10

Heaven’s Light

So when your wonderful friend from nearly 3,000 miles away texts you on the day of your daughter’s second anniversary in Heaven and asks if you would like to Face time at her grave, how can you say No!? 

I waited expectantly for that call and sure enough, just like she promised, her beautiful face popped up on my screen and there she stood in the middle of a huge expanse of dazzling white….in front of a pink stoned grave. 

  
She had brought pink roses and her kindness to this frozen bit of landscape in Pennsylvannia and it did my heart good to see the unbroken beauty, the teddy tucked in, and the little rocks that Kobe painted for his sister.

My heart had been in all kinds of places over the last week. Anger at God for ‘robbing ‘ me of so much. For taking my husband’s little girl and my Kobe’s sister. I had told Him plenty. About how I felt and how unfair it seemed and how I didn’t know what He expected me to do with such strong emotions. Since then, I found the most wonderful little book (on the very anniversary of her second year in Heaven!)full of verses and lovely photos that seemed to clinch in my mind again that we are human and God is God and He is always good and He never robs us. We might not understand, but that doesn’t define who He is or how much He loves us and weeps with us and gives us amazing miracles. I’ve had long talks with Him and long talks with my husband and coffee with my friend, and prayers of family and I feel like I can say,”You’re  a good good Father.” Again. 

Now back to this day. We Facetimed and Kobe stuck his head in front of me and asked all kinds of four year old questions and made four year old comments and had Sadie and I both laughing. The snow was all gorgeous and pure looking, and suddenly without warning, like a glorious dawning, my friends face was haloed in light. No, this does not do justice to the beauty. It was simply breathtaking. But this proves it was real :)

  
We were both so amazed we could scarcely speak. The Heaven’s seemed to open and illuminate everything into a sparkling dazzle that took my breath away through the screen. It felt like if I started walking, I could walk straight into the Light and Warmth of that golden path and straight Into Glory.

  
And somehow, the moon above it was even touched with it’s brilliance. It felt like a hug from Kierra. Like she had asked God to show us a tiny bit of what she is experiencing right now. That God wanted me to know I am loved and cared about beyond my wildest dreams. Because it had been overcast and the sun was nearly setting and He wanted me to know He had amazing plans for us. 

Later, I got a card from Sadie and she wrote that her prayer for me on that very day was that I would see a glimpse of the beauty of Heaven where Kierra is. Your prayer came true, my girl! Thanks for obeying that nudge from God to Face Time me at that particular time and for allowing God to show us both His Unfailing Love!

Then I saw it! As if that glorious light had not been enough….God gave us this yet too….

  A cross. 

On my sweet daughter’s grave. I was so amazed and overwhelmed, I couldn’t weep. I just asked Sadie to show me the grave again and we alternated between that glorious sun and that glowing grave. 

  
And the shadow of the cross. 

It wasn’t until later that I cried. And thanked God and a dawning crept over my heart. Without the Sun there would be no light. Without the obstacles in life, there would be no shadows. And without the shadows, there would be no Cross. 

I am in tears now, just thinking about it. My God gave His Son for me….so I could live. He loaned us our daughter for three and a half short years. We gave her back to Him. He knows the pain of watching a child die. He knows the cost. He knows His Son is the only light that illuminates our darkness and finds us. I bow in worship. In the shadow of the very Cross where “Love Ran Red” as Chris Tomlin sings….

//There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies

There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide

Where all the love I’ve ever found comes like a flood

Comes flowing down.//

I felt emotion in my deepest of hearts just like he writes in the chorus…

// here my hope is found

 Here on holy ground

Here I bow down….

I owe all to you….Jesus!//

  
This morning, the hard didn’t seem so hard. Because just before I fully woke up, I dreamed for a few short moments that I was in ICU, holding Kierra on my lap, and we were about to be discharged. She was so happy about going HOME. A nurse walked in the door and she turned her face toward the nurse and giggled. The she gave a clear, thrilled, happy laugh. It still echos in my mind. I think that’s the laugh she is using in Heaven today. Pure blissful delight. She laughed. I can’t wait to hear it in Heaven and to see her smile break across her face and into my heart with it’s own glorious dawning…..

Because of the Cross!

