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 ...love...a 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 open...open to hearing from God...open to Him using this season to prepare me for the next...open 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...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Weeping May Stay For a Night, But Rejoicing Comes In the Morning

So, if you read my last post you know all about the rough day I had. The pain, the grief, the sorrow. As Ecclesiastes says, it was my time to weep. I don't apologize for the day, the feelings, the words. They were necessary for me. A part of the process. What is life if not a process?

But, as it says in Psalms, rejoicing comes in the morning. After my time to cry, the world did go on. Jameson woke up from his nap, I wiped my eyes, and we got in the car to 'go-go bye-bye.' We ran some errands and returned to the real world, the land of the living. Just the act of getting out, the decision to embrace a sunny day, started to turn things around. My thoughts became more positive, my mood lifted, my tears slowly lessened.

And, when morning came, rejoicing truly did reign! I had a great friend come to visit. The visit was already planned and arranged (I believe by God in His infinite wisdom who answered a prayer I hadn't even prayed yet.) She brought me smiles and laughter and distraction and fun. How can you not rejoice when you are given the precious gift of time with your oldest friend, day in and day out, for five days? It was beautiful. My perspective changed, my emotions gave way to rational thoughts, sound decisions, and prayer.

I miss my babies, but I am so thankful for the time I got to be excited for them, to plan for them, to anticipate them. I am grateful they are living with my God in heaven, where they never have to know the pain of this world. I am appreciative of the God who knew how I would suffer and made provisions to show me His mercy in the midst of it. And I am thankful for the love in my heart for those children, love I will know every day of my life.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Life Goes On...But Sometimes It Doesn't Seem That Way

We've all heard the saying: 'Life goes on.' Deep down, I know it's true. But sometimes it sure doesn't feel like it.

Lately I feel like I am living the same days over and over again. There is grief and sadness, tears and tiredness. Then it seems like the dark cloud starts to lift, there is some laughter, lightheartedness, good times with family and friends. Then something triggers the sadness all over again. Big things, small things, seemingly insignificant things can suddenly trigger the emotions and the waterworks that go along with them. And I'm plunged back into the darkness.

This week has been the worst. Back in March I had to deal with a miscarriage. We lost our baby, and all the hopes and dreams and plans that had already been spinning in our minds. It was horrible, painful, devastating...there just are no words. In early May I had to go through the same experience again. Horrible yet again. But after some continuing complications, this week going through a D&C forced me to come face-to-face with two miscarriages at once. All the pain from both just overwhelmed me at this physical manifestation of all I have been going through. Sure the procedure had me tired, fatigued, achy, off schedule, you name it, but the reality is every little detail of my loss slammed me in the face and buried me in a mound of gloom.

And to be honest, today I didn't want to snap out of it. It felt fitting to slum around in my pajamas with dirty hair. Food had no appeal. The beautiful sunny day felt like a slap in the face. All I wanted to do was bury myself under the covers and cry. So I did, for awhile. There is a time to grieve. Unfortunately, we don't get to choose when that time is. We just have to take it as it comes. And comes. And comes. Over and over. And it's hard to believe that life does go on, because in those moments of devastation it feels like first moment I got the bad news all over again. Once again, like the first time, I see all my dreams and hopes and joy slipping through my fingers and I'm faced with the terrible, aching, lonely loss, this void in my soul. And empty arms.

(To be continued....)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Grieving is a funny thing. Not that the word 'funny' should really be associated with grief. Maybe I mean Grieving is a strange thing. It feels like an ever-changing process. First you feel one way, then another. You think you are past a certain feeling and it creeps up again out of nowhere. You feel like all your tears are cried, your cheeks have been dry for a few days, then out of nowhere come buckets full of tears. It's kinda like being on a roller coaster in the dark: you can't see whether there is a hill or a drop or a turn ahead. You just ride it along.

Going through this season I have been sad. So sad. Sad doesn't feel like a strong enough word. My heart has hurt. Really really hurt. I find myself experiencing something and thinking 'my babies won't get to do that.' They won't get to go to a Reds game, or swim in a pool. They won't walk a beach or marvel at the Grand Canyon. They won't run around the zoo with their friends and blow bubbles on hot days.

