Monthly Archives: October 2014

Remembering

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I am thinking of Rebecca a lot today.  I carried my coffee cup upstairs this morning to make my bed and set the mug down on my desk and couldn’t help but look at her photo there.

 

Desk Photo

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Papa and Nai Nai (my parents) made this and sent it to us not long after we received Rebecca’s diagnosis.

I find myself today just wanting another peek at all her little features.  Sweet long fingers and perfect feet… long legs, and the tiniest of lips…  Sugar and spice and everything nice.

For being only 12 3/4" long, she had the long legs and big feet.

For being only 12 3/4″ long, she had the long legs and big feet.

I am so.very.thankful for two sweet friends who dropped everything and brought their cameras and captured the brief moments of her life here on earth.  I will never be able to thank them enough for that treasure.

In thinking about her so much and missing her today I haven’t cried, but I don’t count that as necessarily a victory.  The crying can be as good as the not-crying.

It’s just a sweet day of remembering.

She was loved.  She is loved still.

Even If…

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I mentioned something in my last post – that I wouldn’t change any of this experience with Rebecca.  The time we had with her was the blink of an eye and it was joyful and bittersweet, and losing her was sorrowful.  And I wouldn’t change any of that.  I hadn’t really solidified that in my heart until I let the thought escape through my fingers on the keyboard.  But once it was there in front of me, in black and white, I knew it was true.

 

Do I still wish Rebecca was healthy and with us?  Of course.  My daughter’s earthly, broken body is laying in a simple box in the ground, and I would rather have her healthy and nursing in my arms – no mother would say otherwise.

 

Even on the way to visit Rebecca’s grave yesterday, Carson said, “Mama, if God wanted to He could still fix Baby Becca and make her all better and send her back down to us.”

 

And, he’s right.  Of course God can do anything.

 

But you and I – and even my 4-year-old son – know that He’s not going to do that.  Yes, Jesus called Lazarus from the grave days after he died.  Yes, he raised the dead, more than once.

 

But this was not His plan for us.  And I wouldn’t change that.

 

Because I don’t want to change His plan.

 

Once, the disciples came across a blind man and asked Jesus, “hey, who’s sin caused this man to be blind?  Was it him?  Or was it his parents?” (John 9)

The Lord’s answer?  Neither.  “But that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  This man was born blind because God planned it that way.  God wanted – God made this man be born blind – yes, God caused the suffering.  Because He had a good plan.

This man was born blind, not because of sin, but so God’s work could be seen!

We like the story because the man ends up with a great blessing – being touched by the hand of God and receiving his sight.

But sometimes we forget that Jesus didn’t say, “he was born blind so that he could receive the great blessing one day of being part of the story of the Son of God and receiving his sight by a miracle.”  Nope.  God’s purpose wasn’t about the blind man at all.  It was about God.

It was about us seeing the hand – the power – of God.  It wasn’t about the man’s eyes being opened as much as it was about the people’s eyes being opened to God.

That day in July, when we had received the news that our baby had developed no brain, and probably had trisomy 13, and would not live after birth… I was devastated at God’s plan.  It seemed like a terrible suffering I could not endure.  It felt like swallowing poison mixed with gravel.

All I wanted was my baby.

But I will never forget the moment I had, heaving sobs in the bathroom stall, trying to gain control so I could face the faces that would be staring at me in the waiting room of the Dr.’s office… that moment in the bathroom stall, when I was only able to mouth the prayer, “God, this is not what I want… but I will walk this road if you want me to.”

Don’t get the wrong impression.  Those were not the words of a righteous, Godly, submissive, strong Christian woman.  No.  Those words came from a broken, sin-scarred girl who’s been through the cold, rocky valley before with her Shepherd and has uttered, “whom have I but You, Lord?”  I was only able to whisper that prayer in earnest because I know He’s all I’ve got.  And He is good.

But that doesn’t mean I will always be on the receiving end of a miracle.

