The Due Date- Round 3

Since there is so much construction going on in our house right now Moriah and I decided to take a little vacation. I am tired of living in a hotel or in a construction zone. We booked a flight and spent 8 glorious days with family in Minnesota. While we were there my sister gave birth to her third child. My parents were on duty to take care of her two older boys and Moriah and I were excited to have a sleepover with cousins at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Since I live far away from my family these occurrences are few and far between for me. I will cherish those special moments I got to spend with my nephews for years to come. As I was going through my pictures and telling my husband all about our trip the past came back up from the depths of my soul. Like a hammer hitting me straight in the face. I don’t always remember or think about it but sometimes my heart stops and I remember the child that was lost.

One of my nephews is one month older than my child that was lost of miscarriage and my niece is one month younger. Of course I don’t know for sure as I was only 9 weeks pregnant at the time but in my heart I feel that child was a boy. As I was looking through my pictures and the memories of our mornings together my sweet nephews blue eyes struck me: he (my child) would be the same age.

Every morning Moriah would wake up in her crib and I could hear her sweet cooing before I was fully awake. And every morning when the boys were there someone else would greet her. My bedroom door would slowly open and I could hear quiet footsteps as the morning sun poured into my room. I would open my eye just a sliver to see that my nephew had heard my daughter in her crib and he would sneak in to gently touch her. One morning he was petting her head the next holding her hand. The picture I was looking at was one morning she was up early and woke up wanting some breakfast so she was in bed with me when he came in to check on her. He decided to climb over the footboard and into bed with us for his morning greeting.

At the time I thought it was adorable that my nephew was so gentle with her. Excellent practice for when he went home to his newborn sister, and that’s where my thought process stopped. But the other day, while looking at this picture I was reminded of my son, who I can only imagine was blonde and blue eyed; and my heart broke. I truly can’t wrap my mind around having a 2 year old along with my 4 month old daughter. That would be a handful. So today, I let the pain of loss wash over me again and I think about what would have been? Would he reach into her crib and hold her hand? Would he sneak into my bedroom and pet her head as she jabbers away? Would he reach out his arms with longing in his beautiful eyes as he asks to hold her one more time before bed? Would we be counting his animals and mimic the sound each one makes? Or would we be in a potty training battle full of 2 year old tantrums and “no,no,no’s”?

Probably.

Sometimes I let the grief and heartache bubble up to the surface because it’s in these moments that I am reminded of how grateful I am to have known this kind of loss. It’s in these moments where I’m reminded of Christ’s blessings. I did not lose a child in vain. God had and has a plan. And for that I’m eternally grateful.

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The Due Date- Round 2

EverythingwillbeokIt’s a strange thought to me that today I should have a 1 year old… but I don’t and that’s okay. I have had a lot of time to process through the pain, to grieve, to yell, to be incredibly angry with God, and today I’m okay.

Immediately after the miscarriage I was confused. I had friends and close family that had gone through the experience but I was still faced with a dilemma: How should I feel? Everyone around me was trying to encourage me with words that only made me feel more in the depths of despair. “I’m sorry for your loss; this kind of thing is so common.” In all honesty, I know these words were meant for encouragement but they only left me feeling angry.

As I struggled through the thoughts only the devil could put into my mind, I was attending a weekly community group. This was not your average bible study. It was made up of mostly 20 something individuals who were broken and yearning for Christ just as much as I was. One night we were “bible storying” and my husband was teaching on John 9. If you ever needed a bible story to remind you of the questions “Why do bad things happen?” This is where you should focus your energies. In John 9 Jesus heals the blind man, and then He answers my “Why?” question:

“9 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:1-5 (NIV)”

And there it was… the answer to my question that I had been struggling with for so long. Why do bad things happen? So that the work of God can be displayed for all to see. But actually living this out was a different story.

Months went by as I continued to ask this question. I’m a very rational person and I needed that justification in order to move on with my life. It was at this point that it seemed everyone around me was pregnant, or having babies. Yet, my uterus remained unoccupied. As always, God had a plan. Once I finally learned to set my pride aside and let him take control His plan began to reveal itself to me.

There were so many times when I cried out to God and asked Him to take away the emotional agony that I felt each and every day. I needed Him and only Him through those dark days to take away every emotion I was feeling. I was angry, hurt, confused, grief stricken, and sad. “Why God? Where is the meaning in this? I know your glory will shine through this situation, but I’m just not seeing it!”

My biggest rationalization came from my husband. His youngest brother has special needs. This means that doctor visits and hospitals became a part of his life at a very young age. And every time that his brother was sent back to the emergency room I could see the hurt on his face. He would confide in me that he wished he could take these struggles away from his brother and take them on himself. It wasn’t fair that his precious little brother had to go through all of the pain and my husband was healthy and able to lead a “normal” life; something that his little brother would never get the chance to do.

That realization got me thinking, I’ve seen firsthand parents with children who are ill or suffering some sort of pain or struggle. All of those parents, if given the option, would gladly take the pain away from their child and put it on themselves. The main medical explanation for miscarriage is that something just wasn’t right. The child wasn’t forming the way a healthy child will form in the mother’s womb and so the pregnancy terminates itself.  I began to ask God if that’s the answer to my “Why?” question. “God, did you just ask me to take the pain upon myself instead of allowing my child to live in pain? If so, I’ll do it all over again.” As the those words left my lips, I finally felt like a mother. I finally understood what it meant for Jesus to take the pain for me on the cross. Through this whole experience my faith has grown by leaps and bounds and I know my journey is still not over….

