Tonight at 7pm, in all time zones across the world, candles will be lit for an hour to honor babies and children who have left their earthly home. Our family will be lighting a candle for our sweet Madelyn Grace, and for all babies and little ones who are deeply missed. Pictured here is the candle I decorated for her, using ribbon I so carefully and lovingly used to decorate her nursery. I am so glad I saved it, as it brought my heart so much joy to be able to use it again to create such a powerful symbol of love for our baby girl. I speak for all grieving parents when I tell you that nothing means more than to know your child is thought of and remembered. It would mean the world to us if you would join us tonight in honoring the precious little ones we have lost. I would love to create a collection of photos here, as nothing is more powerful than when hearts and hands combine as one. I invite you to take a picture of your candle and attach it in a comment on this post or to your own page on Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #waveoflight. Tonight, let us join together to remember. And in remembering, we hope. Until the day when all tears are wiped away, and we hold our babies again
New. There is definitely a sweetness to that word today. This morning I woke up in a new bed, in a new house. I sipped coffee on a new porch, while I gazed out at a beautiful new yard. Why so much new? To back up, Matt was offered a job in another state last October. We took it in faith, trusting the Lord to lead. We were unsure where this new road would lead, and had a lot of big decisions ahead of us. It was hard on everyone. I was pregnant with our sweet Madelyn, teaching full time, and taking care of our boys and dog. Matt was able to come home some weekends, but more often he was not. The boys were too young to truly understand and missed their daddy. As much as we loved the life we had known for so long, we felt God leading us to new. When we suddenly and unexpectedly had to say our earthly goodbyes to our little girl, our decision was even more clear. After being apart for 11 months, selling our first house and buying our second, our family is finally together. And yesterday I witnessed the sweetest new thing. Instead of talking on the phone or on FaceTime, I watched my husband come home from work and my boys run into his arms. But this lead to an even sweeter thing. While I woke this morning to so many beautiful earthly things, I also woke with newness of spirit. New hope. New joy. Beautiful, beautiful new. While new things of this earth are sweet, new things of the spirit are sweeter. Lord, take these mustard seeds and help them grow. Thank you for bringing our family together again. And thank you for making all things new. 🙌
To me, bravery is strongest when no one knows you’re being brave. The stories you don’t see when you pass by someone walking through it. Unseen bravery. Going to baby shower after baby shower, hoping that you aren’t asked yet again when you are having children because you don’t want to have to explain your 3 year journey of infertility, but you nonetheless attend because you want to keep living your life and remain connected to friends despite feeling alone in your journey. Unseen bravery. Finally seeing a positive pregnancy test after years of waiting. Fast forward a few weeks to a doctor’s office, being told you are no longer pregnant, and wondering how to tell family and friends. You told everyone because you have been waiting and waiting for that positive for years. Unseen bravery. Taking home a child that was not formed in your womb, and creating a new life for them. Knowing there will be a day they will ask you about it. But this child is your own, as if you had birthed them yourself. And you’re ready for anything saying yes will bring. Unseen bravery. Having a gut feeling something is wrong, days before you are expecting to meet your little one. Sitting in a cold hospital room in the middle of the night, and being told there is no heartbeat. Driving back to the hospital the next day, in labor, knowing that you will not deliver your baby alive. Unseen bravery. There are women, families, walking around with these stories, feeling unseen. All the time. You wouldn’t know their struggle just by looking at them, but their struggle is deep. I’m thankful my eyes have been opened to these unseen stories, and I’m even more thankful that my unseen story is seen. By God, and by a beautiful group of ladies who have banded together to love on each other and remind one another that we see each other. Just as God sees us. He still loves us. Circumstances will not alter our faith. If you are walking through a journey and you feel unseen, you belong here. With others who know your pain. Who understand. Who see you. Please reach out if I can help connect you.
Happy six month heaven day sweet baby girl. Six months. Has God sustained us? Yes. Is it any easier? No. Because the heart doesn’t break one time and then slowly come back together. It breaks over, and over, and over, and over. My heart breaks every time I see an adorable bow that I would have loved to see on you. Seeing pictures of smiling babies and being reminded that I can’t see yours. Expectant mothers beaming with joy, because I wish so badly I could go back to a time that I didn’t know this pain. But six months ago, God welcomed you home. I will never understand this side of heaven, but I do know you are at peace, and you are beautiful. You are God’s child first, and He was overjoyed the day you ran into His arms. That thought–that image–gets me through the repeated heartbreak. So even though my heart will continue to break until He calls me home, it will also continue to heal. 💔
This is real. This is our family. We are a typical family, just like any other, but our family time just looks a little different. We still have movie night. We still go for ice cream. But we also go visit our beautiful girl. We love having picnics with Madelyn, feeling the sun and breeze, and just being with her, in the best way we can. These sweet boys love her and miss her just as much as mommy and daddy do. They talk about her just as much as we do, and clap for joy when we arrive. They hug her flowers and, in the words of Caleb, “blow kisses up to heaven.” They pray with me in the most precious way, quiet and calm, as if they are listening for her voice. They are such wonderful big brothers.
