Wrapping up 2015 was so much more complex and even time consuming than wrapping up presents for the kids just weeks before for Christmas. This past year was very heavy, to say the least. Big, illimitable emotions every where we turned. We said goodbye to my mother in law far too soon, then welcomed a new baby girl just 5 months later. Profound grief alongside profound joy.
I found myself standing outside on a cold March morning, boots sinking in the once snow covered ground, as I watched my husband and his family lay his mom to rest. Holding my restless son's pudgy hand by my side and feeling our new baby stretch in my belly, I tried to wrap my mind around the vigor in life and the stillness in death. We celebrated the end of her earthly struggle, we knew the Battle was Won, yet our hearts ached mightily. At some point God gave us the courage, the grace, to drive away from her grave. That's when "new normal" began.
Seasons came and went and just when I thought I was finding my way, winter came and I pulled my black boots out of the back of the closet. Chills covered my spine as I discovered dried mud on the heels of my shoes. I froze. The mud my shoes once sank in at her grave site was now dirt clinging to my shoes. It was such a great metaphor for me. The mud represented the heavy, yucky grief, and the dirt was what remained. Grief isn't quite as suffocating for me, for us, as it once was. Our God continues to shower us with grace and guides our steps as we wade into new territory, a life without Brett's mom. But it's there. It has stained our shoes. Little by little it will chip off, but a shadow of earth will remain. And in some funny way, I'm OK with that.
Our good, good Father knows all things long before we do, and I think that's why He chose to give us Caroline when He did. The blessing of a precious baby girl who shares her grandma's namesake has put smiles on faces once soaked with tears. Our broken hearts are being mended, and the heavy cloud of sorrow is lifting. I really am excited for what is to come, despite the expected tough days ahead. We are living Proverbs 14:13, "Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief." Thanks to God's great grace, unwavering hope, and indescribable joy, we're able to smile and laugh and enjoy life in this world with dirt on our boots.