Monday, August 25, 2014

In the Shade

Tonight is what happens when I wait entirely way too long to blog... you get 3 posts in one night! Ha!

I've said a thousand times that I'm not all too fond of it when people try to find my silver lining for me... silver linings are something you are supposed to find yourself and not for others.  It can be something as small as a 'good' reason that I showed up on the wrong day for an appointment - or something as big as telling me that it's sad and all that Rachel died... "but look at all the people who she has helped!" (add big annoying smile here and you get bonus points for being insensitive)

While I understand that you are only trying to make me feel better, dismissing my feelings doesn't make me feel better at all.

Okay, so tell me the truth...

Let's try this... Picture your child in your mind....  Is their face there?  OK, so now remember what they looked like as a baby?  Got it?  Remember what it felt like to give birth and hold them that day.  Amazing, right?

OK, now say if someone walked into your hospital room and said "Hey, I know this would be hard, but instead of bringing your baby home to nurse and cuddle and watch grow, let's put your child in the ground because I know it would help out SO many people!! It will be awesome!  Just beautiful!  You can do it, I know you can, I know how much you like to help people and this would change the world!!"  You would hand your baby over with a smile...??

Yeah, that's what I thought.

OK, now that we've been honest with ourselves about the fact that there isn't a single Mother on the face of the planet - not even Jesus' mother - who would not have real, hard, gut wrenching human emotions should they watch their child die.... Let's talk about my silver lining....

First of all - I have more than a silver lining here.... what I have is so big and so amazingly bright, I am not able to see it all at once or I might go blind... and I don't even fully comprehend it.  What God has done with Rachel's life and death has humbled me... it's changed me... it's changed the world... it's been unreal.  I would have never imagined in all my life I would ever feel God's closeness, His provision, His faithfulness, His love... to the extent I did and do.  I would have never imagined that something so hard could bring so much joy, peace, beauty, thankfulness to my heart....

So, I don't really need - nor have I ever needed since day one - someone else to fill me in on how to look at this.  I know some people just don't know how to sit with someone in pain, but pain does not mean that you aren't thankful.  It's doesn't mean you need a different perspective.  Believe me, my perspective has been changed and it's where it needs to be.  But I am still a mother who lost a child and that still requires feeling through my grief and loss and sadness over what I'm missing - and every once in a while it requires some very heavy crying... there have even been stages that brought me through anger and fear and questions....

All that said, let me explain why I'm on this topic... I started the post I just did about empathy a few weeks ago - but never finished it.  The day after Rachel's Race, the physical effects of all that does to me, took it's toll.  I first got really sick with a cold and then my autoimmune diseases kicked in full force and I was in a ton of pain all over and within a couple days, not able to move...

I had that video I just posted on my mind as I sat outside one afternoon with the kids.  I was in about as awkward position in the chair as possible to keep my back straight and the sun was beating down on me, so I was starting to get really hot.  Just as I contemplated going in, the sun went behind a cloud and I felt relief....

 By now you know me well enough to know that this got me thinking.... There is a song that says "Who imagined the sun and gives source to it's light... yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night?"  That was the song that played on the radio as we left Maine Med on our trip up there on August 5, 2010 when we got our 2nd opinion about Rachel's condition...  she was going to die... and that song had me questioning God...

If You are so big and great and powerful that you hung each star in the sky and know them by name... WHY my little girl, Lord???  Why?  Why couldn't you make this not happen?

And yet, even in those very early, raw, confusing, scary moments, hours, days and weeks... I was committed to loving her with all I was and trusting God will all she was to be.  And in the middle of that storm, I saw His light SHINE.  It wasn't a little light for my path, It was huge and bright... and unquestionably HIM.  All Him.  He led me and I followed.

So, if you have watched that video on my last post, you saw there is a point that talks about silver linings and they draw a line around a cloud... and this sky reminded me of that....  and I just want to share what God put on my heart in that moment...

First of all, some times, even the sunshine burns if you get too much.  God knew *exactly* what I could and could not handle in those days and He still does.  And if I trust Him and not other people's ideas, I am going to be much better off, regardless of what the clueless person next to me sees as 'healthy' - God knows me. Period.  His ways are not my ways.  And they are not your ways.

Second, looking at that picture.... do you really think the sun around the edge would look so amazing if it wasn't for the dark cloud in the front of it?  You see, the only reason a silver lining ever looks desirable is because the rest of the view is so dark...  but you can't have the silver lining without the cloud.

