About a month ago, I was doing my devotions and I was reading in the book of Psalms.
After Maddie Grace went to Heaven, this book brought me so much comfort and provided me with so much strength. I would read and the Lord would give me such wonderful verses to cling to. I still cling to them today when my heart is hurting.
I like to go back through these pages and verses. I like to see the date beside them and remember what I was feeling at that time, so I can remember just how far I've come...
On this particular day I was reading while feeding Jonah.
I was in the book of Psalms and reading Chapter 71. As I read, my sweet little 4 week old (at the time) put his little hand out and touched my Bible and kept his sweet hand there.
It was so sweet but what was even sweeter was that the chapter was on one of my favorites, "hope"...
I don't think so. =)
I continued reading thinking how precious it was his little hand was there. I read these three verses.
Psalm 715For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.
6By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.
7I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.
It took me right back to a year prior. I remember God giving me these verses right around the time when He started giving me all of my hope signs. The date was 2/13/11. Barely a month after Madeline.
I sat there thinking back. I was remembering that raw pain I was experiencing. I remember thinking it hurt to take the next breath. Every day was such a challenge to get through. Every step forward I took was such an accomplishment.
It was all still so fresh in my mind, still 13 months later.
Then Jonah moved his little hand and left it right here. It was like He was saying "Now Mommy, read this one".... so I did.
...But I will hope continually...
I grabbed my phone and snapped these pictures as I sat there feeling Gods goodness.
Oh what a difference a year makes.
A year ago, I had hope only in my heart.
But now, I have hope in my arms.
Jonah is my living breathing hope.
I can't express to you exactly what he means to me. As I type these words I have tears in my eyes and a sweet baby boy sleeping on my chest. There really are no words to describe to you how that feels... just amazing. Truly amazing...
I remember when Rick and I decided to add to our family after Noah and Eli. We were ready for another, and our final baby... I remember finding out I was expecting. I remember being elated, just to be let down 11 weeks later.
I made it through that miscarriage. I made it through that surgery. Empty arms and a sad heart left me there aching.
Then God blessed us again a few months later. I made it to the end of my pregnancy, no problems. No concerns. I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl and held her. My arms were full. We had our baby.
Then just a mere two days later, she was gone. She was back with the One who gave her to us. Our arms ached even more. But we are surviving through the passing of our sweet little girl.
We've survived a funeral and a year without our precious Madeline Grace. Some of our dreams in this life have faded, but one thing is for sure; we have never given up hope. Never.
We've trusted in the Lord continually and He has provided.
So you can see just how much we needed Jonah, just what he means. To me. To all of us.
When the pain comes and it does still, we all hold on to Jonah. Our hope.
Our family has really been missing Maddie Grace this past week. It must have been Valentine's Day and remembering how hard it was this time last year.
Noah and Elijah have been talking about her a lot. We thought of her while we were playing at the Great Wolf Lodge. Rick bought a beautiful glass rose for her grave. Eli even asked to buy her a cute pink frilly dress at the store. The boys tell people all about their sister and how they had one.
She is still such a part of our conversation just the way she is a part of our hearts.
We miss her.
Rick and I have recently shed some tears and talked a lot about our beautiful girl. Our hearts sill hurt so much. We ache for her everyday, but every we wake up to Gods grace, and our sweet little hope baby.
We hold Jonah and our little boys and we are reminded just how much we have and we try not to focus on what we do not. We do not give up. We can't.
Though at times it's overwhelming. Though at times the pain still cuts so deep.
We still have hope.
I am praying specifically for some sweet friends and families who are near and dear to my heart. They are hurting too.
I'm praying for a sweet friend who has cancer.
I'm praying for precious friends who are struggling with infertility.
I'm praying for some other sweet Mommas who are expecting babies after the loss of a child.
And just recently, I've started praying for a missionary family whose 3 year old daughter went home to be with Jesus.
All of these situations are heartbreaking. All of these people are hurting.
always hope. Always.
May we place our hope in the Lord and never give up when we face the unimaginable.
Whatever it is in your life, and mine.
We can get through it if we never give up hope.
"For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth." Psalm 71:5
"But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more." Psalm 71:14
"Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope."Psalm 16:9
"Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD." Psalm 31:24
"Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;" Romans 12:12
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Romans 15:4
Isn't the Word of God such a comforting, beautiful thing? =)
Much love (and hope) to you,