Friday, April 30, 2010

Scripting my future


picture from 'a Holy Experience.'

(I wrote this in my journal yesterday and just thought I'd share it...)

I can't help but wonder what these blank pages that lay before me are going to be filled with. Like these blank pages, my future is unsure. Clean. Spotless...Just waiting to be scripted by the steady hand of my faithful God...the author of all things lovely and pure. These pages, though blank, are full of promise, the hope He gives me. They hold the dreams He has for my life.

Several of the crisp, white pages have already been filled in with blue and black ink. There's a story there. A story of love, forgiveness, redemption, sorrow, pain. My mind would tell me to question, to doubt. But, my soul, the part of me that's Him, is sure. The uncertainty that was felt in the midst of it all is evident. As I read each word, the confusion fades away. His faithfulness is evident, true. I have certainty that my God is enough. That He never leaves me, He wants what's best for me. The ups and downs, the challenges and the victories all serve the same purpose. They build my faith. They make me love Him more.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." ~Ralph Waldo Emmerson




I see the mistakes. The failures. The ways that I betrayed my King. The ways I hurt those I love. Ways I've been hurt. But, He whispers to me Let it go. Let me restore. He wants to make beauty from ashes. To work all things together for good.

"Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going." ~Anonymous

However, some scars should dictate where we're going. Losing my Lily has left a permanent scar on my heart, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I wouldn't want to move on like she never was. Because she was real. And she changed me. Because of her life, light was brought out of darkness. Because of her life, my whole future has changed.

The vision is there. The future is there. All that's left is for Him to unfold it, to script it. These pages will be filled with pain, tears, joy, life, promises, prayers answered, marriage, children. I'm not sure what the future holds, but I know that He holds it in the palm of His hands. The one thing that is predictable, is promised...is His love, His kindness, His faithfulness. He will never leave me. Of this I'm sure.


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This post left me:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

6 week appointment

I have my 6 week appointment this afternoon with Dr. M...we will be finding out Lily's autopsy results...but, he might not be able to tell us anything. Also, I'll be finding out if I'm healthy enough to start running again. Pray for me today. :)


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This post left me:

an eternal perspective

Because of her I have a new perspective...an eternal perspective. I'm not drawn to shallow, meaningless things like I once was. Life has taken on a whole new beauty...daily living is sacred.


Because of her I want to live my life this way...with the intent of knowing my Jesus more each day. Knowing His heart better, and in turn knowing her better. Because she's with Him. I want to enjoy life, savor every experience, every memory, love deeply, laugh lots, and be a woman after God's own heart. I want to wake up each day more like my Lord than the day before. I want to have other children and raise them the way I would have loved to raise Lily. I want to show my husband and my children the love of Christ, His very essence, in the way I pour out my life for them. This is how I want to live. To make her proud...to make my God smile.


Because of her I now think of Heaven constantly. I daydream about what it must be like. How utterly perfect it is. Spending days in the sunshine with my Lily, with my Jesus...that's where I long to be. I haven't a longing for anything else. The spiritual realm is so much more real than the physical realm.


The reason I think of Heaven so much is because I need to know where she is...that she isn't really gone, like some might think. I need to know I'll see her again. That's my only hope..the only thing that gets me through today. The promise of eternity with her. No tears, no pain, no suffering...only laughter, beauty, and gathering around the throne of the most high King...There will be no more goodbyes, little Lily...no more goodbyes.


I try to imagine what Heaven's like, even though I know it's much lovelier than in my best imaginings. Will she still be little when I get there? Will I get to raise her? Hold her as a baby? See her grow up? I hope so...but I also know however it is, there will be no desire in me for anything different.


My heart, my soul longs for eternity...more than ever. Through my suffering, through this tremendous loss, my faithful Jesus has given me hope, joy, peace like I never knew possible. He fills my soul with the assurance that one day, I will see her again...and on that day, I will get to meet Him!


She has given me the desire to live life romantically, every day! To make the most of every situation, every thing God has planned for me. Because this life is but a passing flicker, and then I will never have to kiss her beautiful face farewell!


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This post left me:

Golden Sunrise

(my Uncle Tim shared this letter to me at the service in honor of Lily Katherine on Friday evening, March 26)

Dear Hannah Rose,
On Wednesday, March 17th, I dropped Thomas off at his bus stop in Waynesboro, as is our custom. I called Ellie to let her know we had a safe trip over the mountain. As I finished our conversation, I turned east on the Interstate, as I headed to work in Charlottesville. I am often blessed to see the sunrise over the mountains on my drive. It was a few minutes before the sun rose and I noticed a golden column of sunlight. As I drove through the mountains, I saw the golden column several times. When I crossed the top of the mountain, I could now see the sun in its entirety. I thought the brilliance of the sun would make the golden column disappear, but it didn't. The golden column continued to be positioned above the sun as I drove down the mountain. Perhaps this display could be explained by a slightly overcast sky. As a believer, I know I was seeing a host of angels lifting Lily up to Heaven.

We lift you up to your Father in Heaven. We pray for your healing and healing for your family. We will rejoice on the day you are holding Lily again in Heaven. The Lord knew she was too perfect for this world.

