Tiffany shared this quote with me and I wanted to share it with you.
Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.
I love that. When she told it to me that day, I knew I had to write it down and talk about it here. It's so true and it really resonated in my heart.
Sometimes cracks can cover our lives, and what we wanted to be our perfect idea of life seems to fade away. But, it's in those moments that God can really use us to our fullest potential.
I have some confessions to share here today. =)
I'm a bit of a perfectionist with certain things in my life.
I know, it probably seems hard to believe. And to be honest, I had just recently become this way.
I get a little over the top about how my boys are dressed, and can't stand it when Eli insists on wearing his green rain boots with every single outfit.
It bothers me when they get one little stain on their clothes, and I constantly carry wipes for their faces, and hair gel for when their hair gets out of place.
I become a "crazy" person when I'm planning their birthday parties, because I think every single detail has to be "just right."
And when it comes to my house, I love everything to be exactly in it's place, and I get overwhelmed when one thing gets disrupted.
Yeah, pretty bad right?
But in my defense I have to say, that I most definitely have started to change my ways.
Now, I don't mind if things get a little more out of place.
It doesn't bother me as much to see toys laying around the house,
because I know that I still have the sweet children who love and adore those toys. And one day soon, I will miss seeing them beneath my feet.
I don't mind as much if the boys hair gets messy, for I love the busyness of childhood that messes it up. If they stain a shirt now, I try to smile. For I know that I can go home, and try to get that stain out.
The reason why is because I've realized that the things I really thought were important in life, really don't matter at all.
Now I soak up every moment with the things in life, that are precious and everlasting, and those things are the precious people in my life.
So what if we eat on paper plates sometimes? I'd rather spend time with my boys than and hour in the kitchen washing dishes.
So what if I need to sweep my floors 3 times a day?
I'm just glad I have sweet children who are here, giving me messes to clean up.
So as I think of these things, I think of that quote.
Before Madeline passed away, I don't think I truly was living life to the fullest. I didn't truly ring the bells that still could ring. I was always worried about a "perfect" offering, instead of just giving my best.
I was holding back. I was looking at life all wrong.
Do I want my children to remember me yelling at them for muddy footprints on the floor? Or do I want them to remember Mommy laughing and playing with them in the sweet moments of their childhood?
Oh Lord help me, for this is something I have failed at so often in my days here.
Just being there.
Soaking up the precious moments of life and just being there...
I remember back to the day I delivered Maddie Grace. My doctor stopped me in the middle of all the excitement of the delivery, and in the moments shortly after. He reminded me to look around; to look at the faces of everyone there and really take in the moment. What wonderful advice.
I remember watching Rick as he held and adored our precious new little girl. I remember the faces of our sweet parents as they welcomed their adorable new granddaughter. I can still see the faces of Maddie's sweet Aunts, who planned on spoiling her rotten in the coming days.
I just sat there, and watched.
I remember the smiles and adoring eyes. I remember the laughter and comparisons of who she looked like. I remember her, and the newness of her perfect newborn skin and how she just kept smacking those little lips together.
I remember it all, because I was truly there, cherishing every precious second.
Oh I'm thankful for those memories. They are so vivid in my mind, and I'm so glad that my doctor reminded me in the middle of that moment, to just stop and take it in.
So what am I saying here today as I ramble on and on? =)
Well, I'm saying this.
It's okay when the cracks get in.
Life isn't perfect and it never will be. We can't write the story differently, as hard as we may try.
There are going to be cracks that come into our lives. There will be holes and ripples and tears. There will be moments of "that's not how it's supposed to be." And that's okay.
Because when the cracks get into our lives, then is when the light gets through, and the joys of life are truly revealed.
Through Maddie going to Heaven, I've learned this and everyday, I'm reminded over again.
I find myself constantly repeating these very words,
"Natalie, its not up to you."
I'm not in control, but the Lord is.
And yes, this life may try to break me down when the cracks get in, but it's in those moments, that the Lord is revealing even more to me.
He is showing me another life who was touched because of my daughter.
He is helping my family to grow more in strength and love.
He continues to show the revived hearts in the life of our Church members.
He is allowing us to see more souls come to Him.
And, He is pulling me closer and closer to Him.
Her sweet life was not in vain.
And yes we are enduring the cracks in our lives created from her passing, but look at the light that is coming in.
I can't help but see the beauty that is shining all around me, because of her beautiful life.
And so for now as I struggle, and am convicted to follow the very words I've written here today. I most definitely will,
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget my perfect offering.
Embrace the cracks in everything
and watch the light come in.
What a reminder of just living in the moment and trusting the Lord with all things in my life.
Lord, please use this life of mine for your glory, and help me to embrace the heartaches I am enduring, so others can be touched by You.