I think the true 'silver lining' in a situation has to do with how much God shines around the edges of the darkness, not necessarily pretending like the darkness doesn't exist.  I think saying "This is the darkest valley I have ever walked, But God has not left my side" is first of all, way more honest - but secondly, so much more of a vulnerable place to allow people in to - and in my experience, time and time again, I have heard people say to me that because I was real about how dark and heavy my 'cloud' was, yet was still able to see the Son around it's edges... that led them to want to know my God.... the Giver and Sustainer of life - even when he let my baby die.

In a world where every non believer's favorite question is "Why would a good God allow bad things to happen?"  I have to ask... why are we all so afraid of the clouds?  Why do we think that by acting as if nothing phases us we will win people over - or that God will be more happy with us - or more glorified?  Because in my interactions with non believers, people who pretend like the cloud doesn't exist when it's right there in front of everyone else are hard to connect with... hard to believe... hard to take at face value - because EVERYONE KNOWS CLOUDS ARE REAL.  They are.  And that's okay!

And a few minutes later, the cloud started to move... and the sun started to shine... and it got hot again... and you know what?  It was amazing at first, but pretty soon, I went back inside!  Not because I don't like the sun - that was the whole reason I went outside, to get my vitamin D... but honestly, sometimes I need the shade the cloud provides.  Sometimes I need the 'coolness of night'.  Sometimes I need only to know that His light is bright in the background, even when my reality is dark because of my looming cloud.  And sometimes I even need to feel the rain that the cloud inevitably will drop from the sky.  And that is where the most preciously timed rainbows always appear for me.  There is not a single unplanned moment in God's world.

This summer, leading up to August 4th, we had these very strange and constant times of scattered rain.  It rained pretty much every day for just a few minutes and then the sun would come out -  But do you know, I have not watered my garden at all this year and it's been the best year it's had yet?  I also have not been going to Rachel's grave like I used to and every time I would get there, I would be certain that her plant would be dead and it wasn't... it's STILL blooming and it's been there since Mother's Day!

The week of August 4th, I honestly felt like it was a huge gift from God just for me (selfish, I know!) But, do you know how many rainbows we saw that week??  Too many to count.  And on August 4, just as Matt got home from work, there was an amazing rainbow that came in the middle of one of those spurts of rain - I was trying to take a photo of how it was raining and sunny at the same time, which went along with how I felt that day (and have for years now) and I didn't see the rainbow shooting straight down until after I took the photo!

Just as I did, Matt yelled from the other side that there was a rainbow over there... so I went and caught that one too!  The thing about it is, we both were expecting God to send a rainbow that day. Just like so many other days that are on our "Rachel" calendar... including the day we finished building her Ark Playground....  we both have come to expect God to show up in the details.  It's been an unbelievable journey of Him revealing His providence and how much he cares for us in everything.  He remembered August 4 with us and He ended the day with a rainbow... a symbol of His promise that no matter what we go through, He is with us and will take care of us.

So, what's my point...?  My point is -  no rain, no rainbow.  No cloud, no silver lining.

And when it's raining out, I'm probably the only person around you will hear saying "There must be a rainbow somewhere" - I say it because I know it to be true...and it's not because I just like to look on the 'bright' side or dismiss the reality of the rain... it's because God never lets me down and I know if He sends me rain, He will send me some hope to go with it - something beautiful to gaze upon as I wait for the storm to pass. But I know it is there even when I can't see it....

I faced my storm cloud head on and let God's light shine, proving He was bigger still than any cloud in my view.  I know that God has used the darkness of this journey to reveal his light.  And I know He's not finished with me or Rachel's Legacy yet.

I can't completely say that if given the choice back then, knowing all I know now, that I know for sure I would still choose to do this again.  I think my maternal instinct would refuse to allow her to leave if I didn't have to.  But sometimes I actually do wonder... and at times I honestly think I would do it all again.  Obviously I wish I could have come to know God in this close of a way without her having to die... but His ways are not mine and they are higher.

My good and His glory.

I'm positive that has been achieved.  Even though some people don't like me better now... that's ok... because I live for my God alone and He & I are just fine hanging out in this shade and watching how many people are in awe of how He shines all around the edges of my dark days.


  1. Finally I get to comment here again! <3 I'm not able to comment on your blog with my phone and my computer and I live in a long distance relationship at the moment...
    This is such a beautiful and eyes (and heart) opening post! Thank you Stacy for your wise words!
    Love and hugs, anja

    1. Anja, I've missed you! Thank you for staying with me so long...

      I just noticed I posted this at 12:03 too!

      Love you!


We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes