Monday, January 11, 2010

Graham William Carpenter

One of my good friends, Shelly, lost her baby last Wednesday night. Graham was just 3 and a half months old.

He was laid down for an evening nap and awoke in the arms of Jesus.

The past 5 days have been filled with heavy hearts, tears, sleepless nights, organizing meals for them, questions of why? and constant prayer. Luke and Shelly asked Darin to read a poem and speak a few minutes at his memorial yesterday and I wanted to share the poem and Darin's message with you all.

I believe that it is possible to live an easy life. I do think that it is possible to go through life without experiencing the pain of loss. Everyone will lose in this life, but there is a simple way to avoid the pain of such a loss: avoid the risk of love. You see if you go through life detached: not caring, not striving, not loving, the risks of pain become relatively small. Since you care about nothing, there is no way to lose something that you care about. This is a safe way to live life.

However Luke and Shelly have chosen a risky way to live their lives; they have chosen to love. They have chosen to love God. They have chosen to love each other. They have chosen to love their children. They have done this in an absolutely remarkable way. They are absolutely committed to living this love every day. My wife and I have often commented about the almost palpable love that Luke and Shelly have for their children. You can see it in every aspect of their lives. You can hear it every time you talk to them. You can feel it every time you see them together. In every way that a parent can love their children Luke and Shelly excel. A cool result of this love is the way it is passed to their children. Their children love their friends and their children love each other. It is amazing to see the way children can learn to love by living in the love of their parents. I guess ultimately that is the reason that Luke and Shelly chose to love their children the way they do…because they first saw this love demonstrated by their heavenly Father. You see God knows the risks of love. He knows the pain that can come when you care for someone deeply. You see, because God so loves all of us, he gave his only son that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. It is this love that God has shown to Graham that will allow all of us to continue on, because we know that on Wednesday as our worlds were changing, Jesus was in heaven saying “Let this little child come to me, and do not hinder him.” Graham has now returned to his true home. I expect that he felt very comfortable because the love that he was feeling from his Heavenly Father was so very familiar to him because he had received so much of it from his family on earth.

Graham William Carpenter is loved.

On Wednesday evening the Carpenters experienced the pain that was a result of a loss of something so precious and so loved. And while this pain and this grief is so real, I do not want to talk about it much more right now. There will be other times to speak about this pain, but I do not feel that this is the right time. Because the fact that can bring us hope right now is that the love the Carpenters feel for Graham was not CHANGED to grief on Wednesday, it was simply joined by grief. The Carpenters love for Graham didn’t leave or lessen that night, and it is still every bit as strong as it was before that moment. Though there is grief, there is still the outrageous love that Luke and Shelly have chosen. Though there are tears, “love remains.” And though it is very, very dark we have hope because “love never fails.”

The Carpenters have chosen the most excellent way. They have chosen love. They also will continue to choose love. They have loved Graham. They will continue to love Graham. We will all continue to struggle with questions and emotions. We will mourn. It won’t be today, but we know that in time this pain will fade and these three will remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.


And the poem that Shelly picked out:

To All Parents

“I’ll lend you for a little time a child of mine.” He said,

For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he’s dead,

It may be two or three months, or twenty to thirty years,

But will you, till I Call him back, take care of him for Me?”

“I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,

But there are lessons taught down there, I want this child to learn

I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true

And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes, I have selected you.

Now will you give him all your love nor think the labor vain,

Nor hate Me when I come to call to take him home again?”

“I fancied that I heard them say, “Dear Lord, They will be done.”

For all the joy Thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we’ll run.

We’ll shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may

And for the happiness we’ve known forever grateful stay;

But shall the angels call for him much sooner than we planned.

We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.


It's hard to know why all this is happening. Hard to know why the Carpenter's only got to have their baby for 3 months. Hard to know why so many people have unwanted pregnancies, have abortions, abandon their kids emotionally and literally and the Carpenter's love little Graham so, so much.. but one thing I do know is that God HAS and will continue to be glorified in this process. At his memorial we already know of one person that accepted Jesus into their heart. One life here on earth was being born again and Graham was being reborn into eternity. Already know how many parents are loving on their kids just a little bit more because of this. And I know that Luke and Shelly will help out countless people who may go through something similar in the future. I know it.