Love, Tim, Ellie and Thomas (my uncle, aunt, and cousin)

The drawing my uncle included with his card
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This post left me:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dear Lily,

My little love. My constant companion. My precious flower. You whispered "goodbye" before I had a chance to say "hello." I'm left with a bruised heart and shaken dreams. Empty arms desperate to be filled with you. When I heard those words, those dreadful words, that your heart was no longer beating, it was like I was suffocating. I keep having to remind myself to breathe...Why is it so hard to breathe?! 

I couldn't cry at first...I was just shocked. My world was shattered, crumbling around me. Somehow the physical pain didn't seem to matter much anymore. You went straight from my womb to the arms of Jesus. Why did you have to go? Doesn't He know I need you here? Doesn't He know that you're my world? And yet life goes on. I still hear laughter. The moon still rises and the sun still sets. But, I won't forget. Even when I smile, thoughts of you are always dancing in the back of my mind. Shouldn't the whole world just stop? Mine has. How does the wind still blow? Doesn't it know you aren't here?

Oh, the plans I had for your life. All the things I wanted to show you and teach you. I longed for the day you would finally fill all those clothes that are just for you. I waited and waited to see that beautiful, toothless smile I'd imagined so many times before. The way your eyes would sparkle. I would rock you for hours and softly sing sweet lullabies in your ear. I can't help thinking of all that could have been. All that was meant to be. You should be at home in your Moses basket now, not in that little white box.

What will life be like when what should have been your firsts come? Your first 'mama,' your first grin, your first giggle when you’d see me coming to get you out of your crib in the morning, your first tooth, the first time you'd crawl…and walk. Your first Christmas and how your eyes would light up with all the beautiful lights and decorations. Your first birthday and how you'd get cake all over your special birthday dress. Your first trip to the beach and mountains. As the months pass, I will wonder how you might have looked...growing so fast. Would your hair be curly? Who would you look like? Would you be talking yet? Walking yet? All that could have been...should have been. Yet, it will never be. This ache in my heart will remain because I'll never get to see all these firsts...and seconds and thirds. I'll never get to see my baby girl turn into a beautiful lady. I'll never get to hold her baby. Parents should never have to bury their children. That's not how it should be. It seems so unnatural.

My little blessing from Heaven, blue skies turned to gray when you slipped away. A piece of my heart left with you. Sometimes it feels like people are already forgetting you. But, I won't forget. So, don't feel like you're missing out on all the fun. Because wherever I go, there you'll be too.

My sweet, sweet Baby...You have changed me forever. You have left a footprint on many hearts. Someone so tiny has accomplished so much! More than a lot of people do in a long lifetime. How precious you are to God! And to me! In a matter of months, I went from looking at you as a burden to loving you more than I ever thought I could love anyone. My world was built around you. Now, I can't imagine the rest of my life without you by my side.

I miss every little thing about you and everything that reminds me of you. I don't want to forget a thing. Feeling you kicking in the middle of the night, joking about you, talking to you, calling you by your nicknames (Spud, my little flower, Lily Kat, Lilliputian, Lilykins, L.O. (Little One), Lily Kate), hearing your sweet heartbeat, seeing your chubby cheeks on the ultrasound screen, and being so amazed as I saw God form you inside of me. My belly grew as my love for you grew. I even miss waking up a thousand times every night for nine months to go to the bathroom and waddling around like a penguin. It's funny how all these things that used to annoy me are now the things I long to experience again. Just the comfort of knowing you were inside me - living, growing, thriving...In the safest place you could be. You were always with me...always protected.

God's hand was on you while you were in my womb. He saved you and you saved me. Thank you. I want the world to know how wonderful you are! The beautiful legacy you leave behind will never be forgotten. YOU will never be forgotten, precious Lily. My love, you are so pure, so precious, so tiny, so perfect. When I held you in my arms I had a taste of something truly divine. Such a sweet spirit. When I looked into your face, I saw the face of my Jesus. I glimpsed Eternity. I am so blessed to have known you. You will never have to know this world marred with pain and sin. You will forever be pure and innocent. I am proud to call you my child. Proud that God would choose me to carry you! A princess.

For now, I will have to hold onto the memories of you. The bittersweet memories of your little button nose, your little fingers and toes. How perfect you were. Every last detail of you just right. I will cherish these memories forever. For now, I'll have to hold onto the little keepsakes - the journal I wrote for you, your precious footprints and handprints, and pictures. They are not enough, but will have to do...For now. Because I know one day I will meet you at the gates of Heaven. Will you wait for me there? On that day, my Jesus will place you in my arms and I will finally be able to hold you, sing to you, smell your sweet baby smell, and look into your lovely blue eyes. Until then, I know He'll take good care of you. Until then, I will cling to the One who holds the world in His hands. Thank you for changing my life. I will never forget you little one, my precious angel who was simply too beautiful for Earth.

Love, Mommy

(I shared this letter to Lily with everyone at the service in honor of her on Friday evening, March 26, 2010.)

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This post left me:

How could we have known about March 16th?

(My dear friend, Kala, wrote this on March 16th, Lily's birthday, after spending the day in the hospital with my family. She shared it at the service in honor of Lily on Friday evening, March 26th, 2010.)

March 16th, 2010 was one of the worst days I’ve seen. Lily Katherine, a precious darling due March 14th was born dead. 

Of course Lily’s chosen life and pre-destined death was God’s plan all along, for she was never meant for this world, but betrothed to the King before her birth.

But, how were they to know? How could we have known about March 16th? I sat in that room as she waited to deliver the body of her child, who was already waiting for her in the Kingdom. I saw the faces of the ones I love so dearly. I felt the pain of desperation and loss, but felt the presence of God as he moved through the room. I never knew I'd want to feel God like this.

God gave me Job earlier this week. And I sat in that room as she waited, and I clung to the Bible like I had nothing else to help me live. Like if I didn’t, I would break. And I cried. And I read Job. And I cried again. And I was praying to my God, our God, to give me strength if they didn’t have any. But they did, and we did. But they will need much more in the days and weeks and months and years to come. How could we have known about March 16th?

She delivered Lily Katherine, and I held her for the first and last time. Her little face never experienced the pain of a fallen world. She never had the chance to cry. But her mother never got the chance to hear her, to look into her wondrous eyes, to see her smile. She lay there, limp and lifeless. Her eyes shut tight, and her mouth rested slightly open. Her lips dark purple, and getting darker as the hours passed. But somehow it was not hard to see God in the face of her child, His child. How could we have known about March 16th? 

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This post left me:

My Granddarling, Lily Katherine

(My mom wrote this in honor of Lily Katherine and my grandmother read it on her behalf at the service Friday evening, March 26, 2010)


“Jesus called a little child and had her stand among them. And He said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.”  ~Matthew 18:2-4 

Red is the rose by yonder garden grows and fair is the lily of the valley. My flower, my first little girl, has birthed her flower, her first little girl. Like when Jesus was a young boy and Mary could make all things right when he experienced a hurt, I could do the same for Hannah Rose, when she was a little girl, like the day I saved her life, while she choked on a bite of hot dog. However, when Jesus was on his way to the cross, his mother was helpless to heal His situation, just as I am now. As Anselm of Canterbury said, “For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this I believe - that unless I believe I shall not understand.” The silence in our home is as deafening as it was at Lily’s birth. We find great comfort in knowing that as her rosebud lips first parted to speak, it was to praise her Jesus! God obviously ordained the selection of her special name, for when Hannah Rose named her Lily Katherine, she wasn’t aware that Katherine, as well as Lily, also means purity. From the start, HR knew that Lily was special to God, and would be a pure set-apart girl for Him! The inspiration for Lily came from Song of Solomon 2:2 – “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.” God is good for He has separated Lily unto Himself where the pain, sin, temptations, and suffering of this fallen world can never touch her. She will never taste the saltiness of tears. She will never have to battle the world, the flesh and the devil. She will never have the opportunity to reject Jesus. Hannah Rose’s Lily will remain forever pure! We take exceeding comfort in that! Opening her sparkling, blue eyes for the first time, she beheld her Saviour as He cradled her in His loving arms. This nine month journey has been precious. First of all, and most importantly, Lily led her mother back to Jesus. HR’s sacrificial love for her Lily brought my prodigal daughter back home to her family. God knew she would need our support, love and strength as she endured a difficult pregnancy and the ultimate loss of her little flower.

For the girls’ club to lose its newest member is a hard pill to swallow, especially as the earth is bursting forth with new life resurrecting with the beauty and promise of spring. We three immensely enjoyed the time God gave us with Lily: relishing deep, lively discussions and Bible study on living holy lives, forgiveness, repentance, God’s abundant love and His truth, card making, shopping, planning, fulfilling Hannah Rose’s (HR would always say it was Lily’s) food cravings, feathering our nest, making ready her nursery, going to the 4-D Imaging Center where we found out conclusively that she was a girl, enjoying ourselves with good friends at the cozy tea party baby shower in our home on February 13, appointments with Dr. March, ultrasounds to view our little love and watch her heart beat, traveling, weekly LifeCare classes and the wonderful support and friendships afforded us there, going on a tour of the Rex Birth Center, spending all day at the Kids’ Exchange where we bought a matching stroller and swing for only $40, watching numerous birthing programs, as well as many hearty laughs at funny theoretical scenarios we’re famous for. All of these activities were engaged in with exceeding delight. During her first ultrasound, we quickly became aware that Lily was a spunky girl, as she showed off her many flips. During each ultrasound, she would look directly at us so we could see her pretty, delicate facial features. Some of Lily’s favorite foods were strawberries on cereal, hash browns, Chick-fil-A, and pizza. Her homecoming outfit was the first purchase we made, even before it had been determined conclusively that she was indeed a girl. However, we just knew in our hearts that she was. That very special outfit is the one she’ll be buried in. It’s pink, bearing roses on the dress and hat in honor of her mother. Her brown shoes were a symbol of the possibility and potential her life promised. From the midst of our dashed hopes and dreams arose God’s higher plan. While shopping, Hannah Rose always knew where she could find me - in the baby clothes section of any store. Lily experienced many fun trips with us. She traveled to Thousand Islands in July when she was just a wee one. As she grew, she had fun with her adoring uncles, Adam and Joseph, at the Panthers/Eagles game in Charlotte on September 13, and in October, she was with the girls’ club when Grace took us for a brief respite to Topsail Island. She spent a week at Massanutten where her mother has enjoyed fun family vacations since she was a baby, and attended the annual banquet for the Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia. She too was rejuvenated as we spent a restorative week at our retreat haven, with our devoted little charges, Luke and Lili, on Apple Green Lane in November. She tried to be born in Philly when we were there at Christmas time for the Eagles/Broncos game. Along with the rest of us, she had fun visiting historic points of interest, gawking at skyscrapers, traversing cobblestone streets, discovering quaint coffee shops and indulging in authentic Philly cheese steak subs. In January, she was with us as we marched in the annual Raleigh Walk for Life. She enjoyed listening to Copeland, HR’s favorite band, at their farewell tour in Chapel Hill early in March. All the music Lily heard helped her prepare the myriad dance moves she spent nine months perfecting for the viewing pleasure of her Master as she dances on streets of gold before Him. Of course, we looked forward to her first Easter, pushing her in her stroller on numerous walks, having her sleep in her comfy Moses basket next to her Dukes as she toiled in her garden, taking her to Emerald Isle for her mommy’s twenty-first birthday, her first Christmas, her first birthday, rocking her as we sang lullabies, hearing her say, “mama,“ and laugh for the first time, feeling her soft, chubby arms hugging me in return, even changing her dirty diapers. Our arms are empty but our hearts are full of precious memories we will hold forever dear!

