Surprise!

Every month, there are special recognition days for most any cause or human condition.  Last week included a day specially dedicated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. As a bereaved mother of an infant daughter and having had two miscarriages as well, I’ve come to recognize this day, even promote it to others.

Ironically, or not, two special things happened to me that day.  And I give God thanks.

I challenged others to join me in doing random acts of kindness to honor a mom or remember a child on that day.  Unexpectedly, I was the recipient of such an act.  A distant relative, who knew nothing of my challenge or the date, sent me a blanket she’d crafted with squares made to symbolize each of my children, including my deceased daughter Ashlynn.   It arrived on the very day – the day of remembrance. The gift was a complete surprise and I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.

There were also a series of unexpected events that resulted in the opportunity for me share Ashlynn’s life with a group of ladies in Bible study on the very same day.  And it wasn’t just a chance to talk about my daughter, it was a time for me to share ways that God has taught me about His love through her life and the value that each life holds, no matter how long or short.  Again, I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.

I’m not sure why God chose to encourage me on that specific day in two touching ways, but I’m convinced that it was His doing and timing.  I’m thankful for the reminder that He sees us each day and always knows what’s going on in our lives, down to the very day and moment.  I pray that you sense God’s presence and love today. Blessings!

Dear Ashlynn

While I always carry you with me, I keep you in a safe place in my heart.  A place that’s secure. A place that I fully open only when I’m ready for the flood of love and emotion that washes over me.

Tonight, the door swung open wide; music serving as the key.  It had been too long.

Immediately sadness and joy collided.  Pondering, longing followed.

I wonder why God chose us.  Why He chose me to be your mother and you to visit for such a short time. Words are inadequate. They elude me. Answers run just beyond my grasp. But this I know: I’m thankful that He trusted me with your life. I’m thankful that you will always be part of me.  I celebrate you and the new life you represent. You are a precious gift, treasured and loved.  I love you, sweet girl, and look forward to the day that I hold you again.

Love always, Mom

Proof that My Daughter’s Life Mattered

A Mother’s Day post in memory of Ashlynn

God never fails in showing me His love, and I’m touched by the His unexpected gift tonight… a perfect gift on Mother’s Day.

Some years,  Mother’s Day is hard for me because I’m keenly aware of Ashlynn’s absence.  This year, however, I was camping with my middle daughter, battling allergies, and whispering my way through a bout of laryngitis.  Needless to say, my thoughts were occupied most of the weekend.

But tonight, as my household became quiet, I received a touching email.  My friend wrote:

“As I was picking strawberries today, there was a father yelling at his little girl, Ashlynn. He kept yelling her name over and over again. I stopped what I was doing and said a quick prayer, ‘Dear loving God, please help this father have patience and see what a precious gift HIS Ashlynn is, because I know another mom who would give anything to pick strawberries with HER precious Ashlynn. Show him that she’s only excited about picking strawberries and not trying to aggravate him. Amen.’  You know what, it was quiet after that.  Just a giggle here and there. Powerful. Happy Mother’s Day, dear friend. ‘

Powerful indeed! I was speechless as happy tears made there way down my cheek. 

Once again, there’s evidence that my daughter’s life had meaning and continues to have lasting impact.  My friend prayed for another precious girl and her father today because of my daughter’s life.  And her prayers were heard. And then she took the time to share the experience with me, probably not even realizing the magnitude of the gift that it was.  I love the beauty of how God works, because in that simple act, while picking strawberries with her family, she was being used by our God Almighty to touch lives – mine, a father and his daughter, and hopefully yours.

Words can’t contain my gratitude tonight – for my friend, for the gift of my daughter, and for a God who is gracious and shows me reminders of His love for me.  Ashlynn’s legacy lives on even though her physical body doesn’t.  And what a gift to know that she continues to spread love even in her absence. 

I pray that you experience the depths of God’s love today and know that your life matters to Him.  All life matters to God –  regardless of size, age or nationality – so let’s take time to cherish it and those around us.