Tuesday, January 24, 2012

sad, but so glad ... our lives are forever changed

"Molly is God's little image bearer, and her life has been carefully crafted by Him for His glory.  It does not matter to God that Molly's body is not whole.  He made her that way; her life is not an accident.  To say that her malformations were a fluke or a random mutation is to say that her development was outside of God's control.  He forms and fashions His living image bearers with heavenly and eternal purposes in mind.  And He loves each one passionately." - Barbara Rainey, Mimi of Molly
Am I sad she's gone?  Yes.
Am I angry?  Sometimes.
Am I bitter?  No.
"God was sufficient for us in Molly's life and continues to be in the ongoing pain of her death. And He will be enough for us in whatever the future brings. We trust Him. We heard His voice in Molly's life. She changed everything."
-Rebecca Mutz, Molly's mom
"Symphony in the Dark" is beautifully transforming and mirrors my feelings, joys and hearbreak for Gracen.  Grab a box of tissues and read it, or keep it on hand for a friend.

God has so kindly connected Molly's family and ours and such undescribed comfort came as I fell in love with her story.  God connecting His children is nothing but favor.  We continue to be greatly blessed by His connections.  The Lord is entrusting parents with children who impact and change lives through their tiny, fragile, short stay on earth.  I believe parents pray their children to have this kind of impact in a lifetime, and God is doing this in moments, hours and days.
Gracen has been with Jesus almost 4 months.  It's hard to believe Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, 5 year wedding anniversary..has all passed and all without our baby girl.  I recently wrote, "Lately I get all foggy and scattery.  It definitley is such a comfort knowing how many have celebrated and cried with us...but as time continues, less focus from others will be on Gracen.  New, exciting news to celebrate is happening all around us in lives of family and friends.  But while we hurt, we can still celebrate with others who have and continue to care greatly for Gracen.  Still, I can't help but picture us preparing and planning for our baby girls arrival and life, and so desire that again soon for our children to come."  It's hard to hear people say you'll get back to your normal .. We can't get back to our normal because our normal just months ago was filled with hopes, dreams and plans for our daughter growing in my womb.  Our lives have been forever changed and unfortunately life doesn't let you skip the hard parts... so as the especially hard waves of missing Gracen come, we will continue to claim God's sufficent grace.  We trusted God before He blessed us with Gracen and we trust Him even more now. 
"Please don't feel bad!"  I've said this A LOT lately... a question often asked when first meeting someone, "do you have children?"  Our answer is, yes!  We beam with pride at the opportunity to tell our daughter's story.  I've worried at making others feel bad or uncomfortable... but the reaction on their face as they hear of a precious, little life with big purpose shows me how worth it is to share and talk about Gracen!  In fact, others tears are precious to me, their tears carry some of our burden and show beautiful love and care toward Gracen. 
We don't get to show off Gracen's adorable cheeks, her gorgeous auburn curls, her perfect toes and long pretty fingers ... we don't get to see our family and friends hold her and make her smile.  I don't get to dress my baby girl and take a million pictures.  We don't get to use our adorable nursery, instead we have an empty crib.  Many hopes we had for our sweet pea we don't get to do.  What we have been given, is much ... much blessing!  We've been given a window into heaven, a beautiful anticipation of eternity.  We've been given a baby that influences others for the kingdom, a baby girl whos life reflects the magnitude of Jesus.  Everyday we wish it were different, we're sad, but so glad.  It helps in huge ways to hear of Gracen's impact on so many.  So please don't stop telling us the impact of Gracen.  Please don't stop telling others of her story.  Please don't stop praying for us as we so desire our family to continue to grow and grow!
Just a few of Gracen's impacts ...
http://bethanysboringblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/knocked-up.html (her beautiful name for a beautiful new baby ... if its a girl :) )

(a newsletter from an awesome pastor at an awesome church, http://www.journeyabilene.com/)
75 Blessings
Earlier this week I attended a burial service for a baby girl who lived for a little more than an hour. The thirty minute service was conducted on a beautiful afternoon at a nearby cemetery. As I approached the crowd who had gathered for this occasion, I recognized many faces - faces of people who have faith in God.
The pastor spoke words of faith, wisdom and life. We all beheld the beautifully adorned box that held the little girl’s frame. We sang songs together.
In that moment a phrase continued to emerge from my soul. It is a phrase that I have memorized and repeated thousands of times in public and private in my life. The phrase repeated over and over and over in my heart like a short track on my ipod set on repeat.
The phrase comes from the Apostles Creed. It is “ I believe in the resurrection of the body.” It is not a phrase that I have to go digging for in my mind somewhere - it simply rises up within me during moments like this. When death seems to have its way, there are deeper seeds of faith planted within Christ-followers that rise up to say, “But there is more to the story ... this is not the end ... there is a resurrection of the body ... there is a life larger than death!”
Because of this faith, Christians can grieve with hope. There is a world of difference between a hope-filled grief and and hopeless grief. Just as Jesus wept when he learned that Lazarus had died, we too are free to weep and mourn and cry. But beneath the grieving and the loss there is a hope and a faith that death cannot take away.
I saw this hope and faith in this family and in those who had gathered around. They joined in singing songs of praise to God for His victory over death, and in that moment of grief our faith emerged quite naturally.
At the end of the service we released 75 balloons into the air - one for every minute the baby lived. And as those balloons were flying away, I thought about how every minute in life is precious. I turned to the guy next to me and said, “ today is a good day to be grateful for every minute of life.” Every minute is a gift from above. Every minute is a blessing.
With Christ, we can live life to the fullest. We can grieve well and with hope. And we can soak in every precious minute our Lord gives to us.
May we all count our blessings minute by minute, and may we live in the hope of Christ.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Bailey
(Thanks to Ryan and Dayna Saltzgaber for giving permission to share this reflection. For more on their story, see their blog at http://www.rydaysalt.blogspot.com)
our Gracen girl wall

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dayna. My name is Amanda Stagg, and I learned about your blog from my mom, Judy Capps. She has been in contact with your mom about a prayer ministry she wants to start at her church. Anyway, we live in Temple, and I am pregnant with Mary Amanda, who was diagnosed with Trisomy 13 in October...we also have a blog, www.staggfamily.wordpress.com, and have been encouraged by yours. Praying for you tonight, and trying to draw strength from your testimony...I would love to meet! Our baby is due March 29.