Thursday, March 15, 2012


Redemption.  It is a word we often hear, but frequently I think of it as abstract, a concept, a 'good idea.'  I have prayed for redemption.  I have thanked God for the redemption I received through His Son's death.  But to really, in the moment one day, say 'Wow, this is redemption!'  That has never happened for me.  Until now.

Let me paint you a picture.  March 1, 2011.  A Tuesday.  A week earlier we received the wonderful news that I was pregnant.  If you have ever anticipated a baby, you know how quickly the wheels of your mind start turning.  I was already thinking about names, planning a nursery, deciding who would watch my son while I went to the hospital to deliver.  What would we need, what would we re-use from Jameson's babyhood days?  Thoughts of this new baby, this precious addition to our family, filled my every waking (and many sleeping) thoughts! 

But two days earlier, on Sunday, I had started experiencing cramping.  And bleeding.  Things you never want to consider when you are expecting.  I researched online, and found that bleeding in pregnancy is very common.  I prayed with family and friends.  I beseeched God to protect this little life, this brand new person He was forming in His image.  I felt a measure of hope.  This happens a lot, people get scared, and it all turns out ok.  So, that Tuesday morning, a sweet friend brought her son over to play, so that I wouldn't be alone when the doctor's office called.  I thank God that she did.

I can picture exactly where I was sitting (on the loveseat in my living room) when the phone rang.  I can picture the boys, playing side by side on the floor.  I remember the nurse saying she didn't have good news.  I slid to the floor, literally unable to keep myself in the seat.  I zoned out what she was saying; I couldn't tell you the words.  I started to sob convulsively as tears streamed down my face.  I couldn't ask her my questions, or hear her advice.  My friend wrapped her arms around me and offered me all the support she could as all of my hopes and dreams spilled to the floor with my tears.  The boys looked up at me, confused, and I had no words to offer them.  It was as if time just stood still.

I could tell you a lot about the following days, the months that followed, but that is another story.  Recently, we again found out I was pregnant.  We called the doctor's office, I went to the lab for the required bloodwork, everything came back great.  My doctor scheduled me to come in for, in his words, a very early ultrasound.  He cautioned me it would probably be too soon to see anything, but after 2 miscarriages and a D&C we were going to be proactive about everything.

I felt a lot of peace about this pregnancy. I had asked God, repeatedly, not to let me get pregnant again until I could feel excitement about it.  As much as I wanted another baby, I didn't want past hurts and disappointments to cloud such a special time.  And I felt that prayer being answered in big and little ways already.  I prayed and prayed that we would see a heartbeat that day.  I gave my husband the crossed fingers sign as the ultrasound tech got ready to start.

No heartbeat. No problem, she reassured me.  It is very early.  But everything looks good, nothing that shouldn't be there, and we recommend that you come back one week from today so we can look again.  I wasn't worried.  Sure, it would have been nice, but I will felt good about everything.  So, we walked out, the receptionist put us on the calendar for a week out, and that was that.

One week later...
We came to the office yet again.  The tech got ready to do her thing and POOF!  There it was, the little peanut that is our baby.  We could see the yolk sac, we could see the baby, we could see the tiny flicker that was the heartbeat, assuring us that this baby is developing well and doing great!  We got pictures of our little peanut to take home and gaze upon.

And the date on those ultrasound photos is March 1, 2012.

Coincidence?  Some might say so.  I say: God.  We didn't choose the date to come in.  In fact, I didn't even realize the significance of that date until about a day or two before.  For one long year I had thought March 1 was the worst day of my life.  Doesn't God have a sweet way of redeeming?

