I have never wanted to be a blogger until this morning (10/23/10). For some reason I awoke feeling the need to share this journey. My four year old daughter was killed in a tragic car accident on October 8th, 2010 when our car was struck by a teen on marijuana. This blog is a small window into the brokenness of my heart and perhaps... one day, the healing. Do not mistake this for theological discourse. Jesus, not our circumstances, equals perfect theology. Be warned, this is raw...
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Happy 13th Birthday Makiah!
This is a different sort of birthday letter for several reasons. The first is that this Saturday, May 11th, would be your 13th! I can’t believe you would have been a teenager today! I can’t help but wonder what your sweet little face would have looked like now. How tall would you be and would you be begging to wear makeup? Your daddy and I would be 5 short years from having our first kid in college. I’ve known from the day you went home that these wondering, missing you moments would come along and tap me on the shoulder begging for attention as long as I still have breath.
As I type this I am sitting in a room at the preschool waiting to celebrate your baby sister Eliana’s 5th birthday with her class. We are singing to her early because she is a summer baby. I bought her the prettiest pull apart flower cupcakes… the ones she ooed and awwed over as she draped over the cooler in the Kroger bakery. And there is a pang of sadness, and I blink back a few tears because you can’t pick out your cake today.
But staring at me on the wall right there in front are words that breath peace. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 Wherever you go. Even here. Even on this journey that we did not choose. Even on your 13th birthday when I will go to a mother-daughter tea at church with your little sisters. But without You. Even there He says be strong and courageous. He says He will not leave me.
What makes the difference is knowing who it is that is with me.
Who is with me? The Redeeming God. The God who has good plans for us, but who loves us enough to give us free will… all of us. Even those who will make bad choices that will break the lives of others into pieces. Into the first family and the second. He will redeem it.
Who is with me? The God who works in secret. And that’s the second reason this is a different sort of letter. I am marveling today amidst the missing. He is the God who whispered to your little heart to give your piggy bank money in the offering for kids in Africa that didn’t have clean water just before the wreck. He is the God who whispered the idea of selling well charms and raising money to build wells in your memory through Operation Blessing to a lady I never met and who didn’t know you just two weeks after you went home to heaven. He is the God who moved on people’s hearts to give and 19 wells have been built in your memory with 5 of them being in Ghana. And He is the one who orchestrated circumstances so that your Daddy was asked to preach his first overseas crusade- where? In Ghana! The only place with 5 wells in one country built because of you!
Who is with me? The God who knew years ago as the wells were being dug in that dry, dusty land and as your name was being inscribed on the plaques that wells were also being dug in the spirit. Hearts were being prepared for the wells of living water to spring up- for wells of salvation to burst forth! And I am sure it is no accident. But the working of the mighty Hand of a Powerful God. By the time I post this for your birthday, your Daddy will be almost back home, and Christ will have been preached in the very nation where 5 of those wells were dug!
Who is with me? The Redeeming God. The One who brings healing out of brokenness. Joy out of mourning. And those salty tears of dark grief that I wrote about in my very first blog will have been transformed into the salty tears of repentance for other precious hearts. And into fresh water for parched lips. And into living water for thirsty souls. He is redeeming it!
And so on your 13th birthday I cannot buy you pretty cupcakes. But I can write a love letter telling you what our Mighty God has done with your story and your dream and your family who loves you so. I believe the gifts we can tell you of carry an eternal weight, and perhaps one day we will meet those precious souls together.
Happy 13th birthday my beautiful Makiah! Your Hebrew name and your life and legacy shout to us all “Who is like my God?!” And we can smile through the tears because we know who is with us both wherever we go.
In a single second my life has been radically altered. My precious gift from God, sweet Makiah Kaitlyn, has gone to be with Jesus long before her time. I know in my heart that she is happy, but my arms are so empty... my house so dreadfully quiet. I feel at times that a horrible blackness has enveloped me. I feel as though my insides are screaming. I am clawing and fighting to break out of this torturous body- to escape from this oppressive reality, but I cannot escape. The dark anguish leaps on me again and again. It sits on my chest and presses against my very life breath. My heart feels utterly crushed and broken- pummeled into a thousand pieces. Life as I knew it has been shattered and the shards that are left are painful and sharp. Cutting me as I try to walk through them. This is the valley of the shadow of death. How dark is that shadow!
Her room is perfectly untouched. All of the dolls in her dollhouse family are piled into their little bed together where she left…
Outside the sky is grey and dreary. I feel it should rain torrents today. I think the whole earth should cry out in grief. I feel my heart pounding in my head. My eyes will barely open, and I think no more tears can possibly come. Maybe I will stand in the rain and borrow the tears from the sky.
I look down at sparkly pink toes, and they are lonely. Makiah, our last Sunday together you spent the morning in bed with Mommy (because I am on bed rest). We ate fruit loops and snuggled. We practiced drawing your letters and painted our fingers and toes. You wanted rainbow toes, but I didn't have the colors with me. I promised I'd paint you rainbow toes later. Once we were all pink you said, "I got an idea! Let's put sparklies over the pink, and you have to do it, too, Mommy, so we can be twins!" You are such a princess! So pink toes became sparkly toes. We giggled and hugged and admired our matching feet.
My eyes filled with tears when my mother-n-law told me of her friend's idea. This sweet lady, whom I've never met, wanted to know if she could do something special in honor of Makiah. She said God had put it on her heart to start a well project for her. She would sell "living water well charms" through Operation Blessing International to raise money to build a well for underprivelaged children in a poverty stricken country. She said when 600 charms have been purchased, a well with a permanent plaque would be built to commemorate Makiah's life. Not only was this an amazing idea, it was linked to my daughter's heart in a way that shocked me...
What this thoughtful lady could not have known was that only 2 weeks before the accident, Makiah came into the kitchen on a Sunday morning carrying her whole piggy bank. She told me she wanted to take it all to "give to the kids who need clean water." The preschool class at church had been raising money t…