Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Her 6th Birthday ~ My Little Flower

How can March 16 hold such a juxtaposition of both pain and joy?

I have missed Lily for 6 whole years. 6 years I have wondered who she'd be and what life might be like with her by my side. 6 years ago today, she was born into my arms. I would have 6 years of memories of her life... but instead, the memories I have are from my pregnancy and those two sacred days - March 16th and 17th in 2010 - in the Rex Birth Center in Raleigh, NC. The only memories I have of holding her are from those two days.

Some people wonder why I celebrate the birthday of a little girl who isn't here, complete with red-velvet cake or cupcakes, a balloon, and flowers for a grave. Morbid, maybe a little strange, they say and think. I'll tell you why... I celebrate because she deserves to be celebrated. I celebrate her life and the fact that I was given the gift of her. I celebrate the months her perfect little heart beat steady and strong. I celebrate that she's had 6 years with Jesus! I celebrate that this world has had 6 years of Lily's legacy, of getting to hear her story and love her through my sharing her. I celebrate the beautiful birth I had with her, a very real birth for a very real little girl, a girl who would be 6 today. But instead she'd had 6 years of Heaven, and 6 years of me missing and loving her and longing for the day I'll see her again. For all these reasons and more... I celebrate.

"A flower's appeal is in its contradictions - so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect." -Adabella Radici

Does this quote above not perfectly describe my little flower?

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever." -Isaiah 40:8

"All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord remains forever." -1 Peter 1:24-25

Lily is "my little flower" as I call her, that has faded from this world, yet the sweet fragrance of her life remains strong. Her life and death is a reminder to me that we are all fading, some quicker than others. Do we want the fragrance we leave behind to be sweet or bitter? Do we want our entire lives to point others to Jesus, like Lily's life has done? His Word is the only thing that will stand forever.

Lily continues to be a gift. The Lord continues to teach me many things through her life. She is an eternal flower, given as an eternal gift from an eternal God, as I wrote about on her 4th birthday

My mom described it well in saying the depth of pain all these years later is just as much, only the intensity of it comes less often. Yet we always miss her, which makes our hearts incomplete.

What has helped the most and harmed the most in these past 6 years of missing my daughter?

What has helped: Knowing God is sovereign and good. Knowing He loves my daughter. The hope of Heaven. And the support and love of friends and family who let me know Lily is not forgotten. Those who aren't afraid to "enter in" to my pain with me. Those who wrestle through the tears and questions with me, all the while pointing me to Christ in a lovingly gentle way. Those who say her beautiful name.

What has hurt: When people act like they know-it-all and are experts about my life and grief. I'm talking about the "Job-type comforters." When people who don't even know me tell me I need to move on, tell me I essentially need to forget my daughter and that it's wrong or unhealthy to love and miss her. Those who want to "fix" me and "cure" my missing.

First of all, unless someone has had to bury their child, they cannot possibly fathom the magnitude of loss or how it impacts the rest of your life. As my friend Stacy wrote about her daughter: "It will never get easier to have the ground between us." Does this mean I am not living fully? No. Does it make me unhealthy? No. It makes me a mother. Tell me which of your children you would be okay with burying? Which one would you stop talking about if they died? How about you talk to the countless women who I have met that are decades out from losing their baby, who still love and miss them like the day they lost them.

Not only that, but each person and their circumstances are entirely unique, making the grief process and how one expresses their grief also unique. People have different personality types... some people write, some people speak, some people are more private, while others are more public. Some people have children born before or after loss, making the grief dynamics very different.

One woman said I need to step forward in my life (as if I haven't already) and find total and complete healing. Here's the thing, the only thing that could heal me *entirely* is if time could rewind and Lily not have died. That or Heaven. I'll never be fully healed while on Earth. If my life looked the way I wish it would, if any of our lives looked perfect and whole, there would be no need for or hope of Heaven.

The author of one of my very favorite books, Glenda Revell wrote, "My affliction became the cord with which He drew me to Himself."

