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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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Reflect on YOUR 2011

2011 is almost over.

Hard to believe, huh?

Tell me about it. The older I get, the faster the years seem to fly by…and I’m only 25. Great.

In any case, I still have every intention of blogging about my 5 goals for 2012, just don’t have the time right now. We’ve been on-the-go since Christmas Eve (just got home today), and before that we were suddenly sick, so there just hasn’t been much time to be on the computer.

Before we leave tonight for a New Year’s Eve party, I wanted to share this article I received today from (in)courage, one of my favorite sites.  I haven’t had the time yet to go through these questions but plan on doing so before Tuesday, when we go back to work. Can I just say after being gone for a week, and then rushing around tonight, I’m so thankful we have Monday off! 🙂

Sadly, most of you probably don’t have Monday off. My condolences are with you.

Whether you’ll be working on the 2nd or not, I encourage you to reflect on  your 2011, too.

Happy New Year!

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Award & A Preview To Come

The Liebster Award.

This award was reputedly started in Germany in order to give smaller bloggers recognition for their hard work. You receive this award from a fellow blogger that feels your blog is both worthy & important to them.

Until today, I didn’t even know such a thing exists. Thanks to my sweet friend from college, Marie, who nominated me for one, now I do! Thanks, Marie!!

Note to her readers & mine: I saw on her blog she mentioned I have a story, which consequently drove up the traffic to my “About” page where readers sadly found you won’t find my story. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever even written out my “story” on this blog, hence why the blog’s called A New Chapter To Write. If you stick around a few more days, though, I’ll be revealing the Prologue to the revised edition of my book, which should be released early next year (that or I’ll be in the loony bin, jk – sorta). That “teaser” should fill in, at least some, blanks for you!

So, while I leave you in anticipation, let me get back to the award.

The requirements for this award are:

  1. Bring to light the person who nominates you by thanking them for all to see.
  2. Post on your site the wonderful Liebster Award stamp.
  3. Find 5 of your blogging friends to nominate who have less than 200 followers but deserve to be recognized with praise!
  4. List them below these instructions so others will find their blogs and read them.  Don’t forget to let them know they have been nominated!

You don’t win a million bucks, or get tickets for a Caribbean cruise for doing this.
Instead, you get something that’s more valuable.

You get respect as a writer

You are reminded you have a voice.

You get to remind others they do, too.

With that being said, here are my nominees, in no particular order:

1.  Stephanie Flamm, The Flamm Fam

I met Stephanie and her husband, Drew, during my short time at Cedarville, back before they were husband and wife.  They are  looking forward to adopting and currently waiting to bring home their son from Ethiopia. I pray for them often and am so encouraged by their honesty and vulnerability during this difficult process as we look to start our adoption journey soon.

2.  Laura Groman, The Pursuit

Laura is so dear to me. After going through a serious health issue just a few years ago, she found herself facing yet another – Hodgkins Lymphoma – in the Summer of 2010. She allowed us all to walk the journey with her, to follow her pursuit for Christ even in the midst of human suffering.  Now in remission, Laura continues to blog, reminding us all that our pursuit for Him should be in good times and bad.  I love you, Laura!

3.  Sara Anderson, Livin’ the Dream in Bean Town USA

To the blogosphere, Sara’s a great cook , a crafty girl, a runner and a teacher.  To me, she’s so much more. She and her husband, whom she affectionately calls her “Business Man,” are two of my and John’s closest friends. If you’re looking for Christmas treat ideas, you’re in luck. Sara’s in the middle of her “12 Days of Christmas” baking challenge.  Yum! 🙂

4.  Rachel Massie, One Mind, One Heart, A Thousand Directions 

Since this blog is hosted by my matron-of-honor, I admit I am a bit biased when it comes to my view of its greatness. All kidding aside, the main reason I love Rachel’s blog is because it shows her heart, her heart for her hubby, her adorable 3 month old daughter, her students and just life in general. Rach is also very good with her hands, which leads to great DIY project posts to inspire you, too.

5.  Rosanne Bowman, Free Indeed

Rosanne’s my long-lost sister. I’ve never met someone I’m so much alike! The great part? We always get along, too! 🙂  Seriously, she’s great. Her blog always encourages me and points me back to Christ, the Author of our faith and our friendship.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I plan on my house feeling like a home again starting tomorrow night. Hurray! 🙂

 

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Tim Tebow’s Hot

Tim Tebow’s hot. 

Don’t worry. I think my husband’s hotter, but I still say Tebow’s hot.

Why?

He’s not afraid to stand up for Jesus Christ.  He’s not just “down with J.C,” he lives for Him – on and off the field.

And he’s taking plenty of slack because of it.

Just Monday, former Broncos quarterback, Jake Plummer, blasted Tebow during a radio interview by saying:

“Tebow, regardless of whether I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates, I think he’s a winner and I respect that about him. I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ, then I think I’ll like him a little better. I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every single time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.”

Translation: You’re a good player, Tebow, but please just shut up about your faith.

Tebow’s reponse Tuesday on ESPN’s First Take:

“If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife ‘I love her’ the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity?

“And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that it is the most important thing in my life. So any time I get an opportunity to tell him that I love him or given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m gonna take that opportunity. And so I look at it as a relationship that I have with him that I want to give him the honor and glory anytime I have the opportunity. And then right after I give him the honor and glory, I always try to give my teammates the honor and glory.

“And that’s how it works because Christ comes first in my life, and then my family, and then my teammates. I respect Jake’s opinion, and I really appreciate his compliment of calling me a winner. But I feel like anytime I get the opportunity to give the Lord some praise, he is due for it.”

Translation: Thanks for the compliment, Jake. Sorry to disappoint you, though, because I’m not going to shut up.

I say good for him!

Tim’s boldness has opened up the door for a nation-wide conversation, and in turn, Tim’s getting what he wants.

Jesus Christ is getting attention.

Fox Sports.com’s columnist, Jen Floyd Engel summed it up best earlier this month in her article Why the heck do we hate Tim Tebow? when she said:

I could not figure out what was causing this onslaught of venom for a guy almost everybody claims to like, and I finally decided it is more about us. He makes us uncomfortable. He is a reminder that the blue-red, liberal-conservative fight over taking God out of everyday life is intellectually dishonest. He is too good.

Tebow is proof that God goes comfortably into whatever arena of your life you wish to take Him. I used to work with a great guy, Simon Gonzalez, a very devout Christian, and he prayed before every meal. Others would be killing free press meals and he would stop, bow his head and silently say thanks. He was not making a spectacle of his beliefs. He believed that God deserved thanks for what was before him, and not just when convenient for Simon. And people would squirm — not because what he was doing was wrong but because it was right. It is the same for Tebow.

Thankfully, Tim realizes his “goodness” comes from Christ and Christ alone.

Whether Tim will turn into a memorable quarterback is still undetermined. What is for sure, though, is that Tim’s outward display of his devotion to Christ above all else doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

What about ours?

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Competence.

Competence matters.

Dealing with health insurance companies is frustrating enough when the ones with whom you’re speaking are helpful.

Now imagine dealing with a company that has people telling you 5 different things, can’t clearly define their own coverage, and also fails to properly educate those who are supposed to be representing them to their patrons in their area.

Not fun – at all.

Needless to say, it’s been a long week. Take that back, long 6 months or so.

Answers, albeit not the ones I wanted, finally came on Friday. Thank you, Shalonda, for your competence. I hope your superiors, to whom I wrote a long, detailed letter, take my recommendation for giving you a raise to heart. You deserve it. You should be paid to give your coworkers, along with hundreds that represent your company, a seminar, so they, too, can understand what you explained so easily.  The rest of them seem to be sadly in the dark and need to be shown the light.

I’m glad we’re no longer being given the run-around but also sad that we were strung along for so long and that others have inevitably been affected, as well.

Bottom line: Competence matters. Bosses, educate your people – at all levels. If you have too many people under you, make sure you’ve hired people who are responsible enough to educate those under them. Employees, know your limitations and don’t act like you know about, or worse yet educate others on, something of which you really know nothing at all.

Following these simple rules will make all of our lives much, much easier.

 

 

 

 

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Priorities

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
– Psalm 46:10

Priorities.

Each season in life comes with different priorities. We all know that.

Some priorities, though, never change.

For instance, in my life, since November 7, 2009, these 2 always remain the same and always in this order:

1. My relationship with Jesus

2. My marriage

As for what 3-1,000 should be, that’s always a question up for debate, by me and sometimes by others.

It makes me sad that oftentimes those of us who are Christians, those who receive wisdom from the best source ever (i.e. the Holy Spirit who speaks Truth from the Word of God) don’t seem to have our priorities in order.

Me included.

My priorities have had to drastically change as a married woman, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I also know I haven’t arrived.

In such a media-crazed aged, things like Facebook, Twitter and the like can take up way too much of our time, leaving our minds numb and our hands caught up in mindless toil. Then, when we’re away from the computer, smart phones take over and let us know every time someone sends us an email or text.

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

The technology itself is not evil – far from it. It’s just what we do with it that can be unhealthy. Each day we all get 24 hours. Some of us are just making better use of that time than others, and if you’re like me, I bet you find yourself being pulled into bowing down to the idol of constant communication more than you should.

I get caught up in mindless toil – all the time.I would never say that checking Facebook was a “priority” in my lists of things to do for the day, but if you’d look at how much I check it some days, you could certainly think so.

My actions are what determine my priorities, not my intentions.
You can have the best of intentions and still not be productive.

Bottom line: I don’t prioritize my time as I should.

I’ve been working on changing that, though, and feel there will be more changes to come.

All of us who are living have to fight for control of our time. After all, if we don’t control it, someone or something inevitably will and we’ll wonder where the time went.

I want to be a good steward of my time — all of it.

What about you?  Do you need to evaluate how you spend your time?  What are changes you’ve made to cultivate healthier prioritization of your time?


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Donate Life.

You probably didn’t know that April is National Donate Life Month.

Close to 111,000 people , more people than The Shoe can hold, are currently waiting a organ transplant in the United States.

I used to be one of them.

In 2005, when I was listed, that number was closer to 80,000.

Demand is definitely greater than supply, and that needs to change.

After all, people’s lives are at stake. One day your life may be at stake, you never know.

I spent many years volunteering for this wonderful organization, before I got married and had to get a “real” job. I loved educating teenagers and adults alike about organ and tissue donation. Now that I don’t have as much time to volunteer, I always enjoy the times I get to do things, like an occasional school presentation or radio interview, on behalf of the agency and wish I had more time to do more.

If you have questions or concerns about what organ and tissue donation entails, please read up on the facts about donation (watching House or old episodes of ER does not count, people!) and make an informed decision, before you write off the process all together.

If you aren’t currently listed as an organ donor, please register today!

If you still decide not to be a donor, I respect that decision.

Do I understand it?

No, not at all. Would you, if you were in my shoes?

I can respect it, though, nonetheless.

So, please, donate life.

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