Last post about Christmas, I promise.
Our tree was decorated a little differently this year. When it came time to put on the ornaments, I just wasn't "feeling" my usuals, so I decided that the kids and I would be artsy-crafty and make most of the ornament with Christmas fun/homeschool art projects.
The results were interesting, but not exactly beautiful.
But they were full of lots of beads, and glue, and paint.
(Next year I will have to be a little more focused on creating ornaments that are actually pretty.)
Besides the kids' crafty creations, I did hang up all my "Natalie ornaments" from years past. A week before Christmas I still didn't have this year's, so I went out to Hallmark which very often has the one that is just right. They didn't fail me this year either. I knew I had found the perfect ornament when my eyes welled up after spotting it.
Every life leaves something beautiful behind
I use the word beautiful very often when talking about Natalie. Sometimes I wonder if people understand or think me odd. When I first lost her, I wouldn't have understood. I wouldn't have wanted to understand. In the beginning it was hard to think about how God was going to use a stillbirth in my life. I just wanted my baby.
But my loving Father knew how sad I was, and He saw me cry. And my God is a wise God and a Good Shepherd.
Grief and questions turned to hope and faith. Anxiety turned into peace. Tears slowly wained as I rested, comforted, under the shadow of His wings.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
to give unto them
beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise
for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called
trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD,
that he might be glorified.
It is true, Natalie has left behind much beauty. God's lovingkindness, so clearly and tenderly displayed through His word and through His saints is beautiful. The unity and stronger ties created between Adam and me as we grieved and healed together is beautiful. Knowing I have Jesus who not only walked with me through the valley of the shadow of death, but also brought me back to the land of the living is beautiful. That I can share the joy and hope of Heaven with my three children on earth, and they can understand they have a big sister waiting for them there, is beautiful.
Loss is hard. Life is so short. I think of those of you who had a baby this year that was in Heaven before it ever made it to your arms. I think of those of you who lost a beloved parent or grandparent. Maybe some of you lost a brother or sister. Some may be grieving the death of a spouse or child. There may be some who lost an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, a dear friend; there is sadness in many lives, I'm sure. My hope is that in time, you too will be able to see the beauty left behind.