. All the while, every time I sang that song, Gideon was listening to his mommy worship the Lord.

On the night of Sunday May 15th,  the meaning of this song would transform for me. I knew these lyrics to be true, however that night I learned deep in my heart what they really meant. That was the night we found out Gideon had died. That evening at the hospital, after they admitted me to a room to start my labor, this song came into my head. I started to think on the lyrics of this song. The Lord is my refuge and strength, therefore I will not be afraid...He reaches down to guide me in His way, though the oceans roar....He will come and rescue me....we cannot be moved, Hallelujah, He is with me...I rest secure...Be still and know that He is God. Those words revolved around and around in my head and in my heart.  I had to believe those words to make it through those 2 days. I have to believe those words to make it through every single day. Even though the ocean was roaring around us those days, the sea was dark, and our mountain was crashing into the sea, we had to believe that He would come and rescue us and that He was and still is with us. I very much believe He has rescued us and He is always with us. I have to believe that, or I would not survive.

The Lord came to me at the break of day on Tuesday morning, when the nurse told me "You are ready, it is time to push" I thought of this song in that moment. I felt an all permeating peace from the Lord. Don't get me wrong, I was scared and I was extremely sad, but I was so ready to see Gideon. Through those 2 days of laboring, God had equipped me for this moment. Therefore, I will not be afraid. As the doctor came in the room, I couldn't think of anything to pray, so I said the Lord's prayer as I held Todd's hand as we prepared to see our son. The Lord was my refuge and strength in those moments. Less than 10 minutes later, Gideon came out and they laid him on my chest and we cried. But I knew He was God. I wept as I put my hands on my son for the first time and I said "I love you". Hallelujah, He was with me. I handed Gideon to Todd and I saw the tears streaming down my husband's face. I know that He was Todd's refuge and strength in that moment. Through the following hours we spent with our Gideon, the Lord was reaching down and guiding us in His way.

Still to this day, exactly 7 weeks later, He is with us. Even though, the sea is still dark, we cannot be moved. Even though the mountain has given way, hallelujah, we rest secure. 

When we were planning Gideon's funeral service, we decided to have a memorial service for friends, family and all loved ones. Before that, we did the burial service for just family. We decided to go that route because seeing Gideon's tiny casket at the front of that big room with everyone in it would have been extremely hard for a lot of people. And very hard for me and Todd. The service was going to be horrible enough for mommy and daddy.
For the memorial service with friends and family we had the song "Glory Baby" by Watermark played. Its a beautiful song about losing a baby. I cry every single time I hear it. I love the chorus of that song. It says "We miss you every day, and we miss you in every way, but we know there's a day when we will hold you, we will hold you. And you'll kiss our tears away, when we're home to stay . We cant wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you. But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, till mom and dad can hold you. You'll just have heaven before we do...."  The bridge of that song is powerful too, "I cant imagine Heaven's lullabies and what they must sound like. But I will rest in knowing that Heaven is your home and it's all you'll ever know. All you'll ever know." Thank you Lord, that all Gideon knew was my womb, and He went from the warmth and love of my body, to the warmth and love of Your arms. I am so glad, even though it hurts so so so much, that Gideon is there, with You. 

As we were planning the burial service with our pastor, Todd and I decided to have the song "Psalm 46" sang. It seemed right. It perfectly described where our hearts were that day. It just fit what we wanted to say about our son and about what God was saying to us. Even when all seems lost and everything around us is falling apart and our world may feel like it is crashing down around us, God will come and rescue us. He will come to us in our darkest hours and bring light. We miss our Gideon and him dying has been the worst thing imaginable for us, but the Lord is guiding us in His way. Our son is gone, never to come back in this world, which if you haven't experienced something like it, is impossible to know how horrific it feels. But because of Him, we will not be afraid and He will be our refuge during these days and for the rest of our lives. So, during the burial service for Gideon, that is what we wanted to say. These lyrics, that are based on scripture, said it perfectly. I hoped that the song that had brought so much comfort to me, would bring the same comfort to others.

We asked a beautiful and wonderful woman we know to sing this song for us, to honor Gideon and to bring worship to God. Her voice is exquisite & I am so thankful for her. I am so thankful that she was willing to sing this at his funeral. I know it was hard for her, but she has no idea how much she blessed me and Todd that day. While she was singing, I was singing along in my heart while mouthing the words to this song that meant so much to me throughout Gideon's life. I was worshiping the Lord during the funeral for my son. Maybe that would seem strange to some, but to me, it was right. God is good not because of what he gives us, but because of who He is, because He is our salvation. That is why I could worship the God who gives and takes away during one of the darkest days of my life.

Even though, in that moment, I was looking at a casket that held my son's body and to think of him inside there tears my heart to shreds, I knew that my son was in eternity being held by Jesus. Gideon is resting secure. And even though my heart was (and still is) crushed into a million pieces that day because we had to put our son inside of the ground, I had to worship God because without Him I would be nothing. At all. He will be exalted over all. Even though, that day, we had to say goodbye to our son. And my heart was in agony. I will not be afraid. I knew on that horrible day and I know this today, that without Him, Gideon would have never existed. And without Him and the hope He gives, we would have no chance of seeing Gideon again. But we do. We do have a chance to be with our son again. Hallelujah, He is with me. I knew that from the moment they told us Gideon had died that He would come and rescue me, I knew that through my labor, I knew that while I was holding him, I knew that on the day of his funeral, I know that every single day when I look at his pictures, I know that every day when I weep with misery. I know. And we cannot be moved.

