This time of year is a very tender time for me. I see a few heart-sore moments every now and then with my girls and hubby as we remember. The heart ache resurfaces in little ways and allows us to become honest in negotiating different layers in the grief journey. This time of year approaches the 2 year mark since our precious Zac was born and then passed on. The memories often flash through my mind in unguarded moments. I've learned to embrace the memories even with the tinge of pain that they bring. I've come to learn that being honest with the process of grief and having to negotiate pain does not in any way diminish the incredible work of healing, joy and restoration that God has so lovingly been pouring into our hearts. In fact, being honest to face it in truth with Jesus just allows deeper aspects of healing and restoration. Time with Jesus has shown me over and over again that with the pain, there is always healing and grace in His outstretched hands. As painful as some of those memories are, there is still so much beauty too in remembering every memory with Zac which forever changed our hearts and lives and has taught us how to love.
The afternoon that Zac passed away, our doctor arrived with a small rose bush. He will never know what a life line that became for me. It was something "living" that I got to carry out of the hospital and travel home with when when we left Cape Town. That rose bush inspired Zac's garden of remembrance. People lovingly blessed us with beautiful plants and gifts for his garden. Tending those plants these last 2 years has been such a healing balm for my heart. Seeing the life in each rose bud reminds me that though my little boy is not here for me to hold and raise the way we so longed to do, that life is our reminder that he is every bit alive and thriving in Heaven. Part of caring for this special little garden is doing something that has always been hard for me. Pruning back those bushes when they look lush and beautiful. It never looks quite right to cut off blossoming branches. My eldest daughter today watched me take on the job of pruning back the garden. She was sad when she saw how much had been pruned back. I understood her sadness. I felt like that the first time I had to prune those beautiful roses ... but within weeks the beauty that started budding carried us through months of extravagant blossoms ... filling our hearts and home with the scent of the growth that came from having pruned them. Today I reminded myself of that when I took the shears in my hands. Its been a really tough week. I have had to work through layers of hurt, disappointment and not understanding some of the tough stuff .... but as I began to prune in the fresh Spring air, somehow in my heart I was able to exchange all my hurting with a quiet trust that God always sees to the growth. He is ALWAYS able to bring beauty through the pain that we face in our lives. He causes the growth in His many faithful ways. I was able to assure my daughter that in just a little while, she would see a whole different picture in our garden. Where she just sees stalks now, she will in no time be cutting blooms for us all to enjoy. This speaks to my heart on so many levels tonight. Sometimes we look out onto the garden of our lives and see stalks ... but God sees the lush fruitfulness that only He is able to bring. We don't always know how He is going to bring the beauty and growth ... but it's enough to simply rest in knowing that He will, when we lift up our eyes and trust Him. My job today was to prune. His job in the days to come will be to bring the blooms.
I don't know what you might be facing today ... but if you are dealing with loss or disappointment of any kind, may your heart be encouraged as mine has been today. God so carefully and lovingly delights in tending to the growth in our lives when we dare to trust Him. Maybe, like me you feel like you are being pruned. It's a painful process, I know. Heck ... I was bleeding as I pruned and pulled back those thorny branches. But oh what beauty awaits! If we trust the Lord to allow the thorny places in our lives to be pruned back ... He will exchange the sharpness with fragrant blooms of His presence.
When I look back over these last 2 years I can say with all of my heart that I would go through it all over again to have what we had with Zac. My hubby says the same, because we have experienced that as we have trusted Jesus in our walk so far, even in our sorrow, He has brought tremendous beauty from the ashes of loss. Today as I pruned back Zac's garden ... Gabriel, our sweet 7 month child of promise, lay on the grass smiling at me. What used to be a painful thing to do became another layer of healing as I rejoiced with one son, even while missing my other son. God has brought growth and beauty. Just being able to write this post ... even if it is only for me ... is another gift that Zac has given to me. It's yet another impact of his life pointing my heart to Jesus.
I cannot wait to watch his garden bloom in the weeks to come!
All my love xxx