I do not want to pack for thanksgiving, because it is a reality that Mary Anna will not be there. This was supposed to be our first holiday with her, and we are supposed to be figuring out how to jam all her stuff in our car, but we aren’t. I keep trying to muster up the strength to pack, but instead I end up laying in the bed crying and watching all her videos. When I want to know that she was real, I press play, and I can hear her breathing and know that she existed. I know it sounds crazy, but unless you have been here, it is so easy to feel like this was all a dream, but then again I hate when it feels like a dream, because she was very real. I want to be holding this girl while I pack.
I learned this morning that the Lord speaks, but I do have to listen to hear what he is trying to say. Lately, I have not been in the mood to listen, so I have kinda tuned Him out, and I have listened to myself and had some serious pity parties. Not good. Today was the second day in a row that He made something very clear to me. Like I wrote yesterday, I have not only had that verse on repeat in my head, but also this one.
A few years ago Dan and I were driving to the beach for Thanksgiving with my family, and we were talking about how so many things in our lives, in the midst of whatever situation we were in, seemed hopeless, but looking back how everything seemed to just work out. We went through story after story of how we could see the Lord’s hand in our lives, and how His plan would prevail. For example, Dan was adamant that he was supposed to go to vet school, and he was pretty positive what school he was going to get in at. So he applied for early acceptance, and he did not get in. He applied the next year, and he did not get in to the school that he wanted which made no sense, because we knew it was where he was supposed to go, and his second choice sent a letter stating that he had to go through a program for 6 weeks to fight for a spot in the class. All this to say, Dan is exactly where he is supposed to be. It was not the path that we would have chosen or what we would have expected, but it has been made very clear that the Lord has him there for a reason. Now when people ask if Dan likes his school, he always says, “They are the ones who believed in me.”
Okay sorry, back to the point, after that car ride, Dan decided to make a list on his phone of all the unmistakable things that have happened/continue to happen in our lives that prove how real God is, and that He is indeed working. It has been a source of strength in times of doubt and frustration. When we have assurance of a decision, he writes it down, so when we begin to doubt it, we know that the written word is true.
Right after Mary Anna passed away, I decided to start a list of all the things that happen whether it is a memory, verse, statement, or whatever it was that gave me strength or helped me remember the little time that we had with our girl. When I need encouragement to write or I want to hold onto something because I miss her so bad, I open up that list on my phone. This morning I was feeling a little down, and I was about to close shop on this blog, because I feel like a horrible writer, and I remembered the truth that I had written down. My friend has her masters in English, and she loves reading and writing. She told me to keep writing one day, and she recited this verse:
Suffering has been overcome, thanks be to God.
I was cleaning out my emails and found this from one of my best friends. She told me that she read it and that it encouraged her restless heart, and that she wanted to share it with me. A blog entitled “What to Do When You Wake Up Feeling Fragile” written by John Piper:
Today baby Mary Anna would be 4 months old. I did not plan or know how to handle each milestone day, and most times it’s like I notice the date at some point, and it just is what it is. A reminder of what life is for us. I have had a verse echoing in my head the past few days, and it is simple, but life-changing and exactly what I need today.
As I was waking up this morning, I was in the middle of a dream. It was very real. Dan and I were at an event, and we had Mary Anna with us. I still do not know where we were or who we were with, except I just remember holding her. She was upset, and someone tried to take her from me to make her happy, and I spent a long time wandering around finding out where they went. When I finally got to her, she was still upset, so I grabbed her, and she instantly stopped crying. She just wanted her mommy, because she felt safe in my arms. I happily walked around showing off my precious girl, and then I woke up. And my arms are still empty.
This is what I vividly remember. The back of her head with all that brown hair. It was real, but I wish it was really real. And her sweet cry face.
So I cling to the verse of the day today: