When I began this series of posts about being healed from grief, I didn't know how to really describe it all because I had not yet experienced Hope's birthday since my healing. Now that it is has passed, let me try to paint a picture for you. Yes, there's a little girl, who's a part of me still, who I will always deeply miss. But I don't feel broken by my experiences anymore. Somehow I feel even more secure in my Father's love. And in the assurance that I will see her again one day. It helps so much to be able to look at the visions He gave me! As the day of her "birthday" grew closer, I felt the absence of her more than usual. My heart longed to be reunited. However, I noticed that I didn't slip into depression over this, nor did any of the bad memories that filtered into my head stick around for very long. In the past, I'd try very hard to ignore certain dates on the calendar, and heading into October, I'd feel a very heavy, overwhelming sadness. That entire month was the month that she was sick, and it was basically horrible for me. My body somehow remembered each date as though it had occurred yesterday, and didn't want to let me forget it. I've heard that this is quite normal among those who have experienced loss, and also heard it can take a long time for those days of overwhelming sadness to decrease in number until they are only one or two out of the year. I know that what God did for me was truly a miracle. In the past, the only thing that had really been able to touch my grief was the homeopathic remedy ignatia. It reduced the frequency and length of flashbacks and help me to function better during those periods of intense grief, as long as I took it for several weeks in a row. But it couldn't take my grief away, and I was always needing to take it again.
I've mentioned that I have a niece who was born a few weeks after Hope's due date. It had always been a struggle to be around her, although bittersweet at times, because seeing her could sometimes be helpful and comforting. Other times I simply couldn't handle it. After the Lord healed me, I began to notice that I could be around other girls Hope's age and be completely fine with it. There is a still a sort of bittersweetness there. But the difference is, it doesn't really hurt me like before and I can handle being around them for a much longer period of time before I really need a break from the constant reminder.
I continue to be amazed at how deeply the Father loves me and cares for me. Each time I thought I had been healed, that surely what he had done for me would be enough to get me through my grief, he was willing to go even deeper, not just to ensure that I was fully healed, but even to satisfy the longings of my heart. A couple months after finishing at the Freedom Center, when I went to get my hair cut, I was once again surprised by His love. Here's what I wrote in my journal:
I went to get my hair cut for the first time in a year. I decided to pay extra for a shampoo, but then the lady asked me if I wanted it curled. I said, "Sure, I haven't had my hair done in a while." That's when I heard God say, "Don't worry, I'm paying for it." And He did - the lady didn't charge me anything for styling it!
Soon after she started curling my hair, a girl walked in with a tiny baby who looked like Hope! I thought, "God, I begged and begged to see what Hope would have looked like as a baby!" Very sweetly He said to me,
"Melody, I love you. You weren't ready yet."
The baby had been born early, and was 12 weeks now, but only 6 pounds and 12 ounces. And she had been about Hope's weight when she was born. She had dark hair like Hope. The mother was talking about the different challenges they'd had since she was born. I tried to listen as my stylist continued to chat. My eyes grew watery, but I was not aching and hurting like I would have before Jesus healed my heart. I do not think I could have stayed after she walked in with that baby if He had not thoroughly healed me. The mother sat across from me with her baby the whole time I was getting my hair curled. Then her husband came and took the baby as he'd just gotten off work. Once again, I tried not to stare as he left with her.
I got in my car and sobbed. Not out of pain, but sweet tears of being undone by God's amazing love ... He gave me two desires of my heart, and in just the right timing, so that I could receive them joyfully, and not feel crushed by grief.
For some reason, when God gave me the visions of Hope, He showed her to me at the age she would be now (three years old). This was great, but I really wanted to see what Hope would have looked like as a baby, and God knew that. To be very blunt, in all of the pictures I have of her, she looks very dead. The only ones I can stand to look at, don't really show her face. The other thing I have asked for, is to see my husband holding her alive. Now I got to see what both of those might have looked like. And this allowed me to see just how fully my heart had been healed. To be able to experience this without falling apart or having to suddenly leave the salon was a testament to His grace.
His love is so deep and so real. And I know that I have only scratched the surface of what He has for me, and for each one of his precious daughters! May you seek to know Him more and more each day as He reveals more of Himself to you. Let Him satisfy the longings of your heart as you bring them to Him and trust Him to be the good Father that He is!