A blog about the life of the Balentine family: Adam, Amy, Teddy, Simon, Thomas, Peter and Goldie

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Q&A Part 2

Question 2: Why take an "open book" approach - sharing thoughts, struggles, and personal details - during this difficult time?

Adam's answer:

We opened up as soon as we learned of Simon's condition because we knew our loved ones needed to groan with us. We are too weak to do this alone. We also understand that there are plenty of others who suffer in silence, for various reasons, every day. We strongly believe in community and drawing on the support of others. We hope this might inspire others who are in struggles to do the same. Family, friends and our church community have been solid rocks for us. Our Bible study group (or community group) continues to be a safe place where we can work through the tangled web of sorrow and bear each other's burdens.

I want those who read or hear our story to be comforted because we are comforted.  I pray my friends and family who are skeptics or non-believers will seek this peace we feel, and knock on this door of grace. I pray my Christian friends and family are encouraged and solidified by the strength we get through God's love.  I hope everyone understands that the Bible has all of the wisdom we need to prepare us and guide us through trials, and that's where our comfort ultimately comes from. 

I don't want people to misinterpret our joy in this sorrow as maintaining some sort of charade of a "happy face."  I hope that people understand that we have deep, abiding joy during this horrible situation only because of the hope and trust we have in Jesus Christ. I've been reading Tim Keller's new book "Walking with God through Pain and Suffering," and I can't put it any better than him, "Jesus was patient under greater suffering for us, so we can be patient under less suffering for him. And heaven will make amends for everything."


I'm way better at expressing and organizing my thoughts in written form than spoken word.  Telling people the news face-to-face is really, really rough.  It is like you can see a dark cloud come over their face when you break the news of Simon's condition.  It seems I, and whomever I'm telling, want to go find the nearest hole to hide in.  Writing on the blog is a much more cathartic than dreadful and I just want to honor my son Simon with my words.

We realize that we're writing about Jesus a LOT, and that might make more than a few people feel awkward.  I'm consistently at a loss for words on the topic of Jesus, and now similarly when talking about Simon.  I really appreciate when people start a conversation with me by saying, "I don't know what to say to you."  That's an honest and real statement. Great conversation is often married to honest confession. I'm OK with not having the answers or the perfect things to say, because my hope and identity rests in a perfect Savior and I therefore have nothing to prove to anyone.


Amy's answer:
Reason #1:  Share in Community 
On January 20, now over one month ago, we sent out our first more public email to family and friends to share with them our news on Baby Balentine #2.  After hitting send, I immediately felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  We shared the heartache with our loved ones hoping that they would help carry some of the weight.  I believe God wants us to spend time in community, sharing and going through life with one another (Jer 29:7, Phil 2:3-8).  I know Simon is loved by many. It seems that others have become interested in Simon's progress and our family.  The blog is an effective way to share our updates and thoughts without sending out mass emails allowing those who are interested to read when they desire.  

Reason #2:  Healing for my soul
I believe that journaling and writing is therapeutic.  Typically after I do my daily devotionals (Jesus Calling and Streams in the Dessert) I have a lot I want to say to Simon.  Sometimes I tell him aloud  and sometimes I write to him.  I let him know what's on my heart, how badly I wanted to see him play with Teddy, and finally my big prayer of getting to bring him home on hospice.  Sharing pieces of my heart on the blog helps me face and accept some of the things I know are happening - or will happen.  This helps me better accept what we are going through.  It makes it even more real and reminds me that this isn't a dream.  It is healing to my soul to share our story and to talk about Simon.  Who doesn't want to talk about their child anyway?!

Reason #3:  Honoring Simon
This is the time to talk about and talk to Simon.  While I know we will always talk about Simon in our family, I am certain some memories will fade.  I am thankful that we will have this blog to refer back to after Simon is no longer with us.  It allows us to look back at our journey and remember our son's life that forever changed us.  It also reminds us he is and was here!!!  We want to honor Simon's life - before birth and after birth, his life matters.  As all unborn lives matter.

Reason #4:  Helping others
I hope someday our blog helps another family facing a fatal prognosis for their baby.  I have read many other Tri 13 family blogs.  Their words help me better understand my own emotions and also help me prepare for what is to come.  They also remind me that now is my time with Simon.  Sing to him, dance with him, read to him, pay attention to his wiggles in my tummy, and to remind him while Teddy, Daddy and I love him very much - God loves him more.  I have learned so much from people that I don't even know and will likely not even meet (until we get to heaven!).  If another family stumbled upon our blog and it helped them in some way, I would be so thankful.  Even more importantly, if we helped a person come to know Christ or recommit their life to Christ because of Simon's story, I would jump for joy!!!  Several friends have already shared their "ripple effect" stories with us - explaining that because of Simon's story they have been changed.  Praise God!  Wouldn't it be wonderful to have an entire post dedicated someday to a list of all of the ways God used Simon to touch and change individual lives?!

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