to honor the memory of the little girl who touched so many lives with her story.
Visit my Etsy site to purchase a Lydia Pin and support the Lydia Thompson Memorial Fund.
There are friends you chose to put in your life because they make your life richer. Then there are friends God chooses to put into your life because they help conform you more into the image of His Son. My friend Jen is both of these, and I know that for you that have been following Lydia's story feel the same way about Jen as I do. I believe our lives were cut from the same cloth.
After the passing of her sweet baby girl Lydia, I wanted to honor God by helping others remember Lydia's life, and do something to help add to the fund that Jen and Micah have set up in her name. The Lydia Pin was the answer! Forgive me for the lengthy explaination, but its development came through a chain of events, prayers, dreams, and stories linked together over the past year.
The Story of the Lydia Pin
I grew up on a 35 acre sheep farm in South Jersey. My mother raised the sheep for their wool so she could spin it, knit it, weave it, dye it, sell it, and make me wear dorky home-spun hats and mittens to school to further enhance my awkward adolesence. (Thank you, mother, for building my character more than my trendy wardrobe.)
A few years ago, my sisters and mother and I found a new craft in which to use our sheep's wool--- needle felting. Needle felting was developed in the Victorian era and has since made a come-back within the last few years. The process consists of using a special sharp barbed needle that when you repeatedly agitate and poke wool with it, the needle forces the fibers to adhere together, eanbling you to scupt virtually anything you can imagine.
During a visit to Connecticut this past winter, I taught Jen how to felt. She took a liking to it and we made a whole slew of projects, the first of which was a needle-felted flower.
If you read the link above, you will see that Jen and I walked a very difficult path together on our road to becoming mothers. We both ended up getting pregnant with daughters two weeks apart from eachother. A month before Lydia was due, Jen along with a handful of our college friends, came to New Jersey for a visit. This was the only official belly shot we both had during our pregnancy, and we took it infront of my parent's sheep barn. I don't know why we took it there- I think we just had the camera out at the time. Looking at it now, it echoes the sentiment of me feeling "as big as a barn," but nonetheless, I was so happy to take this picture with my dear friend. When I think about being pregnant with Jen, I think of sheep.
The First Dream
I know it sounds crazy, but I believe that God sends me dreams. Sometimes to rebuke, sometimes to encourage or inspire, and sometimes to teach me something about Himself. On the night before Lydia was born, I had a dream about one of my babies that has gone to Heaven. We lost our baby girl Maggie at 14 weeks gestation in 2008. This night in August was the first time I ever dreamed about her. She was in a colorful field of wildflowers. In the distance were great trees for climbing and a crystal river to splash in. She was about three or four years old with light blonde pigtails and bright blue eyes like mine. She had gathered a fist full of pink and yellow and blue flowers and was skipping up to me, so proud of herself as she handed them over.
"Thank you so much, Maggie," I said to her.
"No, no, Mama," she said."These aren't for you; they are for baby Lydia. And when she gets here, I'm going to show her where all of the most beautiful flowers grow."
I woke up from the dream confused. At that time, I didn't know Lydia was sick. And the pink and blue and yellow flowers matched her nursery perfectly.
The Second Dream
On the night before Lydia passed away, as I put my head down on my pillow, I asked God who I should pray for.
All I could imagine was a tiny purple flower. No other image would come into my head. I examined it closer. I counted the petals. Eight perfectly formed petals, a row of four in the back and four on top of it. Eight tiny black seeds that shined like glassy beads were in the middle. It was constructed like a felted flower, but it was real. It smelled sweet. It had small green heart-shaped leaves surrounding the bloom, tucked in rich black lumpy soil. It wasn't in the ground. It was in a planter about waist-high. A brick planter. Cold and hard and sturdy and rigid. Behind it was a brick wall that impeded my view and the sunshine.
"Can we go around it and look at some other flowers?" I asked Jesus.
I couldn't. No matter how hard I tried, the purple flower was all I could imagine. Small and delicate. Stuck in brick. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. I counted the petals again. Eight, yes- there were eight. No more, no less. What was it that was so special about this one little flower and what was so important about the number of petals that made me want to count them over and over? I counted the seeds. Eight. I counnted them again. Eight seeds.
"Hey, Jesus...while we're just standing here, is there anyone you want me to pray for?" I asked him.
He brought no one to mind. He just made me look at the flower. So as silly as it sounded, I prayed for the flower.
I prayed for mercy for it. I asked for the brick wall to crumble and come down so the flower could see more sunshine and grow into its full potential. I asked for it to be planted in its true home- the garden, so it could grow amongst other flowers. It was fragile and delicate and it needed more attention from the gardener.
"How silly it was to pray for a flower?," I thought...when there are so many people in my life right now that need prayer. Still, I obediently did what I thought God was telling me to do.
Jesus didn't do what I asked. He left the flower there, his head bowed, mourning its condition.
The next day, Jen called me to tell me that Lydia was with Jesus. She had lived eight months and eight days on this earth. I opened my Bible to read about Lydia in the book of Acts. She was a seller of purple dye, a color that you can dye wool with when it is extraced from a few varieties of purple flowers.
When my husband and I went to Connecticut to celebrate Lydia's homegoing, I made Jen a pin like the one I had in my dream. It felt good to be able to hand her something. I think it was more for me than for her- to just let her know how much I loved her and to tell her I had faith that her delicate Lydia was whole and perfect.
I wanted to give others the opportunity to have a pin to remind them of sweet Lydia and the impact she had and will continue to have on the world.
Please support the Lydia Thompson Memorial Fund by purchasing a Lydia Pin for a suggested donation of $10. All proceeds will go towards a fund in Christian Heritage School in Trumbull, Connecticut. This is the school where Lydia's parents met, and also where Jen taught for five years. You can purchase a pin using Pay Pal or a credit card by visiting my Esty site. If you would like to have your donation be tax deductible, you can send a check directly to me. Please email me for more information regarding this payment option. meganbenson81 at gmail dot com (spelled the normal way...I just typed it out to avoid scammers.) ;o)
Wearing this pin will hopefully be a way to keep Lydia's memory close to your heart. I pray that it will give you opportunities to share her story, as well as tell others that they too can have the same hope of Heaven that Jen and Micah have for their little girl.
Ways to adorn your Lydia pin...
Wear it on your lapel
Slip a bobby pin through the back and wear it in your hair....or you can pin it to a headband.
Pin it to an artsy scarf.
Pin in on a hat.
Place it on a purse.
Any other ways? Leave a comment with some more ideas!