I just signed my Tahlia up for her 2nd year of dance and I am so excited for her! She loves dance and she is so talented and graceful and strong and flexible and she simply shines of pure light on and off the stage. If you followed our story on Facebook, or instagram then you saw how We were miraculously home from China just in time (like the day before) her beautiful dance recital!
It was glorious! Her littlest sissy got to see her new big sissy dance her heart out in honor of her heavenly sissy. I am so proud of her.
So many emotions. It has been a whirlwind 4 weeks home.
We are so thankful to finally have our beautiful Eviemira in our arms and witnessing the miracles of attachment and the precious layers of her personality shining through with each new day! This girl has spunk! Gianna is very proud of all that sass, I am sure of it! She is showing us all her capabilities with what many would see as disabilities. Oh this girl! This girl is amazing!! She is so able and we literally see a new miracle each day with how determined she is in doing things a NEW way..her way! How humbled we are that God chose this special little girl to be ours, and that He entrusted these miracles and mountains to our family! what an honor!
Thank you to all who prayed her home and helped financially support this miracle!
There is So much Joy, yet there is so much parallel ache as we miss her littlest big sissy. With every beautiful gain, there is LOSS. There is the sobering reminder of great tragic earthly loss with every JOY. It hurts deeply to not see her Gianna on earth nurturing her baby sissy who I know she loves so fiercely.
So we hold both Joy and Ache very closely.
I got to thinking how much my personal grief walk is a lot like a complicated dance. The partners are Joy and Sorrow. Smiles and tears. Laughter and lamenting.
15 months I have had to learn this delicate dance of surviving the earth without my Gianna in my arms. And I am still learning this sacred dance …still learning until heaven. I am invited into this dance with every new sunrise. I fight to rise to dance with my husband and children. Each day, we fight to dance forward into the light.
Each day we rise and we choose to dance.
We choose to dance forward together.
But, it is hard. It is not pretty, it is raw and agonizing at times.
15 months of limping through the wasteland with a messy broken heart that forever inhabits an earth sized hole until heaven. A wilderness. A sorrow so deep that words do not translate this type of agony.
….and yet just like the grass and green foliage that push through and sprout up out of the cracks of our asphalt driveway, there is this new growth of blossoms and new life that spring up from the tattered shards of our hearts. And, Because of God’s grace to keep our hearts blown wide open, there is this joy that holds grief’s hand and dances parallel to all the pain. Joy within the heartache. Hand in hand they circle and step to a sacred tune.
The way I see it (and I can only speak for my journey), I can either choose to dance this complicated and painful dance, or I can choose to simply check out. Choose not to dance and choose, instead, to stand frozen, like a deer in headlights, and just be numb and go through the motions and not dance forward into the light. And, honestly there are moments, days like this that this is the choice. But, If I choose to stay down, to stay disengaged to this aching dance then I will miss the holy music too. I will stay in the dark If I choose to not feel the terrible pain, then I will also be opting out of all the incredible JOYS too….. They are a package deal.
We do not want to miss the joys. Gianna’s life teaches us Joy in the hard, painful holy dance. There is JOY in every risk, every jump, every step out in the deep waters. Abounding JOY in the deep! JOY we would NOT trade for anything! Joy that is worth all the hard.
God’s stories are never done revealing themselves in our lives, and as long as there is HOPE to fight for and light in the darkness, the dance goes on and the fight for JOY continues. The incredible and undeserved gift of our Gia-Bia, her joy-filled earthly life and her HOPE filled eternal life, teaches us to keep BRAVELY fighting for HOPE and joy even In the darkness.
She teaches us to keep dancing towards light, even when it hurts. Even when we hate the chapter.
To trust the promise. To believe the story is not done!
To not be afraid of the pain. So we can see all the glory!
Because Somehow beauty can grow from the deeply planted seeds of pain and suffering. We get to see Gianna’s beautiful life being multiplied and ever growing while we painfully wait to be reunited with her.
Her life always growing our lives in more love and more hope. We are not only just choosing to dance, we are choosing to SEE.
Because death is not the end.
However, we feel the heartache of death and so this dance I used to dance has changed…. and it now has much more dimension and many more ups and downs. It plain hurts.
I miss the happy music that was always playing before April 22,2018. That dance was happy. Easy and simple! I had ONE leader who led who went by many names… It’s name was happiness and answered prayers and earthly healing and earthly victories and SIGHT…so much SIGHT and so many tangible miracles of healing! And this dance was so much easier to follow. So less complicated. My earthly eyes could see so well all the LIGHT! I was good at that dance. It was simple because we always had the music of earthly miracles and SEEN happiness. The dance was known!