  

1

Two Years Ago…

One of my young friends made this special little book in memory of Kierra. My brother, Joe wrote a poem for her two years ago. It brought tears today again but it’s one of my favorite things in memory of her…..

imageimageimageimageimageimage

3

When ‘Dead’ is Alive

Dead.

Perhaps it describes the feeling of our hearts better then then the breath that escaped the human body.

Because as a kind man once told me….we are still in ‘the dream’. And if we are still in the dream, then our loved ones who have gone to Heaven…..they ARE LIVING the dream!

 

I let this truth sink DEEP into me….God is still the GOD of Abraham because He is the God of the LIVING. And if Abraham is actually LIVING in Heaven after all these years, then I know my Kierra is also. (Scripture coming up)

Perhaps it is rather strange to you that this would be such a vital life line to me. While I have known for two years that Kierra is with Jesus, I was still a bit fearful that she would not be truly ‘Alive’. I guess that’s what happens when you cannot touch your child’s soft cheek, or stroke their silky hair, or watch the rise and fall of their chest, or hear them laugh. It is really really hard to believe that they are truly ALIVE. Your heart may believe but your brain has a really hard time following.

Matthew 22. Just listen…. Have you not read what was spoken to you by God? I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the DEAD but of the LIVING.

(Capitalization mine)

I read this verse over and over thinking that since Abraham died, then who IS God saying He is the God of? It struck me deep….this was about resurrection. I can be assured that our little girl is truly ALIVE.

The very thought of it thrills me all over again. I embrace it close to my heart and hang onto that joyful hope that I will see her and hold her and hear her voice again! Because she is TRULY MORE ALIVE. Then Me.

If your loved one has left for Heaven a bit earlier then you…just know that they are ALIVE! And you have nothing to fear when you are serving our Father God! He is their God as well as yours and that makes Heaven seem not quite so far away.

9

Clinging

Two years ago we were hanging onto the moments we had of life with our sweet daughter.  Two years ago I thought life couldn’t be much more perfect if Kierra would just feel well and not die. Two years ago, we lived in a little apartment on the end of an old farmhouse built in the 1700s. Two years ago we were so engrossed with feeding tubes and belly issues and keeping the 14 medications ordered and keeping Kierra comfy and chasing after a funny 2 year old.

We didn’t worry very much about what we ate or if our clothes matched or if the windows were clean. We heard snatches of what was happening in the world around us but mostly we were focused on getting through the day without a trip to the Doctor. Or even just a call.

We reveled on family time and going to bed before 10:30 and any little outing we could snag. We thought a whole night of uninterrupted sleep was worth a million bucks. (Well, I still kinda think it is:) somehow being a mommy has totally eradicated sleeping an entire night without waking)

We were doing our best to embrace the unexpected life God had given us. While I stumbled and fell and had one mess of a heart and mind sometimes, I also absolutely LOVED being a Mommy to my two Littles. I loved being a wife to my Big Guy. I didn’t nearly even close get it all right, but i felt God carrying us….picking us up when we fell. Giving us strength for each moment of each day. Each decision and each bit of laughter and each I’m sorry. It wasn’t always pretty, but He never left us. Never walked away because we were too much for Him. His grace carried us.

I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams and passions and life recently. My mind wonders down dangerous questions like “Does God care about my dreams? Does He give us wonderful things only to rip them away? Should I stuff my love for children in some tight dark corner and pretend it doesn’t exist? Should I try to change my heart and look away from every baby in town for fear I won’t be able to stop myself and ask to hold them and the poor mommy will think I’m a stalker? ”

I came across a verse recently in my heart searching that spoke deeply to me. While I don’t in any way want to take the Bible out of context, this verse seemed to speak right into my struggle.

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will save it. ” Matt. 10

The words – cling to your life – seemed to jump out and throttle my attitude around the throat.

God gave us our gifts and callings for a reason. However, when we think we have the right to plan how that unfolds in our lives, we are in for a huge wake up! And it may not be all that pretty :)  my agenda is not always the plans God has for me! My clinging to my idea of a good life is not helping .

However, I will keep feeling. Keep dreaming. I will give my struggles and questions to God.

I will give up my agenda and what I thought my life would look like….I will stop clinging to MY ideas.

The Kierra spot will not be filled here on earth. I wouldn’t want it to be.

