It's been one year since we received the worst news of our lives. And we survived. Our faith, our marriage, our lives have been tested in a way that we never could have imagined. My life now is not where I planned it would be 366 days ago, but I am trusting that God's plans are better than anything I could ever dream of. He's proved that before, with the amazing husband He blessed me with, and I know He will show me again.
As a bereaved parent who learned their child was gone before any signs of labor, and before her due date, it has been hard to know what day should be "the day" to remember. I know Harper went to heaven sometime on June 22. It occurred to me yesterday that that was her "heaven day". As painful as it is to be here without her, what a JOY to know that the first time she opened her eyes, it was in heaven. She never knew pain, or sickness, or heartache, hunger, cold, or loneliness. She is so, so blessed, and I am so happy to be her mama.
In my head, I refer to June 23 as the day of waiting. The day I was induced, the day we were at the hospital, waiting for my body to birth hers. I'm still not entirely sure how to think of June 24. Her death certificate, her grave marker, and my medical records all have this date as her date of death. I have a hard time seeing it like that. No, there was no earthly life left in her body, but I know her spirit lives on, and that I will see her again. The 24th is special because it was the day her daddy could see her, the day we could hold her in our arms, and kiss her, and touch her fingers and toes and face. August 10 was her due date, so that date is difficult as well. I think of how old she should be based on that date, of what she would be doing. One of my dear friends has a son who was born 2 days after her due date, and although it is sometimes painful for a passing second, it is mostly comforting to be around him, and to see what he is up to. He will always have a special place in my heart.
This year has been a struggle, but also a year of growth, and of surrender. I recently had an a-ha moment while reading the book, Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot. It is a collection of some of her newsletters, and the first part is called, "Faith for the Unexplained". The last letter in this section is a letter that she wrote to friends who had lost their baby. Elliot writes that, "...it gives you a share in Christ's suffering. To me this is one of the deepest but most comforting of all the mysteries of suffering. Not only does He enter into our grief in the fullest of understanding, suffer with us and for us, but in the very depths of sorrow He allows us, in His mercy, to enter into His..." Her words have really been a turning point for my grief. It is no longer a "poor me" thing, but an I am blessed to be allowed to experience a tiny, tiny piece of the suffering of Christ. This had made such a big difference!
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13
Suffering often jars us out of our comatose lives...Suffering reminds us this life is short, and this earth is not our home...His glory will be revealed, and those who have suffered most will be the most overjoyed - Jennie Allen
Amen to that. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice, and for allowing me to experience suffering. May you always be glorified through it.
Balloon release at the cemetery, 6/22/14