On our merry way rejoicing to the Rex Birth Center early Tuesday morning, we could never in our wildest dreams have imagined that shortly after arriving there, we would become aware that our precious little lamb had died several days before. Astute Emmaline pointed out to us while Hannah Rose was in labor that it was 3-16. Elaborating further as I appeared puzzled, she said, “John 3:16.” How special! That was my dear dad’s favorite Bible verse. It’s engraved on his grave marker and she will be laid to rest by him. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  It’s been encouraging and motivating to read all the chapter 3, verse 16 Scriptures in the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Both HR and I shared the thought that the sky was gloomy because Jesus was weeping along with us. As the sun slipped behind the clouds, God’s Son brought the peace that passes all understanding, Jesus’ healing balm. After she realized Lily was dead, during her long labor, Hannah Rose’s sparkling blue eyes appeared to see Heaven, her spirit was supernaturally sweet and she displayed such strength. She truly gave Jesus all authority, and He was glorified through the entire experience. At the same time we said, “hello” to our new joy, we were also required to say, “goodbye.“ Being afforded the blessing of spending time holding and rocking her was healing. In the true, inspirational book The Hiding Place, Betsy ten Boom tells her sister Corrie and the other women in the concentration camp with them that “no matter how deep the pit, God’s love is deeper still.” The joy Lily brought will always be with us, even during this most difficult part of our journey, because happiness depends on happenings, while joy depends on Jesus! A tiny heart beating steadily for nine months has found its home in Him! I want to encourage each of you to heed what we‘re commanded in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Realize too that the heart cannot exalt in what the mind rejects.

“Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall walk and not be weary. They shall run and not faint.” ~Isaiah 40:31

As we have the need for everyone to mourn Lily’s untimely death with us, we also want you to join us in celebrating her lovely life with us! We lift our eyes to the Maker of the mountains we can’t climb!

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In Honor of You (Lily's Celebration of Life Service)

Dear Lily girl, we had a service in your honor on Friday evening, March 26th. It was in Crozet, Virginia at your Great-Aunt Nana's home. I wish you could see how much you have affected people. How much you have affected me. How so many people love and adore you. I'm so proud to be your mommy. Why would God choose me to carry someone as wonderful as you?

I was so glad to see how many people came to honor your life. God had has such beautiful purposes for your life. I think people are starting to see how valuable each life is to Him because of you. It matters not how short or long one lives.

It was really important to me that the service not feel like a "funeral," but rather a celebration of LIFE. Because we have the hope of Eternity in Heaven with you. It was so special to have the service in the home where your grandmother grew up and where your aunt, uncle, and cousin still live. It is right in my hometown of Crozet and is right up the road from where you are buried.

We set up a lovely display area with pictures of you, cards for you, my pregnant Willow Tree figurine that your grandmother gave me, your handprints and footprints, and your tiny casket with roses and lilies on top. Your little white casket was sitting inside your green Moses basket on the windowsill. Oh, I love that Moses basket so much. It was one of the first things we bought for you, my baby. There was also a photo album with your 3D/4D ultrasound pictures and a little album of pictures of me pregnant and some pictures with you.



Our family friends, the Kirchmans, gave us this bleeding heart plant - which is so perfectly symbolic. I am planning on planting that in your memorial garden. The Gathrights gave us a lily plant.



A family friend, Kathy, made a very special journal for me because of you. She gave it to me while I was pregnant. Jeremiah 29:11 is on the cover. I liked it so much, I decided to use it as the guest book! I wish you could see all the beautiful things people wrote just for you. You would feel so special. Well, you are! Kala decorated the inside really pretty for me.



