Letters to Taylor: On Growth

Letters to Taylor:

On Growth

My sweetest Taylor,

This morning as I was folding laundry, I found one of your socks in the corner of a fitted bedsheet. Something that might have previously slightly annoyed me was a beautiful gift instead. It’s amazing how my perspective has been turned upside down. As I held your little sock in my hand, I thought about how your feet had stopped growing and you wore the same size socks and shoes for years. Size 3. So tiny for a 16-year-old.

Life is abnormal without you. I’m still looking back on the last few months and feeling as if none of it ever happened. Surely you weren’t as sick as you were. It can’t be that our family watched your gradual neurological degeneration over the years come to a climax and halt in a few short weeks.

Now my thoughts can be moving in a typical direction during the day, only to be interrupted by the reality that you are no longer with us. I’m glad that you are not suffering nor in pain with your frail mind and body wasting away. But everyday functioning for your mama feels more like “funk-tioning.”

I am beginning to understand that it always will. Not only will things never be the same, but I will never be the same person I was in your lifetime. The absence of your beautiful spirit is more than a hole in my heart. It’s a volcano, not just an unoccupied space, but a crater with fractures that reach under the surface into all areas of life.

The truth I’m coming to discover is that I don’t ever want to be the same as I was in your lifetime. As I’ve attempted to understand that you’re safely in heaven, I’m understanding more and more the sacredness of the life God gave you on earth. I wasn’t burdened by caring for you; I was privileged to care for you. I didn’t have to be your mama; I was chosen to be your mama. And while I knew these things when you were living, my soul holds a never-before strength of conviction that God’s plan in giving you to us was and is perfect.

In my conversations with the Lord this week, I cried out in anguish and said, “God, you don’t know what it’s like. This pain of losing my daughter is unbearable and I don’t feel like you get it!”

But I heard his gentle whisper reminding me, “Oh, but I do. I gave my Son for you.”

Help me, Jesus.

I’ve always looked at suffering and sorrow as unnecessary pain that I longed to wish away. I didn’t know how to face hardship without fear or how to look adversity in the eye. Mostly I couldn’t comprehend the honor of being trained in the way of affliction. For with this training comes a newfound understanding of distress, a deep language of love, and a fresh anointing of the Spirit, if we so choose.

I wish I could sit with you as we did in days gone by. But since we can’t for now, I wanted to let you know that you’d be so proud of me. I’m dying. I am dying daily to myself and surrendering every moment of the day to God. I’d like to say I’ve done this before, but truthfully, not at this level. As it turns out? This kind of death is the most perfect way to grow.

I may not be able to walk a mile in another person’s shoes in order to understand their pain. But I can hold your small, precious sock close to my heart and whisper to them:

God sees what you are going through. His arms are reaching out to you, longing to draw you in. He wants you to be so close that you can hear the thud of his heartbeat and the echo of his voice rattling in his chest. If you can allow the inhale and exhale of his Spirit to set the rhythm for your breathing, life will take on new meaning.

Snuggle up to Him as close as you can for me, Sweet Girl. I’m just on the other side.

I love you.

Your Mommy

Letters to Taylor: On Change

Letters to Taylor: On Reminders

Letters to Taylor: On Lingering

Letters to Taylor: On Healing

Letters to Taylor: On Gifts in Grief

Letters to Taylor: On Emptiness

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4 Comments

  1. Dawn R Ingram says:

    I started reading your letters around the beginning of February. My daughter went home to be with Lord on January 14th of this year. I was immediately drawn to you because of our mutual loss. You expressed my thoughts and feelings so specifically that it was like God was speaking to me through you. I was able to write a letter to my daughter earlier this month and it was so moving and loving. I am able to talk to her through writing or just thinking aloud about our memories. Rachel thank you for sharing your love/pain for Taylor and helping me to open up and share my love and pain with others. My Chanel was a blessing to me and so many others and I just know that God is using her in a mighty way here and in heaven. God bless you and your family!

  2. Although I wish I never walked the path of sorrow and heartache I believe it did change me. I became stronger, more compassionate, more emphatic, less judgemental. I know my faith and trust have grown deeper. my understanding of God’s love for me is truer. I admit I have struggled to give thanks for the journey I am on (still working on that) but I am glad I have found purpose in the pain.
    I know that you are helping so many people with the way in which you share your journey. I love that you are still sharing Taylor with us. We are privileged to pray for you and your family.

  3. Rhonda Guinn says:

    I love you for sharing your pain and the joy hidden in your pain . It helps me to see mine in a different light. Thank you. And I selfishly ask you to continue blessing me and others with your heart expressed words!

  4. I love your letters to Taylor. As you speak of her I think of my son, He lived a longer life than she, but it was not always a great life he had a lot of struggles in his life. But with all that he always reached out to help someone else. Sometimes I think being I was a single parent most of his lfie when young worked 6 days a week, Things should of been different. God worked many ways in my life over those years and yet even though i knew of God I did not know God until my son went home to him. You had Good all through her life. You had family, you were blessed and so was I just differently. I had family when he went home. Two wonderful twin grandsons who were there every moment i needed that hug or kiss. a husband daughter and son in law who were there for me, Life Changes so much once you know God personally, My world is not upside down anymore. Keep your letter coming to Taylor, I know your feelings. Listening to you has helped me in many ways. I christian love D.

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