Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Shape of this Year

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It’s amazing how something so painful can also reveal some of the things that I wish I knew all along.  Like how much more important people are than things.  How much more valuable time is than gifts.  How much better it feels to give than to receive.  How many of our daily complaints may in fact be our biggest blessings.

2013 has been a salt in the wound kind of year.  I have never cried so much, hurt so deeply, asked why with such passion.  I have never beat the ground in such agony, sobbed so desperately over something that used to bring me such joy.  I have never asked “why” so many times, knowing that I probably won’t get the answer this side of Heaven.  I have never questioned my God’s motive so much as I have this year.  Before this year, I honestly thought happiness in life was mind over matter.  If I ACT positive, then everything will BE positive.  I learned that there are some things that can happen in life that, although we will stand again, just completely knock us down and leave us in the most helpless place we have ever been.  There are things that can happen that keep you from seeing a silver lining because of the well of tears that cloud your eyes.

I have also never seen such compassion.  Such love.  Such encouragement from others.  I have never read such heartfelt stories.  Testimonies of how lives have been changed.  I have never seen one little life stir the hearts and souls of so many.  I have never seen God’s hand so literally reach down and grab a hold of me and so many others.

Losing the opportunity to experience life with Sadie (alive and in the flesh) was so up close and personal.  It’s much easier to absorb these things happening to somebody else’s family…not ours.  I’d much rather learn by reading about someone else’s story—I didn’t want the story to be my own.  Selfish?  Maybe.  But wouldn’t you agree?  Tim and I have actually laughed because, although many have told us over the past few months that they admire us—no one actually wants to BE us.  You’d have to be crazy to desire such heartache.

But we are stronger as a couple.  We are stronger as a family.  We may cry more, but we are learning and living with each tear that falls.  We are learning when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’.  We are learning what ‘love one another’ truly means, and that it sometimes has to be a very conscious decision.  We have learned that we really did mean the vow we gave to one another on our wedding day–“in good times and in bad…in sickness and in health”.  We are learning that it is more important to follow God’s will than man’s will for us.

All of these things really do describe how I have felt over the past year—it has been an absolute emotional roller coaster.  I can honestly say that, although I will never, ever, ever be happy about losing my precious daughter to childhood cancer, I have learned so much through this journey.  And the journey is far from over.  I have a strong feeling that this will be a life of learning to live by faith.  I mean REALLY living by faith.  Not just saying it, but acting on it.  God has shown me more of Himself than ever before…or is it that I have sought Him more than ever before?

 

And so our faith and hope is summed up in the words of my new favorite song, “Oceans” (this is not to downplay scripture, because there are so many words that have spoken to me through the verses of the Bible this year).  Anyways, I have quoted it before, but I think it’s worth another listen…here it is:

“Oceans” (listen to it here)

You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail.

And there I find You in the mystery.  In oceans deep my faith will stand.

 
And I will call upon Your name, and keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace.

For I am Yours and You are mine.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters, Your sovereign hand will be my guide.
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.

So I will call upon Your name, and keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace.

For I am Yours and You are mine.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

I will call upon Your Name, and keep my eyes above the waves.

My soul will rest in Your embrace.

I am Yours and You are mine.

 

 

2013 has been one for the books.  Nevermind the latter part of 2012, which is one big blur.  I joke about kissing it goodbye, but there have been some valuable truths learned.  So, here’s to 2014.  Let’s taste and see that the Lord is good.  Let’s find some more redemption in this story.  We need it.  We long for it.  We know it is there.

