Saturday, December 28, 2013

six years

To my wonderful husband -

This last year has been a giant ball of tragedy, pain, love, hope, tears, joy and uncertainty.  I know we didn't choose this road we are walking right now - but I'm so grateful that we chose each other.  You have been steadfast as we rejoiced over pregnancies, grieved over loss, clung desperately to hope and wondered how to move forward.  Even as you have dealt with your own grief, you have been there for me as waves of pain would creep up, through sleepless nights of tears, and times when I worried I would never feel okay again.

You have sought The Lord on behalf of our family and you have carried me to the Father when there were just no words to speak.  You have remained full of hope, positive and confident throughout all of the uncertainty.  Your resilience and ability to find joy is admirable and speaks volumes about the kindness of your heart.  It means so much to me to know that no matter how I'm feeling - I can tell you the truth and you can handle it.  I am blessed by your tenderness that comforts, by your grace that accepts, and by your strength that supports me and Haydn.

I know some days yours has been a heavy burden to bare, and I'm grateful for the ways you take care of yourself so that you can take care of us.  Your servanthood continually reminds me of Jesus and the ways he recognized and responded to the needs of others.  I could not imagine a greater partner, friend, or advocate.

These last six years have not been easy, but your love has been an anchor to keep me steady and a comfort that has blanketed the deepest of wounds.  I love you so much - much more than I can articulate by speech or pen.  There are many things I once felt sure of  that now are unclear - but,my love for you has changed only in its depth and understanding.

Happy Anniversary my love - you continue to stir in my soul the desire to truly live, a longing for the heights and a willingness to embrace the beautiful, whether it is through joy or tears.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Beauty will Rise

I have spent a lot of time lately reading works from people who have endured great suffering and listening to music that was born out of experiences of deep pain.  It might seem counter intuitive to find comfort in those places... and yet, it has been very comforting to let others speak the words my heart feels and just to know others have walked this road of suffering and it has born beauty in their lives. 

It feels very isolating sometimes - this grief.  It feels like no one around me has any idea what is really going on in my heart and like I am existing in some world where I am in so many pieces and most people will only see a couple of them.  I have been reading "Choosing to See" by Mary Beth Chapman which is a wonderful book, I actually haven't read the beginning - I skipped straight to the part where their daughter died and have only read about their grief and processing the days afterwards.  I downloaded the album Stephen Curtis Chapman wrote "Beauty will Rise", in the months following their daughter's death.  Some of the song lyrics just speak so beautifully what I have felt so deeply and it ministers to me to feel that I am walking a road others have traveled and survived.

I think the song that has spoken to my heart the most is this one, "Our God is in Control"

This is not how it should be
This is not how it could be
This is how it is
And our God is in control

This is not how it will be
When we finally will see
We'll see with our own eyes
He was always in control

And we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
And we will finally really understand what it means
So we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
While we're waiting for that day

This is not where we planned to be
When we started this journey
But this is where we are
And our God is in control

Though this first taste is bitter
There will be sweetness forever
When we finally taste and see
That our God is in control

And we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
And we will finally really understand what it means
So we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
While we're waiting for that day

We're waiting for that day
We'll keep on waiting for that day
And we will rise
Our God is in control

Honestly,  Christmas has been hard for me.  In part because of what is missing  and in part because I can't help remembering last Christmas when I was pregnant and the terrible days afterwards when the first miscarriage happened.  I have felt so deeply this sense of how 'not right' things are and the bitterness of all that is missing.  I have found myself in tears many times this week, and God has been there to remind me of his love and goodness, but it still hurts so much sometimes.  Some other lyrics from the "Beauty will Rise" album that have put words to these feelings are below:

"Jesus will meet you there"

When you think you've hit the bottom
and the bottom gives way
and you fall into a darkness
no words can explain
and you don't know how you make it out alive
Jesus will meet you there.
When you realize the dreams you've had
for your child won't come true
when the phone rings in the middle
of the night with tragic news...
Whatever valley you must walk through,
Jesus will meet you there.

Who are You God
For You are turning out to be
So much different than I imagined

And where are you God
Cuz I am finding life to be
So much harder than I had planned

Know that I am afraid
To ask these questions
But You know they are there

And if you know my heart
The way that I believe you do
You know that I believe in You

Still I have these questions
Like How could you God
How could You be so good and strong
And make a world that can be so painful

And where were you God
I know you had to be right there
I know you never turn your head

You know that Im confused
By all this mystery
You know I get afraid
But if you know my heart
As completely as I trust you do
Oh you know that I trust in you

Is it true
that fore every tear I cry
You cry a thousand more
Cuz you weep for those that weep

And are you, just holding yourself back
From crushing all the pain and evil in this world
For reasons we just cant understand for now
But isnt there a day of redemption coming
Redemption is coming

Quickly Lord, come quickly
Lord, come quickly

So who am I God
That you would raise me from the dust
To breathe your life and your love in me
You know that I believe

Aside from Jeff and Jesus, I don't speak these things out loud to many people.  It helps me though, to open a window to the grief instead of keeping it closed up inside.  I think that is why people who have been through difficult things write books, music, or find other ways to express their pain.  I find that people who have been though impossible things, like the Chapmans, C.S. Lewis, Richard Wurmbrand, and others - even when they aren't talking directly about their grief or pain there is a depth to their writing about the human experience - a more complete understanding of faith, trust, and belief.  I think it is because they are people who have suffered and been transformed by their experience of suffering.  I am grateful for the works produced by these individuals that have inspired hope and courage for me.  I guess I hope that by not shying away from the pain or suffering, God will use my experience to minister to others walking through their own valleys.

Monday, December 23, 2013


 Someone shared a poem with me that has been deeply touching in light of what feels like failure.  To all those who have failed....

