Carrying Her Heart

I am dedicating this site to my beloved daughter Rachel whose earthly life ended on Sept. 17,2009.This is just a glimpse of the path I walk through this journey of grief.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Say Rach to me

One of my sweet friends who has been helping me from day 1 to walk this path of grief,(she walks it herself)sent me this poem/letter she found in the book Saying Goodbye To Your was written anonymously and Lewis and Betty Smoak edited it for their daughter. I have edited it for mine.....

The time of concern is over.
No longer am I asked how are we doing.
Too seldom is the name of our daughter mentioned to me.
A curtain descends. The moment has passed.
A life slips from frequent recall.

There are exceptions: close and compassionate friends,
Sensitive and loving family, Rachel's closest pals.
For most, the drama is over.
The spotlight is off. Applause is silent.
But for me the play will never end.
The effects on me are timeless.
Say Rachel to me.

On the stage of my life she will always be a rising star!
Do not tiptoe around the most consuming event of my life.
Love does not die.
Her name is written on my life….
Say Rachel to me and say Rachel again, and again.

It hurts to bury her memory in silence—
And I will not…
So long as we are here, please
Say Rachel to us.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Live Love

Wow! What an amazing week at camp. 12 little girls from 7 to 12 years old for 5 days.I did ,however,have an amazing helper that went with me.Her daughter and my KK are best friends.She also knew how very special Rach was, so I knew I would be ok if I had a sad day. I was a little worried because the theme this year was LIVE LOVE. I was afraid it would all be about Rachs favorite verse...1 Cor/ 13:4....we sang a song that had it in the words ,but that wasnt all that was talked about. I also knew that the youth had gathered together there for Rach, but once I got to camp, I knew that it was all going to be ok..Wednesday morning I got up a little early to go get coffee before we had to get all the girls up.On my way out, I ran into the preacher.Bro. Carraway was the preacher last year too.He remembered my son having to go to the hospital,and we talked about that and how he was ok, and then I shared with him what happened in September. I tried to cover every part of what had happened,and as I spoke ,tears streamed down his face. I told him how good God had been to been to me and my family..I told him about the funeral.. I just needed him to know.. He told me that he was so glad that he saw me that morning because his sermon was on the woman at the well, and how her testimony brought others to Jesus.He told me that if it was time, that he would love for me to share my story.Immediately my head was filled with " ITS NOT TIME..ITS ONLY BEEN 10 MONTHS...I CAN'T TALK YET...THESE PEOPLE DON'T KNOW RACHEL"....I told him I would pray about it...and before I could close my mouth ,I could hear myself using my own words against me..."it says in the Bible to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have"....way to go big mouth....Bro Carraway prayed with me and I went back to the cabin..I had been doing so good all tears ...I of course had thought about her nonstop, so this caught me off guard.I told my other counselor..I told her I was going to pray about it,and that if I did decide to talk,would she please take my girls out because I didn't want them to have to sit through it.Well 4 hours later,I'm sitting in the tabernacle listening to the music.I begin to write down my thoughts "just in case".. It is so hard to edit the story.To me it is ALL is important... I told myself that I couldn't do it..I didn't have enough time...I have to practice ....and then I heard ..."YOU DON'T GET TO DECIDE WHEN ITS TIME...YOU WRITE THAT BLOG AND YOU TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT IT...WHY CAN'T YOU TALK TO THESE PEOPLE... YOU GET TO DECIDE WHO HEARS????? I DON'T THINK SO.... and then very clearly I heard "PUT UP .... OR SHUT UP"....the preacher was almost at the end of his sermon.I still was not sure what I was going to do,and then I heard him say without even looking at me...." SISTER , IS IT TIME?" and just like at the funeral, before I knew it, I was on the stage... I can't tell you what all I said, but as I spoke I could see the tears from almost every person in there.but I didn't cry..I just stood there and let God's words flow.. I covered it all in about 5 minutes... I ended with what was said at the funeral. Bro Carraway picked up from there and pleaded again... They had an invitation and many girls walked the aisle.. I know that there were decisions made. Some just needed to pray , but at least 4 were saved. Many of the girls from my church came down to pray and just to stand with me.After church we went to lunch..Many girls came and told me how sorry they were.Some just gave me a hug.. I could feel the love and the sympathy, but I did not feel pity..That was what I was afraid of feeling..After lunch we were heading back to the cabin. Another counselor hollered for me.She said that her 12 year old daughter was one of the girls that was saved.She had been praying for her for a long time. She said that I was at that camp for her.. She thanked me for sharing my story..I hugged her and turned around to go, and she grabbed my arm and said MY DAUGHTERS NAME IS RACHEL...I seriously almost passed out.
If you have ever read anything on this blog and had a thought that=oh that was a coincidence, or I was was just twisting things to fit my needs.... you can't deny this one.. I have never felt the way I felt standing in that campground. I think it was the first part of my heart healing. God's timing is always perfect.ALWAYS....I hope you can learn to live that easier than I did...What a great week..What a great God. My girls were all smiles the whole week too.Seeing them sing and be free to worship with their whole heart was so touching. It was just what we all needed.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hidden Treasure

I knew all week that today was coming.The 17th... It's been ten months today..Vacation Bible School was great,but all week I missed Rach so much.I had my two little girls on stage with me helping lead the music, and I had two of Rachs very good friends helping too. They were so sweet to my girls. It truly was a great week. We had 19 kids accept Christ. They just kept getting up and walking the aisle..It was so amazing to be a part of that.
Today I started getting ready to take 11 little girls to GA camp. We leave Monday morning, so I spent the morning packing. I opened a small zipper pouch on the outside of my bag and found the most wonderful gift....a pair of Rachels earrings.She had made these herself out of some guitar picks. I guess she left them in there after her trip to Illinois last September. I don't know what she used to put the hole in the pick..She went somewhere with the church and then came home and took these picks from her brother and made these earrings. I think she had gotten a necklace that was made out of a pick..I remember the whole "you don't even know how to play the guitar" conversation she had with her brother when she took his picks.I decided to not show them to Kennedy,yet.She had been having some really hard moments this past week.It's great to be around girls Rachels age, it fills that void that is left there, but then it makes you miss her so much more. I know that's where Kennedy was all week . Maybe when we get back from camp I will find a way to share them with her.I know the little girls don't count the months like all of us adults do.She just knows its been a very long time since she's seen Rach....Kennedy has a pair of red pick earrings already ...they say "pick Jesus" I know she will love to have these too. Pray for me as I go to camp. Last year my son went to the hospital while I was at camp with heart trouble. It is also the same place that all of the kids that were in the youth department with Rachel went to not long after her funeral.They are in the 4 month video that I posted on all of it will definitely be on my mind while I am there..... always is...
This was my Promise from Gods Word today..
Gracious is the Lord,and righteous; our God is merciful.The Lord protects the simple ;when I was brought low,He saved me.Return ,O my soul, to your rest,for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you..Psalm 116:3-7

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I dreamed a dream

Tonight will be the 3rd night of our vacation Bible school.I have been so busy getting the stage ready,and trying to learn all of the music and hand motions, but it has been so great to see the kids (and some of the adults) be so excited about being at church.I have really missed Rach so much ,she was always so much apart of VBS.My little girls have been on stage with me again this year singing,and doing the motions.I wish I could just go sit down and watch them.They put their whole heart into it.Especially KK who ,not very long ago, did not want anyone to even LOOK at her,much less watch her sing.I was thinking about Rach on the way home last nite.She was so happy the year she did the drama at VBS because she got to play Jesus.She loved the family she was doing drama with, and they let her know how very special she was to them too. I kept seeing this picture of her in my mind.As I turned to come home glaring through my windshield was this HUGE star.There were other tiny specs of stars all over ,but this was one was beautiful. It looked like the stars we draw.You could see the points on it.I had never seen a star do that.I've seen pictures of them where they look like that, but seeing it in my sky was breathtaking.I had to pull the car over so KK could get out of her car seat and see it. One of Rachs sweet friends had just shared this quote with me...“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” -Vincent van Gogh...I sat on the side of the road and dreamed..
if you click on the title it will take you to a song......

