Friday, May 26, 2017

With a Thankful Heart

Oh my...where do I start?

With the fact that today marks the beginning of my third trimester?? YAY!

Or the fact that tomorrow marks two years since I delivered the lifeless baby that made me a mommy? Finalizing the fact that my child was gone forever.

I'm so happy. The Lord is so faithful to give me this healthy baby boy. His kicks grow stronger every day. He makes his mommy laugh and cry for joy often. I have been given a salve for my wounds.

But I didn't make any mother's-day-social-media-posts this year... I just couldn't. What do you do when your heart is torn? What do you write about? I was happy on Mother's Day! But you better believe I thought about my other three babies. The one that made me a mom. The one that renewed my hope in my desire to have children. The one that I still consider the "little one". They're all so special. If they weren't I know God wouldn't have bothered to create them at all.

Today I'm so thankful for my baby boy. As I write this he is contorting my belly into all sorts of shapes as he stretches and kicks. I'm thankful we've made it to the third trimester. I never believed it would happen. I can't believe it has happened. Yet, I've dreamed about it happening so much that it feels completely normal and right. God has been more than gracious to me in giving me a living child.

Tomorrow is a day I will never forget. I will never stop grieving when May 27th rolls around. Though I'm guessing I won't post every year I will silently remember my precious "first born". Addison, you mean so much to me. There's a bond between a mother and her firstborn that is unmatched. There is no excitement like finding out you're parents for the first time. The love runs just as deep with subsequent children, but those "first time" emotions never happen again. I love you so much and still cry when I think about how deeply I miss you. How I wish I could have felt you moving like I feel your brother. I wish I could have bonded and watched you grow up. Wish I could have taught you things and given you snuggles when you got sad. But you know what? I can't be too sad. Cause you're with your Maker. And He's the best Teacher and Comforter there is.

You can have grief and be thankful at the same time.

So today and tomorrow I am thankful. For my children who have gone on ahead. And for the vibrant, very much alive little boy inside of me right now. To God alone be the glory!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Once Upon a Time...

...there was a little girl. This little girl had two dreams. One was to be a wife. The other was to be a mom. This little girl loved to play with dolls. She loved to play house with her little sister and cook food and do the wash for their pretend family. But the little girl was growing up. She was getting closer every day to the time when her dreams would be fulfilled. She decided it was time to stop playing games and begin preparing for the day when the dreams would come true. So she buckled down and focused on getting a basic education. She tried to come up with other dreams. People were always asking, as she continued to grow, what she wanted to do with her life; and they seemed to expect a different answer than the one her dreams caused her to give. But she couldn’t come up with anything else that she wanted to do. Her dreams were her ambition. They were what God has laid on her heart to pursue and nothing else could stand in the way. So, all of her teenage life her focus was to get skills that would help her to run a home. To work on attitudes that would benefit her future marriage. To observe parenting and try to store away tips in her head.

One day the time had come when this little girl was not considered a little girl any more. And she couldn’t believe it! A man interested in her already? God didn’t make her wait long before bringing the man of her dreams into her life. Her first dream had come true. She was amazed that God had granted her dream so quickly. What’s more, this man that she loved had the same dreams that she had. To be a husband and to be a dad. He had also not pursued any other path. He had purposefully pursued a career that he knew would support a family and had normal hours so he could spend as much time as possible with his family. As you can imagine, these two got married very soon after falling in love. They couldn’t wait to grow their family! 

But God had other plans. After months of enduring an agonizing trial this couple was nearing their one year anniversary. They were more in love than ever, but wondered if God would ever make their second dream come true. God heard their cries and just four days before their anniversary, revealed to them that they were parents for the very first time. They were elated! But the joy they were anticipating was not God’s plan. Yes, He made them parents, and that would never change. But they were not going to meet that child on this earth. Heartbreak, real heartbreak entered their lives. The waiting had begun. Waiting on God’s will. 

Six long months later God gave them hope again. Another baby. They were sure this one would be ok. That the first loss was just a fluke. Yes, God gave them hope…for two weeks. Another dream crushed. The world that was beginning to be rebuilt around them, smashed at their feet once again. The waiting began again.

Seven months this time. The couple was beginning to lose hope. These months flew by for those around them, but for them, it was like slogging through mud. A third baby. Hope gifted to their hearts again. Three weeks this time. Three blessed weeks with their little baby that they couldn’t see, touch, feel, or hear. They just knew it was there. And then…they knew it wasn’t. They’d been through it twice already. No one could convince them otherwise and the ultrasound was the final nail in the coffin of their hopes and dreams. They were done having children. Their emotions couldn’t handle the suffocating crushing that happened each time they were finally beginning to rebuild their life. The physical pain was bearable, but the emotional pain was more than they
could take. 

