|Cayla's first time outside before we got in the car for our big ride home! |
We were both leaving Cleveland Clinic for the first time in a month.
I remember when I was 15, I went to a week of summer camp at McLean Bible Church. All was well in my world when I left, only to come home that Friday to Mrs. Genter (my mom's best friend) waiting to pick me up at church because my mom was in surgery for, I believe, a double mastectomy. The details are still somewhat sketchy for me. The cancer went from the size of a pea to the size of an orange in a matter of a day or so. This was a hard time for all of us. I don't recall how my older brothers or sister were handling this, but one thing I remember is this record. I played it even more. I cried through the songs. God brought it into my life to have at a point when I'd really need it. That record was a lifeline for me. The songs "Carry Me", "Doves and Butterflies", and "My Father" were my favorite ones. I even sang "A Woman's Prayer" from this record to Lowell at our wedding.
Well, I had my cassette player and went off to college 2 years later leaving my records behind. Over the years as the internet grew, I would try to look her up but never could find her, until about a year ago, not long after Cayla died. I found her website, Daughters of Promise and wrote her an email how wonderful it was to find her online and to tell her how much her music meant to me during one of the hardest times of my life. How I will never forget the impression she made on me as a teenager going through a very difficult time. I also told her about our precious Cayla Joy, her life and death. I also said I've tried to see if my dad could find that record buried away in boxes, but to no avail. Was this music still available on CD somewhere?
Well, she wrote me back that yes, she has turned that record into CD's and that she wanted to send it to me absolutely free. I cried. I'm getting good at that... She promptly sent it with a nice note. I wish she had some of these songs on an accompaniment CD to sing to. I think she said she has sheet music for some of them, but I haven't been able to order those. Maybe someday.
Soooo, for this past year or so, I've been reliving these same songs that helped me almost 30 years ago. :o) Isn't that amazing how God allowed me to find that music just when it would mean the most to me again? I've found myself listening to them over and over until this summer when I misplaced the CD. A couple of weeks ago, I found it and started playing it everyday again in the kitchen.
It was 2 weeks ago on Monday, Oct. 21st that I was singing away when I realized it was my dad's birthday. Then instantly I recalled that 2 years ago on his birthday, I found out that life-changing news that I was pregnant again for the first time in 16 years. The music playing, my thoughts running away... I had my hands in soapy water in the sink and just bent down with my head on the sink and cried. I couldn't breathe and had to stand up. All the emotions came back again, and I cried out to God. I can't help wondering what it would have been like having her here. I'm fine here typing tonight, but at the time I just relived those 8 months of ups and downs and had a good cry. As I was trying to pull myself together standing there, I started listening quietly to the music as it played. These are the words that she was singing from this CD. I love how God orchestrates everything even down to the timing of the words I needed to hear at that moment.
"Oh what a wonderful, wonderful rest
Trusting completely in Jesus I'm blessed.
Sweetly he comforts and shields from alarms,
holding me close in His mighty arms.
Pressing my tear stained cheeks to His own,
Hushing my grief with His sweet, gentle tone.
Touching my heart with His healing balm,
Holding me still in His mighty arms.
Troubles may rage, sin's surges may beat,
Never can they reach my sheltered retreat.
I'm free from all danger, free from all dread,
I'm resting quite safe in His mighty arms."
an excerpt from the song, "Hiding in His Arms"
I just listened and thanked God for Cayla, for the message in the music, for Samuel, for Lowell, for everything that kept popping up in my heart. Tears are very cleansing. I was able to just continue washing dishes and sing along with her again. Thank you Christine Wyrtzen for your testimony of God's power to me. If I had more time, I'd write out the words to all the songs on this CD. I tried to find "Carry Me" on youtube, but nothing that was worth posting. I tried to download the CD onto my computer and copy it here, but that didn't work either. You can hear some of her songs on you tube, or go to her website and order one. :o) It's my favorite CD, I guess since it holds so much meaning to me. You can download the songs from iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/for-those-who-hurt/id405167064 or at least hear clips of them.
