Dear Maddie Grace,
Hi my sweet girl. I can't believe it's been 3 years... can it really have been that long?
It seems that every year that goes by seems so surreal. One day it feels like you were just here in my arms and the next it feels like its been ages since I kissed those sweet cheeks of yours and felt your soft hair nestled in my neck. Oh how precious everything about you was. You were breathtaking Madeline. <3
I'll never forget this precious moment. I go back to it often in my mind when I'm missing you the most. I'm so thankful for such sweet memories with you, even if they were for such a brief time.
As I look back over the last three years, the biggest thing I can find myself thinking over and over again is how far we've come.
God truly has carried us.
The broken person I used to be is mending. Day by day I'm healing.
The sadness dims to the reality that you are with me every day. You are here in my heart. You are my daughter.
With ever bird that perches outside my window, with every snowflake falling softly to the ground, with every pink sunset that ends another beautiful day of life, you are here.
They are sweet reminders of you my sweet girl and oh how thankful I am that the Lord has given me these sweet reminders to cling too.
They carry me forward and remind me just how much God truly does love us.
So much has happened this year Maddie.. I really can't believe exactly where we are to be honest.
God has opened so many doors for our family and I just know that you have been a part of it all.
Grace is such a beautiful thing.
We are now settled in nicely to the farm... We named it after God's amazing grace and you sweet girl. Above the barn we had an artist paint "Amazing Grace"... and there is a little sparrow that is flying up to Heaven with your birth date is listed below.. Because that is truly when we learned just how great God's grace is in our lives. Daddy painted your tree on the doors so we will always remember the beautiful tree he painted in your nursery.. you are such a part of us here.
I don't remember much about my life "before" 1-6-11... It's all a blur really.
You changed me Maddie.
I'm getting to the place now where I can understand why God called you home. He is showing me day by day. And now I'm able to thank Him. I know that sounds crazy but it's true. Because of you, I truly am better in so many areas of my life. So many people are.
I know I could have never said that 3 years ago.. Maybe not even 6 months ago.. but seeing the impact your life has made for Heaven has truly made me realize why God gave you life for even just a brief time. Lives have truly been touched and changed.
You did that Maddie.. and I feel closer to God than I ever have. I hate that losing you had to bring me to this place but I'm so glad you helped me to see that I needed to be better. I truly thank you for that.
As time moves forward I try my best to remember all the good that has come out of our story. On the days that grief creeps in and Satan tries to fill my mind with doubts, God reminds me and answers so many of my questions. It's been a sweet thing. I feel like the Lord is always speaking to me and calming my heart. He has been so faithful.
So as we settled into the farm in August and made it our home we found something else out sweet girl!!
We have another baby on the way.. What a sweet anniversary gift of 10 years your Daddy and I received..
Jonah was almost 19 months when I found out which is really special because that's exactly how old Noah was when we found out Elijah was coming. =) They are both 28 months apart.. and then there is the beautiful space in the middle where you were and will always be.
We moved in to the house with our hearts full of love.. and we were so excited for another new beginning together as a family... for the very first post I wrote here on your blog was called just that.. A new beginning... oh how thankful I am for those. God truly is good in providing them.
So now we are here. We are happy and in love on this land that I know was only possible, because of the faithfulness we learned from losing you.. and I have to say, God has been faithful to us through it all.
I no longer wake up with such sadness in my heart that I can't breathe... I don't have to cry when I walk past your room or our room where we spent our last moments together. I'm so glad to have that all behind me. It was just getting to be to much.
It truly has been a fresh start and I find so much happiness here.. and I feel you here with me. It's the sweetest thing.
We found out just before Thanksgiving that God is in deed giving us another baby girl... and I honestly still can't believe it. I bet you had something to do with that didn't you? =)
It reminded me so much of the day we found out you were a girl.. Daddy and I were both crying and thanking God for his blessing.... and for pink. =)
In my heart I really thought God was giving us another baby girl and He truly confirmed His love for us in that moment. She is an answered prayer.