I can honestly say that the affliction of losing Lily and living these past 6 years without her has been a cord that has drawn me closer to Jesus than anything in my life. We can't see what God sees. He knows what will best sanctify us in this life, what will give us a yearning for Heaven and a longing for eternal things instead of temporal.

I believe the reason Lily died is because we live in a fallen world. God's best would be for her to have lived. But even in the midst of a broken world where babies die, God is still sovereign. He is still working it for good, for so many reasons, some I've been witness to. One of the greatest goods I've seen the Lord work from her death has been to draw me unto Himself in a deeper and fuller way than if she had lived.

Glenda also wrote, "Our dear Father is much more concerned with our eternal destiny than with giving us temporal pleasure. And unlike earthly fathers, God knows precisely what we need of both pain and pleasure to draw us to the ultimate good He has planned for us. I know now that God did not forsake me during my dark night of sorrow. All the time He was drawing me to Himself by peeling away, one by one, those objects of my longing, that, if given, would have kept me from longing for Him. God was on my side. His strong arm, which, in His great wisdom, so sorely bruised me, would eventually, in merciful tenderness, gather me into His bosom."

He has a plan and purpose for my pain. Sometimes, things don't need to be "fixed" in the way we humans want them to be. Brokenness can be a tool used in the strong hands of an Almighty God.

John Piper wrote, "When we have little and have lost much, Christ comes and reveals Himself as more valuable than what we have lost."

That's where I am 6 years from losing my precious baby girl... missing her just as much as March 16, 2010. Remembering *she* is not missing anything. Realizing how much I have lost. Recognizing that Christ is more valuable than anything or anyone. Longing for healing and Heaven.


  1. I'm always praying for you and thinking of Lily. It's funny. My birthday is March, but instead of that standing out to me, the 16th does. I think of sand and potatoes and lilies. 😊 March will never be the same ago.

    I can't imagine your daily pain. You are very right. I don't think one person reading this would be okay with burying any of their children and then "moving on." Losing a child is very real, and the pain is amplified when the future is so uncertain.

    I sent you a message. I hope you received it because sometimes when I comment I get a rejection email.

    1. Hi Brittany friend, thanks so much for commenting on Lily's birthday. That is so sweet what you said about March. :'-) I appreciate you reading and your support.

      I did receive your message. :-)

      That is strange about receiving a rejection email and am unsure why that would happen. I have a verification thing for comments because I was getting too much spam and I have to approve the comments, but other than that I don't know why it would reject. Hmm I'm going to look into my settings now to change them. Thanks for letting me know about that.

  2. I found your blog about 4 years ago while grieving from a miscarriage and I've been following your blog since. Your words are so incredibly moving. I admire your faith and love for your daughter. A miscarriage was incredibly painful-but I can't imagine the kind of loss you went through. I agree with you completely..every loss and situation is different. God bless you and all you do for your daughter, to celebrate her life, and to help others heal through your words.

    Happy Birthday to Lily!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write and for thinking of Lily on her birthday. Your words are a blessing! Glad you are here. <3

  3. Oh've written this so well.
    The truth is raw and I hope that I have NEVER, nor will NEVER, cause you pain. You are doing great and I envy your keepsakes! Keep on blogging.

    Love...Tina (Lillian's Mom)

    1. On the contrary, Tina... Your messages are always a blessing and encouragement to me! Lots of love to you, friend. <3

  4. Happy Birthday precious Lily Katherine!!! Thinking of you both today!

    Sarah H.

    1. Thank you for thinking of us both on Lily girl's special day, Sarah! <3

  5. Remembering sweet Lily with you as I remember my Leah Jane who would have been 2 this year😢 Won't Heaven be such a sweet place as we are reunited with our loved ones again! Praying for you<3

    1. Thanks for thinking of Lily on her birthday. Praying for you as you miss Leah Jane. Yes, Heaven will be sweet indeed! <3


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