Thursday, May 31, 2007

SHEW - sorry if this is depressing tonight.

It's been a week and that has made me think it's time to get my thoughts out, send an email to family and friends etc.

I also had two goodbyes today - which tend to make me introspective. I could have written one post a day for a few days...but I knew it was time to answer questions and share my heart.

Now if you came here to find the summer reading challenge and you are wondering WHAT you stumbled on to - simply click on the link below the graphic in the sidebar.


I've been asked this a LOT. Often people who know I've had many miscarriages will write and ask what they should do when a friend is having a troubled pregnancy. I guess what you live you begin to get good at? Speaking from the perspective of one who has had six miscarriages....

I'm convinced that we as Christians need to learn to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. So often, we think we need to FIX IT or have a magnificent doctrinally correct word....but grieving women simply need to know you care.

Recognize the importance and significance of her loss.

Simply say you are sorry.

Hugs. Prayers. But you really can't fix it....this may not be the time when she needs a multitude of words....let the Holy Spirit gently guide her and you. You can't imagine the hurt that we cause others when we say things that are simply "silly"....I always look at the motives...but I've thought how really - if your friend is going through this saying less, may mean more.

I have one friend who called and said, "What do you want me to say?" I told her that I wanted her to say she was sorry I was losing our baby. She did. She cried. I cried. I knew she was praying. I knew she had faith in the strength of my God and my relationship with Him - she didn't feel the need to "strengthen me" - she just wept with me.....

Really, instead of worrying about what to say...just a friend.

Family Memorial Service

Some have asked me to share....I hesitated because while I can choose to be transparent - my family's privacy is important and I don't want to violate that. I don't want them to feel that their life is lived in a fish bowl - well come to think of it they ARE Pastor's Kids - but you know - no more of a fish bowl than necessary. But I've thought I can share the "bones" of our service.

Wow - that one comment of Deja's changed things for us. We'd never had any type of service. We did this time. I had given Mike arrows and a quiver years ago. I had given him a new arrow to announce this pregnancy. He wanted to have a service with the arrow. I wanted to buy more small arrows to have a visible reminder....but I'm praying about a new memorial that I'll keep for the children we've lost.

THIS time we went out to the State park. We talked, Mike gave us each time to share our heart - and we did and it was precious. We laughed, we cried, we circled up. Mike read some verses from John 14 and Rev. We prayed.

Then we had one of the boys shoot the arrow into the lake.

It means a lot to me that we did this. It means a lot to have a place where we honored our little one. It helped. I don't feel like I can share any more details.

Pregnancy Journey

No, it's not a typo. It will go in the pregnancy journal, but I want to discuss the journey. It's been a week since our precious babies went into the presence of God. This post has been a long time coming. I've known I would need to say more at some point...but I've waited.

I thought after reading Bre's Letter that maybe I wouldn't post. What a heart that girl has. I can remember thinking when she was 12, "I want HER walk with God" humbling to hear that she wants to imitate me. {sigh}

Several have commented on my transparency on the blog. We've talked before about why I allow myself to be vulnerable. If I'm any sort of mentor, I want you to see the warts and all. I'm NOT perfect or worthy of being placed on a pedestal. I'm a sinner saved by a big boat load of grace! Just as you are. I wasn't totally transparent on the blog because we weren't sure for weeks how things would turn out. We didn't want to worry our children until we had concrete information. As it turned out we did not get that definite information until I miscarried. I've debated if it even mattered to write anything else...because's not any one's know? But then several have touched me deeply by saying that walking through this with me has helped them know how to minister better to women who have lost babies. Several have written and said that sharing my experiences with you in the past has helped you walk through a miscarriage and you were a strong support for me during this time.....and so I will most likely write one last really long pregnancy journal entry, or a few more.

Yes, I'd prayed for 3 years that I not be asked to walk this path again. God chose not to intervene (though He could have) this time. I could not tell you WHY God gave us a little one (though I should say ones) for such a short period of time. But these are things we know. We believe life begins at conception. Life doesn't begin when a woman gives birth and it doesn't end when she miscarries. We believe that God chooses children as gifts for families. We believe God placed these babies in our family. We could say "but WHY FOR JUST 11 WEEKS?"...but then again...if life begins at conception, and we believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, then these children (all that we've lost) continue to live. They live before the throne. They are still a part of our family. We know that God is good. We know that God is certain. We know that God is sovereign. We've settled these issues and our circumstances will not change these bedrock facts. (If you've not listened to Bring The Rain at the top of the blog - do so - it will bless you).

I had a really bad afternoon when the doc told me that she just wasn't sure WHAT was going on with our pregnancy. I have an amazing, Catholic, pro-life doctor. She was great during this time. Always wanting to wait until we saw what would happen. Never telling me, "this looks so bad, let's just end it". I had a spiritual 2 year old temper tantrum that day when she said, "I don't understand what I'm seeing". I ranted. "God - I BEGGED you not to let this happen ever again!" "I cannot walk through this again. I'm too emotionally fragile." "Please heal this baby". "WHY do you let me become pregnant (which is a miracle) only to refuse another miracle????" I went so far as to tell God that I was done. This was it. I would never have another baby regardless of how this turned out. Yeah - I even quoted Ps 127 to Mike and pointed out that it said "children of your youth" and I wasn't sure he qualified any longer. ::snort:: ::hiccup:: I quoted Corinthians and said that there was a way out of recurring miscarriages (one quick trip to the doc for one of us).... Sad and embarrassing to admit - but I threw a temper tantrum. You know what? God is big. He's bigger than my emotions. He loves me to be real and raw with Him - He knows anyway. He only asks that I remember He IS God - I'm not - and that I surrender. By the time Mike and I talked and prayed... I was ready to be mature. I remembered that we'd placed this pregnancy in God's hands from the moment we were aware of it. We determined not to remove it now when things were the most uncertain (that's the BEST time to let Him rule don't you think?). I began to systematically focus on God's nature, on the lessons in His Word, and to hold to them.

