I've been in a strange place lately. Lots of things going on in my mind and heart - and no energy to do them. A couple weeks back I started to second guess if I should even do any of this any more. I heard myself say a few times to different people "Maybe it was all a mistake, maybe I need to just focus on my life and stop trying to do things for my dead daughter... because she doesn't care anyway and I feel like I can't do it all and I'm missing out on my life trying to keep hers from being forgotten...."
I look around and see that the rest of the world seems so far past Rachel... and I wonder if maybe I've held on too long... if maybe I am trying to force something that isn't supposed to be...and if maybe God is telling me it's time to rest...
I feel like I'm always moving against the tide. Everything is hard. Nothing comes easy. I have been trying for weeks to set up one meeting with the board for Baby Rachel's Legacy and we can't seem to make it happen.... and I am just tired. I think to myself If I can't even schedule a meeting, how in the world am I going to do all that needs to be done this year? I still don't even have a plan for the taxes this year and the 501(c)3 application is getting nowhere fast... it takes 2 weeks to get an answer to one question - and then I forget to respond cause I'm so busy I can hardly see straight. If everything is this hard, can it really be God's will?
I ended up dropping one of my mornings at work because I feel like I can't keep up with everything (And Asa makes my shifts really hard with his constant screaming and jealousy)...now I'll just work 3 days a week. And apparently just knowing that, I felt like I had energy because I came home and got to work on Rachel's Legacy.... invited a few more people to potentially join our board... AND I got together what I will be calling my "Winter Readers".... these 20 lovely people will be helping me with reading every one of my posts (almost 800 of them!) and gathering the best of them, plus giving me feedback, to use as a foundation for my book. And they have committed to reading their assigned time ranges by the first day of spring, hence my "Winter Readers". :)
So, while I've continued to put one foot in front of the other and roll with the punches, I've still in the back of my mind been wondering.... should I just stop? Is her legacy done? Should I just let her be gone now? Have I done enough? Will I regret it if I stop? Will I be relieved if I stop? Will anyone even care - or will they be glad that we're not talking about our dead baby anymore?
And then I got the facebook message....
A women who said she needed to talk to me. I friended her so she could message me and as I sat at gym class with the kids yesterday, I read her story. I sat there shoulder to shoulder with a bench full of ladies and bawled. I don't know if they didn't notice the tears falling all over my lap - or if they just didn't want to deal with tears, but nobody said a word. I asked for a tissue and just got a "no, I don't have one". I'm all too comfortable with crying in a room full of people where everyone pretends they don't notice. It's kind of part of my life now!
I wrote back and told this woman that her timing (God's timing) for telling me this, could not have been more perfect. I really needed this reminder - and it seems that every. single. time I consider leaving this ministry of Rachel's Legacy behind, God sends me a story... a life-saving or life-changing story and I know I can't stop - that He doesn't want me to stop... that He's still using me.
I asked her for permission to share her story, which she granted, but I am changing names and details so that her privacy isn't compromised.
So glad to have received your request, although it meant that I will actually have to go forth and write what I have always wanted to tell you...I fear I am not nearly as good of a writer as you are, you write so beautifully.I guess I should start at the beginning, one December I was at work, at the diner, it was a slow day, so I picked up the paper, Fosters to be exact, and I saw your story, Rachel's story, the picture of her little hands and I cried, I at that time was a mom to 4 little ones, one not even a year old..I saw you and your husband were members of Grace. I, at that time, was a visitor of the Farmington campus. I thought to myself, have I ever met them? seen them?
Fast forward to the fall of 2011, this is where this gets tough. On Nov 3rd 2011, I went for a dr appt because I had an issue with my IUD. It had just come out one day, I had made an appt the next day, my dr gave me a month of the pill and a Plan B pill, for if there could be a pregnancy happening. I took the birth control, but could not bring myself to take the Plan B..it felt wrong. I was also sure I couldn't be pregnant. However, I went back in, planning to get a new IUD. When the routine pregnancy test showed I was indeed pregnant, an ultrasound that day confirmed a 7 week baby - a conception well before the IUD came out. The doctor said most pregnancies don't go well, they miscarry or the IUD can become lodged in the fetus, but mine came out...I was in shock....terrified actually. My husband and I did not plan on having anymore babies. I was so scared, I had 4 children, a tight budget, a daughter with a disability. I knew my husband would be so upset. I left with this tiny picture and a lump in my throat.
