In the warmly illuminated Eastern sky was one-sixteenth of the brightest rainbow I had seen in a long time; it was just about four inches long if I had extended my straight arm to measure. The sky surrounding it had the warmest glow of setting sunlight. It looked bright as day compared to the dark clouds above. I decided to enjoy this beauty for myself- a decision that isn’t common to a mom. If I duck back into the house this rainbow might disappear.
While walking and admiring it, God brought something startling to mind. You didn’t fall apart this weekend.
Every Thursday through Saturday for the last two months, I had been as useless as… well, not very useful at all. I could typically hold it together Monday through Wednesday to clean up my house, to make social activities, and to care for my family. Every Wednesday evening I would begin to cry, and my heart’s wound of missing Mia would open again. Thursday through Saturday would leave me deeply sad and wanting to withdraw from most things. Occasionally, I might have a spurt of energy where I could get out of the house and feel like things would be alright for a few hours. After several hard days, Sunday would be a day of recovery. I would spend the day in usual routines with my immediate family and with my church family. But this weekend was new. I could function.
Is that okay, God? I asked.
I kept my eyes on that piece of rainbow in the soon-to-be-dark sky. I remembered that it would be gone in a matter of minutes- maybe seconds.
Enjoy it right now, Dear One. He seemed to tell me. Soon enough it would be gone.
The hope I felt with this new realization was refreshing. I smiled and knew that I would have to write about this moment. I will take it, this glimpse of brightness.
The rest of the sky was crowded with dark gray clouds. As I hurry to write these words, it is preparing to rain either during the night or maybe tomorrow. A storm is coming.
How wonderful that You took me out of the house to show me my progress, God. Sometimes I feel like my weeks will never improve. I’m going to be okay. Darkness and storm have been characteristic of the months since Mia’s death. The clouds are hovering at all times. I try hard not spiral into grief, and then a heavy storm hits anyway.
I turned off the road onto a dirt path along the canal and wished I had brought my camera to show someone a picture of this evening sky. Instead, I rehearsed how I would capture it with words. I came to the end of my description and continued pondering. Mia was a full rainbow on a sunny day. Having her to nourish for eight weeks was beautiful. She was pure joy and love to me. And when she was gone, the sunshine left with her for a very long time. I have thought at times that it was gone until my life will end. However, this conversation that God was having with my heart helped me feel something I had earlier only heard.
I am going to be alright. Grief will not grip my heart for life. By the way, I’m sure I’m not “out of the woods” yet. I’ve talked to friends who say the entire first year feels incredibly difficult. It has bothered me terribly that as I walk around with this bleeding heart, people continue with life too timid to mention my daughter for fear of hurting me or of making the conversation awkward. I think about her more than anyone would realize but I have learned to choose how, or with whom, to talk about her carefully. It is completely understandable that people don’t know how to help remember her. I have recently been searching for appropriate ways to honor Mia’s life. I am her mother and I am in charge of remembering her significance. I want to continue living well so that her legacy is a special one.
In short, Mia has changed me more than anything in my life has or possibly ever will. Her life and the place she inhabits in my heart have taken my affections off the temporary desires of this mundane life. She has set my thoughts more fully onto eternity with the Lover of My Soul. I remember a day in June when the pain of accepting her absence was excruciating; I asked God to take everything else away that stood in the way of my love for Him. The pain I have felt from missing her has created very fertile soil for God’s love to grow in my heart.
In my heartache and in my recent inadequate state, I have been failing at so many of the things that had held my attention. I may have seemed alright. I have been trying hard to be okay. I should say that I have been surviving the past few months. I have daily been doing what I know I should do to continue. I have been praying for energy and for the strength to continue.
My love for Mia has given my heart what feels like a mortal wound. I can say with exceeding thankfulness that each time my wound is opened, God tenderly binds it up again. Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” My eyes have been opened wide to His tender faithfulness. A benefit of this grief is that I can now also see deep sorrow in other people. My heart recognizes hurt and wants to encourage others with the encouragement I have received.
Before Mia, I had been striving so hard for things that only mattered in this life. The hole in my heart reminds me that I am made for another world- one that is complete. After death, I will be in the very presence of my Savior. I am currently reading the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn. In it, he quotes the great Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards(who is usually referenced for his sermons on Hell). This part struck me as an important heart-lesson my daughter’s absence is teaching me: “It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven… to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?” Randy Alcorn goes on to another quote of his: “Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can.”
I haven’t yet figured it all out. For now, I know I will try to proclaim how good God has been to me. I will tell how He wants more from me than what I was giving when my life felt more put-together. My brokenness over my sweet daughter is very useful and is, in fact, part of His excellent plan. I am convinced that Mia’s life has left an eternal impact on me, on her daddy, and on her brothers… and maybe on even more.
And I am so thankful that I don’t take for granted those eight beautiful weeks I had with her. I have a daughter… and I even know that she did look like me!
For my daughter I am eternally grateful. Thank You, God, that this joy and praise that pour from my heart, they come from You. You have truly brought me joy. And I will direct it back to You, the Author and Finisher of My Faith.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”