I'm asking with my blog readers to pray for the Carpenter's as they learn new family life without their baby.

Pray for his older siblings James (4 at the end of the month) and Lauren (2).

Pray for their marriage because we know that there's nothing more that the enemy wants to cast doubt into their relationship.

Pray for their pain. Pray that happiness will return soon.

Thanks... I love you guys.


kristina proffitt said...

Praying for them...

Elaine said...

Darcy..this is so incredibly sad. I didn't know them but I remembered you doing a photo shoot of him. This post has me in tears and every time I think about them and pray for them I'm in tears. I was listening to a song this morning by Jesus Culture ..."there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning..and when the oceans rage, I don't have to be afraid, cause I know that you love me...your love never fails." I pray that they can find comfort and peace and joy again! We are praying for them in Bloomington (I sent this to my life group).

The Haughs said...

Very powerful. I don't know these people, but I've looked at their blog a few times and remember seeing the pictures you took of their kids. This is incredibly sad, and we cannot begin to understand the WHYs. . . I will continue to pray for this family and for you, their friends, so that you will know how to be a comforting peace in their lives right now. Thanks for posting this, Darcy.

Tracey said...

WOW....very nice blog, Darcy, and Darin's speech sounds like it was amazing! This is just so heartbreaking to hear about and it definitely made me hug and hold my children a little bit tighter when I first read this on your fb page. So, I guess the Carpenters have taught me something even though I don't personally know the family. I will continue to pray for the Carpenters and all of their family and friends during this difficult time.

shiloh said...

Thank you for sharing this, what an amazing message from Darin and such a special poem. Their family will continue to be in our prayers and how wonderful that you are friends of theirs...such love and support.

melanie said...

This is no doubt, every parents nightmare. I'm sure Darin's eloquent speech brought comfort to those who heard it. Your friends are in my thoughts and prayers.

jackie said...

We go to church with Luke's parents, and we've just been heartbroken as a church body over this. Personally, I've been in tears and prayer daily for them. Even my kids have been praying for them...such a sweet, sweet sight.

I'm grateful for such a loving body of Christ to be able to surround them at such a difficult time. It's our duty!

And what a fabulous testimony of their family to be able to continue to glorify Christ even in their sufferings.

Brad said...

I don't know these people but my heart absolutely aches for them. I can't even imagine what they are going through. I will absolutely lift them up in prayer. The message and poem were powerful and moving. My deepest sympathies.

Amy and Scott said...

Our prayers are with them, Darce. I can't even imagine what they are going through. You are clearly a very good friend to this family and you will be instrumental in helping them get through this incredibly difficult time. God bless!

Elizabeth Miller said...

what a beautiful post. what tender yet powerful words in the poem, she chose. it is thru tears, that I have been praying w/o ceasing for Shelly and her family since I heard. She has already been an inspiration to me as she mothers her children and serves her husband.. she is a testimony to Christ's love for sure. we( my friends/church family) continue to lift them up in prayer

Traci said...

We will continue to lift the Carpenters up in prayer! Praying for you and your family as well, Darce!

Rene said...

My heart is with this family. It's so hard to understand why this has to happen. And I hope that some day we will understand it all. MY thoughts and prayers go out to Shelly and her family.

Brewster said...

Oh Darcy, how heartbreaking! I can't imagine their grief. We just lost a good friend in a car accident last night and are deeply grieving today. He leaves behind a godly family - wife and 4 kids. I guess because I feel such deep pain regarding his death I can feel it more deeply for this family. I have to cling to the sovereignty and love of God...and praise Him in the storm.

Jill H said...

definitely praying for their family every day.

Jennifer Brannies said...

This is so sad. I can't imagine. Praying for them.