Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Life

We celebrated Easter today by going to church this morning, surrounded by the people who have supported us with their kindness this year.  Our church has a special praise service, followed by a breakfast, followed by a traditional Easter service.  People can order flowers to remember someone who has passed away; these flowers decorate the front of the sanctuary and surround the cross in the front.  Being with our church family is exactly how I love to spend Easter morning.

I had to swallow hard as we passed the Ripon Cemetery on the way to church.  I wanted to remember that last year on Easter morning, we met little Mia for the first time.  Last year, I was induced into labor with Mia early on Easter morning.  We were relieved when none of the complications for which we had been prepared occurred.  The doctor quickly slipped her cord from around her neck and delivered our slightly over eight pound baby.  We had her around 9:30 AM, and a friend delivered the news to be announced during the Easter service at church.  After lunch, Noah and Gavin came with my parents to meet their baby sister for the first time.

As we drove past her grave on the way to church, I had to push away the sadness for a few hours to celebrate the hope that we have for new life.  On Easter, Jesus rose again.  And on Easter last year, we began our eight sweet weeks with our daughter.

Today special friends bought flowers for the front of the church, wore Mia's pink funeral ribbon, mentioned her name while remembering her with us, talked about how she affected their families, wrote Mia a letter... and my mom and I both wore her pink crocheted flower.  Loved ones e-mailed and texted to let us know that they were remembering Mia and praying for us this last week before our son's due date.

Derrick's cousin attended our church service with us today and had lunch with the four of us at my parents' house- it was sweet to have her company.  When she helped us load Mia's flowers into our car she asked Noah where we should put the flowers.  Instead of answering with "the trunk" or "the back seat", he said, "On Mia's grave."  So we went together to place Easter lilies from a dear friend by her memorial stone.

These sweet gifts from friends and family that help remember our daughter are healing for us.  God has enriched our lives with kind people and He has blessed us with deeper friendships as a result of Mia's death.  He has given new life to Mia, who is worshiping the risen Savior like the women at the tomb.

Jesus died on Friday to pay our penalty and rose on Sunday to conquer death.  He also experienced Saturday, when He was forsaken by God and was grieved by those dear to Him.  He understands sorrow.  I am so happy that we don't have to live everyday in mourning.  Today I remember that new life that He gave to Mia and that He gives to me.  One day, I will see my daughter in the presence of my dear, sweet Jesus.  Until then, I cherish the smaller miracles and kindnesses hidden within the sadness.

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