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Saturday, June 9, 2012


Since Ava's service, for the most part,  I’ve felt like someone has placed a cork in me. I haven’t been able to cry, I can't really think. I’m not depressed, just numb. Peaceful, but frozen.

Today, I think I'm beginning to thaw...I can feel emotions and thoughts returning...and even feel even capable of expressing them. I feel emptiness in our home. I feel quiet in the spaces where Ava's monitors beeped, and food or medication needed to be prepared. I feel the strong need to remember what she felt like in my arms, and how her life was part of ours.

In the days leading to the service, we were cared for so beautifully by our family. We appreciated it when people cried with us. We were so thankful every time someone stopped what they were doing to express sadness over Ava’s death, or a sense of missing her. We soaked up all the memories, pictures and reflections. They filled the hole in our hearts and eased our grief.

We shared a meal with family and out of town friends the night before the service and were able to hear how God has used Ava’s story to encourage others, and draw people closer to God. We read your comments here on the blog, on facebook and over email, and were blown away by what God is doing through our little journey.

As I listened to our dear friends share, I realized in those moments, that God had answered our prayers to allow us to steward Ava's life for His glory.

In our best moments, our singular desire as we parent our kids, is that they would grow up to love God with all their hearts, and that in living their lives--in whatever they do--they would draw people to their Father in Heaven. Everything else is gravy.  We're humbled and grateful beyond words that Ava did that. Her short life was well lived. And as someone said, when Ava looked into her Father’s eyes on May 24th, no doubt, He said, “Well done, Ava Bean.”

What a gift.

At her service, we asked my dad, and our dear friends to perform a lullaby that we sing to the girls every night before bed. The first and last verse make up the song, Barocha, and were composed by Michael Card, for his album Sleep Sound in Jesus. After Ruby was born, Matt wrote four additional verses, and it has become our prayer for each of our daughters.

On the morning she died, I held Ava in my arms and sang our lullaby to her one last time.  Miraculously, as tears streamed down my face, I realized that God was answering my prayers. Every word of the song was becoming true for our sweet girl.

The Lord, bless you and keep you
The Lord make his face shine upon you
And give you peace
And give you peace,
And give you peace forever

The Lord be merciful to you,
Redeem your life and forgive you
Keep you from sin
Keep you from sin
Keep you from sin forever

The Lord heal and restore you
Bind up the sickness within you
And make you whole
And make you whole
And make you whole forever

The Lord protect and defend you
Drive out your fears before you
And hold your hand
And hold your hand
And hold your hand forever

The Lord be gentle with you
Comfort your heart and hold you
Dry all your tears
Dry all your tears
Dry all your tears forever

The Lord be gracious to you
The Lord turn his face toward you
And give you peace
And give you peace
and give you peace forever


RMCarter said...

Beautiful. Your family continues to be an inspiration to me, and in my prayers.

Emma H. said...

I feel the need to comment, but the emotions felt when reading this are too great to let my brain form words that would be fitting. I realize that sounds kinda stiff and puffy, but it certainly is true. In my heart, in my prayers. Well done, Ava Bean.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful prayer, Sara and Matt. Ava brought many of us closer to God, even people like me who never met her. Sara and Matt - your blog has strengthened my faith and (hopefully) made me a better mother. Thank you for all you have done.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the person who commented before me. I myself have never met your family but have been extremely touched by your story. I am amazed and encouraged on how you have continued to lift God up even in your grief. Ava Bean has touched my soul deeply and I will be a better person, a better mother and a better Christian just by knowing her (through your blog) and your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing even during your grief and inspiring me to be a better person. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

I thank the Holy Spirit for giving you these wise words, and I thank you for sharing them with me. God has been speaking to me through your family's story - urging me to repent of my sinful tendency to let my child come before Him in my heart. Day by day, he's helping me to realize that she is HIS daughter and that I am lucky to be witness to HIS plan for her life, whatever that may be.

I'm glad that you have peace in the knowledge that Ava spent her short life doing God's work. She's done more with one year than many do with 100

Kristie Rush said...

Sara and Matt,
Although I don't know you, I know this: You have loved well. That is abundantly and powerfully clear as I watched, with tears in my eyes, you pour out love for your children.

Over the past several months, I have been studying the life of Paul. Many things about his life have been such an indescrible encouragement (and sometimes a challenge) to me, but I cannot stop returning to the words Paul wrote to Timothy as Paul was in prison in Rome and awaiting his impending death. In particular, the following verse has ministered powerfully to me as I walk my own difficult road and I pray it ministers to you as well:

"Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day." (2 Tim 1:12)

As you continue grieving the loss of all the things that you loved about your sweet daughter and adjust to life without the doctor's visits, beeps, and feel of her skin against your cheek and lips, I pray that are comforted by the God of all comfort and His promise to guard everything that He entrusted to us. I pray that, as you mourn, you are suprised by Joy, bolstered by Hope, and soothed by Peace.

My sincere sympathy for your loss,
Kristie Rush
(Friends with Jillan's sister-in-law)

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing the lyrics of that song Sara, that was the part of the video that touched my heart, and I repeated several times to hear the words. You and Matt together are an amazing team. So much can be learned from you.