Sunday, December 30, 2007

Arms Lifted

The Christmas decorations are already put away. The tree taken apart and the ornaments nestled in their little boxes up in the closet.

We had a lovely Christmas. The kids were excited to the point of barely being able to sleep the night before and were anxiously awaiting us in the living room at 4:30am. They were sent back to bed but I am sure there was little more sleep for them.

There were not a ton of presents but anything wrapped was like pure gold for them. The finest things, just because they had paper and bows. Jack looked at every gift with amazement, wondering "It is it?" with every package, whether it was for him or not.

It was truly beautiful, save one tiny detail. My daughter was missing. She was not there to distract me while presents were opened. She did not have a token under the tree from her older siblings. She did not sit with Santa in the weeks before. She did not get to wonder at the lights on the tree.

Absent were the cries of an overwrought and over tired baby on Christmas day, who had missed a nap and probably been over stimulated with all the excitement.

My oldest son mentioned more than once, with the innocence, joy, and truth only a child can muster "Eden is having the BEST Christmas because she is with Jesus." My oldest daughter carried the picture someone had drawn of Eden over to the tree to open gifts so she could be a part of it all...

And my heart broke a thousand different ways on Christmas day, even without noticing it, my heart broke. Even without a constant ache, I was depleted by the days end.

I have been thinking about something my pastor said to me. He pointed out that in the book of Job, after Job loses everything God restores it all to him twice over. My pastor has declared the same for us. But tell me, how does He restore my daughter unto me twice over? How does He fill the void left by her sweet little soul?

I was blessed by a Christmas letter I received this year. The writer of the letter referenced something she had read, and I can't even cite the source or give a direct quote as the letter isn't in front of me. The quote was making the point that while we often worship God and praise Him for all the gifts He lovingly bestows upon us, we need to remember to honor God simply because He is God. He is the creator of the universe and the creator of each and every one of us. He has loved me from before there was time, and He will love me long after.

So in the midst of missing my little girl, in the midst of this new shade of grief, I praise My God and I love Him. I praise Him because He alone is worthy to be praised.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It seems like we said goodbye a lifetime ago.

Two months ago I switched off the hospital TV and, with you nestled in the crook of my arm, surrendered to my body's need for sleep. Through God's grace I slept well, yet lightly.

Even as I closed my eyes that night, my spirit knew what I could not voice. My spirit knew this was my last night with you. That what had begun to be measured in days would soon be measured in minutes.

I hated to let you go but know in the depths of my soul my time with you was not fruitless.

I think so often of the impact you had on the world, but you had such great impact on me. Just like He does with your brothers and sister, God used you to teach me so many things.

You changed this family forever, and your impact was only good. I think I am a better mother for having had the great honor of mothering you. I am a better wife for sharing you with your daddy. I am also, I hope, a better Christian for having had to trust God so fully with your very life.

I miss you Eden... I long for the day we will be reunited before our Heavenly Father. When I will bask, not only in His glory, but in the completion of our family. When I will see you healed and whole. When I can hold and kiss you again.

Christmas will be strange this year with your little empty stocking. We will celebrate and have joy... but there will be an absence that is palpable. It amazes me how we can so fully feel you missing in the memories you never were a part of.

I love you baby girl. Everyday.