I love the way God works. At the times I'm not even thinking about it, He shows up in another way, with encouragement and love. He never ceases to amaze me. I'm so blessed by His love.
While I was still visiting in Knoxville, I had a unexpected visit from my sweet friend Edythe. She said she felt like she needed to come by and share some things with me, and wow did she ever.
Ever since Maddie Grace passed away, she has been inboxing me with sweet words of encouragment and hope. Madeline has touched her life in a great way and I'm so honored and proud of this!
She shared with me that she endures severe back pain every day of her life, and for the last 10 years of her life, she has really struggled with the pain and limitations it has caused. Then she shared that our story has impacted her so very deeply and changed her for the better. She said that God has used Maddie to free her from some personal bondage and He has strengthened her thourgh Maddie's testimony. She also told me that she will thank Maddie one day when she gets to Heaven, for helping her to be a better Christian and a better mother. (Tears) Isn't that sweet?
I stood there listening to all the precious things she had to say, and then she handed me a package. I held the box wondering what was inside, for I knew she said that she had this for a while, and was so glad to finally give it to me. I opened this sweetly wrapped gift and found tucked neatly inside the sweetest most wonderful thing.
It was a quilt, all wrapped up, and tied onto it was a little card with a birdie on the front.
The words inside read...
"In honor of Madeline Grace Ross, whose "quilt is finished" and whose "race is won," But whose memory will never be forgotten."
(CHILLS) What sweet words.
I looked at the quilt and saw the sweet birds and the words "Welcome Home" along the bottom.
I stood there crying and holding onto this sweet girl, who my little Madeline's life had touched in such a great way. What a blessing!
At that moment, I found myself in awe of the generosity and kindness of others, and I thought of the words "when one has a heartache, we all shed a tear." So true.
I stood there listening to Edythe tell me the numerous ways that sweet Maddie Grace has touched her life. I listened to the similarities in our lives and I saw Edythe's adorable belly, holding inside her sweet little girl that was due any day. I thought of her precious little boys at home who are exactly the same ages as mine.
I thought of how much she has to look forward to, and I cried as she told me about the pain she suffers through on a daily basis. The kind of pain that makes it hard to go on living some days. Wow, can I relate to that.
Sometimes life is just so hard.
But, then again, life is sweet.
I wonder often if I would go so out of my way for someone. I wonder if I would be one to send something, write something, or say something to someone else who is walking down a difficult road. I wonder if I would have had the compassion that I have been shown by so many others.
But really, it doesn't matter now.
Because I have learned how to.
Through Edythe, through my family and friends, and by all of you reading this now, I have learned to. I have learned to love others with such compassion and grace.
I'm so much more aware of peoples feelings, heartaches and trials now. When a prayer request is given, I pray. I really truly pray. I now know just how great of work a prayer can do.
I see how much prayer has done for me.
So, as Edythe left that night, and I read her letter and the card again. I thought, she's right.
Maddie's quilt is finished and her race is won. She truly completed her life's work in just those two short days. I was glad to be reminded of this again.
Her little quilt is completed and it is beautiful. I will never know all the lives she has reached through this beautiful work of her life, until I reach Heaven.
However, God is still working on my quilt, one stitch at a time, He's still working. I'm so thankful for this.
I want many more of the patterns and the stitches that are added to my quilt to be because of her. I want to keep sharing her story and talking of God's grace as long as I live. I feel like it is one of my life's purposes.
And so today, I have "Maddies quilt" hanging in my living room so I can be inspired and reminded to keep pushing on. I still have so much work to do here on this earth. The pain of missing Madeline does become great. Some days I still cry all day long. But, I am still pressing on, letting the Lord work in my life so I can make her proud. And one day, I will enter Heaven when my race is finished and hopefully I will hear the Lord say "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Please continue to help me Lord, as I struggle everday.
And to Maddie,
Oh my sweet Maddie Grace, may I continue to make you proud of me as I go through this life without you. May my quilt turn out as beautiful as yours. I miss you so much my heart hurts constantly, but I know I will see you again some day. I love you. ~Mommy
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
Lord this is my prayer for my life.