I have many things I want to share with you from vacation, but for the sake of not making this so long, I'm going to share them in what I'm going to call my "moments series"... isn't that creative? :o) I'll do that a little at a time, but today I want to tell you a longer story...
I bought a plant called "Crown of Thorns" while on vacation last year in Maine in honor of Rachel and because God had used it to remind me that He is aware of my suffering (Read Post Here!) Then my friend Anne sent me another one after that post that was even more full and had red flowers on it. Since last September, I have watched these two plants perish before my eyes. I have faithfully tended to these very sentimental plants in hopes that they would come back to life and bloom again. On Christmas Eve, which was a difficult day for me because Rachel was due on Christmas, I noticed that my completely bare Crown of Thorns plants, were coming back to life - although still no flowers to be found, they were starting to grow new leaves (Read Post Here!) and again God encouraged me about where I was at in my healing process through these plants .
That is the really short version of an amazing story so if you can, you should take the time to read the old posts if you don't remember what I'm talking about.
So, my red one has been *slowly* growing leaves since then, but my yellow one that I bought in Maine is practically a stem in a pot...it's really pathetic looking and the leaves it did have got ripped off by my sweet Samuel and pretty much all you can see are the big thorns sticking out everywhere - so I planned to try to buy another plant when we went back to Maine at that same place in memory of Rachel that might be easier to take care of....but they had no plants there this year.
This week while I have been away - away from email and away from blogger, I have prayed a lot about how God would have me work through this part of my grief. I keep wondering if maybe I wouldn't feel so alone if I accepted the fact that I am and that, even with 300 readers a day, it doesn't change the fact that I have to walk this path by myself. Nobody can do it for me. I wondered if maybe I should be spending this time doing something else. Maybe I should focus this time on my book instead... maybe I should stay away from the time-sucker we call a computer and spend this time with my awesome family. Maybe the world has heard all the good they are going to get from my journey and about my girl and maybe I'd do her and my Lord more justice to just quietly suffer - like He did, like Mary did.
Every time I have decided I was going to slow down writing, it never fails, I have a handful of really amazing things happen because of and in response to my blog that makes me question if that would be the right thing to do - but I also know I have to release myself from the responsibility of helping other people some times and take care of myself and my family...
I guess what I felt like God was saying was that maybe I need to go into a quiet time of mourning - one that is less public and less able to be judged.... one where I am allowed to be exactly where I'm at without everyone's opinions and without an audience. One where when I walk into church the people reading don't assume they know exactly where I'm at and so maybe take the time to ask... and the ones not reading anymore don't hurt my feelings when they ask a question that I just posted about the day before, making it obvious that they have lost interest in my trial. A time for just me & God. And maybe if I do that, He will be able to minister to all those still aching parts of my heart that nobody else can and I can't on my own - when I'm not worrying about ministering to everyone else through my grief. And maybe my time will come again later when I can be His hands & feet (and fingertips) after I am again filled with His amazing love. Because right now, I'm just feeling the thorns and I am so thirsty.
All that to say that I felt like I knew the answer.... that it's time for me to slow down with blogging....but was afraid to because this is all I've known since last August to deal with my feelings. When Matt & I sit down to talk and I sit and stare at the wall cause I can't find the words to say what I feel, I wonder how in the world I can write so much... it really is the way God made me - I'm a writer. And without this blog, the blessings would have been much less throughout this journey - for me and for others who have been changed because of Rachel. I'm so grateful that I have been able to share her with all of you and that so many people care about her and about me. Thank you.
So, let me see if I can get to the point here.... we got back last night and Matt & I worked hard to empty all of the bags because if you don't do it right away, they sit there for weeks! I put some stuff in the mudroom and as I did, I caught a glimpse of color out of the corner of my eye. I couldn't believe it.... while we were gone, my red Crown of Thorns bloomed again...and it had a bunch of new buds. I started crying the second I knew I wasn't seeing things.
In the background, the music from the kitchen brought me right back to that day that we pulled out of the parking garage after getting Rachel's diagnosis confirmed at Maine Medical Center... the song that day was the one that says "You placed the stars in the sky and you know them by name, You are amazing Lord" That day it left me with a feeling of what about my baby....if you can do all this, why not for me?
Desirae & Matt went on a date to see this local band called Unspoken a few weeks back and Des has been playing the CD non-stop and it was playing last night as we unpacked. The words rang in my head and shot straight to my heart....I don't know the name of the song and I don't even think it can be found on line at this point, but it's awesome. I stood there listening and my tears flowed, dripping all over my new baby belly....
This plant has brought it all full circle... Yes, He created the heavens and the earth, painted the stars in the sky - He knows every single one of them by name. He knew Rachel's name before I had 2 pink lines on my test... He knew that this road would be long, that I would get weary and that blogging would be how He would work through me during this hard, hard road. He also knew that I would eventually come to the place where I would feel lonely even with hundreds of people reading along. He knew that I would be standing in my mudroom at the moment those words were playing and find those little unlikely flowers. He knew I would realize that my heart is too damaged to try to repair it.... and only with Jesus will my heart be replaced. And I really feel like He was once again running after me and reminding me He is the only way.
Surely His hands can mend the wounds of this broken woman....Lord, open the eyes of my heart that I may see Your face....
What this means for my blogging, well, I'm not sure. I suppose it can mean something different now than it does even a couple of weeks from now. Even just today I had someone at the grocery store that I don't know stop me and ask if I was going to keep blogging since it's been a week and a half since I've posted.... I'm absolutely blown away that this is a regular occurrence for me to have people I don't know giving me hugs and talking about my girl. And yet, all the care and encouragement I get from people doesn't seem to heal my heart at all. There is only One source and I need to seek Him right now. My hope is that Rachel's legacy has enough momentum that it won't go away and be forgotten because I write less or not at all. My prayer is that you will all remember her for the rest of your lives, that you'll tell your friends, family, kids about her and tell them about her proud Mama and her amazing God who both thought she was as perfect as can be. But I have to trust that I have done more than my fair share to help accomplish that and trust God for the rest. He'll keep her blooming even when I can't. And eventually, I may even bloom again too.