A year ago today, I held my nephew for the first time.

Rather, I held my nephew’s tiny body. His self was being held by Jesus already.

He was almost three pounds. Under different circumstances, babies born that size and gestational age make it just fine. In fact, five months later, a niece was born (to a different sibling of mine) with an identical birthweight and the same amount of cooking time and she’s delightful and chubby now. I held her a few weeks ago. But this one was already gone for reasons we’ll never know. We found this out the day before, and it took more than a full day for my sister to give birth to this sweet boy with the perfect nickel-sized hands and feet and the perfect curly auburn hair.

I didn’t have words then, so I borrowed some from a favorite songwriter. I hardly have any now. I don’t have a pretty grace-bow to tie this up. It’s messy and hard. There’s been grace, certainly. From compassionate nurses to a newborn baby sister born last month, God continues to be faithful. But it still isn’t easy.

My nephew’s name is Elchanan (EL-cha-non) which means “God is Good.”

And He is.

His parents wanted, with each mention of their son, to remember the goodness of the One who is good, even though life is hard.

It’s tempting, when I think of holding Elchanan, to just count down to heaven. This is the sort of loss that doesn’t feel like it can be made right short of seeing him again. But then the Spirit reminds me of his word:

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

(Psalm 27:13)

Through all the tumult, betrayal, and attack, David was certain that God’s goodness would show up, and not just eventually.

Please pray today. This month is set aside to raise awareness for pregnancy and infant loss, and I want to remember a lot of mamas (myself included) missing babies. But today especially, I am praying for peace for my sister’s heart as she holds a newborn daughter while mourning the anniversary of the loss of her son.

This post is part of a 31-day series called “Grace in Failure.” Other posts from the series can be found here.

31days of grace in failure 4-3

Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for KindredMom.com where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

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  1. My goodness, I wouldn’t have words to say either! This is so impossibly hard, my thoughts and prayers are for your sister and your family.


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