Why I Still Love Our Empty Nursery

Like most young couples, there is a room in our home designated as a nursery. The only difference is, unlike most others, this room was meticulously prepared without even knowing when the baby is going to arrive.

Like the old hymn, Coming Again, I am reminded constantly that our baby’s coming “may be morning, may be noon, may be evening and may be soon”…or it may be years from now.

Yes, the room has all the trappings of what you would expect for a baby’s room, but there’s no child anywhere to be found. Instead, there are grey walls longing for a personalized tree decal to be put on them, an empty, white, sleigh-style crib with Pottery Barn Kids bedding that is used as a clothes rack, empty dresser drawers (minus the old computer currently residing in one of them), a comfy, custom color rocker no one rocks in, and a super awesome, owl lamp (thank you, HomeGoods) that no one turns on. There is a corner full of expensive gadgets (play mat, stroller, car seat, and a baby carrier) that have never been used; some haven’t even been put together.

Most of all, our nursery is filled with a lot of hopes and dreams, but also a lot of fears and worries. Some days I adore going in there. Other days, which are few and far between but still my reality, I have to shut the door and forget it exists.

Many friends warned me that putting the nursery together so soon may not have been the best idea. They cautioned me of how hard it would be to stare at an empty nursery, especially if we waited a long time to adopt our child(ren). They told me it was something they would never do. They encouraged me by saying they would help me whip up a nursery in no-time, once I knew that a baby we could call ours was on the way.

Though I knew my friends had the best of intentions and were just looking out for me, I didn’t listen. And you know what? I’m so glad I didn’t. Though sometimes dwelling on its uselessness (at least right now) can cause me pain and angst, I needed this nursery. I needed this nursery much more than my children ever will.

The Lord knew that, though, which is why He gave me such a clear vision for that small space. I’ve asked Him for a vision for every room of our house (call me weird), as I love decorating but also want Him and others to feel welcome in our home. The people (besides John) I most want to feel welcome into our home are our children, the ones for whom we have prayed for by name for so long.

I want Noah James or Hannah Grace to know (I realize they won’t really “know” but you get what I mean) from the moment they are brought home just how much we have longed for them, so much so that we had a room all ready for them even when we had no idea when they were getting here. No, my children will not be an idol. I want them to feel loved, anticipated, cherishes. Yes, my relationship with the Lord and my husband will always come first (a post in and of itself), but I absolutely adore my kids, and I don’t even know them. Other than praying for them daily, the only tangible way to show them that right now is by creating for them a safe haven that will one day, Lord-willing soon, be their very own.

Hopefully, they both like grey, white and chevron. :)

Yes, for now having a completed nursery and no child means I have to stare at a crib that is only used right now as a clothes rack for John’s many suit pants. It won’t be like that forever, though. I know that, though sometimes, like last night, the enemy does his best to whisper fears into my ear and tempts me to allow them to sink into my heart. Sometimes the fear and the worry grips me more than other times; usually when I am stressed (like now — both of us changing jobs in the past month has led to very hard-and-fast transition) it is the worst. During those times, the thought “it’s always something keeping us from being parents” or “sometimes I don’t think this is ever going to happen” creep in. Thankfully, though, by nature I am a positive, the-glass-is-always-overflowing type of person, so those times of utter desperation and deep sadness are really few and far between – not that I don’t have them. I am human, after all.


I won’t lie. Having a nursery when you don’t even have a “due” date is not easy. It’s not for everyone by any means. It is, however, for me.

More importantly, the Lord constantly uses that back room to remind me that He is the Creator and Sustainer of my children, that He is bringing them to us in His timing and His way. He is using it to remind me that my children do exist, at least to Him; they are not just some figment of my imagination, though the enemy would have me believe otherwise. My loving Father is reminding me through sitting on the floor of a room that used to look completely different that He truly does make all things new, either now or when we are glorified and with Him and reunited with our baby we never met. He is reminding me that there can be JOY in the waiting, if I just allow the Holy Spirit to fill me and sustain me. He is reminding me that our journey – all of it, griddy-ness and all - matters.

