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Return To Sender…

Today I have something truly special for you. One of my dearest friends on the planet is going to share some of the most tender parts of her heart you with. Sarah was my first friend when we first moved to this area and we instantly connected in that bosom friend kind of way… the way that Anne and Diana could understand. (you have read Anne of Green Gables haven’t you??) We had our boys together — they were born just three months apart and have been best buds ever since. Shortly after we accepted Arsema’s referral Sarah went in for her 20 week ultrasound to determine the gender of their next baby. I was secretly praying for a girl so that our daughter’s could be besties too. My prayers came true and a precious little girl was revealed on the screen. I squealed when I got the text, but instantly my joy turned to worry and tears as Sarah asked for prayer because something was wrong. I’ll let her share that below.

On November 8, 2012 I raced to the hospital with my dear friend Anna. Not long after we were ushered into a room that held one one of the most beautiful baby girls I’ve ever seen. The next four hours were spent laughing, crying, and enjoying every second of a sweet little girl who wouldn’t be with us long. Holy moments. Then it was time and I, with a few other friends, cried helplessly in the corner as we watched Sarah sing her daughter into heaven as she and Josh said goodbye. 

Sarah’s faith throughout her entire pregnancy as a testimony to me. Her endurance, grief, and hope since saying goodbye for now to Evie-girl has been inspiring and humbling. It is one of life’s greatest honors and blessings to be able to walk beside her through this pain… to watch her grow and learn things about life that few are ever able to learn. She is a treasure, and I know you will be blessed by her words and her perspective. Please continue reading and please leave a comment of love and support to my friend below.

Return To Sender by Sarah Rieke

TOn July 16, 2012 my husband and I went in for a routine ultrasound to find out the gender of our second baby.  It was such an exciting morning – I had been on pins and needles just waiting until that special moment came!  We already had a wonderful son so my mommy heart was really wishing for a daughter.  I could not wait to find out.

After a few minutes of observation the ultrasound technician confirmed my dream come true – it was a girl!  But the hesitation in her voice told me there was more to the story.

“Ok Sarah, I am really concerned about something here.”

She had detected low levels of amniotic fluid, a concern which landed us an appointment with a highly specialized doctor in maternal-fetal medicine.  After he completed the ultrasound we were delivered the most heart-wrenching news; our baby daughter had several birth defects and would be unable to survive outside of the womb.  Meeting our daughter would also mean saying goodbye.

It was a trying four months.  It was so tough to live life anticipating the tragedy that lied ahead.   Enjoying my pregnancy and my daughter was a challenge, trying to push aside the mental angst and choosing to treasure her kicks and wiggles and hiccups as a gift rather than a sad reminder of things to come.  But every day I made a commitment to thank the Lord for the time He had planned for her, for the time we would spend with her.  I thanked Him in advance for knowing all the details and having them carefully mapped out.  And I poured my confidence into His plan.

Evie Caris came three weeks earlier than anticipated.  She was born on November 8, 2012 and lived for four wonderful hours before going home to Jesus a little before 3:00 am on Friday November 9.  I can’t describe to you the joy I felt holding her in my arms and spending those hours with her.  She was beautiful and the memory of her chubby little face and perfectly bowed lips remains strong in my heart.

I received so many cards following Evie’s death.  They are all very special to me although there have been a couple that really stand out for one reason or another.  One message in particular was written by my Grandpa:

Our condolences and our prayers are with you in the difficult time following Evie’s return to her Creator.

Return?  Return to her Creator.  That phrase rang in my mind.

Return means you have to give something back.  We return library books, Redbox rentals, clothes that didn’t fit.  We return borrowed lawn equipment and tupperware from friends that somehow ended up in our homes.  We return things that don’t belong to us.

Evie never belonged to me really.  In some small way Josh and I created her but she was ultimately knit together by her Heavenly Father who had great plans for her little life, a plan which included a very broken body and a short time on this earth.  But because that was His plan for her, she didn’t have to be here long in order to fulfill her purpose.

The Lord put Evie on this earth to give me a chance to prove my love to Him.  He put her on this earth to bring me into a deeper relationship with Him and to depend on Him each moment of each day.   He put her on this earth to touch lives and bring others to His throne.  And when her purpose was fulfilled, she was returned to Him.

When I think of it in this way, of Evie never belonging to me in the first place, I feel so humbled and so privileged that the Lord chose to include me in her story, which is now so intricately wound into my story.  There is no sense of entitlement when I take on that perspective.  I am not entitled to any part of her life because it was never mine to begin with.

Evie belongs to the Lord.  I was privileged to be her mommy for nine months and then she flew away to her Heavenly home.  And although walking this journey of life is immensely more difficult with a broken heart, I can rejoice that Evie has returned to her Creator and one day, not so long from now, I will too.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your books they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.  Psalm 139:13-14, 16


Sarah has found a way to bless others and honor her daughter in a completely beautifully way. Read about her newest project: 

The Little Ladybug Shoppe is the name of my service project shop in honor of my very own little ladybug who went to Heaven shortly after she was born.  My aim for LLS is to bless those in need with small handmade gifts as I feel led.  Little Ladybug Shoppe’s current project is making headband sets and superhero capes to donate to Edmarc Hospice for Children.  I hope those gifts can be a blessing to those terminally ill children and provide a smile in the midst of heartache and hardship.

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