Beauty in the Brokenness

This was not how I thought I would be spending Christmas Eve. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of how I thought Christmastime would unfold this year.

I was excited for our daughter to be a little older around the holidays. She even picked out her own Christmas Eve pajamas this year.

But the days leading up to Christmas were not wonderful.

Only two weeks prior, my husband & I were surprised, but overjoyed to find out I was pregnant.

Because this lovely surprise was just that – a surprise, I immediately felt a peace & confidence that this child was supposed to be ours. That specific little life was destined to be a part of our family.

A few days after we shared the exciting news with our families, it became obvious that something was wrong. Because it was the weekend, my OB referred me to the ER but also told me that there really wasn’t anything that could be done since I was only 6 weeks along.

So I waited. And I prayed. Over & over & over & over. There was a constant battle in my mind. I have never been in a situation where waiting without answers tore so violently at my heart & mind. Hours dragged along ever so slowly.

I refused to give up. However, allowing my heart to stay hopeful was also very painful. I don’t quite know how to explain it. My heart was flooded with 2 extreme emotions that I wasn’t sure what to do with.

The next night, I knew the life that was inside of me no longer was. I was so angry. As I walked downstairs to tell my husband & my mother, a rush of emotions like I have never known poured over me. I began punching the stairs. I was not angry with God. I was not angry with myself. I was angry because this attack felt very personal & intentional. I was angry with the enemy. I was angry that he thought he could use this to pull my heart away from my God. I was angry that I would not know this baby here on earth.

My husband & I spent most of Christmas Eve in the ER. It was beyond surreal. This was the same ER that I went to when we lost our first baby. As we were led to our room, the environment was all-too-familiar. It was the strangest of feelings.

As we passed the room I was in 2 years before, I thought, “Lord, this is where you changed our hearts & lives 2 years ago. This is the exact ground that we discovered what ‘the peace that surpasses all understanding’ really looks like. This is where Your truth altered my life & solidified in the core of my very being- You remain faithful & unchanging. Always.”

Shortly after the ultrasound, the doctor confirmed what we already knew.

I’ve seen God redeem the ugliest of situations, the most painful of heartaches & bind the most shattered of hearts. And that has been my prayer since the moment we knew we had lost our second baby – “Redeem this, God. You have done it before & I know you will do it again. Please, just redeem this.”

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. Psalm 89:1

Although this dark valley was familiar territory, it has felt very different too. But the things that have remained the same have been God’s tender love, sweet comfort & obvious signs of His faithfulness.

God’s presence has once again, been undeniably evident. Our parents & siblings have been so wonderful, helpful & encouraging. We are so blessed by them. My mom took care of our daughter at home while my husband & I spent hours at appointments & in ER rooms. What a gift it was to know she was having fun with grandma. Thank you, Momma. We also had a handful of precious friends that have walked alongside us & been there for us night & day. They spent their Christmastime loving on us & mourning with us. They are treasures & my soul is forever imprinted with their selflessness & unconditional love.

I have numerous stories of how God has remained so faithful to us throughout all this, but I want to share one in particular with you. I cry as I share it because it’s so close to my heart. But I want you to know how closely the Lord listens to us & how loving & active He is:

After we lost our first baby in October 2011, it was so important to me to find a Christmas ornament for our baby to hang on our tree. I wanted him/her to be a part of our Christmas. I needed a tangible way to incorporate that precious little one into our holidays; something I could look at & touch. So as soon as Christmas displays went up in the stores, I began searching. I went to every store I could think of that would have ornaments. But I just couldn’t find “the one”. And I didn’t want an ornament just to have an ornament. It had to be the right one.

I was desperately praying that the Lord would lead me to the right one. I told Him how much I needed it & that I knew it was important to Him too. But I couldn’t find one.

I got a package in the mail from a very, very dear woman. She & I have mutually adopted each other as family & she has played a huge role in my journey as a woman seeking after God.