I am so thankful for that song. So very thankful. Those lyrics are the cry of my heart. That song means more to me than any other song ever because it has been such an important song through Gideon's life and death. In my mind, it is Gideon's song. It so very much reminds me of my son, but more importantly, it reminds me that God is our strength and even though things are unbearable, that he is still God. No matter what He will be with us in our agony.

Thank you, Lord, for our Gideon.

For about 4 weeks after Gideon died, I couldn't listen to music at all. I couldn't do it. Every song was too much. I just couldn't do music. When I was in the car, I would listen to talk radio only.  For the first time in my life, music didn't help me. I could barely handle my emotions and so I couldn't pile on the emotions that came from music. I also stopped singing. I usually walk around singing everywhere I go. When I was pregnant, I would sing to Gideon all the time, even in Target while shopping. People thought I was crazy, I am sure, but I didn't care. I was showing my son I loved him.
After he died, I couldn't sing. It hurt my heart too much. Too much emotion. My emotions were already raw and bleeding. But 7 weeks later, I can sing again. Songs made my heart hurt more just a couple weeks ago, but when I sing now, it makes me feel connected with God like it used to and it makes me feel closer to Gideon. I am happy that I can see the Lord healing me in that way. I am not to the point where I want to walk around singing everywhere I go like I used to, but this is one area where I can see God mending my heart.

I have not been able to listen to the Psalm 46 song since Gideon's funeral because it makes me cry so hard. So I haven't listened to it. But today, it just erupted out of me. I was in my car listening to talk radio, and I was crying. I was missing Gideon with all my heart. I was driving down the road and I thought, "Gideon should be in the back strapped in his car seat, but he isn't, He will never sit in this car with me. Never". My heart ached to have him close to me. My car felt empty. My heart felt empty. I opened my mouth and I just started to sing the lyrics: The Lord is my refuge and strength, therefore I will not be afraid..... I sang that song 3 times through. I missed Gideon so very much in that moment and my heart was in agony and that is what poured out of me. Worship. Worship in the midst of pain.

That is the first song I have truly sang with all my heart, out loud, in worship since Gideon died.

I realized today that our sweet Gideon heard the song Psalm 46 significantly more than any other song during his life. Gideon's ears were filled with the music and the lyrics from that song frequently throughout his 33 weeks of life. Lyrics that spoke of God's faithfulness to rescue us and to be with us.

I worshiped God with that song more than any other while I was pregnant with Gideon.
I worship God with that song now that Gideon is gone from us.

Though the oceans roar in this dark and stormy sea, He will come and rescue me.


Jennifer Russell said...

Stormy, your words, and the faith that they reflect, are so beautiful and inspiring to me. I can only imagine what you are going through, but it helps me know how specifically to pray for you when I read what you write. I am so glad that you are able to use music as you continue the healing process. I am the same way with music, and there are so many songs that remind me of you and our college days. Now, whenever I hear one and think of you, I also pray for you. You and Todd are so loved and surrounded in prayers and support during this time. And Gideon has had more of an impact than any of us will know this side of Heaven. He was blessed to have you and Todd as his parents, and the world is better for being able to hear his story through your words. Your strength and faith through this experience embodies the true meaning of worship, and I know God is so pleased with your response. Love you, my dear friend.

Holly Long said...

Your strength and courage through this terrible heartache gives mr hope and strength. Even though it's been almost 6 years since my son Cole Chandler was born into the hands of God, some days my emotions are as raw as they were the day I had him back in October 2005. They God speaks through you and your courage to open up and share such heartbreak is very humbling. Thank you

wilkeliza said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with the world. I can not imagine how hard it was to write all of this out. My heart is filled with joy to hear you can sing again. I am still praying for you and Todd. I read a few days ago that you said your biggest fear was that Gideon would be forgotten. I want you to know that I will never forget Gideon. Your words are so heartfelt and when I read them I can't help but get a little emotional. You have such a pure heart and spirit. You are a strong woman of God. As you go through these trying times I wanted to give you a verse than meant so much to me. It is a little cliche but it helped me. It is Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Whenever I felt like I couldn't get up in the morning due to the grief, I couldn't face a certain situation, be around people, or just wanted to give up I would remember that. I remembered that because I believed in Christ and was a child of God he would help me through those dark times. Our own strength is never enough only the strength of God will get us through. I know he has strengthened you and he will continue to carry you through life.

patquintana said...

i cant even think i start tearing when i start reading this story i mean i couldnt read it in whole i cant read it in whole i cant take the pain and i know yours is 100 times that what im feeling!!! i know hes watching you from the heart of jesus christ waiting for his parents to one day come and hug him once again. i already love him and i didnt even knew him i love him like i love my son!!

Stormy said...

I am just crying. I am sitting here crying over all the things you all have said.
I don't even know what to say.
Tears have been pouring out of eyes reading these comments.
All of your words touched my heart. I cannot even describe what what have said means to me. Thank you all so much.
I love you all. Thank you.

Patty Eaton said...

May I say, "Thank you" so very, very much. I stand with you, beside you...and I am encouraged in the depths of me. There are hardly words to adequately tell you what I am feeling. Blessed be the name of the Lord! To Him be all the glory. We worship you Lord with Stormy. We lift your name up. And we look for you to come...more and more and more....and rescue us.

What an honor Stormy. I am honored to know you, to feel connected to Gideon through you. I am blessed more than words can describe to know your heart and the sheltering arms of God in the secret place.

Grace and peace to you my sister. I wish I had words.

Stormy said...

Patty, your words were beautiful. You made me cry...I dont know what to say. I have no words. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.