This group has been a tremendous blessing to me already. As I've heard their stories and read some of the things that they have learned, I sense the character that God has formed through their pain. These women are not moping about, stuck in depression. They are tenderly caring for their families. They sound sensitive, loving, and even hopeful. This gives me hope for how others have come through the monumental pain of losing a child.
When I see others who have traveled through this valley and yet seek to comfort others, it gives me hope that this pain and pressure is possibly also making me better- more compassionate and sensitive to suffering. Of course, this thought was not that encouraging in the first few months- to think that this tragedy of losing Mia could be used to help others. However contradicting it is, though, one of the only things that comforted me was seeing other people in my church who had been through similar trials. There is one couple in particular that gave me hope. Their daughter died suddenly when she was hit while walking along a road. This happened many years ago, and yet her father vividly recounted for me a few weeks ago where he was when he learned of his daughter's terrible accident. He told me that many years later, important dates still tear apart his and his wife's hearts. A few days after Mia died, I connected their obvious care for others with the tremendous pain they had experienced.
I can now pray that as I emerge from a season of acute pain and of being the recipient of comfort, I want to be able to offer the same comfort to other suffering people. Serving God sounds so good. I want to serve God because that's what I would want Mia to see. Her brief life continues affecting my life. God uses her to change me everytime my heart is pierced with grief- everytime her sweet memories play in the theater of my mind. Or when the pain of losing her makes me cringe. That pain leaves me with a longing for eternity where I belong- in Heaven with Jesus, my Savior and Shepherd. They increase my love for Him.
It's strange which things bring back powerful memories. I don't get to choose when grief takes over. Several days ago, I froze when I saw a commercial for Madera Children's Hospital on TV. It passed and strangely didn't bring much pain. Last night was much different: I saw a commercial for a different hospital and I was immediately transported back to walking out of the hospital without Mia. Derrick and I simultaneously swallowed the lumps in our throats, as he looked at me knowingly. He must have felt the same reaction.
I'm still not sure how I actually made it home from the hospital that day- shock played a big part, I'm sure. I remember watching others' faces as I wondered if they saw that my world had just been forever changed. I felt like I had padding protecting my bloody heart, like a thick layer of bandages that would take months to unwrap to even start the healing process. I'm thankful that God is now slowly healing my heart.
As I deal with the pain and tend to my heart honestly, powerful memories are replayed and doubts are resolved. God's truth changes the lies that my heart tells me. If I didn't know God's truth from the Bible, I don't think I would ever heal. Some people can deny their pain and stuff tragedy down to where they don't deal with it. I can't imagine that not dealing with grief is easy to do. In fact, I don't think I have the capability of "stuffing" my grief as I've seen others do. I am too familiar with God's freedom to not deal with my grief. He says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls"(Matthew 11:29)." I'm so glad that His truth sets me free.
I am willing to "go there" and be honest about my pain not because it's easy but because of this promise that God made to me. He will give me rest. When we take His yoke upon us, He shares the burden we carry. We don't have to carry it alone!
The way He is healing my heart is still a mystery to me. I couldn't recount for you how God heals. I can only assure that by experiencing the pain with Him, He will heal you gradually... by laying it at His feet, trusting in Him, placing your hope in Him... I'm not doing this perfectly at all.
So many people have remarked about this new baby that they hope the experience of having another baby will bring healing. For awhile I've scratched my head at this. Maybe he will bring healing through this baby- I'm not sure. However, what I do know is that having a baby is a lot of work(yes, it will be joyful work). I think I will need to wrestle with very real and legitimate worries when letting this one out of my sight even for a few moments. I think that caring for three children while continuing to grieve Mia may be very taxing. I'm preparing myself by memorizing verses about worry and about God's all-powerful control to remind myself in those first few months of his life. I could use a lot of prayer as I anticipate this little one.
Now, as I look forward to raising a new child that I will fall madly in love with, I look back with gratitude on the time I had with my daughter. It is so strange to have had Mia's life cut so short; if she had lived, she would be seven months-old. And to God, she must have been nearing perfection for Him to decide that she was completed. I will continue to store up her memories in my heart. <3