Thursday, April 28, 2011

Darkness and Peace

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

Dave and I wallow in darkness. We have nightmares. My nightmares mostly consist of me grieving, as if I still grieve while asleep. Last night I dreamt that I broke everything that was breakable in my house out of my anger and frustration. Satan came to Dave in his nightmare and uttered lies to him.

I found myself at 3 in the morning telling the demons to leave my house in the name of Jesus, begging Jesus to protect us, to let us go back to sleep. We prayed to St. Michael the Archangel to help us fight.

I musingly think to myself that these are not signs that life is going our way right now.

If we know anything from Scripture, it is that evil is real. I see the battle for our souls as clear as day all around me right now.

But we do not belong to evil and never will. We belong to Christ.

Five years ago, when Dave and I were first falling in love, he told me he wanted to name his first daughter Georgiana. I told my mom one morning on the phone and it made her cry.

I love the sound of Georgiana's name. I love to see it, I love to think it. It runs in my heart like a neverending song.

But I love even more what her name means. Her name means one who tills the earth, one who sows seeds.

Jesus tells the parable of the sower in the Gospels. He tells those listening that the seed that fell on hard and rocky ground withered away, but the seed that fell on the fertile soil grew into beautiful and nourishing plants.

My daughter has sown the seeds of eternity in my heart and in my husband's heart. She has sown those seeds in her grandparents' hearts, her Nanny and Poppy, her Ya-Ya and her Papa.  I so badly ache to get to heaven now. My daughter's short and sweet life here on earth has watered my heart and my soul so that the seeds of eternity will grow and never falter. She will bring us to heaven simply because of how badly we want to see her and know her.

As my friend Maggie said, "she is our own special saint." She will bring us to heaven, to eternity with Jesus. We are part of her beautiful garden. What an incredibly powerful grace, what an incredibly powerful little girl! My daughter.

In my own human understanding here on this earth, I praise God for sparing my little one the kind of pain her daddy and I now have. I know a mother's love now, and am so glad that God opened up my heart in a whole new way I didn't even know existed. She fell asleep in her mother's love and woke up in her Father's love. She opened her eyes to the warmth and the glory of heaven. I think of the times in my life I have felt joy, and I know that is a tiny fraction of what I will feel in heaven when I am basked in the Father's love. The anticipation overwhelms me. I love that my daughter already knows this, that she is there with her Savior. More sure than my love for my husband, my love for my family, I am sure this is true. This is a thought in my heart the beauty of which I can barely express.

We live in a vale of tears, but only for a little while. Then we shall see Him face to face and our hearts will burst from the joy of it all. For now, I am thankful for all who love Georgiana, for all who miss her, for all who pray for her and pray for us.  I am thankful that I regard my face in the mirror now and I see traces of my little girl, that I look on my beloved husband's face and I see the same. I thank God for my family and my dear friends, who feel the pain of Georgiana's absence as I do. I am thankful she is in my heart, that she knows life more fully than even I.

God still gives me peace in darkness.

My dearest Georgiana, my star in the sky, my special saint, my daughter, how I love you. How we desperately miss you, it is as if part of me is gone. Please pray for us, please ask Mary to intercede, please ask Jesus to have His angels fight for us right now. We praise God and thank Him for your life, we thank Him that He gives you life now and cares for you. We eagerly await the day we will see you again. I will hold you for eternity and never let you go. Love you forever, Mama

Saturday, April 23, 2011


"For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know as also I am known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

A woman who lost her son to stillbirth nearly three years ago recently said to me that once we lose a child, it is as if we have one foot here and one foot in heaven.

She is right.

I would venture to say it is more like the two halves of our soul--one in heaven and one on earth. And it does feel like a huge painful tear.

Georgiana is somewhere I cannot go--yet. In the dark days following her death, I have asked Jesus to take me, to please take my earthly life and take me to heaven so I can be with her, so I will no longer feel the suffocating sadness of being separated from her.

I imagine this is just how Mary felt as she beheld her beloved crucified Son on the cross. The darkness she must have felt, the hopelessness, the fear. My heart is pierced as hers, my stomach a heavy stone.

She must have seen the sunrise on Easter Saturday and felt as black as I do when the sun rises. Her son was crucified, in the most shameful and horrific way. She watched him endure hours of physical agony. I know her heart. She looked at the sunrise on Easter Saturday and thought, my son is in a tomb.

One of my best, dearest friends wrote me an email yesterday. God has given her the grace to understand my pain, to understand Mary's pain. She suffers with us. Here is what she wrote me:

"Katie, there are times when I feel restless at night, or feel a dark cloud of deep sadness enveloping me, or sometimes I start crying so much while I'm driving that I have to pull over...a consuming emptiness, like I'm crying out for help and grasping for help, but no one hears me, and my hands are clawing at nothingness.  I think during these times, that I am suffering with you...almost as if God is linking our hearts across the miles, so I can suffer with you, my dearest friend."

Yes, my dear beautiful friend, God has linked our hearts. This is it, a consuming emptiness, so much it physically aches. I am so thankful for you.

But we know today how the story ends. We know that Jesus has come in glory. He has flung open the cold, heavy door of the tomb.  He has conquered sin and death. His rising from the dead conquered the father of lies.

Appearance was not reality for Mary. As she wept for her child and felt as if she had died with Him, He was preparing a feast like we have never seen. He was opening heaven and opening rooms for all of us in his Father's house.

He has promised us this. He has promised us lilies of the valley and tomorrow. The veil will rise and "He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There shall be no more death, or sorrow, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

The Lord of the Rings has long been my favorite book. I always loved the way J.R.R. Tolkien described death and heaven.