Don't get me wrong.  This baby will not take the place of my sweet Delaney, whom I never got to meet.  Nor will this child replace Taylor, who went to heaven before coming to my arms.  This child is all his or her own, newly being created in God's image, knit together cell by cell by His loving hand.  I love all my babies, and I love God's timing, His promise, and His sweet redemption.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

God Goes On Vacation

Last week I went on vacation. My mom, my sister, my two-year-old, and I took airplane rides and ended up in Colorado, visiting some family, skiing, and enjoying a change of scenery. On the outside, it could easily have looked like God took a vacation. Let's look at it from that point of view for a moment. (Pardon me for ignoring the fact that I was on vacation, definitely a blessing.)

We had been looking forward to this trip for months, but as it was time to leave Jameson was just getting over croup and I was down with some sort of nasty flu bug. The kind that keeps you up all night, has your throat screaming every time you swallow, causes you to sound like you are hacking up a lung every five minutes. There are not enough tissues in the world, your nose is red, dry, and cracked, your head aches, your entire body aches. I could go on, but everyone has been there and gets the general idea. Then, throw in a two hour time difference, that has the two-year-old up at 5:30 every morning so that by the time the ski lifts open you are ready for a nap, then he is ready for bed at 6 pm so dinner is an apple in your room while he sleeps. Childcare so expensive that it cuts into your ski time because you just can't justify the cost. Tired, sick, run down, frustrated...easy to get mad at God, right? Why did this have to happen now? On such a gorgeous day, why am I sitting here while my child sleeps instead of hitting the slopes? Why can't I just get one decent night's sleep? When will the coughing stop?

One afternoon in the middle of our trip (the particularly gorgeous, sunny day, while everyone was skiing except me because I was in the room with the napping child) it hit me. I could continue to look for the negative and question God as to why, or I could embrace the positive. I was in the mountains! The sun was shining! I was enjoying a chance to lay on the couch because there wasn't a house to clean or laundry to fold. I had a beautiful child asleep in the next room, tired out by the wonderful opportunity to ski.

As I stopped the negative and embraced the positive, God showed up even more. My mom called, telling me she was tired and coming in, so I should get dressed to hit the slopes. Really? Just when I had been sad to be missing the best weather forecast of the trip, God provided. She rested, Jameson slept, and I skiied! By the way, the weather the next day (the day Jameson was scheduled to be in childcare so we could all ski) was The Best. Despite what the forecasters told us, God gave us beautiful sun and clear skies.

And what about the pesky illness, the one that confined me to easy slopes that didn't tax my waning lung capacity? For the majority of the trip it worked out well, causing me to ski the same 'easy' slopes that my pregnant sister needed to be on. By halfway through the last day (that gorgeous sunny day?), the pregnant sister went in to rest, I felt the best I had yet, so I hit some black diamonds. Black diamonds, from the top of the mountain, that I hadn't done in years, all by myself, not falling. Thanks God. What a sweet gift to end the trip.

But it didn't stop there. A two-year-old with no nap who was an absolute angel on the plane. God's handiwork? I think so.

It was easy to feel sorry for myself in the tough moments, to question God and wonder where He was in the midst of things not going my way. But once I let go of my way, once I looked for Him, recognized Him, thanked Him, I realized all the big and little ways He had been there all along.

He went on vacation with me, and that made all the difference.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Friends

I love how God works. My last post was about old friends, the beauty of someone who has known you through it all and loves you anyway. Little did I know that, mere days later, God would touch me so deeply through a new friend. Clearly, length of time does not determine the depth of a friendship. We all have people in our lives we have known for years, but they never make it past the level of acquaintance. Then there are those people who you meet and instantly feel you have known forever. Or the people who suddenly become a part of your group and just fit right in. Or the people you bond with over a shared experience. That's where this new friend finds me.

I was recently in a setting where I shared my 'mom story.' Of course, for me, this included losing two babies and the daily struggle that goes with that loss. Unbeknownst to me, there was someone else in this group who knows my pain. She has been through it four times. Wow, and I thought I hurt.

Fast forward two weeks, to the first time we see each other again after this sharing. She brings me the most precious gift. A gift of herself, and her artist's spirit is so apparent in it. A beautiful box full of...shared sorrow...understanding shoulder...shared tears...someone who gets it.

