Heavenly Birthdays - Can We Pray for You?
(written by Lexi Kinsey)
What's in a name? A lot goes into the choosing of your children’s names… it’s not something done on a whim or with little thought, at least not for my husband and me. We wanted meaning and care to curate the names of our children. We debated for months what to name our son, we poured over lists and looked at our family history and then we carefully and thoughtfully chose – Grayson Alexander. We didn’t get to say his name to him very much, I didn’t get to hear his little voice learn to say it, but it is his name and I love to hear it and think of him.
It was the combination of two major things that drove me to start the “Heavenly Birthday” list. First, a need to recognize that a day of intense sorrow can also be a day of celebration because of Christ’s victory over death through the power of God! Second, the power of a name… seeing it written and knowing that someone speaks it out is a great comfort to me. I thought this was a way I could truly serve the grieving mother and father.
In the weeks and months after Grayson died, I quickly realized that as time passed so would his memory. The questions about him came less and less often… people had nothing more to say, they had no idea what to say really. I heard his name less and less. That first Mother’s Day following his death I shared that what I wanted (and needed) was for those around me to acknowledge that I was (and am) Grayson’s mother, and I wanted them to do it by name. I wanted to hear his name spoken aloud to me… I wanted to see it written on texts and notes.
“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died - you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift.” Elizabeth Edwards
This quotation rang true for me. Even now when ordering food or reserving a table I use Grayson’s name… that way when the server calls it out, I get to hear his name and be reminded of the gift God gave me in my son.
As I anticipated my son’s first birthday, I knew also I would face, the next day, the anniversary of his death. I needed to prepare my mind and heart to lean entirely into the strength of God for that day. God revealed His idea to me… call it a birthday and celebrate. After all, our birthdays are not the day we are created… but the day we are born. The day we enter earth from our mother’s wombs. Likewise, a “Heavenly Birthday” is the day we enter heaven from earth. Our souls depart our bodies and are instantly before God in heaven. This indeed is something to celebrate and for sure something to have a slice of cake over!
This shift in focus was just what I needed. I needed to stop focusing on Grayson’s death and begin focusing on his life in Christ! He is alive! This is why I AM his mother (present tense) – he is perhaps dead in body from this earth, but his soul - it is with God! Now, this shift doesn’t mean that this day comes with ease every year… quite the contrary. I still dread it and still cry rivers, but when I am full of sadness – God has revealed His work to me and has given me grace to understand that this earth is not my home, and it is on heaven that I must shift my gaze!
I started the “Heavenly Birthday” list in September of 2016. For “Infant Loss Awareness Day” (October 15th) I had 25 names that I lit a candle for. Now there are over 400 names on my list. It has been my hope from the beginning that by having this list, myself and others can pray for the family on this day, knowing that it is filled with the deepest and most extreme emotions. I never pray for the child on the list, only their family. The child doesn’t need prayer, he or she is united with God and in complete perfection. I don’t pray to the child; this is strictly forbidden in scripture as we are to pray to God alone. My prayers are for the family. I pray to God that the family would find peace in the hope offered by God alone.
It was also important to me to not exclude the mothers who have suffered the loss of their child through miscarriage, who perhaps never found out the gender and had the chance to name their child. These families can add their child by nickname or by “baby last name”. I also understand that many mothers who suffer a miscarriage do not know the specific date the child entered God’s glory, to serve those families the mother or father can give the name and month and I will remember and pray for them on the first of the month.
This list is always being updated and I will continue to keep up with posts as long as time allows, you can add your child’s name by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can click on "Contact" and send us a message.
Lexi is wife to Cameron and mom to three babies: Grayson in heaven and daughters Aurelia and Aurora in her arms. She is a stay at home mom who enjoys serving at church, reading, writing, indoor plants, and chasing after her littles. She has lived in Southern California her whole life. She and her husband love taking the girls on adventures camping, to Disneyland, and back home to Cameron's families in Texas and Kentucky. Lexi also has a ministry called Grayce and Kindness, you can see more on her website (http://grayceandkindness.com/).