Now the music tells a new story of joy and pain. The leader changes with the music, it changes moment to moment and you can barely catch your breath. Joy, pain….. Joy, pain….. smile, wail…. laugh, lament! PRAISE….. ACHE! I do not know what is coming next…. it feels like a rollercoaster more than a dance!
This dance, with Gianna in heaven…it is so hard. SO HARD.
I do not like it!
But, I have to choose to dance and I have to close my eyes to see the unseen… I have to keep my heart open to HIS song to feel the love notes of heaven. I do not want to miss these glimpses of glory! But, this dance of earthly pain. and the UNSEEN rhythms of the new music are hard to submit to most days.
I fail often and flop on the floor and groan and complain and I take the time to wail and cry out.
But, that is ok.
You see, You have to fall to the music ….dancers spend a lot of time on the floor, But I choose to get back up. I choose to rise, by the Grace of God!
It is so complicated, this dance between joy and pain. It has rises and falls, it has quiet and loud, it has ups and downs. It is sometimes gentle and soft and sometimes terribly painful and abrupt. Sometimes it cradles me, sometimes it whips and spins me around so fast that I can hardly catch my breath. Meanwhile, though our hearts break and re-break every day, I believe our soul muscles are getting stronger ….I have to believe our spirits are being strengthened in the burn of this fire-y dance. Our HOPE is fought for….because we dance past the temporary world into a world that is unseen. We cling to this triumphant song!
We are learning to dance to His song.
My Helaina (my 16 year old) taught me this important truth just a month after her sissy went to heaven. She was scheduled to dance in her recital, and no one would have blamed her if she had chosen to bow out. After all, her world had just fallen apart. She was just freshly slayed and still bleeding from walking her sissy to heaven….. However, not only did she courageously choose to dance that night, but she and her closest friends choreographed (along with her teacher) an emotional and very powerful dance in honor of her sissy. They danced to Gianna’s favorite song, “Oceans.”
My brave hurting Helaina…. literally chose to dance her bleeding heart out to express her aching and grieving love for her BFF sissy… She chose to dance this sacred dance and feel all the pain with all the love. She allowed her heart to FEEL ALL the things….She was not afraid to dance….she is my hero and a forever example to me of how to keep dancing with a bleeding heart…how to keep reaching for light in the darkness.
Because, honestly Some days I do not want to embrace this dance, it is exhausting…. but if I do not choose to dance, then I will miss when JOY takes the lead! I need to stay in the dance. If not, I will miss the joy, I will miss glimpses of the sunrise if I am not looking up and dancing in the dark…. I will miss the light,
I do not want to miss JOY…. Joy truly shines when it dances alongside grief. Light stands out against the darkest night.
So We dance this delicate dance between two worlds. We dance for the grief of what was, we dance for what we ache for in the eternal, and we dance for what we fight for in the HERE and NOW. Suddenly life has perspective when you look up from this stage of this wild terrible dance. However, as soon as you think you have the routine down, you fall and break an ankle and feel as though you will never dance again or that you never want to dance again. It is a messy and sometimes ugly dance….but there is beauty that emerges from the mess.
Because, just when you think you will never dance again, you start to hear the song again, that still song of HOPE. The music of truth that always helps you respond. Because Joy and pain are always waiting to be picked back up …..to echo our ache and our HOPE for things unseen. You can not feel one without the other. Their notes are intertwined and tangled together. A symphony of a story still being unfolded.
Yet 4 weeks.
A sacred dance.
Joy and Sorrow holding hands.
We are Four weeks home with our precious Eviemira. Our miracle of new goodness and Life. New love and life and Hope. Joy has had this beautiful opportunity to lead this holy dance! And we have felt it’s light!
If you have followed my Instagram page @morning.glory.farm then you have been a witness with us to all the miracles and JOY of the past 4 weeks home after the 2 annoited weeks with her in China!!!
MIRACLES! So many miracles of goodness and LIGHT!
Gianna’s little sissy, her delight!
Oh such a gift, our Jun-Jun is!!
Beauty and LIGHT that grows around the deepest pain. Shoots of new life growing through the cracks of all the broken pieces.
The joy is felt ever deeper because sorrow blew our hearts open ever wider. Joy and sorrow….Forever conjoining mysteries, forever dance partners who share the lead on different days and different moments. But, Where one goes …the other follows closely. In every gain, loss is right there.
Oh how we ache to see Gia hold her sissy’s hand on earth.
We now feel everything so much deeper in this new dance. And you can not hi-jack the dance. You just have to let the one lead who needs to lead in that moment. When there are the joys in the echoes of these new beautiful giggles, there is also the ache for Gianna’s giggles.
