I knew that today was coming.

I’ve known since the beginning of this that God eventually wanted me to give this gift.  I knew that He has wanted to walk through this with me.  Although it only cost me $12.99, it is clearly the one that has caused me to dig the deepest and pull out some junk that I have submerged deep inside me.

It is simply a gift for one of my best friends in the world, Matt Carter.  Matt is an amazing person who humbly and passionately seeks Jesus.  He and his wife, Candice, have become like family to Brittney and I.  The gift is no more, materially speaking, than a set of  “NFL Colts Infant Snap Front Sleep ‘N Play, 3-6 Months” (as it is officially named), or simply – Indianapolis Colts baby pajamas.

During the last six months, the four of us have met and become friends with another couple that I wrote about earlier, Jay and Heather.  There is a uniqueness to our relationship that only God could have weaved.

When we met Jay and Heather, they had just recently gone through an extreme loss.  The first time we heard them tell of their pain, I listened with an understanding that they were experiencing a loss to which I could not relate or even fathom.  Over five months into their pregnancy, they miscarried their twin boys.  I could feel the agony in their voices as they told of how the boys looked just like Jay, but had Heather’s feet.  Heather carries their names, Shalom and Legend, on her wrists engraved on bracelets.

So much joy turned to pain.  So much hope turned to loss.  So much future turned to past.

At the very same time we learned that Matt and Candice are expecting; it was a joyous time of celebration.  Candice is now only a couple of months from having the baby.

As we all try to experience and empathize with each other’s situations, Brittney and I add an entirely different chapter to the story in that we are unable to get pregnant and have our own children.  Our friends have been lovely and gracious to us.  They have walked through this sorrow with us and they hurt for us deeply.

It has been a story that only God could weave.  Three couples living out very different experiences; yet so similar.  I have hurt for Matt and Candice during this time.  I can see them holding back certain things and feelings in order to not hurt their friends.  I wish Matt had a different close friend who was also having a child and they could talk and dream about what fatherhood will be like.

This is why I bought the NFL pajamas.  Matt and I have always loved watching football together.  And I know that he will love watching football with his child.  He will teach him or her about Peyton Manning and the Colts precision offense, and why it is better to have smaller and quicker players for defense.

Matt and Candice have given up so much during this joyous time.  They have humbly and happily given up talking and dreaming about parenting with their friends.  But I have given up nothing.

I want those things too.  I want to put Patriots pajamas on my child and cheer with them when Tom Brady throws a touchdown pass.  I desire it so badly, and that will never go away. The pain I feel over this is real.  The pain of watching my wife touch Candice’s belly is real.  I can see deep into her eyes the longing to feel what Candice feels.  Her pain is real.

The pain on Heather’s face when we talk about Candice’s baby shower is real.

Pain is real.

But I have allowed this pain to hold back my love for my friend; my dear friend who I love as a brother.  Can I be joyful for him while still feeling my pain?  To this point I have only pushed my pain down in order to talk about what they are experiencing.  But this is not working.  This is not healing.

When I bought the pajamas today something different happened.  I realized that there is a peace that comes from God that allows us to enter into people’s stories.

I can be fully aware of my hurt and yet fully present in my friend’s joy.

Jesus said that he came that we may have life and have it to the full.  This does not mean that I have happiness and no pain.  That is not life.  This means that I can experience the fullness of him in every situation.  It is ok to feel the fullness of pain and the fullness of joy at the same time.

This journey of giving is taking me to places I never imagined, but now it is taking me to the depths of myself.  God is so much bigger and more holy than I can ever understand.  He can completely satisfy my soul.

If I will let him.

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