May 18

MAY 18
by Suzanne Phelps
I can remember my Mom telling me that from a very young age I had a fascination with our family’s Christmas Nativity Scene.  I was only 3 years old that particular year, but she said after we carefully unwrapped each figurine, I got the honor of placing the baby Jesus in the center, completing the beautiful scene and story. Not only did I stare at it at that moment, but she said all throughout the season she would find me standing there staring adoringly at the Christ child in the center.  I actually can remember my captivation…a connection that at that point in my life I didn’t quite understand.

In 2008, my husband Eric and I unexpectedly lost our youngest son at the precious age of 3 ½. I can remember feeling that the world had stopped, yet outside life was still moving on without us…without him.  The sun was shining on that warm summer day in June, yet we were numb, and couldn’t imagine that anything would ever feel the same again. Bishop (then Pastor) Dan, stopped by our home a couple days later to see how we were doing.  All around the house were things Dane had last played with yet I still couldn’t get myself to put them away. Dane had a severe skin disorder so not only did we spend all day together, but we’d often bathe him in the middle of the night, sometimes more than once, to help relieve his discomfort.  We were inseparable. The joy that little boy experienced despite his discomfort was a gift from God and oh how I yearned to be with him.  I remember telling Pastor Dan that morning, “I don’t know what to do with myself.  I still have so much love to give him but he’s not here. I don’t know what to do.”  Bishop Dan paused for a moment, and in that very calm and comforting tone we all so know and love said to me, “Suzanne, Dane is with Jesus now. He has all the love he could ever need. Give it to the ones who are still here. They’re the ones who need it, now more than ever.”  I immediately thought of Eric and our twins who were one month from turning 8 years old, all hurting so deeply by our loss.  Through his words, I felt the words of the Holy Spirit speaking to me.  The level of comfort those words gave me is indescribable.  I reflected on the story my Mom had shared with me. That precious baby in the manager I was so drawn to at only 3 years old, was the very baby that saved our 3 ½ year old son.  Because of that precious baby, ours still lives. I believe with all my heart that He was calling me those many years ago.  That love and trust only continued to grow, and blessed our family with His comfort and peace when we needed it most.

“Give it to the ones who are still here, they’re the ones who need it, now more than ever.”  During these uncertain times, that is my hope for each one of us.  Giving the love that was so freely given to us to the ones who need it most.  Even in the midst of grief, God reveals his love and protection over us as we share His love with others. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

“Heavenly Father, we thank You for the gift of your precious son.  We give praise and thanksgiving for the sacrifice He made on the cross so that we may be cleansed of our sin and enjoy abundant and joyful life in You. May we remember and reflect on what You have so freely given us, so that we may be Your hands and feet for others, especially in their time of need. And may Your Spirit touch and transform both those who know You, and those who are still searching for hope in this broken world. When we hear Your call, please help us to respond and follow You all the days of our lives until we reach our eternal Home with You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.“

Leave a Reply