I'm not sure where to begin. Thank you all. Thank you so. Much. So Much! For your prayers, for your sweet and encouraging comments, for the calls and emails and letters and texts. We have been loved and cared for deeply by the Body of Christ and it has been an amazing experience. Y'all have been a huge part of that and I am so thankful for each and every one of you. Thank you. Thank you for crying with us and praying for us - y'all are precious and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I said it in the last post - I am so thankful y'all get to move with us this May. You're such an encouragement to me. Thank you, sweet friends. I love y'all!
We are trying to get back to normal...whatever that is. The last few weeks have been so hard and so rich and so good. Scripture speaks of the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds and I can testify to that truth. His peace has been and continues to guard us.
The weekend after my surgery my milk came in. I think that has been my lowest point. To have such a painful physical reminder of our loss felt almost unbearable. It was very much a "one foot in front of the other" kind of weekend. It was the kind of weekend where I hid in the kids' treehouse for an hour and cried and cried.
Everyday seems to get a little better. I'm still pretty teary and have a good cry at some point every day.
We've resumed our normal activities which was hard. The first time I took Little Bit to Mother's Day Out I walked in the door and fell apart. I don't know why. I just couldn't get it together. Our first day back at Bible Study was just as bad. I cried when I dropped the children off with their teachers...I cried the entire time we sang...I've been doing a lot of lip gnawing...just trying to hold it together.
I've caressed a new baby's cheek and was able to genuinely smile in happiness for the mama...though I wondered if she felt strange that I walked over, under the circumstances, and made a beeline for her baby. After I stroked the baby's cheeks I stepped away, almost embarrassed at my forthright approach. (When I was a little girl my mama told me a story about a couple at their church whose newborn baby died. Mama said the lady saw mama holding me. I was a newborn at the time...and this was right after their baby had passed away...and the lady came over and held me and wept. I always thought it strange. And now I don't.)
I haven't been to Sunday School or Church yet...the girls have been sick and I've offered to stay home. It's going to be hard. There are a lot of mamas expecting. I'm praying that God will enable me to genuinely rejoice with them. Heck, I'm praying that I can walk in the room and sit beside them and not fall apart. Oh these things are so hard.
I remember after our miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy and over a year of trying to get pregnant in the same Sunday morning I learned three of my friends were expecting. I felt like I'd been stabbed. It was all I could do not to run out of the room and fall apart. And yet, I want to rejoice over God's blessings upon my friends. It's complicated. The heart is so complicated.
Physically I feel almost totally normal. Emotionally, I feel my heart has had a chunk ripped off. And yet, God has been and is so faithful. We are weak and He is strong. He has filled us with His peace. I have no doubt that this is part of His good and perfect will for our family. It hurts and we are raw, but we are not consumed. His mercies are new every morning. There is great encouragement knowing that He is accomplishing His purposes and that He is good and He is sovereign. It is quite the paradox...grieving so heavily on the one hand, while rejoicing in my heart over His goodness and sovereignty on the other.
Last Thursday night was our first full day just our little fam. The Engineer and I, thanks to the encouragement of a dear friend, decided we would have a memorial of sorts. We told the children several days ahead of time. Actually, we asked them if they wanted to have a time, just our family, to read God's word and pray and to write letters to the baby...with the idea that we'd put those letters, as well as all the cards friends sent, the ultrasound pictures, etc. in a special box. We'd refer to the box as our very own ebenezer. I was surprised by their enthusiastic reaction. (No fears - we explained and they understood the baby wasn't going to actually get their letters - that this was a way of putting pen to paper regarding our hearts.)
And so we gathered in the living room and The Engineer built a beautiful fire and we sat as a family and we each wrote a letter to the baby. We wrote about how happy we were when we found out God was knitting him or her together. We wrote about our hopes and dreams for the baby and our family of six...and we wrote about how sad we were...and for some, how angry they felt. And then we read the letters aloud. I wept. It was precious. It was a time of extreme vulnerability - of exposed hearts - and it was precious. The children put everything in the box and we placed it low on a bookshelf in the library with the understanding that it was to be to us an ebenezer...a reminder that God is with us. That He is good and faithful, even when times are hard. Even when the pain overwhelms us. He is there and He is sovereign. We also told the children they could sift through the contents of the box any time they so desired. And they have. And it makes me smile. We are hurting...grieving as a family. It's hard, and it's good.
Shortly after we learned the baby had passed away a letter arrived in the mail addressed to Sister and Little Man. It was from their Mema. And it is precious.
Dear Sister and Little Man,
Your Grandaddy has told me what a good attitude you have concerning your bother/sister's death. You are taking comfort in the faith that we have in Jesus. He knows best and as He tells us this sadness will eventually turn out ok. The little one is now safely in heaven with our Lord so even though we are sad and disappointed we know and trust Jesus as you are doing and feel our sadness will turn to gladness one day. Grandaddy and I also grieve too so we know how you feel. We must be brave in this world. There are so many things that are sad but also things that are happy. Keep trusting in Jesus.
I LOVE that she tells our children to be brave. Yes my precious little ones, be brave! Our Father knows best. My heart aches as I think what a weight this loss has been on our children's hearts. And yet, God promises to use everything for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose. It makes me wonder...with a slight ache in my heart...just what He is preparing our children for.
We continue to pray that God will be glorified in and through this. That He will be made much of. And that He will change us - that He will use this to make us more like Jesus. That He will burn away the impurities that He might see His reflection better in us.
At some point in the last two weeks I remembered Jesus praying in the garden that the cup (His death on the cross) would pass from Him, but not His will, but His Father's will be done. And it hit me...this is the cup He has poured for us. It's so not what we wanted, but it's His good and perfect will. It tasted so bitter at first. Sour to my stomach. But as time is progressing and His truths are leaping out at me, I am realizing - this cup He has poured for us is mixed perfectly. And though it tastes revoltingly bitter, there is a sweetness there as well, a sweetness that I taste after those first few bitter sips. A sweetness that speaks of a Father's intentional love for His children. And so I realize that I can hold my nose and gulp through this as fast as possible, tasting as little as possible, or I can taste every drop and I can drink deeply. I want to learn all I can in this. I want Him to work mightily. I want Him to change me. To change us. Not to leave us as we were. Use this. Burn away the impurities. Blow away the chaff. Make us more like Jesus.
I thought Little Bit was pretty oblivious. Since telling her there was a baby in my tummy, she's declared "Baby Dinah" lives in her tummy. She's not nearly as oblivious as I'd thought. She recently climbed in my lap and told me, "You baby gone to moon. My baby gone to moon. God took my baby in boat to moon. God took you baby in boat to moon. Baby not der anymore (and she pointed to my tummy). Baby gone to moon. We go der one day." And I wept.
I'm signing off for a few weeks. All three children are sick with colds and Little Bit has a double ear infection and we are behind on getting the house on the market...hoping and praying we can get that together by mid February. Every minute counts and I've had paintbrush in hand late into the night many nights. Just yesterday I was on the top rung of a ladder in the pouring rain, nailing up plastic over a project The Engineer had finished, but I had yet to paint. Selling a house is crazy hard work!
We'd love your continued prayers for our family. Again, thank you ALL for being so precious to us. Y'all are treasures and I'm so thankful you choose to come here and share this little sliver of life with our family.
To God be the glory!