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July 8, 2015

From Gold to Pink: Moving From The Death of One Child, to the Life of Another

For two weeks, my mom has been trying to steal me away and bless me with a mani-pedi.

 

IMG_5012But juggling things like practically living at the NICU with our 33 week preemie, Birdie James….trying to remain a present mother for my 3-year-old son Moses and wife for my hubby, finishing my new book and turning it in to my publisher after giving birth prematurely at 31 weeks—pumping every 3 hours day and night, all while trying to stay awake—let's just say, my nails were just about the last thing on my list of priorities.

In fact, fingernails and toenails have been such a low priority for me this year, that the tiny bit of gold polish on my big toe from my last pedicure–the one I got last October–proved how much I didn't care.

Yesterday, I finally decided to forego the afternoon nap I take when Moses goes down and head to the nail salon with my mom for some much needed time to take care of me.

 

As I drove up to the salon, a lump quickly rose in my throat as tears fell and pooled under my chin.  You see, this was the same place my best friends and family had taken me right after our daughter Luca Gold ‘Goldie' Gifford had died on March 5, 2014—and we had all gone to get gold nails in her honor before her memorial service.  I remember sitting IMG_2277surrounded by my favorite people, who drove and flew in from all over the country, then quickly hopping up for a moment to go wash my hands in the corner.  As I reached the sink, I just happened to peer over into the next room where people were getting pedicures, and in the corner of that room was a small pink princess pedicure chair for little girls.

And my broken heart just lost it.

Sobs burst from my chest in the middle of that nail salon, and there was nothing I could do to stop them.  My daughter had just died a tragic death from anencephaly…the daughter I had dreamed of doing little things like getting manicures and pedicures with…and reality was, I'd never, ever, ever, ever get to fulfill any of my dreams for her on this earth.

I headed back to the safety of my friends, a blubbering mess of snot and tears.  I remember sitting back down by my one of my best friends whose mother had passed away the previous year.

“Christa,” she said.  “No one loved pedicures like my mom.  And she didn't get the basic pedicure…she went all out.  She got the best pedicure.  I know she'll take Goldie to get pedicures in heaven until you get there!”

We held each other and cried, my mama's heart comforted by the thought of my friends mother loving on my little girl until I got to be with her again–doing things that I had always dreamed of doing.

(Yes, yes, I know…..we don't know if there will be nail salons in heaven.  But I've talked to Jesus about it….and He doesn't mind one bit that I hope that there will be such things).

 

Two days ago as I walked into that same salon, I was instructed to pick out a nail color from the shelf.  As I looked at all the colors, I stopped for a brief moment and took a deep sigh.  You see, since Goldie died, everything has been gold in her honor.  Clothes were gold, posters were gold, furniture was gold, frames were gold–and when I had the time, nails were always, always, always gold.

Inside my mother's heart—the heart that has suffered through the grief of death, but has birthed new life to celebrate—there was a moment of conflict.

 

Will I be dishonoring the memory of Goldie to move on to the life of Birdie?

Will I be disloyal–taking off the necklaces that have carried her name to put on the name of her new sister?

Does my genuine joy for Birdie mean I'll forget about Goldie–because all I've known of her life and death was sorrow?

Can I really move from gold to pink?

 

I closed my eyes and do what I always do—ask Jesus what He has to say about the situation.  And because Ephesians 2 says we're seated in heavenly places right now….and that we can approach the throne of our Father with boldness and confidence….I wanted to see from His perspective–from a heavenly perspective.

In an instant, my spirit felt heaven wrap around me–the true joy of heaven.  In a moment, my heart felt the power of IMG_2343eternity—where there is no sorrow, no grief, no pain.  How could my daughter Luca Gold feel dishonored by my joy for her sister when she's incapable of feeling dishonor in this place?  How could Goldie feel like I was being disloyal when those emotions don't exist where she lives–in heavenly places?

It was if I could see little Goldie's face smiling on me from the great cloud of witnesses—overjoyed that we had Birdie in our lives to heal our hearts and bring us new joy.  My little girl in heaven…..she had prayed for our new little Birdie with Jesus as He constantly interceded on our behalf—believing for life to be restored after tragic death.  Of course my Goldie was overjoyed that life had come because that is always the will of our beautiful God—the Creator of LIFE.

