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Tuesday, June 7, 2016
What Annie Meant To Me
Today I learned that Annie lost her battle with a tumor in her stomach. I am devastated. I am still in disbelief. I know we all live and someday die, but no! How could it be Annie's time to go? She was a ray of sunshine to everyone she encountered.
I met Annie at The Magic House, which is a children's museum in our town. I actually became a member of the Magic House so I could attend Annie's music and art classes at a discounted rate because I loved her style of working with my children so very much. But, I did not know that she was put there for a reason.
My son was 4 and my daughter was barely 2 when we started attending these adorable arts and music workshops.Annie made us feel welcome. I loved her smile, and I loved her optimistic approach to hands-on learning with the kids. What I didn't know at the time was just how instrumental she would be in my healing, emotionally and spiritually, after I had lost my 3rd baby through miscarriage.
We had stayed late after an art class, and we were helping her clean up the brushes. She said her cordial goodbyes while we went to explore the museum to let our art work dry. When I appeared to pick up my child's art work later that afternoon, something prompted a deeper conversation. I mentioned that I had just had a miscarriage. I'm not even sure how it came up in conversation that day, but I know it was a God-directed moment. She stopped me and asked, "Did you say you had a miscarriage?" I responded that I had. What she did next was pivotal.
She told me that she, too had lost a child to miscarriage - At 21 weeks, I believe it was. She went on to say that she then gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. They were her miracles after loss. But, she didn't stop there. She proceeded to ask me if I was familiar with a Christian artist musician named Phil Keaggy...... OF COURSE! I loved Keaggy's music. But, it didn't stop there.
She, then proceeded to tell me that she was going to bring me something special the next time she saw me. It was probably a few days or maybe even a week before the next time we attended an art or music class. But, Annie remembered. She handed me a book called A Deeper Shade of Grace . It was written by Phil Keaggy's wife, Bernadette. It told of Bernadette's tragic multiple losses of babies.
Annie had marked a page deep into the book. She told me that when I read about a woman named Annie on the pages that she marked - That was referring to her and her loss.
She had known the Keaggys when she attended a fellowship early in Phil Keaggy's conversion to Christianity. Annie's husband was a guitarist, and they had played worship music at the fellowship where they met the Keaggys. It was during this time that Annie and Bernadette had losses during pregnancy. Bernadette wrote about it in her book. She explained how Grace was all she had left to fall back on. It was through these deep, heart-wrenching painful moments of loss that God was able to step in and allow her to experience a deeper shade of Grace.
It was this book that pointed me back to the scriptures asking, "Where else can I go, Lord? For, you have the words of life!" Knowing that Annie was awaiting my returning her book and giving her a full report as to what I thought when I read about her story on the marked pages is what kept me reading. I plugged away reading even when the story sounded hopeless. I held on. I slowly regained faith and hope.
My story had a happy ending with a miracle baby who is now 9 years old. A lot of healing took place through the one action of Annie hearing and responding to my mention that I had experienced a miscarriage.
It's amazing how God crosses paths with people. I give him the praise for that.
Today, my heart is sad at the loss of Annie. My heart does not merely ache for the memories I hold, but my heart aches that a ray of sunshine and a voice of hope is now quiet in this world. For those who knew her, you will be forever blessed to have encountered such a person filled with the love that Annie possessed but didn't selfishly hang onto. She was constantly looking for those with whom she could share the love of her Savior, Jesus Christ!
Thank you, Annie! You will never ever be forgotten for the healing you allowed to come into my heart. My love goes out to your own children, whom you so dearly loved, and all of the children whose lives you touched!