As I opened the little box, I couldn’t believe it. There it was. The most beautiful, perfect, remembrance ornament. It was white & in the shape of a heart. I hadn’t shared my longing to find an ornament with anyone except my husband & my God. It was as if God himself was saying, “Here is your perfect ornament, my precious daughter. I know your heart needs it. Here it is.”

The following year, she sent me another lovely ornament for my daughter’s first Christmas. The 2 ornaments are always next to each other on our tree. They mean the world to me. They symbolize my babies. They remind me that God hears me & He loves me like a daddy. He knows my heartaches & knows my needs, even the ones I cry & whisper to Him at night.

As my husband & I were driving back from the ER this time, I immediately wanted to get an ornament to include this baby’s life into our Christmas too. As soon as we exited off the highway, the hustle & bustle of last minute shoppers was overwhelming. Traffic was at a standstill. Physically & emotionally depleted, I decided to just come home because I didn’t have it in me to be around people, much less fight crowds.

We got home & as I walked to our front door, there was a little box on our front doorstep from my “adopted aunt”.

Guess what it was?

An ornament. A perfect, beautiful ornament.

It had the same kind of look & ribbon as my first ornament. It was white & heart shaped. She hadn’t known what was going on. But my faithful & loving God knew. He knew days prior what I would need at that exact moment; what would comfort my heart.

“Here is your ornament, my precious daughter. I love you & I remain faithful.”

He will cover you with his feathers, & under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield & rampart. Psalm 91:4

No matter how dark the valley is, His light will find you. No matter deep the valley feels, His arms can reach you. He promises to stay faithful through it all. Come to Him & allow Him to be your faithful God.

Knowing that my 2 babies rest in the perfect arms of their Creator until I can embrace them myself, I declare my God as faithful.

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The Year of Awesomeness

It has arrived – 2014 is here! There’s something refreshing about beginning a new year, is there?

That new number brings with it endless possibilities for the upcoming 365 days. I tend to dream a little bigger & more colorfully at the start of every year. A new year means a fresh start & that in itself, is a great feeling.

It’s exciting to get motivated & dream & make plans for the year, but I know many of us make “resolutions” only to become overwhelmed or discouraged & ditch them by the second week of February. We vow to work out more or lose weight, write that book or learn to play that instrument, break out of our comfort zones or reinvent ourselves. None of those things will happen overnight so we’ll have to stay consistent & persevere. And let me tell you, those two things completely clash with my natural ability to procrastinate & give up. If you’re looking for someone to do something consistent for about 2 weeks but then get distracted by something shiny, I’m your girl. But if I want to make changes or accomplish my goals, I know it’s the small decisions I’ll make every day that will ultimately get me there.

So along with asking God to help me stay consistent & to persevere this year, I’m also asking the Lord to show me areas of my life where I’m using my time & energy incorrectly. There are projects & even relationships that take more energy & emotion than what is healthy to give. Sometimes we just need to step back & rethink some things. Re-prioritizing can be a really good thing. For 2014, I’m going to focus in on a couple of things & give them the dedication & energy they need in order to complete them well.

Commit your work to the LORD, & your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

One of my goals is to finish a children’s book I’ve worked on little by little over the past couple of years. I’m down to the “cleaning up” stage which requires a lot of time & yes, perseverance. Again, this is a tricky task for me because there are a lot of shiny things in my house. The process can be tiring, but if I’m going to be tired from doing something, it better be from doing something awesome & finishing it 100%. Am I right or am I right?

Above all else, I desire to constantly seek God & know His heart more. I can make good plans, admirable goals & have good intentions, but staying focused on Him will keep my priorities in the right order & my energy renewed each day!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, & he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5&6

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Let me ask you- is there something that you’re excited to do this year? Maybe it’s finishing a project or investing more time in a friendship. Is there something that you have been meaning to do, but just haven’t taken the time to do it? Who have you wanted to get coffee with, but haven’t yet? Well, my friend, it’s 2014 & this year holds so much potential! So get out there & be the awesome you that you are!

And let’s remember to keep encouraging & motivating each other along the way! It’s the small decisions we will make each day that will lead us to that super-duper-amazing-accomplishment!

Happy 2014! I declare my God as faithful!