(Ps….those were the clothes we had her cremated in…..and I don't think it was coincidence that we laid her to rest with a little gold bird on her chest.)  (:

 

I reached for a new color the other day–one I've never reached for before.  If you know me, you know I love my neutral colors, never being super girlie.  But suddenly, with a new little girl in my arms, and new life budding all around, and a heart overflowing with more joy than I've ever experienced…..I want everything to be alive with color honor of my new little Birdie James Gifford.

And as the lady put new pink polish on my nails and toes, celebrating my new bundle of joy growing every day in the NICU, I know Goldie was cheering on her mother from heaven.

 

IMG_4970Mommy is moving from death to life.

Mommy is moving from sorrow to joy.

Mommy is moving from gold to pink.

 

And all of heaven is rejoicing with me.

xx,

Signature CBG

 

 

23 Responses to “From Gold to Pink: Moving From The Death of One Child, to the Life of Another”

  1. Eniola Abioye

    Literally the most beautiful thread I see in every blog post is your intentional conversation with Jesus and his relevant and tangible response.

  2. Emily

    Christa this was so beautifully written and passionate, straight from the heart! Thank you for sharing your heart, your pain and your experiance. You are a strong beautiful woman <3

  3. Stephanie M. Custer

    Well I’m in a pile of tears, and with all of Heaven and your precious Goldie I am cheering for you and celebrating the joy that is your sweet daughter Birdie!!

  4. Mashella McBride Johnson

    It is pure joy to watch you go from death to life, sorrow to joy and gold to pink. Your willingness to share the joy and sorrow of your life has deepened my relationship with our Savior in ways only your transparency could!! I love you sweet friend and look forward to the day our paths cross again!

  5. Mendy

    My heart is so happy for you! This is a beautifullly written piece. Authored by our Heavenly Father. I am praying for your precious little Birdie and for you.

  6. Dina Bastanzi

    Christa – you are such an amazing testament of grace and the Father’s heart for us. One day, I hope to be as confident as you are in heaven. I always think of the scripture in Luke about the one bride and the seven brothers … And I get worked up. It is so disheartening bc when I read that, I lose hope in heaven bc I think that we won’t recognize people … Because if we did recognize people then we would know who is missing – and if we know who is missing then there would be sadness – and there is none of that in heaven…when I hear people say “you’ll see them again” it is of no comfort bc of how much I wrestle with this. . . However, the hope that you share and the confidence in which you share it is inspiring and gives me hope at the same time. Thank you for that.

  7. Ivana Behrent

    Oh Christa I get so excited when I see you have posted photos each day. Seeing Birdie grow these last couple of weeks and watching her go from strength has been so precious and such an honour to be able to rejoice with you guys. Thank you for being an open book and heart. Thank you for your words that go into the world and find the places they are meant for. Thank you beautiful you xxxx

  8. Christina Deskin

    Blessings for you, Birdie and your family. And God is faithful to His children as He moves us from glory to glory. Your new child will heal and grow strong in Christs’ awesome power. Thank you for sharing your life so openly. And thank you for sharing God loves Ugly with me at Pink 2014.

  9. Becky

    Beauty instead of ashes…joy instead of mourning….praise instead of heaviness…you have become an oak of righteousness, that He may be Glorified! Rejoicing with you!

  10. Anabel Lucio Morales

    Oh my goodness Christa! I’m 39 weeks pregnant sitting at my OB’s office a total mess now. I hesitated to read your blog this week because of this. We met at the Pink conference in Stafford, TX this past January and your story ministered so much to me. I rejoice alongside you sister! Praise God for his mercy, peace and joy!!!

  11. LaQuanna Franklin

    Christa, I have been watching all of your videos on Worship U over the past several months, prior to knowing about the loss of your precious Goldie. To see your sermons walked out in your own personal tragedy-triumph is such an encouragement to me! I have prayed for the LORD to show me what pure holiness and walking with him looks like, and I know that HE has honored my prayers by leading me to your sermons and now your blogs. You are an amazing Tree of Life!!!! I feel like my life will be much more fruitful because you’ve poured into me such faith, love and hope for a deeper, more intimate walk with my heavenly Daddy. Thank you for continuing to be that fountain that pours life into us when death was at your door. So happy for you and your beautiful family! Praying constantly for you!

