Immanuel

It’s late Christmas Eve morning. Both babies are sleeping and I’m contemplating a cup of coffee. I still need to wrap a few gifts and whip the topping for dessert tonight, but my mind wanders. Baby girl woke uncharacteristically early to nurse—around 4ish, I think. Although she fell asleep at my breast, my eyes struggled to find peace even amidst the quiet house. As I nursed her, I prayed for Jecoah. When I checked on my own baby boy, I prayed for Jecoah. But when I logged onto Facebook to check for our Christmas miracle, the tears for Jecoah starting falling. I plodded defeatedly into the kitchen where I started cooking Christmas Eve dinner to distract my thoughts, my tears adding a salty bitterness to the meal.

This morning I confessed my disappointment to God: I don’t have words for how my heart hurts for Shellie and Brad and Jecoah. And their entire family. I can’t stop thinking about Shellie having to hand her baby over, Brad’s feeling of helplessness, and Jecoah’s confusion. Lord, my heart hurts so very much and I barely know this family. I don’t understand why it was okay for this to happen. I am struggling to believe that you have something redeeming up your sleeve. Please give me the faith to trust you, to trust your love for this beautiful family, to have hope in your holiness.

As I poured my heart out, I kept thinking what a shitty Christmas this is for the Costains. How bittersweet their reunion with their daughters will be, together at last but without that little boy they’re all madly in love with. I wondered if I should try reading something profound in the Bible—like Romans 8:28. Then my mind wandered to the time I walked out in the middle of a sermon on that passage. Reminding myself that God has something Good and Lovely that will ultimately play out is right, but my heart couldn’t hear those truths yet.

What my heart could hear was, “I am with you. I am with Shellie and Brad. I am with Jecoah. And I’m not going anywhere. His earthly parents had to leave him, but it’s okay because I am with him and I will hold him in my arms and not let him go.”

Immanuel. God with us.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

This is why Jesus came—so that we would not be alone, either in eternity or here in this broken world. He came to make a way for God to have a relationship with us. For God to outstretch his arms to us in our hurt, messiness, and despair.

And yet I sit in my chair, crying, acting as though we are all alone. Father, forgive my unbelief. And thank you for your gift of Immanuel to sweet Jecoah this Christmas. Speak to his heart in the language only he can understand. Breathe Heaven on him so he is comforted. Give him your peace, which surpasses his confusion. And bring him home soon.