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One Year Ago Today…

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The day is here.  December 21st.  A day that will forever wreak havoc in my heart and soul.  One year ago today, I held my precious babygirl, rocking her with tears streaming down my cheeks.  Tim read her toddler Bible to her from head to toe.  We sang precious hymns to her.  We prayed over her.  And while sitting in that room in the PICU at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, we ushered our sweet Sadie to the gates of Heaven.  She breathed her last breath here, and her first breath in that place we all long to be.  She is home, while we are not.  And, although the pain of losing Sadie to childhood cancer is excruciating, I am also filled with hope for our future.  It has been absolutely overwhelming to see what I have seen, and to hear what I have heard from so many people over the past year.  I have never seen Jesus work through the life of a child so vividly.  I have never witnessed the changes in people from such a close vantage point.  I never imagined that Sadie would change my own life in the way she has.  It’s amazing.
Despite our pain, we are better people because of what happened “last year this time”.  We are more compassionate, more loving, more appreciative, more aware.  We seek God more, trust God more, thank God more, and love God more.  We reach out more.  We reach in more.  We are more aware of the needs around us.  We pray more, love more, and live more.  Funny how that works.
I will always treasure the time we had with Sadie here on Earth, and I will always long to see her again.  I will always be sad about what happened to her, and how her sweet and beautiful life was taken by a monster of a disease.  I will always wish we could have kept her here with us for a long, long time.  But, we have chosen to trust in God, and to trust that He had a very specific purpose for her sweet little life, and that that purpose is being accomplished.  And, that He has a purpose for our lives, in light of what has happened.  Our purpose and testimony are being revealed to us little by little, with each person that we meet.
One of the things that really ate at me in the early days and months of mourning over Sadie was that I just could not believe that my sweet child’s story ended in such a tragic way.  No parent wants their child’s story to end like that.  BUT what I have seen, and continue to see, is that Sadie’s story has only just begun.  Her life, smiles, light, and love are impacting people every single day.  She has stolen numerous hearts, and people are better because of it.
I want to thank each and every one of you for taking this journey with us.  Thank you for inserting your hearts into our lives in so many ways.  Thank you for sharing stories of how this has changed your lives.  It helps us.  Thank you for allowing me to be “real”.  To cry, to laugh, to live, and to love.  And thank you for loving with me. Thank you for helping me see that Sadie’s life has a big purpose.  And thank you for helping me remember that each of our lives have big purpose.  We all have an opportunity to make a difference.  We don’t have to have a tragedy in our lives to initiate love.  We can all make a difference and leave our own legacy.  We are all here for big purposes.
Thank you for intertwining your hearts and lives with ours.  It is a treasure that I will hold onto forever.  I love you all so much.

She IS and She DOES

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Sadie Caroline Davis has smiled and shined her way into the hearts and lives of so many people over  the past year.  I honestly am more and more proud of Sadie with each passing day.  Her life IS making a difference.  Her life DOES have purpose.  Her smile IS radiant.  And God’s purpose for her life (and ours) IS big.  She doesn’t have to be here physically to make her mark on us every day.  She is making a lasting impression, and many lives have been changed because of what God is doing through Sadie’s life journey.  As we near the dreaded one year mark of watching her breathe her last breath here on Earth, I am encouraged by the “breath” that her life has given so any of us over the past year.  God will not, cannot, and has not let our loss go unredeemed.  Though pain comes in the night, joy comes in the morning.  God has a purpose that far exceeds the pain that we have felt since November of last year.  He is at work, and although our hearts ache because we miss our sweet girl so much, we know that He will not forsake us.  We’ve been real honest with God about our struggles as we try to wrap our arms around what has happened to our family, and He has reached down with His arms of strength and His heart of comfort.  I am not left questioning why God didn’t answer our begging prayers the way we wanted Him to last year this time–instead, I am thanking Him for walking with us through the grief of the past year, and somehow, by His grace, we are still standing!  I will never be happy about losing Sadie to cancer, but I am thankful for the way God has revealed Himself in a very personal way to so many of us.  I have Sadie heavy on my mind today, but I would rather have her on my mind and heart with tears streaming down my cheek than to not have her at all.  I am honestly so blessed.

Something to Smile About

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I received some pretty amazing news from my friend Kelli Shannon today!  Her husband, Ryan, got on the bone marrow registry as a result of the drive that took place last year when Sadie was sick.  He was contacted today and told that he is a match for a lady that is in need of a transplant!  Once he completes a physical, and assuming the patient is in good enough health, Ryan will be donat…ing bone marrow in mid-January!  It is absolutely overwhelming to me to think that someone’s life may be saved because of Ryan’s willingness, and as a result of my sweet Sadie’s journey.  I think about the person who is sick and in need of a transplant hearing that they found a match for her–a stranger willing to help save her life.  I think of her family and how they are probably clinging to this little bit of good news right now.  This all just brings me to tears.  Good tears.  Please pray for God’s perfect will in this.  Pray for the lady’s health who is in need of a transplant.  Pray for Ryan’s physical to come back good.  Pray for the family of this lady, and for Ryan and Kelli to be showered with blessings because of their willingness and sacrifice.  I know them, and they will give God the glory.