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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Birthday Fog

Today is Mother's Day and the sun is just creeping up when I sneak out on the porch.  Whispy white vapors blanket the neighborhood so thickly I can barely see the trees across the street. It is foggy.

And I think it should be. Exactly eight years ago at this very time, I was checking into the hospital and filling out paper work for labor and delivery. Eight hours later Makiah would make her grand entrance and I would become a mommy. And there are so many things I don't understand. So many things that are shrouded by a foggy veil.

Alena asked at lunch today where Makiah's birthday present was. A few short weeks ago I was tucking her in for a nap on the afternoon of Easter. I told her to sleep good so we could hunt eggs when she woke up. Then she exclaimed with such excitement "And Makiah will be here!" I asked why she thought Makiah would be here, and she replied "Because we have her Easter basket." Of course, what child would leave behind her Easter basket? I remembered I had used her basket to decorate in the dining room and then tried to explain to my three year old that Makiah was in heaven. She seemed so diappointed, and said we needed to send Kiah her basket.

Abby told me one night as I was tucking her in that she wanted to jump on Makiah's bed with her. She said "Mommy, I will share my toys with her." She just wanted to play with her big sister . All I can do is pray that God will give me wisdom and help me to answer these little people in a way that will draw them to Him. I never feel prepared for these surprise conversations.

 Today I should be throwing a party for my eight year old princess instead of sitting on my couch crying and eating chocolate covered strawberries.  Maybe some of you are crying today for that reason, too.  Maybe the tears slip from your eyes because you have lost your mother or because you have never gotten the chance to be a mother.  And I am glad again today that our feelings don't define our faith.  I read Job 19:25 this morning, "For I know my Redeemer lives, and in the end He will stand on the earth. And though my flesh it be destroyed, yet with my eyes I will see God." And with my real eyes I will see Makiah, too!  We can have hope because the resurrection is real and our Redeemer is real!

And even though it is foggy here now, one day we will see clearly. And then all the birthdays will be happy.   And we won't be counting the years since we have said goodbye.  Until then, dear Makiah, I hope the Lord will let you know how much you are loved and missed on your eighth birthday, even by the little sisters you haven't had the chance to meet yet!

1 Corinthians 13:12 "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face..."

 The twins wore Makiah's dresses today.  Giving each other sweet sister hugs and giggles...

Can you believe there was a rainbow over our old house in Cairo on her birthday!?  Several people sent me pictures! 

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Thank you to the sweet family who put the beautiful flowers on her grave!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Little Things

Sometimes its the little things that let us know God loves us. Early on the morning before Easter I managed to sneak out on my porch for a little coffee and a quiet time. The words I read began with, "I have called you out of darkness into my marvelous light..." Oh how true that has been for me! Not just out of spiritual darkness through a relationship with Jesus, but out of the darkness of pain and grief. He has pulled me out a pit of despair whose dark, slippery walls were at one time strangling me with the lie that I would never experience light in this life again.

"I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Isaiah 61:10

This was the second verse at the end of the reading. It took my breath away that it would be this verse. And suddenly I was back on the porch of the condo looking out as the waves lapped the shore and the sun started to peek up over the horizon. And I could feel the weight of Makiah on my lap snuggling in my white bathrobe with me as I explained this verse to her. It was the last time I would open the scriptures to her. The last time I would tell her what Jesus will do for us when we get to heaven... without knowing she would be going there in less than 48 hours. You can read about that day HERE. It was just before I fell into the darkness.

And she was wearing a pink princess night gown. I winced as I though of it. Just two months ago I had let one of the twins wear it for the first time on a trip to a conference in Atlanta. It didn't come back with us. I had ransacked their closets, the suitcase and done all the laundry countless times. I sat on the porch on Easter Eve and told the Lord I was so sad that little gown had disappeared.

The next day, Easter morning, I was scrambling to get on my makeup before Maddie Grace woke up. The twins were playing on my bathroom floor. Something pink caught my eye and I glanced their way. To my shock Alena was holding Makiah's pink princess gown!! "Where did you get this?" I exclaimed. She pointed to the bathmat on the floor. I looked at Abby and asked my question again. She shrugged and then eventually pointed to the cabinet under the sink. The same cabinet I had just cleaned out last week and restocked with bathroom supplies. I did not see a pink gown under there.  

I never came up with an explanation or an answer from the twins. All I know is that her missing gown was suddenly back in my bathroom on Easter morning. And I marveled because I knew God had heard that tiny little comment I had whispered yesterday. Even such a silly little heart pain. But He had heard me. And apparently wanted me to know.

Then last Monday I whispered another passing thought. I had not been able to work out our schedule to go see the movie, "Heaven is for Real," and it looked like it might stop showing after Wednesday. No one was available to babysit that night. After I got the girls down for a nap I was cleaning and told the Lord I really would love to see that movie on the big screen. It would have meant so much to me, but I knew it would take a small miracle at this point. That was it. I didn't think about it again. I just needed to let Him know I was disappointed.

Until about 5:30 that night, when my husband called to say that he had arranged for a sweet famiy in our church to watch the girls so we could go see the movie in 45 minutes!! I was so glad I had spent nap time cleaning house! He came home with flowers and a kiss... and more than that, God had used him to let me know again He is listening to even the littlest pain and disappointments in our heart. And even though I cried my eyes out at the movie, I am so glad God let little Colton come back to tell those of us whose four year olds did not come back what it may have been like for them as they entered heaven.

And this past week when it seemed I may be going into early labor at 28 weeks, and a quick check at the doctor's office ended up with me in the hospital having contractions five minutes apart and being pumped full of iv fluids and meds and strapped to baby monitors, I didn't feel the panic that I probably would have. I had been to the appointment 40 minutes away by myself, so I sat there in the hospital alone for a while before family could come. And I knew it was too early for little bit to come. But I knew that God cared. And I was glad I had read that morning on the porch that feelings of fear don't negate our trust in God. They just remind us to choose it.

The immediate crisis is over. The contractions have stopped and I am home on temporary bedrest and several medications thanks to powerful prayers and good doctors! And as I whisper to God that I would really like to keep this baby in the oven for at least ten more weeks, I know that whatever happens He will be with me. And that He cares. And I hope as you read this you will hear Him whisper His love to your heart as well.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you." Psalm 56:3

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

"But you are a choosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9