I chose three songs in honor of you. Two of the songs I found on Jonathan's Journey. And the other song, my dear friend Ruby shared with me. They truly capture exactly the way I feel in these first few weeks of walking through this world without you. I hope people saw a little bit more of my heart because of these songs. I hope they saw a little bit more of who you are and what you mean to me. I feel God even orchestrated me finding these songs for this very special occasion. The songs were "I Will Carry You," by Selah, "Your Hands," by JJ Heller, and an instrumental piece called "Childhood Memories."

Everyone mingled and talked for a couple hours. Lots of people brought food and drinks. I didn't feel like eating anything. I had to go upstairs for a few minutes to collect myself. Somehow, every time I saw someone new, I just couldn't hold back my tears. Kala came upstairs to comfort me. She is such a good friend, little Lily. We talk about you all the time. And she loves you too. It's because of your life that our friendship is restored. Thank you for all that you've done in my life and the lives of countless others. Kala was there at the hospital too. She held you. I'm so glad she got the chance to. Not many people did get to hold you. But, we shall hold you in our hearts forever, even if not in our arms.



Kala, Uncle Tim, Bumma (your great-grandmother), mom, and I all shared...

I didn't think I could share anything, little girl. I didn't think I could keep the tears from falling. I never know when they will start up, what words will trigger them. Sometimes, they start without a single reason why. But, guess what! God gave me the words to write to you, the words to share and I somehow knew in my heart that He would also give me the strength to read them. He provided everything I needed...of course He did. He always does. But, you already know that. You play with Him every day. He tells you of His promises and His enduring love and supernatural strength. You know far more about life and love than I could ever know while on this Earth. What a special girl you are, my love.