But I just know God made me the way He did for a reason. So I give Him my hopes and dreams. I give up the life I dreamed of. I am sitting back, watching and waiting for what He has for me. It may be tiny and insignificant. That’s OK. Whatever it is, I am HIS and His plans are  a million times better then mine!….Everyday!

So my little words I want to pass to your heart today? It’s OK to let go. It might feel like your free falling. Like it doesn’t make sense. But if we cling to our plans for our life and stay stuck in the broken dreams for years on end, we are missing a huge blessing . If God promised to pour out a blessing from Heavens windows when we give Him our tithe, how He must love to pour out His blessing when we give Him Our life!

It may not be fun or easy and you may not know how to even go about it. Because it hurts so much. Believe in the power of your God though! He gave His life for you. He knows how hard it is and He’ll meet you and fill in all the details. All we need to do is have a willing heart and stop clinging to our own lives.

I am so thankful for the three and half years I had with my two Littles! They were priceless!

 

The coming year can be priceless too, because We are God’s!

4

Rest

Its my word right now. Likely all through the year. A goal I want to keep in front of me in this crazy fast paced world where my mind is left looping endlessly after futile.
Rest. Secure in the presence of God.Recently I was in a very stressful situation. And feeling super anxious. I     whispered little prayers to God and knew in my mind He really wasn’t going to let me alone for one moment. But I still wasn’t totally at ease.
Suddenly, a picture flashed across the screen of my mind. A muted tone image of strong hands cradling a heart. It gave me courage to face my fear. To know that if my Father can hold the whole world in His hands, my heart won’t be any problem at all for Him to cradle.

I am a genius at stirring up ideas and life altering plans in my brain. Sometimes I’m so weary from thinking along so many Intertwining trails. I get lost in the adventure And before I realize what is happening I’m laying wake at night with the OFF switch to my brain shorted out.

Its good to have goals and ideas and dream big….but when my dreams are all about me and what I can do in 50 eleven different areas in life it all becomes a bit overwhelming.

Because if  I’d do what I dream of..

I would take in homeless neglected children.
I would volunteer at the rescue mission
I would be an advocate at the preganacy crisis center.
I would  care for medically fragile children.
I would workout everyday and enjoy it.
I would paint a masterpiece or even a scene that resembles life and someone other me would see beauty in it.
I would learn a new language.
I would become a pediatric nurse.
I would write a book.
I would enjoy every minute of every day with my husband and 4 year old.

In all the good and noble and worthy that is rolling around in my brain ….there stands the reality that if I do not first rest in God and gain His true genuine Love….then all these things are worthless…(1 Cor. 13 )

So I will take a step Into the arms of my Father. I will rest And wait on Him and His leading. I will do the most important Thing on my list….I  will love love love my husband and my son. Every day. They are a gift to me straight from the heart of God!
I will also dream of opening my arms and watching our Kierra run Into them…someday.

The rest of life will fall in place.

I want to rest. At peace. And let God fill me so full….that His rest spills over to other weary souls.
 

4

To That Mom At The Rest Stop

I saw your little boy’s feet first. Under the metal side panel of the restroom stall. I noticed him because my little boy’s feet were on my side.
I heard him go to wash his hands and I soon followed with my own son.

The first thing I noticed was his delightful red hair and wide eyes. While I helped my little blonde wash his hands I saw you keep a restraining hand on your own child’s arm.
There was an aura about you that seemed familiar and when I looked a bit closer …from the corner of my eye…I saw the comfy thick sweat pants and uncomplicated soft tshirt on your child. No coat even if it was cold outside.

I headed to dry my hands and you had already cranked out paper towels for me. Plenty of them. Before I could stop my own son he had thrust his hands into the super sonic loud hand dryer and at the same time I heard your child start squealing and jumping and I heard you say ” I know. You don’t Like that noise.”

I grabbed my own son and the terrifying noise stopped and so did your sons squeals.

I turned to face you and saw in your eyes the exhaustion and pain and constant battle of life and I knew your child was extra special.
I apologized for the loud noise and said I understood and above my own child’s crying at having to stop the dryer I wanted to tell you to keep on.

To keep choosing comfort for your son over cute jeans. To choose a dash in a tshirt through the cold over the battle of a coat and its textures that cause meltdowns. To keep using your two word instructions like “hands up” instead of my long ” don’t touch the toilet ring please.” To keep cranking out towels for people in hopes they won’t use the super sonic dryer.

