Today, five years ago, a handsome man walked up the stairs towards me with a smile on his face. I had no idea that he would eventually become my husband. On that first date we went to the grocery store and then made veggie pizza together because it was Lent. Although the pizza turned out to be gross, it was the beginning of a journey.
Four years later, Matt and I sat on our living room couch as I propped my swollen ankles up on the coffee table. We had been debating baby names gradually for a number of weeks. We eventually settled on Isabelle Clare. Isabelle was for St. Isabelle of France, and Clare for St. Clare of Assisi. We loved the idea of her being named for holy and strong women.
Another year after that, this past weekend, the Sunday reading was centered on the story of Noah and how God put a beautiful rainbow in the sky and made a covenant with Noah. If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that rainbows carry significant meaning for Matt and me. For the three days following Isabelle’s funeral, God allowed Isabelle to give us three beautiful rainbows. The largest was on the third day.
So what do these three events have in common?
As my friend Katie stated, there are “no coincidences with God.” February 26 is the day that Matt and I met. It is also the Feast day of St. Isabelle of France. This is very appropriate, because Isabelle is a symbol of the relationship that began on February 26, 2010. Additionally, St. Isabelle of France’s feast day not only represents our daughter but the faith in which we planned to raise her. Needless to say, February 26 is an important day in our household.
At the realization of this divine coincidence last week, I admit my heart was heavy. It was yet another reminder that Isabelle was no longer here with us. However, my heart managed a slight smile when I heard the Old Testament reading at church on Sunday about Noah and the rainbow. It was as if God was pointing to the three rainbows that we saw back in August. Those symbols of hope have been a source of strength for me over the months.
I needed that little nudge from God. Rather than focusing on our loss, God clearly wanted me to remember that there is always hope. It was almost as if He was standing next to me saying, “I know Thursday will be a painful reminder of what you lost, but it is also a celebration of love. Remember that I love you and haven’t left your side. I will be your strength on difficult days. Your daughter is a beautiful symbol of your relationship with Matt and she is in heaven praying for you both. Look to those rainbows. There is always hope.”
So today, February 26, Matt and I are celebrating the feast day of St. Isabelle of France, our daughter Isabelle Clare, and our relationship that started on this day five years ago. Although there will always be a scar on my heart that aches during days like today, I am pretty certain that there is a tiny saint in heaven who is looking down celebrating with her parents.