Sometimes we’re not always sure about our decisions in life, where we are, why, etc. This morning, I know that right now, I am exactly where the Lord wants me to be.
I’m honored to be a part of an organization called, NILMDTS or Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a non-profit that has volunteer photographers do portrait sessions at hospitals of babies that are not expected to survive, still-born, etc. The mission statement is “providing the gift of remembrance photography for parents suffering the loss of a baby”.
I was contacted a few months ago by a mother who learned of the program through her support group. I won’t disclose many of the medical details, due to the nature & confidentiality but mom & dad knew that their baby would not survive for more than a few hours or so. The mom was great at keeping me posted on what her latest appointments were showing, and what her doctor was advising.
I got a call at 5am this morning that it was time for me to head to the hospital. Mom was dilated to a 9, and she would be delivering baby soon. I jumped in the truck, and started my drive. The radio was on a local station, WCIC, which is a contemporary Christian station. Immediately I turned up the volume as I was drawn to the words that I was hearing come through the speakers. The female voice was giving a sermon about Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and how the three were dramatically changed through their encounters w/ Jesus Christ. She continued to talk about the woman making a meal for Jesus in the kitchen, and serving others. Serving others to honor the Lord. As Martha worked, she started to complain, so the woman went on to explain how we are to serve humbly, and all in the glory of God. I smiled to myself because I knew that as I heard these special words at 5am, I was meant to hear them.
It was still dark outside, w/ no other cars around, until I saw tail lights, and pulled up to a stop light behind them. It was a police officer. Immediately I felt myself thinking, ‘I wonder if he could guide me to the hospital faster so I don’t get in trouble for speeding’. I had to laugh at myself, as I wasn’t sure if I was being realistic, or if my brain just hadn’t fully woken yet and it was a bizarre idea. The light turned green and we both turned onto a one-way street and were right next to one another. I felt the urge again, so I rolled down my passenger window, and the officer did as well.
I said to him, “I know this is going to sound crazy, but could you possibly lead me to the hospital? I’m a photographer, and I have a mom in labor that is going to delivery any time, and their baby is not expected to make it.” While he did take a moment to process my words, he agreed, and the light turned green. He didn’t use the overhead lights, but I was able to speed along right behind him to quickly arrive at the location.
As we drove, I immediately just felt a sense of peace overcome me, and tears filled my eyes. I truly felt as if God was showing me “See, I am here. I am always here, no matter the situation”. It was then that I was overwhelmed w/ emotion, and I knew being a volunteer for NILMDTS is exactly where I need to be. I needed to be there w/ that family today, to capture those moments before their baby arrived, to spend time w/ them, photograph baby’s birth & the significant time spent w/ baby after the delivery. I’m exactly where He wants me.
Conviction. You really never can tell when it will come over you, where you will be, or how you will know. But when it happens, you will know.
The time that I spent w/ mom & dad prior to the delivery was wonderful. I got to know them, and I quickly learned that they are pretty darn special. I specifically remember mom saying to me, “We’re just hopeful”. These were proud parents who were excited to meet their baby. They were truly hoping for a miracle, and their hearts were celebrating the fact that they were about to become parents. I was honored to witness the birth of this sweet child, and even though the baby went to be w/ the Lord shortly after birth, those moments will always be there. When I first saw this precious baby born into the world, I had the words of this verse going through my mind;
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
To that mommy, daddy & sweet baby.. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of a very special day. I hope that you are able to feel the love, comfort & peace that surrounds you.
I serve to honor & bring glory to God. It’s as simple as that. I’ve heard “you seem to handle this well” and many praises for doing this service. Honestly though, it’s all for the glory in His name. I do not think I’m a strong person, I do not think I deserve anything special, I simply have been given the opportunity to let His light shine. This is the love that our God shows us. I am continuously thankful for a Heavenly Father who is powerful, all knowing, passionate, loving, and most importantly, my Savior.
Lord, thank YOU. Thank you for allowing me to bring your love & light into a service that gives to others. You are an amazing God, and although I’m not worthy of all you do, I graciously do my best to show my appreciation. Your love never fails. You have shown me a peace & joy that I could never have known w/out the sacrifice of your one & only Son. Thank you for blessing me so much more than I deserve. In your Son’s name, Amen.