May 28, 2010

It's A Fallen World, Eve

I am grieving sin.

I am angry at Eve for what she did in the Garden.

If Eve were alive today, I would call her and invite her to lunch. And I would grill her for what she did. And I would tell her just what her eating that fruit has come to mean to me.

It’s a fallen world now, Eve. And babies die because of it. My babies died because it’s a fallen world.

Poor Eve, she would have wished she had never accepted my lunch invitation. I wonder if she would storm out of the restaurant or quietly cry at her seat at the notion that she has unleashed so much hurt into our world.

If she stayed put, I would let her cry on her own for a bit, but then I would slide next to her and weep with her. For a woman should not be left to bear such grief on her own for too long.

And then I would tell her that beautiful things have come out of this barren road…

The other night we had dinner at the home of a couple whose church partnered with ours for a night of worship and prayer. The wife is an old friend from college and we saw her the night of the event for the first time in years. So we reconnected and set up a time to have dinner with her and her husband. After dinner, we prayed with them in their living room and as she prayed for me and the longing in my heart, she put her hand over my stomach and prayed for my womb.

It was beautiful.

Earlier in the evening she told me that the night she saw us at the prayer event that she felt compelled to pray for my fertility. She had no way of knowing what we had been through these last six months. The Holy Spirit put in on her heart.

That is beautiful.

Hannah gave me a sweet reminder of my babies- two tiny hearts on a necklace… for Jack and one for Claire. I wear it every day.

It is beautiful.

I have the privilege of leading the children’s ministry at our church and on Mother’s Day- a day that I was dreading for all the obvious reasons- I was presented with a large envelope filled with cards and notes written by some of the families at church thanking me for what I do for their children. I sat on a couch in the church office and read them all, moved to tears by the words written for me.

They all were beautiful.

I still reach for babies and find joy in being with children. And that may not seem like anything, but it means everything to me. My heart is not hard and the Lord is still moving in me.

Love is even more beautiful in the presence of pain.

It is a fallen world, Eve.

But God gives beauty for ashes.

May 18, 2010

Submitting Myself

In less than a week I’ll meet with my doctor and together we will determine what series of tests she will order so we can get some answers on what’s going on in my body that does not allow me to stay pregnant. This will be man’s (my doctor) attempt to understand the complexities of God’s creation (my body). And while I do not know what to expect from these tests, I do know the One who determines their outcome.

So I am submitting myself to the quest of getting some answers, knowing that the answers do not change the outcome of what has passed. I wish insurance paid for the answers I really want. But I have it on good authority that the Lord is not in my network plan. So I’ll have to wait for those answers later.

Each day I am reminded of my loss by the reality that some have what I long for. Sometimes they will vent about their pregnancy aches and pains; their children’s poor behavior; or their lack of sleep and time to themselves and I must remind myself that this is their story. It’s not mine to judge or criticize.

So I am submitting myself to the call to be a friend to those who have what I want. And doing it without judgment or disdain. It’s not easy and I sometimes fail. But I am trying. And I am learning how to be happy for others even when I am sad for me.

Every morning when I wake there is a pain that settles in my heart- it rouses just as I come out of my sleep. It’s my pain and while pieces of it can be chipped away by a thoughtful gesture or a sincere word of care, it stays with me. From morning until night. This morning I spent the better part of my shower crying and asking the Lord why it is this way. He gave His answer. But I still hurt.

So I am submitting myself to the process of living with pain and waiting for healing.

May 9, 2010

To Jack and Claire, With Love

Sweet Babies,

The other night I had a beautiful dream of you. I saw you. You were whole. There was nothing broken. Nothing torn. Nothing separated. You were perfect. And you were mine.

What a gift to have gotten a glimpse of what could have been.

