Friday, August 24

Happy Birthday Reese!

Today Reese Aleyna turns two in Heaven. She is the precious daughter of my friend Mary Beth, and I wanted to create a small something to honor her and the growth that her parents have undergone in the last two years. 

I was almost finished with this print when I received an email from MB, telling me how her eldest daughter Riley wanted to send Reese a birthday cake via pink and purple balloons. It was a little bit of God's irony in my day; I hadn't decided what "gift" the balloons would be tied to, and then little Riley filled in the blank.

Happy birthday, sweet Reese! We look forward to the day that we see you!  

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Wednesday, August 22

bringing me back

Dear Gwendolyn,

I wonder if the end of summer will always bring me back to you. In 2010, the end of summer made us deliriously happy, thinking that you were so close. We started driving to San Antonio for birthing classes and once a week appointments with gusto. Back to school supplies and fall decorations flooded the stores. You dad and I went to a pumpkin farm for kicks, and you rivaled the size of an 18 pound jack-o-lantern (in my belly of course; you were a bit smaller once you were out... but just a bit.) Fall brings me back to you, making your absence "like the sky, spread over everything" once again.

I miss you, Gwen. I'm so thankful that I can look forward to seeing you, and that the grief of losing you has softened from a raging despair to a deep, abiding longing. I can hope and trust and cry at the same time. (I think this is healing?) And yet, the reality of our separation has created a yawning chasm of fear in me. I am so afraid of being separated from my Loves here. Last night I laid in bed, with a hand on both your Dad and Malacai's backs, just feeling them breathe and reminding myself that it's okay to fall asleep; they will be there in the morning.

"The Lord did not give you a spirit of fear," your dad reminded me after I woke him with my tossing and turning. And yet I am afraid. So that leaves me to conclude that I am not trusting Him... which causes me to be afraid (and I smile ruefully, recognizing the cycle.)

My problem is this: I want to want Heaven more than anything else. I want to long for it the way that Jesus tells me to. I want the reality of it to so own me that I cease to hold so tightly to everything here. But I am afraid to pray for that kind of conviction, because the Lord just might give it to me. And if He does, then will He take Blair and Cai away?

And I recognize my faulty reasoning; my thought process reveals a faulty belief about God's character. And yet...

And to think that I could have an almost two year old toddling around instead of all these fears! Oh Gwenny. What a different life I would have had. But this is God's goodness;  I am determined to discover all of it's treasures.

I love you Gwendolyn Hope Cushman. I will see you, sooner than I know.