…though there is GREAT overwhelming JOY, Grief is now a part of every grace. Grief can’t be ignored in this story because deep grief comes from deepest love and Grief must hold my hand and walk with me because it’s my teacher, my mentor and my purpose giver. In my most agonizing suffering, my grief has exposed the unfailing truth of God’s words.
He loves me. I am “HIS BELOVED.”
Truly, we do not dance alone…. We have this HOPE, this JESUS who carries us in this dance. The power of the resurrection living within. A HOPE. A promise.
That is the music.
Jesus is the music in the heartbreaking dance. Suffering has made truth that much brighter…..
Grief points us to TRUTH. and truth saves us moment to moment. A great love and hope in our messy broken story that’s still not done unfolding.
He’s not done. The music is still singing a song of HOPE that is the symphony of this dance… HOPE and belief in the PROMISE that One day He will make it all new.
And in the meantime, I am learning about myself in this dance. God is revealing who He says I am. If I keep my heart open to HIM, The music is teaching me more about who I am as HIS beloved Child as I let Jesus carry all my BROKEN.
The music is singing a song of freedom because HE knows this dance.
It’s been in my deepest wrestling, my deepest lamenting AND yelling at God, and stumbling through a life that I used to feel “like I had mostly somewhat together” that I found in all the broken pieces, a Love that Never turns away even in my weakest, deepest stumbling… He never shows rejection …..A love that never shames me…that never ever needs my performance for His love.
In my greatest pain, my greatest limping, my God has called me “Beloved “
He has shown me great TRUTH in my groaning…..I know He grieves with me. He sees me. He aches with me. Yet…His song of Hope is always louder and always truer…. this dance with sorrow and joy is in step to HIS song.
Just as JESUS danced this sacred dance on earth with joy and sorrow, He shows me how to bring the dance to God…. AS HE did, when he literally sweat blood in a holy Garden. Ya’ll HE SWEAT BLOOD!! I understand this like never before! It was not easy for Jesus to dance either…. He brought his groans to GOD too! bleeding GROANS!
If my Jesus can bring ALL his messy music to our God, so can I.
He is always there accepting all of me…catching my breaking heart. Hearing my protests. Not needing perfection or performance or my “okay-ness” …He LOVES ME. All of me.
I’d like to say that I knew God deeply before …but not the “Jesus who is acquainted with all our sorrows- real Jesus”!!! It is only by the doorway of suffering that am I able to see This real Jesus. And… Knowing this Jesus means knowing these big gospel freedoms. I am free …free to dance like a crazy woman who does not have it all together! Free to fall, free to rise again.
Because …before I was “slayed” I still could be the person who performed and who felt like I was “earning love” from others and God, and very careful to keep my dance neat and tidy and happy… this is no more when I became a God-wrestler. NOPE!
BUT, Oh such freedom in His perfect love because when life fell apart and I was no longer a person who could strive for, or attain for worthiness or had the energy to please others ….I was stripped, stripped of the perfect dance that just shined all “happy”.
I only had /have My mess. My broken. My messy fumbling dance. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care enough to try and be everyone’s everything, to do it ALL RIGHT. How can you when your life falls apart?
I’m terribly insufficient and deep grief highlights all those failures.
Because when Gianna’s chains broke, mine broke too!
I dance with no chains!! My greatest loss has taught me great truth. I can fully be who I am and dance the imperfect dance I was created for because I AM BELOVED! No one can shake this deeply seated truth! I was created to dance to shine His light that He draws me with!
Because No longer am I a slave to the equation: (Jesus “plus” performance or Jesus “plus” the worlds’ acceptance). I do not need the “world’s approval” or applause…Those chains have broken.
I have and care about only the audience of ONE (well, two….because I know our Gianna is always cheering me on in this dance, my tiny cheerleader!)
I am, for the first time in my life, confident In my identity as “His beloved.” …even in my greatest sorrow I see TRUTH. It has been In my wrestling within this story that has kept me pressed so closely near His heart to hear TRUTH, and to hear HIS song as I learn this dance.
IT doesn’t make sense that HE can love us in all our mess and unworthiness and sin… but neither does a Perfect man dying on a cross to save an “imperfect me” from Hell.
DOES. NOT make sense!
HE LOVES me with “no strings attached.” Can you believe that? Perfect love that died for “me”. For. YOU. We all crave this perfect love! It is ours for the having!
AND One day He promises to restore this broken world and that will be the GRAND FINALE!!! OH HAPPY DAY! I dance to this promise!