A Call to Failure
I had a call to a mission,
Signed in my heart and sealed,
And I felt my success was certain,
And the end seemed already revealed;
The sea was without a murmur,
Unwrinkled its even flow,
And I heard the master commanding,
And I was constrained to go.
But, out from the peaceful haven,
There woke a terrible storm,
And the waves around were in chaos,
And the land appeared without form
And I stretched my hands to the Father
And cried in a chilling fear—
“Didst not Thou pledge Thy presence!
And naught but failure is here!”
Then in the midst of the thunder
There rose a still, small voice,
Clear through the roar of the waters,
Deep through their deafening noise:
“Have I no calls to failure!
Have I no blessing for loss!
Must not the way to thy mission
Lie through the path of thy cross!”
It came as a revelation—
It was worth the price of the gale
To know that the souls that conquer
Must at first be the souls that fail—
To know that where strength is baffled
I have reached the common ground
Where the highest meet with the lowly
Where the heart of man is found.
O door of the heart’s communion
My Father gave me the key
When he called me out to the ocean,
And summoned the storm to me;
For the wings of the storm that smote me
Were the wings of humanity’s breast
As it moved on the face of the waters
And sighed for an ark of rest.
Years have gone by since that sadness
And many an hour has come
When the storm in the ships of others
Has signaled me out from home;
Yet I never can see that signal
But I feel how much I owe
To the day that, when called to failure,
My steps were constrained to go.
~George Matheson

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I have been going to therapy (with a Christian Therapist) for the last 6 weeks as a way to help take care of myself and my own mental health.  It also helps immensely to talk to someone not invested in your situation that can offer some perspective.  From my own experience as a Therapist, one of the things I found ironic about the whole process what that when I was actively trying to “fix” clients or their problems, we would hit a wall where there was either a regression or withdraw from the therapeutic process.  My wise Supervisor helped me to see the ways I was attempting to provide solutions or make people better.  I mean, that is the goal – why people seek therapy – to feel better.  However, in my experience, that does not happen through others giving you answers, offering quick fixes, or making unrealistic promises (“I know you will be okay.  This _____ won’t happen to you again.  God will give you the desires of your heart”, etc.). 

Suffering sucks… no one wants to see loved ones hurt or go through trials.  We want to make the pain go away and we want everything to be okay.  But here’s the truth… when you endure a great loss, when you go through something earth shattering, you will pick up the pieces and by the grace of God you will put them back together – but you will never be the same.  I will never be the same.  I will never again become pregnant and feel immediately happy.  I may never hear about a friend’s pregnancy and immediately feel joy.  I will never have my dream of family fulfilled the way I wanted it to be or thought it would be.  It will not be the same.  After my second pregnancy and miscarriage, moving on for me was putting hope in having a healthy baby, hoping that this would never happen again, hoping there would be a happy ending.

By now, I am so over happy endings.  Even if I got pregnant tomorrow and had a baby 9 months from now, it wouldn’t undo this last year.  The place I am moving to is a place of experiencing that God is enough.  Honestly, as much as I desired to live for Jesus I don’t know that you can come to this place of open hands and acceptance of whatever God gives until you HAVE to.  I don’t think I could will this, a true "I surrender all” kind of heart attitude unless all my options were stripped away and every other alternative was terrible.  I’m not saying I trust God because I “have” to.  I make that choice daily, but I am saying that maybe we don’t come to a place of truly opening our hands and loosening our grip on our own desires until we have to.

I don’t believe that God has promised me any more children.  I don’t believe that if I tried hard enough to believe that God would then give me what I want.  I don’t believe that getting pregnant again means that everything will be okay.  But I do believe that no matter what happens, no matter how many times we endure tragedy or loss, no matter how deep the pain or the hurt – God will be enough.  It won’t make it go away or make me “feel better” all the time, but he will be enough.  How else do you TRULY know that God will be enough until everything else is taken from you and yet He remains?  I asked a trusted friend recently about whether it was enough for me to feel like trust in God at this point, is to believe that no matter what terrible thing happens, I won’t be broken forever and God’s grace will be enough.  She wisely said that for right now, it is enough – the trust in God that feels like confidence, the belief that his will is perfect -  it will come, but right now it is enough just to know that I won’t break.

I feel a lot of pressure, some I’m sure is self-imposed, to feel better, to be normal, to move on.  And I am getting better, I am slowly venturing out into ‘normal’ territory that isn’t work related, I am moving through the grief process of accepting my loss and letting go of trying to control something I have no control over.  But, I feel this sense that many things will never be the same for me, there is a depth to my soul that didn’t exist before this pain ripped that space open.  Many people have reached out to me in so many kind ways and have tried to be so understanding.  I truly am grateful and really can appreciate how you don’t really know what it is like to walk this road until you have to.  I think one of the best things people have done for me is to let me be where I am without trying to fix it or make it better.  Those who have also lost children in the womb have been so gracious to recognize my baby – a boy – and the tremendous pain that comes from knowing you will never get to rock him to sleep, fix his dinner, or watch him play with his brother.  I miss him so much.

Despite the pain, the heartbreak, the uncertainty…. I am certain that God will be enough.  Enough to help me find joy throughout Christmas, enough as friends and family bring their own babies into the world, enough as we move forward waiting on God to show us the next step.  This journey is messy and I know some days and events will be harder than others, but He loves me so much.  God loves my family so much – and my circumstances do not change that.  It is enough right now to know that He loves me, that He is good, and that His vision is perfect – even when I can’t see it.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Finding Strength

As I have been confronting my grief and processing the pain I have felt an intentionality in the process - I don't want to waste this opportunity.  I recently had a conversation with a friend where she essentially said that she couldn't believe that I was being honest about my situation and my feelings in such an open way and that it must make it hard for me to know that others are aware of my suffering.  It seemed like a strange observation to me, that it would be better for me if my pain were less obvious. 