Thank you, Jesus, that our messy journey to parenthood matters to You.
Most of all, thank you that our kids do, too. Lord, I believe; please help my unbelief.

 

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Nursery, Prayer, Purpose, Sanctification

Until We Meet Again…

Beloved One,

I am writing you this letter just a few hours before the one year anniversary of when you left us that early April morning. In some ways, that painful, horrible day (and the day that followed) feels like it was just yesterday, and in others, it feels like a lifetime ago. A day hasn’t gone by, though, when I have not thought about you, about what my and your Dad’s life would look like had you survived, been born and been in our arms the past 4 months. You aren’t here, though, and no matter how much I wish otherwise, you are not coming back. No matter how much I wish otherwise, the part of me that went with you is not coming back, either, this side of Heaven. No, Little One, you have a piece of your Mommy’s heart, and I pray you can sense that as you sit safely at the feet of Jesus instead of snuggled in my arms.

Though He answered my prayer for a child in a way in which I was not imagining or planning, especially during that time when we were just starting the adoption process and working through the surrogacy option, I need you to know that just because you were not planned, that does not mean you were not loved nor wanted. Had He allowed you to stay, I would have risked, and even given, my life for yours, Beloved One, and I would have done it with great pride and without second thought. I would have done anything in my power to give you life here on Earth, but now I am forced to live with the fact that I am called to continue to live my life without you physically here with me.

Though I never had scientific evidence that you existed until after you were gone, and often doubted what the Holy Spirit told me and instead felt crazy and unstable for believing you were inside of me during the days before you were taken Home, I am thankful that I allowed the Lord to speak so powerfully to me during that time. I am thankful that His presence was shown so powerfully to me during that morning one year ago when I woke up at 5:15am in a cold sweat and with stabbing pain. For those minutes you were still with me, instead of waking your Daddy, I knew the LORD was asking me to go out to the family room and be with Him. I knew He was asking me to pray the same passage (I Sam. 1:1-19) that I had prayed so many hundreds of times over my children. I also knew that He was asking me to give you back to Him, when I was not even 100% sure you existed, to trust Him with my children’s future, just as He had asked of me hundreds of times. Furthermore, I knew He was asking me to put away my doubt and believe what He had told me, to embrace the fact that I was indeed with child, and then just as quickly, let you go. As I got on my knees and cried out to God, the last thing I wanted to do, Little One, was let you go. As I felt my body begin to reject you, I felt as if it was rejecting me, as well.

The days after a medical diagnosis finally told me what I had known all along (that you were gone) were dark and felt like an eternity. I had no idea the grief I would experience or how hard it would be to say goodbye to someone whose existence was never tangibly verified until they were long gone. Many people were very well-intentioned but few and far between had the right words to say, and even those who did, quickly moved on and were not comfortable with the months it took to process my multiple layers of sorrow. I had no idea the grief ran so deep until I began working through it myself, but it was a necessary evil for me to walk through all of it, even if hardly anyone understood or knew how to handle the hot mess I was for a very long time. I couldn’t stand the thought of planning for another child during the time you were supposed to be growing inside of me; it felt, at least at the time, like a betrayal. I was just so afraid of forgetting about you, of not giving your life tremendous value when our Creator knitted you in my womb and gave you personhood from the beginning, even when you weren’t known about. You, Beloved One, are a person who may not have ever had the opportunity to live on Earth but still has a God-ordained, Kingdom purpose far beyond what I could have ever conjured up on my own for my first child.

I have seen how you, as microscopic as you were, have been an encouragement to other women who have also lost their precious babies due to my willingness to speak about you, to not give into the temptation to feel shamed and therefore hide the imprint you made on my heart, on your Dad’s heart. I have seen how speaking about you has caused others to re-visit the memories of the children maybe they lost even several decades ago, after literally 30+ years of trying to convince themselves it was too “silly” to still miss them after all of this time.  The Lord has so graciously used you to heal not only your Mommy’s heart but also others’, as well. As much as I would love to have you here with me, Little One, knowing that God still had a plan for your short life brings me great joy and pride; it helps me to see the divine purpose for the horrific loss we have endured. It helps me to continue to understand God’s sovereignty and goodness amidst human suffering, which I know is my life calling and a concept that is a great privilege, yet very, very hard, to truly grasp.