Pippin: I didn't think it would end this way.

Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

Pippin: What? Gandalf? See what?

Gandalf: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Pippin: Well, that isn't so bad.

Gandalf: No. No, it isn't.

My dearest Georgiana, my star in the sky, my saint with the beautiful name, my daughter, how I love you. How I thank God for you, that I knew you inside me, that I know you still. Pray for all of us who are sad without you, watch over me and my loved ones. Please help Jesus prepare a place for mommy and daddy in heaven, a place with beautiful white shores, where it is endlessly green and the flowers grow. Dear baby, how my heart and soul ache for you, I wish desperately to be with you. I am so happy you are in our Savior's arms. I love you forever, Mama

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday Thoughts

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
He leads me beside the still water, 
He restores my soul.
He guides me in the path of righteousness
for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence
of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life.
I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
-Psalm 23

The Nicene Creed speaks of the seen and the unseen. My mom and I have talked about this many times in one of our great many discussions about faith, the spiritual world and heaven. Many times in the last month since Georgiana's death I have keenly felt a battle going on around me between the unseen--angels, saints and yes, even demons. I have felt this battle for my soul, in the darkest moments of the night, when I feel on the edge of despair, when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, when I have asked God why He did not take me instead, when I have begged Him to take me now instead of my child and return her to life.

It's funny, though, how faith works. Jesus asks us for the faith of a mustard seed, for faith like a child, and I have that.

I do not believe Georgiana's death here on earth was God's intent. She died to her earthly body, which is an evil, the result of the fallen world we live in. But I also know Jesus took her to be with Him, and that is how His saving grace transforms all that is ugly and makes it beautiful. Beauty for ashes. 

The day after she was born, I stood in the shower in my hospital room and found myself talking and praying to God. I also remember very clearly saying to the evil surrounding me--"you will not win."  

I understand this when it comes to my soul. Satan wants me to give into despair and turn from God. This is how one-sided evil is, though. It doesn't understand the capacity of human beings to reach for God, for the Savior they were created for. In this horrific tragedy, which I hope and pray is the worst I ever have to endure, my entire being has turned towards God. I am no longer afraid of death. The shield of Christ is so much more than any despair or sadness I feel for all of us who miss my daughter.

I am reminded of King David, who lost his infant son only days after he was born. When the elders told David his baby had died, he washed, changed his clothes, and praised God.

So this is what I do. I wash, I change clothes, and I praise God. I take each painful step knowing I am walking in His grace. I suffer each day taking comfort in God's promise that heaven is beyond anything we ever could imagine or dream.

I know this Easter will be very hard. There is no escaping it, just like there is no escaping this grief and pain. I wanted to give my first daughter her first Easter basket, and that makes my insides feel shattered into a thousand pieces to think that I will instead have to take flowers to her little grave. 

But then I have to remind myself of what Easter is really about. Easter, in the end, is not the Garden of Gethsemane. It is not about the tears of blood Jesus cried, or the tears that I cry. It is not about the waking nightmare I am in right now.  Easter is about the Resurrection, the glorious moment when Christ saved us all, about His promise that we would be with Him in eternity. 

Easter is God's triumph over sin and death. It is about life.

Easter is why I know my little one is with Jesus.

Easter is hope.

Georgiana, my saint with the beautiful name, my daughter, how I miss you. How my heart and soul ache to see you again. I am broken and walking with a heavy cross. But I know you are walking among the fragrant lilies of the valley and you are happy, little one. Happy Easter, baby girl. I love you forever, Mama

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A love letter to my baby Georgiana

"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, relentless as the netherworld is devotion. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame." Song of Songs 8:6

My dearest Georgiana, my daughter, my saint,

It has been a little over a month since we lost you on March 20. My perfect child, you came out of my body exquisite, with hands just like mine, fingers long and strong and graceful. You would have played the piano like we had hoped. You had slender feet just like your daddy's.

You had the most beautiful mouth I had ever seen. Although your eyes were closed, I peeked at them when you and I were by ourselves in the hospital room together. They were the most beautiful deep ocean blue, and I know they would have stayed blue like your daddy's eyes. You had a full crown of soft honey blonde hair.

Your little body was still, sleeping forever, and Jesus had already taken you, my baby, to Heaven to be with Him.

Your absence has broken our hearts. Your wonderful name--Georgiana Bliss--breaks my heart still. I cry that I will never be able to say your name aloud as much as I had hoped, but have to say it instead to myself in the silence and the darkness of the night.

We are left to pick up the pieces. Your daddy and I are struggling. We must somehow live on in this fallen world for many years, away from you. I know that someday I will meet you again, that your beautiful deep blue eyes will look into mine, and I will know that you have always been happy, even without me. I am so incredibly sad and lonely without you.

My body still bears the evidence of your birth. The soft mama's belly that I am now familiar with, the jagged and beautiful stretch marks across my hips. I smile when I see them in the mirror. You have left pieces of yourself on my skin. I hope they stay.

To meet you again one day is the deepest desire of my heart. I pray to God all day that He loves you better than I could, that He gives your parents the grace to spend eternity with you. I am so happy to know that one of my children is now a saint, wrapped safe in the arms of Jesus, showered in Mother Mary's roses and holy fragrance. I know that this life is but a moment compared to eternity.

I imagine that Jesus holds you as you look down at us. Your daddy told me the other night what you were doing in heaven. You asked Jesus, "Why are mommy and daddy crying?" He told you, "Mommy and daddy will be sad for awhile, but not forever. And they will get to meet you someday."

This gives me peace.

Pray for us, my sweet Georgiana.

Love you forever, Mama