Early in my walk with the Lord, He impressed upon my heart a theology of suffering that essentially boils down to the heart of suffering existing for the glory of God.  When I sat in my dorm room reading Desiring God by: John Piper, it resonated with me so deeply - even though I had no idea what it would mean to truly suffer.  I hesitate to even attempt to summarize Piper's theological interpretation of suffering, but I will select a few passages from the 'suffering' chapter of that book that sum up his viewpoint:

" All experiences of suffering in the path of Christian obedience, whether from persecution or sickness or accident, have this in common: they all threaten our faith in the goodness of God and tempt us to leave the path of obedience.  Therefore, every triumph of faith and all perserverence in obedience are testimonies to the goodness of God and preciousness of Christ - whether the enemy is sickness, Satan, sin or sabotage.. Not only that, the suffering of sickness and the suffering of persecution have this in common: they are both intended by Satan for the destruction of our faith, and governed by God for the purifying of our faith."

"The point is that Christ sovereignly accomplishes his loving, purifying purpose, by overruling Satan's destructive attempts, Satan is always aiming to destroy our faith; but Christ magnifies his power in weakness."

" The pearl of greatest price is the glory of Christ.  Thus Paul stresses that in our sufferings the glory of Christ's all-sufficient grace is magnified. If we rely on him in our calamity, and he sustains our 'rejoicing in hope,' then he is shown to be the all-satisfying God of grace and strength that he is.  If we hold fast to him 'when all around our soul gives way,' then we show that he is more to be desired than all we have lost... so suffering clearly is designed by God not only as a way to wean Christians off of self and onto grace, but also as a way to spotlight that grace and make it shine.  That is precisely what faith does; it magnifies Christ's future grace.  The deep things of life in God are discovered in suffering."

There is so much more that could be quoted or summarized, but really, just go buy the book - it is worth it!   I believe that nothing is wasted and as terrible as this year has been, it would be wasteful to not share what God has done and is doing through this process of grief and suffering.  I think another important piece of this puzzle for me has been to be where I am and quit trying to profess that which I do not possess.  It has been so healing for me to be able to be honest with God and bring him my pain and disappointment and experience Him in that moment without trying to rush to promises of peace and comfort that I just don't feel right then.  Somehow in my honest weakness, his strength is most evident.

I know for everyone who walks this terrible journey of infertility, stillbirth or multiple miscarriages - it is extremely personal and different for each person, so in no way do I think everyone needs to or should respond in the way that I am choosing to.  But for me, over the last few weeks, I have felt a need to just let it all die and grieve the loss of my dreams.  I dream of a family with 3-5 children (some adopted) and all of them close knit.  I dream of a loud house full of yelling children, big dinners with children all around the table, babies to rock, hands to hold, beautiful chaos. This dream may never come true.  Even as pathology reports return with no answers and no indication of any problems, I don't know that God will ever choose to give us a healthy baby.  And if He doesn' certainly won't change who He is, but it changes my experience of him.  Can I trust Him and love Him and follow Him and believe Him just as much as if my dreams were fulfilled the way I wanted them?  I don't have an answer to that right now - at least not an honest one.  But, I find my heart experiencing peace I can't explain, hope that is not rooted in getting what I want, and grace that is enough - even when I  see others get exactly what I want without having to walk a road that is full of pain.  This leads me to believe that walking this road will only solidify my experience of Christ and not just my belief in Him.

I have wrestled with the heart of God and what God truly desires for me.  Just as Luke11:11 says "Which of you is a father whose son will ask him for bread and would hand him a stone, and if he asks him for a fish will, instead of a fish, hand him a snake,”?  This feels like asking for a fish and getting a snake.  I have struggled with feeling like it is not enough to go through all of this just to learn a lesson or grow spiritually.  I have been reminded about the ways that God and Satan can take the same situation and what Satan intends for evil, God can use for good.  I have been asking the Redeemer to come and redeem this...I don't see it now, but I do believe that is who HE is and what he does.  

Choosing to believe that God's plans are better than my own is really hard and definitely a choice that is being made every day, some days every moment.  But I know I am not alone and just as God carries my children with Him, He carries my heart and my dreams and my brokenness... it doesn't make it all okay, but it makes my burden much lighter.  I want my suffering to magnify the future grace of Christ, spotlight His sufficiency in weakness, and testify to His power over death and destruction.  I can't do it... I have tried and failed over and over again to humanly make this right.  So, I will continue to 'boast' about my weakness and put my suffering on display, not because I want sympathy or pity (especially not pity), but because when I am weak - HE is strong.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Impossible Questions

It is strange that "How are you?" suddenly feels like an impossible question.  Most of the time I give some kind of dismissive answer, but lately even when people I know I can tell the truth to ask me I can't seem to formulate an answer.  Being someone who is typically overly self-aware, it feels strange to feel so disconnected from myself.  Even if I had answers to this question, it still feels impossible to find one that fits.  Mostly because I have moments of time where life feels 'normal' and I don't feel immense pain and then out of the blue the loss surfaces and suddenly I am in tears or choking back raw pain and hurt.  I have spent 6 months of the last year pregnant.... and yet there is no baby.  I can't help but remember Christmas last year - I was pregnant, and thinking about the four month old baby we would have to celebrate Christmas with this year - I remember what it felt like packing up the Christmas decorations shortly after that miscarriage.  Unpacking them this year shortly after another miscarriage felt like a terrible tradition.  I have times where I feel the joy I used to about the Christmas season, but right under the surface is a wave of pain that we are not picking out presents for the boy or girl we would have found out about by now.

I have all sorts of impossible questions for God about 'where is the good?' and 'what about satisfying the desires of my heart?'.  But, the truth is that I know the TRUTH, I know who God is - I don't know what He's doing, but I know who He is.... and that doesn't always make it feel better. 

