Why the Need for Restoration:
Twelve years ago on June 6, 2000, I gave birth to my middle child. I chose her name while I was holding her shortly after giving birth. Sarah Elizabeth. As I think back I remember loving the name Sarah, but not with Marie; however, my mom’s middle name is Marie, my middle name is Marie, Hannah’s middle name is Marie….anyone see a pattern here? So in my limited mind I felt as if Sarah’s middle name should have been Marie, but I didn’t like the sound of it…at all. So while laying in the delivery room I called a friend, a very close friend at the time, Carolyn, and ran my dilemma by her. She threw out Sarah Elizabeth and I instantly fell in love with it! As I was holding my little love I joyfully felt resolved in FINALLY answering the nurses who had frequently asked me what I was going to name her. Sarah Elizabeth. Thank you, Carolyn.
As the Lord has the power and right to do, he called Sarah home at 11 months old. The day we (my ex-husband and I) dedicated her. On Mother’s Day. May 13, 2001.
(For those who do not know me, let me briefly state that our divorce had NOTHING to do with Sarah’s earthly death. In fact, both Jeremy and I divorced spouses who were repeatedly unfaithful. However, that is a different story for another day, or for never, who knows. but not for today.)
It took me YEARS to work through the emotions and the aftermath, but here I am, 12 years later and the Lord continues to restore my heart along with many areas of my earthly life.
Restoration Within My heart and Our Home:
Almost 3 years ago now I was folding laundry for Jeremy. We were engaged at the time and he came over for dinner almost every night. Since his apartment did not have a washer and dryer it only made sense that he would do his laundry at my house (this was a far better alternative then dinner at the local laundry mat…lol). So, one night a week he would lug over their laundry and work on it between dinner and his departure. Occasionally he would have too much to complete in one night and I would finish it the next day so that he could take it home with him the following night. I will never forget folding Kaylee’s clothing for the first time, realizing that she is only 3 months younger then Sarah would have been. These clothes could have fit my Sarah. This is how tall she may have been. These pants would now fit her oh-so-tiny legs. I couldn’t believe it. I stood in front of my dryer crying, in sorrow and in joy. In sorrow for the obvious, the fact that while I REJOICE in her eternal salvation I hurt in missing her. In joy because God was about to give me a step-daughter that was so close in age to my little love that I could not help but to feel blessed.
As if this wasn’t good enough, Jeremy and I gave birth to our daughter on Nov. 21, 2011.
We named her Annalee Seanna Brooks.
Annalee: Grace, favor; Gracious
Seanna: God is gracious.
Anyone see the common thread in the meaning of her name? :o)
Not only has God shown grace to me and restored my life in countless ways by blessing me with Jeremy and Kaylee, but he has chosen to shower me with love by allowing me to raise another child of His, and with a man that I adore.
However, as Annalee’s birthday approaches I think it is only natural that I would encounter a host of emotions. After all, I remember working on the beginning plans for Sarah’s birthday party to only be celebrating in a cemetery instead. And please do not misconstrue, through my tears I truly celebrated. I celebrated the fact that she is home with the Lord, that she only knows joy, that she is praising her Savior…celebrate I did. Through the tears.
Now here I am, 12 years later and I am beginning the process of planning another first birthday and it’s an ironic thing because I am both excited and grievous all at the same time. I missed this with Sarah, but Lord willing I will experience it with Annalee. Lord willing, I will raise her to love and serve her heavenly Father. Lord willing, she will chose to love and serve her Savior faithfully. Lord willing…..Lord willing….Lord willing.
Those two words, Lord Willing, have come to mean so much to me. After all, no sane individual would self-will the earthly death of their child. No. Never. Yet, Jesus willed it for me and there are no words to express the gratitude. In that moment of thought I was taught and am reminded that His will takes preeminence over mine, as it should.
With the magnitude of that purposed and planned sacrifice in mind, as I began planning Annalee’s first birthday party I refocused and was reminded that my Lord willed His Son to pay the debt for mankind’s sins, opening the gates of Heaven to my daughters, to me, to all of us. Lord Willing. Wow. Your Son for mankind. Lord Willing. Amazing. Lord Willing.
So while I have moments of sorrow, I know that I can and should rejoice. Not only did God give His Son for us, but He went beyond that! The Lord chose to restore areas of my life that He didn’t have to, but He chose to! My God chose to show kindness, love and faithfulness to me in blessing me with the privilege of raising Hannah. He showered me with love when He blessed me with a Godly husband who seeks Him wholeheartedly. He displayed grace to me through a step-daughter that I love as if she were mine; and He displayed abounding kindness to me in allowing me to raise a child with the love of my life (along with two older sisters who are the greatest big sisters Annalee could ever have!).
So while I may occasionally experience a host of rather unique and even conflicting emotions over the next month I do know that I am NEVER without hope and I am NEVER without thankfulness. So, bring on the emotions…so long as they are ruled by the Lord and experienced in light of Scripture!
In all of this, I am learning that WHEN I surrender to His will I will know a peace that is not definable, a joy that is unexplainable and a love that it is incomprehensible.
From these experiences the Lord is refining and restoring!
Thank you, Lord. Thank you for willing Your Son to be my Sacrifice! Thank you for loving me enough to go beyond my eternal salvation. Unbelievable, right!? Thank you for ministering to and restoring my heart. Thank you for blessing me with my family. Thank you.