It’s the little details around our house right now that bring the biggest feelings. We have a large tree in our dining room, but every year we get a “Charlie Brown tree” for our children. They decorate it with hand-made ornaments and take so much pride in it. Little detail, big joy. If you didn’t know our story, you may wonder who the 5th stocking is for hanging on the right side of the fireplace, protected between her brothers. We don’t have three little faces here this year as we imagined this time last year, but we do have three children. The pain I felt when pulling out Madelyn’s stocking this year was sharp, but quickly taken on by the Father, as He held me and replaced my mourning with joy. I was able to do something for her by hanging it, and it gave me so much comfort to do so. Little detail, big comfort. On the serving cart in our kitchen sits a vase with flowers and lights. It could easily be thought of as a nice decoration to light up our home, until you see the six ornaments surrounding it. We have five in our family, yet have heard whispers from the Lord of a hope baby. So a silver ball, a minor detail at first glance, means ever so much more every time I walk by and my eyes rest upon it. Little detail, big hope. This is our God. He’s concerned with it all. Every little detail. I’m so thankful He’s concerned with mine.
The following post was made by my dear friend Megan. Her daughter Monroe went to heaven last April. Sunday night, Megan, myself, and other grieving mamas gathered at The Garden. I am so thankful for this ministry, this group. Connecting with others who have walked the same road is critical to healing. I have been so fortunate to have these ladies in my life. We will forever love each other, and forever love each other’s babies. And one day, we will all hold them again in heaven, and rejoice together at the sight.
“There aren’t enough words from my heart that could tell these ladies in this picture and our babies in Heaven exactly what they mean to me. 💗Clinging to HOPE in Heaven and JOY that only comes from a good, good Father. He’s doing it ladies, bringing beauty to our ashes, restoring our lives, rebuilding what was lost, and giving us abundant life. With you till Heaven. With you till will get our babies back! 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼#TheGarden#CantDoLifeAlone”
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” ~Romans 5:3-5
My sweet Caleb feels the same way. Thanksgiving night we went on a date to see The Star (super cute movie, by the way). On the way home, he told me the most precious melt your heart story that speaks so much about all that is going on in his little head and heart. He said, “mama, I want to turn into a squirrel. Then I can find the right branches and jump from branch to branch up to heaven. I can sneak up on Jesus (I know, right? Precious!!) and get Madelyn and bring her back down to earth. Then I would want to turn back into myself so I could play with her.”
We talk about Madelyn all the time. Caleb says he misses her and wishes she were here. You see, he spent 9 months excited about meeting her too. He kissed my belly non-stop, and was constantly asking to “blow raspberries to Madelyn.” Children understand and know so much more than we realize. And it’s been hard on them too. But what I do know is that my boys will be forever changed too. They will have an outlook and perspective on life filled with peace and wisdom beyond their years. They will forever wish to be squirrels and hop up to her, just as I will forever wish I could reach up and touch her once more. But they will also love Jesus more. And in loving Jesus more, so much more will they love others. And if Matt and I can raise them with that much love in their hearts, we have done our job
Aside from my wedding day this is the most beautiful I’ve ever felt. As I went about the morning and shared my story and what brought me to this beautiful moment, God revealed the most precious gift. My Madelyn was there. She was beside me the whole time playing dress up with mommy. She was clapping her hands, trying on my jewelry, and playing with my make up. She was looking up at me with her big, beautiful eyes, like all little girls look at their mommies. It’s like she was living through me. She was getting to play princess for a day. Giving this experience to myself allowed me to give it to her too. I ache to do things for her, and today God allowed me to give her the best present ever. And He knew I was ready for it. That it wouldn’t make me sad, but that it would fill me with joy. Thank you, Lord, for bringing the most beautiful gift I didn’t see coming. Another present that you’ve kept waiting since the beginning of time. Meant just for me and my girl.
I can’t explain what came over me when this song came on tonight, as I was driving down a rainy highway headed for home. But, I can tell you the experience it gave me pulled big beautiful soul filled tears and a swelling of the heart in thankfulness for a Father who doesn’t lead me where He won’t go. Thankfulness for where I’m going and also where I’ve been. I’ve seen more beauty from the Father in the past 8 months than I can adequately put into words, and if I did not know what it is to have tired faith and lost hope, I wouldn’t know beauty as fully as I do. I wouldn’t know the gift that is joy from mourning. And tonight, just like He always does, He took my hand, spun me round and round, did what He does best. He set my feet to dancing.