She put together a box of comfort: things, ideas, rituals that helped her through her pain. She took the time to make this for me. She beautifully put it all together. Reading the note she put with each 'thing' brought tears and comfort all at the same time. She gave of her time and, even more importantly, she gave of herself. This was her grief, a very painful, very private, very real thing. And she chose to dredge it all up again to help me.

I don't deserve that help. I did nothing to earn it. But I choose to receive it and am so grateful for it. She may not know it, but today (and each day I work my way through these exercises) she has been God's hands in my life. So many times I have asked Him to hold me, to comfort me as I mourn. Today, in a very tangible way, he has.

Thanks to her, and thanks to Him.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Old Friends

Do you have any really good old friends? Not old as in ancient, decrepit, etc. Old as in you have known them your whole life. I do, and am so grateful for her. She has seen me through so much. She has known me happy and sad and joyful and giddy and immature. She has seen me make huge mistakes, and major triumphs. She has seen me sobbing, bleeding, raw. She has seen me totally put together for a night on the town.

She sees me. Not the person I want to be, or maybe try to preted to be. Not the impression I might put forward on any given day. Just me. As I am.

And she loves me despite that, or maybe because of it.

I was so blessed to just have a visit from this friend. Not a lunch, or a coffee date, or even an overnight. A whole week! She stayed with us and we got to really just live life together, like the good old days when any given weekend found us sleeping over at each other's houses. Inseparable.

It was so needed. By both of us. Plenty of time to catch up. To laugh and talk. To hurt and cry. To just be quiet in each other's presence. To cook and explore, to slide at the playground and see the elephants at the zoo. To sip on tea, sip on wine, and eat way too much dessert.

It did my heart good. Because she knows me to the point that sometimes there is no need for words. Silences are ok, healthing, helpful. No organized plan is no problemo.

Lately we have both been through our own drama, our personal calamities, griefs, crises. Are still in the midst of them actually.

What I have found, over the years, is that sometimes, I hold her up.

Sometimes, she holds me up.

And sometimes, we just have to hold each other up.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Perfect Power

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

God has spoken these words to me. I believe them. No matter what is going on in and around me, His grace is enough. It is actually more than enough. It is everything.

How is His power made perfect in my weakness? I am weak. Right now I feel oh so weak. I am so tired of hurting. Of crying. Of pretending things are fine. Of no one understanding. Of grieving. Of wondering when it will be 'better.' This is my weakness. It keeps getting to me. I am weak. I do not have the power to heal myself. I cannot comfort my heart. It is not within me to provide peace to my countenance.

I want it. Peace. Joy. Comfort. Healing. I want it, but I can't do it for myself. He can. So, I suppose that is how His power can be made perfect in this weakness, my weakness, right now. I can continually choose to turn to Him. I can seek the comfort of His arms. I can read of His power to save, of the delight He finds in me. I can stand on His promises, and choose to be thankful.

A couple of years ago He challenged me to keep a notebook of memory verses, one or two a month. I have to admit, lately I have not been as caught up on them as I would like to be. But what a comfort they were today, reading through these words, like long lost friends, reminding me of His power, His love, His promise. He will restore. He will hold my tears. He will bring me to redemption, and my weakness will be the stage for His powerful display.

Bring it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Measuring Sticks

It cannot be a coincidence, how many times lately I have heard reference to measuring sticks. From messages onstage at church, to conversation with friends, from books I am reading to internet surfing, this concept keeps coming up. So, as I wonder if God is maybe trying to hit me over the head with something, I decide maybe it's time to take a deeper look.

If you think I am talking about sewing supplies, let me explain. Measuring sticks in my life might look like...:

"She keeps her house so much cleaner than me. I must be a messy, dirty person."

"Her children are so well-behaved. My little boy throws tantrums. I must not be doing well as a mom."