I didn’t ask you but I think I know because I have done bathroom marathons before in slightly different situations.

Your beautiful son is autistic.
And you are doing a wonderful job!

0

Fire Engine Red

Over the last holiday when hardware stores were running their big paint sales, we stocked up.

Since we just bought a house for the very first time and since it was a foreclosure and since it consisted of nearly every shade of brown, we were excited to make some cosmetic changes. 

I’ve painted walls and ceilings and dabbled in art work for years, and I still don’t understand the wonder and uniqueness of color and how mixing red and blue makes purple. ( I’m not going to even google that to see I’m right :) 

Parts of the house needed painting to pass inspection. Parts of it needed painting because it was so drab and awful it put me in a bad mood. I still have no idea how color can have that effect on me. But it does.

Just  like this floor for instance.

 This is my laundry room and even I, who loves to do laundry didn’t think it was very much fun . We  painted the floor with porch floor paint, thanks to my cousins suggestion. And the brown wall and trim tuned white. 

How about these bricks.

  
Fake bricks or rocks I should say. I’m still not sure what they are. But now they are a lovely creamy color all over and so much more restful to my eyes. The blue and rose and brown and grey made me nauseous and nervous and restless. Maybe I’m weird like that. But color seriously can wreak havoc with me. At least when it’s in my house. Or my wardrobe :) no worries….I don’t mind what other people choose for their colors so much….it’s just me that’s picky about my stuff :) so if you happen to love multicolored brick, by all means, enjoy it to the fullest!

When I went to paint our house, I was my own worse critic. The living room looked blue instead of grey. The green in the kitchen that was suppose to compliment the super boring oak cabinets looked incomplete. The yellow in the family room was a dream but the purple wall in our room looked  like a fluorescent candy shop. 

Then the red. Oh the red. I wanted a red and gold room for our guests with lovely white trim and ceiling. Well, my gorgeous red turned out to look like a shiny squeaky clean fire engine. And let’s not talk about the gold. How do you make gold paint except for metallic  spray paint? 

Kobe’s room got a bunch of that and it actually looks really nice and fun and playful. Great 4 yr old colors.  Just not guest room colors. 

So what to do? We had bought this paint. And it drove us crazy. Maybe this is where samples of actual paint would have been a good idea :)

So I stirred and stirred. White with the purple to tone it down. It’s still a rather fluorescent shade of lavender. But at least theres not a candy shop in our bedroom. 

We mixed super dark grey , from I don’t know where , with our too blue grey and I’m still convincing myself it’s grey. 

I mixed an espresso brown sample can I had gotten with the fire engine red. The espresso was for the trim around the brick. It looked awful. But I think God knew why He had me get such a dark color . It turned my red into a deeper shade of earth red and actually looked sleepable. 

In some ways my house is nothing like I envisioned. In other ways it’s better because color has a mind of it’s own. 

And I thought of life. And how I plan and hope and dream, and things don’t turn out the way I hoped. It’s frustrating and I start to panic and try to take control and change things. Until finally, nothing looks good or right any more and I wonder what went wrong. 

So while my house may not look like I envisioned it….neither does life. Very few of us (if any) are actually living our childhood dreams of endless summer and rainbows and sunshine. But we can still have beautiful lives. Beautiful hearts turned to God, washed fresh , (like a fresh coat of paint ) by His blood and grace. 

All that happens to us in life is for His glory. He gives us breathe. He planned us before we were anything. He permits us to live on this earth and bring glory to His name that is so high and vast and wide beyond anything we can imagine.

Life may hurt. Suck the breathe out of us. Make us want to fight and say “NO way!!” But there’s a little secret to the pain….

“When he sees all the anguish of his soul, he shall be satisfied.”

Because though the anguish Of Jesus, God brought LIFE and LIFE and MORE LIFE! Through the parts of life that don’t go as we planned and it feels like we’ve made a total mess of everything and death stares us in the face…..

God turns it into beauty and life giving fountains pour into our life from the Giver of Life! It’s all about His glory and pouring His goodness out to others! They need to know about that LIFE too! 

I love my house. I love that the colors aren’t perfect and that I made a few smudges. It reminds me that LIFE is beautiful! Even if it’s not the shade you were expecting.