This happened months ago, but just the other day, while digging through a bag of goodies my mother in law dropped off, I found this stretchy bracelet string...I dropped everything I was doing and ran for the bag of beads, I knew I could put it back together now! And then it hit me...but it won't be in the same order anymore...the order Ellie put them in.
The same, those words sat in my heart for a few days. Was I actually okay with that? As I realized I wasn't as upset as I thought I was, I felt like a grown up...well not a grown up, like I had done a little growing up. This bracelet stood for my entire life. When Ellie died, I was broken. All my beads fell off into a million pieces. God is the one who collected all my beads and protected them so safely.
In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream about a huge tree. In his dream, a messenger comes "
My beads are my stump or vice versa. I got chopped down, I hurt immensely, but God kept my foundation in tact until a time that I was ready to see that He still reigns, and He would again let my kingdom flourish, so I don't have a kingdom, but we'll say my life.
Like my bracelet that I have put back together, I am not the same. I don't have all the parts back in the same order, but I'm getting better at accepting that!
When Ellie first died, I was terrified she'd be forgotten by everyone. Our lives had been devoted to Ellie and cancer and that's how I identified myself, with her gone, who was I? If we didn't sell a lot of shirts, or make a lot of money at a fundraiser, I equated that to her being forgotten. I was feeling like a failure, I wasn't making people remember her, because we weren't raising lots of money. When I walked in a store, people didn't know who I was anymore....failure...they don't know Ellie, she's been forgotten. This game played over and over in my head. I hate the question "how many kids do you have" because I never know how to answer...but found myself bringing up my kids so that someone would ask and then I could tell them about my girl. It got a little crazy...more kids got cancer, people moved on to the next big thing, and I felt like my girl was forgotten.....my stump was as low as it could go.
But...Heaven reigns! It's taken me 2 and a half years to realize, Heaven reigns. I've talked it a lot, how great God is, but the hole in my heart didn't always feel that way. I was equating God's goodness with Ellie's popularity. As that popularity wore off, I was left with the realization that, other people's love of my daughter wasn't going to carry me through, just Jesus. It's okay if Ellie's name isn't on everyone's lips. It's okay if someone doesn't know who I am, or that I really have 4 kids, and you only see 3, and that I might not tell you all that, depending on the day. Its okay if I don't see a princess strong shirt everyday of the week or if I raise $10,000 for charity. Its okay if someone slips and says I have two girls...and its okay if I'm the one who says I have two girls, it doesn't mean I love Ellie any less or she's forgotten, that's just what my life is right now.
And Ellie isn't forgotten. She's very present in our family, some very close friends, and even a charity bearing her name. The important thing I must keep on telling myself is, I don't do the things I do for a facebook like or share, and I don't have to do a million things to prove I love my daughter and her memory!
What's important is that I show up each and every day of my life trying to be the best "put together bracelet" I can be (even if its not the same as it was 3 years ago) loving the people around me, encouraging those who are hurting, praying for others, and acknowledging God in all things I do, in the end, its really all about God's light shining through me.
So the bracelet is back on, different than before, still as sweet and beautiful as the day I got it. I even got brave and switched wrists, to the right, because "For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41:13
Thank you Lord for putting me back together, mixed up pieces and all!
~Prayers, Praise and Pink,