There are still days when I think about how you are gone that my heart aches just as much as it did a year ago. There are days that I wonder like whom you would have looked, whose personality you would have had. There are days I look at my friends’ children, who would have consequently been your friends, and I imagine you playing with them. There are days I laugh and play with those precious children and long to laugh and play with you, to shower you with affection and look into your eyes and tell you just how much I love you. As time moves on, though, I am learning to celebrate the eternal difference you have made in my life and the lives of others’ more so than dwell on the natural desire I have to be the mother of an almost-four-month old, whom I get to tangibly love every day, instead of the mother of a child who is absent from the body but present with the Lord. His ways and thoughts truly are higher than ours, though, and I know He has answered my prayer and has used you for His glory. No matter how many children we welcome into our home, you will never be replaced; you will never be forgotten; you will always be loved, just as much as they are.

Until we meet again, I love you, Beloved One, and always will.

 

 

 

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When It’s Been Too Long

I have about 20 blog posts in my head that never got written.Oh well. What can you do? What can you do? I am here now. :)

Though extremely busy, 2014 has been exceptionally good to us thus far. This place of grace and happiness has been a welcomed change, indeed.

I will update everyone on the changes we have seen in our lives soon. In the meantime, I just wanted to publicly thank my Heavenly Father for all He has done, is doing, and will do on behalf of my family. As I bask in His grace, I am continually reminding myself of just how good and sovereign He will always be, no matter our circumstances.

After all, it is not just on the mountaintop that we are called to say, “Blessed be Your Name.” During this time of vast earthly blessing, I am trying to consciously remind myself of that every single day. I am no stranger to the fact that, with God’s permission, life can drastically change. I am aware of the fact that, within minutes, life can hurt, can wound in ways you could never imagine. He, though, thankfully always remains the same.

Right now, though, after seemingly being asked to stay so long in one valley or another, I am standing on the mountaintop and see nothing but blue skies around me. I know I owe it all to the One who is the Giver and Sustainer of life itself.  I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us next. :)

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generationforever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21

 

 

 

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Filed under 2014, grace

2014′s “One Word”

As I have done in the past (read here and here), I have chosen a “word” for 2014. 2013 somehow didn’t get a “word” assigned to it at the beginning of the year, though I came close.

Out of all the years I have participated in the “one word”  movement, I would have to say that this year’s “word” came to me the easiest; it was also the first time I had my word picked before the new year even began.

This year’s “word” for me is undaunted.
I alluded to it in my last post on what 2013 taught me, which was much more than I was expecting.

In the aforementioned post, I wrote:

I read a quote on New Year’s Eve that really spoke to me:
“A new year is at hand,” the king said. “We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted.”
King George VI

That is my prayer for 2014, that I remain undaunted in my commitment to the Lord and His sovereignty and goodness, no matter what befalls me this upcoming year. Whether it be another year of not having the opportunity to be a mother, another year of disappointments and confusion, or even death. By God’s grace, as long as I’m alive, I pray I remain undaunted in my commitment to Him.

Lord, let it be so.

Yes, Lord! Let it be so!

It is only January 16th, and I can already tell you that, as I experience life’s natural ebbs and flows, I am not always going to feel that it was a wise choice to pick the word “undaunted,” but I do know that it was the word the Lord has for me this year. I have no idea what He is going to allow throughout my 2014, but as I press on through my journey, I will daily ask for the grace to remain undaunted in my service to Him and others.

Not only will I ask for grace to remain undaunted in my commitment to His sovereignty and goodness – no matter what, I will also ask for the grace:

  • To remain undaunted in my commitment to loving others as Christ as loved me, especially my husband.
  • To remain undaunted in my belief that the Lord will give us a child(ren), even when the waiting seems long and harsh.
  • To remain undaunted in my commitment to never live without personal boundaries again, so I can be emotionally healthy for those in whom the Lord has asked me to invest more fully.
  • To remain undaunted, in whatever He asks of me this upcoming year.