A Blanket Distraction…Confronted

I made this blanket in 10 days. That’s pretty significant. If you’re a crafter and you know how long it can potentially take. I made this blanket in 10 days which means every moment of free time I had was spent on this blanket. My Christmas gifts were complete and so I decided to make something for myself. Unfortunately, this was also my way of ignoring God’s prompting to stop and talk to him. I was mad at Him, and when I’m mad I will ignore you. True, crafting can be very therapeutic but usually I sit and zone out on the TV while my hands anxiously move reflecting my true state of mind: anxious, angry, envious, and jealous.

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I was confronted. He wasn’t going to let me ignore Him anymore. As my husband and I were serving as overnight hosts at the severe weather shelter in the basement of our church, God found me. I never sleep well at the severe weather shelter because there are always people walking around as lay on a mat on the cement floor. But that is where He found me: half asleep, restless, and trying to find peace within myself.

I lay down on my mat around 9:30 pm. People were still up talking and making noise around me. I put my headphones on and my favorite worship songs were playing on repeat, and then my brain went to a glorious place. I was sitting alone in an all white room, still feeling angry and bitter towards God. We haven’t been on speaking terms for about a week now. I hadn’t wanted to talk to Him, but that doesn’t mean that He didn’t hear my heart’s cry: I long to feel peace and hope again. Then He was there, sitting next to me.

Looking straight ahead, I felt His shoulder touch mine. “I’m mad at you.” I told Him. “I know,” He replied. “And I don’t want to talk to you or be around you.” “That’s ok.” He gently stated back. “I just want my pain to go away but I’m too angry. I want to find hope and peace.” Without a word He pulled me onto His lap and just held me there and let me bury my face in His chest. I could faintly hear Jesus Culture worship music coming through my ear buds,

“You won’t relent until you… have it all… my heart is yours.”

God then stood up and walked out the door in the far side of the room. A few seconds later He returned with a 10 month old little boy in His arms. And I knew who the little boy was… I miscarried at 9 weeks so there was no way to know the gender of the child, but something inside of me has always thought he was a boy. As God handed him to me I could see he had his daddy’s blue eyes and bright smile. When my husband smiles his whole face lights up, every time my heart melts away, and my heart melted at the sight of the child’s smile. Just then the child threw his whole little body into me and hugged me like he’s always known me as his momma. Then God sat down and put His arms around us both, and Heather Williams’ voice came…

“…But don’t give up on me now I’m so close to you now, I’m in need of your strength today. Wipe the dirt off my face; hold me in your embrace, your love always saves the day… HALLELUJAH!”

And then I felt someone step near my mat and I opened my eyes. I could feel peace again. (And a little anger towards the person that woke me up) I had hope and knew that I could trust God with my future. He knows best. I needed reassurance that it’s all going to be okay. The kind of reassurance only God can give. I needed my Heavenly Father to bring me hope. I had lost sight of the fact that ‘He’s got this…’ I can say all the right things to those around me, I can act like I’m fine but that won’t make the pain go away. It’s only when I submit to Him and open the door to my heart that He comes in and repairs the shattered pieces.

 

The Christmas Blues…

prayerblogAll of December I have felt less than “myself”. As Elvis would say, “I had a Blue Christmas”. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. Did I miss my family? Do I want to go home? Am I not busy enough? Am I too busy? And then last week as I was sitting at work on Friday it hit me. I’m not supposed to be here. I should not still be working right now. I should not be HERE. I should be at home baking cookies in anticipation for my husband to arrive home from work to start some amazing Christmas traditions that I’ve dreamed about for a long time. My house should be warm and filled with lights and decorations. Not bare due to lack of time in my schedule to dedicate to decorating. I should hear small coo’s and cries in between my Christmas music that’s blaring on my Ipod. I shouldn’t be stuck at work. I should be home preparing for babies first Christmas… And ever since that thought entered my mind I knew why my Christmas was blue.

All December I have had a hard time getting out of bed. I had no PMS so there really wasn’t any other reason other than the weather. And I don’t like to blame a month long of bad attitude on the weather (but it may have been a factor). I find myself just wanting to shut the door to my bedroom and stay in there, because “I should not be here”. I didn’t send a Christmas card because I feel a card of me smiling would be a misrepresentation of how I feel this holiday season. I went home on Friday and was doing a pretty good job of keeping it all together until I started opening the Christmas cards that came in the mail. I love Christmas cards. I love seeing how creative my family and friends get. I love seeing my nieces and nephews dressed in their best posing for some sort of ridiculous riddle their parents create. But this year was different. My joy was gone. And only bitterness and frustration was left. UGH!!!! I needed a break and time to grieve once again. I screamed and took the longest hottest shower I could stand. I told my understanding husband that I needed some time and to leave me be as I wailed on the tub floor. Life isn’t fair and it sucks. And I’m angry, frustrated, sad, hurt etc. (the list goes on)

Just when I decided I was going to stay in the shower forever because I couldn’t move from paralyzing grief I heard a little “meow” and the shower curtain started moving. Louie needed food and he refuses to let Lynn feed him. And then the water went cold. So I stood up, dried off, and fed him and realized that life will go on. I went down to find my husband making beer with his giant burly arms open and ready for me. I am blessed and that is a fact. But I’m not exactly happy about it right now. And that’s OK. Right now, I can surround myself with the family and friends that God has placed in my life. I’m so thankful for the encouragement and love that I receive from them every day. This is my advice if you are also suffering from “The Christmas Blue’s”: feel what you’re feeling and scream and wail all you want. Surround yourself with those that love you. It’s OK to not be OK. God hears and He cares. And He’s right beside you every step of the way. So today I will celebrate that my future is out of my hands and I will find my smile again in the little things. A new year is about to start and I thank God for that!!!