I told my husband that night and, as I expected, it did not go well. He was very upset, normal worries flashed in his mind, mine as well. I felt ashamed, I felt responsible, I didn't know what to do. Over the next week we didn't speak much, family was not supportive. I will not even tell you some of the things I was told, it hurts too much.
After a week of wandering around empty feeling, I started to think about the unthinkable, I knew my husband was too, although neither one of us would say it. Could I do that? Who am I? Who is he? How can he ask me to do this? I felt like he was waiting for me to make the choice rather that say it...Coward I thought.
I even made some calls... a consult they said was best to help.
I went the next day and just sat in the cold, on the bench outside our church. I prayed... and then after so long you came to my mind...
Your story, your strength and courage, I thought about how some moms choose to not carry on a pregnancy, but how you did. I thought about your pain, how your would give anything to have your girl... you did that...that hard road...
I cried and said to myself "I have to do this.. I can do this...what kind of a person am I? All she wanted was her girl, and I'm daring to think about not having mine?" ( I just knew I was having a girl)...at that moment my phone rang, it was my husband..he said "I came home... where are you? You didn't do anything did you? Please no..."
I told him where I was and he came...we held each other and prayed and I told him about your story...we cried and we knew we could do this...
On July 11 2012, at 6:43 pm, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She is the love of my life, my favorite surprise. I look at her and can't believe I ever thought the things I did, I cannot believe I had so much self doubt - she was more than meant to be here.Not long after, I started going to Grace's Rochester campus. I do not know why, I just said one day "lets go there". It was a sunny Aug day, after service when my kids excitedly went to play on Rachel's Playground... I stood in front of her picture smiling because of all I knew.. after all, I have never even seen your face..
Then, more amazingly, a guy at the playground stood by me, he reached out and touch my daughter's hand and said "Aww a little baby girl"... I did not know this man...weeks later reading your blog I soon realized that was your husband Matt. I couldn't believe it...I have been faithfully touched by your family, you angel in heaven and your strength, because of that I have my daughter... I hope you understand what this means to me, it may seem pale it comparison to your journey, but you have helped me..without ever knowing each other, so thank you Stacy, thank you Matt, and thank you Rachel.
A Mama of 5 Beautiful & Alive Children.
I read this and cried the whole way home. I was passing the church and decided to stop in and visit Rachel at her playground. I don't usually do this, but I had to stop. The kids & I drew a heart in the snow as I told them about a little girl who is alive because of Rachel's story and how God has used me & her - and THEM - to reach all over the world. I looked up and just hoped Rachel could see what I was trying to send to her... Thank you, pretty girl. You are so special and still changing the world. From my heart to yours, Mama loves you.
And I just knew... there is no stopping for me. It's not God's will for my life. He continues to confirm that over and over again that He is not done with her - no matter how much I doubt. And I was reminded that just because things are hard, does not mean they are not God's will. He calls us to difficult things all the time so I cannot make decisions on what He wants me to do by the ease in which I can do it.
As we were stepping in the snow to draw the heart, Des asked if they would get something special if they did a good job... I told her "Not for drawing a heart, but if you serve God with all your heart, you might have a few extra jewels on your crown in heaven."
And I just pictured my sweet Rachel... her crown must be so beautiful.
I was telling my sister tonight that when I think of heaven, I tend to think that we will be so in awe when we get there, that we will fall to our knees and be speechless. And I cried as I told her that Rachel is a piece of heaven in my life... every time I am able to see something God has done through her, I am overwhelmed with joy, thankfulness, awe....and I am glad that I don't see it all at once because I honestly do not think I could emotionally or physically handle what would happen to me if I knew all of the ways my little girl has changed the world in one moment.... I think I would fall to my knees, speechless.... And I pretty much do each and every time I am blessed to hear another story. I had no idea this heart wrenching trial would ever turn into something so amazing. I am so thankful... so very thankful... and no words can really express how proud I am to be her mother... how humbling it is to hear these stories... how amazing it is to be a part of such an amazing legacy. I am always left on my knees...crying... and speechless.