There is this place we can visit to remember. Two names are etched on a square stone and their short life is measured in hours. There is a promise written on the stone, a promise that we will be with our sweet Joshua Paul and Kaleb Stephen one day. We don’t visit this place often; the first and most recent time we visited was 6 years ago to take our children to see where their brothers’ earthly bodies are buried. We choose to keep the memory alive in their minds with framed photos of our boys’ tiny faces and shared stories of the hours their brothers were held by us.
But sometimes it’s important to visit the place that reminds me of how broken my heart was (for what seemed like eternity) because when I remember the brokenness, I get to remember the way my Father put it back together.I also get to remember the conversations I had with my Father following the boys’ loss. Specifically one conversation we had for many years. I know He remembers it because he answered it.
I asked him for miracles.
On this past July 4th, after many years of praying that familiar prayer, I saw this side of my Father. Our 7 year old daughter Gracelyn was riding on a flat bed trailer in in our local Independence Day Parade. She was sitting on top of the hay bales on the float and was passing out candy with the other kids. Then she impulsively decided to get off of the float and in one quick instant her foot caught under the tire and the tire drove on top of her leg and up over her hip. Paul heard her scream and picked her up and ran a few blocks to the fire station where she was eventually life flighted to the hospital and underwent surgery for a broken upper femur.
The mere recounting of the story void of the miracles our Father performed doesn’t do it justice. I’ll tell it again.
As the float began to turn a corner, about a minute before the accident, two of our friends separately felt that they needed to pray for the safety of the float and those riding on it. And when our sweet girl decided to step off and her foot caught under the tire, the driver felt a very small check to stop the vehicle even before people began screaming for him to to do so. If he would have driven any further up her small leg, she could have suffered life long injuries – or worse. Once Gracelyn arrived at the ER and was admitted for surgery, we found out through a friend who works at the hospital that we had one of the best surgeons in the area performing this difficult surgery on a type of break uncommon for children.
You see, it’s important to add to our stories where we see our Father walking and touching and healing. Even if that story doesn’t end where we want it to end.
I see my Father walking in the hospital room as Paul and I said goodbye to our boys and weeping with us. I see my Father sitting with me in my garden as I talked with him all day long those months after losing Joshua and Kaleb.
I see my Father walking amongst the laughter and warm summer sun of that 4th of July Parade and once he sees my little girl want to step off the float, he tells our friends to pray. I see Him walking to the driver’s side of the car and telling the driver to stop.
There is another place, a place I can see. It’s a scar on my little girl’s leg where the surgeon cut her open and screwed a plate to her femur. It’s a scar that says “I see my Father here.” I see it often. I get to see it when my little girl runs and jumps. I see it when she is snuggled on my bed in her nightgown while I read a bedtime story. And when I see her rubbing it or looking at it I say, “What does that scar mean?” And she says, “Jesus saved me.”
Shouldn’t that be what we say at the end of all our stories?
I took the kids to Joshua & Kaleb’s grave today where we made daisy chains (their little sister’s idea) and I told more of their big brother’s story to them.