Thursday, November 22, 2012

Even Now

Nothing like a holiday to awaken emotions. Good, bad, ugly, beautiful... they're all here in me. 

Somehow I am overflowing with thanks today. It's Thanksgiving; we're sometimes forced to   list our blessings or speak them aloud. 

Amazingly, I don't have to be forced. Oh, I have reasons to be angry and questioning. And I do express those feelings, believe me. Those are real and necessary in the healing process. 

I am full of sadness over my loss of little beauty, Anna Joy. But a genuine thankfulness has risen up in me as I reflect on all the blessings of my journey through her story. Like God prepped my heart and mind while I was sleeping last night.

This morning Matt told me to peek out our bedroom windows revealing the pink sunrise, bright over frosted rooftops. Like it was quietly asking, "Will you continue to hope?" It's a new day.

Not long after that sight, my precious beautiful son practically jumped through our bedroom doorway, announcing his welcome to the day. Enthusiasm beaming on his sleepy, but happy look.  

God has blessed me abundantly, and I feel that fullness has brimmed and spilled over. I want to share these blessings with others. I want to shout the goodness of God - YES, even now, in presence of severe pain. 

I am grateful for being drawn so close to Him that my every breath depends on His faithfulness. His grace saves me day after day.

* * *

There is no adequate way of expressing our thanks to all of you who have walked this journey with us this past year. Matt and I would like to send out two small words that carry huge meaning and sincerity for us. 


They sometimes seem trivial and familiar. Please believe them, though. They come from our hearts wrapped in authenticity and humility. 

We have often discussed how blessed we have been through the support we've received. Truly, we have been carried by God through YOU. Your prayers, your cards, your encouragement, your empathy, your hugs, your gifts...

We had these announcements printed this past spring and did our best to send out to those we could. There was no way we could have sent a tangible one to most of you... thousands of you who have cared and prayed. 

So here is one for you. Imagine it was sent to your mailbox, hand-addressed. 

There is always something for which to be thankful.

We celebrate that gift today. The gift of gratitude. The ABILITY to be thankful. 

Even this... Even now?

Days of questioning. Weeks of heartache. Months of sickness. Year of hell meeting heaven. 

Yes. Especially now.

I choose to look toward heaven. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Random Update/Prayer Requests

November 19. She's been gone 11 months. I really, really miss her. I was just looking through photos and watching a few videos. 

She was so beautiful. 

I miss everything... her warmth, her smell, her movements, her hold on my finger... Ahhhhh... this hurts.

I wish I had more time with her on her birthday before surgery. I wish I could have kissed her cheeks more. I wish I could have cuddled her. 


I have been sick since the beginning of September. I think my body might be having a hard time fighting because of the stress of grieving. And... we moved toward the end of September. And... I started working one day a week. Please pray for strength and rest so I can get better. We're entering a really difficult time, and I would like to experience it as healthy as possible. Matt and Isaac have been sick, too. They seem to be mostly healthful presently; I'm hoping they stay strong. 

Isaac is such a blessing. He gets me up and going in the mornings. He makes me laugh. He cuddles with me. If I sniff, he asks if I'm crying and if I need a tissue. He asks me to sing to him every night. We talk about Anna and what happened, that she died and is in heaven. I am a little concerned about his grief. I don't know what his heart is experiencing, but I know he understands that Daddy & Mommy are sad and stressed, not always strong or patient. He's been quite sad when we leave him with someone or in a class. He has been very attached to his lovey-blankie-thing. I know these things could be just that he's 2 1/2, but I wonder about other adjustment and stress issues. I don't know how much to let go and how much to discipline. That's tough in a "normal" parenting atmosphere, but throw in 11 months of grief and loss, plus moving into a new home a month and a half ago...  I'm praying for wisdom for what he needs. 

We have decided to have a birthday party for Anna. We're not certain what it will look like yet, but we want it to be a time of remembrance, celebrating her life, sharing memories and praises, and encouraging each other. I'm both nervous and excited about it. 

We also want to do something honoring and intentional on December 19. Sometimes I feel I'm about to suffocate from the weight of the pain. But I also feel privileged to honor such a beautiful life. 

I need balance of motivation to get stuff ready, but not pressure myself to do more than I can handle. Our counselor advised us to be sure we do what WE need to do through this time. That's not easy because I don't know what I need most of the time. I want to focus on honoring my daughter, not just planning events. So I guess pray for clarity of desires, clear communication between Matt & I, and enough energy to pull it off... whatever is essential and necessary for our healing process.

Here are a few photos of Isaac & I enjoying nature in the rain a couple weeks ago.

(I truly am blessed. And so thankful. 
He won't always want to hold my hand. So I savor now...)

Sincere thanks for your continued support.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Keep Shining

A couple days ago I found some magazines that we purchased last year before we went to Seattle to await Anna Joy's arrival. It was the end of November, so there are a couple of Christmas themed ones. I just picked one up a few moments ago to look at while I ate lunch. I didn't get as far as opening the first page. This is what I noticed in the bottom corner...

That is the very day we let Anna go from this earth and freely soar to Jesus' arms. It brings tears just to see the date. And the wording hurts my heart. "Display until..." then it's on with the next season, the next publication, the next fads. 

Part of me died when Anna Joy left us that day. I miss her terribly and can hardly stand the ache in my broken heart some moments. (Like now...)

Unlike this magazine, I won't ever stop displaying my beautiful daughter and my love for her. She was and will continue to be a bright star that points others to HOPE and JOY and PURPOSE. I won't let her be replaced or put away. I won't ever "move on" from the days I shared with her here. With God's help and support of others, I will move forward bit by bit. But never away from. 

Anna Joy will be displayed forever... even if only in her mama's heart and tears. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Still here...

There is so much happening that I don't know where to start most days, so I haven't been writing here. I write in my journals quite often, and talk to God almost constantly. But it's hard to start a new blog post most days. 

I'm still here. We are holding on, day by day... moment by moment.

October was especially difficult for me in my grief journey. I had some wrestling matches with God. Lots of questions and hurt and anger to process. And surrender... again. 

We're half way into November already, and I don't feel ready for it. We're approaching the one-year mark of Anna's birth, her 11 days with us, and letting her go. You can't plan for these things adequately; feelings are unpredictable. The weight of it is pressing in, down, around already.

Time keeps ticking even though I beg it to slow down. But it doesn't obey. So I take another  deep breath and hold on.

It's unbelievable that we're at this point. Most of my days have felt slow motion, so how have we come through nearly a whole year? On one hand, those days with Anna seem so long ago, but on the other hand, I can "be" there in a split second, like I'm living it again. The emotions, sick feeling in my stomach, exhaustion, and strange mix of hope and sorrow sweep over me. 

Please, please keep us in your prayers. We are at a fragile place. We ourselves are fragile. Our brains don't work sometimes. I am in tears at odd moments, and in a different world a lot of the time. 

I hope to write more often, even if the posts are short. We'll see...

Thank you to those who still check, care, and pray.