Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Heaven Day, Baby Girl! {God's Gotcha Day}

{Don't miss the giveaway and announcements at the bottom of this post!}

One year ago today, Chrissie went to dance with Jesus.  Forever.

Thank you, Anastasia, for making this video in memory of Chrissie.  Truly a blessing to our family.
Day 31 of Chrissie's 31-day battle, May 19, 2010:  Post 1 (Boss Your Heart Necklace), Post 2 (lungs bleeding lots), Post 3 (coded), Post 4 (not looking good), Post 5 (more compressions), Post 6 (still doing compressions), Post 7 (dancing with Jesus), Post 8 (I Don't Wanna...)
In the adoption community, many refer to the day that you "get" your child via adoption as "gotcha" day.  God "got" Chrissie on this day last year, and I know there's gotta be a big ole heavenly party to celebrate God's "Gotcha Day", the day He sprung Chrissie from this earth, the day He "got" Chrissie with Him in heaven, for all eternity.  Oh, what a tremendous blessing God got on this day last year.

We miss Princess Chrissie more than words can express.  There's not a single day that has passed that we haven't thought of her countless times.  Really, I don't think there's even a 5 minute increment that has ever passed that we don't think of Chrissie.  I'm very serious when I write that, and while that may seem crazy, it really is true.  I know that all parents who have lost a child know exactly what I'm talking about.  

Some people have said that we only knew Chrissie for six months, so that must equate to less pain.  Or something.  So, how does one feel when they give birth to a stillborn child?  Or miscarry?  Or their newborn dies of SIDS.  Does that make the pain any less because they only knew their child for a short time?  Some might think yes, but the answer is no.

Because Chrissie was our daughter and we experienced life with her, as a beloved family member, we know the depth of love that God gifted us with.  A depth of love in such a short amount of time that is difficult for others to fathom.  It's OK for others not to understand because we know that our relationship with Chrissie was something truly miraculous.  Every single member of our family (who was with us before Chrissie went to heaven) continues to express how each of us feels like we never missed out on a single day of Chrissie's life.  We all feel (and felt) as if she had been knit in my womb, with us since her first breath on this earth, as if we had known her from the time she was just a tiny seed growing in the womb.  It's such a miraculous thing that can't be adequately explained, but we all feel so utterly grateful that God blessed us with such a deep and authentic relationship with Chrissie that doesn't normally happen "overnight" with adopted kids.

Others have said that we walked into this adoption knowing the risks, so it should make it easier since we knew death was a possibility.  A common response from people when they ask if we adopted Chrissie knowing that she had heart defects is for people to brush things off as if we were the fools who made such a choice.  Yes, we knew Chrissie had severe congenital heart defects, but we wholeheartedly believed God would heal her heart and give Chrissie a long and abundant life on earth.  We knew that might not be His will, but either way, we knew without a doubt that God asked us to adopt Chrissie.  Our obedience to God was more important than protecting our own hearts from possible pain.  God gave us the greatest blessing ever by allowing us to be Chrissie's forever family.  We didn't experience less because of the risks, we experienced more because of the blessings Chrissie brought to our family.  Regardless, the pain isn't lessened just because we knew Chrissie had congenital heart defects.  Does the parent of a child who is diagnosed with cancer hurt less when/if that child goes to heaven simply because they knew he had cancer and cancer is a risk?  No.

Even with all of the pain in our hearts from walking a full year without our Princess Chrissie in our family, her life was worth it.  The 7 months that Chrissie was in our family was truly the best 7 months of our lives, and each of us agrees that we'd do it over again in a heartbeat.  We would NEVER want to miss out on the joy, love, and life we received from the treasured gift of Chrissie.  She was truly a blessing beyond description, and there's no amount of pain that could ever trump the joy of Chrissie.  Christyn Joy.  Precious angel.  Deeply loved.  Deeply missed.

As we have grappled with how to define our new lives, God has held us.  He has grown us.  He has shown us more about who He is than we ever realized.  Having no choice but to trust in God's sovereignty, grace, love, and faithfulness, we have learned a different depth of reliance upon our Abba Father.  While we still don't understand the "ending" of Chrissie's story, God assures us that this is really the beginning, not the ending.