You know that feeling when you are watching someone open a present you planned and picked out with such care, and you are about to burst because you know they will love it? Did you ever consider that the blessings God has given in your life were planned from the beginning of time? Have you ever thought about the joy and excitement He must feel when we are about to stumble upon a gift that He has been waiting to give us since He hung the stars? Incredible thought, isn’t it? Here is one blessing He handpicked for our family. The previous owner of our beautiful home had the gift of a green thumb. So much love was put into the landscaping, especially the backyard. It’s amazing to me that all those years ago, when she was so tenderly caring for her beautiful plants, that she was a part of God’s planned present for us. One particular bush she planted is all over our yard, and we have discovered that the beautiful pink flowers growing on them attract butterflies. When we first moved in, Caleb was the first to see the prettiest, delicate little yellow butterfly fluttering about, from flower to flower. A few days later, there were two. Then three, and I was able to snap this picture. ❤️The butterflies are here morning and night. They have made their home here. Then, to my heart’s absolute delight, a few days ago, there were four. 😭 Caleb, Joshua, Madelyn, and our hope baby. And He has watched, bursting with joy as His precious gift to our family has unfolded. Because He knew from the beginning of time that it would be perfect for us. And it is.
This was balm to my soul tonight. My biggest fear is that my Madelyn will be forgotten. Not by me, but by the world. I am certain there is someone reading this tonight that feels the same. Maybe you have the same fear, or you are feeling forgotten yourself. Please hold tight to this sweet reminder. The God of all Gods, the maker of the heavens and earth, has engraved us in the palm of His hands. Our children, our loved ones–we–will never be forgotten by Him.
Our sweet Madelyn looked so very much like her mama, and was the perfect mixture of her brothers. She had curly blond hair and huge, beautiful eyes, just like Caleb. She had Joshua’s button nose and soft gentle chin. She was Caleb from the nose up and Joshua from the nose down. She was long like her brothers, at 19 inches, but the tiniest, most delicate thing at only 5 lbs 7 oz. She was just like a little doll. I ache, every day, for just a glimpse of her. To hold her just once more and be able to study every inch. But, although I have to wait, for now, I am so thankful that I have these two sweet faces. They tell me all I need to know. She is beautiful.
If you look at this picture closely you will see that we have 6 pumpkins on our front porch. No, I am not pregnant, but I do have a very sweet story to share. When Caleb and I went to the pumpkin patch, he helped me choose one pumpkin for each member of our family. The two big ones are for mommy and daddy (mine is the one with the longer stem or as Caleb says, “the long hair”) 😂 and the two medium sized are for Caleb and Joshua. When we were done picking out those, Caleb said, “and one more for Madelyn.” I love how he always remembers her and loves doing things for her. Just the sweetest. After we chose one, he said, “let’s get one more, mommy.” At first, I reminded him that would be six, and we have five in our family. I asked him why, and he couldn’t really say. But it was just a tiny pumpkin, and looking down at his big eyes I couldn’t say no. As we were leaving, it hit me. This was our hope pumpkin. I said, “Caleb, did you want one more for another baby?” He said yes. So, he will now name who all the pumpkins are for, and when he talks about the smallest one, he says, “that’s our hope pumpkin. For our hope baby.” God speaks in miraculous ways, and it’s the most precious gift of all when He speaks through our children. And, there is something so powerful that happens to the spirit when you commit an act of faith in the flesh. Yes, it is a tiny pumpkin, but it is so much bigger then that. It is a declaration of our faith and the cry of our family’s heart. We are claiming that God is good and that He will bring beauty from ashes and make all things new. No child will ever replace Madelyn. She is our first born little girl, and always will be. And the home she has in our hearts is her own, and can’t ever be occupied by anyone else. But, we do have hope. We do claim that God will provide. He has walked with us hand in hand through the valley. Now, as we look ahead and see a mountain, He is there too, arms stretched wide and waiting. And He is telling us to claim it. ❤️
It was the most beautiful and perfect day for a trip to the pumpkin patch with Caleb’s class and my first field trip ever as a parent chaperone! 🍁🎃I am so thankful that I am able to be with my children so much during this season of life. I do not take it for granted. It is a gift from the Lord and has provided so much healing for this mama’s tender heart. ❤️Part of my heart will always be in heaven, but days like today fill all the earthly parts to overflowing