Happy 4th Birthday Esther

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Happy birthday Esther Kate! 4 years ago I saw you for the first time. I held your tiny body in my arms while my heart felt like it would burst with love for you. Knowing we would soon have to say goodbye, we tried to squeeze as much love into a few hours as possible. You were so beautiful. You are so beautiful.

IMG_0103Even though we are not together to celebrate, we had a party for you! It is amazing to realize you already see what we cannot imagine. You are experiencing the truest love, and the purest life with our Savior, Jesus. We hurt that you are not here, but we rejoice that you are not really missing out. We are so thankful for your brief life, and its incredible eternal significance. I love you more every day that goes by, and cannot wait to know you one day.

I am so thankful You were given to me.

Love,
Mommy

1,461 days

IMG_00301,461 days ago today I checked into the hospital for the most daunting and heart wrenching event of my life – to deliver my stillborn child. It was beyond any painful surreal experience I could imagine.

Just 2 days prior, our world was changed forever when the words “no heartbeat” became our reality.

Much has changed in 4 years. I have changed. I can personally testify that time, in and of itself, does not heal. It only offers distance from pain. But with time, God can heal. As I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on our journey, I’m thankful once again for those who encouraged us to grieve deeply that we might heal deeply. I’m reminded of the raw pain that became my constant companion for months and months. All of the cliche verses in the Bible about comfort felt hollow, and even offensive.

He will turn my mourning into joy.

God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him.

He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.

The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

How could these be real? Now 48 months later, I can once again see the truth in each one of these verses. I can feel the depth of love with which they were written from God himself. I have experienced what these passages are referring to. I can now comfort others with the comfort I myself have received from the Lord.

The reality of losing a child still hurts. Deeply. It always will. Not a single day goes by that I don’t think of Esther, and wonder who she would be. At every family event, she is missed. Each time I see the special bond demonstrated between Kyla and Elijah, my heart aches to be watching a threesome. Giggling together. Holding hands as they walk down the road. Snuggling under the blankets on a cold winter day. I wish she was here. With every breath, I long to know my little Esther.

And yet, having to walk through this pain, grief, and heartbreaking reality has brought me closer to my Savior. It has caused me to realize I can walk through any loss on this earth because I’m not alone. I can carry my cross and the daily pains of this life because all of my suffering is temporary. I can trust my questions to the One who knows all.

As I both grieve and celebrate Esther’s 4th birthday in heaven, I’m thankful.

Thankful that Jesus didn’t give up on me when I was tempted to give up on Him.

Thankful that He suffered, so that one day I will suffer no more.

Thankful that He died, so that one day death will no longer be the end.

I’m thankful for The Lord’s great mercy to me. HE is still good. I pray that I may trust Him more every single day.

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