originally posted in 2016
Today is a precious day for our family, a day we remember and will carry in our hearts forever.
Today would be our beautiful baby girl’s 8th birthday. Our daughter, Cara, lived for 16 memory filled days before she passed away on 22nd May, 2010.
I’m not sure we will ever truly find the words to describe our broken hearted pain on the day we lost our baby girl. But our God was and is faithful, and over the days, weeks and months after Cara’s death, He began to put us back together again. Back in those days we vowed that we would grieve but not become grief. We knew that this would always be a part of our story but we were determined that it wouldn’t become our identity.
We weren’t totally sure how we would do all that but we knew all things were possible with God. We knew that we would need to fight for hope at times, we knew we would need to choose differently than our emotions wanted to but we knew our God was a healer.
There is so much more that we journeyed in those days, so many things that we had to process and walk through, many days that were dfficult, but that is not why we are writing this post.
This post is about today.
Because today we are no longer living in that fight; we are no longer having to choose to look for hope and we are no longer living in the loss. Today we stand here, healed. Our hearts are full.
God didn’t only walk with us in our pain, He walked with us all the way through our pain and into the future He has opened up for us.
We wanted to write this to declare that even the most painful loss can be turned into abundance by our Father. He opens that door to us, our job is to make the choices that walk through it. Here are 3 things we found super helpful in getting to today.
We chose to live in the mystery
We, like anyone else in these circumstances wanted answers. We wanted to know why this was happening, what this meant, how could we have done something differently etc. The honest answer is that even if we had received an email detailing the answers to all these questions it would have made no difference to the pain we were experiencing. None of those answers would have changed our circumstance, none would have brought comfort.
We knew if we focused on looking for answers and reason we’d be focusing on the pain and not on His presence.
We simply trusted that God was good and we chose to live in the mystery. We didn’t focus on finding answers but on finding God and we found that He is particularly close to those who mourn.
We chose to re-engage
In the early days we just wanted to run away, not from God but from people. It was just hard to be in public places. All our uncontrolled emotions wanted to do was to stay indoors away from the world and watch TV, escape from what was happening but we knew we needed to re-engage or it would become harder and harder to do so. We chose to go to church the week after Cara passed, we chose to walk down our town and see people, we chose to return to work, we chose to re-engage. In community we found the awesome and the awkward; people who were incredible and helped us, as well as some people who said things that were unhelpful but we knew that we couldn’t do this on our own and that meant embracing all the parts that community brings.
We chose hope
Those days were such a mix of heartache and hope….but we chose hope. We knew that our lives were about more than just us and our circumstances and we knew that if we gave it away we would keep walking into life. We made a very conscious decision to keep hope alive in us.
It felt like we were carrying two things in our hands in those days. In one hand was the hurt, which was real, but in the other hand we carried hope, which was equally real.
We had a choice over which one would be our identity, our reality. We chose hope. Hope remains when all else has gone, it sees a way in the darkest moments and it is free from circumstance so it cannot be tainted by what this world can throw at it.
Today we are writing this living in the freedom of hope and no longer in the fight for hope.
Today we are 8 years on and excited for all that is ahead.
Today we will celebrate our baby girl
(something her little brother is very glad about because it means he gets all the benefits that come with a celebration day; gifts, sweets and birthday adventures