I think I rushed myself last time to find a  somewhat superficial place of trusting God and belief in his goodness. I didn't want to feel terrible anymore, so I recited the verses that made me feel better and moved forward.  That's not enough for me anymore.  I am allowing myself to struggle with God, believing that no matter what I ask him, no matter how dark my heart feels - He can handle it and He will not withdraw his hand.  It is not enough for me to 'fake it till you make it', to recite glib truths about God working all things together for good, or pretend like believing hard enough will change my circumstances. 

I don't mean to sound cynical or like I don't ultimately trust God - but I think for me, I need the struggle, to wrestle with Him over these things instead of pretending to be somewhere that I am not.  I know many of these questions will remain unanswered... but I really believe this time of wrestling and pain is going to produce a faith that can withstand dead children, suffering, and hope that truly doesn't disappoint - even if I don't get what I want.  When I look at the life of Jesus, I am reminded that He was in the business of meeting people in impossible places and doing impossible things, right?  In many ways that gives me encouragement to keep asking impossible questions, keep pressing on in this impossible situation, and keep telling Him the truth.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

On suffering

I will post more about this when I have more time to fully dive into a theology of suffering, but for the moment I read something from The Message Bible that I wanted to share.  In the introduction. To the book of Job the author was describing the way that Job gives voice to his sufferings and the response he encounters from men and from God.

" In our compassion, we don't like to see people suffer.  And so our instincts are aimed at preventing and alleviating suffering.  No doubt that is a good impulse.  But, if we really want to reach out to others who are suffering we should be careful not to be like Job's friends, not to do our 'helping' with the presumption that we can fix things, get rid if them, or make them 'better'. We may look at our suffering friends and imagine how they could have better marriages, better-behaved children, better mental and emotional health.  But when we rush in to fix suffering, we need to keep in mind several things.
First, no matter how insightful we may be, we don't really understand the full nature of our friends' problems.  Second, our friends may not want our advice.  Third, the ironic fact of the matter is that more often than not, people do not suffer less when they are committed to following God, but more.  When these people go through suffering, their lives are often transformed. Deepened, marked with beauty and holiness, in remarkable ways that could never have been anticipated before the suffering.
So, instead of continuing to focus on preventing suffering - which we simply won't be very successful at anyway- perhaps we should begin entering the suffering, participating insofar as we are able - entering the mystery and looking around for God.  In other words, we need to quit feeling sorry for people who suffer and instead look up to them, learn from them, and - if they will let us- join them in protest and prayer.  Pity can be nearsighted and condescending; shared suffering can be dignifying and life-changing.  As we look at Job's suffering and praying and worshiping, we see that he has already blazed a trail of courage and integrity for us to follow."

Reading the story of Job right now has been healing for me to gather strength and courage from the ways Job cries out to The Lord and protests loudly through his pain....yet he does not forsake God.  If you haven't read The Message version of Job, I highly recommend it.  I don't pretend to be Job, to be holy, but I am one who suffers...."Where's the strength to keep my hopes up?  What future do I have to keep me going?  Do you think I have nerves of steel?  Do you think I am made of iron?  Do you think I can pull myself up by my bootstraps?  Why, I don't even have any boots!"

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cast My Cares

If you need some courage today... and I find myself needing courage often these days, this song has been a true encouragement to me and given me courage to turn to Jesus and tell the truth.  If you don't know anything about Tim Timmons, you need to google him and read a little of his story.  Then listen to this song again and hear what an amazing testimony it is to the Goodness of God that no matter what your circumstances are - God is faithful.

In the middle of the night
When worry finds me
In the middle of the fight
When strength is gone
In the middle of a fire
When fear is closing in
You are, You are my song
You're my hope, when hope is gone

I will cast my cares on You the almighty
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You're good
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You love me, You love me
Oh, oh because You love me

In the middle of the night
When worry finds me
In the middle of the fight
When strength is gone
In the middle of a fire
When fear is closing in
You are, You are my song
You're my hope, when hope is gone

So I will cast my cares on You the almighty
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You're good
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You love me, You love me
Oh, oh because You love me
Oh, oh because You love me

God of glory
You are able
Through Your power
To be faithful
God of mercy
Every moment
You are near to me

So I will cast my cares on You the almighty
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You're good
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You love me, You love me
Oh, oh because You love me
Oh, oh because You love me

In the middle of the night
I'll pray with confidence
In the middle of the fight
You're greater still
In the middle of a fire
Your love is holding me
You are, You are my song
You're my hope, when hope is gone


Sunday, November 24, 2013


I have been sitting down to write this and walking away with it incomplete for a few days now.  I think I am finally ready to open a window to the grief.  Even in my training as a therapist and working with a couple clients who were struggling with bereavement issues of their own, truly nothing equips you to deal with your own tragedy until it mows you down and leaves you breathless.  I came across a poem today that I wrote shortly after Haydn was born and somehow it spoke to exactly where I am today.

I need to be reminded
of who You are
of opened hands choosing Your will
the same hands waiting to cradle me still.
Reminded that today is not forever
and that yesterday is not tomorrow.
Reminded that safety is only an illusion
and fear isn't worth the hope that I'm loosing.
Reminded of Your love that is
shiftless and strong.
I cannot change it, deserve it,
only receive it and give it.
I can't seem to forget the fleeting worries of today
which only make Eternity seem further away.
I need to be reminded that the things I forget
are more true and lasting than the things with me yet.

As I have struggled with my grief, I have felt the prayers of many carry me to the Throne and God has been there.  It has given me the strength and the courage to resolve to give up any pretense of holiness and just tell Jesus the truth - that this is terrible, that I'm so disappointed God didn't spare me from this, and I'm so deeply sad for my family.  I resolved to ask God the impossible questions and wait for Him to meet me there - even if it isn't to provide me with the answers my heart seeks - I know He will meet me in that place of pain and hurt and be with me.  Over the last week I have experienced peace, peace of letting go, really knowing in my heart of hearts that my life is not my own and as much as I strive and try to control things - it will only end in fatigue and frustration.

I have struggled with being real, before others and before God.  So many people have been overwhelmingly kind to me during these difficult days, and while well intentioned, some have given me the distinct impression that what they really want is just for me to be okay.  But, nothing about loosing two babies in the same year is okay.  I heard a story recently about a man who suffered from Cerebral Palsy and he talked about what a burden he carried trying to assure and affirm others who visited him in the hospital and what a rare gift it is to have someone who won't try to cheer you up or make you feel better.  I sense that feeling of needing to rush to some state of healing so that others won't worry or so I can appear to be put together again.  I think especially as Christians we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to respond "rightly" and move to a place of perfect peace, open hands, and smiling lips that sing praises.  As if somehow holiness is an attainable virtue based on personal performance.

Honestly, I never imagined this would be my 'lot' and it seems the worldly notion of getting what you deserve is planted somewhere in my being.  It is difficult for me to accept this 'lot' and release responsibility - I did not earn or deserve it and I cannot perform or deserve my way out of it.  Being good, acting holy, responding 'rightly', working hard, and loving others will not bring my babies back or protect me from another tragedy.  However, I am learning that opening my heart - wounds and all - and acting justly, loving mercy, being thankful - it may just prepare me to weather the storm, and embrace each day without squandering the opportunity to live fully where ever I am.  Whether I am rejoicing in the blessing, grieving in the loss - somehow, by the grace of God, there is goodness, reasons to be thankful, and joy that overcomes deepest sorrows.

I can't say I would ever choose the brokenness, the pain that shatters hearts into a thousand pieces.  But, I see the beauty, even now I see the beauty of a Deliverer who knows the deepest darkness, the greatest suffering, the most immense fear... and He will not withdraw his hand - He will not forsake His beloved.  That is the confidence we have, those who walk the path of brokenness.  And once you have been down this road and found joy, found hope, found peace - there is truly nothing to fear - because you know that even if you have to descend to the deepest darkness, He will find you there and He will be good.

I feel hope rising in my heart again.  Hope that I will reap a harvest of goodness, even if it isn't what I asked for.  "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord."  Psalm 27:13-14.  So, I'm still here, my heart still broken, but I resolve to hold on to Jesus and persevere until there is a harvest of blessing.  Like Jacob wrestling with God, but refusing to let go - I grieve, but I also wait with expectation, believing God is bringing beauty from the ashes.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fall with you

You are a house that’s broken down
You are a house that’s burning
And everything in me wants to run
But that’s not love

If you fall, I fall with you
If you hurt I feel it too
Even if my heart turns black and blue
I will love you

I planted seeds down in the ground
Not every one is growing
When I am tempted to give up
I choose love

If you fall, I fall with you
If you hurt I feel it too
Even if my heart turns black and blue
I will love you

Beauty and light will fight for you
Goodness will rise
It shines for you

I came across this song today and it put words to the melody of my heart today.  I needed to be reminded that as far as I fall, I am not alone.  I haven't been able to talk to many people yet, but I have been so grateful for the outpouring of support and for friends who are willing to fall with me and fight with me and hurt with me.  There is no right thing to say to someone in this place, no words that make the pain less.  But, there has been something healing about friends and family willing to sit with me in my pain and let it be okay that nothing is okay.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Breaking the Silence

The blog went silent a few months ago, in part because I started a new job that keeps me very busy, but also in part because I found out I was pregnant again and felt a little terrified of telling the world.  We made it past the point were I miscarried last time in January (9 weeks), we made it through the first trimester screening (13 weeks) and everything looked perfect.  Baby was fine, heartbeat was strong, no red flags on any testing that was done.  We told Haydn about the baby, we shared the news with friends and co-workers.  We believed in April we would be holding our newest family member... this week, just shy of 17 weeks - everything changed.

I sit in silence - these the only 'words' that can escape.  I still can't believe it, at 16.5 weeks, we lost another baby - "late term missed miscarriage" it is called.  Despite my fear, my worry, my worst nightmares - I really believed that everything would be okay.  Total devastation, shattered hopes, utter agonizing pain - that is what surrounds me.  To have made it to this point and loose this baby we desperately wanted, hoped for, waited for, prayed for, believed God for.  It is a crushing blow - one that I don't think I've even fully absorbed yet.

Somehow, God has been preparing my heart to receive this - bringing me to points of being willing to fully entrust this baby to Him and believing that as much as I love and desire good things for my children - God loves and desires good things for me and my family.  So, where's the good?  I struggle with why it had to happen like this, why bring us this far, why are there no answers for my dead babies?  What about the hundreds, maybe thousands of prayers I prayed specifically for this to NOT happen?  I don't have answers to those questions, right now - maybe I never will.  But God has been reminding me all along that HE is God and I am not.  And who am I to accept blessings from His hand and not also accept burdens and pain? 

Recently, I was reminded about the kind of woman I want to be.  The kind that pours out grace to those in my life because I know all that God has redeemed me from and as a result I live with open hands that receive from Him and pour out in return.  I don't deserve happy endings or easy roadways.  Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful when they come, but God hasn't cheated me when it doesn't turn out that way.  Why?  Because this isn't Eden and it isn't Heaven.  It is the waiting... and the waiting is full of awful, painful reminders of our humanness.  Humanness that reminds us to thank the Lord that this is not eternity.  Heaven is coming, and when it does there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more heartbreak.  And when I get there, there will be three perfectly formed babies waiting for their Mommy and together we will worship the Lord -  forever. But until then, I am here - waiting.

