A long 5 1/2 years to go without holding her.
Lately I've been missing her a lot. I have been in a pretty good place though... I feel like Eden is so much part of my journey with Rachel, it's hard to describe it. I often want to blog about what I mean by that, but words escape me. It's just so intense and personal - not that everything else on this blog isn't - but in a way that it's hard to properly describe. All I can say is that God knew the exact time that my heart would be ready for and blessed by another little girl. This is it and it's amazing.
Today I went to the gym. I haven't been able to do much because of my blood pressure. It goes crazy on me when I exercise. But I have found something simple that is a great workout but a short one that keeps my teeth from buzzing and me from getting a horrible migraine (I know that sounds strange, but that's what has been happening every time I work out.) and also doesn't hurt my joints - or mess with my diastasis recti (that's a technical term for the disaster we call my stomach muscles thanks to multiple babies close together)
I hadn't yet realized it was the 3rd, but I did know I was more sad than usual. It's funny how grief knows what day it is before I do. June 3rd has been a hard day for me every year since she left. I planted a bleeding heart on June 3, 2011 because that anniversary was extremely hard and my heart felt like it was truly bleeding. Today, I found myself constantly thinking about her. I usually listen to Jamie Grace when I work out, but today I decided to listen to Chris Tomlin. I got done exercising and as I walked down to get the kids, a song that I had picked for special music at Rachel's funeral came on and I started to cry right there in the gym.
In my mind, I was right back in my kitchen the day I picked that song for her funeral. I was very pregnant with her and it came on and I fell apart in a sweetly painful time of worship all by myself... Just me and Rachel... I thought back to that day and was once again in awe of how beautifully God carried me though those hard days. Waiting for my baby to be born and die, I was more in love with the Lord than ever before - because I needed Him more than ever before. It hurt SO much. Constantly. And He loved me so well through all of that longggg and horrible 4 months and somehow made beauty out of it. He used it. He used me for His glory.
I asked Erik to sing that song at Rachel's service and he learned it just for her... and it was perfect... I wanted every believer that came that day to be encouraged and every unbeliever to know why we were still standing... I wanted people to understand why I chose to carry her to God's determined timing of the end of her life on earth. Some didn't understand why I would put myself through that - when I was given a "way out". And some thought I did it because I'm a Christian and had some rule that said I had to. I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe that every child is made by God. I believe it's not right to take a baby's life. But that's not why I carried her to term. I carried her to term because she was a gift given to ME and *I* was... AM... her mother. It is my job as a mom to care for and protect my children... at any cost to me. And so I did. And I would again. And I would praise God just the same though it all. For a God who loved me enough to pursue me in the depths of my sin and shame and bring me to Himself and welcome me into His family and give me a way to spend eternity with Him - and Rachel.... I am honored to have a chance to glorify Him through my pain. I only wish I did it more perfectly.
I feel like the last 5 1/2 years, I have been in a grief fog that is finally lifting... and I woke up from it with 3 more kids and all sorts of health issues.... and she is still gone. It's unbelievable how much has happened in these short - yet very long - years, including both my grandfathers dying last year. I do feel like I'm finally getting my feet back under me, but I'm also seeing the reality of all that has happened to my family outside of my "survival mode" eyes and it's a different type of pain. Some times when I read old blog posts, I cry for me - for the girl I used to be. I feel sad for that girl as if it wasn't me... because I am so changed. I am not the same person I was then. That's a good thing. And I know it probably sounds odd to say I feel sad for that girl, but even with it being me, I still can't fully understand how much I was hurting then because I think if it was me carrying all that pain, I would have died from a broken heart. I don't think I could have continued to walk. But it wasn't just me... and that's why when I read my own words, it doesn't feel like it was - because God Himself was using me... my pain... my little girl... and our journey of joy and sorrow together to show the world what He and His church can do with imperfect people. He even showed me. And for that, I'm thankful.
I'd give anything to go back to August 4, 2010 and hear "It's a girl!" and not have that followed up with bad news. I'd give anything to go back to December 3, 2010 and give birth to my baby and not watch her die in my arms... to December 4, 2010 and not have to let a funeral home take her from me in the hospital. I'd give anything to go back to the anniversaries that followed and celebrate her birthdays and half birthdays and milestones and the millions of little things in between. I'd love to not have a blog named after her... or a non profit that pays for headstones and baby caskets and urns.
But then I wouldn't be who I am today... and although I'm still far from perfect, I can see how God used all of this, even the pain and my failures, to make me more like Jesus. The Uncreated One... the perfect, sinless Lord who laid aside His royalty to wear a crown of thorns. He is worthy. He is good. And He has victory over the grave that separates me and my baby girl for now. Until we meet again... where will will bow together with grateful hearts unto the Great I AM.