So many of you have written to ask me about Greg and Nicol, and I want you to know how much it means to me (and to them).  We went to Chattanooga and spent the day with them last Thursday.  We ate some delicious pizza, then went for ice-cream and on to the Children’s Museum.  It was a day of just watching our kids play and talking about this and that.  There were many conversations about life in general and then we would talk about what they were feeling and what we were feeling, and just the whole thing.  There were moments where we just laughed in spite of the hurt, because our spirits grow weary of the pain.  There are days where we drift farther into the abyss of sadness, where the thought of life ever being normal again is painfully absurd. There are other days where God just sits beside us and we know that we are going to survive this.  Mostly, it’s a mix, I guess.
When we were at the Children’s Museum, the kids did a little “archaeological dig” where they got to wear hats and jackets and climb in the sand to dig for bones.  It was really cute.  There was also a giant Clifford display that they loved, as well as a human-sized bubble-maker.  The girls loved being together, and  do did we.  It was fun to just let them all play and love life together (and also to laugh as several moms STARED at me while I ignored Kate’s nasty diaper because I so wanted to finish ONE grown up conversation…my resistance is strong…they cleared out.)
There are some things I would like to ask you to pray about.  The first is about their house. They have mixed feelings about wanting to be there anymore, and are currently staying with friends.  It has been an incredible blessing to them to have so many who are loving on the and making themselves available.  It is a hard choice to make, and they don’t want to feel rushed in it.  Please pray that the Lord will urge them in the direction they should go, and then give them a peace about whatever that is.  If you feel a strong desire to pray for them to move to Nashville, maybe even to my neighborhood, go with it.  🙂
Please pray that God will use this time to strengthen their marriage.  Anyone who has lost a child understands the strain that is usually put on the marriage.  They are holding up really well, but I am praying this because I understand it firsthand.  It is such a foothold for Satan.
Please pray that Summer will not remember more than the good memories she has of Luke, that none of the fear and sadness surrounding the events after his death will stay with her.
Please pray for wisdom and discernment as far as “the next step in life.”  Where do they go? do? Who are they going to be in this “new life?”
Please pray that God would erase from Nicol and Greg’s memory the horrible moments from the night Luke died.  I know for me it is so easy to just play things over and over, and I am asking the Lord to simply erase the hard parts and help them to cling to who he was.
Please pray that the image of heaven will be so overwhelmingly joyful that they will be able to fully resign their hearts to the image of him being there.  I remember someone telling me that Steven Curtis Chapman was praying this for Maria, and I also prayed it for myself.  Lord, show us the Glory of your dwelling place.  
 As I have prayed about this post, I have felt led to ask something of you, my readers and my friends.  The other night I had this idea that we could organize a way to pray for the Sponberg’s specifically through scripture.  I asked the Lord to tell me which scripture He wanted us to pray for them, and He brought to mind one of my favorite Psalms.  It is Psalm 84, and no matter where you are in your walk, I hope that this blesses you.  It is truly one of my favorites, and I think that the idea of so many of us praying over the same words on their behalf would really open a new, fresh flood for them.  
Please prayerfully (and sloooowly:)) read the following Psalm.  I could meditate on this one all day long.  As you read, think about what heaven must be like, and ask yourself if your soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord.  Do you want to be there with Him so badly it hurts sometimes? Does your flesh cry out? I know that most of the time I don’t feel that way, but now that Audrey is there it makes me want it so much more.
This is my prayer request for today, on behalf of The Sponberg’s.  If you feel comfortable, read Psalm 84 (maybe even a few times, or tape it up at work/home so you can see it!), praying for them as you digest it.  These are the words that tell us where our babies are, the words that tell us what we can do in the wake of loss…to remember what heaven is.  
Do you know what my favorite part of this Psalm is?  It is verse 84:6, where it talks about the Valley of Baca.  So easy to skip over, because, seriously, what is Baca?????  Well, I want you to find out for yourself so that you can see how easy it is to “dig down” into scripture. I hope this will become a great tool for you….here we go!!!
2.  You will see the “Resources” heading on the left, and under that you will see “Bible Study Tools.”
3. Click on Commentaries.  I really like “Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible” by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown and also the Matthew Henry Commentary (the Concise one:)…you will see that option.  
4.  After you select a commentary, you will see all of the books of the Bible.  In this case, find Psalm 84….click on it… be blessed by their amazing insights about scripture…how easy is that!!!! You’re learning already!!!  
 The Valley of Baca….they make it a place of springs.  This is my prayer for them. 
Psalm 84
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, O Lord God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.
9 Look upon our shield,  O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
12 O Lord Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you.
And if you do, feel free to post a comment that just says “praying.”  what an amazing gift to be able to see all of those faithful names, sending prayers for our sweet Nicol and Greg.
I also wanted to let you know that the friend I spoke of the other day did not receive good news at her ultrasound.  It appears that her sweet baby is no longer alive.  She will more than likely have further testing this week, and I am not afraid to pray for a miracle.  Maybe you could pray with me for her as well.
A.F., you are a pilgrim of the rarest sort.  The Lord Himself knows your heart, and your longings.  I want you to know that I am doing as Jacob did once, and I am committed to holding fast until He chooses to bless you, one way or another. I am thankful for you, and with you in spirit.

May God bless you each today, and again, thank you for your prayers.

p.s. the clip that follows is Nicol holding Luke, singing at Audrey’s burial. You will want to pause the blog music to hear her amazing voice. Lord, Jesus, we long for your courts…