This time of loss is different. Always before I've spent hours begging God to heal when told a pregnancy was not viable. This time I honestly prayed, "I want this baby...but most of all I want your life to be manifested through me - even in this time - and most of all I want your will." And wow - that made a huge difference.

I was flooded with a spirit of worship. I shared some of that before....Blessed Be your Name, How Can I Keep From Singing, Bring the Rain, We've Come This Far By Faith....and worship did my heart GOOD. {G}

God usually gives me a verse for each pregnancy. Hebrews 4 was that verse this pregnancy. And when things went wrong - by that first night I was back in Hebrews, Philippians 4: 6- 7, I Peter, and James 1.

During the wait God brought passage after passage to my memory - my journal is full. I wrote about many of those things on the blog. I will share links now because most did not know that I was writing in the context of our period of waiting....holding on, faith, contentment, miracles....

Here are a few more verses that ministered greatly to me during this time: Ps 139 - God forms babies, God numbers days, but hear verse 5 "You have enclosed me, behind and before, and laid your hand on me." Doesn't that sound like a hug? I'm visual - try to picture those words. I walked through this past month very aware of the hug of heaven. God is good.

As the weeks went on Ps 18:27-30 became a pillar for me. "For you save an afflicted people, but haughty eyes you abase. For you Light my lamp; the Lord God illumines my darkness....By YOU I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall. for God, His way is blameless. The word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him." - Wow. Just for ME...I'm sure God wrote these words especially for me. ::snort:: I certainly felt afflicted, but I was surrendered, He lit the path, He illumined my darkness, He gave me strength to face the trial (troop) and to leap over the wall (of pain, uncertainty, trial). His way is BLAMELESS. Again - His gifts are good and this pregnancy was a gift. His word has been tried and He is a shield - I would take refuge in Him.

I spent a lot of time in 2 Samuel studying David and the loss of his son with Bathsheba. In the end he said that his son wouldn't come back to him - but he would go to his son. That comforted me. A lot.

From my journal "Rm 8:35 - 39 (before is great too). God doesn't make me immune from trouble. I will hold on to Him - to the fact that He is loving, to my relationship with Him - and I'll conquer through Him who loves me. Tribulation, distress, death, life, present, past, future - nothing will separate me from HIS love. I hold on - He holds on? Who knows? But I'm not separated from Him by my circumstances. I desperately want others to see Christ's love manifested in my life. I want them to see a surrendered child and not a demanding child".

I began to rejoice for each extra day of pregnancy instead of wishing I knew how it would all turn out. This was a deliberate decision to choose joy. And you know what? I saw something amazing. James and Peter talk about the testing and proving of our faith. I saw that my faith, my walk and relationship with Him, had matured since the last time I faced a big trial. As I surrendered - He met me. I did discover joy in the trial. I did discover peace - in the midst of the storm. I'm really not the spiritual 2 year old any longer.

Yes, I'm sad. I'm sure it will be many more weeks before I go through a day without tears. I shared how Deja ministered to us by saying, "this is a death in the family" and that allowed me to tell folks, "No, I can't do co-op", "No, I can't do PWOC Project night" and to grieve. IKNOW others had shared similar thoughts over the years but *I* was ready to hear it this time. Another friend Trish (yeah the simple scrapper one - met her at EAFB) wrote: "And I agree, you ARE experiencing the grieving over a death in the family ~ there are stages, and you'll get through those stages on God's timetable. I know you listen to Him ~ and I know He's your rock. Sometimes we feel like we're on shifting sand, but it's just a layer of sand covering our rock ~ He's still there, and you've still built your house upon Him." Oh I LOVE that imagery...the sand is blowing but the rock remains. Thank you, Jesus. For you, for friends, for your joy.

I mentioned at the start of this pregnancy that I would keep a pregnancy journal. I felt it was important for number 10 to know that he was loved and wanted. And I felt it was important to document the path if the pregnancy were to end...this life mattered to someone. It mattered to US. We (a family of 11) were ready and eager to embrace this life.

From my journal the day I miscarried: "Do I regret this pregnancy? No. This little life was made part of our family. We embraced him/her and his life continues to be a part of our family. I regret the loss and the emotional pain of that loss...but not the joy and excitement and hope that expecting this life brought into our family. I do not regret having loved this baby. I do not regret the lessons I've learned in the past weeks. This is hard. BUT I don't regret the gift of life that God blessed us with for 10 weeks and 6 days."

God's ways are blameless. His timing is perfect. This did not happen at Josiah's graduation. The girls were home and we were able to cocoon as a family. Our marriage is strong. Our family is strong. I worried about my children - but wow - God is building some STRENGTH into these young uns. He is STILL perfectly good and we still rejoice in Him.

A Tale of Two Baths

(no photos - yet) ::snort::

I went online and found several recipes for an oatmeal bath. I tried it. Whew - first bath I've had in months. Very with some of the itchies....but when I went to drain the tub.........

Well, I remember that baking soda and vinegar clear drains.

Arielle's going to now take a baking soda bath....and I'll stand by with the vinegar...that should take care of the drains. LOL