Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Margaret Sarah

I remember when my friend and mentor, Maja's daughter turned 16. It was really weird to me. Laura was one of my flower girls and she was such a sweet little girl. Sixteen is when I was confronted with the reality that she was growing up and it was an odd feeling to me.

Now my own child is sixteen. Take any weirdness I mentioned in the previous paragraph and quadruple it. Sixteen. I find it hard to believe.

During the ultrasound when I was pregnant with her, I remember the moment the tech said, "It's a girl!" My very first thought was, "She's going to hate me!" For days I lived in fear, until God reminded me to just enjoy her. Enjoy her every day, starting with her in the womb and I have consciously tried to do that. There have been moments when maybe she did hate me, but as I hugged her this morning I thought, "She doesn't hate me." It made me tear up.

We (Chris, Ty, Gracie, Brody and I) woke her up by circling around her bed and singing to her. Then Chris and I gave her her gift. We gave her a really cool jewelry box and, more importantly, my mother's Smoky Topaz ring. It was my mother's favorite piece of jewelry. I can still see how it looked on her hand. As I hugged Maggie afterwards, it was all I could do to not ruin the moment with my sobs.

My tears come from this really mixed up place. Gratitude: I've been allowed to raise this beautiful girl and keep her for 16 years. Fear: I know that one day, not so far away, she will leave home and I will miss her terribly. Joy: She still loves me. She doesn't hate me as I feared she would. Sadness: I wish my mother was still here to know her. And then whatever emotion it is that is overwhelmed when presented with such deep beauty.

Maggie is indeed beautiful. She has a pretty face, sure, but her soul is lovely. She is passionate about life and her family. She brings life and joy and energy wherever she goes. She appreciates everything she is given. She struggles and refuses to give up. She has such a heart for the forgotten, the lost, and the hopeless. She understands the gospel and longs to be used by God. She sacrifices so much and so often for the sake of the Cross and it humbles me.

I wish you could all know her. She is NOT perfect, but she is lovely. Letting go of her will break my heart but even in the midst of that I can already see how God will use her for His glory. It's an exciting thing to watch. Wherever it may be, the people around her will be blessed just by knowing her. I know I am.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Fear

I dreamed last night that Chris died. In the dream, I pulled one of his shirts out of the dirty clothes hamper and put it in a ziplock bag to retain his smell for as long as I could. The grief I felt in that dream was so real that I woke up with tears in my eyes and an ache in my chest.

It was only made worse by the fact that he's in Anniston at work so I couldn't just roll over, put my head on his chest and hear his heart beating. I texted him, but he's doing rounds and won't see his phone for a few hours.

My fear tells me that he still has to make the long drive home and what if?... I used to listen to those fears. Indulge them. I would work myself into a stomach wrenching panic.

I know what it is to lose someone I love to a sudden death. My very best friend in high school died that way. She was a year older than me and already attending Jack State. I was going to spend the weekend with her at college and it was going to be awesome. But first I had to speak at the PTF meeting at the school. I don't remember what I said, but I was the poster child, the teacher's pet, so I spoke.

Lori was supposed to be at the school to pick me up before 7. We were going to leave from there and she would bring me home on Sunday evening. By 7:30 she still wasn't there and I was annoyed. She tended to be late for everything. I had to call my dad to come get me. He put his shoes on and left the house. I griped all the way home. But when I walked through the front door and took one look at my mother's face, I knew something was really, really wrong.

I can't remember my mother's exact words, but I do remember the physical pain in my chest that made me collapse to the sofa. It truly felt like my heart was being ripped apart.

Lori was on her way to get me when she crossed the center line and hit a car head on. She died instantly.

Everything changed. My other best friend and I grew apart. I distanced myself from everyone. I stuffed my anger with God. I quit eating. I graduated in a fog. I remember one night telling one of my friends, who was also one of my teachers, how angry I was. He made the mistake of telling me that Lori wouldn't want me to be angry. I don't remember exactly what it was I threw at his head. He went and got a pastor friend of his. I don't even remember the man's name now, but we went for a walk in the darkened parking lot and he told me it was okay to be angry. He let me scream my rage and then held me while I wept, reassuring me that God still loved me.

I know what it is to lose. I know the kind of pain that changes you. But the thoughts of losing Chris are beyond my comprehension. Therefore, I "take every thought captive to obey Christ". (2 Cor 10:5) I chose in this moment to not fear, to trust. To believe that He will hold me, uphold me, no matter what. He is enough. His grace is sufficient.

I really wish Chris would call me back.