Do you have a “word” for 2014?

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Filed under 2014, Life

What 2013 Taught Me

I don’t know what yours was like, but my 2013 was quite the year.

2013 was a year I’ll certainly never forget and wouldn’t necessarily want to re-live. I won’t, though, go as far as to say I wish I could just re-do 2013 all over again. Though it was excruciatingly hard, the lessons I learned within the crazy that was my 2013 were well worth the pain and will never, ever be forgotten.

I’m not going to re-hash my entire year in this post, as there is plenty of posts already written (even whole series — read here and here) about much of what transpired in my life last year; others part of my life have remained more private, as they should.  If you haven’t been reading my blog the past year, just know I, even one with a wild imagination, could never have written the journey through which the Lord asked me to walk in 2013, especially the first 8 months of it.

As much as you’d like to think differently, you can’t change the past. You can only move forward. 2013 was what it was and it’s my job to learn from it, embrace the brokenness that came in many areas from it, and walk in 2014 full of joy and hope, just like I did when I walked unknowingly into the madness that was last year.

So, what did 2013 teach and/or remind me?
Well, lots of things.

Here’s some examples, in no particular order (except the 1st one):

  • God is still good and sovereign. Absolutely nothing can change that fact.

Though 2013 was my hardest yet, my steadfast belief in God’s sovereignty and goodness did not change. Were their moments I struggled with why God allowed me to become unexpectedly pregnant, let alone why He then allowed our child to die? Of course. I’m a human, after all. I am a human, though, who has seen the hand of God all over their life time and time again, even when things look the darkest from an earthly perspective.

  • My life is not about me.

After almost dying at 19, I am blessed to know from a young age that my life is not about me but instead the glory of God being displayed through how I respond to not only life’s highest highs but also its lowest lows. Though I know I didn’t do it perfectly, I hope that this year I brought Him glory through how I dealt with the circumstances He allowed into my life for my refining and His glory. I pray I do the same in 2014, no matter what happens.

  • My marriage is rock solid and can withstand anything that life throws its way.

I didn’t say my marriage is perfect, because it most certainly isn’t; it does involve two humans, after all. ;) It is, though, rock solid, and it just keeps getting better. 2013 was the hardest year yet for our four-year-marriage. I’m thankful to say, though, that everything we went through this year brought us even closer together, horrible miscarriage included. During this year, at times, we fought a lot. At times, we cried a lot. At times, to be honest, we struggled a lot…but we came out on the other side a stronger, more unified couple. We came out a better definition of two people living “one flesh.” We came out of the struggle closer to the Lord on an individual basis as well as a corporate one. As  a couple, we came out of 2013 changed, changed for good! I can’t imagine displaying God’s love for the Church through marriage with anyone else than my best friend.  He rocks my world. :)

  • I long to be a mother more than sometimes I even know.

This could, and eventually will, be the subject of a whole post. Stay tuned. :)

  • Adoption (at least our journey) is hard – really hard – but so worth it. We can’t wait to meet Noah and Hannah and pray they join our family at the same time. :)

The giant mountain of paperwork hasn’t even been the hardest part. Being married to a really detailed-oriented person, though, definitely helped in that area. :) No, the paperwork has been a breeze compared to other things, mostly emotional in nature, through which we’ve had to work; some of those things are just a part of the usual process (and will be written about in another series) and others are unique to our particular situation. No matter what comes up, though, the important thing is we’re committed to working through it; we’re committed to finding our children and bringing them home. No matter what, we Paynes don’t ever give up.

  • People like other people’s drama and shy away from public expressions of grief.

I learned this lesson back in the Spring/Early Summer. I had thousands of people (mostly strangers) suddenly flocking to my blog to read all 21 posts about our hard-to-believe adoption/surrogacy/pregnancy/miscarriage/adoption journey. Only an 1/8 of that audience read, though, after the 13th installment of the aforementioned series when I was heartbroken, and therefore devoted three blog posts to redeeming my miscarriage; most of the sharing of my posts stopped, too. Not surprisingly, most of that audience (and shares) returned once again when the other more-appealing series resumed for the last 7 posts.