What hits me in those moments, though, is the realization that my babies aren't missing out. They aren't going to miss those things; I am. I won't get to see the smile on their face at the ballpark. Or catch them as they jump into a pool. I will miss hearing their shrieks as waves come at them, and the chance to answer their questions about nature. As I watch my children run around with their friends I will miss the children who aren't there. But those children won't be missing anything. They are in the courts of the King, walking streets of gold. Their little bodies are already made perfect, and they will never have to hurt. They won't have skinned knees or hurt feelings. They won't feel left out by their friends or fall and break an arm. No stitches, no hospital visits, just perfect paradise.

It is I who will hurt. My arms ache to hold them; my lips yearn to kiss their sweet little noses. My eyes seek out a face that isn't there. My body yearns to cuddle them close. My heart...oh my heart...my heart wants first steps and first words, kisses and 'mamas,' story time and naps together. My mind wanders down paths of what might have been...favorite colors...sports to play...music lessons...who would they have been? My spirit yearns for what I will never have in this world, these beautiful children, but my soul will know them someday.

Grief is not for those gone. They have nothing to hurt over. Grief is truly for those of us left behind. We are the ones to hurt. I stop short of saying it's a selfish emotion, because I don't believe it is. The Bible tells us "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." I don't believe grief is something I have to 'get over' or 'work through.' At least not on my own. I believe, at the end of the day, the moral of the story is where I go with my grief. Or more importantly, to Whom I go. I can't process it on my own. I don't understand the how or why. But I do know Who is my Refuge. I know Who will hold me when I need to be comforted, Who will strengthen me when I want to fall. In turning to Him I can be made stronger, I can love more deeply, and rely on Him more fully in the future.

I read recently that our scars remind us of 'God's unfailing presence' in our lives. I am not looking for God to completely heal me on the other side of this grief. I'm not looking to be the person I was before. As a good friend pointed out, what's the point of growing through something hard if you don't end up better for it on the other side? So I choose to take refuge in my God. I choose to trust Him when it doesn't make sense to me. I choose to live in faith, to love and take risks with my heart, trusting in Him to make the pieces fit together.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Have I posted about community before? Quite possible. Maybe it's because we are blessed with such great community. Or maybe it is because I crave community. Or maybe it is because God wants us to be in community. Regardless, it is an increasingly more important part of my life.

This has really hit home for me recently. Going through some difficult times we have really leaned on our community. I have appreciated friends calling to see how I am doing. I have valued a shoulder to cry on, an outing to distract me from my thoughts, words of wisdom, and prayers on my behalf. Having such support is invaluable.

Last night was a night of community at our house. Some folks we know (and some folks we didn't know!) came over for a night of 'church.' People shared their lives, their hurts, what they were hearing from God, how they were growing, and challenges to the rest of us. It was good stuff. It culminated with a baptism in our pool. Awesome!

While this was going on, Jameson had his own little community of friends as all the kids were playing together, pushing around trucks, throwing balls, with very little fighting and lots of sharing. It was precious!

Today I had a doctor appointment. Two wonderful friends made it possible for me to go to the doctor and the lab for bloodwork on my own, no kiddo attached! One friend watched him while her daughters were at school and napping. Those of you with kids know how precious that little bit of down time is, yet she gave it up to love on my son. And another friends brought her daughter home from school to make it all possible. And when I walked in the door woozy from giving 10 vials of blood a nice lunch was awaiting me. How generous is that?

I love my community. I love the people God has blessed me with in this life. I love how we are all gifted in different ways, and those gifts come together to make a perfect picture of His Kingdom. Makes me want to go out and bless some others!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


To my fellow bloggers: do you ever go through life thinking 'wow, this is big. I am learning something. There is truth in this situation. This is something I want to process, to journal about, to blog about.' Then, by the time the baby is in bed, the kitchen is cleaned up, the dog is out (insert your own list of chores here) you finally sit down at the keyboard and all the words are gone?????? What about all those good things I was learning? What about the ideas I wanted to put out there to see what your thoughts would be? Where have they gone? Will they come back?

Oh, so many questions. But I guess the good news is that I am learning; I am growing. If I haven't remembered the details that seemed so important there must be a reason. Maybe I have already internalized that idea and moved on. Maybe it is still simmering, not yet ready to be captured in black and white. Maybe my motivation for posting it was wrong, maybe there was some pride in wanting to share, in looking for accolades. Maybe there is still too much hurt, the emotions are too raw.

