Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Set in Stone

I was standing at Rachel's grave on Friday, studying the details of her stone...  thoughts flooded my mind about the days of deciding on the details of her stone and the days of waiting for it to be placed.

I have so much I could say about the journey from the first day at the cemetery picking her spot to the day that her stone was set.  I could go on and on about the amazing way God brought it all together to even allow us such a prominent and beautiful stone... and to this day, when I look at it, I see a tangible piece of evidence of how well God's people loved us and how He provided for us through them.  The stone was special ordered from India (it's an uncommon material) and cost over $3000 and we only paid $125 out of our own money - and we didn't ask for any of it... people just gave it to us.  It was so humbling. 

So, on Friday as I stood there, I was thinking back to those days.  After they had originally written on her stone, I was not happy with it.  I had taken the monument guy's input on a couple of things that I wished I hadn't.  Like he said not to put our names on it because it would scare the kids.  That made sense at first, but when I saw how plain and empty her stone looked without them, I didn't like it.
This was how it looked at first...  I am SO glad I changed it!

I love the stone itself

I wanted it to be obvious that we would be joining her there one day.  The guy was not very responsive to my requests to change it after the fact, and I spent a lot of time on the phone talking to him about options.  He didn't give me any.  So I drew it up myself....

I'm not sure if I've ever written about this before, but the curvy lines around Rachel's name are something I had sketched and sent to them, thinking they would use it as an idea.  When they sent me back the proof, they had used my actual drawing.  I think they were fed up with me and just did it quick to get it over with.... but what a blessing it's turned out to be because I LOVE that my drawing is on her stone, as simple as it is.  I love that I can remember sitting in her room during the most painful days of my life and the tears that fell as I struggled to perfect a stone that deep in my heart I knew would never be good enough... because I didn't want a headstone... I wanted her.
I started to think about the saying we all use "Set in stone"  as I looked at my girl's name etched in the prettiest stone I've ever seen....  Permanent.  Forever.  It's set in stone....

My mind wandered to a place of doubt.  I started to think things like "What if heaven isn't real and this is all there is?  What if we're crazy and none of this is true? What if her body is just deteriorating down there and I won't see her again?" 

But then I got caught up in my drawing. After her stone was placed, Matt mentioned that the bottom lines under her name looked like a book and reminded him of the Bible... and that the lines above her name looked like wings.  I didn't do either of those things on purpose, but I think God did...  because standing there this week, he used them to remind me that His Word is TRUTH and that heaven is real.  That Rachel IS dancing with the angels and that I WILL see her again because of what Jesus did for me on the cross.  That is set in stone!

I remember going to the hospital to have her and thinking on the way "I just want there to be a dash"... it's always bothered me that Rachel only has one date.  I wanted her birthday and the day she died to be different.  But what mother wouldn't? 

I stared at her name and date for a minute and again was questioning God... "Why couldn't there have been a dash? was that too much to ask?"  I looked at my name, then Matt's... I looked at my date and then at Matt's...  I wondered about our "future" dates....

and for the first time in all the HUNDREDS of hours that I have spent standing on her spot, I looked at the dates differently and I am positive this was a picture God gave me to remind me of His promises.... I saw that we all have just one date.  And God spoke to my heart....

You have one date because you are still alive....

And so does she....

I started crying tears of gratitude as I thanked God that He is patient with my doubt, but never leaves me there long... and always proves himself faithful in every detail.  I look back and know that 3 years ago when I mapped out her stone, in all it's 'imperfectness', He knew that I would come to that moment on Friday where He would use the very inscriptions I have been staring at every Friday for 3 years to remind me that He is here and that she is there.... and while she dances eternally in His love there... I dance in it here.  Somehow, I just know that we are dancing together... In Christ we are united.  Today, tomorrow... forever. 

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