From my experiences with Macy and Eden, the 18-24 month phase has always been one of my favorites. It feels like their personalities exploded at this age (Macy's had been exploding since about four months!) and I just have the sweetest memories of them toddling around and figuring out new things about this world they live in. And the fact that they were still clingy to Mommy during this adventerous phase didn't hurt.
This past Sunday, Sadie would have been 18 months old. There are no words to describe the ache I feel for her. I've tried to find them, but it's like "trying to describe a color that's never been seen." (a quote I read the other day.) My heart breaks when I see babies at the age she would be. I only know her as 6 pounds 4 ounces and the desire to know her now at 18 months would be unbearable apart from the Lord's provision for me. I was able to peg personality types so early with Macy and Eden, and even Kate now. But to not know what this beautiful baby girl would've been like is devastating. She was so active in the womb, I've wondered often if she would've been even more of a fireball than Macy.
Our "pure, work of the Lord" and sweet picture of His redemption is now 12.5 weeks old.
My heart is so full with these sweet girls; loving on them and watching their precious interactions. But I have also ached more for Sadie these past 2.5 months than I was prepared for. I read an article the other day about how children can not be replaced. The author, who had lost a child, had received a comment about how young she was and how she could have more children. Like this would "fix" it. I've received some "replacement" comments as well and thankfully the Lord gives abundant grace to respond in those moments in a way that is loving and honoring to Him. Sadie will never be replaced. We know that and knew it before Kate arrived. My mommy heart struggles at times trying to protect her memory and sometimes I have to hold back the urge to shout "we are not over this". Josh and I have realized more now in these past 2.5 months of new life with Kate, that we are carrying a hurt that will never fully go away. That realization hit in the moments after the silent ultrasound but still takes my breath away at times. I will ache for her forever. A family friend who had lost a child shared with Josh, "Yes, it was 60 years, 3 months and 11 days ago…"
Kate is such a precious gift who already has such a powerful story thanks to her big sister, Sadie. We are overwhelmed with His goodness and humbled by His sovereignty. Holding her for the first time; bringing the girls in to see her; introducing her to family and friends; bringing her home…all of these things have been treasured memories for us and light from a very dark season of loss.
In these continued moments of grief, I'm so thankful the Lord in His steadfastness continues to provide for each need and understand every hurt. He's the only One who truly can. I remember in those early days, spending time with Josh and sharing my heart would minister so much to my soul, but there was still this barrier to him understanding my hurt completely. I couldn't even put words to every single hurt and feeling I was having, so it was impossible for him to know. The Lord confirmed that in my heart early on: He was the only One who could. Though our strengthened relationship as husband and wife has been one of those Romans 8:28 "good" works that the Lord has brought about in the aftermath of her loss. And so many others…
Sadie's tree has really flourished lately, the bounty of rainfall we've received hasn't hurt it, that's for sure. When we first planted it at the one year mark, I thought about how it would be such a picture of time passing as it grew each year. These milestones and anniversaries are rough. My heart is already gearing up for Mother's Day. But wow, I'm blessed. Raising these sweet girls is my heart! They are changing and learning new things every day. And I can't even address the impending issue of kindergarten coming up in the fall…I treasure these toddler years! And I'm so very thankful for all four of my girls. He truly is faithful.
"Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you."
1 Samuel 12:24
"Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly."