I was talking to a friend about birthdays and we both agreed that every year is hard for a different reason. You see, we each celebrate the birthday of a daughter who is no longer on earth with us. Both sweet girls were March babies. A new year begins and before you know it you are turning the calendar to March and aren’t quite ready to face another birthday. It seems like every year should get easier, but I don’t think there is any way to prepare for the pain that comes on that day that you should be celebrating life when instead you are forced to face the gaping reality of death and your daughter’s absence. You want to celebrate, you really do, but the grief can seem overbearing. The first year everything was new and raw and painful. Not having Cora here to celebrate her first birthday, well, I honestly didn’t know how I was going to make it through that day. A few birthdays later and we were suddenly facing Cora’s fifth birthday. Five seemed like such a big milestone. A milestone that we didn’t get to experience with our girl. Last year was kindergarten and Cora would have turned six. As all her little friends celebrated and had school birthday parties I longed to know what it would be like to be doing the same with my Cora. And this year? Well, this year was just heavy. I think my emotions were worn out after walking through all of Griffin’s health issues along with other hard things that we’ve been walking through with friends all at the same time. So when Cora’s day came I just felt like it was too much. And you know what? On my own it was too much. Do you know the feeling? Like you just can’t carry the load on your own any more?
I love that God knows every feeling and emotion I have. And lately I have been feeling all the feelings. I don’t have to try to explain my heartache to Him and hope He doesn’t think I am a crazy lady. He knows me. He doesn’t think I’m crazy or even tell me to toughen up and stuff my emotions. He instead draws close to me and invites me to come to Him in my weariness and burdensome mess. God is close to me when my heart is broken and my spirit is crushed. Isn’t that the best promise? He wants me to come to Him with my burdens and all the heaviness that seems too hard to carry on my own. He wants to carry it for me. And not only that, but when I allow Jesus to meet me in my mess He promises peace and rest. On these days especially, I long for that peace and rest that can only be found in Jesus.
So I opened my eyes the morning of March 5th, 2015, and I told God that just like every other birthday, it felt like too much to get through that day. My girl would have turned seven. I remember the details of the day she was born like it was yesterday. Becoming a mama and holding my daughter in my arms for the first time was the best. The best. I remember that my heart felt like it was going to burst and I couldn’t stop looking at that precious little girl we named Cora Paige. There is nothing quite like that first time you become a mom. I can hardly even fathom what it would be like to have a seven year old little lady in my house today. And I miss her more than I can bear sometimes. I asked God to carry the burdens of that day because I knew that He would. He has been faithful to carry me through the past six birthdays and I was confident that He would faithfully carry me through her birthday again. I didn’t have to try to explain or wipe away my tears because He knew exactly what was going on in my heart. All I had to do was come to Him and lay it all at His feet.
March 5th was spent doing some normal things like spending the morning at the doctor’s office with Jake because of an ear infection. Seizure medications, naps, little boys playing and even a few fits filled the rest of the day. We released seven pink balloons at the cemetery and the boys wondered how long it would take them to get to Cora. And then we spent the evening eating dinner and bowling together as a family. It wasn’t perfect, it was still hard, but it was good. And God carried us through just like He has every year in the past. He is so faithful.
Happy birthday sweet Cora Paige! And thank you to so many of you who celebrated her along with us and prayed for our family too!
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28