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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Happy First Birthday Maddie Grace!

We are finally getting settled in our permanent home here.  And I am exhausted. From unpacking a house.  With three babies.  And working a job.   I wish I had an amazing post full of deep things to share, but to be perfectly honest I can barely keep my eyes open as I type this!  Nevertheless, I have not shouted to the world how thankful I am even in this difficult season of Makiah’s heaven day to have a reason to celebrate...  my reason came as a complete and total surprise.  The BEST surprise of my life (my other kids weren’t surprises so I can say that).  She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and she loves to snuggle.  She cuddles and kisses and ends every night tucked in our bed where she has to be touching both of us.  She is vibrant and full of life and joy, and I can’t tell you how many times I have thought that she was sent to bring kisses from heaven!  

She is my Maddie Grace.  And she just turned one!  In case you missed the miracle of her coming, please check it out  HERE.   Her party was late because of the move. It landed between Kiah’s heaven day and the day we buried her.

God seems to know just what we need.  I mourned my Makiah, and I celebrated my Maddie.  All in the same week.  And Abby reminded me of the thing I needed to hear one night right smack in the middle of the two.  She had flopped onto my fluffy white duvet, and I was slipping her pajamas over her head.  “I have rainbow toes, Mom!”  Abby exclaimed.  I told her I knew and that we were wearing our rainbow toes to remember big sissy Makiah.  “Mommy, I want to show Makiah my rainbow toes,”  she said.  “Well, let’s ask Jesus if he will let Makiah see them in heaven.  Jesus, please let sissy Kiah see Abby’s rainbow toes.”   She repeated me.  Then, looking suddenly determined, she squeezed her eyes together and clenched her little hands into fists, and she burst out with “Courage, Mommy!”  I know I looked shocked.  She is only two, you know.  Where did that come from???   “Abby,”  I asked, “Why did you think to say that?”  Looking thoughtful, she replied, “Courage is... courage is God is not scared, Mommy.”  Then she flashed me a smile and took off down the hall.

Wow.  Even now it brings tears to my tired eyes.  Courage.  God is not scared.  Courage!  Sometimes that is what we need to walk through the days.  Sometimes we need to be like a little child.  So that we can enter the kingdom of heaven.  So tonight I am celebrating all four of the little people that God has sent me to teach me what that means.  But especially my Maddie Gracie because she had her very first birthday!

Maddie hates cake and cupcakes, but she loves pumpkin muffins!  

The twins descend on the pumpkins!

Sharing a caterpillar... Kiah would be proud!

Happy Birthday Maddie Grace!

And click HERE  for a few of Maddie Grace's official birthday pics!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Heaven Day Letter

Dearest Makiah,
Some days I feel like I am living in a different life.  New town, new church, new house,  new job, new kids.  (I did keep your Daddy, though!But the signs of you are still all around.  I folded your pink princess blanket and put it in our hall closet last night.  Yesterday Alena came out of my bathroom wearing your old rain boots.  She stomped around proudly in her diaper and your aqua blue boots with white polka dots.  In the move this past week I stumbled on a big box of size 5 clothes I had bought for you.  Tags still hanging forlornly.  I guess we had tucked them away after you left us, and I forgot.  And of course there are four sets of rainbow toes in our house today.  Eye catching.  Bright and wiggly.   Just like you.

At school I find myself looking for the second graders.  Imagining what you might look like now.   Would your legs be lanky and your adult teeth be crowding your still little mouth?  Would your hair be super long, “all the way to the bottom,” or would you have cut it short with your best girl friend who just donated hers to help others?  I wonder what our conversations would be like.  Would you still love to be tickled or would you be getting too big for that?  I wonder if you would still run to our bed in the middle of the night… your tender heart hauling all your stuffed animals with you so none would be left alone.

I don’t know.  I do know that I am raw today with the wondering.  My heart is chaffed.  Torn a bit by all the sharpness of longing.  I once read that physical pain is a gift because it’s how we know our nerves our working, and it causes us to move in a way that is vital for survival.

Could this be a gift?  This pain?  I know YOU were a gift, sweet one.  But what about this story?  Our story.  Will it cause me to act?  Move me out of my comfort zone to a place that is vital for survival.  For me and for others?

The prayer on my heart for the last few months has been that I will not squander this.  “Squander what?” you ask.  This that I have seen to be true.  The word ringing in my heart .   It’s the answer to the question buried deep in us all.  No matter our theology or lack thereof.   Is there life after death?  Jesus tells us resoundingly yes. 

But what about the living dead?  Can there be life again after normal has been ripped away and you have been thrust out to join the ranks of the living dead?  After your heart has been crushed and the blackness of pain has enveloped you?  And Makiah, what your life and death have given me is this.  A chance for Jesus to show me undeniably the answer to that question.

It is Resurrection.  

Resurrection.  It is the only explanation for the overwhelming peace I feel most days.  For the joy that is often in my heart.  Resurrection.  It is the reason I wake up many mornings with a song in my mouth and a tune in my heart.  It is not because I have closed my eyes to reality, but because they have in fact been opened to reality.  I am alive again with the life that can only flow from the True Source of all things Good and Light and Life-Giving.  The only One who holds the keys to death and the grave.  The One who first blew life into our nostrils is the One who can do it again. And though the healing is not complete yet, the process is miraculously pointing the way to that day when all tears will be wiped away, and I will be made whole.

Whole like Jesus.
Whole like you, my sweet Makiah.  My darkest day was your most glorious.  The day I fell into the abyss is the day you stepped into His arms and the fulfillment of more than we can ever think or imagine.  I am thankful for how you have touched my life, little one.  I am changed.  And I believe now more than ever.  Because I have tasted resurrection here.   

I cannot wait to hold you in my arms and talk about His goodness.  But until that day, my prayer is that I will not squander what I have been given.  Because it was expensive. So very, very costly.  For Him.  And for me.

Three years closer to our reunion!  On this, your third heaven day.

I love you always all ways, sweetest  Makiah.
Your Mommy

Hugs with Kiah and the boots