In July 2023 I found myself doing something no parent ever imagines they would have to do- plan their baby’s funeral. My sweet baby boy passed away before I ever saw him take one precious breath.
How do you even begin to plan an event that you never wanted to attend- an event you never imagined you would play such a role in? I was the Mama of the baby who died. You hear of “Mother of the Groom” but no honorable title for mother of the deceased. As I sat in my hospital bed after having an emergency c-section time seemed to completely stop. It felt as though people were flying around me getting all things done, but I lay in a bed completely in shock not knowing how to take in all that had just occurred. Life quite literally ended as I knew it.
Laying there I held the most precious baby boy in my arms, his name, John-Micah Thomas Cockrell. John after my husband’s Uncle Johnny (one of the most precious men I have ever met), Micah after claiming Micah 7:7 over our boy, and Thomas after his daddy and mine. Will (my husband) and I thought and prayed about his name for so long, and after a while, we fell in love with the name “John-Micah.”
I just looked at his precious little face, and just couldn’t make my heart understand that he was gone. My mind could grasp that concept but not my heart. It all happened so fast. I went in for less movement and within 45 minutes my sweet baby boy was earthside. The next day, all the questions began to flood in from the staff. Questions that my 31-year-old self was not prepared to answer. I had no idea and no strength to plan a funeral for my tiny boy. Thank heaven for the support system that we had surrounding us. I had a wonderful friend ask, “If you don’t mind I would love to help with funeral arrangements.” I don’t think that friend will ever be able to understand what a blessing she is to me. I still am not sure what all she had to do to prepare for John-Micah’s celebration of his little life, but she helped the day become as sweet as that day could.
One thing she did ask me about was the songs. I knew I wanted “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us,” to be played but nothing else was coming to mind. I just knew I did not want “funeral-sounding music,” so this sweet friend suggested the song, “Goodness of God” and I am so thankful she did.
That’s what brought about the title of this blog. The lyrics of that song go like this:
With my life laid down, I surrender now
I give you everything.
Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me.
I had heard and sung this song multiple times before, but I had never had my baby’s casket sitting in front of me while singing, “I give you everything.” I thought in that moment, “God I know what that feels like now, I give you everything.”
Would I have chosen to “give Him everything” the way that I did that day? Not a chance, but my heart chose to acknowledge that is what giving everything meant to the Lord that day, and now every day after. I think about the story of Abraham and Sarah. They struggled for countless years to have a child, then they have a child and God calls Abraham to give that child back to him. What blows my mind, now having children of my own, is that Abraham was going to be faithful and do as the Lord had said. That faith amazes me now more than ever before! Abraham trusted the Lord in whatever way the Lord saw fit for that situation.
God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you” (Genesis 22:2).
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22: 9-12).
I don’t know about you, Abraham’s commitment and faith bring tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine what was going through his mind as they were preparing for that offering. What prayers he must have been praying for God to provide another way, as he continued to prepare for whatever sacrifice the Lord was asking for. Stone by stone, stick by stick, “Lord please let there be another way, Lord please provide a different sacrifice,” as tears start to fall, “but your will be done, God, your will be done.”
I don’t know for sure if Abraham was praying or thinking those things- that’s just what I picture as I know the feeling of losing my son. My completely unexpected miracle son is now in the precious arms of Jesus. I would be lying if I said I didn’t lay in the hospital bed asking God, “Please, God, you are a miracle maker you- you can breathe life back into his lungs! I know you can, please let him begin to breathe again.” I did. I thought those things over and over again. “I mean, what a miracle. Think of all the glory that you would gain!” were a few of my thoughts as well, but I know now that He is to gain glory even though my prayers were not answered the way I imagined they could be. His name is to be blessed when He gives… and when He takes away.
With my life laid down, I surrender now, I give you everything.