"She is so well-organized and scheduled, making time to work out, take her kids on fun adventures, and have a home-cooked meal on the table. I can barely find time to shower. What is wrong with me?"

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. It is so easy to look at someone else, their life, their priorities, their agenda and to-do list, and to come up feeling...







I do this. All the time, often without even realizing it. Sometimes I even joke about it, trying to make myself feel better, or maybe to look for validation from someone who loves me that, hey, I'm ok too.

This aspect of measuring sticks was easy for me to see. After all, I tend to fell less-than every day.

Then I started thinking deeper. Are there areas where others, wait for it, may feel less than me?!?!? No way. I am not nearly as organized, fun, energetic, in shape, well-dressed, Martha Stewart-esque, wise, or spiritual as any woman I know. In fact, if you name a friend, I bet I could immediately respond with the areas in which she is better than I am. But, logic tells me this goes both ways. I don't see it. Believe me, I'm not sitting around patting myself on the back for my accomplishments and strengths.

But neither are my friends.


I mean, I am friends with these women. I know them. They aren't walking around with an intense awareness of their strengths while simultaneously looking to lord them over me. They are good people, genuine people, wonderful people.

So, if I take into account that I see all this wonderfulness in them, but I don't see it in myself, does it make sense that the reverse is true? Maybe they see strengths in me that they hold up as a measuring stick to themselves?

I hope not. Logically, it must be true. But that's not what I want.

So it must not be what they want either right? They aren't out to feel superior any more than I would be, if I could just figure out what those strengths of mine are.

The world tells us we have to have it all, be it all, do it all. Everything has to be perfect, or we aren't up to snuff. But the Word tells us that we are each gifted differently. I Corinthians 12. James 1:17.

God made my friend the gourmet chef. He made the meticulous housekeeper, the amazing mother, the fireball of energy. He made us all, as we are, for a reason. And He brings us together to be one body, to bring out the best in each other. Not to feel inadequate. Not to put another down. But to build each other up.

So, rather than feeling inferior when I hear about someone's day, I will build them up. I will encourage, praise, and rejoice in the special gifts God gave them. I will make sure they know they are special, created by God to do something I could never do.

And the next time someone compliments one of my gifts, I will choose to receive it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Gotta love it.

Today a friend and her little boy came over to play with us. It was spur of the moment, unplanned, and so much fun! In the midst of chasing two rambunctious toddlers we had a chance for snippets of conversation. (Anyone who has spent a lot of time with children understands how that works.) And my friend asked about my heart. She asked how I have been doing with my grief, my emotions, the day-to-day.

And I told her the truth: I am doing a lot better. Sure, there are still tough moments and tough times, but overall I'm not crying every day. The tears are fewer and farer between. I am feeling hope and joy.

Now, as I sit down to my computer during the 'quiet time' of nap, I find my tears returned. Another friend is pregnant. I just found out. And THIS IS GOOD NEWS. It IS. If you are one of my many friends (and some days it seems like all of my friends) who are pregnant right now, I am happy for you. I rejoice with you over this miracle God is entrusting to you. I eagerly anticiapte finding out what you are having and meeting that little bundle of joy and kissing his or her toes.

So why do I cry? Is it a reminder, once again, that I am not pregnant? Is it a longing for the babies I don't get to meet this side of heaven? Is it jealousy? (Wow, I hope not, because I do not for one second begrudge any of my friends this joyful season of their lives.)

I read today that the Holy Spirit can soak our hearts, bringing life to the seeds God has planted within us. I don't believe it is coincidence that I read this just before my own tears started coming. Is this cleansing, this soaking, a part of the process? To what end?

Ahhh, that great mystery of life: what is the purpose of the season of trial? I suppose if I knew the answer to that it wouldn't be quite such a trial, right?

I don't have answers. Sometimes I don't even think I have the right questions. But I am to hearing from to Him using this season to prepare me for the to the time of redemption that I believe is coming. And open to any thoughts any of you might have for me...

Open to the tears, the rain...