Usually, Nicole writes everything in here, but today I've decided to. I'm not going to recount all the things that have happened, or what we went through, because I couldn't do near the job that Nicole has.
What I can do is be thankful. Through all of this, we have been blessed. We've been blessed by the love of our family and friends. We've been blessed by a doctor that loves God, and nurses that took care of us above and beyond what they're called to do. We've been blessed by online and local groups that Nicole has found and has spoken with, both in being able to help minister and in order to find comfort. And, we've been blessed with total strangers and people in the community who've brought blessings and joy to us when they had no reason to. I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting, but the first and foremost thing that got us through this was God with his infinite comfort and mercy.
A lot of people would say, how are you not angry with God? How are you not upset? The truth is, when the realization of what happened hit me, I was. I was beyond angry. I threatened to turn my back forever, to forsake Him like I felt He'd forsaken us. If He was going to take her from us I didn't want Him in my life. This attitude lasted all of about 5 minutes, and this was before we even knew that the worst had happened. I still remember that horrible, bitter moment like it was yesterday. But at the moment I saw Caroline asleep, all that anger left. It was filled by an overwhelming heartbreak. And from that second God moved in us. He worked in us. He brought as much comfort as people like us could possibly hope for. He's brought us through so much. We still struggle every single day, missing our precious little Caroline, but God has filled our home, hearts, and lives with His love. We still fall and falter, lose hope and struggle with all of this, but when we fall, He raises us up. He gives us comfort and peace where there was none. He keeps us strong, and calls us to do His work. Sometimes I feel like maybe I got connected a little too much to this old world, that I feared leaving it behind one day, but now, while I can't bear the thought of not being with Nicole and our family, I know we'll all be together, and we'll be together with our precious angel, and we will share eternity in the presence of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And I tell you, I can't wait. We're going to make the best of our days here, we're going to tell everyone that we can as God leads us, about His love, His forgiveness, His offer of salvation if we'll only lay down this earthly life and take His eternal one.
I don't claim to understand why things like this happen, or why they're allowed to happen, or made to happen, and I never will understand that, I'm accepting of that fact. This has undoubtedly been the hardest year of my life, but I've felt God in our lives the whole way. Leading us, guiding us, placing us where we're needed, even in the most horrible of times. I thank God for holding us in his arms through all of this. I can't say I like the song, but "You Raised Me Up" has a lyric that couldn't be truer, "I am strong, when I am on Your shoulders", without God to lean on, I would be a broken shell. I would be hopeless and devastated. I hope that I can serve God through this, that Nicole and I can. And that it will bring us closer together, bring us closer to Him, and bring us closer to the ones around us. I want Caroline's life to be used for God's greater glory, in remembrance of her. She was a precious angel to us in this life, and in the next, and I'm so beyond thankful of the time that we did get to spend with her. She was and is such a blessing even though she's not physically here with us.
The other day, before Christmas, I was missing her like crazy for many, many reasons, and just needed in some way to speak about her, or think about her. A co-worker was singing Silent Night, and I took the chance to write about Caroline using the inspiration of that song.
Rest with God
By everyone missed
Held by Jesus
In this we are blessed
Sleep in Heavenly peace
We missed her beyond words this Christmas, nothing could feel right, because it felt like we should have her there with us. But I'm so thankful for our families who made things feel as best as they could even when I know they're hurting as well. We went to see her little monument at the family cemetary below Mom and Dad's house this weekend, and as with most things these days it was a bitter-sweet moment. It turned out a little better than we'd designed, and it had been taken care of and decorated by family. It was as perfect as something like that can be.
I miss her every moment of my life, just like her mama, and her family does. But thank God, I have a hope and a faith in Him like I never have had before. Thank you Lord for taking her into your arms. Thank you Lord for the promise of an eternity with You and with her, and with our other loved ones who trusted and followed you and the gift of Your Son. We've been broken, but you are the Great Healer.
You might think I sound like a nut saying these things, but when you feel and know something is so real, you can't help but try to let others know about it. His love and salvation doesn't take pain or discomforts out of life. It doesn't make you a rich and lucky person. But it gives you a peace when there is none. It gives you a comfort when there was none. It gives you hope when none could be found. My heart is broken, but it is filled with His love, and His comfort, and His hope, and His promise. The path to Him is narrow, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to walk it.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I don't know how much or when I'll update, but I will when I feel led, or when I'm missing little Caroline and just need to write or talk about it. To any of you that are reading this and have been through something similar, please know that our hearts and prayers are sincerely with you, and if we can be of any help whatsoever, please don't hesitate to let us know.