I know that God is weaving a beautiful tapestry, but I'm totally stuck on the back side of that tapestry.  I'm tangled among all of the other strings, in knots, where nothing looks pretty or organized or predictable, no matter what angle I look at it.  But to those standing on the other side of the tapestry, they stand in awe of the beauty that exists on the other side.  Right now, I think the other side of the tapestry is heaven.  I'm not sure I'll ever see the beauty of this tapestry here on earth, but what a glorious day it will be to actually see the tapestry and appreciate its beauty.

For now, while I'm still tangled in the back side, I will choose to do all I can to create beauty from ashes here on earth.  While this is ultimately God's job, I have a responsibility in my attitude, my outlook, and my actions here on earth.  I can choose His joy, regardless of circumstances, or I can choose to be defeated.  I WILL NOT LET SATAN STEAL MY JOY.  This I know.  So, I press on with the Lord as my strength, asking Him to show me His beauty, His joy, His love, His grace, His blessings.  I ask Him to help me keep Chrissie's legacy alive.  None of us wants Chrissie's life to ever be forgotten, so it is our job to keep her memory alive.

Believe it or not, the stories you share with us (and the world) are a way of carrying on Chrissie's legacy and keeping her memory alive.  Your stories are a balm to our hurting hearts, and we are grateful when you take time to share with us how Chrissie has touched your heart.  There's nothing too large or too small; every single comment or story is medicine for our souls.  Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

We would like to have a GIVEAWAY today in memory of Chrissie, in celebration of her new life in heaven, in remembrance of who she was on earth, in hope of spending eternity with our princess.  Please leave a comment on this post today, May 19, 2011, as a way of keeping Chrissie's legacy alive while sending hugs to our hearts.  We'll be giving away a Boss Your Heart book, in memory of Chrissie.

In addition to your comments/stories, God has given us some other specific ways to carry on Chrissie's legacy.  We feel so honored to announce to you today the following:

WOOHOO!  It's FINALLY here!!!
Today ONLY:  25% discount on the Boss Your Heart book!
The book is HUGE:  8.5x11" format, 424 pages, but I'm SOOOOO happy with how it all turned out.  I think you will be, too. :-)  I'm sorry it's such an expensive book, but because it's so big and so long, it's just plain ole expensive.  There's no way around it.  Even my cost (as the author) is expensive.  That's why I'm applying this special 25% off coupon that's good for today only, the day Chrissie went to live with Jesus.
Thank you, Phil Rankin, for all your help in getting the book ready for release today, and thank you, Mia Carter, for all your hard work in designing the interior.


Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries!
We are in the process of creating a non-profit organization in memory of Chrissie that will help orphans around the world.  We don't know exactly what God has in store with this, but we know God has a plan to help orphans in memory of Chrissie, and we are ecstatic.  Praise Him!

Click HERE to visit the new
Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries website!

Like us on Facebook:

And, last but not least, I wanted to share with you a story that 4-year-old Rowan's mom emailed me last night, May 18, 2011:
From Carrie, Rowan's mom:  Rowan just came up and asked me who I was emailing.  I told him you and he said, "Oh good, tell her that Chrissie was in my dreams again last night and she misses her Mommy but she wants her to know that she feels fine." He said she was playing dolls and she was pretty in one of her princess dresses.  Then he said, (and I swear I have not told him tomorrow was "the day") "Chrissie only wants her Mommy to cry happy tears tomorrow, because heaven is actually better than here."
I am bawling Lorraine.  I wanted to call you and tell you, but I can't talk right now.
I asked him how it was to see her in his dreams and he said "Great, she was so happy like it was the first time we ever seen each other good."  To add to this Lorraine, he just said "Mommy you know whats weird?  I usually can't remember any of my dreams, but God said I could keep this one, so thats good."
As if that wasn't enough, I shared with Carrie that we decided to go hike Enchanted Rock as a way of our family "celebrating" Chrissie's heaven day.  I told her that it was the closest place to heaven (altitude wise) nearby, and I felt God wanted us to go there on this day.  Carrie shared with me that on Rowan's last visit to Enchanted Rock, he shared that he felt he was closer to heaven at the top of the rock/mountain, and he said he could almost feel Chrissie when he was up there.

Oh how I'm praying we have the same experience. :-)

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