Today I would like to share a truth God has revealed to me that is so refreshing it allows me to move through this life with a freedom that I never had before: my children aren’t mine. They are God’s. Yes, He has given them to me to enjoy while I live on this earth, and the promise of eternity with them. And I am so grateful that He has given me the joy of motherhood while here on this earth, a gift that many ache for and one I don’t take for granted, especially now. But what does it mean to give my children fully to God? It means I don’t worry about the future, their future. Do they have days left on earth? Months? Years? That’s not up to me. It’s not mine to know. So I don’t worry. Please hear my heart. God is good. SO good. He doesn’t cause bad things to happen. What sin means for evil, God means for good. If you have been watching my journey and think “I could never,” what God longs for you to say is “I wouldn’t want to, but I could with you. Because YOU are my ultimate beloved. YOU are what I want and need, above all else.” Bad things happen, sweet friends. Children get sick. Babies die. We live in a hard, dark world. And it’s so important to remember, as a dear friend once said to me, that no one is exempt from tragedy. Even though we lost Madelyn, that doesn’t mean we won’t face any more hard. I am not guaranteed to have my boys, my husband, with me for the rest of my life. I am not–WE are not–guaranteed anything. So today, as much as my heart still aches, I am free. Free of worry, free of planning too much, free of fear. Because a very hard thing has happened, and He has sustained us. So today, if you think of my story and look at your children, your spouse, your growing belly, and fear enters your heart, pray. Pray very hard. Pray that God would lift that fear, and replace it with a heart that fully trusts Him. Because if something did happen, that heart that God is holding will be what sustains you. So today, I am thankful for all the snuggles, bubble baths, fence climbing, hose spraying moments that I get to enjoy while I have my sweet boys. And I will laugh without fear of the future. Because #madelyngrace and God taught me how. #madelynchangedme
How do you mend a broken heart? How do you find healing from the deepest ache? How do you comfort aching arms? These are things I’m still working through, but what I can say is this: when God works, I can feel it. I can sense it and it and I get an overwhelming feeling of someone I need to see, something I need to do. Wednesday was one of those God days that can’t be described with words. I have ached and fought for healing. God is always there, but you can’t rush grief. There’s no timeline, no recipe. And it’s not just one all encompassing prayer for healing. I’ve prayed specifically to be able to hold friends’ sweet babies without ache, to be able the meet for coffee and talk about life without drowning in sorrow, to be able to do things without fear of how I’ll respond…to just…be able. He has been working on my tender heart, strengthening it, holding it. Yesterday He worked a miracle as only He can. The smile in this picture is not only real, but behind it is a joy that is true. He told me I was ready. It was time to meet a friend for coffee and cry. Not a sorrowful cry, but a healing one. One that leaves you filled, not empty. It was time to hold this sweet bundle that I have been praying for so long to be able to do. And just like only God can, He didn’t just give me the strength to be able…He gave me a peace and joy in my heart that surpasses understanding. No sadness. No pain. Unexplainable JOY. Forgetting? Never. Changed? Forever. Healing? Lifelong. Day by day. Complete on the day of all healing. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Amen and amen!!
“We’ll call you when it comes in,” are very common words. They could reference a furniture order, pictures to be printed, or any earthly object. Today, they were in reference to my baby girl’s permanent grave marker. While this could have been a very hard day, I am overwhelmed with joy at the work God is doing in my heart. I was thankful to be there to be able to do something for my baby girl. I long for opportunities to do things for her. A sweet friend of mine recently talked about tenderly pulling weeds around her babies’ markers who are in heaven. While there is part that is still so raw and heart wrenching about not being able to change their diapers, comb their hair, hold their hands as they learn to walk…when we grieving mamas are able to do things for our little ones–anything at all for them–it is so what our hearts need and we are filled with so much peace in doing so it’s indescribable. I loved so very much to proudly state her insciption, Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” I chose that verse for Madelyn to have in her room before she was born. Only God knew how true those words were and how they were perfectly fitting for her. She never knew, and will never know fear. She has more strength and dignity than any of us living on earth, and I am more than certain she is laughing constantly. Oh how I can’t wait to hear that laugh. Thank you, Lord, for your beautiful word. Thank you for giving it to us, so that we can proclaim it as I was able to today. And I proclaim all of it. From the highest mountain. One day I will proclaim it with my baby girl by my side. During my time left on earth, I will proclaim that promise loudest of all.
You are with me everywhere. In everything. Every word, every thought, every action, every moment. I miss you.