It's been a few days now. My family has gone home for a little while, although they'll be back soon. Cameron and I have a lot of decisions to make and a lot of plans to plan. The next few weeks will probably be some of the hardest of my entire life. I don't want to have to think about these things. I don't want to be making final preparations for my baby girl. I don't want her to be gone.
I've cried a lot theses last few days. I've been so sad that she's gone. I've missed her so much. And yet in the middle of all of it, God is gracious. He has given me peace beyond understanding. He has given me grace to withstand the strain. Even in my saddest moments, I am not overcome. I can't explain it except to say that God is holding me in the palm of His hand. He's really and truly taking care of me. He's giving my husband the ability to be sensitive and kind, even as he's mourning along with me. He's giving me the ability to be kind and loving toward Cameron, even as I don't know what to do.
And that's the thing. I don't know what to do. In all of my talking to my mom, dad, sister, and Cameron the last few days, I've realized that I had managed to figure out how to function with Caroline inside me. I had learned to deal with the strain of hope versus "reality." I had learned to live in limbo. I had learned to love Caroline while she was "with" us in my womb.
I am now in an entirely new place.
I'm no longer in limbo. I'm no longer able to hope for a healing miracle for Caroline. God has answered that question for us. He gave us our answer gently, but He did give us our answer. She came in a surprise way at a surprise time. She came just how God planned for her to. And I am so glad God was in control. He gave us everything we needed. I would never have done it the way He did it, but it was perfect. And His grace and mercy in the midst of it has been absolutely incredible. If I've ever been overwhelmed, I have been overwhelmed in the last few days by God's grace and goodness. I have felt absolutely amazed by His provision and love. Oh my word, He has provided so much. I am so grateful and feel so unworthy of it all.
But even in all of this, I am in a new place, and I don't really know how to handle it yet. Like before, God is getting me through it and showing me each step, but I no longer have any idea what I'm doing. I'm learning to trust God all over again, with a different set of circumstances. I'm learning how to live in a new life, without the earthly presence of my sweet baby girl. I'm learning to rely on God for strength to get through the hard times. Things were hard before, and they're hard now, just in a different way. God is still faithful to give me what I need, as I need it, exactly how I need it.
There are a lot of things coming in the next few weeks and months that I am really not looking forward to. A lot of it is going to hurt so, so much. And I am slightly afraid and slightly unsure of how things are going to go. I am begging God to help me, a lot, these days. Sometimes, I just sit still and cry and lift up a pitiful, "Please help me, Lord." He knows what I mean, even if I can't find words. And He knows I'm trying, however fallibly, to trust Him and His goodness for the future. He knows I'm human, that I have crazy emotions, and that I need His supernatural help to get through these things.
I am so glad He is who He is. I am so glad He can handle all of this. Cause I know I sure can't.
In all of this, I'm trying to maintain my eternal perspective. This mourning is a lot easier if I can remember that it is temporary. When I get to my eternal home in Heaven, my life here on earth is going to seem like a blink, and my time in the presence of my Lord, and my sweet daughter, will be forever. Forever. Like, for all time. Where years won't matter. I don't even know if years will exist.
In some ways, I'm so grateful that Caroline came during the Christmas season. It's going to be a constant reminder that her birthday was near Jesus' birthday (or at least the time we celebrate it corporately). It's going to help me remember that I'm going to see her again because another tiny baby came 2000 years ago. I won't be able to forget it. It will help me keep my focus on what it should be on. Even in that aspect, God is good. He wants the best for me, and He's making it easier for me to remember what I need to remember.
I know I have a lot of difficult days coming. I know I'm going to have some struggles. I know I'm going to be sad, and cry a lot. But I also know God is going to be with me. That He's going to help me. And because of that, I have peace. I don't understand it, but it's true. I am so grateful. So, so grateful. To God be the glory.
Here's some more pictures...