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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hold and take Simon home, Dear Savior {re-post}

This morning on the fourth anniversary of the day after Simon's death I'm reflecting on what it was like.  How did we did we walk this journey?  How did we stay awake for seven days straight?  How did we know when he was dying?  How did my hands who held him when he took his last breath also walk his body down our front path and place him in a white van, saying our last goodbye?

The answer to all this is simple - it wasn't us.  We were lifted, guided, strengthened and carried by something that is positively beyond this world.  We are far too weak.  Far too broken.  Far too selfish.  Far too human to have walked the journey as just Adam and Amy.  Without a doubt in my mind we had a source of strength welling up inside us that only came from the divine - God our loving Father, Jesus Christ our Holy brother and advocate, and the Holy Spirit our helper.

I remember receiving a message from someone who was a mere acquaintance just a few days after I posted the below that Simon had died.  Many people would apparently wake up each morning and see if we had posted an overnight or early morning update during the week of Simon's life.  This person, a father of young kids also, told me that he got into work and opened our blog and started reading.  After learning of Simon's death and having a good cry in his office he decided to go pull his kids out of school and stay home with them that day.  He said he just needed to hug them and be with them.  Everything else be damned for today, I just need to hold my kids.  That story of impatient grace is part of Simon's ministry, and it continues on.  So be it and let it be, Lord.  Amen.



Today will be a sad day, and many more difficult days will follow.  Last night, at 10:17 PM, Amy and I embraced one another, and Simon, as he left this world and was welcomed into Jesus' arms.  The experience of ushering Simon into Paradise was holy and beautiful.  An amazing song shuffled into our playlist as we watched Simon depart from us: "Tribute/ Agnus Dei."  I now hear a collective groan as we all morn the loss of an amazing, gorgeous and powerful life here on earth.  And the Holy Spirit groans on our behalf. "...The Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." (Romans 8:26)  As I write this, rain falls here in Kansas City, appropriately, as so many tears will fall from our faces today.

Simon's story is one of victory.  He beat the odds of his diagnosis and held on for exactly 7 days.  He gave us joy and he filled our home with his cries for a perfect week, plus 22 minutes.  At 9:55 PM last night Grandma Patty, Amy and I sang him happy birthday and congratulated him for making it so far.  It seems that 7 days and 22 minutes were far enough for Simon.

Again, Simon's story is one of victory.  He has now achieved the ultimate victory over death.  Joy filled his sweet face last night as he set foot in the Kingdom of Heaven.  A stadium of angels cheered thunderous cheers for him as he ran to the arms of Jesus and embraced Him.  He is basking in a kind of love that his mommy and daddy never could have given him.  His new body feels no pain.  Fear does not exist in Heaven.  He is dancing and running through pristine green fields with all of our friends and relatives who surrendered to Christ, died and live eternally in Heaven.

Simon inspires us all.  He showed us what fight and power look like in a 4 lb. 15 oz. body.  Each moment with Simon was a gift.  Not a single second of the 6 days that we were able to spend with him at home received any planning.  We were pulling Teddy's newborn supplies out of storage in our basement and dusting them off with big smiles and full hearts just 6 days ago.

Two lessons that have been galvanized in my soul emerge to the forefront of my mind as I seek to process the last week.  We have consistently said that God's grace is sufficient for today and tomorrow will worry about itself.  When you live minute-to-minute and breath-to-breath, this is a reality not a philosophy or a concept.  The second, and somewhat related lesson is that our plans are not our own.  God's has a perfect design and a perfect plan for each one of us.  It might not line-up with our own plans, and that is why the theology of true surrender to Christ is so vital and important to sustaining hope beyond this life. (Matthew 6:25-34, Matthew 16:24-28, Isaiah 55:8-13)

We will hold a memorial to celebrate Simon as some point in two-to-three weeks.  Details on that will follow.

Shower Amy with love, as I will.  She inspires me more than anyone, as she consistently keeps saying, "I would do it all again."  I would too.  Pray for our marriage and for Teddy as we head into some turbulent waters.  Ask God to not grow weary of holding us close, as He has done so steadfastly throughout this entire journey.  We know Simon's story will live on, and we will continue to write about him, our family, our faith and this life for the years to come.  We are so happy to share this journey with each one of you.

We pray you experience grace upon grace, as we have, and understand that you are eternally the object of Jesus Christ's love.  Nothing you do or don't do can change that Truth.

By His Grace,

Adam

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