My heart was stirred a few days ago when we were reading through the masterpiece of C.S. Lewis:  The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

There’s this one exchange that is my favorite – maybe in the entire Chronicles of Narnia.

Susan, upon being told that Aslan is not a man, but the great lion – the most dangerous and noble of all the creatures-   is unsure how she feels about this news.

“Ooh,” said Susan.  “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe?  I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver.  “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Aslan_narnia_by_tralala1984Photo Credit

I knew that day when I told God I’d walk this road, this valley path, that it wasn’t going to be a safe one.  I knew that the dream I had for myself would likely die.  And it has.  My daughter died.  Jesus did not rescue any of us from that end.

But even if it wasn’t what I wanted –  I have tasted a tiny bit of the sweet fellowship with Jesus, that I believe only comes through suffering.   And I trust that God’s plan for Rebecca’s life and death goes beyond our family and our hurting hearts – that it’s about Him and turning other’s hearts toward Him.

Even if He doesn’t answer our prayer like we wanted to, we still praise Him.  Because He’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.

On the Shore

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How we’re doing, and other un-important matters.

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Here we are, one month after our daughter’s birth and death.  Sweet and miraculous and sorrowful.  I wouldn’t change any of that.

One month after the storm whipped us up and landed us on the shore.  And really, it’s kind of like I’ve been on an island, just wandering around these past four weeks.

Rather aimlessly, I must admit.

We’ve been through actual storms before, and the aftermath of all of that, where you pilfer through your soaked or molded belongings and save what you can, let go of the rest.  That time after the winds cease, when you look around and quickly figure out what – or rather who – is really important in life.

Stuff isn’t, really.

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When your head stops whirling and you find your feet under you again but you’re not really sure where you’re walking to – or if you should walk any direction at all.  Or maybe we should just be still a while.  Just sit here and brush off the sand and salt.

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So really, that’s what we’ve done.

A month has flown by and the sun is shining.  I’m still choosing joy.  Most days, anyway.

There were – and still are – times of deep sadness and loss.  The waves of grief that come over you quite suddenly, out of nowhere.  Walking through the store and looking up to see that I’m passing by the baby section – and then running my hand over the big box of newborn diapers, feeling the stinging sensation in my nose before the moisture hits my eyes – because I know I won’t be needing diapers.

Realizing that in a few months a very dear friend of mine will give birth to her sweet baby… and wanting with all my heart to hold her baby, while simultaneously wanting with all my heart to NOT hold her baby.  Because the last baby I held was my own one-and-a-half pound treasure.  And the moment I hold another baby, Rebecca will NOT be the last baby I held, and somehow in my mind that puts more distance between us.

Because when you’re wandering around aimlessly on an island, logic somehow gets fuzzy.

In the weeks that followed Rebecca’s funeral I was still waist deep in the physical healing process, recovering not only from surgery, but from the effects of toxemia.  I was working so hard on physical healing that emotional healing was kind of an afterthought.  But I would find myself over and over again standing in a room without a clue as to why I had entered that room… or walking across the kitchen only to forget what I was doing.  Or looking at the clock and being shocked that it was almost supper time – and then being grateful so many people had brought food because I hadn’t even once thought about dinner preparation that day.

I’ve sat down many times to write about this journey, really wanting to not forget so many details – how I felt the moment Rebecca was born… the look of sheer joy on my kids’ faces when they met her… the dozens of ways people loved on us in those first few weeks.  The small glimpses of the kindness of God.  But every time I’ve opened my journal or my laptop to write, I’ve found myself just staring out the window. Just being still.

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Now four weeks have passed and I’m finding myself coming out of the fog a bit and fumbling around for my compass.  I’m not sure I’m ready to go anywhere, but I want to at least know where I’m heading.

And when it’s time to tell the story, I want to come out of the quiet.

Because telling about God’s goodness is worth leaving your own private island.