Here is the letter I read aloud to you at your service:
Dear Lily,
My little love. My constant companion. My precious flower. You whispered goodbye before I had the chance to say hello. I'm left with a bruised heart and shaken dreams. Empty arms desperate to be filled with you. When I heard those words, those dreadful words, that your heart was no longer beating, it was like I was suffocating. I keep having to remind myself to breathe...Why is it so hard to breathe?! 
I couldn't cry at first...I was just shocked. My world was shattered. Crumbling around me. Somehow the physical pain didn't seem to matter much anymore. You went straight from my womb to the arms of Jesus. Why did you have to go? Doesn't He know I need you here? Doesn't He know that you're my world? And yet life goes on. I still hear laughter. The moon still rises and the sun still sets. But, I won't forget. Even when I smile, thoughts of you are always dancing in the back of my mind. Shouldn't the whole world just stop? Mine has. How does the wind still blow? Doesn't it know you aren't here?
Oh, the plans I had for your life. All the things I wanted to show you. To teach you. I longed for the day you would finally fill all those clothes that are just for you. I waited and waited to see that beautiful, toothless smile I'd imagined so many times before. The way your eyes would sparkle. I would rock you for hours and softly sing sweet lullabies in your ear. I can't help thinking of all that could have been. All that was meant to be. You should be at home in your Moses basket now, not in that little white box.
What will life be like when what should have been your firsts come? Your first 'mama,' your first grin, your first giggle when you see me coming to get you out of your crib in the morning, your first tooth, the first time you'd crawl and walk. Your first Christmas and how your eyes would light up with all the beautiful lights and decorations. Your first birthday and how you'd get cake all over your special birthday dress. Your first trip to the beach and mountains. As the months pass, I will wonder how you might have looked, growing so fast. Would your hair be curly? Who would you look like? Would you be talking yet? Walking yet? All that could have been, should have been. Yet, it will never be. This ache in my heart will remain because I'll never get to see all these firsts...and seconds and thirds. I'll never get to see my baby girl turn into a beautiful lady. I'll never get to hold her baby. Parents should never have to bury their children. That's not how it should be. It seems so unnatural.
My little blessing from Heaven, blue skies turned to gray when you slipped away. A piece of my heart left with you. Sometimes it feels like people are already forgetting you. But, I won't forget. So, don't feel like you're missing out on all the fun. Because wherever I go, there you'll be too.
My sweet, sweet baby, you have changed me forever. You have left a footprint on many hearts. Someone so tiny has accomplished so much! More than a lot of people do in a lifetime. How precious you are to God! And to me! In a matter of months, I went from looking at you as a burden to loving you more than I ever thought I could love anyone. My world was built around you. Now, I can't imagine the rest of my life without you by my side.
I miss every little thing about you and everything that reminds me of you. I don't want to forget a thing. Feeling you kicking in the middle of the night, joking about you, talking to you, calling you by your nicknames (Spud, Lily Kat, lilliputian, lilykins, L.O., Lily Kate,) hearing your sweet heart beat, seeing your chubby cheeks on the ultrasound screen, and being so amazed as I saw God form you inside of me. My belly grew as my love for you grew. I even miss waking up a thousand times every night for nine months to go to the bathroom and waddling around like a penguin. It's funny how all these things that used to annoy me are now the things I long to experience again. Just the comfort of knowing you were inside me - living, growing, thriving...in the safest place you could be. You were always with me, always protected.
God's hand was on you while you were in my womb. He saved you and you saved me. Thank you. I want the world to know how wonderful you are! The beautiful legacy you leave behind will never be forgotten. YOU will never be forgotten, precious Lily. My love, you are so pure, so precious, so tiny, so perfect. When I held you in my arms I had a taste of something truly divine. Such a sweet spirit. When I looked into your face, I saw the face of my Jesus. I glimpsed Eternity. I am so blessed to have known you. You will never have to know this world marred with pain and sin. You will forever be pure and innocent. Spotless. I am proud to call you my child. Proud that God would choose me to carry you! A princess.
For now, I will have to hold onto the memories of you. The bittersweet memories of your little button nose, your little fingers and toes. How perfect you were. Every last detail of you just right. I will cherish these memories forever. For now, I'll have to hold onto the little keepsakes - the journal I wrote for you, your precious footprints and hand prints, pictures. They are not enough, but will have to do...for now. Because I know one day I will meet you at the gates of Heaven. Will you wait for me there? On that day, my Jesus will place you in my arms and I will finally be able to hold you, sing to you, smell your sweet baby smell, and look into your lovely blue eyes. Until then, I know He'll take good care of you. Until then, I will cling to the One who holds the world in His hands. Thank you for changing my life. I will never forget you little one, my precious angel, who was simply too beautiful for earth.
Kala wrote this on Lily's birthday - March 16th, after spending the day in the hospital with our family. She shared it at the service:
March 16th, 2010 was one of the worst days I’ve seen. Lily Katherine, a precious darling due March 14th was born dead. Of course Lily’s chosen life and pre-destined death was God’s plan all along, for she was never meant for this world, but betrothed to the King before her birth. But, how were they to know? How could we have known about March 16th? I sat in that room as she waited to deliver the body of her child, who was already waiting for her in the Kingdom. I saw the faces of the ones I love so dearly. I felt the pain of desperation and loss, but felt the presence of God as He moved through the room. I never knew I'd want to feel God like this. God gave me Job earlier this week. And I sat in that room as she waited, and I clung to the Bible like I had nothing else to help me live. Like if I didn’t, I would break. And I cried. And I read Job. And I cried again. And I was praying to my God, our God, to give me strength if they didn’t have any. But they did, and we did. But they will need much more in the days and weeks and months and years to come. How could we have known about March 16th? She delivered Lily Katherine, and I held her for the first and last time. Her little face never experienced the pain of a fallen world. She never had the chance to cry. But her mother never got the chance to hear her, to look into her wondrous eyes, to see her smile. She lay there, limp and lifeless. Her eyes shut tight, and her mouth rested slightly open. Her lips dark purple, and getting darker as the hours passed. But somehow it was not hard to see God in the face of her child, His child. How could we have known about March 16th? 
This is the letter your Great-Uncle Tim read to me aloud at your service:
Dear Hannah Rose,
On Wednesday, March 17th, I dropped Thomas off at his bus stop in Waynesboro, as is our custom. I called Ellie to let her know we had a safe trip over the mountain. As I finished our conversation, I turned east on the Interstate, as I headed to work in Charlottesville. I am often blessed to see the sunrise over the mountains on my drive. It was a few minutes before the sun rose and I noticed a golden column of sunlight. As I drove through the mountains, I saw the golden column several times. When I crossed the top of the mountain, I could now see the sun in its entirety. I thought the brilliance of the sun would make the golden column disappear, but it didn't. The golden column continued to be positioned above the sun as I drove down the mountain. Perhaps this display could be explained by a slightly overcast sky. As a believer, I know I was seeing a host of angels lifting Lily up to Heaven.
We lift you up to your Father in Heaven. We pray for your healing and healing for your family. We will rejoice on the day you are holding Lily again in Heaven. The Lord knew she was too perfect for this world.
Love, Tim, Ellie and Thomas (your uncle, aunt, and cousin)
The drawing Uncle Tim included with his card

Read the letter that my grandmother read on behalf of my mother aloud at Lily's service HERE.

It was such a beautiful service. There were lots of tears shed. 

It was so wonderful to see everyone gathering around to hear about you, talk about you, honor you. Lots of family members and friends came. I will forever hold dear the memories from that night. God made it very special for me. Tell Him thank you for making the few memories I have of you so spectacular!

You have changed me forever, sweet girl. Know that I will never, ever forget you. I will always miss you. Always love you. There will always be a hole in my heart because you aren't here with me. But, I know you're with Jesus, and that brings me great joy! Every one I meet will always know about you. How you changed me. How you changed my life. Your siblings will always know they have a big sister named Lily. No matter how old I get, I will cherish your life and the memories I have of you. You will forever be a part of me, no matter where I go. No matter what happens next, you'll always be my little girl. Always.

