In my church we often talk about tender mercies of the Lord. For those of you who aren't sure exactly what a "tender mercy" is, I'll explain real quick. First let me give you a hint by saying that I know have $3.90 worth of tender mercies!!! And that's only the dimes, if I add on all the other experiences I've had I could write for months!
Anyways, a tender mercy is a very personal and individualized blessing, strength, protection, assurance, guidance, loving-kindness, consolation, support, or spiritual gift that we receive from our Heavenly Father. I have to admit that at times I was skeptical of what some people called their tender mercies, but now I kick myself for ever feeling that way. I mean, who was I to ever doubt someone else's personal experience or faith?
Well now, since Hailey passed away, I don't just believe, but I KNOW that tender mercies are real and do exist. We do have a Father who lives in Heaven, who is fully aware of us and our struggles, and who loves and blesses us more that we could even imagine. I think the key is having the faith to believe that those special experiences or "signs" are NOT just coincidences, but blessings. No one will ever, ever convince me that Hailey does not send me those dimes that I've found. The reason I say this is because I literally ONLY have found them when I've needed them.
For example, yesterday was one of my hardest days yet. I had a major emotional breakdown last night. I mean, I was beyond hysterical. It was one of the first times I've cried in a couple weeks, so the floodgates were ready. Reality is hitting big time and I'm struggling even more. I am so overwhelmed with EVERYTHING. I mean dumb little things like deciding what shirt to wear exhausts me to the point that I almost need to lay down. I'll explain more about that stuff another time because I want to stay focused on the topic of tender mercies. So, when I went down and got my mail, I received a card from a family friend who has known me since I was born and has been the best of friends with my parents since way before that. When I opened it, there were 9 dimes taped inside in the shape of a smiley face. She had found them all one day in the lint trap of her dryer. (Someone needs to clean out their pockets before doing the wash!! hee hee) In the card she wrote, "I am hoping you get these on a day you're needing your "beau-ful" Hailey by your side." Not to mention, they were all tails up...which is an inside thing, but significant to me. Anyways, she lives in Boston and obviously had no idea when she mailed that card 4 days ago that the exact day I would receive it was one of the worst days I've had yet. I'm sorry, but no one will convince me that that wasn't a tender mercy or blessing from the Lord. That brought a huge smile through the tears. I couldn't believe it!
Later that night, I went to run errands because I just had to get out of the house. I sobbed so hard in the car that I almost had to pull over. But as I was walking around I found 3 dimes in three different places!!! I felt like my little girl knew how much I missed her and how much pain I was in so she decided to shower me with love. A coincidence or a tender mercy??? You decide.
I have about a million amazing dime stories like that, so I wanted to share a different tender mercy experience I had, that I feel is very significant. I have a picture of Jesus hanging on the wall that goes up the side of my stairs. Every time I'd carry Hailey up the stairs I'd stop at the picture and say, "Jesus." She always looked at it, but didn't really show too much interest. After she passed away, I received the most beautiful letter from her nursery leader at church. In her letter she told me that the Sunday before she passed away, Hailey went up to her and said, "Teacher, teacher..." and her teacher said, "Yes Hailey," to which Hailey replied, "Me know Jesus." She had never said anything like that to me before! A smile like you have never seen before sprung across my face! I really was making a difference and teaching her by showing her that picture. That brought such peace to my soul, especially since she passed away 2 days later. I would have hated for Him to come to her and she had said, "Ummm, who the heck are you?" Anyways, that letter is what I call another tender mercy from the Lord. It was as if He was telling me that He was proud of me for teaching my little girl and that she would be okay because she knew Jesus!!!
So the next time you experience a neat little "coincidence" that is just what you needed at just the right time, instead of passing it off as a coincidence, try looking upward to heaven and saying a little prayer of thanks for the tender mercy that your Father in Heaven has given you.
I am struggling. Life is getting tougher. Reality is getting more real. But my faith is still as strong as ever. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He knows exactly how I feel and what I'm going through. I know that He is walking beside me step by step. And I know that just as Hailey knows Him, He knows her and was waiting for her with open arms. What I wouldn't give to be able to run into His arms, as she probably did, and give Him the hugest hug ever, as all my cares, pains, and worries melt away. Hailey is one lucky, little angel.
Ending the topic of tender mercies, I always try to keep my new favorite quote in mind as I'm going through my darkest moments, "...it was then that I carried you."