We are naming her Emmaline because we wanted a name that could honor you in a way.. Since Jonah's name honors you through a bird meaning we knew this name was perfect. We thought we were whole and entire with you.. but it just reminds us that He had more in store than we had "planned" and their names are Jonah and Emmaline. We are so grateful for them. Daddy and I love to say sweet Emmaline's name. It makes me smile at how beautiful and feminine it is.. but I have to say, I miss saying your name on an everyday basis. Sometimes when I hear your name out in public it still takes my breath away.. Oh how I loved you and your beautiful name. I say it often here in our home and we speak of it as a family but I do wish I could call your name and see you running towards me. Those are the hardest things for me. I just wonder so much. I'm thankful one day I will know.
I often picture you in Heaven.. I can see you giggling and spinning in circles with a beautiful smile on your face. I picture you in a big fluffy tutu with sweet pigtails in your gorgeous hair... I can't even imagine how pretty you are Maddie. You truly are an angel.
This year as we celebrated our first Christmas in the farmhouse, Daddy read the Christmas story to the boys... and the whole time all I could do was think of and picture you listening to the Christmas story from Jesus himself.. You were with the One we were celebrating.. What an honor. What a gift!
I wish I could just see a glimpse of you there, happy in Heaven.. What a beautiful picture that must be.
So now as this New Year begins and I am faced with another birthday without you, I've determined to try to be happy. For I know that is what you would want.. It's just hard baby girl. We miss you so much.
Everyday, we miss you.
It's amazing the impact you made in my life in just 2 short days.. You changed me forever.
So as we celebrate you today, please know this.. You my sweet girl, are amazing.
You continue to touch lives everyday.
Just a few weeks ago, I know you were able to meet one of the precious ones who was saved at your funeral.. I can't imagine what that was like.. Because of your life and his willingness to accept Jesus, Heaven has grown by another soul. And then just yesterday, his wife came to Church and was saved!!!I bet that was such a celebration you witnessed as her name was written down. Oh how happy this makes me. It was a really sweet gift going into your birthday.. Your ministry continues to touch lives.
Maddie that makes me so proud.. I pray daily for your brothers to live for God and impact this world for Heaven, but you did that already.. You have crowns laid up in Heaven already!! Oh how precious it will be the day you cast those at the feet of Jesus!
I don't know what this year will hold Maddie Grace, but I do know this.. God is continuing to heal our hearts and lead us on the most amazing journey in our lives.
He has now added a story of mercy to our story of grace and hope and we are so thankful.
Sometimes I look at Jonah's face and feel Emmaline kick and I just look at your Daddy and tell him, it's because of her... It's because of Madeline... for they would not have been a thought if you were still here. They really wouldn't.
And though I would never want to ever give you up. I'm glad that God continued to provide love and renewed hope and infinite mercy since He called you home.
It reminds me that He had such a plan with your life.
Such a plan.
So this year, as we prepare to welcome your Baby sister, we are scared Maddie. We have so many thoughts and fears that cross our minds but we are striving and trying our best to just trust God. He knows.
And Lord willing as she enters our family this April, I will think of you. I will remember you.
With every Mother/daughter moment I have with Emma Mercy, please just know that you are a part of it in my heart as well, Maddie Grace.
I know this will make you happy. I know it makes me happy. Yet a little sad that you can't be here with her too.
I'm so grateful to get to use some of the precious things we bought for you for your little sister, but in my heart it's a very mixed feeling. I need your strength Maddie. Please ask God to help me.
And please thank Him for continuing to write a beautiful story with our lives.
I want to make you proud. I want to make your brothers proud. But most of all, Daddy and I want to make God proud. We want our lives to be evidence of the grace He provides for us in our lives.
So today Maddie, as we sing a Heavenly birthday song and send up balloons to you, please know this.. you are NEVER forgotten.
You live in our hearts and our lives everyday. Your brothers are always coloring me pictures and making me art projects of birds and our family with your name listed too.
You are with us every single day.
And I know, in the blink of an eye for you, we will all be together again.
Happy Birthday Madeline Grace!!
Please ask God to wrap his arms of comfort around us today as we celebrate you without you here.
I miss you Baby Girl. Every. Day.
May your life continue to shine through ours and always be a witness of just how good God truly is.
I love you, Maddie! Happy Birthday
Hebrews 4:16 But let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need.