A Letter for My Daughter

For Raelyn,

How does one even begin to address the gift of you? That’s like asking what is it about the ethereal brilliance of a thousand trillion stars beckoning at night from their blanket of blackest velvet that makes us stare. What is it in the innocent smile of a child that makes us smile? Why does the scent of fresh cut grass make us breathe a little deeper and think of our childhood? Why does the crackle of a fire on a cold and blustery night fill us with a sense of peace? Why does the magic of a rainbow and the promise of what is at the end captivate us so? And why do the first wet, feathery touches of perfect little snowflakes upon our cheeks at winter so often make us smile, turning up our faces as we stick out our tongues for the hope of more?

Raelyn, I can't think of you and not feel the heart ache for all that we will miss. Even now, I have only but to close my eyes to see the impish smile of the toothless grin you would have had as a baby. I shed a tear and can hear the echo of your laughter in the image of a young girl, gleefully running down the hallway from your Daddy at bedtime, watching you pretending to be some princess in your pajamas, directing Selah to do your bidding. I think of the Christmases and Thanksgivings we will miss. I think of all the birthdays where we will never get to see you hold your breath to blow out the candles as you make a wish. We won't ever get to see you dressed as a princess, fairy, or some heroine at Halloween nor will we ever get the chance to cheer you on in your endeavors at school as we might have liked. Never will we have the chance to kiss the tears from your cheek and gently place a Band-Aid upon your wounded knee. But always, dear Raelyn, always you will be loved, and always you will be missed.

I shall miss the warmth and joy of walking hand in hand with you. I will miss those first teetering steps, those first babbles and wonderful coos. I shall miss all those wonderful little hugs and kisses. I shall miss all the "Mama's" and "Daddy's" I will never hear uttered from your lips. I shall miss the joy your father would have had in teaching you all about sports, and games, and life. I shall miss helping you choose your school clothes, your prom dress, and your wedding dress. I shall miss seeing you grow up and yes, I shall even miss you fighting with your future siblings. I shall miss the rambunctious child you surely would have been. I will miss the beautiful woman I know you would have become.

I know to ask why is a difficult question and I know it is not one I should really ask. But being human, it is one that comes to mind nonetheless. The truth is I don't know why and I honestly don't think anyone else really knows and so we have to console ourselves the best we can. I do know there is a greater plan in this life, one greater than we could ever hope to comprehend, and sometimes things happen we can't explain; things sometimes happen differently than we would have wanted. But God knows the plan and holds us all in the palm of his hand. He will love us and protect us, even in the things we do not yet understand. I know without a doubt that you are in a better place, and though I will miss so very much every thing you could have ever been, and done, and seen, I know you are safe and happy. I know the Lord will hold you close and protect you. I know He will let you know how very much we love you and how much we wanted you here with us. But you are at His side now, and so hand in hand with Him you shall walk, within His protection and love you will always live. Instead of a mother's hands to hold and guide you, you shall have so much more. You are blessed with the hands of the Lord to catch you when you fall, and a million angels to be there at your every call.

You will always be in our hearts and minds, dear Raelyn. In every sunrise I shall see the warmth of your smile. In every sunset I will see the majesty of the gift of your short presence in our lives has provided. With every twinkle of the stars in the endless night, I shall know you are watching over us. I will know the whisper of your voice in the wind and be content for I know you are safe and happy. Raelyn, there is so much I would have liked to have shown you, so many things I would have liked to have said, but for now those things must wait. In the meantime, rest well my daughter and be at peace. Dwell in the assurance that you are loved and missed. You may be gone from our lives, but you will never be forgotten, the light of your love and precious life will always live within us and glow ever steady until we shall meet again. I thank God each day for the gift of you and feel so very blessed and privileged to have had the chance to have you in our lives, no matter however brief that time may have been. Motherhood begins with an idea and you were my beginning. I'll always be your Mama, first and foremost.

My beautiful daughter,
I love you.

January 29, 2009

Sorry for the ramblings to come in this post, but I guess you knew they were coming from the title of my blog.

I'm having difficulties reconciling all my feelings (or lack thereof) with my faith. I feel... numb. I don't know how else to describe it. It has been four months so everyone thinks that I am okay or that I am 'over it' because I can fake a smile at work or I don't run away crying when my coworker tells me she is expecting a girl. Maybe I am okay because of those things. But, it has only been four months. I should still be crying and sad, right? I watched a movie last night in which the leading lady lost two babies. My heart physically hurt, but I didn't cry for her or for me. That hurt in my chest is the only tangible feeling that I can name. It happens in moments like that movie, or pictures of a close friend's baby girl, or a baby shower invitation, or the news that my coworker is having a girl. It is a crushing weight on my heart that takes my breath away for a moment and I feel a prickling at the back of my eyes, but no tears come. Sometimes I will them to come. I long for that catharsis that only crying until there are no more tears can bring. I feel like I need to be broken as I was in those first empty days without her; those days when there was nothing to do but lean on God.

