As many of you know, a good friend of mine recently had to say hello and goodbye to her sweet baby boy Tyler on the same day like so many of us have. While she was in the hospital, a lady who had too been in our shoes gave her a basket with items to comfort her.
One of the items in the basket, was the book I will Carry You, By Angie Smith.
My friend had previously read the book digitally and on her next trip to our town, she brought it to me. I had heard from many people that the book was very good.
Truthfully, I have even recently considered buying it for myself. I just haven't. When she sent it to me though, I felt like I was in the right place to read it. Friday night I began my journey through learning Angie and Todd Smith's journey through saying goodbye to their sweet Audrey Caroline. I read a couple of chapters and set the book down with intentions of finishing the book on Saturday.
Saturday afternoon, after I had taken Payton to the lake to go swimming, and we had stopped by the cemetery to visit Jake I came home to finish the book. We experienced a strong set of severe thunderstorms that knocked out our electricity from about 7:00pm Saturday night until 2:00 pm today. These storms gave me plenty of unexpected time during the few remaining daylight hours last night to devote myself to this book. I spent all afternoon reading.
Soon after I began reading I was reassured when I read that " He( Our Lord) has not forgotten , nor has he abandoned us." I know all too well how easy it is to get lost in my grief and sorrow and to begin believing that the Lord has abandoned me, or forgotten me altogether. Angie believed from the day she learned of Audrey's many problems that the Lord hadn't left her and their family. As time passed, she and her husband made a point to include their children in the short amount of time they would have with their daughter. They asked each of their three daughters what they would like to do with their youngest daughter and what they would individually like to teach her.
I can only imagine the horrible pain this question and the answers the Smith family received from their daughters.
Angie quotes Job while describing her hurt. This verse is so very much how I feel, and shows how really nothing has changed since the times of Job, and the Lord is still here for us.
"Yet, if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. Surely, O God, you have worn me out." Job 16:6-7
Angie speaks of wanting to run away from her pain and trying to fill the void in her life that the hurt is leaving.
I know from experience, wanting to fill this big gaping hole in my life and knowing that no matter how hard I try. Nothing but the Lord could ever fill it.
As I read page by page of I will carry you, tears came to my eyes. Angie's five year old daughter had drawn a picture of a rainbow with a clown by it for her baby sister. She wanted to put it in Audrey's "basket" (casket). She then asked her mother if they could put it in the mailbox and if the man would get it and take it to her. This touches me because just the other day Payton was drawing a picture of a rainbow. He has on more than one occassion wanted to take something to Jake. He made him a necklace and told me to take it to him. He asks if I can tell Jake to come down from Heaven and come live with us again.
Payton's Rainbow picture
I love the way Angie explained to her daughter that although Audrey was not physically in the house with them she could see what they were doing, and she could see the picture her big sister drew her out of love.
Then, after this simple explanation, her daughter took the picture she had drawn and lifted it over her head, and tilted her head backwards as if looking for her sister's reaction and after a moment smiled. Angie asked her if her sister liked it, and she said she did.
The idea of the rainbow is so beautiful. After all of the clouds have gone, and the rain is over, there is something beautiful in it's place. It is logical for me to see where children would understand this. Unlike me, who focus more on the storm most days. I am stuck on the ugly and worrying about all of damage it has done and will continue to do. The picture below is of clouds here yesterday produced by a Severe Thunderstorm.
As I thought about Rainbows today I wanted to make my own rainbow, to show how my view of a rainbow is. This turned into a craft episode in the middle of my bedroom floor. I compared how my rainbow took so much effort to create and how it was so elaborate. Payton's rainbow is simple, mine is more a man made idea of what a rainbow should look like. I wonder which one God likes more. I'd like to think he likes the simple. We should be happy with the rainbow he created for us. The one he and Jake and Audrey and all of the other people in Heaven look down upon.
These are the materials I used for my rainbow, Payton just had crayons. :)
<3 My finished rainbow picture <3
More tears fell as I read of the love of a big sister when Angie took Kate to the cemetery to visit Audrey when her grave marker came in . Kate was so very excited to go see her baby sister, and at two ran and got a piece of a Barbie magazine to give to her. Angie spoke of great sorrow in Kate's eyes as she realized that they were not actually going to see her sweet baby sister.
I've seen and known this hurt as I've talked to Payton over the last five months. Payton often asked in the early days if we could see Jake because he never had that pleasure here on earth.
If you haven't read the book "I will carry You" by Angie Smith. Please do. If you cannot find it or currently don't have the funds to purchase a copy for yourself. Please let me know. Feel free to email me at Jessica.Stillloved@yahoo.com , I would be happy to send it to you.
I hope each of you have a blessed Sunday evening.
Much Love and Many hugs from one hurting mommy to another.