When I first found out I was pregnant I was reading the Bible and came across a verse I wrote down, not knowing it would become the epitome of where I sit today.  "Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God's sunrise will break in upon us shining on those in darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.  Luke 1:64-65"  (The Message)

I sit here, in the shadow of death, waiting for the merciful light of God to shine and show me the way one step at a time to His peace.  Please pray with us, we so desperately need it right now as we stand on this precipice of total darkness and despair.  It would be so easy to choose despair instead of hope, fear instead of trust, anger instead of grace, and hearts that are hardened instead of open.  Pray for our sweet 4 year old baby.  I don't know how to shield him from my pain as much this time around.  He grieves in his own way and doesn't understand why the baby had to go to heaven - I don't know either.  He sees our sadness and wants to pretend there is a baby so maybe we will feel better.  It breaks my heart all over again. 

I know somehow the sun will rise, dawn will break in my heart again, and joy will come in the morning - but I still feel so lost right now.  All I can do is breathe in grace, breathe out praise, and repeat.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Tomorrow is another day, but unlike all the rest, it was the day we were given to expect our number two.  I can't ignore it or pretend it doesn't feel a bit like a robbery of hope gone from my  arms before it was to be held.  The other babies have all come and even as my heart fills with joy, my breath catches in my chest and it feels like a weight I don't know how to bear.

I grieve, not everyday, but I still find myself surprised by the pain that surfaces over things I didn't expect.  I am reminded often of the prayer of Habakkuk the prophet:

17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's;
    he makes me tread on my high places.

A year ago, as we celebrated  our anniversary (early) and began the journey of continuing to grow our family - we could not have foreseen all that would unfold and the ground we would be standing on today.  I never imagined, even in my fear, that we would not have a baby right now.  I have certainly not been the picture of perfect peace and acceptance as we have walked this road, but by God's grace I am moving to that place.  My once tightly closed fists have loosened and on my better days are open hands, ready to receive whatever the Lord chooses to give.  

Tomorrow will come, the "baby room" is empty, everything stashed in the closet I hate to look in.  But, even through the 'emptiness' of tomorrow - there is still joy.  Joy that God has been abundant in blessing my family, even when it wasn't what I wanted.  Joy that his perfect love can drive out fear.  Joy that He is victorious over death and pain and tears.  Joy that our wonderful friends get to celebrate their daughter's 1st birthday - she is their miracle baby.

I guess the hope and the joy I've experienced, especially over the last 7 months - it is that which none can steal or destroy.  It is easy to hope when you get exactly what you wanted, but what about when it is stolen away or out of your reach?  Well, that journey of hope for me has been painful, but what remains is joy and strength - belief in the character of God.  Even when the fig doesn't blossom, when there is no fruit, when the fields are empty, when the flock is lost, and the herd missing.  Even then, joy can come in the morning and hope rise with the dawn.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


It has been wonderful to have a break from school and work!  I almost forgot what it was like to have so much time.  In fact, just last week I decided it was good idea to fill my remaining weeks of vacation with training and caring for two rescue puppies!

What was I thinking?!  They are very cute.... and very energetic!  Bless my in laws hearts for keeping them for us this week when we go visit my family in New Orleans.  Hopefully, they won't develop the eye twitch that I have since we adopted them last week!  Here's a quick update of life since May in pictures (those are my favorite updates to read after all)

I had a lot of fun celebrating my graduation in May.  My sister came down and surprised me and my family and friends had a surprise party for me, it was a lot of fun! 

We went to visit my sister and her family in Pennsylvania during my vacation, it was really fun!  H had a blast!

 H's favorite part was going to the Crayola factory and riding on Thomas the train!  It was pretty awesome and we all had a great time and enjoyed spending time with family!

Pictures of the puppies to come... if they will sit still long enough!  I'm also super excited to report that I got a new job which will start August 1st.  I will be a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology Intern with the school district.  I'm excited to start this new chapter and get another step closer to becoming a licensed psychologist!  It has been a busy summer already, but we are having lots of fun!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My love

I used to be a crazy journaler.  I loved each new journal with its blank pages and endless possibilities.  I still journal, only now it like monthly instead of daily.  Something I love about intimately chronicling the 18-25 period of my life is that I can go back and see myself unfolding and figuring out who I am and who God created me to be.  It was a beautiful mess - that is for sure! 

I was going through some old books this week and came across my journal from the year after I graduated from college when Jeff and I had just started rekindling our romance.  After 5 1/2 years of marriage, it can be easy to forget all of those things that made you fall in love. Especially when this was a love that began when I was only 16, but became a very different love when I fell in love with him again at age 23.

Here are some glimpses of that love back in 2007 (the year we got married).

March: "Good time praying this morning - Thanks Lord!  Man, I have had that soaring, 'I'm in love!' feeling all day today and yet it feels so different from my experiences in the past.  It was good tonight to feel like - I love Jeff, not some future version of him, not because of anything he does - I am just full of love for him that isn't contingent on anything he says or does."

April: "It has been really good with Jeff - I love him.  He is wonderful and is going to be such a great dad and husband someday.  All weekend I've felt like, I really hope that he's mine, but I don't want to get too attached to hat idea.  Man, I'm way too selfish to have kids right now.  I want to be the center of his attention way too much to want his world to revolve around others all the time... maybe I need to work on getting over that."

May: Who is Jeff?

He's the kind of guy that still writes thank you notes for every gift that he receives.
He will always open your door if you are female.
He is easy to love and loves others easily.
He is patient and withstanding.
He is fun to play with, but won't let you win (unless he thinks you will stop playing with him)
He's always thinking at least 5 years down the road, but can hold things loosely.
He would do anything for just about anyone - especially, when he loves you.
He is gentle but strong, kind but firm.
He can't finish his stories sometimes because he laughs at himself in the middle.
He is subtle when correcting and can receive correction (usually).
He seemingly has no internal sense of direction.
He makes friends quickly and will assume the best about people.
He confidently moves forward in whatever God speaks over his life.
He is very considerate of others and how his actions effect them.
He isn't afraid to love deeply and passionately, even if it isn't immediately returned.

