Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heartbeats and Promises

Sympathy and empathy – two words used interchangeably by many, but truly understood by few. With sympathy, you can express your feelings of sadness for someone else’s pain, without really feeling their pain. With empathy, you have the ability to physically, emotionally and mentally feel another person’s emotions. You become them in a sense. Ans in dealing with people, I find empathy to far more effective than sympathy. Simply because as people, we long to be heard, understood and known. A desire stemming from the One who created us to be that way – in His image.

But sometimes, the Lord places me in situations, where I want to empathize, but feel that I lack not only the experience, but also the right. Several weeks ago I had such an experience…

A little over a month ago, I received an invitation to a baby shower. Glancing at the invitation, I realized it was for a dear friend who had moved away, but would be back in town for a short time. How Exciting! Baby showers are always such fun! But this wasnt going to be just any baby shower...

You see, this friend had been praying for a baby for a very long time. In fact, we all had been praying for the Lord’s blessing to be on her in this way. There were a few times we all thought the Lord had answered this prayer, but it wasn’t quite the right time. When she shared the news about this sweet baby, I began to fervently pray that this would be the right time. To be honest, I think our entire church rallied around this prayer request in a way it never had before. I firmly believe this because, this dear sweet lady is going to be giving birth to a healthy baby boy shortly, and this baby is cause for the celebration and praise.

Shortly before the date of the shower, my friend Charity sent me a text, asking if I would write a poem for our friend’s shower. Now, most church functions that I have written poems for, were either youth conferences or camps, and they were lighthearted and fun. This topic was tender, sensitive and special – and I wanted more than anything to do it justice.

So I began to pray about it… and this is where the empathy and sympathy come into play...

I have never lost a child. I have never felt that pain. I knew that by definition I could sympathize, but that seemed to platonic of a position to take considering the situation. What I wanted to give her was empathy… but, “Lord, how on earth can I do that when I haven’t felt that pain?” was the prayer of my heart.

Sitting at the kitchen counter a few short days before the shower, the Lord gave me words that I wouldn’t have been able to put together had He not been the One guiding the hands across the keys.

There was no way that I could empathize with her pain and sense of loss, but I could empathize with my own. And though our pain is not in any way the same or comparable, I truly believe, that in order to understand pain, you must first have felt it yourself.

These words were penned for two incredible people. One – my friend, who despite the unimaginable pain she was feeling, kept a smile on her face and a song in her heart, and two – for the special little guy that I CANNOT wait to meet. We have all prayed for you for such a long time, and the life God has for you will be beyond your wildest imaginations.

I love that the Lord gave me this opportunity. It pushed me. It challenged me. It even frightened me a little. But most of all, it showed me once again, that when I lean on Him and listen carefully to his heartbeat, His promise to always be there for me is once again shown as truth to me.

Monica’s Poem – Frame and Decorated by Yours Truly;)

Heartbeats and Promises

Tiny hands, tender eyes,
Rolling over, several tries

Sudden tears, soon dried away
By gentle hands, arms to lay

This precious gift, this little joy,
A promise made, her loving boy

Months of praying, waiting, watching
The yearning in her heart not stopping

Heartache, disappointment, fear - feelings not unknown
Courage, grace, faith, trust - would someday soon be shown

Today is celebration
Joy and rapture too

As you prepare to welcome
Your sweet boy wrapped up in blue

This adventure soon awaits you, its own course all plotted out,
The crazy times are coming when instead of sing, you’ll shout

This precious little miracle, we cannot wait to meet,
To see him in your arms at last, how wonderful and sweet

This gift that has been given you, I know you’ll cherish long,
I pray the years ahead with him, will give your heart a song

A song of joy and gladness, that nothing else can fill,
To write a chapter in your life, untouched by any quill

We joyously applaud the Lord for answering this prayer,
For saying yes at last to you, to prove His loving care.

Blessings, care and happiness, I wish with all my heart,
And pray the road ahead is sweet, as this journey you’ll soon start.

Elizabeth Alm
March 17, 2012