The boyish face of a young man with sincere, yet solemn eyes flashed across my news feed the other day. It was Shai Kushner — a 20-year old soldier in the Israeli Defense Force’s “Lightening Brigade” who was recently killed near the Gaza border.
Under his name were the words, “Zichro I’brakhah.” In Hebrew, it means, “May remembering him be a blessing.”
I was struck by the power of those words. Such honor. Such beauty. It proclaims a profound, but subtle truth about remembering those who have gone before us. Their very memory should be an undying blessing.
Nine years ago this month, our firstborn son died. At 28 weeks in the womb, he unexpectedly twisted on his umbilical cord during the short time he and his twin sister were off the heart monitor at the hospital. I was scheduled to go home the next day on bed rest to await the birth of two healthy babies. Instead, Leyton quietly passed away into the arms of Jesus and I was ambulanced in the middle of the night to another hospital an hour away. Four weeks later, my little girl and boy were delivered together — one alive and the other dead.
I can still feel the fuzzy, blue blanket wrapped around his precious body. I can hear the creaking of the old wooden chair I rocked him in. And oh, how I can still see his beautiful face.
Even in pain, I am blessed to be Leyton’s mother. He is a blessing. And how I love for his memory to bless others. Unfortunately, I’ve had countless interactions where that has not been the case. And while, grief is no easy subject for any of us, such responses have troubled me.
Far too often, the message has been, “May remembering him not be too uncomfortable for me.” Knowing what to say or not to say in situations involving grief is just plain hard. But there is no way around it — to weep with those who weep requires a sacrifice of emotion. The God we serve is at home with the magnitude of such a pain and with suffering souls. Through His power, we can not only minister His heart in the most fearsome and guttural of conversations, we can be blessed by it.
Another implication woven into my conversations has been, “May remembering him be brief and on my timetable.” I’m often surprised by how many seem to have a clear picture of what “moving on” should look like. The trouble is — it’s subjective, sometimes critical, and dare I say, often unbiblical.
A couple of years after Leyton died, I ran into a casual friend. It was Christmas. A tough time for grieving.
“How are you?” she asked.
I dreaded the question. “We’re okay. It’s a tough time of year,” I said explaining the connection to grief, but not wanting to go into more details. Her response, however honest, ignorant, or even well-intentioned, disparaged my pain and therefore my love, “But that was a long time ago wasn”t it?”
God has placed eternal and lasting value upon each of us that does not end with the passing of years or with the location of our physical bodies. In fact, it is realized in death when we know Him.
Choosing the blessing of remembrance is to take hold of the reality of our individual and undying worth, the promise of heaven and the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice for it.
So as another anniversary approaches, my soul delights in the words God has spoken over Leyton. He speaks them over you and over me.
We are beloved. And not even death can take that from us. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
We are a delight to God’s heart. He feels extravagant and abiding emotion over us that doesn’t fade with time. “He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
We are unforgettable — even when it feels friends and family have forgotten us and even when they have. I love Isaiah 49:15, “Can a mother forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”
Happy 9th Birthday with Jesus, my Leyton! You are a beloved, unforgettable delight to us and to the God who made you, loves you and now holds you. Remembering you is a blessing because you are. And you always will be. Zichro I’brakhah.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
What Women Are Saying
-- Jenny Schroedel, author of Naming the Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith5 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship6 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships5 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith5 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles5 years ago
Relationships10 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture2 months ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions