Sunday, April 4, 2010

Treasured Memory

First, thank you all SO much for leaving comments on the story I shared the other day, I knew it was worth telling if even one more person gained something from that, and reading again and again how much it did for so many was like waves of grace rolling over me. God bless!

Now a card to share (and then another story that is on my heart). When our new release stamps and card stocks arrived, I started out making my first little warm up card with "A Beautiful Life" using this sympathy quote in the set (which I love!!) and the gorgeous new Little Boy Blue Pure Luxury. I'm not sure why, but as I was about to color the tulips a beautiful blue to match to make a beautiful monochromatic card, I stopped and thought "Wait, are there blue tulips??" So I Googled it, and found that while tulips come in almost EVERY shade, even BLACK, (although it really looks more like deep brown burgundy or dark, dark violet) they do NOT come in BLUE!! Well, not that that matters, but for some odd reason I just could not move forward making them blue as planned LOL! So I decided to add just a touch of pale yellow, as I usually don't add a lot of bright, what I consider "cheerful colors" to sympathy cards.

But the card was kinda "meh" and a little too somber, rather than a "treasured memory". (Like I said, it was a "warm up" card!) Still lovin' the cardstock though, but I just couldn't decide at the time how to make it better, so I just photographed it and put it aside, hoping I might "make it work" later. It happens sometimes...sigh!!


A few weeks later, though, I was looking at this card again, and thought about a woman from my Moms Together Bible Study this past year, whose story from a few months ago will touch me forever. She had five children and was pregnant with #6, we watched her grow with child over the months we studied. One thing she'd shared in her small group as something she needed prayers for earlier in the year: her husband was not a believer, and it caused lots of problems in their marriage, and how they each wanted to raise their children. Later we all prayed for an easy labor for her during our last session before breaking for the Christmas holiday, the baby was due any day. (While no delivery is without risk, I don't think what would actually come to pass crossed any of our minds...)

A few days later we all received an email that the baby was still born. Her perfectly formed little girl never took a breath because the placenta abrupted during delivery, and the family was deeply mourning their loss. We were all stunned and heartbroken for them and reached out with cards and prayers. Aching for this woman I barely knew, I believed with my whole heart that innocent child's spirit flew straight into the loving arms of Jesus Christ.
But just one week later we received another email from the mother, the contents of which was one of the most beautiful testaments of healing, God's love, and how He uses ALL things for good that I've ever read. To summarize, she explained that she was experiencing God's presence in a way she never had before: that her family was closer, that she woke up each day wrapped in a blanket of warmth that she knew could only be Him, she was falling in love with her husband all over again and the answer to her prayers, that her husband had given his life to Christ, born from wanting God to heal him the way he saw the Lord was doing for his wife, as well as his desire to one day live forever with his family and daughter he never knew in heaven! In just one week this all happened! That to me is a miracle. Oh I can't think of it without crying and getting chills!! Even through death and grief she could still experience this joy and remain faithful! Loving my children as much as anything on this earth it is almost impossible for me to imagine that I could be that faithful, but it gives me hope: during one of the lowest points in their lives, God brought about some of their best, a memory and promise to surely treasure, that He can and will sustain and restore us.
Remembering all this, I made some changes to my card, stamping the teeny butterfly from Theresa's "Sending Sunshine" to create this pattern on the background and added some Red Hot punched corners and Strong Red Copic for bicolored tulips. A little sponging in the oval looks like a peek though a window into a golden sky, maybe a glimpse at one of the best days of our past with that person or into the great beyond. NOW when I read this sentiment I connect this card with a celebration of one's life and the promise of our eternal life, without sickness or sadness, we have when we believe. I don't know who this card is for yet, but when it comes time to send it out, I pray it will remind the recipient of all the good things past and hope of what is yet to come when Jesus is our savior....

Happy Easter! Christ died for YOU and is risen!

17 comments:

Elaine M said...

Oh My!! These stories just touch my heart so deeply. Thank you for sharing them along with your beautiful cards. Be blessed!!

Deanna C said...

Thank you so much for sharing this and your last story as well! What beautiful, loving, caring feelings came through! I liked your original card "okay", but when you changed it up it became not only a beautiful card, but it gives a message of hope when you see it. Thank you for sharing and I pray you will have a very Happy Easter!

joy said...

Oh, my how cheerful your second card is. Thank you for blessing us with this testimony of God's love for his children.

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful story. I had to keep scrolling back and forth between the 2 pics of the card....while it was a lovely card before...boy oh boy could I see and feel so much more in the finished card. I could almost see in the card some of what you must have been feeling when you finished this beautiful card. You are such a sweet and thoughtful girl! Hugs! Diana Q

Giovana said...

Beautful card Melanie! Another touching story.
God bless you and Happy Easter.

MaxineD said...

Another beautiful card, and oh that story - God is so faithful and can truely 'turn our mourning into dancing' even in the most devastating of circumstances, which is reflected in the adaptations you made.
Bless you for sharing this.

Susie W. said...

Melanie, I'm so touched that you are sharing these pieces of your personal life with us. I feel a certain connection with you, because of the things you share with all of us through your blog.
Thank you so very much!

And...I love the stamp sets that you design. Thank you for sharing your gift of art and design with us!

thestampinglady said...

What a wonderful story of what God can and does in our lives. I also read the previous blog and so admire you for listening to God and then acting on his commandants to share the faith. These stories will bless not only you but others as well. Thanks for sharing your heart with your readers.

scalder said...

Melanie:
May God bless you this Easter day and always. Opening your heart and sharing such touching stories can be a bit overwhelming, especially on the web! Thanks for them particularly on this blessed day!
I like both the cards but the red accent one sure Pops!

Lori said...

My heart is blessed, thank you.

Jennie said...

Another beautiful card Melanie and it sure pops perfectly :o) Beautiful testimony that shows once again..."but God meant it for good!" He has our best at heart and we need the faith to believe...such a sad loss, but the spiritual gain puts it all in perspective. Truly a convicting testimony and my heart is blessed beyond words... I pray the Lord blesses this dear family with another little one if it is His will....

Nancy said...

Melanie, thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. How sad that the baby was stillborn but look at what blessings are coming from it. I am amazed at her faith and am so glad that her husband is gaining faith too. What an amazing story!

As you know, my daughter is terminally ill and is experiencing a lot of pain. The last few nights I've been trying harder to explain to her about the ressurection and how she will someday have a body that doesn't need oxygen, doesn't hurt and can dance and play. We spoke of how Christ knew he was going to die and went willingly. He asked Heavenly Father to forgive the ones who had beaten him, put a crown of thorns on his head, nailed his hands to the cross and set him up to die. I told her about how He gave his life and was ressurected 3 days later. We talked about how Mary went to the tomb and was upset because she thought someone had stolen Christ's body and how He stood before her and asked her if she didn't recognize him. We both got tears in our eyes as I told her that she looked up and knew it was Him. Jesus went to suffer and die willingly because he knew it would be worth it. Everything we go through in this life will be worth it and we need to try to find joy in the little things every day.

I get through the day - every day - because I know that my Redeemer lives. I know He blesses us in ways we don't even understand. Life has gotten very difficult but I rely on my faith to help get me through.

Thank you again for sharing such a wonderful story. And.... I don't care if tulips aren't "naturally" blue.... I would love blue tulips!

Donna said...

Beautiful story. We never know what God has in store for us but it's always for our good. I'll pray for continued healing for the family. Beautiful card. I am sure they so appreciated it!

Michelle said...

What an amazing story. God is soooooooo GOOD!!!!!!! Even in the dark He shows us the light. I'm crying for this family. Tears of sadness at the loss of their little angel and tears of absolute joy that Daddy will be with her in heaven. Thanks for sharing this very touching story.

Evelyn said...

Love the cards,and what a beautiful, heartwarming story. God does work in mysterious ways.

Casmiles said...

Beautiful card, Melanie. And your story, gave me chills that seemed to go through me forever...

buggin2stamp said...

Wow, what an amazing testimonial. I know for many it is hard to imagine how God can use a tragic situation in our lives and bring about something powerfully amazing. This is proof.
And after reading your blog, I will never look at creating sympathy cards as something somber. :o)