Just a few months later we would get engaged,  and then be married by the end of this year.  I love our love story, even the ugly parts... it really is a story of redemption and picture to me of the ways that God can take something that is broken and dirty and ugly and redeem it to be beautiful, life-giving, and clean. 

Here's to you my love, my life.  I still get that 'crazy in love' feeling around you and I was 110% right about you.  I love you!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Life has continued to unfold in full force as it always does, without regard for personal circumstances or feelings.  I get the feeling I am supposed to write about something else, 'move on' from thoughts of loss or what could have been.  And I will write about other things and be ready to share my heart about other things - but right now, I am still here.  Not in the same place physically, emotionally, or spiritually that I was 5 months ago, but when I look into my heart, right under the surface there is still pain and disappointment and loss.

I spent some time tonight packing up and organizing things that have been in the 'baby closet' for quite a while now.  I am not sure what compelled me to do it, other than the sense that I was ready.  As I was sorting and organizing, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of - I couldn't help but think about how I could be doing this same thing except unpacking instead of packing.  I have struggled with my share of disappointment and just plain grief over the last few months, but mostly I have felt peace and joy - and in my better days, hope.

I was praying a few weeks ago and talking to God about my 'plans' and how I thought things would unfold for our family.  While I feel like I've been able to release a lot of the need to understand or get answers to why, I realized I was still holding on to some bitterness about the ways my 'plans' were ruined.  I felt God gently whisper, 'What if it is really true that I am God and you are not?'  Obviously, I confess that to be true, but the attitude of my heart was that God's plans had screwed mine up and mine were better - far better.

Something I struggle with is this notion that somehow our family dynamics are going to be inextricably altered because we didn't our couldn't 'plan' our family with children all two years apart.  Every time someone asks me "How old is he?" "Three and a half!  Wow, aren't you ready for another?!"  I feel this guilt that somehow I messed everything up and our family is ruined.  I don't really believe this, but sometimes I really do feel genuinely concerned about it.... And on my better days, I remember that God is God and I am not.  I was thinking about this reminder today and how 10 years ago I had just finished my freshman year at Baylor and was preparing to board a plane to Turkey for the summer.  That summer changed my life and I could never have predicted all that would unfold over the next 10 years.  It certainly wasn't my plan at the time.  God is God and I am not. 

If it is true that God is God and I am not, then it means that I can release my worry, fear, expectation and efforts to control.  I can receive His grace for each day and rest in his provision even when I can't see the 10 year plan - or even the 1 year plan.  I don't think it means I shouldn't have dreams, goals, or work towards something, but I think it means that when everything falls apart or when things don't go as planned instead of being bitter, angry, or blaming, I can reach out for God's outstretched hand, take hold, and follow - because wherever He is leading, that is where I want to be, even if is away from my best laid 'plans'.  So, onward we go, forward, following, trusting, believing because He is God and I am not.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nothing is Wasted

Jason Gray - Nothing Is Wasted (Official Lyric Video) from jason-gray on GodTube.
I've heard this great song on the radio several times over the last few weeks and it has really been an anthem for me.
I highly recommend the above video - but if you don't have time for that - below are the lyrics.

 "Nothing Is Wasted"
 The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope's a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow
 And nothing is wasted
 Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
 Nothing is wasted
 It's from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus
And what's lost will be found again
 Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted
 From the ruins
 From the ashes
Beauty will rise
From the wreckage
From the darkness
Glory will shine
Glory will shine

In light of everything that has unfolded this week, and my own personal struggle, I thought I would share this.  I  had the privileged recently of working with a couple clients at the counseling center who were facing bereavement issues over their own personal losses. 
I've read about the stages of grief and heard various counseling theories about coping with grief, but sitting with other people in their pain and letting it be okay, somehow helped me accept my own.

I don't know what stage of grief I am in -  I don't really care.  Because I don't think it ends after stage 5.  I don't think that it gets packaged up and 'dealt with' enough to put it away so that you won't feel it anymore.  This week I have struggled with my own grief, but God gave me this beautiful vision of Himself 'working all things together for my good.'  God was sewing together this giant tapestry with pieces making up my life - joyful and painful pieces all together - creating this beautiful masterpiece that he lovingly wrapped around me like a blanket of peace and comfort. 

Nothing is wasted.  Shattered dreams are not wasted, acts of terrorism are not wasted, terrible accidents are not wasted, death is not wasted.  Because we have a Redeemer, we have a Father who lovingly and miraculously makes beauty from pain.  August 5th will come soon - and even though there won't be a baby - I find myself grateful for God's kindness, because that very day will be baby Mary's 1st birthday.  She is the daughter of my dear friends who are in Taiwan right now waiting to bring her home.  I have prayed for Mary for so many years now that my heart is full of joy for her and for her parents - so it will be a day of rejoicing, even if there is pain, I know it will not be wasted.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Things have been more than a little crazy around here the last few months. It has been something like - illness, event, illness, tests/papers, event, illness, event, prepare for oral exam, illness, event, illness, apply for new job, illness, event, 5 WEEKS UNTIL GRADUATION and H and I are both sick right now! I've got a major test and paper waiting to be written right now, but promised my Dad I would put up some pictures! So, the end is near, I have already applied for a job and I'm working on my application for licensure as a psychologist! Whew, it has been a wildly, exhausting ride - but I'm so glad I decided to go back to school and pursue psychology. Hopefully I will be posting this summer that I've been hired as an LSSP-I (Licensed Specialist in School Psychology Intern) and can begin my 1200 hours towards licensure. Here are the pics Dad! =) This is the cookie cake H and I made for Jeff's birthday - he worked the ENTIRE day (and several days surrounding it) so we didn't actually get to celebrate his birthday until yesterday (2 weeks later - that is how busy things have been) These pictures are from the Easter egg hunt at Church. H hates taking pictures these days - but loves to make funny faces for the camera! These were our family picture attempts on Easter. I have a feeling this will be as good as it gets for a while! These are pictures from the Easter egg hunt we had at our house. It has been really cool to see H get excited about Easter - not because of a mythical rabbit, but because of Jesus! Explaining the cross to a 3 year old helped me regain a sense of marvel at what Jesus endured and how great God's love is for us even when we seem unlovable. Below is a video of H on Easter singing his favorite Easter song. He loves to sing and it makes my heart so happy to hear him worship and to know that these songs "are worship for God!"