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sailin the High Seas

For the past 2 years our church has had a huge 4th of July carnival.The kids really have a great time. Last year we gave cross necklaces out in our goodie bags. If you look closely in some of my pictures on the blogs, you can see Rach wearing the one KK gave her.Once she put it on,she didn't take it off.I don't think there is a holiday that I cannot connect to now the next hurdle is vacation bible school.I have been so busy this week getting things ready for it.I have to turn our sanctuary into a ship ....(like a pirate ship but no pirates) I have been leading the music for the past 4 years. Before, I would teach a class. When I started doing music,Rachel was in the youth dept. so she was able to be my helper.One year she left me to go do drama,but she had the best time. No matter where we were ,she was there with me ,helping me to get it all ready.I try to turn the sanctuary into whatever our theme is. Rachel was always there to help me.I could always count on her honesty for how things were looking.It's just one more of those bittersweet memories...I miss her,but at the same time,I am so glad we had all those moments together. She can show them in heaven how to turn a cardboard box into a rocket, a boat, or one year I even made a water slide coming out of the baptistery.It also was a spacial time for her spiritually ,too. Rachel went to youth camp when she was a junior,and made the decision to rededicate her life.She wanted to be sure that when she had made her first decision that she hadn't done that just because Robin had done it.. but she hadn't followed in believers baptism yet. VBS gave me the opportunity to really share with her some scriptures,and that is why you see photos of her not as a child , but as a teenager being baptized. And that is what has given me so much peace. Like I've said before, I know none of my children are perfect,but I do know who was in Rachels heart.And I know how willing she was to share WHO was in her heart with others. Kennedy is in place where she needs to talk about Rach a lot. She just wants to know everything she can.She has so many question..she misses her so much. we all do....I will be on a "High Seas Expedition " starting Sunday night. I've got so much to do for the decorations PLUS learn songs AND do some talking and a skit...but I am not going to let myself get too stressed about it. I know that God will show me how to get it all done.. He showed me this morning how to fix the stage so I can have a "help" poster that no one can see, to help me to not forget what I am supposed to say.......I'm hoping to live what Mark 6:51 says =Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed......

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Robins' little sister

Robin and Morgan Ratcliff at the scholarship presentation

Rachels favorite photo with her brother

Today is Robin's(Rachs older brother) birthday.He turns 22.They were only 16 months apart.We lived in Houston when they were little, and they were inseparable.Rachel would just sit and watch him for hours when she was a baby.Then when she got a little older,everyone would ask if they were twins.They did everything together.Then it went from being twins to being asked" are you Robins little sister"?, which I think she secretly loved...One of my sweetest memories is seeing them in the baptistery water together.When Rachel was about 7 years old she made a profession of faith while listening to her brother being talked to about his decision to ask Jesus into his heart. I didn't take a picture of them.Honestly, I don't need one. I can see it like it was yesterday. It was one of those moments that go so deeply into your heart, you never forget it. It just seemed so perfect,them together ....always....This picture of them was Rachs favorite.She loved looking at it, it always made her smile. Robin and Rachel......I can't tell you how many times that was used in a sentence..Even tho he was older,she always took care of him.She would get up in the mornings when she was just 4 years old and tie his shoes before he went to kindergarten.He knew how to tie them..he just wouldn't do it..and I wouldn't do it to try to make him tie them....but she just knew he needed them tied. It was always that way...If Rachel was gone to stay at a grandparents house Robin would be lost until she came home..."when is Rach coming home"? When they got older they didn't have a lovey dovey kind of relationship, but their bond was unbreakable.... Last Sunday the church presented one of our nieces with a scholarship in Rachels name. Robin was there....for her....