Thursday, October 30, 2008

secret candy drawer...

With all of the serious blogging lately, I thought I would include some fun moments over the past week.

Uncle Jason is one of Jada's new favorite people!
Pinky...the balloon that is bigger than Jada from Aunt Shannon.
We went to a fall festival at the park with some friends..Jada didn't want to actually get into the bouncy castle where the kids were jumping into eachother and falling over (a little to rough for our soft-hearted girl) she bounced on the outside in the safe arms of her daddy.
Some of Jada's closest friends :)
"Carolina- Ethan- Cruz" or in Jada's version "Catonina- Etin- Cwuz"

These are two things that I am thankful for today:
  1. Jada's version of the ABC's that floats in and out of what I know as English, but she carries a great tune.
  2. my secret...or not so secret candy is just secret because Jada doesn't know about it...YET!

Monday, October 27, 2008

a deep breath

A few words to describe the last week or so:

  • foggy
  • tear-filled
  • hopeful
  • freeing
  • more tears
  • loving the body of Christ in new ways
  • trusting
  • peaceful
  • yet more tears...
  • still in need of prayer
I have cried daily. Some days harder than others. I have realized that every day I miss her more, not less. Little things that I have realized that I hoped for, or planned, or expected these days to hold are exactly the opposite. For example...We had a friend of ours,Kelly, live with us August-October before she got married. So, instead of moving Kelly's stuff out and painting Mia's room, moving Jada out of the crib, hanging up Mia's clothes that we already bought, etc...we restore the office as it was before Kelly moved in, leaving Jada in her crib a little longer, folded Mia's clothes and sadly placed them in a trunk. It stinks...really...there is no way around that. I have spent many hours in the "office" over the past few weeks. I have done a lot of singing and worshipping in there with my hands literally lifted up in surrender...I really don't know what else I can do. I have had some really sweet moments in there as I have been utterly convinced of a few things...

Which leads me to last weekend. Brian and I were able to attend a conference in Austin about Job- suffering. There is a fun story about how we were able to go the conference...but that is another story :). John Piper was the teacher and it was absolutely a gift to Brian and I. The conference began exactly two weeks after we lost our precious Mia. I described those days like this: when I arrived I was an emotional wreck. The Thursday before we arrived was no doubt the hardest day yet. I was just really sad and felt like an absolute outsider to the world. My mind believed God and the many truths that I have placed my faith in about who Jesus is...but my heart was broken and I couldn't feel anything but pain...Heart and Head disconnect in a big way! When we left the conference on Saturday my feet were firmly planted in truth and my heart matched what my head believed. We were washed in the word and truly our faith came by hearing the word of God magnificently taught. And the greatest part is that I have remained in that steady place of faith by the mercy of God! I already told you I've cried every day...but in the pain I have this deep joy and peace in loving God. A few things that I was able to say after the conference...

I went to Mia's grave and said to her and to the Lord "Jesus rescued me from the absolute pit and I absolutely treasure Him more than anything else He could give me...including my precious babies." My words were broken through convulsion like tears...but absolutely meant. So, I am saying to all of you who take time to read through this long post...Jesus is better and I trust Him with my future so much more than I trust myself...and if that means suffering and pain or if that means ease and delight, He is good and He knows what would be best to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth, and as people that have been rescued from our various pits...that is really what we all want.

Another wonderful thing that happened is this...a few days after we lost Mia I began to become anxious about Jada and worried about little things like if her runny nose was more than it seemed and I would just beg the Lord not to take Jada away. The visual that I had of myself during those days was me holding Jada so tightly and never letting go...literally. Totally led by fear. I would pray and cry knowing that this was not a safe place to live and like I said before, my head knew better, but my heart was all over the place emotionally. A wise woman in my life spoke directly into my soul saying "Jesus is a giver...not a taker." This same wisdom was spoken through the conference: "Satan aims to destroy your faith, but God aims to strengthen it." Amen...through this I have been more free as a mother over the past week. It is almost like the sentiment of the old hymn "Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know who holds the future, life is worth the living just because He lives."

I wanted to leave you with this... Piper shared a quote from George Mueller...who Brian says is the guy who was responsible for radically loving orphans in England in the late 1800's...a real man of faith. This quote was spoken after George Mueller lost his wife. It brought tears to my eyes when Piper read it and took a deep breath as it sunk in...this is where I want to be as I grieve Mia...this is beautiful:

"I miss her in numberless ways, and shall miss her yet more and more. But as a child of God, and as a servant of the Lord Jesus, I bow, I am satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, I seek by perfect submission to his holy will to glorify him, I kiss continually the hand that has thus afflicted me."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Mia

It has been one week and 3 days since we held our daughter Mia. She was precious...she was beautiful...her tiny hands and feet were amazing and she was perfect. She gave me hope in a glory to come like I have never known and I will never be the same. My heart aches and tears pour out as I wish so desperately that I could of had more time with her here. The many things that I imagined doing with her are brought to my mind moment to moment. I dreamt of Mia's personality being both different and similar to Jada's. What color hair would she have? Would she like to follow her big sister as she plays? I dreamt of pictures that I couldn't wait to take of her and books that I was hoping to read to her. I could wait to carry her in a sling close to my heart and I longed for sweet moments together in the night. I've never known grief or love or loss or hope like I have over these past 10 days.

Already Mia's life and death has taught me and Brian so much about who Jesus is and how He really does love us immensly. When I would talk about Mia and how we were naming her Mia Carolyn (who is like the Lord, the free one), I would consistantly say "I can't wait for her to teach us how to be free." And she has already begun. At Mia's funeral Brian was able to share from his heart the beautiful ways that the Lord has already changed him through Mia. Our family will forever be changed!

It has been the hardest time in Brian and I's life...but Jesus has been near to us each moment. Some of you have written e-mails or texts or left messages and we cannot thank you enough. We have felt carried by your prayers and lifted by your love. We have been overwhelmed by the body of Christ across the nation through letters, phone calls and e-mails...thank you for taking time to love us and carry us nearer to the Lord even though we cannot physically hold hands and walk together through this time. Our local body here has been amazing in ways that we never have known. We have known the great Shephard more because of the ways we have been loved and protected. We are thankful to have your hands to hold over the coming months.

We truly ask you to please keep your prayers coming as we learn how to live and to grieve...that is the biggest way you can help us through this season. We love you and we are thankful for your love.

I wanted to leave you with a few scriptures and quotes that have come alive to us as we have mourned the loss of our precious Mia and as we look ahead with hope.

Psalm 36:8 "For with You is the fountain of life, in Your light we see light."

Psalm 16:11 " Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

1 Corinthians 15:54-56 "When the perishable has been clothed in the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true; "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

I Will Carry You- by Selah

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave
but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says...

I've shown her photographs
of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen Me
To carry you

and an Elizabeth Elliot quote..."here is my chance to learn what death is about- to take up the cross, that is, willingly to accept the will of God which went so strongly against the grain of my own...for as we loose our hold on visible things, the invisible become more precious- where our treasure is, there will our hearts be."