I start writing my thoughts and how I am doing a lot on this blog and never end up publishing it. It feels so strange trying to describe my heart right now. I used to be so good at writing my thoughts and feelings and lately it seems nearly impossible. I have plenty going on inside, but trying to translate that into coherent words is difficult. I feel unable to do justice to my heart. I could write "I miss Josiah" but it will never be enough. All of my longings and sadness's will never bring him back or change anything. It is not the first time I have walked through terrible sorrow. And honestly I don't want to "wake up" 3 years from now with this time wasted in depression. I know where he is and I believe heaven is reality, and our life here is only a breath. I know I will never be able to explain why or be OK with any of our losses and so I want to keep living. I want to love the hurting and encourage those who feel overcome to keep going. I want to remind everyone that life is a battle and most of that happens in your mind. The fact is my loss with Josiah is not like my loss with Natalie. I have lost 5 children. FIVE CHILDREN. And every time my heart has loved and rejoiced in their life. But something happens along the way. You either succumb to the sadness or you figure out WHO and WHY you are. I can't mourn the same way because I know too much. I really know it and it has made a difference. I sometimes feel guilty that I am not crippled with sadness. I wondered for a while if it was based upon the fact that I know the reality of the battle or if it was a symptom of shock and trauma. I even worry that all the hardship I have gone through created some sort of callous and I am numb. But I remembered King David. In 2 Samuel 12:14-22 it says:
"After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
On the seventh day the child died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
His servants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”
He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."
I must keep going and honor God with my life. I don't want to live angry or mad, although there are moments when I am, which you wouldn't want to witness. But in those times I allow myself to be upset and I even tell God. There is a mass confusion that happens in traumatic sorrow. It feels like panic. It will desire to swallow you and if you don't get ahold of of it, you will drown. Because I walked through an INTENSE degree of this when we lost Natalie Grace, I didn't want to loose myself again in that blackness. So my prayer and focus lately has been to truly seek the Lord and take Him at His Word. If He says He is there for me...then He is there. If He says we should not mourn as without any Hope...then I will not mourn without Hope. If He says the greatest commandment is Love and to Love others...than I will Love others. I am searching for Truths in His Word. Not just the coffee cup Truths, but the gems and treasures that takes a searcher to discover. One INCREDIBLE verse I found that brings a smile to my face every time is Ecclesiastes 3:14:
"I KNOW THAT WHATEVER GOD DOES, IT SHALL BE FOREVER."
If you know someone who has experienced the loss of an unborn baby, share this verse with them. It will affirm that God has VICTORY and that tiny life IS FOREVER!
Beyond my heart, I am feeling THE BEST I have ever felt in a long time. I was very sick after we had Josiah. They pumped up my prednisone and I swelled so violently fast that I felt like I was being crushed. I had numerous visits to the ER where I felt like I couldn't breathe. What people who don't know about the evil-blessing of prednisone is that when you gain weight from this drug, you literally have to lose it as though you were sitting on the couch for 5 months eating brownie sundaes for every meal. This was the worst part. It took months and a lot of hard work to get my body healthy again. But in the midst of it I gained so much strength back that it passed my former abilities. I am now running about 6 miles a week, walking every morning with Gracey, sleeping (PRAISE JESUS), eating better, and able to sustain the day without getting as tired. If I could somehow show you what this looked like before and now!!! At one point I was so worried about my weight. I didn't even recognize myself in the mirror. My concentration was on loosing the weight. It frustrated me and caused a lot of insecurity. But one day I felt like the Lord told me to "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." This verse is used for so many illustrations but God told me that my goal should not be to look good or loose weight. It should be about seeking Him during my walks and exercise. So I began to get up and resume my prayer walks. And when I started being encouraged by seeking Him, I became more active and slowly it transformed my heart and my body. Again, I don't know if I can relay how huge and deep this was.
Gracey and I are still involved with the PETS team. One recent visit brought tears to my eyes. We walked up to the Pediatric unit and approached the hallway to the patient rooms. As we made our way down the hall Gracey was practically pulling me into a room. She has never done anything like this before. Finally we were allowed to enter the room and a boy was laying on the bed. He had had an emergency operation the day before and was told by his doctors he needed to try and walk, but he refused because the pain. Gracey got on his bed and snuggled by his side instantly. It was as if they were long lost friends. After a little while we asked him if he wouldn't mind helping take Gracey down the hallway because she needed a walk. To not let Gracey down, he consented. Gracey even got him to swallow a pill!!! With much pain and bravery, he made his way off the bed and grabbed Gracey's leash. They slowly rounded the nurses station as Gracey walked slowly 2 steps ahead of him and then would look back to make sure he was ok. It went on like this the entire way and back. Gracey was very concerned and her alertness to his emotions was AMAZING to see. He reached his bed with agitated pain, but Gracey snuggled right back there with him and they talked. I left that day and cried with happiness that I was able to see something like that unfold. It was an honor.
Gracey is good. She turned 7! (see previous post). She has had no problems with liver. She is on some great food that continues to help.
Bryan began his doctorate studies! He is attending Golden Gate Seminary in Mill Valley, CA. I am so proud of him. It will be a long road but the goal is worth it. I believe his call is to teach at a collegiate level and in order to do this he has to have a doctorate degree. We were praying about moving to CA and are still waiting for the Lord to create a way if it is His will. We have visited several times and feel if the Lord calls us there, He needs to completely assure us and create a way for this to happen. His classes are only a few days a month so for now he will be commuting. We are praying for endurance and focus for this season for him. He knows that knowledge is only a tool and wants to use it to glorify God.
Phase 2 is coming long wonderfully. I would say that within the month it should be done. These photos are a before and after of the outside. Together we got up the other day at 6:30am and worked to finish the siding until 2pm. I am so amazed at how different it looks. Bryan is the BEST builder I know. I can't even believe he has done all this. If you notice to the back there is a space in the old photo. Bryan literally BUILT on a closet for the inside and a replacement tool shed. It is so neat.
We are contracted with a wonderful adoption agency. We were actually contracted with them before we knew God would bless us with Josiah. We took a brief break during that time, but now we are excited to continue this journey. We were actually blessed to visit the campus when we were in CA last month. It was INCREDIBLE. I felt so affirmed and happy to finally get to meet all the people who have been walking close to us during this process. When our adoption failed several years ago, we began to watch Lifetime Adoptions agency. We closely talked with them, checked their site, and even emailed over 20 couples who have used them. We prayed and felt like this was the agency for us. They are a ministry for the Lord whose goal really really is to help Birth Moms and families in adoption. So we have been waiting over a year and are pleased to be moving forward with this journey. I have not worried about it, felt anxiety over the timing, or been frustrated with the process. I feel like I am ready for this, but again, I know the Lord is working and it is not by my will but His. Please continue to pray for us for our child(ren). I know we are meant to be parents and THERE WILL BE A DAY WHERE WE WILL REJOICE.
This has turned out to be a novel!!! God I give you glory for the victories unseen, for the Truth that goes beyond my emotions, and for Your Love. Guide my life. Let my Joy be found IN You.