Jack, we would be just weeks away from meeting you had you not been called to Jesus- nine weeks to be exact. Nine short weeks. We gave you the name “Jack” because I always wanted my first son to have that name. Deep in my heart I knew you were a boy and now you are forever our first son. Thoughts of you come when I see a little boy fumbling on a playground, reaching for his mom with sticky fingers or a cheeky baby nestling into his mom’s arms for sleep. I assume you would have your dad’s natural curiosity and my penchant for order and from both of us you would have gotten our love for people. I would have prayed that the Lord grew you into a strong and godly man all the while showing you how to be tender.

Claire, it’s ironic that we gave you the name we did because it means “clear” and my thoughts and emotions have been anything but clear since you passed. I thought you were a boy the entire time I carried you, but a few days after you passed, something in my heart told me you were a girl. You are our first daughter, our second child- though not second in my love for you. I think you would have liked me for a mom. We would have baked and made pretty things for you to wear in your hair and I would have let you pick out your clothes in the morning because I believed in making room for self-expression….even if secretly I was embarrassed at what you were wearing.

You may have not had any physical weight in this world, but because of you, I am softer around the edges; moved more easily by other’s pain; and know the fragility of life a little more. Because of you, I am learning how to grieve while clinging to promises from God that He is working for my good; loving your daddy harder and fiercer than I ever have before; and longing to be with Jesus (and you) more and more. Because of you, I am doing less and being more.

No, you may not have had any weight in this world but you weigh deeply in my heart and I am changed because of you. All because of you.

This morning your daddy and I walked to the lake with you on our minds. I wanted to send you a little note:

We prayed that you would somehow know that we love you. That you are loved.

You are loved.

And the wind carried my message to you:

I wish so badly that I could have given you the message myself.

The day before we went to the lake, a friend sent something in the mail:

Two beautiful birds- one for each of you.

Now I have something to look at each day that reminds me of you. My two baby birds.

Babies, nothing and no one can ever replace you. You will always be a part of our family and if the Lord should bless us with children this side of heaven, they will know who you are.

I have a son.

I have a daughter.

And someday we will see each other and we will be whole. My heart will no longer be broken or torn into two. Our family will no longer be separated. It will be perfect, just as you are now.

You are loved, Jack.

You are loved, Claire.


May 4, 2010

Remembering What God Has Given Me: Friends

It is good to remember what the Lord has given us, especially during times when He has taken away from us. I have had to make a pointed effort to remember what God has given me so that I do not accuse Him of giving me nothing of any good.

He has given me friends. Some are old friends and some are new. But all have a special place in my heart because of how they have loved me through my sorrow. I love them all.

Hannah who is hoping for me until hope takes up residence in my heart again. She is my warrior friend. She was the first person I called after we received the news about our baby. That should speak to how much I cherish her.

Annie who fills me with Truth and sends me off with the knowledge that I am loved and not alone. She makes me cry (the good kind of crying) because she knows how to speak to my heart.

Rachel who prays for me as she holds her baby boy because she knows this loss is deep and it is wide and it is grueling.

Renee who reminds me that there is no such thing as smaller losses and bigger losses- just different losses. She blesses me and in doing so, honors her son who is with Jesus.

Lauren who knows this loss twice over. She is fresh in her own grief and yet she seeks to offer me some comfort.

Melissa who helps me see that even in the hurt there is a blessing from the Lord. Her prayers are laden with Truth and she has been one of my many blessings from the Lord through this.

Janel who sent me the simplest message when I made the decision to wait for the baby to pass at home-”Ask the Lord for exactly what you want.” It made all the difference. All the difference in the world.

Audra who points me back to the truth of who God is and what He is not. There is comfort in hearing her voice. She has always been a healing presence.

Naomi is my oldest friend and while distance and life stages completely separate us, she has made the journey with me, sending me notes and CD’s along the way. I know she doesn’t understand this, but I love her for trying.

Katherine, my dear friend. Even the silence between us could not keep me from feeling her love for me. One day I may tell our story here.....but it's still being written.

And you, Reader- you have ministered to me by telling me your own stories of loss and while I will never say that I am glad we share in this experience, I am glad that we have found shelter in each other’s words.