Don’t get me wrong. I sincerely appreciated the concern (or curiosity) others showed (either through reading and/or contacting me) during my large series full of twists and turns. I just was rather shocked that my readership went down so much when I took a break from the other series (since I was initially hiding (even from my own parents) the fact I was sick post-miscarriage) to publicly deal with the intense grief that came with all that drama people loved to read. Though they were much, much fewer in nature, the private messages I did receive from that miscarriage series made the emotional exhaustion from writing them well worth it. It also reiterated to me just how important it is for me to obey His voice and live as transparently as possible, so that He can use me to encourage others who often feel alone in how they feel. I was amazed how alone so many women who have had miscarriages felt; it made me incredibly sad. It shouldn’t be this way, and as long as I’m alive, I will continue to be as real as possible (on that issue and others) so that others feel the freedom that comes with living without satanic shame.

Though I was humbled by my viewership this year, I don’t write for certain stat numbers. I write in order to be able to breathe, to connect with my Creator, to glorify His name and have Him do whatever with it He wants.  Your guess as to what He does with it in 2014 is as good as mine. No matter how many read, it’s all for Him!

  • Living “transparently” doesn’t have to mean giving anyone and everyone 24/7 access to your life, emotions, time, thoughtfulness, etc. without requiring anything from them; no, that would be toxic and will eventually leave you feeling burnt.  Having Christ-inspired, personal boundaries is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and others.

I wrote about this topic in my “mid-life crisis” series.

  • Though he came in contact with thousands, and was followed intensely by 12, even Jesus’ inner circle only consisted of 3 people. Yours will look about the same; don’t kid yourself into believing otherwise.

Not every friend sticks closer than a brother, and that’s OK. Life is full of relationships, each with their own level of closeness. Oftentimes, those in relationship aren’t even desiring the same level of closeness, but unless they’re willing to be honest with one another, one just assumes (and prays) the other will “get a clue”. Somewhere between sometimes and usually, the other party eventually does get a clue and is consequently left confused; that is, unless you’re like my former self, and then often you are left clueless for far longer than expected. In my case, for most of 2013, I also didn’t believe in personal boundaries, so my addiction to emotional harlotry didn’t help my case.

Some friendships are for a season, then fade, then come back again. Some never come back. Some evolve and change over time. You can be someone’s friend without giving them permission to know every single thing about you and vice/versa. You, unbeknownst to me until this year, can also do this while still upholding Christ’s call to love. In fact, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is let things change inside of, or even let go of, a relationship that is near and dear to you.

In rare cases, you will find those with whom your soul connects in a way that is, if I can say, not of this world. You will find people who just “get” you without you needing to explain yourself. They will give you the benefit of the doubt but be willing to confront you when needed. They will desire your good above their own, always without question. They will guard your heart as if it were their own. In your divinely-inspired friendship, you will give and take in a natural, beautiful exchange of wills. Cherish those people. Protect those people with a fierce and loyal love this world does not know.

  • With God’s help, you really can survive anything. Better yet, you can not only survive but thrive while in the midst of the deepest pain, no matter its nature.

I learned this valuable lesson in the physical realm back in 2005 and the emotional realm in 2013.

So what will 2014 bring?

I read a quote on New Year’s Eve that really spoke to me:
“A new year is at hand,” the king said. “We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted.”
King George VI

That is my prayer for 2014, that I remain undaunted in my commitment to the Lord and His sovereignty and goodness, no matter what befalls me this upcoming year. Whether it be another year of not having the opportunity to be a mother, another year of disappointments and confusion, or even death. By God’s grace, as long as I’m alive, I pray I remain undaunted in my commitment to Him.

Lord, let it be so.

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Miscarriage, Prayer, Purpose

Got Adoption-Related Questions?

