Early in 2005, I suffered a devastating miscarriage. One thing that has always bothered me is the fear that no one else would remember that baby. Life—especially pre-born life—is treated so casually in this world that some do not even consider a miscarriage to be a death. Grieving over a miscarried child seems to be frowned upon. More than once, I was told to pull myself together and get over it. Even well-meaning Christian friends told me to let it go.
But that pregnancy was more than a blob of cells to me. That was a baby, MY baby. My daughter, a precious little part of my family. We named her Rylee Adelle. I don’t why God chose to keep her in Heaven. But I do know that her loss is felt every day. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about her, at least one time. I’ve moved on with my life and I have learned how to live with the void her death has left in my heart. But get over it? Let it go? Those are two things I can’t do, two things I won’t do. That would mean forgetting her.
I don’t want to forget.
For seven years, I have wanted to do something to honor my little girl. Just what I wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted her brief existence to count for something. I wanted her to touch others in some way, to make a difference in the world.
After a lot of thought and prayer, I think I have finally found the perfect way to do that!
The idea started this summer, when I began writing a series of letters to my daughter. There are things that I would have loved to tell her, things that I would have taught her that don’t seem so important to teach my sons (like how to dress modestly and how to deal with your changing friendships as you get older.) OK, so maybe they are things the boys need to know, too. But I wouldn’t tell my boys exactly the same things that I would have told Rylee, at least not in the same way. I began writing these letters, and they quickly turned into something more than I really expected. The letters I wrote to her have made their way into a book, called LETTERS TO RYLEE. (Expected publication date is November 23, 2012. Keep an eye out for the cover, which I will unveil soon!)
One thing kept coming to mind as I wrote those letters—friendship. And I don’t mean just human friendships. I kept thinking about how important a friendship with Jesus is. I didn’t understand how important that friendship really is when I was a teen. Looking back on some of the things I did and the choices I made, I can’t help but wonder how different my life would be if I had really developed that friendship back then, instead of waiting until my 30’s to get around to it.
That is when The Rylee Project really began to take shape in my mind. Through The Rylee Project, I am hoping to impact the lives of young girls today in a very positive way. I want girls, especially girls who will one day date and eventually marry (yikes!) my sons, to have the tools to really develop a close friendship with Jesus. It’s not about a particular religion, or the “rules” and “regulations” of being a Christian. It’s more than that. The Rylee Project is about developing a friendship with Jesus and developing human friendships that honor Him. It’s about focusing not on what feels good now, but on what will have the most positive impact on life in the future.
It’s kind of a big job. In all honesty, I don’t know if I am really qualified to tackle it. But I keep going back to a saying I’ve seen all over Facebook in recent weeks—God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. As long as I follow His leading and keep Him in the center of what I am doing, I know this will work out. I can’t focus on the grand dreams in my head, the things that would be amazing to see happen with The Rylee Project. I can only focus on what God is asking me to do each day, and pray that I am a good example of the friendships He desires to see in this world.
Go ahead and take a look at the website for The Rylee Project. The Rylee Project is also on Twitter and on Facebook (Hey, gotta go where the girls are!) I look forward to hearing what you think about this project, especially those of you who have young girls. Please visit and ask your daughters and their friends to visit.
And please, pray for this project. If The Rylee Project can have a positive impact on just one young lady, than it has done all I have hoped for—honored God while honoring my Rylee Adelle.