My friend Molly is preparing to give her testimony on Thursday morning. It's not something she does often, but rather with intention and guidance from the Holy Spirit. You see, she's walked through a fiery pit - one most of us can't begin to comprehend. Yet God has brought her through without even the slightest scent of smoke on her clothes. (Daniel 3: 26-27)
On August 10, 2003, Molly and Wes went to church and then came home for a quiet Sunday afternoon. They had just moved from Richmond to the Boston area, so that Wes could complete a fellowship. Six weeks in they were adjusting, but hadn't met a lot of people just yet. They put their five month old baby down for his afternoon nap. When Molly went to wake him a few hours later, he didn't respond. Their precious son had died. There was no reason, no cause, no answers, no comfort, nothing. That's SIDS.
Around 7PM that Sunday evening, I answered the phone at our house. Scott, a friend from our small group, was calling to pass along the devastating news. I remember being in shock. No initial tears, just a shakiness in my body that I couldn't stop. Hours later, I remember holding my own baby, then 10 months old, and crying. I remember, too, the phone calls I made to the rest of our small group. It was a difficult night, to say the least.
Over the next few days we, as a small group, had an opportunity to surround our friends with love in precious few ways. Their families and our pastor were with them, but we felt so helpless to show them how much we cared. And how much our hearts were hurting for them. We prayed as never before. They brought Jackson here to bury and his life was celebrated at our church. God gave Wes and Molly the strength to speak about their son at his funeral. They worshipped, hands raised, during the service. And they made sure the gospel was presented, even as they grieved their loss. Our small group sat together, just behind the family - in rows reserved for Jackson's spiritual family. Oh, how we grieved together and for our friends. I'll never in all my life forget the sounds of Molly's grief as she followed that small casket up the aisle. And yet, in all that pain, God began a work that I know He has been and will be faithful to complete in her.
There is no other way to describe what this couple has walked through than as a fiery pit. This Thursday morning, Molly will be speaking to a group of ladies at a local MOPS group. She's done that before, but it's never easy. I had the privilege of hearing her speak the first time she shared her experience publicly. I was nervous on her behalf, but I didn't need to be. She was walking in the strength of her Lord. She recounted the events of that first year, and then she began to talk about healing. God is faithful. She challenged everyone to ground themselves deeply in the Word and to teach their children to live godly lives so that when tragedy strikes, they'll have something to lean on. Her faith, she said, was simplistic before. But after, it became deep and well rooted.
Molly and Wes have three more children now. If you did not know them in 2003, you would not ever guess that this sweet couple had been through such sadness. There is no smell of smoke, no scent of bitterness or anger. They celebrate the life that God has given them and treasure the lives of the babies they are privileged to parent.
When I left that day, I was tearful from reliving those difficult weeks in my memory. But her sweet testimony was such a celebration of the months she had with her son and of what God has done for her, that I couldn't help but be joyful. And I couldn't help but to celebrate life. God's faithfulness is so amazing.
And totally complete.