Maybe it is just to show that I don't know the answers. Lots of questions. Lots of wondering. Isn't that the state of life? The more I learn, the more I wonder. The more I experience, the more questions I have. The more I know of God, the more I want to know Him more. That's what I want. So bring the questions, bring the search, for in them there is growth.

That's all I've got for right now, but I sense more coming...

Monday, May 16, 2011


What an interesting word. Redemption. We have heard it all our lives, often in very different contexts. A couple of months ago, when I had my first miscarriage, a dear friend shared with me some things God had told her as she prayed for me. These thoughts have been very dear to my heart as I have pondered them since. One was her certainty that God would redeem every tear, every moment of grief, every cell of thie pregnancy. I have clung to that hope since.

It is not for me to determine what that redemption looks like. Or when it will happen. Like everything else in life, I have to trust God, to lean on Him, let Him be my refuge and strength.

But, I had a glimpse of that redemption on Friday, and it was good.

On that day, Jameson was sick. Nothing major a little tummy upset, but he wasn't feeling well and didn't want to nap. I finally put him on my lap. We glided in the rocking chair while I snuggled him close, stroked his hair, and sang him lullabyes. With my rambunctious 19 month old, this doesn't happen often. Normally he runs at full throttle until he crashes into a nap, then he runs some more. But Friday he just wanted to be held. He wanted to be cuddled.

Like a newborn baby.

I, of course, ate it up. I rocked and I sang, I prayed for him and for me, for our family and my lost babies, long after he fell asleep in my arms. And I thanked God. I didn't get to rock those two little babies to sleep the way I would have wanted to. God had other plans. But I am certain they are in heaven with Him. I am certain they are happy and healthy and whole. And, in his infinite wisdom, He gave me my baby to rock on Friday afternoon.

I have been pondering those moments ever since. I treasure them in my heart. Today I took Jameson to get a haircut. He hated it. He wailed and cried and tried so hard to get away. Nothing distracted him, nothing placated him. I held him in my arms and he wailed against me while the poor stylist tried to finish. When we left, she gave him a blue balloon. The boy is in love with that balloon. We came home and he carried it all over the house, batted it around, showed it to the dog. He is in heaven over this new toy. And the similarities struck me. While I have been crying and grieving, God has been holding me close. He has never left my side, nor will He. And the heaven I look forward to is going to be so much better even than the blue balloon that put a smile on my child's face. My Saviour is there, my hope is there, and my babies are there together waiting for me.

So I wait...and I hope...and I anticipate redemption.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Good Day

Today has been a good day. A good day.

There were many reasons conspiring to not allow this to be a good day. In fact, there were many reasons for this to be a miserable, horrible, wretched day. But, we made a decision, I made a decision, that this was going to be a good, fun day. And it WAS!

I got to wear 4 outfits. You may ask why that makes it a good day. Well, it's what each of those outfits represents. I got to lounge around in my pjs while I fed Jameson breakfast and drank some yummy tea. Then I got to clean up (fix my hair, make up, the works!) and put on a cute dress and heels and my boys took me to brunch, mimosa and all. I felt like royalty. The food was great, I was relaxed, Jameson even behaved in his high chair. We took a leisurely drive home, where I got to put on yoga pants and a hoodie to watch tv while Jameson napped. Who can beat curling up on the couch with the internet and the remote (that's right, I got the remote!) When Jameson woke up I got to change into jeans and a t-shirt and we hit the road. We took a great drive, then met up with friends for an impromptu dinner and drinks. Jameson got to run and play outside at a driveway party. What fun! So many different aspects to our day, all of them so enjoyable, so relaxing, so out of the ordinary.

There is plenty of bad in this world. There are plenty of things that go on that make you not want to get out of bed in the morning. But there are also plenty of amazing things for which to be grateful: the smell of blooming lilacs, the sweet taste of a strawberry blintz, and a grin and a kiss from my sweet sweet son. What could bring more joy to a Mother's Day?

I could live life in a defensive mode, protecting my heart from all the potential for hurt in the world, but is that really living? I choose to live. Really, fully live life to the fullest. That might open my heart up to hurt along the way (and wow does it hurt right now.) But without the hurt how can we fully appreciate the joy? And I CRAVE the joy. I choose life, I choose fullness, I choose joy, and I trust God as my refuge through the hurt. Because he is the perfect refuge. His ways are not always my ways, but His love is so much bigger than me. His love is perfect. And perfect love drives out fear. So I will live on.