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." -Helen Keller


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Friday, April 23, 2010

Lily's precious heartbeat

I am so excited that I do indeed have Lily's unique heartbeat recorded! I would really like to make a teddy bear with her heartbeat recorded in it, to treasure forever and share with friends and family...does anybody know of a place to do this? Recommendations would be appreciated! :)


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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For all you butterfly mommies :)

This afternoon, it has been so dark and gloomy outside, raining on and off. I was feeling so down, so lonely, missing my Lily desperately. My mom and I started talking about mommies who have babies in Heaven and how special it is to think perhaps we will be able to raise our precious little ones on the streets of gold. Not many people get to do that! We will be perfect mommies, with perfect babies, in a perfect place. Always. I miss Lily every minute of every day, and I know if you lost a baby too and are reading this...you know just how I feel. When my mom and I were talking about all our children together with Jesus, she remembered a card she's had for years. I like to think of the babies in the picture as all of our angel babies, playing together in Heaven...where there is always sunshine, always joy, life, love. Our precious babes are waiting for us there, where we all long to be. They are friends and they are giggling together in the fields of fresh flowers...they all have room around the throne of the King of all the universe. He holds them, talks to them, rocks them. He has tears and a smile as He tells them all that their little lives have done on earth, how much their mommies love them, and how all of us butterfly mommies are meeting and sharing in this journey together. He's taking perfect care of them until we get there to love on them too. So, mommies that have a baby in Heaven, like me...this is for you. I hope it brings a smile to your heart like it brought to mine. I hope you have some sunshine in your life today...oh yeah, and it's not gloomy out anymore. The sun, the breeze, the fresh flowers, and the rainbow are spectacular! :)


the inside reads:
"Babies are angels, sent on errands of love."

(I like to think of Lily as the little girl lying on the ground with dark hair...the one with the little boy tugging on her dress. She had lovely dark hair.)


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Friday, April 16, 2010

the 16th

It's been a month since I said hello and goodbye to my sweet, little Lily. Think of me today...


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Only You Know

Only You know how much I miss her. Only You know how excited I was that Easter would be the first holiday shared together. Only You know how I wanted to dress her in a special pink, frilly Easter dress, give her the little bunny rabbit just for her...the one that I sleep with every night because it brings me some form of comfort...only You know how much I wanted to make her first little Easter basket. Even though she would only be a newborn and couldn't eat any candy, I wanted it to be special for her. I wanted to make special memories with my little girl. And take lots and lots of photos.

All these dreams were taken. It seems strange to say I didn't want Easter to come this year. It was just a reminder that she wasn't here to share it with me.

When will I be with her again? When will I hold her? What will it be like to walk with You on my one side, her on the other...on streets of gold?

Only You know.


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Thursday, April 15, 2010

A month.

Well, I haven't posted in over a week. It's not that I have a lack of words or haven't wanted to. I've just been busy...However, Lily is constantly on my mind. I wish she was here so much. Yesterday, it was a month since her due date. Tomorrow, it's a month since her birth. Has it really been that long? Sometimes, I can't believe how much time has passed. But, then I think about the journey that these past four weeks has been and it feels like much longer. I can't believe all the mixed emotions I've felt.


I know that every week on Tuesdays, I'll remember just how long it's been since I held her. Will I always count how many weeks it's been, even twenty years from now? Will I think to myself, it's been 237 weeks. Only time will tell what the weeks, months, and years will bring.


I keep wondering what it will be like when I get pregnant again. What emotions will flood my soul? Excitement for the new life growing inside, sadness because Lily's not here to share it with me, maybe even a hint of guilt? Only mothers who have lost a child truly know all the feelings and emotions that come with such a loss. What will it be like when I have to listen to my next baby's heart beating? Will I cry? Out of sadness, out of joy. Will I be afraid? Will I brace myself each week, wondering if I'm going to hear anything? Nothingness. I feel this fear rising up in me. Fear that this will happen again. Fear that one day that little heart will stop beating, like hers did. I don't think I could take it again. I'm so afraid of it happening again.


I never know when the sadness is going to creep in. All of a sudden, it's there. It hits me like a ton of bricks. I can feel fine, and then I'm overwhelmed with missing her. It feels so strange to see her room, just waiting for her. But, she's not there. Will I feel guilty when another child uses her things? I feel like all the stuff is hers! Nobody else should get to use it. I know it sounds silly. But, I can't explain all these things. I don't know why I feel the ways that I do.


Just try to understand.


I feel my gentle Saviour asking me to trust Him. With everything. I'm a mere human. I have no strength. But, in Him, I have the strength...strength to overcome anything. I know He's by my side. I know Lily's by His side. With all the unanswered questions, with all the fears, I choose to trust in Him.


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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dear fourteen-year old,

I will try to find words to tell you these things...but words don't seem adequate. To tell you how much I love you, how much He loves you. For they are mere words. If only someone had told me these things, six years ago when I was fourteen... Why can't we learn from the paths others have taken and decide not to go there? Why must we take that same path to understand? Mere words cannot communicate what the hearts longs to. I just want to shake you, make you grasp the truth of who this King is. The reality of who He is has changed my life. It has transformed me from the inside out. True fulfillment. True joy. True love. You can have this too.

Dear girl. How precious you are. How I wish I could capture your innocence, your sweetness. And protect it, nurture it. The world tries to strip it away. Rob you of this priceless gift. Don't give it away. Hold on to it with all you have. Don't you know He adores you. He wants to hold you...love you...protect you. Let Him.

What can I possibly say to make you realize? To show you that I've been there. You think I don't know. You think I don't understand. I was there. Not too long ago. I took that path that you're on now. Turn back. Run the opposite direction. The road you are on now leads to misery, destruction, heart break.

