Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Today is my third wedding anniversary. Additionally, today marks two months since Sarah went to be with Jesus. I can describe both days in excruciating detail as if they occurred yesterday. The biggest difference being one was the happiest day of my life and the other was the saddest.

Despite being alone--well, without TOIAW who returns tomorrow, woo-hoo!--I've been in a good place today. I've thought about Sarah, as I do every day, but just in an 'I really miss her' way which is, again, the same thing I do every day. On my way home from class I was listening to NPR but decided to switch over to the Christian station and a song came on that I had only heard once before and that time it made me cry so hard I pulled over and by the time I got myself together and made it home, I couldn't remember enough to find it online. I thought about calling the station but knew that would result in tears and an unintelligible muttering of words so I just waited to hear it again. You probably see where this is going, huh? It had just started when I changed the station. Here's a link to listen.

Homesick, by MercyMe

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbyes
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

I love the part where it says that even if God showed me why Sarah had to die, the hurt would still be the same. That's so true because nothing will ever change the fact that I want her here with us. Nothing. Ever. This brings me to something God's really thrust upon my heart recently: His mercy.

It began as early as the morning she died but I wasn't ready to listen then and I didn't. More recently there have been other instances with the most clear one coming from a dear friend. Several years ago she lost her brother when he committed suicide. She told me she still misses him, of course, but in time God has allowed her to see the mercy He had for her brother and what a gift that has been to her. This concept has been huge for me. And going back to the lyrics of the song, even if I fully understood the mercy God had for Sarah it wouldn't lessen the hurt in my heart so I'm not going to allow myself to get caught-up in the what ifs of it all.

I was (and am) so moved by the lyrics of the song that I googled it. You can read it here, but the basic version is that the chorus was written after the writer attended the funeral of twins who died in utero at five months but he then tucked it away. He ended up finishing it to sing at his brother-in-law's funeral but he didn't intend to put it on an album. His mother-in-law, however, encouraged him to record it and then he remembered that the mother of the twins once remarked that she wished her twins had lived long enough to make a difference. As you can see, through this song, they certainly have.

I had similar hopes for Sarah. Much like Hannah, I prayed and prayed for a baby and promised God that I would give my child to Him. Throughout my pregnancy, I prayed fervently that my baby would accomplish great and mighty things for the Kingdom of God. Her name had to be strong and the first time I laid eyes on her I just knew she was a Sarah. Before the Biblical Sarah was Sarah, she was known as Sarai. The reason for the change was that, upon entering a covenant with God, she took part of His name--Yehovah--in her name much like when I entered into a covenant with TOIAW--marriage, three years ago today :)--I took part of his name. Thus, Sarai took the letter "He" and became Sarah. I just knew my Sarah needed to have part of God's name in hers. The name Abigail means "her father's joy" which is exactly how TOIAW felt about her, but we also loved that the Biblical Abigail was a strong woman of integrity and character who was bold in courage. After carefully choosing these names for her in hopes that she would one day be a Godly woman in the same vain as her namesakes, I, too, was sad that my baby didn't live long enough to 'make a difference.' The first couple of weeks after she died this weighed heavy on my heart. Then one night my sister-in-law told me about an email she received from someone telling her how Sarah had made a difference! The friend's daughter had prayed for Sarah every night so on the night Sarah died, she had to tell her daughter. That discussion sparked a deep conversation full of questions about heaven and Jesus. I am ever so grateful Sarah's life was used to spread the gospel if only to one sweet little girl!

God DID use Sarah's life, just not in the way I hoped. One thing I've learned though is that God's way is always the best way which is why, in spite of my pain, I praise Him every day. God's love is what keeps me going. God's mercies are what gets me out of bed each morning. I'm not a strong person, my God is my strength. Through Sarah's life, God has taught me and grown me more than I ever imagined possible. I go on so that I may serve Him; it truly is that simple. As long as He has me here on earth I will share His love and mercy with others comforted in knowing that my precious Sarah is in the hands of the One who knitted her together in my womb. Better yet, one day I'll get to see both of them!


Mags said...

I cried when I read the lyrics, and then listened to this song. It's so beautiful.

You ARE a strong woman supported by God, and you will see your sweet Sarah again. I have the same beliefs as you...I know I will be reunited with my babies again. Until then, I do all I can to cherish their short lives in our arms.

AlexisMorgan said...

What a beautiful testament to your faith and to Sarah's short but meaningful life. God is with you, every day, every step of the way. Keep your strong faith. You must be an amazing woman, even though you are a stranger to me. I will continue to pray for you, your husband, and Sarah.

Soapchick said...

I wish you love, comfort and grace as you face today's happy wedding annviersary and the anniversary of Sarah entering the kingdom of God. The reason behind her name is beautiful. She did touch many lives. You are very strong Rachel, and God is using this to make you even stronger. Your faith is inspiring to me.

Anonymous said...

Just beautiful Rachel. Sarah did impact lives, many lives. It is amazing how our little ones can make such a big impact on this world.
Thank you for sharing the meaning behiind Sarah's name it is so meaningful and beautiful.
Each day we must trust in God's mercy.
Happy Anniversary to you and hubby, I know it is bittersweet.

mrsmuelly said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I know the song well. We played it at Brayden's funeral. I had heard it on the radio after Cooper died and had a similar - pull over and cry - experience. I would suggest looking at "Bring the Rain" by MercyMe as well. I have a whole list if you are interested at all. The music comforts me.

Thank you, too, for the scripture. It is amazing what a sense of peace I can get just from reading those lines.

Tracy said...

What a beautiful, sad, poignant post. Even though I don't comment as often as I would like, you are still in my thoughts and prayers.

I don't know if you know this or not, but my mother lost twins after 7 months. They were born prematurely, and back in 1971, we didn't have the NICUs we have today. They have made a huge difference in my life, and I feel their presence often, especially now. Just a for what it's worth.

The Gutsy Mom said...

Thank you for sharing all of this with all of us, Rachel. This is just so beautifully written, even in its sadness. You are wonderful to share so much of yourself with your readers... I miss you so much and wish we could share a big, weepy hug!

The GM

AdventureMom said...

First, congratulations to you and Alex on your anniversary. Maintaining a marriage is no small feat in the life that we live, and you and Alex have already come through so much. I know you will only grow stronger together.
Second, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can't adequately describe how I feel about it all at the moment as there are still tears streaming down my face, but know that through you, her loving mother, Sarah has touched us all, and allows us to see the Lord at work in so many different ways.

The Swann's said...

I just stumbled across your blog and felt the want to comment. I LOVE this song! It is such an amazing song! I cried and cried the first time I heard it. I am so glad you are able to find comfort thru the words knowing that your sweet baby Sarah is being held by Jesus while watching over you.

Have a great week!