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thank you

Just wanted to thank you guys for your comments, text messages, phone calls, facebook messages and e-mails communicating your care and support. We have really appreciated your care for our family during this time. We are doing okay - some days are better than others, but it has been really amazing to see and feel the care and love of Jesus for me and my family. I was praying the other night and happened to look back at a journal entry from a few months ago (October) after we had started trying to get pregnant. This is what I wrote: Lord, I just feel the need to bring to you my fear and be with you. Trying to get pregnant has already been and emotional journey and as much as I want to trust you, believe the best and not live in fear... I am finding that such a hard place to be right now. I just want to be real and tell you that I am scared that I won't be able to get pregnant. And I'm scared that if I do, I will have a miscarriage. I don't want to live in fear. Please help me to trust you. I know that fear is not from you and that you are for me and not against me. I know that you are working all things together for my good. Jesus, you are victorious over fear and doubt. Get behind me Satan! Help me to choose trust. I know these things are true about you Lord, even if healing doesn't come, even if my worst fear comes true, I want to be strong and fight to live in the truth instead of being consumed by lies. So, I will put my hope, my trust, my joy, my pain, and my future in your hands. I know I cannot change what will come - certainly not by worrying about it. Jesus, I ask for your peace to be my constant companion over the coming weeks. I love you and trust you Jesus. " The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel, in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16: 5-11 It was really good for me to go back and read that and remember the work of the Lord. I was really struggling with fear last fall when we started trying to get pregnant, but once I found out we were pregnant I really wasn't afraid anymore. It helps me to remember that as much as it scares me right now to think about future pregnancies, God has already given me the grace to not be afraid - and I know if I let him, He can do it again. I still have hope - I still have joy and I still believe that God is good, no matter what. To have my worst fears realized and come out on the other side experiencing the fullness of blessing, peace, and joy that comes from God's hand - is nothing short of the grace of God. This was the word of the Lord to me the other night: " O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble... The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;... and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom and knowledge." Isaiah 33:2,5.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Healer

I have found this song really comforting this week.

Friday, January 4, 2013

the truth

Post Disclaimer... This is our real life, and my pain is pretty fresh. I process things deeply through writing about them and I assume that the only people who actually still read this thing are the real thing - those people who love and care about us. So, this is the truth. I found out today, just 3 days shy of 10 weeks, that our baby has no heartbeat. I really had no idea that anything was wrong and was completely blindsided by this. We have been wanting another baby for quite a while and it took us a few months to conceive. In fact, the same month I went to the doctor to get tests run to find out why I wasn't getting pregnant was the same month we found out we were pregnant. I have been having flashbacks since last night when the bleeding started to Iraq and miscarrying there only to find out that we still had a healthy baby, but had lost his twin. This time there is no miracle, I am scheduled for surgery tomorrow to remove the baby. It is over. We are devastated, even though I struggled with fear when we found out we were pregnant, I truly believed that everything would be okay - it isn't. I can't help being reminded of those days in Iraq, grieving and coping with our loss. It feels different this time, I guess in part because we have been here before, and partly because I know the ending will not be the same. Shortly after we found out we were pregnant, I remember reading the story of Hannah and Samuel and being struck again by how difficult that must have been for Hannah to trust the Lord enough to be obedient with His gift to her and take Samuel back to the temple to be dedicated to the Lord, forever. There would be no bedtime stories, no morning cuddles, no boo boo kisses or anything else this Mom had dreamed about - it was over. In 1 Samuel chapter 2, it says: Hannah prayed, “My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted high because of the Lord. I loudly denounce my enemies, for I am happy that you delivered me. 2 No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one other than you! There is no rock like our God!... 6The Lord both kills and gives life; he brings down to the grave and raises up. 7 The Lord impoverishes and makes wealthy; he humbles and he exalts. 8 He lifts the weak from the dust; he raises the poor from the ash heap to seat them with princes and to bestow on them an honored position. The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord, and he has placed the world on them. 9 He watches over his holy ones, but the wicked are made speechless in the darkness, for it is not by one’s own strength that one prevails." I prayed that night that God would give me a heart like Hannah, a heart that rests in the holiness of the Lord and can rejoice because of it - no matter what. Even today, I am reminded of God's great love for me, for my family, and for my future. There is no good reason 'why?'. Sometimes life is just tragic, but if we will look to the throne, we will find that God is still there speaking over us with love and blessing. I've never been a good secret keeper, and I'm especially bad at pretending things are okay when they aren't, so, this is the truth, where we are right now and why the blog has been silent for a while. We would appreciate your prayers as we grieve this loss and figure out how to move forward. We haven't told Haydn yet about the baby, but he's pretty smart and has been asking me for a while "Mommy, do you feel better?" - pray for us to love him well in our grief. I ask that you would pray for me specifically that the Lord would guard my heart to hold on to hope and joy. I'm not sure I'm with Hannah yet, able to say my heart rejoices or know my hope rests only in the Lord - but I really want to be. I guess if having children has taught me anything it is that I am not in control. As Hannah said, "It is not by one's own strength that one prevails." There is no amount of worry, striving, or strength that will allow me to control this. Being a Mom is a risk, you will love without being able to protect, you will worry without being able to control - it is risky. But it is also so amazingly, wonderful and I am so grateful for the opportunity to love this baby - even in death. This is risky business, being real, being vulnerable, being out of control and being so in love... but, 'the foundations of the earth belong to the Lord and he watches over his holy ones.'