Out dear sweet little Ava had been gone now for almost 6 weeks…. it seems so crazy because in some ways it feels longer than that, but then it seems just like yesterday we were living in Toronto and she was still with us.
Since we are now officially back into the swing of things, I’ve been trying to get our house back in order while the kids are at school, and I fear I’ve met my Waterloo. It’s an over-whelming job and I don’t feel like I’m making very much headway, but yesterday I turned my attention to the downstairs bedroom which has ended up being a dumping ground for all of our stuff from Toronto, including Ava’s stuff from the hospital. Yesterday I started to gather Ava’s things together and put them in a bin, ready for when they will eventually go into a memory box Jason is going to make for us.
Since Jason and his dad did such an amazing job making Ava’s casket, he is going to make a smaller version to use as our ‘Ava’ memory box. I do promise however that the memory box will look more like a chest, and less like a casket. :) We do plan on decorating it the same, and since I never did show pictures of the casket, I will now. Because it was such a labour of love, it doesn’t make me sad to look at it, I just see a father’s (and grandfather’s) love….
The kids hand-prints were on it, and we had written Ava’s verse on the top…
The memory box will be such a wonderful reminder of our little Birdy – and we want the kids to be able to open it and look at her things whenever they want. I can’t wait.
But as you can imagine, sorting through Ava’s stuff yesterday made me rather sad, and so I guess it wasn’t a surprise that later in the day I ended up at her grave-site. I shed lots of tears and mourned for her and just missed her like crazy.
But through the pain and the sadness, here is what we are clinging too…
We are clinging to the knowledge that Ava’s life turned out exactly as it was supposed to be. Isn’t that a cool thought? That the 255 days that she lived her on earth was the exact number of days she was supposed to live. That God formed her and her heart exactly how He wanted. That He had a purpose for her life and a plan formed for her before she was even born.
I love Psalm 139 and I always have. And here are the words we love, verses 13 – 16…
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
And it brings us so much comfort… especially in the fact that we don’t have to play the “If only” or “what if” game. “If only a heart had come in”… or “What if Ava was born healthy”. This was how it was supposed to be, right from the beginning. And even though Ava leaving us wasn’t at all in my plan, it was in God’s plan. And even though I can’t see the plan, I can trust Him. He’s sovereign, I’m not.
I just finished reading the book “Safe in the arms of God” by John MacArthur and it was another huge source of encouragement, just like our Pastor’s Norm’s sermon at Ava’s funeral. Here’s a tidbit from the book…
“We ought to be greatly comforted by the knowledge that this little one is in heaven, in the presence of Christ, enjoying all the wonders of that glorious place, free from all the troubles of this earth, dwelling in perfect bliss, surrounded by perfect love, and loving and worshiping Christ perfectly in return.”
It’s such a wonderful thought. And like another grieving heart mom said, when we think about where our child isn’t, it’s sad. But when we think about where they are, there is joy.
And the best part is, is that while Jason and I are clinging to this hope, God is working on healing our hearts. And we’ve received so much encouragement and love from friends and family that we know God still is caring for us and loving us. And we also know that He will help us go forward and live our lives with renewed joy, especially in our hope of eternal life and meeting our sweet baby Ava again someday.