Throughout the rest of that week, I thought about the fact that Cayla would have turned a year and a half. Oh, and plus my mother-in-law told me that it looked like they were marking her grave and getting ready to lay the cement foundation. So of course, for the next three mornings, I took Samuel to work, took Lowell to work and then went to the cemetery to see if any more had been done. Well, it hadn't, so I made myself stop going down until I heard more. Here's a picture Jodi, Lowell's cousin took when she set it up for us.
We took off to Virginia on a little "We need to get away" trip to my brother Jim and Marla's house in Berryville, VA that Friday the 24th to Tuesday. Saw my dad too. We laid low and just kind of got rejuvenated. Don't we all need that sometimes? Although I felt bad dropping in on them with Marla being pregnant with her 8th child and due in less than 6 weeks. But they insisted and told us to come. I wanted to go to Lorena Roop's funeral since we were in VA, but it didn't work out. Sorry Kristi.
Being completely honest, which is hard to do with some topics, it was a little bit hard to see Marla pregnant with her little girl due the beginning of December. I really am happy for them. I'm just throwing it out there, because I've had a few struggles with the whole thing. Marla's been so good about being sensitive to me, to all of us. It's hard for her I'm sure too. I've beat myself up by going down the path of... she's a better mother and her little girl will have a house full of siblings to grow up with, while Cayla would end up being raised almost like an only child too. She has 8 children, why couldn't we even just have a second one... Blah, blah, blah. I could go on with more thoughts that plagued me, but you get the idea. I've been able to squash those thoughts pretty quickly, but they resurfaced off and on while there.
God's given me verses from the Bible that have just quieted some of these thoughts. Even in Acts 17:24-25, 28, it reassured me that the one and only, perfect God is completely in control of life and breath and even death. He had a plan for Cayla and numbered her days. I do trust him. Miss her, but trust Him.
"God that made the world and all things therein,
seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth,
seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth,
dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything,
seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
For in Him we live, and move, and have our being;"
I guess I just needed to be reassured that God is trustworthy in what happens in my life. The good, the bad, it all works together to make me who I am. I am thrilled for Jim and Marla and at the same time understand that God gave Cayla life and breath, but allowed her to only live 60 days and in the process was able to point people to Him. :o) I do like that. It just helps me to write it out. Nothing major, but there nonetheless.
Well, it's late, but I'll close with yesterday, Monday, November 4th. I'm finally being forced to change my closets and drawers around from summer to winter clothes. I was pulling out plastic tubs trying to find things. Well, I pulled out a tub of Cayla's things that I hadn't touched since the day after she died when my mother-in-law, Wendy Hollon, and Erin Brown packed up everything for me and helped me sort what to get rid of and what to keep. I had no idea what I'd kept or given away. I thought I'd given away the first little outfit I bought her when I found out I was pregnant. I thought I'd given away her little socks she wore that looked like a ballet shoe on her non-casted foot. I thought I'd given away the little navy and white striped dress with the strawberries on it that she wore. Well, I opened this tub and all of that was in there, plus a sleeper from Grandma and Grampa Joe and the little outfit from Kari Birchler, and some other knitted things and gifts. Well, as soon as I saw her little dress and socks, I lost it. I bawled as I held up the few, little clothes she actually did get to wear. I buried my face in her blanket that she laid on all the time, and I cried. I know I sound like a weak mess of a person who's always weeping and crying, but tears are so healing. And outside of the times I mention in the blog, I'm a normal, as normal as I can be, functioning, wife and mom. At least I think so. I haven't asked Lowell and Samuel. Maybe we'll just keep moving on here...
In the midst of the tears, my heart's cry to God was for another baby, but only if it was His perfect will. God knows my heart. The last thing I want is a baby at almost 44 years old if it's not God's will for me. He knows my heart and knows how much I truly meant every word. If it's His will that I have no more children, then I asked Him to help ease the desire and maybe give me a job or some direction. I've really not pursued a job like I need to. I'm trying to change that. I don't know how it would work with three, full-time people working in this house with one car. It's in His hands. I'm in no hurry. :o)
Well, I'm going to change around a few things in Cayla's little box on her shelf. The socks are definitely going in and I'm going to trade out the onesie for the matching rose outfit and shoes.
I'm ready for bed. This post has been a while in coming. I've tried to write for over 2 weeks now, but tonight was finally the night. I'm feeling blessed tonight. God's been good! Love to all!