Thursday, August 9, 2012

lost & found.

I have been pretty much ignoring this blog and I'm really sorry. This has been a very conflicting summer for me and I've been struggling to find the words I need. The loss of my niece has led me to feel as if this was the worst summer I can remember. But I can't really bring myself to say that because as you know so much of my joy has come from marrying the Coach this summer, and moving home to Tampa and both of us getting the jobs we prayed and prayed we would get. Those things make me believe that this is the most wonderful summer I can remember. And so I keep wondering how this contradiction can be. How can one summer be so deeply painful and yet so very magical at the same time.

I think the answer to all of this can be found in the scripture but I'm not sure where to look. I know that God asks us to use our gifts but also asks us to step outside of our comfort zones so that we can GROW. I wonder if this contradiction is the same. Did God give us the joys of this summer because we had to come out of our comfort zones when we lost Annabelle? What is it that God is asking from us by taking away my sister's 9 month old child? I believe that God is asking us to glorify him through the loss of Annabelle. And I think we may have served him well the weekend of my wedding. I hope that God was pleased by the way we all handled that weekend. But what about now? How do I continue to let her death and her LIFE shape me? How do I continue in a way that does not allow her to be forgotten and a way that allows me to share how the sadness of  her death brought me back to a loving and faithful God that I had all but ignoring in recent years.

I've decided to make the joy and vibrancy that Annabelle brought into my life a permanent piece of me, a lifelong, physical, artistic expression of the way her life and her death shaped me and will continue to shape me as long as I live. On September 8th, her birthday, I'll be having her beautiful name tattooed on my foot. I know it sounds cliche' but to me it's more that body art. I never understood people who tattooed faces and angel wings and dates of death on their body until now. By writing her name on my living, breathing body where anyone can see it, I am creating a tangible reminder that she was here, she did exist. And when people see the small script on my bare foot I hope they will ask me about it so that I can tell them about my niece, and my sister and her husband and the way that they clung tightly to God when she passed away and the way that God filled my heart with love and hope not anger or hate. I hope that by reading her name on my skin, on my temple of God, that I can share with them the importance of my salvation. And I can tell them how my pain would have been so completely different if I did not know the peace and purpose that comes with being a follower of Jesus Christ. And I hope most of all, that this tattoo will shine on the world, just a fraction of the warmth that we all saw and felt in that little baby's smile.

I really do hope that you've all had good summers and I hope to get back into writing regularly as soon as school starts and I'm in a routine. But until then, Love & Peace.

Annabelle with my Dad when she was only a month old.