” For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10 “
This weekend our family packed up for our first camping trip of the year. The weather was great, and I was so excited to get away from the daily house hold chores, never ending errands, and hectic schedules…but when we arrived I couldn’t shake the uncomfortable feeling that something was missing.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that it wasn’t something missing, but someone. That the last time I had been at the campground, just one year prior was with Audrey…..and that after her death it had been my escape…..my safe place to grieve her death.
As I walked that evening in the fresh crisp valley air with a baby boy strapped to my chest, I could hear the peepers around me. I became anxious as I reminisced and remembered my little Audrey while I experienced the same moments with Asher. In that moment it was if I could remember the weight of her body in my baby carrier. I remembered making sure she was warm and cozy in the cool air, and proudly introducing her to our campground neighbors.
It seemed so crazy…..so unreal, there here I was…just one year later with another child. A beautiful special wonderfully made child….but a different child.
A sense of relief and peace came over me as I continued to walk in silence. I realized that no matter how much I enjoyed, loved, and was ever so thankful for my newborn son…that God was not going to allow me, nor expect me to forget about her. That just as Audrey had never been able to replace the loss of our Alexis…Asher was never going to be able to replace her. That it was okay. I was allowed to grieve her and be thankful at the same time.
Feeling the need to pretend to be magically all better because I had been blessed with a new baby was a struggle I had wrestled with since Ashers birth. In fact, there had been times where people had shared words with me that only deepened my insecurities. I remember the feeling I got as I heard the words ” Congratulations, I am so glad you have him here to fill the void” for the first time. Although meant with good intent, they stabbed in to my heart each and every time I heard them.
I felt guilty because I didn’t feel that way at all. Welcoming this little one in to the world not only did not fill the void or lessen the pain I felt for my daughters death, but he also brought with him another piece that I feared of losing as well. I wondered about what people would think if I had answered the truth to that statement instead of uncomfortably shaking my head yes. Was I not being thankful enough for the gift I had been given? Was I being selfish…like a rebellious child who kept continually asking her father for something I knew I couldn’t have? Surely God knew my heart. Surely he could understand my desperate longing that remained for my daughter, but also my wholeheartedness appreciation for my son.
I love this little baby. It didn’t take long for me to fall completely in love with his every wrinkle, long eyelash, and the dimples on his ear. Not only that, but I am extremely thankful for every dirty diaper, sore breast, and late night feeding as it means that he is here with me to be cared for and loved on. He has brought with him a piece of my heart that I never knew existed before his birth. Asher has showed me true grace from God and is living proof of how miraculous he can really be.
Ashers birth was not an end to a grieving process that has really only just begun. Ashers birth didn’t replace what was just here a short year ago. You cannot just insert him into the picture where Audrey used to be and make everything okay again. It’s not that easy. Our mama hearts do not work that way….and I don’t believe God does either.
Just as we are all uniquely planned out and handcrafted for his works and he does not forget any of us, why would I expect that he would want me to be any different. His gift of my amazing little boy is a true blessing…..but I do not believe that he was just given to me to fill a void, or to replace another child that he also had given to me. Her life had more meaning than that. His life has more meaning than that.
Ashers arrival has filled my aching empty arms. He has brought joy and light to the darkness. Not Asher, but God…… it is his unfailing perfect love , his grace, and his hope that has taken up residence and began to fill the voids in my life that would have been left empty without him.
He is the reason that I can begin to fell whole again. It is because of him, his loss, and his kingdom…that I will be able to be reunited with both of my girls. My daughters are with him, hence they are with me. Because of that he is the reason that my empty space…my voids…have never really been empty to begin with.
…….and that, that is what I am truly thankful for.