Friday, April 14, 2017

Death to Life

One can never consent to crawl when one feels the impulse to soar ~Helen Keller

Nine years ago, this quote would have not resonated with me in any shape or form. At that point crawling was my only option. April 14 is a day I dread and I pray goes quickly. The events of that day nine years ago are seared into my mind. Mer took her last breathe in my arms. Then, I held her until I had to give her over. Next, I walked out of Duke with my Mom and sister without my baby forever.

Today my life is completely different. It is filled with so many joyful things. I no longer crawl through life. For the first time, I feel peace in all areas. At the same time, I feel God is asking me to look ahead. I believe what He has for me will use every gift He gave me and every experience I have walked through to the fullest. This year God has given me the impulse to soar rather than crawl.

I suppose a lot of us wonder what our lives would be like if a certain thing had not happened. I think of this often. I wonder what my life would look like if Mer hadn’t gotten sick and died. I know that I would have loved being Mer and Ty’s mom. I think I would have been a pretty good mom to them. But, I know I wouldn't have been the mom that I am today. I know for sure I wouldn’t have been the friend, sister, daughter and advocate for women that I am today. I strongly believe I would be going in a totally different direction professionally and personally if Mer had lived. Everything that I do today would not have been possible without my loss. 

Meredith’s life and death redefined my life. For many years, it defined me completely. It was all I thought about and all I wrote about. I remember being in the Dollar Tree with Tyler when he was a baby and a lady asked me if he was my only child. I said, “No, I had a daughter who was one year older than him and she just died.” Wow, that poor woman! I bet she never asked that question to a stranger again. But, I think back on how I lived for so long- and it was in the shadow of Mer's death. It defined me. Today, I can meet you and until you get to really know me- you would never know about Meredith. As I write this, I feel guilt because I want her to still be known and I am not trying to hide her from anyone. But, it is because God has given me other defining people and activities that I am known for now. Today I am Tyler and Sadie Grace’s mom, Silas and Severin’s step-mom, Bryan’s wife, Providence’s Local Outreach Director, Summerfield North's Hospitality Team Leader, SNNA’s Swim Team Coordinator, friend, sister, daughter and Tucker’s Alpha. I’m laughing when I read this- I am on strict orders from Bryan not to join another “team” or become any group's Leader without his consent! These are the things that I do, where I spend my time, where I feel that God has really stretched and grown me. For years He grew me in my grief, but now the flourishing is taking place in these roles. 

Nine years without Mer have not been easy. Like most bereaved parents, I grieve all that I am missing- watching Mer grow into a pre-teen, talking to her about friendships, teaching her to be a godly woman, watching her perform in school plays, cheering for her as she swims or tumbles or dances, painting her nails, brushing her tangly hair, shopping for clothes, the list is endless. I miss these things. But, when God took Mer He didn’t leave me with nothing. He gave me two more precious children to love. He gave me the chance to watch them grow and to feel the joy of their accomplishments. So, at my saddest moments like today, even as I write this entry, my sweet Sadie Grace comes in periodically to chat, to show me what she has created and to just connect with me. Which is a reminder that I am no longer supposed to simply grow in my grief, but I am required to flourish in the midst of life!

Thank you for your prayers all these years. I am so grateful to be loved by you. As Mer’s Anniversary falls on Palm Sunday, I am reminded of how Christ suffered for my sins. How He suffered far more than I could ever comprehend and He did it all for us so that we could truly live. I pray you feel His mighty power and peace today as we meditate on the price he paid for our sins and anticipate His resurrection! 

"God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done (Ephesians 2:4-7)."

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