  12. I read this while I was feeding my (miracle, rainbow, reason for surviving) daughter. I saw it come into my e-mail last night and knew I wouldn’t get any sleep if I read it then. A friend of mine turned me onto your work when a piece of yours about the blood on your daughter’s blanket was run in the Huffington Post. She knew that I needed to know that I wasn’t alone. In February of 2014, my daughter quit moving when I was 35 weeks pregnant with her. She was awesome Monday and gone by Thursday. I was induced and gave birth to her on Sunday. A very kind and wonderful (I assume) woman had made and donated a blanket and outfit that the hospital wrapped our Cassidy in while we got to see her and try to make enough memories to last a lifetime. The next year was hell. Little things hurt so much and,like you, I had a support system who cried with me even if they didn’t understand exactly what was happening. It was amazing to me the little things that would set me off into a panic with tears streaming down my face while I struggled to breathe. I know, I know I looked like a crazy lady on more than one occasion.
    I became pregnant with our second daughter 3 months later. Pregnancy hormones and all that grief… it was a wonder I didn’t end up in a padded cell. Because of my previous unexplained stillbirth, doctors decided that I needed to be induced and our ray of sunshine Claire (yes, we have a C thing going on) was born on Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t perfect: She had a temperature and was placed on antibiotics immediately; my doctor was out of town; my mom wasn’t due to come in until the following day; my health issues caused problems. But she was here. There are a lot of times I feel like I’m dishonoring Cass. Claire is so bright and alive that it’s hard to picture her sister as we saw her. But Claire’s persisting nickname is Sister so it’s OK. I was so happy to see that you were pregnant again and that your little girl is here. It’s a relief even though it’s not as easy as it should be. That’s not exactly the right sentiment, but I’m hoping that you understand. Good luck and congratulations. I hope she comes home soon.
    ~Carmin

  13. Kim Grussing

    Christa, I am so blessed to be able to watch and read about your amazing struggle this past year. Though I know you have had a VERY rough year. That little sweet baby is such a blessing and testament to so many, and obviously to you and your family.
    I am praying you enjoy all the goodies I sent (and Moses does too). I totally agree with being able to move on and knowing that your little sweet Goldie is sitting in the arms of Jesus, completely healed, and she is guarding her family here on earth until you all meet again. I’m sure with all of your writing you realize it wasn’t goodbye with Goldie…as hard as it was (and I CANNOT imagine)…it was “See ya later Sweetie”.
    The gift coming from Amazon was something from my heart to your’s…as a momma of 3 not 2 tho. I pray you receive it and hopefully can get some great picture’s of it all with her. It not only represents her brand new life, an Angel sent from Heaven, but the feather’s are a signification of a bird/Angel/butterfly as well. It has some gold on the bottom for Goldie. Also something else fit for a child of the most high God for her little head.
    I thought it would fit perfect for a “prop picture” for your little Bird.
    God bles all of you for what you have been through. Thank you for ‘Honestly” sharing it all this past year. You and our precious God has inspired many this year, and I can’t wait to read your book! May God hold all of you close as you start this new chapter with your wonderful husband, Big bro, Moses and little Birdie. Blessings to you my friend. No one deserves more than you. 🙂

  14. Kristin Starzl Atkinson

    I lost one of my twins this last father’s day as a result of a Congenital heart defect. It’s been so hard and my heart hurts so very much. But I have this perfect, happy little 5 month old survivor that deserves to be celebrated. I, too struggled with how my little one in Heaven would feel if we moved on. . . if his heart would just break because he felt we forgot all about him. I needed to read this, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing it.

  15. to_fly

    Hi Christa, you amazingly god-filled woman of heaven! I just discovered your instagram account (in fact, pictures of beautiful Birdie were shown to me on the ‘thinks you might like’-page in such a large amount as if someone wanted to make sure I am coming right here on your blog) and ever since tears were falling down my cheeks. You’re so brave, you’re such an amazing sign of our ever-loving father, I just don’t find the words for.
    I haven’t lost a child, I haven’t experienced the tragedy of being nine months promised to receive a new life and facing death instead. But I have found you who’s set something into my heart that will burn forever. Thank you. ♥

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