This numbness is horrifying. It is the glue that holds me together and keeps me from falling apart even though that is exactly what I need to do. I don't know how to break it. I pray but it feels like I am dictating a report--there is no feeling, no passion, no response from my spirit. My heart doesn't leap at the thought of talking with God anymore. It's not because I have lost hope--I have immense hope for the future both here on Earth and in Heaven. We will have children (one way or another), we will get through this together, and we will be reunited with Raelyn in Heaven. However, we don't have Raelyn now, and I don't have more children on the way yet. Maybe I just don't have hope for the present, and I don't know how to deal with that.

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him ~Psalm 37:3-7

While I'm Waiting

My favorite song (at the moment) is 'While I'm Waiting' by John Waller. Listen to the song here. I first heard it in the movie Fireproof (awesome!) and loved it so much I went and bought the CD the next day. Below are the lyrics along with a note from John Waller explaining the song. The lyrics mirror the cry of my heart and what I am trying to do...

While I’m Waiting

"The explanation for this song is simple, I was waiting on God and I was hurting when I wrote the lyrics. I probably wouldn’t have written a song if my friend, Mike, hadn’t encouraged me to document what I was going through during that time. I’m sure there are few people who can’t relate to this song, but the important thing to remember while we’re waiting on God is to not just wait but to actively wait. Serve, worship and be faithful with what you have, where you are… “even while (you) wait.”

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint
I’ll be running the race Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

Also, I read this poem today on another blog and borrowed it because it sounded just like some of my conversations with God over the past few months. I still have much to learn from this journey.

Wait by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I begged and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."
"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.
You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"
He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.
I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.
You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.
You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.
You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.
So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

January 26, 2009

Baby Girl,

Today is the day. I was supposed to meet you today. I was supposed to hear your first cry, see the color of your hair and eyes, and feel your weight nestled against my chest. I was supposed to write Raelyn Elise on your birth certificate as you wrote on my heart. I was supposed to memorize your face with my fingertips. I was supposed to see the love of a daddy holding his daughter for the first time. I was supposed to see grandparents come together and forget their differences (for one day at least) for your sake.

Instead, you have already come and been gone almost four months now. Instead, I am staring at your name written in the sands of Australia and hoping that you know that one is your name. Instead, I cover your pictures with the fingerprints of a mother who wants her daughter back. Instead, I watch the pain flash through your daddy's eyes as he remembers the significance of this date. Instead, I lie in bed wondering where we would be if things had been different.

I must remind myself constantly that for things to have been different, we would have had to step out of God's will. It hurts so much, but maybe this is where I am supposed to be...

I love you with all my heart,

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ~Psalm 139

Not Today

Still not pregnant.

But I'm okay with that... sort of. It is hard for me to reconcile wanting to honor Raelyn's short life and yet wanting to be pregnant again so badly. I watched a video last night from this blogpost called Plan A vs. Plan B. It is a small window into the lives of Angie and Todd Smith, the proud parents of Audrey Caroline. Watch it if you have time because it really reaffirmed to me what God has been trying to tell me these past 4 months. I feel like I am living Plan B because Plan A (you know, the one where I am bringing my newborn baby girl home sometime this week) was shattered into a million pieces last Sept 29. The reality is that my Plan B will ALWAYS be better than my Plan A. Always.

Why, you ask? Because my Plan B is the only one that I don't have my hands in. It is completely ordained and formulated from God's heart and His will for my life. I have the illusion of control while I am living in Plan A because it is my agenda. I heard in a country song once "if you want to hear God laugh, just tell Him your plans." My Plan A could never be as great or as well thought out or... as difficult as God's plan is for my life. I have to go through the trials to be tested, tried, and found pure or I will break, but that doesn't make me like it any more. It is an awful feeling to be told that your firstborn daughter will not live, but at the same time, it is an amazing feeling to know that until you get there, your daughter is in the hands of the greatest babysitter ever! She will be held in the arms of Jesus until He hands her back to me! She'll never have to experience pain or heartbreak or live her entire life, however short, with needles and tubes and doctors. She went straight from the love and comfort of my womb to her Father's waiting arms. In that aspect, I know that His plan is better.

The other HUGE part of Plan A vs. Plan B is that Plan A never really existed. Angie is right--nothing that happens here on Earth is a surprise to God. It all fits perfectly into His plan--my Plan B or C or Z. How can I be so distraught over something that never really existed? Huh. I have been asked that question in different forms countless times since losing Raelyn--"at least she hadn't been born yet" or "at least you didn't really know her." A close friend told me that motherhood begins with an idea. Before any positive test or sickness or movement, there is the idea of pregnancy and a newborn baby at the end of it. So, not only am I mourning the loss of my baby girl, but also the loss of this dream, this plan that I had for my life.

That is what I have to give up to God--the loss of the dream--because it shouldn't have been my focus anyway. Now I am trying to shift my focus from the life that goes on around me to the Author of that life so that my thoughts become more like His and I am not so against His plan.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11

The Deepest Part

I open this blog with the deepest part of these 'Heart and Soul Ramblings'. It is a poem that I carry with me at all times and it perfectly descibes my life at this point.

Search my face and you will see Raelyn is here with me.
Look closely, she is the hidden tear in my eye.
As I laugh, she is the curve of my smile.
When you listen, she is the quiet whisper behind each word I speak.
She is the angel lying on my chest, rising & falling with each breath.
She is the thought that takes me far away from the moment.
If you know me, you will see her.
Raelyn is in my heart to be seen by those willing to look.