In your desperation, be desperate for Him. In your searching, search for truth. He will give you fulfillment. Boys never will. Friends never will. Slow down. Think about your life. Reflect. Let His Spirit speak to you. Let Him captivate your heart. I see Him longing for you, dear one. Oh, how He adores you. How lovely you are to Him. In His eyes, you hold true value. You would never have to question if you're enough. You say you need time to think. Just believe.

Perhaps you will never read this. Perhaps if you do, you won't recognize it's for you. Perhaps one day you will realize. But, when you do, if you do, I hope you know you chose the right path. I hope you didn't suffer through that misery, that heartache. These are mere words.

Dear fourteen-year old...this is for you.

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Why?

As I write this, tears are welling up in my eyes...it isn't fair. It just isn't fair. God, I'm not angry with you. I'm not bitter. But, why? Why didn't I deserve her? Why do others deserve their babies, but I don't? She tells me about them, about their little family..they're so happy, they love each other. He knows just how to make his tears subside, how to make him laugh. He's healthy, growing, thriving. He's here and she's gone. Why? Is she a better mother than I would have been? I love her just as much as she loves him.

Why do drug addicts, alcoholics, abusers deserve precious, innocent babies...they will turn out to be just like their parents. People that don't even want to have a baby...so easily get pregnant. Have an abortion, or maybe decide to keep them...Only to abuse them, neglect them, forget about them. Some want children so badly and can never have them...but they fight for them with fertility treatments..hearts are broken when conceiving seems impossible. Years are spent, with no success. Then, others have multiple children, with no problems, no complications. Just healthy pregnancies, healthy babies. She's 20...pregnant with her third. Why? I see so many women now with three, four, maybe five young children with them. Why do they get these precious little ones? How long will I have to wait for my chance? Will it ever come?

Now, the doctor says my pelvic bone was barely adequate to deliver her. And I should consider having c-sections with future pregnancies. Well, how many c-sections can one woman have? I don't want doctors telling me how many children I can or can't have. Will I even be able to be a mother? I see so many babies around me...so many pregnant women. I don't want to see them. It hurts. Each newborn I see, I wonder if perhaps he might share her birthday. How would she be changing now? What would she look like? How much would she weigh? It feels so empty here without her...so quiet. Some days, I know I'm going to make it...other days, I feel so sad. So alone. I miss her. I miss getting the attention that having a nine month old baby in my belly brought.

I should be getting attention for my newborn baby...but nobody knows that three weeks ago, I gave birth. Nobody knows that I had to give her back. Nobody knows that I am here with aching arms...arms that long for her. Only her. I feel like everyone should know. I know it's bad, but sometimes I wonder if I could ever love another child like I love her...will any other child be as special as she is? Why do I think this way? Am I not good enough? Would I not have been a good mother for her? God, it doesn't seem fair. I don't understand. So many questions, so many "whys" only You know the answer to. Come help my unbelief. Show me truth. Teach me to trust You.


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Monday, April 5, 2010

To the ends of the earth...

May all else fade away
As I stand in the presence
Of my Beloved.
He calls me His chosen one...
For I am His.
As I rest in His love,
May I find strength
In the assurance that
He is with me
Always.
To the ends of the earth.
Because He loves me.


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Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Promise of Spring

All week, the skies have been perfectly blue, with white, fluffy clouds sailing by. One afternoon was spent in pleasant conversation with my mother and good friend, Kala. We discussed the set-apart life, deliverances, and everything in between. Fresh, cool breezes circulated through the home, blowing back the curtains, giving us a glimpse of the beauty of the day. Spring has sprung. This is the sort of weather that just makes you feel happy. It makes you want to smile and breathe in deeply. Just soak it up.


But, this spring is different. Days are now bittersweet. With the promise of spring, came the promise of Lily. Like the new life all around me bursting forth from the earth, Lily was new life. We wait. We anticipate. Spring and Lily...they came together. Now, spring will always remind me of the time Lily came...and went. How cruel it seems. Now, I'm not sure what the future holds...I'm not sure what to dream anymore, how to feel. What promises does tomorrow hold? How can all the plants and flowers still look so pretty without her here? They seem so happy. Everyone seems so happy, out playing in the warm weather and sunshine. Spring and summer clothes now being brought out of storage.


I can't blame them though. I would be doing the same thing. I would be out enjoying the beautiful days with Lily, taking walks, reading on the front porch, her laying in her Moses basket, while Mom works in her garden.


But instead of spending my days with my little girl, dreaming for her, I'm spending my days thinking about her, talking about her, longing for her. Writing about her. Writing has been so healing for me these days, like gardening is for my mom. As I write this now, she is bustling around, tidying up the porch, pulling weeds, and getting her yard ready for the season. It's been really good finding websites and other blogs with people who have gone through situations similar to or like my own. I realize I'm not alone. People have gone before me..and made it. Of coarse they don't forget, but they are able to still live. Still breathe. Even without their baby...As much as we don't want to. There's like an online community of women who have lost their babies, all sorts of times and ways. Even though I would never want another woman to have to know this pain, it's good to know I'm not alone...


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