Five years ago today, our beautiful Laynee went to heaven. She was beautiful beyond words, so sweet, so happy, so mischievous. Never, ever had I known a child who radiated so much love and pure joy. She touched the hearts of more people in 2 years, 7 months and 7 days then I could ever hope to do in a lifetime, through adulthood. Laynee has Down Syndrome and I have the wonderful, heavenly gift of being her mommy. My husband is her proud daddy. My children have the honor of calling her sister. We are blessed beyond measure.
The pain of losing her was and still is deeper and more intense than words can describe. But if this pain is the price for having loved her, we would pay it over and over again. We hurt so much because we loved her so much. Heaven is so much closer, so much sweeter knowing that she is there.
I miss her. My heart aches for her every single day.
The first week of September is always poignant. Her accident is remembered on both Labor Day and today, September 7. I cannot separate the two dates. Both evoke keen memories of loving her and losing her. It is a week in which we hang precariously between joy and grief.
Through it all, I continue to be amazed at the provision of a loving and merciful heavenly father, one who draws near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Ps 34:18) He knows exactly what I need and when, and provides so fully. Time and time again, I have seen his provision come in the softest, gentlest of ways. So soft, in fact, that it would be easy to mistake it for something other than his loving attention to our needs. If I didn't know that my God is there, in all the details of my life, I would think of these things as nothing more than a friend being kind, a song on the radio, or just a nice coincidence. But I know. I know that He is God of all things, God of big things and the very smallest of things.
Last Friday I was having an especially difficult morning. My mind was tormenting me with memories and flashbacks of her accident. I became submerged in the murky, messy cycle of self deprecation, particularly in the area of parenting. You see, when your child drowns in your backyard pool, on your watch, any thoughts you may have ever entertained of being a good or even a decent parent are purged from your mind. You are stripped, instantly, of any sense of pride or reputation or self worth. You lose sight of your true identity, often focusing only on the fact that you are "the one whose child drowned." That morning, in the midst of my own negative thoughts, I received a text from a friend whom I have only met one time. She has come to know my son, Grant, quite well but did not know the significance Labor Day week holds for us or the painful direction of my thoughts. The last line of her text said "You guys are super parents." Had this text come from someone who knows us well I would merely have thought they were trying to lift my spirits on a painful week. But as it was I know that it was the Holy Spirit speaking through a new friend, soft words of encouragement, words that I desperately needed that day.
A few days later I went outside in the afternoon to find this leaning against my door frame.
I have no idea who left it there for the attached card had words of encouragement but no signature. I was confused by it at first and it drove me a little crazy, knowing that I couldn't tell the giver "thank you. Then I realized that God, once again, was saying "Trust me. I've got this." I have spoken and written these six words thousands of times in the last five years. They are embedded into my brain and yet, sometimes during the difficult times, my heart forgets them.
Both of these experience serve as a reminder that God speaks to us, through his spirit, in the stillest, smallest of voices. So often he puts thoughts of someone upon my heart. I pray for them and then I move onto the activities of my day. Sometimes I think to encourage that person, but more often I don't. We are his servants, his hands, his feet, his lips. Sometimes a simple word spoken by us is exactly what someone needs to be reminded that He is God, God of the big things and the very smallest of things.
God is good, all the time.