For two weeks, my mom has been trying to steal me away and bless me with a mani-pedi.
But 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 surrounded 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 eternity—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.
Mommy is moving from sorrow to joy.
Mommy is moving from gold to pink.
And all of heaven is rejoicing with me.