Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Powerful Missionary

Five years ago today Bryan tenderly helped my pregnant body into our minivan and drove us to the hospital, no words exchanged but every emotion shared between us. This was our fifth pregnancy. Our first four children came while Bryan was in medical school or residency. Very busy times. Very limited time together. We were ready for another baby now. Bryan was excited to be an active part of this baby’s bath times, feedings, lullabies and even sleepless nights. But those lullabies would have to wait.

Five days earlier I had been preparing for a Relief Society lesson I would be teaching. The topic was ‘missionary work’. It was while preparing this lesson that I received a distinct and sudden impression that this child would be a powerful missionary. I know the title ‘missionary’ is not gender specific, but in that moment I knew I our baby was a boy; a powerful boy who would be a powerful missionary, and I felt humbled to be the vessel giving him a body to accomplish this work. He was very active that day as I prepared my lesson as if to say, “Yes! I WILL be an amazing missionary preaching the Gospel!”

A few days after this experience I was laying on the sonogram table in the doctor’s office waiting for them to confirm what I already knew: this was indeed a boy. What I wasn’t prepared for was the look on the doctor’s face or the words of condolence he offered when he told me that the baby’s heart was no longer beating.

Dr. Baer gave me the medication to induce the contractions. Bryan walked with me through the hospital halls and around the hospital grounds (we even walked an extra block to the Olympic Training Center facilities to look at the statues in the garden) as I breathed through contractions and waited to deliver our baby boy’s body.

The labor took eight hours. The same amount of time labor had taken with our other children. His body was tiny; five months developed. His entire hand fit on the tip of Bryan’s finger with room to spare. He weighed nothing in my hands. He weighed everything in my heart.

There were no newborn cries in my hospital room; only my silent tears as I cried for our loss. I mourned the unrealized dreams of bath times, feedings, lullabies, and even sleepless nights. But I also cried tears of gratitude for the comfort and sustaining peace in that room. It was my nurse who put to words the feelings of my heart. She had been my nurse during the delivery. The next morning when she came to my hospital room she quietly said, “I hope it’s okay if I tell you.... your room feels.... reverent… like there is a strong power, but it’s quiet.” Those were beautiful words: Reverent. A strong power. Quiet. And she was right. It was palpable.

A few days later I reread some notes I had made the week before as I prepared to teach about missionary work. My notes struck me different this time. From Wilford Woodruff: Millions of people have been born in the flesh, have lived and have gone to the grave, who never saw the face of a prophet in their lives; never saw a man that was called of God and had power to administer in one of the ordinances of the House of God. Will God condemn them because they did not receive the Gospel? Not at all.

God is no respecter of persons; he will not give privileges to one generation and withhold them from another; and the whole human family, from father Adam down to our day, have got to have the privilege, somewhere, of hearing the gospel of Christ; and the generations that have passed and gone without hearing that gospel in its fullness, power and glory, will never be held responsible by God for not obeying it. Neither will he bring them under condemnation for rejecting a law they never saw or understood; and if they live up to the light they had they are justified so far, and they have to be preached to in the spirit world.”

For a moment I had believed that I would teach my baby boy and prepare him to preach the gospel as a missionary on this earth. Now my spiritual eyes were opened and my heart understood that he had already been prepared to preach the gospel in a place where people were waiting anxiously to be taught by a powerful missionary.

We named our son Ammon.

(We planted this pine tree in remembrance of Ammon.)


tarryn said...

Beautiful. Thank you for putting into words so many thoughts and feelings that I have not been able to.

Emily said...

I love that. Don't stay away from the blogging world so long, we all need your wonderful insights and lessons!

Grandma Patti said...

That was Beautiful Jamica...just like you! Thank you for sharing.

Robyn DeGaetano said...

I had no idea this happened to your family. Tears filled my eyes as I read about such a difficult experience, but I was amazed at how you were able to see it with such perspective. You always struck me as so strong, spiritually, and were a great example to me while you were in our ward. Thank you for sharing this post. Beautiful, insightful thoughts.

Mom Force said...

As I read your post, my thoughts went back twenty four years ago when we lost your little brother the same way, you expressed so well the feelings I had. What a gift you have for expressing yourself. Thank you for sharing your very personal and powerful feelings.

The Cox's said...

You are such a dear friend and example. Your testimony shines through your words. Isn't it sacred to realize how the Lord prepares us for the difficult things we sometimes face, and then stays so close by while we suffer. I love you!