Monthly Archives

May 2008

Luke

Sweet Baby Lukie

(written on 5/30, posted on 5/31)

Today was one of the most difficult days of my life, but I can truly see the healing hands of God at work in all of us.  We spent about 4 1/2 hours at the funeral home together, making decisions about where to bury baby Luke (They have wisely decided to have him “held” here until they choose his final resting place).  This way, they can feel the Spirit’s urging to go where ever they feel He is calling, and then have Lukie join them there.

I was blessed to be able to see him today, and he looked so beautiful.  He just looked like a healthy, strong, big boy, ready to take on the world.  I had been worried about what that moment would feel like, looking at him in his little outfit in his tiny casket.  I felt great peace as soon as I walked into the parlor…he looked like himself to me, and that was a great comfort.  I ruffled his little hair up and talked to him for a few minutes about how much he was loved.  I held his hands and squeezed his little roly-poly thighs.  As everyone who had come to the funeral home made their way up to him, cries echoed throughout the room.  There were only a few of us, but we each spent time alone with sweet Luke. 
Often times the guttural, aching sounds gave way to hushed prayer, and I realized that this is the mark of the believer in this horrifying moment.  “Lord, I am empty, I am angry.  I want it to be different.  You could bring him back right this second if you so chose…but, it feels like for reasons we do not understand, you have chosen this instead….and so, we come humbly, barefoot, with our heads bowed, and we just ask for you to help us survive this grief.”  
If we didn’t need Him so much, we would all be tempted to turn our backs, I’m sure.
Today, that feeling has predominated my thinking…”I need you, I trust you, but I feel like you have failed me by letting them go.”  And then two breaths later, I am saying, “Oh Lord Jesus, come and mend.  Come and heal.  Only You can fix this disaster!”  What a strange balance.  At the end of the day it comes down to this, and for years, when I have been faced with any difficult situations, minor or major, I have told Todd that I have heard God said to me: 
Either you do or you don’t.
I can’t tell you how many times He has made it that simple.  Either you believe in Me, or you don’t.  There is no grey.  
And so today, locked in the embrace of my sweet sister-in-law, standing in front of her son’s casket, I had to answer…I do.
Nicol and I still bear wounds from our surgeries, and we have no babies to make the pain feel worth it….Lord, I do.
Nicol sang at Audrey’s funeral while holding Luke…that image has brought tears to my eyes, none of us knowing what was ahead…..I do.

I stared at his sweet face, and I kept wondering in my head, “What is she doing up there Luke? Tell me what she is like…who she is….what she loves…”  I do.
There are no words to express what my eyes have seen today, I feel that even attempting it would be a disservice. It was holiness I have rarely experienced, and I am grateful, so grateful to my Lord, Who loves us enough to make Himself known.
I know that for some of you, it may seem that “luck” is not on our side as a family, that we are victims of chance.  I want you to hear me say this loud and clear.
God Himself chose this to happen. Trust me, that is not the easiest sentence I have ever written, because I am human, and I am a grieving mother. I know that none of this is a surprise to Him. That doesn’t mean we don’t feel every bit of the loss, or that we just go about our lives because it’s all okay now.  It just means that we are steady in the belief that God knows what we don’t, and none of this changes Who He is.  None of it.
I am sure that people who do not trust in the Lord will be tempted to ask why such a great God would let us suffer so much. I am not going to pretend that I don’t ask that myself sometimes, but I will tell you this, and it has made all the difference.  
I ask Him.  
I don’t let myself “reason” through it, because I can’t.  I don’t let my anger fester too long, or I will, in my own weakness, crumble into nothingness.  I just cry out to Him and tell Him that I don’t understand, that I am angry, that I want answers.  I want to know why.  And He gives me momentary peace, and reminds me of the two words that drift around us we mourn.  
We do.
Luke’s memorial service is set for Monday at 3 pm.  Details will be posted when I have all of the information, but visitors are welcome.  
In the meantime, please keep praying.  And know that they are reaching us…not one of them is in vain.  Thank you,
Angie
Luke

