When I opened my eyes this morning I knew it was going to be a tough day. Memories of the morning we lost Maddie Grace flooded my mind. I don't know exactly what it was to remind me, but I was struggling in the darkness. The room felt strangely similar to that very same morning we lost her. I was having a hard time being in there surrounded by very fresh heart wrenching memories.
I found myself weeping uncontrollably and feeling so much pain in my heart that I couldn't breathe. Another day had gone by without her here and I was missing her with every ounce of my body and soul. My aching arms wanted to hold her as they do every day. I was truly missing my girl.
Rick was still home that morning due to a huge ice storm that came in the night before. The house was so quiet and still I cold almost hear my heart beating. You see I search in the silence, for a comfort and for the Lord. I know He is always there, I just have to remember to go Him, when the silence overwhelms me and doubts fill my mind. I go to Him.
I woke Rick with my hysterical crying and prayers and without saying a word. He knew. He held me as I cried and reminded me that "he missed her too." This made me cry harder even though it was exactly what I wanted to hear...
After a good while of weeping, I found myself with enough strength to pull myself up, even though I could have laid in that bed all day long. I didn't have much energy that day, maybe as a result of another sleepless night. I'm not sure. I just knew I needed to get up for my family.
Sometimes I think for me that just having a good cry helps me. It doesn't take away the pain but somehow it lets my heart release just a little bit of the weight that I've carried since I've lost my sweet baby girl.
If you've lost a child, you know the pain I'm talking about. It's a heavy burden that sits on your chest making it so hard to breathe sometimes. It's a pain that is unexplainable and unbearable. My heart just hurts, everyday, it hurts. Everyday I cry and everyday, I miss her.
So as I pushed forward that day, the Lord knew I was struggling. He knew exactly what I needed.
Rick didn't go in that day, surprisingly, his business still did not have any power and he was able to stay home with me. I couldn't believe it... God knew I needed him.
We went to pick Noah up from school later that day and we had received some news. A man by the name of Danny was in the hospital and Rick's Dad was going to go see him. He had just had heart surgery and wasn't doing very well. As Rick explained this to me I told him "you have to go!"
You see, Danny was one of the 2 people who had gotten saved at Maddie Grace's funeral. He had been faithful to Church since and was really growing in the Lord. He went in for a Dr. visit and then all of the sudden he ended up in the hospital having open heart surgery. The doctors said that for being a 43 year old man, he had the heart of a 73 year old. They even thought at one point they were going to lose him.
So, we drove to the hospital as we prayed for Danny. I couldn't help but think of Maddie. I couldn't help but thank the Lord that because of her short beautiful life and death, Danny had gotten saved. No matter what happened to him, he was on his way Heaven. What a thought.
Danny was there for us when we were going through our valley at the funeral. Now it was our turn to go and be there for him and his precious family, as they were walking through a valley themselves.
I stayed in the van with the boys while Rick and his Dad visited him. He was still not awake and so they prayed with the family. Danny has 2 twin boys that we pick up on the bus route and who attend our Christian School. I thought of them as I thought of their Dad and how much they needed him.
I couldn't help but beg the Lord for his will to be done with Danny but I was truly hoping he would pull through this for his boys. So far he has. Please pray for a full recovery for him.
We drove home from the hospital praising God and listening to some wonderful music. I knew since it was Wednesday, Church was coming that evening. I look so forward to the mid week services, it's like fuel to keep on going the rest of the week.
As we neared our house we noticed that the ice had taken down many branches from our neighbor's tree. They were laying all over the yard and in the driveway and Rick and I both were noticing the damage. Then I looked up and saw such a sad sight. Sweet Mrs. Mary was out in the yard with her hands over her face. She looked as if she was crying and I told Rick we should check on her. It turns out that she was stuck in her yard and was afraid to move with fear of falling on the ice. She was trying to move the branches from her driveway so she could get her car out that evening to go to Church. What a lady (she goes to our Church too by the ways :)
Rick ran to help her and led her inside and put a blanket around her to warm her up. She had apparently been stuck out there for quite a while. She was so very thankful for us finding her. Rick then shoveled her driveway and put ice down so she wouldn't slip on the sidewalk. I was so proud of my husband and I couldn't help but smile and think how we had been able to help others on this day.
When Rick turned to the car he told me the saddest thing. He told me that after he got her inside. She pointed to a picture of her deceased husband and said "I never had to worry about these things when he was still here."
It made me think.
Oh how thankful I am for the people in my life who are there to help me when I need it the most. Especially now as I walk through the darkest longest valley that my feet have ever tread through.
The support system I have behind me is like a great and mighty army. We are all in this for the same reason. We are all pressing toward the same goal. And one day, we will get the victory.
I was reminded of the amazing Husband and Children the Lord has given me. I was reminded of the wonderful parents that Rick and I both have. We are blessed with brothers and sisters who would do anything for us to help us through this pain. I'm thankful for friends and Church family who love me so very much.
And then there is you.
All of you who have been reading, hurting, crying and praying along with me through this journey.
This I do not take lightly. I cherish each and every one of you. And though I may not know you all by name and have never seen your face. I know you are here for me and I love you for that.
We all have a story to tell, I may be the one in this place doing the speaking, but you have spoke volumes to me. Your words of comfort, your comments, your emails, your letters, I have read them all and they have comforted me.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for being here with me and walking down this road with me. I know my days seem dark, but I am walking toward the light a little more each day. And the light of the Lord is shining through the darkness to help me as I continue on.
So, in those moments when you are feeling alone and heartbroken, just know that so many people are hurting too. We all have a story. We all have a song. And if you choose Him, we can all have the Lord.
It's okay to cry and to hurt. At the end of the day, God is holding your heart and helping you journey on.
I'm so thankful that on this day God let my husband and I be a help to others. I'm so glad that we were able to comfort those who are hurting too. I'm so thankful for each of you.
Please read on as God continues to heal my heart and helps me to have a story to tell. Please pray with me that my daughter's life will continue to touch others lives here on this earth. She may no longer be here to tell her story, but I will tell it for her.
Thank you, Natalie
Lamentations 3:40-41 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the Heavens.