If there’s one question I get asked almost on a daily basis, it’s a version of this one:

“What’s going on with your adoption?”

or this one…

“What’s taking so long?”

or this one…

“Are you going to be able to adopt soon? What’s the hold up?”

So, for those questioning (either vocally or not) souls, I thought I’d provide a few answers to some basic questions soon. :)

First, though, let me say that you don’t have to be afraid to ask us about our adoption process. We aren’t offended in the slightest by questions and understand (and appreciate) people’s curiosity. That being said, just know that we may very well not have the concrete answers for which you’re seeking. We really aren’t trying to be “secretive,” “vague,” or wanting to “hide” anything from you. We also aren’t going to lie to you. If we don’t know the answer, or in rare, rare instances would prefer not to answer, we aren’t afraid to say so.

Adoption, by its very nature, just comes with a lot of unknowns, especially when it comes to timing. If you think that’s frustrating to you, imagine being in our shoes. ;)

We realize you aren’t in our shoes, though, and may very well not have another connection to adoption, so that’s why you might be a bit confused, intrigued, or both. That’s totally OK! There’s nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to not exactly understanding the odds and ends of our journey, especially the personal ones; we don’t really expect (nor want) you psycho-analyzing us from the outside looking in, so don’t feel the need to try. Honestly, especially if you don’t really know us, you most likely will never understand all of it, as much of how being called to adopt (and us losing a child of our own in the process) has affected me and my husband on an individual and corporate basis is extremely personal and has taken – and probably in some way will continue to take – us years to fully grasp.  Our own family and friends don’t always “get” from where we’re coming, so we certainly don’t expect someone just following our blog to ever fully understand certain things.

All we can promise you is our honesty, not necessarily that our adoption journey – in a personal or tangible sense – will make perfect sense to you. Through the ups and downs of the process, we’re here to share and help as much as we can. We hope you glean a lot of useful information (both on a tangible and personal level) as we continue to move forward with, and share about, our plans of, Lord-willing, becoming a family of three (or four) through the beautiful gift of adoption in 2014. We hope that information will help you down the road, whether you feel called to also adopt or are a part of an adoptive mother or father’s support system. After all, if there’s one thing I’ve learned the past year as one who is adopting, it’s that you definitely need all the emotional support you can get; sadly, not everyone will be excited about your journey.

I’ve also learned that people certainly have lots of questions about adoption, about both the process itself and how walking through it affects those who have sojourned that winding path. Tons of questions abound in people’s minds. Many others have the same questions but are afraid to ask. Well, no need to fear anymore. 

So, here’s your chance: What do you want to know? Ask away. :)
Feel free to comment, Facebook message me, email me, and wait for a follow-up post!

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Seeing Red

Some dates are etched in your memory forever.

Birthdays. Anniversaries. Days our loved ones pass away. Major life events. We all can list at least a few dates that automatically stick out in our minds, whether for welcomed reasons or not.

December 4, 2013 will always be one of those days for me. That was my estimated due date for the child I miscarried on April 1st at 5 weeks gestation. That was the day our child, as microscopic as he/she was, went to be with the Lord. That was the day part of me went to be with Him, too.

To say I was heartbroken after we miscarried is a gross understatement. If you recall, there was a lot already going on in our lives in early Spring. It was so much that the most grounded people would feel like they were losing their grip on their sanity prior to what transpired on April 1st. As we all know, the roller coaster wasn’t over, though.

Once the bleeding stopped, I was emotionally as empty as my formally impregnated uterus; in a matter of a few hours, the life had been sucked out of me, literally and figuratively. Like millions of women each year, I was left to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and move on.

For me, though, “moving on” was going to be a long, long journey.
It was going to be a much longer, harder, more private pilgrimage through grief than with what I (and, in some ways, others) was comfortable.
It was my journey, though, nonetheless.

The first few weeks, I would come home from work some days and just sit on the floor in our empty nursery. I would begin to replay over in my mind the trauma that had been the few weeks leading up to me unexpectedly getting pregnant, as well as the subsequent drama which led to finally having a confirmation that I had indeed miscarried and wasn’t losing my mind...or was I? 

