Sleep Sweet In Jesus, Baby Boy

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A month ago today our 24-year old son, Graham, closed his eyes on the brutal winter of his world and opened them in the eternal warmth of heaven. He died alone in a car on a cold, cold Minnesota morning but was not at all alone when he passed from this life. For over a decade he battled demons and fought dragons but, in the end, our baby boy found everything he was looking for when he met Jesus face to face. This is a second installment…

_______________________________________________________

There was a baby sent from God whose name *would be* Graham.

Gra-Gra.

Gravy Train.

Graham Cracker.

Grambo.

Bubby.

But in the beginning he was simply, in the eyes of the court, “Baby Boy N___________.”

Let me tell you about my son, my only son, whom I love:

I wanted five kids – four girls and one ruggedly handsome, rough-and-tumble boy. When I was newly injured, a 21-year old T-7, T-8 complete para – when reality began to set in – I looked in the direction of my suddenly-diminished male potency, then at my mom from my hospital bed and said, “Well, Mom, I guess you’re going to have to settle for an adopted blue-eyed, blonde-haired little granddaughter.” I remember how her face softened into a tender, doting, couldn’t-be-prouder ‘mom-face’ and how her eyes twinkled when she said, “Oh, I’d love one!” She could’ve even clapped. I can’t fully recall.

So when I heard that sweet young voice say into the phone eight years later, “Congratulations, Dad, you have a son,” my heart, I must confess, gave a momentary whimper. I was pulling for a girl.

Now, don’t you just hate me?

But wait, I’ve gotten wayyyy ahead of myself and need to back up a few city blocks.

I married my college sweetheart, my best friend, and the most selfless person I’ve ever known. Sandy is the bomb. She knew everything about me already, so she walked into our marriage with eyes wide, w i d e open. She knew about catheters, pressure sores, bowel programs, ramps, wheelchairs (remind me to tell you about my wheelchair and her hose sometime), paraplegic “periods”, dysreflexia, and, of course, impotence. Sandy married me knowing there was a very real chance we’d be childless.

But we prayed.

And prayed.

Then prayed for six and a half more years.

Fertility clinics. Tests. Sorry, Mr. Mitchell, you’re less than a man (what I heard, not what they said). Fruitless marriage relations. Adoption agencies. Need your moolah up front. A lot of it. Home studies. A baby abandoned at the hospital. Oh, sorry…somebody else got to it first. A teen-aged girl is thinking about giving her child up…nope, the grandparents are going to adopt, sorry

And prayed some more.

One August Sunday morning I awakened with preacher-boyish excitement. Only twenty-eight, I was going to fill in for the highly esteemed pastor Wayne Barber at one of Chattanooga’s largest churches. I was to be given the pulpit for both morning services and return that evening as a soloist in a summer mini-concert. Yeah, on the heels of some nobody named Wayne Watson a couple weeks earlier. Mmm-hmm. Pinch me.

I can’t even recall the sermons that day, and the concert was mostly forgettable. What happened that morning, however, is easily remembered because a tearful conversation changed mine and Sandy’s lives forever.

In between the morning services my bride and I were asked to share our stories with a large group of single young adults. I think we’ve got a really romantic tale which only deepens with time, and we love to talk about it. We both shared back and forth and soon offered some time for questions. We didn’t know at the time that a darling pregnant 17-year old was mixed in among those college-aged coeds. As Sandy and I bantered, God was already beginning to write an epic story on her heart. And ours.

That’s for next time.

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31 thoughts on “Sleep Sweet In Jesus, Baby Boy

  1. Oh my goodness, what an adorable face! Thank you for sharing with us.

    • pasturescott says:

      In the face of your great sadness, Marie, you’ve been a supernatural encourager. You embody 2 Cor 1 that tells us we go through our hardships so that we may encourage others in theirs when the time comes. Thank you, shining beauty.

  2. What??? Are you really gonna leave me with a tear on my cheek just like that? Come on Pasture Scott!! Waiting patiently for the continuation of this story!!

  3. Jill says:

    Love you both so much. Miss you so much Graham.

