Mother & Daddy were dedicated Christians and I have so much to be thankful for. Because of them, I grew up with an unshakable faith in God. Daddy was a deacon in the Southern Baptist church. He and Mother worked tirelessly for the Lord for years until their health began to fail. My Daddy was raised a Hardshell Baptist, a denomination that followed very strict guidelines. He did not work on Sunday, unless his oxen needed to be watered (Luke 13:14,15) Mother prepared our Sunday meals but Sunday was a day of rest for her, too. She did as much as she could the day before. They worked hard six days a week - he as a carpenter, farmer, and rancher, and she as a homemaker. Mother had a garden, raised farm animals, sewed, "Tonetted" my hair (Tonettes were perms for little girls), canned and froze our bounty, and I could go on and on. My parents worked so very hard. The only work I ever remember Daddy doing on Sunday was to feed his cows in the winter or fix some emergency item, like the water pump on the well.
Every time our small country church doors were open, we were there. Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night prayer meeting, 5th Sunday Singings in the afternoon, revivals, Vacation Bible School, business meetings - I could go on and on. God was a part of my life from birth. I grew up knowing He is my friend, and He has walked many paths with me, often times carrying me. I made a public profession of faith when I was 12 and was baptized. The Lord was already very real to me before then.
When Meredith was born, we were elated at her birth and worried because she was ill.
I had no doubt that God sent her to us. She was a precious morsel of life that we adored. When she died, we were devastated. It was a part of life to me that babies could die. My parents lost their first child to stillbirth and dealt with infertility. I knew many of the women in my life had buried infants. The community cemetery in my hometown where Meredith is placed is dotted with tiny baby graves. Babies across the years, their names sometimes mirroring the era in which they were born. Between 1941 and 2001, our immediate family faced the deaths of four infants.
When I was a teenager, I even wondered if infant death would touch my life. Was this a foreshadowing of things to come? I've often wondered....
Of course, I know all the stages of grief, and bargaining with God is supposed to be one of them. I can honestly say that I never felt that way. God was with me when Meredith died and stayed with me during the years and the long journey of depression that I fight to this day. I never felt like He caused her death, or His will was to make us grieve and suffer. Meredith is with Him, and He is keeping her for us until we get there. She is with Perfection, and her body is healed. I don't believe she has grown in Heaven. I still see her as an infant, and not an angel, though I refer to her endearingly as a little angel.
If anyone reads this, please don't think that I am a "special" Christian or have a connection with God that no one else has. Many people I'm sure have had this same experience. I wish Meredith could have stayed,but His grace has sustained me, and will continue to do so.
To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8