Friday, April 18, 2014

Obedience in a White Dress...

Easter is here, and once again my heart wells up with such thankfulness.  I have always been grateful for Easter, but something deeply changed in my heart after Grace passed away.  It stems back to a pivotal moment in my amazing journey of Grace.  I was at a department store looking for that 'perfect dress' for her upcoming Dedication/Birthday celebration.  It didn't take long to find a beautiful pink dress.  It was frilly, flowy, and perfect.  As I held it and rubbed my fingers along the delicate fabric, I thought, how would it feel on her?  Would she be comfortable in it?  I imagined just how beautiful she would look in it.  The soft pink color of the fabric would match her sweet and rosy complexion.

As I walked away, I noticed the same dress in white.  It was out of place on a different rack, most likely placed there by someone with a change of heart.  Perhaps a white dress for a baby would prove to be daunting as it would no doubt become blemished within minutes on a toddler.  I felt a familiar prompting in my spirit.  I kept walking.  I felt it again.  I turned around.  I slowly walked back and stared at it.  I stood face to face with the pureness of it.  The unblemished and perfectly white material drew me towards it.  I wanted to turn around and leave.  I did not want to hear what I was feeling God was saying to my heart.  I heard, and perhaps more accurately, felt the words, "you need to buy this for her."  I stood there knowing full well this dress was not to replace the party pink one.  No, the solemness deep in my heart knew what I needed to buy it for.  I stood there, at odds with myself for quite sometime.  How do you buy a dress that you know you will have to bury your child in?  How do you follow in obedeince to a call that you don't want to hear, and that you desperately don't want to accept?  Tears started streaming down my face, just the start of the tears that would fill up an entire ocean of grief.

I tried to walk away, rationalizing that we could still have more time with her.  I knew she was declining, but tried to justify that we could still go another year or more.  The dress might not fit, if she were to stay with us for another year.  Again, the prompting pounded gently, but heavily at the same time.  My heart raced.  I knew it was my Shepherd's voice.  So I reached out, and with shaking hands gently lifted it off the rack.  I raced to the counter, and without eye contact bought the dresses and ran to the van.  I got to the van and I wept.  Deep, heavy sobs.  I tried to compose myself a few times, but couldn't.  It was getting late and I needed to get home.  So I drove through the torrent of tears, but couldn't make it all the way home, so I decided to stop at my parent's home.  I sat in the driveway for awhile.  Crying out to God.  "But God, she is as white and pure as this beautiful dress.  How can you ask me to do such a thing?  I can't give her up.  I can't.  I fought so hard for her every day.  Please God.  Can't you understand what I am feeling?  She is so little, so innocent, she has done nothing wrong.  She has shown us love, truth and grace.  I want to trust you but please, please don't make me do this!"

As I continued to cry out, again I felt His will, His voice gently saying "But child, I do understand.  My son was blameless, my son was pure.  He did nothing to deserve the penalty awaiting Him.  He showed love, and embodied truth and grace.  Yet, I gave Him up for you, for the world...for Grace.  She will never have to experience true separation from me.  She will never be out of my hand because of what MY pure and innocent son accomplished. He experienced true death, and separation from Me, so that our sweet little Gracie would never have to.  I do understand, and promise to be your portion."

One month later, my sweet baby wore that dress.  She was as white as snow, fautless and blameless, like a little lamb.  She passed from this world into the next without a moment of separation.  She was lifted from my arms into the strong and loving arms of her Shepherd. You see, she too knew His voice, and awoke to the loving nail scarred hands, stretching out for her.  Like a little lamb, leaping into the Shepherd's embrace, she was lead home.  She never experienced true death.  Yes, she was separated from me, but thank you Jesus, she was never separated from her Creator.  Until we meet again sweet girl, Easter will always remind me of the cost of obedience, a beautiful white dress and the ultimate sacrifice of a Father's Son