In the beginning there is lots of room. It feels open and you feel free, it's dark, but the dark is comforting. You move around in your little world with ease. As the time passes you don't really notice that the walls are closing in around you. The freedom that was there at the beginning doesn't seem as grand as it once did, but that's normal you assume. More time passes and there is no doubt that you are being restricted, choked out. You begin to seek a way out of your little world but it seems impossible. You can feel the end approaching as you twist and turn in your world, which you consider a prison now. The world you knew starts to break down and rot as you continue to push and stretch longing to be free of it. Suddenly there is a bright light in a crack of your world. This light gives you hope that there is something more beyond your world. The ugliness of your world is crippling, the stench is repulsive, the wrongness of it all is now lit up fully for you to see. Though you feel like you can't go on a second longer something inside you tells you to keep pressing on. As you feel you can't draw one more breath, your broken world crumbles around you. Before you stands a world you never could have imagined. This world is full of light and space as far as you can see, a space you will never outgrow. It is beautiful and not rotten, whole and not broken. You feel as if you have a whole new life before you... and you do. The last thing that confirms you are where you were always meant to be is a never ending figure in the distance calling to you with rolling arms beckoning you to come into its embrace. A figure that you know in your heart will be there to protect you forever.
My daughter, bless her heart, she can really ask some difficult questions. Questions that make this mommy really have to chose her words wisely. Today she asked a toughie. Her question, "Mommy, why do our bodies have to get old and die? I don't want to die. Why did Adam and Eve have to eat from the forbidden fruit? If they hadn't our bodies wouldn't get old and we wouldn't ever die." Wow!!! We've all been there, haven't we mommies? When we have to look up at heaven and say, "How do I answer something like that when I still question it myself?". But we serve a God that wants us to know these reasons, He doesn't want us to be afraid to go to heaven, He wants us to anticipate it with great excitement. So, what does any good mother do when caught between a rock and hard spot, whether it be a question or even life in general? We pray and we wait to be answered.
Luckily, the Spirit didn't see a reason to stretch my patience on this one. LOL. A friend recently told me that she read somewhere, "We are not earthly beings with a spirit inside, but spiritual beings with a earthly body". This quote speaks volumes, but how to phrase it so an eight year old would not only understand, but be comforted? By using an analogy to something she could relate to. So, we began to discuss in detail what our earthly bodies are really like.
I began by asking her a simple question back to her. What is more important to God, a baby turtle in its egg or the egg itself? She responded as most would, "The baby turtle in the egg." I explained to her that our bodies on earth are like the egg and our souls are like the baby turtle. When the egg is first laid it is firm and strong but as weeks go by it starts to soften and wrinkle; all the while the baby turtle becomes more and more aware of it's shrinking home. Before long it is fighting with all its will to break out of its home. Something is calling it, a force so powerful the baby sea turtle will risk death just to get to what is calling it. Finally the baby turtle breaks free and gives its last burst of strength to getting to the one that calls it... the sea. I could see the wheels turning in my daughter's mind, so I continued. I explained to her that our bodies are the egg and over time our soul begins to outgrow it, just as the turtle did. Our souls hear a Voice calling us that is so inviting that we begin fighting with all our soul to break free of the prison of our body. Our bodies are a temporary home for our souls.
But my daughter loves to go deeper. She then asks one of the toughest questions in the world. "Why do children have to die then?". In June my best friend lost her two year old daughter in an accident. My daughter was as devastated as I was. All she could think about was her friend running up to her and her helping her to do things. So again, I prayed for a wise answer for her. I asked if she remembered when her Gam would help the baby sea turtles reach the ocean. We had gone with her a handful of times. They would uncover the nest to see if any were left. In the early season every now and then a single shell or two would have hatched before the others. I explained to her that some souls are very strong and God knows that. Some souls are so strong they don't have to wait for their bodies to grow old before they are able to break free and go to heaven.
As a mother I don't wish this on any parent ever. But my friend who lost her daughter is even wiser then I am. She told me that she knows her daughter is in heaven and it will only be a split second to her before they are all reunited. She explained to me that as much as it hurts to be separated from her, she wont ask God to bring her back because the place she is in now is so much better. I can not fathom how my friend can not only be so strong during this time but also so wise. She knows her "little turtle" was stronger than most. These are hard truths to try to even grasp as a mother. And if you are a mother that has lost your little one as well, my heart aches for you. It is not the loss of your child but the pain that you are feeling that brings me to my knees in prayers for you.
Our loss is great, but God is greater..." - Greater
Matthew 18:14 - Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.
Dedicated to Jocelyn, a pure soul in a broken world, you will be forever missed until we join you in heaven.