This is the love and promise our hearts were made for! The dance we look forward to! The dance I DEEPLY ACHE FOR!
That will be a dance where ONLY JOY LEADS and Grief is kicked OUT THE DOOR!! SEE YA…BA-bye!!!!!!!!
Joy and HAPPINESS will finally have center stage!…GOD WINS!! THEN ALL will be new, A new perfect dance!
and only because of that great sacrifice of Jesus’ death, I will inherit that promise and embrace my Gia again. My ultimate “sunrise” on the shores of eternity!
My most perfect dance! And we WILL dance…oh yes!!! We will dance all the day long and I will swing my baby around and around and kiss her squishy cheeks over and over.
This unfailing Truth despite our sorrow….. This freedom has catapulted me and my family “into the light” to dance our aching dance on earth ….And this is the LIGHT OF TRUTH we fight to cling to each day. This is why we still get up when we fall.
This truth, in our deep sorrow, has Allowed our hearts to love even deeper than before, even in depths of pain. …AND this TRUTH has reignited our fire for “eternal gain.”
This is truth that gives purpose to the suffering.
There is Purpose in the pain. Pain is never for nothing. Freedom of HOPE has allowed our hearts to grow Around the pain and around the grand canyon-sized hole of Gianna. Gianna’s forever life growing us forever. Carrying her forever with us as we dance forward….
HOPE has unbolted us from the world and its gloss and glimmer and temporal filling and superficial happy dance into a deeper song of a harder dance. Eternal perspective now always always trumps no matter who is leading the dance (whether it be Joy or Pain). Truth wins. His song is louder!
Our greatest loss has broken our hearts for those who also need hope and light. Great loss has opened our hearts to greater hope. This is how we will dance forward…
Somehow in the grit of grief, God’s grace invited us into a bigger story, a Precious gift… A story of beauty from beauty. Hope from hope. Love from LOVE. He used Gianna’s forever life to dance us straight to to our Eviemira’s arms…our Jun-Jun …our Miracle of New Life. Our echo of TRUTH!
Jun-Jun her Chinese name (and affectionately her given nick-name from us) means TRUTH- TRUTH!! Only GOD!
She is a glimpse of glory. She is tangible GOODNESS!! JunTova (The goodness of Truth!)
We will never understand the story…. Not until we are in heaven with Gia and see it as she does.
I just miss her. I miss her with every fiber of my DNA and I can almost hear her shouting to me over and over “IT IS GOOD, MAMA!!” IT IS SO GOOD! Like she did when we ate lemons together. This is her LEMON JOY!
There is absolutely no understanding or reconciling the story this side of heaven…a dance where both pain and joy are so deeply intertwined and holding each other so tightly that you can not even see each separately anymore…but there’s this BIG God who can triumph over death and who is the creator of the music and who knows the end of the victorious story… and He can birth a Goodness born from the laboring of deep pain.
The God Who can bring Miracles out of messes. The God we don’t understand but the God we trust. Even when it’s not okay. When the story is not okay. When the song is not okay. When we are not okay. I trust the God who sees. Who knows. He wins. Life wins. Light wins.
Death never wins.
His song of Hope is always louder, the song we choose to dance this sacred messy Grief/Joy dance to.
We will keep dancing…. We will keep getting back up when we stumble….even if we have to crawl. We will crawl forward.
And, my prayer is that we keep growing as we learn to dance! Gianna’s life growing us forever! Her miracles continuing to emerge on earth! And our prayer for Eviemira is that she hears this song of Hope in her journey of miracles and mountains!
She will rise and fall to the same music!
Her music will sing a song of Joy and HOPE! ….That glorious day, when she is learning to walk (and we are claiming this miracle over her life) ….she will stumble and fall and rise back up again, because she will know this song….She will know this rhythm that we live by. We will cheer her on into more miracles of goodness and light!
And if we listen closely to the music, I know we will hear her heavenly Big sissy shouting LOUDLY high upon a rock cheering her warrior baby sissy forward into MORE HOPE and victory and more light too!!! She gets all the love notes from heaven!
A victorious song!
Live Gia Grow Forever!!!
I can’t wait to dance with you again baby girl on the shores of eternity!
Until then, I will dance this messy dance of sorrow and joy and listen for HIS louder song of HOPE…. the song that cradles my broken heart.
Gia-Bia!! Save that JOY dance for mama, sweet baby girl!
One day ONLY JOY WILL LEAD us FOREVER!!!! We will dance right into our forever sunrise, right into Jesus’ arms!
TEARS NO MORE!
I am Dancing brave for you as I wait for that Beautiful day, baby girl!