November 20, 2016


In every way, Rosemary has taken our breath. She has been one surprise after another in the best sorts of ways and every bit of her life so far has shouted the love of a good, good God.

Knowing that we would probably be looking at moving this summer, Andrew and I decided that we wanted to try to have our (probably) last child here in Hattiesburg. We love this town, our church, our friends here... dearly... too much to which I can give the full amount of words it deserves here... and felt like it made the most sense to have all of this familiarity and care around us in the newborn stage. We gave ourselves a six month window to try (before we lost the window of our health insurance coverage) and we prayed for the grace to welcome a new life into our family. It didn't happen- and we were resolved to be okay with that. And then, it did. On the seventh month. And there was fear and anxiety (about timing and insurance and how will we get our house ready to sell with a newborn?)... but there was also so much rejoicing.

I cried at the "yes" and said, "Is this true? Can it really be true?" and felt God tenderly holding my face and saying, "Yes, let me love you in this way."

And then. Then on the way home from my home in Kentucky, after announcing to my family... complications started. And I cried in a Publix bathroom and told Andrew it was over when I got to the car. Seven long hours home of quiet. And grief. And anger. How was this love?

The next week I saw my doctor and she was also fairly certain I was losing the baby, and so she started a series of blood work. All of my results confirmed what we already had resigned to- that grief was ahead... waiting for us. And somehow this seemed harder than my first miscarriage because I knew what I was facing. I knew the Lord would be good and tender, but I also knew the pain I was being forced to walk towards.  I wanted to crawl in a hole somewhere until it was all over.

And then I walked into my scheduled ultrasound to confirm a miscarriage and discuss next steps and the technician says, "Well, there's only one!" And I said, "Only one what??" And she says, "Only one baby, only one heartbeat." And my hands covered my mouth and I let every tear flow that had been hiding its hopeful self away in a corner of my heart. It couldn't be true, but it was true. I went straight to my doctor who wrapped her arms around me and said, "I don't have any answers, except that you must have had people praying." Oh, did we! We love our people. Praying this baby girl into existence.

Been through so much with this precious doctor of mine...
And a girl. A girl?! What do we do with pink and bonnets?  Andrew was convinced this was going to be another boy and I just wouldn't let myself cling onto a gender. Wilson begged for a girl because "boys are mean"... but everyone was full-faced smile when the ultra-sound technician gave us the pronoun SHE!

Somehow I ended up with the same nurse I had with Charlie and she was the BEST. 
We had already decided on her name if she were a girl. Wilson wanted a Mary and when my sister was born I wanted to name her Rosie Rainbow. So a little Rosemary made both of our six year old dreams come true! Rosemary is also known as the herb of remembrance... and I know that every time I look at her face I will remember the love that God spoke over us when He breathed another life into our family. Her middle, Virginia, is after my grandmother and I hope she inherits every square inch of her character- including a towering stack of books by her reading chair.

Rosemary Virginia.

We got to see her face for the first time on November 9, my dad's birthday. She came so quickly at 11:03 that my doctor barely got her gloves on in time to catch her.

Andrew prayed over her entrance into the world and I held on so tightly to this little one that I had thought was lost. She was beautiful in every way- in her tiny features, in the way she gripped my finger when I pulled her close, in just being... her very existence was beautiful.

Both Andrew and I had tears flowing over her coming and Andrew so much that my doctor asked him, "How in the world are you going to make it through her wedding?" Pshew, we can't even think about that yet!

Bigs with his birthday buddy! Now Wilson and Rosemary both share a birthday with a grandfather and poor little Charlie is feeling left out about that. 
And two days later we walked her into the chaos that is our life with boys: of sickness and fevers and too many hospital visits and boys up way more in the night than she was. And grace upon grace that she has survived the germs (so far)... but she has also just been this anchor of peace in what seems to be the constant turbulence of our household. A treasure that her brothers just could.not.wait. to get their hands on. She is abundantly loved here!

Rosemary, I'm looking at your little face now and thinking that you can't even know a corner of how much I adore you. How fiercely I would fight for you. I was the first to know you existed... and then I thought I was the first to know that you were leaving us. And I've grieved over my grieving... thinking that there were two weeks of your little life that I thought you were gone. And you were not gone. But the most beautifully wonderful (almost too much for my heart to handle) truth is that when no one else knew or believed you were there- God knew you. He didn't just breathe you into existence, Rosie, He SAW you. He watched you. He never took away His eyes or His hands or His devoted attention to your life. I know it's true because Psalm 139 tells me it's true. And my prayer for you will be that you would live out the meaning of your name, remembrance, and always call to mind these wonderful truths:

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

I suppose this lie manifests itself in different ways in every generation, but right now social media is doing a good job in decieving us into thinking that our moments don't matter unless someone else sees them. What I want you to remember is this: there was a moment in your little life when we were all grieving your loss. But you weren't unknown in those moments.... your life, even then, had weight and meaning because you had a Father who was watching and weaving and writing the story of your life.  And that will always be true of your life... when you make secret choices that honor Him and that breathe life into others, sometimes no one else will know or see. And sometimes it's better that way. God will. Some days you might feel invisible to people around you, but your existence is always a joyful shout in your Father's ear. You are seen and you are delighted in and your every moment carries the weight of eternity... Rosemary, the eyes of your loving Shepherd are always, always gazing upon you. And your always being seen means that you are always being loved. 

We love you fiercely! Welcome home, Sister.

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