Mom died one year ago.
It still hurts. I still cry. I am HEARTBROKEN that I don't have her.
My sister and I have decided it will actually never feel better.
It was my oldest, Carlisle, that was there alone with my Mom when she breathed her last breaths. Carlisle was 6 years old at the time. Brian and I were on vacation with just our littlest, Bliss, in CA. Click here for the full story....
It's been a year since that day. It's been a year that my old soul'ed little Carlisle watched alone as her grandmother lay in her bed, in her vomit, dying. Carlisle did what we have talked about over and over...in times of need, cry out to the Lord for help.
And she did.
She has talked very openly of those hours alone with my Mom over the past year. She mentions her constantly. Both she and Evelyn do. They knew that their Grandmother was special.
Once Carlisle even said to me: 'Hey Mama, when you are sad about MeMe and Punkin, you can come and talk to me. K?'
And I have.
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It was one of the sunsets at the beach last week that I will NEVER forget. For as long as I live.
My life got a little kiss from heaven.
We'd been at the beach all week. Life was GOOD.
It was our last night, so we decided to go back to dinner at our favorite little hole in the wall restaurant. When we got there, it was already full. They asked if we would mind sitting on the roof.
Mind? Um. No. We wouldn't 'mind'.
We wondered why it was still open on the roof...sunshine, incredible views, cool breeze.
So they sat us there overlooking the ocean. It must have been around 6:00 or 6:30. There was a wedding happening on the beach which, of course, was mesmerizing for my girls.
They sat our family at two tall tables. The girls were excited to be outside. Not a care in the world with the wind in their hair. Waves were crashing, kites flying and of course the wedding. They didn't sit much. They were all over the place, switching seats, ooh-ing and ah-ing.
Finally, Carlisle and Brian ended up alone, right across the table from one another.
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He and I had been discussing it for months.
She'd been asking to be baptized for months. We hadn't gotten the green light from the Lord. So we waited.
Green light from the Lord.
The time was right. And the time was now.
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So there they were across from each other at the table. Brian and Carlisle.
Brian said to her: 'Mommy and I have been talking...Carlisle we would like for you to be baptized.... TONIGHT.'
Carlisle: 'Really Daddy?' Tears filling her eyes.
Silence....pondering the whole situation...
Carlisle: 'Daddy? Who will baptize me?'
Brian: 'I will.'
Carlisle: 'This is the most amazing thing I've ever thought of.'
Brian: (all smiles and tears)
You know how sometimes the real thing isn't nearly as great as you have it in your mind? Like what you plan for and what you hope for just doesn't pan out.
Well, this experience so far surpassed anything I could have dreamed up. The Lord blessed me that day. Carlisle's baptismal day.
I would say that I can count on my two hands, the days that are most special to me. My wedding day, all 5 of my girls days of birth and now this.
We left the restaurant and drove back to the beach house. The sun was setting, it was gorgeous. The heavens were declaring all of the goodness of the Lord. Our windows were down and the girls were singing.
We pulled in the driveway and walked straight out to the beach. We stopped at the dunes to take a few pictures.
I must have been trembling with excitement or my hands were shaking or something because the pictures are all over the place.
All of the girls were aware that something exciting was coming, they were all jittery. They had never been a part of a baptism. So they had no idea what to expect. But they KNEW this was special.
Brian led the way. He had picked the spot already.
The other girls and I stood watching from the shore. Evelyn videoing and I taking pictures.
They had actually started the day there. In the exact place. The two of them had gone fishing just 12 hours earlier. That was when they had seen a small shark swimming around, so they waded in until it was just about hip deep on her.
Brian joked and said, 'Let's not go too far... remember that shark this morning?'
She smiles and nods.
He drops to his knees.
Brian: 'Do you understand what we are doing today?'
Carlisle: (She makes an expression that he has only seen her make a few times in her life. Excited. Even beyond excited. He said she was glowing.) 'Yes, I am getting baptized.'
Brian: 'Are you ready to do this?'
Carlisle: (With a big smile on her face.) 'YES. I AM READY.'
Brian: 'Do you understand what that means? To be baptized?'
Carlisle: 'I believe in Jesus, and after I am saved the bible says that I need to be baptized.'
Brian: 'Yes, In the bible it is a command for us to be baptized after we believe in Jesus.
It is symbol of our obedience. And it is an honor to worship the Lord in this way. Carlisle when we get baptized, we are being obedient.'
Brian: 'Do you understand what you have to do to be saved?'
Carlisle: 'I have to believe in the Lord Jesus as my Savior.'
Brian: (nodding) 'And, how did Jesus become your Savior?'
Carlisle: 'He died for my sins.'
There just simply was no doubt that she understood and that she was ready. Brian sensed the presence of the Lord and the assurance that this was absolutely His will.
Brian: 'I want you to hold your nose and I'm going to dip you back. And when I bring you back up, you will have been baptized.'
He searches her face. She's radiant.
Brian: 'Are you ready?'
Brian: 'Carlisle... Victoria... Edwards. I baptize you in the name of the FATHER, the SON and the HOLY SPIRIT.'
It appeared to happen in slow motion.
She was down and slowly she was back up.
I was smiling and crying. It was as if heavens door opened for a moment.
Evelyn watched from the shore until she could contain her excitement no longer. She waded through the waves to Brian and Carlisle laughing in joy.
When she finally made it there, she wrapped her little arms around them both and squeezed.
'To live is Christ, to die is vain.' Philippians 1:21
So for me, that Friday night was a glimpse into the inexpressible and glorious joy of heaven. (1 Peter 1:8) And God's grace.
I am SO unworthy of this life. These girls. Brian. Most importantly God's love.
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Carlisle one year later.
She tells me it is such an honor to have been chosen to be with her Grandmother when she died. I completely agree. To be THAT close to Jesus as someone passes from life to death and enters into the kingdom of the Son He loves. (Col 1:13) It IS an honor. And I tell her that.
She tells me that she did all that she could do that day. She did the best thing... She prayed. And I rub her hair and hug her and smile. Because I know that I wouldn't have done the right thing, I would have busied myself calling 911 instead of basking in the fact that God is in charge. He has our days are numbered. My Mom's day was August 24, 2012.
'A person's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.' Job 14:5
Through it all, Carlisle has become a child-like spiritual giant. Having had to go through the toughest things to grow to where she is. She loves the Lord. And through her struggles has grown to know him deeply and intimately. She wouldn't change that, and I wouldn't either.
'At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' He called a little child to him, and place the child among them. And he said: 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.' Matthew 18:1-5
I asked her what she thought about the fact that a year ago she was chosen by God to be with Me Me when she died. And exactly one year later, she was baptized by her own father on the beach.
She said: 'I think my baptism... is my reward.'