Through tears these past few days, God has been working some things out within me. He has been whispering beautiful truths to my heart and comforting me in my pain and longing. Sometimes the things He shows me about Lily are so profound and beautiful that I have difficulty finding words to fully articulate them. All the words in the world would never be enough to explain the depths of my love for her.
It's mind-blowing to think I would have a 5-year-old now. First of all, how am I old enough? And secondly, how has that much time passed since her birth? 5 is a milestone birthday. 5 is Kindergarten and a quarter of the age I was when I had her.
Some might think that because it's been five years, that I should be "over" my loss. I assure you, I will never be over her. Could you ever stop thinking about or loving your child? My friend Stacy said something about her daughter that I feel as well with every fiber of my being, "it never gets easier to have the ground between us." Yes. Whether it's been one year, five years, ten, or a hundred... it will never get easier to live without her.
And I am thankful for that.
I am thankful that through the unique challenges I face in mothering a child in Heaven, that I must learn to depend on God more and more.
I am thankful that even when I had no love of my own to give Lily, He placed His love for her within me. God is love and it is only because of Him that I love her so much and because March 16 even means anything to me. I wanted to have an abortion, but God changed me and gave me more love for her than I ever thought I could have for anybody! That is a miracle! He knit our hearts together as mother and daughter. At times, I imagine what my life would have been had I gone through with that scheduled abortion. How much I would have missed. How much others would have missed. March 16 would have been just any regular day for me. So, even though it is a sad day, I am thankful for it.
Part of the purpose of Lily's life I believe is so God could give me but a glimpse of the love He has for me, for her, and for all of humanity. He placed His love for her in me to teach me about His love for me. Her birthday is 3:16... like John 3:16, "For God so loved the world." He spoke His love loudly and clearly through her life and through her day of birth! He was not surprised by her life, though I was not planning her conception. He was not surprised by her death, though I was. He had it all planned out before I even knew that one day I'd have a precious baby girl named Lily, before I was even born.
For God so loved me that He decided to send a baby girl named Lily Katherine, a baby girl He knew would remain forever pure and innocent, to rescue her mommy from a life of sin and rebellion. What God has shown me, is that He could've used anything to bring me back to Himself. He could've used anything, but He chose her. From the foundation of the world, He knew my rebellious heart and chose to give me the gift of her. A gift that I will keep unwrapping throughout the rest of my life on Earth until the day I am reunited with her and Jesus for all of Eternity!
The Lord formed Lily's purpose long before He formed her in the womb, before He even formed the world. That just blows my mind to know how much He loves her. Far more than I ever could, even though I feel at times I might burst because of the love I hold in my heart for that little girl.
When I see newborn baby photos that people I know post, I think to myself... wow I lost something so precious. I didn't just lose a "pregnancy" or an idea of a person... I lost an entire lifetime with my baby girl. I lost knowing how my own child's face would look, how her eyes would light up when talking about something she cared about, how her curls would dance around her face as she played, how the music of her voice would sound drifting into my ears. I have lost so, so much.
But, I have gained even more than I have lost.
The Bible says that before God formed us in the womb, He knew us. That means Lily was "knowable," even though she never took a breath in this world. She lived a life in my womb. She is not worth knowing or knowable because of her personality or accomplishments. Just by being created by God, she is a unique person worthy of being known. I am still trying to wrap my mind around this.
God taught me about laying down my life for the cause of Christ when He asked me to lay down my life for Lily's. He asked me to give up my "rights" to my body and say "yes" to loving her. He asked me to say "yes" to His plan for the life growing within me. I said "yes" to growing to love her and now I'm saying "yes" to loving her even more through the years without her by my side. I am saying "yes" to being asked to say "goodbye" or rather "see you soon," instead of having her here to grow up before my eyes.
Because saying "yes" means trusting in His plan. It means trusting that He created her life, for a purpose, before the foundation of the world and not only did He create her, but He chose to take her to be with Jesus for a reason too. He knew her name. He knew her purpose.
May my heart continue to say, she is Yours, Lord. She was never mine to keep. She is Yours, she has always been Yours... sent from You as a gift and sent back to You, still a gift to me, to this world, to anyone blessed to hear her story. May my heart continue each March 16, and every other day of every year, to say she is Yours God. Her legacy and life is Yours. Even when I can't see through my blurry tear-filled eyes and heavy heart, still my heart will choose to say, she is Yours... My heart will choose to give her back to You. My heart will choose to trust You. My heart will choose to thank you for the story You are writing for my life. A story that I pray brings You glory. I pray that how I respond to this loss will honor Lily's life and point to the goodness of Jesus Christ, all the days of my life. May I be a good steward of this beautiful story of LIFE and redemption!
At church on Sunday, we were singing "it is well with my soul" (the sermon was just amazing and exactly what I needed to hear) and God gave me a beautiful picture in my mind. I was standing on a beautiful mountaintop and fell to my knees in surrender of God's plan and purpose for both my life and Lily's life and death. The sky was gray, but there was one patch of sunshine. It was as if God peeled back a layer of gray and it is there that I saw my beautiful daughter of Heaven at the age she'd be peeking down at me. My heart heard her laughing, as if to say, I am okay, mommy! What I got from this picture is that even though the sky of my life can feel so gray without her here, I know that just beyond the gray is the sun shining. Sometimes you must surrender first in order to see it. It was as if God was showing Lily her mommy and saying, "she'll be here with you soon," and He was also showing me her, promising that I'll be there soon. And it's because of my surrendered life to the Lord that we will be together again. Because He has rescued me from death and eternal separation from Him.
On Lily's 5th birthday as God teaches me about surrender, I am reminded of this beautiful drawing that my best friend/sister-in-law, Kala, gave me on Lily's 1st birthday. I guess you could say this entire post is based on this picture. It's me giving Lily to Jesus, not clinging to her, but willingly, though painfully, giving her back to Him, because I trust the good heart of my Father. I trust that the One who so lovingly crafted her purpose will gently care for her until I can.
Dear Lily Kat, what a great honor for your entire life to be to bring God glory and bring your mommy back to Him, back to the foot of the cross! I love you for who you are, not for who you might've been. You are my daughter. You are a priceless treasure. It's amazing how God chose for the purposes of our lives to be so intertwined. Part of my voice is to give you one. I hope I make you smile, pretty girl. I hope I make you proud. Happy 5th Birthday in Heaven with Jesus! I can only imagine the celebration.