When I was alone, the previous few months played out like a dramatic Nicholas Sparks’ movie in my head. Scene after scene, I saw the characters, i.e. me and my husband, develop and the plot thicken and thicken some more. The plot became so thick, I felt as if I were traveling through a dense fog in my head, a fog which would last for months. Some days the fog was so thick, I couldn’t tell if I was indeed the protagonist or the antagonist of my own story; some days I felt like both, sometimes simultaneously. As I dealt with post-miscarriage health complications for months on end on top of my grief, there seemed to be no climax of events (let alone a resolution) in sight, in my real life or in my imagination.  I wanted out of the madness. Honestly, some days I wanted to just go to sleep and never wake up. I wanted peace and rest, and those things seemed hard to come by at the time.

After all, it was hard to feel at peace when you feel you have failed as a woman, and more importantly, as a wife. For a myriad of reasons, that’s the way I felt for a long, long time. Thankfully, though, after months of spending time with the Lord, countless hours of conversation with my husband and a few close friends, and being forced to deal with the root of my feelings, I (for the most part) don’t feel that way anymore.

Thank God, I don’t usually feel that way anymore.
One day, I hope to say I don’t ever feel that way anymore.
One step at a time, though.

I don’t really feel it necessary (at least now) to take you through the play-by-play of the highs and lows of my journey of grief. I guess after the realization I came to during my mid-life crisis, I don’t feel anymore like I “owe” you, the reader, an “all-access” pass into the most personal caveats of my life. I guess I’m still learning to have boundaries in my relationships, online and off. I have to say, after a year of a lot of hurt and heartache, it feels good to not (usually) feel guilty for protecting myself emotionally.

Just know that the last 8 months of my life have been filled with extremely personal, heart-wrenching moments. It hasn’t always been pretty. In fact, many times it’s been rather ugly, but it’s always been one thing – real and raw. After all, love it or hate it, I know no other way to be. If there’s one thing I’ve re-learned during the craziness that has been my 2013, it’s that I can’t control a lot in my life. God, in His sovereignty and goodness, numbers my steps, oftentimes much differently than I would. On the flip side, though, I’m learning there are some things I can control, namely having healthy boundaries with people and owning and being proud of, instead of shaming, my own journey.

And oh the journey it has been.

I’m thankful, though, I’m finally far enough down the path that I can say I’m thankful for the past 8 months. I may not ever understand why John and I had to lose a child, or why it had to affect me so deeply, but I do know good has come of it.

do know that what Satan meant for evil, my gracious Lord meant for good. Yes, He meant it for my good and, more importantly, His glory. Those nights I lay crumbled up on the floor in my empty nursery, when I wasn’t sure if I was the protagonist or antagonist of my own story, I had forgotten to ask the Author and Finisher of my story who I am. Instead of trusting Him, I listened to my doubt. Instead of believing I am who He says I am (beloved and loved, far from a failure), I believe the father of lies who is always out to steal my (and your) joy and vision. Thankfully, I don’t forget anymore.

In the Old Testament, when God’s people had an unforgettable encounter with the LORD, they often built a memorial out of stone in commemoration of the event. They (and sometimes the LORD Himself) wanted a tangible reminder of what the LORD had done. I, too, wanted a tangible reminder of how the Lord had restored and healed my heart, so I completely changed my appearance (at least for now).

For almost 28 years, I was a blonde. Now, I’m a red head. :)

2013-12-05_16-12-01_263When I look in the mirror, I am constantly reminded of the fact I not only look like a completely different person, I am a completely different person because of God’s gracious work in my life! I’m pretty sure I will eventually go back to my roots (or closer to them than I am now ;) ), but for now, I needed an external expression of a very powerful, inward change. The dye is temporary, but the branding on my heart is forever.


I finally see He is bringing much beauty from the ashes of my once shattered heart.
He is mending and strengthening. He is healing and restoring.
He is being what He always is – good. So, so good.

I’ll leave you with a song that has meant so very much to me over the past several months.

 

Father, thank you for loving me so.

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Filed under Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Miscarriage, Redeeming Loss, Sanctification