There was this little girl named Maren Deborah. She lived all of four years, and she changed the lives of all of us who knew and loved her. This is her story.
I had this sweet young girl of about age 7 named Michelle who used to come to my house and help me with my kids. While we had the pleasure of her helping hands in our life, our family grew to 5 children. She became like one of our family, and we all loved her. Through the years, her role changed from an extra pair of hands to adored babysitter, to a precious friend of my daughter, to a friend of mine. She is now firmly and lovingly cemented into our family and has remained a part of our history for the past 40 years.
Now I want to tell you about Michelle‘s daughter, our beloved Maren Deborah.
Maren was born in 1999, a perfect little baby girl. She was wanted, loved, adored, and again may I say – perfect. How do we measure perfection though? We tend to measure it by what we see with our eyes, while God measures perfection more with our purpose and the WHO of who we are.
There came that terrible day when Maren had her first seizure. And they just kept coming. Maren was diagnosed with Lissencephaly. It is a rare brain disorder which means “smooth brain”. Basically, her brain didn’t develop. We were all devastated, but thus began a four-year journey I consider to be one of my life’s greatest honors.
For four years, we all got to behold Maren’s perfection in the visual of a curly-haired little girl in a princess decorated wheelchair who never stopped smiling. Some of my most cherished memories contain this precious child; the one we asked God to heal. He didn’t but He healed us, because of her.
A Mother’s Devastation
In her mom’s words – “My biggest dream was to have a daughter. My first child, a daughter, Maren. And my heart, my life, my dream come true. My dream shattered when she was 2 months old and we learned she would never talk or walk and would need 24/7 care for her shortened lifetime. What she did bring to me though through her little quiet life, was a deep understanding of unconditional love for others no matter what they can give back in return.
She taught me the importance of slowing down and enjoying each day, each moment with others – that’s a profound way to show love and to really make the most of the time we have with our kids, they are a gift! Going forward with my boys Jack and Will, I said YES to building Lego’s or cars or play dough, when I’ll bet, without having had Maren first, I would have just said, “No, thanks.” I have her to thank for the relationship I share with my boys today. She was my angel of light on this earth who gave me the cherished gift of love without conditions.”
My granddaughter Makayla who was born the same week became her best friend. She never seemed to question or even notice that her friend couldn’t talk to her. They just sat together for hours. Makayla learned to push her in her wheelchair, showed her things, talked her ear off, and made her smile. It taught Makayla how to be kind, thoughtful, and compassionate. Maren taught my family how to defend those who cannot defend themselves and to speak up for those who have no voice. From time spent with her, they learned quietness, meekness, gentleness, and servanthood.
Maren taught me a valuable lesson. As a writer, I am all about words, obviously. Maren however, had no words. I learned that words are not always necessary. Sometimes it is way more important to hear what is NOT being said out loud. That small child could look into my eyes and I could feel a pure love that mere words could NEVER express. Her tiny hand patting my cheek a few hours before she died, is a heavenly experience I will NEVER forget. She was saying goodbye. No. She was saying, “I’ll see you later, Creamy.”
When my husband died 4 months after Maren died, we were comforted by knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that he went to be with her. He was her Papa Jack, and I know they are together. I also have NO doubt either that all the words she longed to say, have been filling his ears in Heaven.
Maren: A Light From Heaven
Maren came to be a light to us all, to give us all the direct road map to heaven. When you lose a child back to God, you fully understand that THAT is where you must get to. She has become our light on the path to heaven. “And a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)
Maren keeps us all going 16 years later. When life is too overwhelming, I am reminded that you can’t see heaven unless you have the faith of a child. Heaven is the final destination! “And in the angel’s arms, you’ve found a place to rest and to do all those things you always loved best. To laugh, to dance, to play, to sing, and never be afraid of anything.” Till we meet again Maren.
Never miss what God may send you in a perfectly imperfect gift. That gift may be your light, your answer, and even the desire of your heart that you didn’t know you asked for.