It's funny because I used to give no thought to the birds. What they looked like. What they did. I would see them on telephone wires or in the top of trees and I never thought much about them. Just that they were pretty I guess. I did enjoy hearing them chirp (unless it was early in the morning when I was trying to sleep.=)
Now, they mean so much to me. So much to "us" as a family. They remind us of our sweet daughter, who grew her wings back to Heaven after only 2 short days with us.
I guess God could have chosen anything to remind me of Maddie Grace, but I sure am thankful He chose the "birds."
As the week leading up the 6th approached, I started to struggle. I guess it's hard to comprehend that it's really been 10 months since Madeline was born. 10 months since we first saw her face. 10 months since she came into our family bringing us complete joy. But it has been that long and I have survived.
I have missed her. I have longed for her. But I have survived.
So as I thought about the 6th quickly approaching, I had a lump in my throat. Time continues to be so insulting. Yet, God continues to give me "reminders" and peace of my sweetheart.
Just last week, my friend Amanda told me she saw a little birdie flying and jumping around in a puddle on her drive to work. She told me that the sweet little bird had chubby cheeks and was so entertaining to watch. She said that immediately she thought of Maddie.
Then, Rick's Mom gave me the most beautiful gold and white bird ornament for my Christmas tree this year. I'm planning to decorate the pink tree I bought her last year with all birdie ornaments. =) I can't wait.
Then my sister in law called me and read to me a story of another family who had lost a loved one. They were saying in the article how birds are constant reminders to them of their loved one. She spoke of how the angels would send little birds her way to give her peace that her loved one was okay. It was so sweet.
Then my friend Suzanne messaged me this picture she came across that immediately reminded her of us. =)
I love this picture.
After that, my sweet friend Heidi texted me some pictures of birds that her little boy colored. It made me smile.
I'm sure I'm forgetting more, but there were so many "reminders" last week and each one of them made me smile.
Message after message, story after story, and even the little gifts sent my way, remind me.
She lives on... In our hearts.... In our lives.... Through the birds.
So when 6th arrived again this month, I was still sad and missing her, but I was encouraged.
Rick and I were visiting our sweet friends Tim and Kelsey from Tennessee. We got up and got ready for Church at Temple Baptist on Sunday morning the 6th. This was the Church Rick and i attended during our four years at Crown College. We were so happy to be back and were looking so forward to hearing Pastor Sexton Preach.
Just before the message, a young lady got up to sing a special.
As the music began to play, my jaw dropped. I heard her begin to sing and chills went up and down my arms. I looked over at my Husband and just smiled. He knew.
She sang "His eye is on the sparrow."
I hadn't heard it since that day by the pool at Disney world when I felt like God reached down and put His arms around me. And in that moment, I felt like He was holding me again.
My eyes filled up with tears as I listened...
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
"Let not your heart be troubled, His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me...."
Such a comfort.
Such a help.
They never get old.
I have this hymn hanging right outside of Maddie/Jonah's room. My sweet friend Angel had it framed for me and gave it to me at the funeral. I've written about this before, but she DID NOT know about my connection with Maddie and the birds. She just said that God lead her to give me that hymn.
Isn't He so good to me?
God is so good to me.
When my heart aches and my mind doesn't understand, He sends these precious "reminders" my way.
He shows me He loves me and just how much. If He watches the sparrow and loves them as His word says He does, I can only imagine how He must love me....
After Pastor's message, Rick and I packed up and headed home so we could get back to our Church for night service.
On the ride home, we talked of our Maddie. How different life would be with her here. What she would look like? How much her brothers would have adored her and what a Daddy's girl she would have been. It was sad to think those things, but I felt like for the first time, we could talk about them without completely breaking down.
We even talked about the future and Jonah and how much he is helping us. We would love for God to give us another little girl to raise one day, and maybe He will. Rick truly believes so, but I have to say, I'm so thankful he gave us her.
When we made it back to Ohio and headed strait into Church, I received another little blessing before the day was over. My sweet friend, Whitney had some bracelets made in Maddie's honor. They say LIVEGRACE on one side and Maddie 1-6-11 on the other. She had passed them out to the Church and gave us ours when we arrived that night.
It was so amazing to look around and see these bracelets with our little girls name all around the Church. Anytime anyone says her name I smile, and now, I can see her name too. I don't think Whitney will truly ever know what that meant to me. And the fact that she passed them out on the "6th"... I don't think that was a mistake.
God knew I needed some encouragement. And once again that day, He provided.
Oh my sweet Maddie Grace, if I can live my life full of the grace you and the Lord have shown me, I will do something great in this world. For you my sweet girl, have changed lives. And every month that goes by, you continue to. I'm so very proud to be your Mama. Keep sending those birdies by to see me, for I don't look at one without thinking of you. I miss you so.
~ I love you, Mama.