Throughout this story let me not forget to mention God’s faithfulness. Not only in giving the little girl her first dream so swiftly, but throughout the pain too. He did give her that second dream. She became a mommy of three. He was also faithful to carry her through the pain as He allowed those three to be taken from her. He was faithful to draw her closer to Himself. To comfort her heart as only He can. He’s the only one who could give her hope of an eternity with her children. 

Once again God had other plans for the couple. In the beginning they had wanted to start a family right away. And God had said, “Wait.” Now they had decided they were done trying to start a family, and God said, “I have other plans.” One month. One? Yes, only one month this time. God gave the couple a surprise miracle baby. They braced for the loss they were sure was coming in the weeks to follow, but it didn’t come. Instead the little girl with the dream who had only ever seen empty blackness on the ultrasound screen had the glorious experience of seeing her baby. She watched the heartbeat with awe. How could something so small capture her heart in such a way? She was still scared. Something could still happen. She waited on pins and needles for the next ultrasound. Three weeks later she saw her baby again. A baby who’s heart was still beating. Who was moving! The baby moved its arm up and down as if to wave at mommy and daddy. Their dream was unfolding, slowly, like a beautiful flower. There is still much ground to cover. The couple is like starving children who are finally taken to a place where there is plenty to eat. The children are still going to stuff food in their pockets for later because their minds can’t fathom that it will be there tomorrow. Their emotions have been through so much trauma that it makes it difficult for them to imagine this tiny life will really be there tomorrow.  

God has shown mercy and has given them many days with this fourth child. They thank Him for every single one. They are hoping desperately that they will finally get to meet one of their children face to face. 

But if not… God is still good.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Grief Observed



I recently read C.S. Lewis's A Grief Observed. He wrote his raw feelings down in a journal after his wife died of cancer, but later decided that his musings might be beneficial for others going through similar loss. A lot of people who have experienced the death of a beloved family member can relate to the depths of the despair and confusion that plagues the mind and soul. The reasoning that doesn't make sense to the outsider...unless of course they've gone through it too. 

Speaking of finally receiving the love they had long desired he says: 
"A noble hunger, long unsatisfied, met at last its proper food, and almost instantly the food was snatched away."

Speaking of his faith:
"You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?"

Mostly directed towards well meaning people who try to console those who are grieving:
"Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand."

I thought this was an interesting and great analogy:
"The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed – might grow tired of his vile sport – might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety. But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t."

Sometimes we say we wish we could take someone's pain for them. Lewis realizes that this can never be done. Only Christ could do it and He took the ultimate pain off our shoulders. 
“'If only I could bear it, or the worst of it, or any of it, instead of her.' But one can’t tell how serious that bid is, for nothing is staked on it. If it suddenly became a real possibility, then, for the first time, we should discover how seriously we had meant it. But is it ever allowed?
It was allowed to One, we are told, and I find I can now believe again, that He has done vicariously whatever can be so done. He replies to our babble, 'You cannot and you dare not. I could and dared.'”

"I have been coming to feel that the door is no longer shut and bolted. Was it my own frantic need that slammed it in my face? The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can’t give it: you are like a drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.
On the other hand, ‘Knock and it shall be opened.’ But does knocking mean hammering and kicking the door like a maniac? And there’s also ‘To him that hath shall be given.’ After all, you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can’t give. Perhaps your own passion temporarily destroys the capacity."

"But of course one must take ‘sent to try us’ the right way. God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mad Libs

To Whom it May Concern:



Recognizing flora around your campsite.

1.       A pine tree is very tall and blue. Instead of leaves, it has millions of tiny little coins.
2.       A cypress is shorter and is more of a yellow. Cypresses can be used for Christmas trees if they are not too slimy.
3.       A poison ivy bush has copper-colored lights. It secretes a pungent milk, and if it gets on your hands, it will cause you to break out and itch.
4.       A skunk is a cute little rodent with a big, bushy black and white blanket. If you frighten it, it will squirt you with skunk gasoline, and for a week you will smell like a rotten book.
5.       Mulberries are very sweet little boxes that grow on a big tree. Be careful not to eat too many or you will get a square ache.
6.       Walnuts often grow wild. They are a very hard nut, and you can eat them. Walnuts are the favorite food of octopi, who store them in hollow numbers.


Happy Monday!