May 29th

Thank you for your prayers.  That sentence just looks small to me; smaller than it feels.  We have felt the presence of those who are standing in the gap today, and we are all so grateful.
I wanted to post and give you a few more updates.  I am praying as I type that you will see past my muddled thoughts and let your heart make sense of my words.  I felt like I was too tired to say anything, but I really want to ask for your continued prayer in these days.  Greg and Nicol will be going to the funeral home tomorrow to make arrangements for Luke.  Please pray for strength, clarity in decision-making, and peace as they do this.  
Luke’s memorial service will be held on Monday.  I don’t know the details yet, but I will post more about it as they make decisions in the next day or so.
As parents, we are always looking for ways that we could have done things differently.  As Christians, we know that God doesn’t leave His throne.  There is an ugly middle road that Satan would love to make each of us walk, desperate to convince us that we could have prevented tragedy.  Please ask the Lord to make Himself so big that there is no room for questioning.  
I feel like there is so much more to say, and even as I have typed I have thought of many more things I would like to ask you to pray for.  I wish I had the energy to write every one of them, but I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.  I am praying that the Holy Spirit will whisper to you, and I want to thank you in advance for listening.  
Molly (my sister in law) and I went to Greg and Nicol’s house today to gather some things for them.  They haven’t been back yet, and I can’t imagine what it will feel like to be there again.  I just looked at all of his toys and his clothes and I felt like it couldn’t possibly be real.  How can he be gone? All his things in place, waiting for another day, and no Luke.  I kept thinking about what great parents they are, and they way they love their children.  I thought about what the night they lost him must have been like, and there was something in me that felt like giving up. 
There are moments where it seems hard to believe that a good, gracious God would allow us to hurt this way.  I have told Him so.  I have told Him a million things I wish He would have done differently, but tonight when I close my eyes, I will see the cross. I will rest in the sound of His sweet voice, reminding me that all is well in a place far away, where 2 babies are rejoicing together as they are reunited in the presence of the Lord.  
Audrey and Luke, I pray that you are dancing tonight as we rest.  We long to hold you again, to sing to you, to breathe the smell of your skin.  We long to parent you, but we know you are in far greater hands now.  I wish I could ask you what it is like…I long to see what you see.
For those of you who have followed my blog, you may remember that today was my due date with Audrey.  It was certainly a day marked my the feeling of loss, and yet enough grace to allow me to hope.  
Since Luke passed away on 5-27, I looked up that verse in the Bible.  It says “…Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.”  I choose to believe that in the moments when Luke was passing away, the voice of the Lord came quietly to him and asked him the same…no pain, no fear, just a still small voice in the night saying, “follow me, Luke.”  
That thought spurred me on today…”follow Me…follow Me…through the house, though the grief, through the memories., through the anger..follow Me.”  
Lord, in every decision we make and with everything we have to offer, let it be the cry of our heart to follow you….wherever you may lead us.
Thank you for helping us to take tiny steps in the direction of healing.  
Your words are so meaningful, and I want you to encourage you to write to Nicol and Greg at sponbergfamily@gmail.com.  I know they will find refuge there, in the prayers and encouragement of the faithful.  
Thank you so much for choosing to walk this with us.  We are more grateful than words can say.  
I will post again tomorrow to keep you all informed…
Thank you,
Angie
Luke

Update on Sponbergs

Just wanted to touch base and thank you for your prayers.  We are still operating under a veil of grief, not really knowing how to even begin to process what is happening.  We spent the day crying, praying, and just being with Nicol and Greg. There are absolutely no words to express what they are feeling. Everyone is here now, and I will continue to keep you updated as we have more specifics.  The details at this point seem to indicate SIDS, but we do not know for sure.
A few things that I would ask for you to specifically pray for would be:
1. Having to deal with the planning for Luke’s service, burial, etc.  I remember the strange feeling of knowing that I had to make choices and it felt like it was the farthest thing from what I felt capable of at that moment.
2. Pray that neither Greg nor Nicol will blame themselves for Luke’s death.  As parents, we can’t help but let ourselves drift into the dangerous land of “what if….?”  Where there is a sovereign God, there are no “what if’s”. Lord, remind them of this over and over as they rest tonight…
  
3. Pray for Summer. She is young, and I don’t think she really understands what is happening, although she is asking where baby Lukie is.  
4. Please pray for us as we try to minister to them.  The wound is fresh for us, and we long to minister to them the way we have felt ministered to recently. Pray for the right words and God’s timing as we try to help them in their planning, their processing, and their grieving.
5. Please pray for Greg and Nicol’s marriage.  I am remembering the days around Audrey, and the way the hurt transforms to anger, and the way that the anger lands on whoever is closest.  They spent the day peacefully together, but I want to pray that no divisions will rise up between them, and that they will feel fully united in their sorrow.
6. Pray for God to allow their grief to be distributed….as you read these words, you may feel called to volunteer yourself through prayer to be a “carrier” of their grief.  I asked the Lord many times since we found out about Luke if He would allow me to carry a portion.  I believe He as answered my prayer and I am convinced he will answer yours as well.
7.Pray for patches of joy in a bleak, seemingly hopeless fog.  
8.Pray that God would bless Greg and Nicol with erasing the memories from last night that they cannot stand to replay over and over in their minds.  Pray that God will erase the moments, smells, sounds of those terrifying moments, and that in their place will be a feeling of peace….peace that passes all understading.
9. Pray for those who do not know our great God…that the testimony and the hearts of Greg and Nicol would minister to them in such a difficult time.  Lord, draw them to Yourself.
10.  Pray. Pray. Pray.  
So many of you have walked with us, and I know you will desire to do the same with them.  You may want to send scriptures, prayers, thoughts, and support directly to them, so I have set up a new gmail account for you to send personal notes to Greg, Nicol, and Summer. 
the email address is:  sponbergfamily@gmail.com
Please feel free to love on them there…I don’t know when they will have the opportunity to read them, but I do know how much it will mean when they do.
Thank you for loving my family through this time.
I hope to have another update tomorrow with more details.  In the meantime, we find great peace in this, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express…” Romans 8:26
Our hearts are broken, our bodies depleted, and yet our hope is in our Stongtower…we will run to you, Jesus.
Angie
Luke

Luke

I cannot believe I am writing these words.  My fingers are shaking.  I have been awake for most of the night crying, and have not really managed to make any sense out of what I am about to say.

Todd’s sister Nicol (she sang in Selah) had her second child on March 17th of this year.  His name is Luke.  
Last night around 9:00 central time, she went to check on him and he was not breathing. Paramedics were called but they were unable to resuscitate him.  
Our nephew Gregory Luke Sponberg is now in heaven with Audrey, just 7 short weeks after we lost her.  
To say we covet your prayers is an understatement.  
We are on our way to Georgia where they live, and Todd’s entire family is also coming as well.
I don’t know how to ask for specific prayers, but please, be on your hands and knees for Greg, Nicol, and Summer as they grieve.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all of their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:17-18
Thank you.  I will post again when I have more specific prayer requests.
Angie