She came too early. And left too soon. And where was God?
A difficult pregnancy left me sleepless and aching and worried. I wanted my baby girl to stay inside me as long as she could because she was safe there. But time would soon run out.
Sooner than I knew. I went into premature labor with Kali at 32 weeks. Outside of my body, she only lived 1 hour and 17 minutes.
Even though I knew she lived on, I wondered how I would. All I had of her was a clipping of her soft black hair, a copy of her handprints and footprints, and a few pictures that a nurse had taken after she died.
Pictures of a face that my memory would fade into the past.
Pictures of a body that would never see the future.
God says now
I received the pictures a few days after her death. I was afraid to look. Her body had retained so much fluid during the pregnancy that I knew it would be distorted. But who wouldn’t find her own baby beautiful, regardless of the disfigurements?
So I looked. And I saw beauty. But I was still afraid to share her picture with others. What would they think? Would they be repulsed? My mother instinct said protect her, don’t share. Lord, help me.
A week went by. And another. And another. The time still wasn’t right. But with December 25th around the corner, God pointed at the calendar. It was time. Give the gift of trust. Have faith that family would love Kali regardless of how she looked.
So on Christmas Eve, packaged with tears, I nestled a picture of Kali in a Christmas card for each of my siblings, parents, and in-laws. It was an act of faith, a gift of love, a mercy of God’s timing.
I watched as they opened. Everyone was grateful. Including this mom.
God had shown me He’d walk with me one step at a time, with just the right stride. Never too slow (even when I lunge forward to speed Him up), and never too fast (even when I fight to hold Him back).
His pace is perfect. I can trust Him not only with the situation itself, but also with the timing around it.
Nineteen years later, I can still walk into my mother-in-law’s bedroom and see a picture of Kali on her nightstand. I can pull out a card my mom had given me saying she often sat and looked at Kali’s picture. I now display Kali’s picture on my living room wall, eager to share her story with anybody curious enough to ask.
And when I begin to doubt God’s timing of help in a new circumstance, I can look at Kali’s face and remember how the Lord always has, and always will, bring all things together at just the right time.
May you also trust His mercy to encircle you behind and ahead, and trust His grace to show up exactly when you need it.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Do you struggle with God’s timing, too? Do you wish he’d speed up or slow down? Leave a comment or prayer request and we’ll talk to Him about it together.
If you know of a family losing a little one, gently point them toward Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a ministry of professional photographers who donate their time to preserve precious memories.