  4. Lillian Becker says:

    Thank you, Scott, your story brings back our memories of our little lee, our sweet boy asleep in Jesus. I have the best memories of you and Sandy and Graham at Christian Overcomer’s? camp. You know me as Jan; remember me??? remember Lee, the blond kid/junior volunteer full of life, love, and laughter?//I am holding you and Sandy in my heart. Lillian (Jan Grivas Becker)

    • pasturescott says:

      Jan! Now I’ve really got you placed! Oh my Lord. I think I even have a pic of Lee and Gra together!!! Oh wow…memories are flooding back…which leads me to: I’m so sorry, Lillian/Jan. So, so sorry. One day we’ll get that conversation…

  5. Lillian Becker says:

    sorry for my typos in previous comment…..

  6. Cindy (Cooper) Ernst says:

    Beautiful! I love hearing your heart and stories. We are still praying for you and Sandy. What a beautiful boy!!!!!

    • pasturescott says:

      Cindy, we are sooo grateful for you and Mark. Words can’t do justice to how you’ve ministered in the love of Jesus to us. Thank you for every word, prayer, thought and expression of love. We love you.

  7. Kim Obermeyer says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us Scott….what a sweet face!!! I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. I’m guessing that 17 year old was Graham’s biological mom??? Love you and Sandy and praying for you often. I’m so glad I got to be a short part of Graham Cracker’s life.

  8. Thanks for letting us look into the window of your soul as you share your story …your life …your loves …

  9. Kathi Lamb says:

    Scott and Sandy, we never knew how God brought Graham into your family, but we know he was put there by our sovereign Lord and loved fiercely. Our hearts break to think of the struggles and aloneness on both sides – the known and the unknown. We trust our loving Lord and all that He allows, but it is so very hard sometimes. Please know that we continue to pray for healing, mercy and grace for you both. We love you and know that our hope is in the Eternal One, and we ache for heaven.

  10. Neat to read the beginning of this story – hope you don’t make us wait long for “the rest of the story!” Praying for you and Sandy as you continue walking along this new path called grief. So glad the Lord and many friends and family are walking along with you. Love you guys!

    • pasturescott says:

      Nothing but the BEST of memories, Brian. Gra and I enjoyed those many road trips together. Thank you for embracing us as family and allowing us to experience H*C and the beautiful people who make it so. I grieve that he and I will never be able to do an encore.

  11. Mark Grant says:

    Never tire of hearing this story, and especially, the Rest of the story……

  12. I’m Graham aunt in Minnesota we loved him very much, I will be waiting to hear the rest of the story didn’t get to spend much time with him but will never forget him .

  13. Margatet Cochran says:

    You dear Pastor Scott sure do know how to weave a tale, and keep your audience engaged. If I could only tell you you how much I am anticipating each sequel…blessings!! Love the photo of Graham.

  14. Buddy Mapes says:

    My friend, you and Sandy live in my heart. <3

  15. Connie Allen says:

    Hi Scott and Sandy, so sorry to hear of Graham’s death. I pray that you will feel comfort from our Heavenly Father as you grieve for Graham.

  16. Donna (& L.E.) Hewett says:

    I am…well, totally speechless. I am truly sorry for your earthly loss of your 5 senses concerning Graham. But certainly do rejoice with your family over Heaven’s gain and your faith in action. I had no idea…too many years have gone by…but we think, pray and speak of the two of you often…how I LOVE the Summerford (Mitchell, Sheats, Lucas) family(ies) Not sure just how I ‘stumbled’ on this post/blog, but please know ya’ll are so loved and will certainly petition in prayer for comfort, peace, word and thoughts that only OUR LORD could provide. If ever we can provide an ear, a place to stay…PLEASE…allow us to be blessed.

    In love and prayers,
    Donna (& L.E.) Hewett

    • pasturescott says:

      Donna, I read this to Sandy last evening. Thank you for blessing her and us. Thank you for sharing so kindly in our heartache and for recognizing His meta-sufficient grace in it all. Still in Savannah? Oh, we’ll come knocking… 😄

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