Thursday, December 29, 2011

What Have You Done?

Matthew 25:40

What you have done for the least of these . . . you have also done for me.

Shouldn't that be our motivation?

Everyone is fighting their own battle. Everyone has their cross.


Is that where Jesus is?

Isn't that where Jesus is?

He is just not in those Third World Countries or in those holding "Homeless and Hungry" signs.

He is everywhere!

He is in the person you pass in the grocery store, the person next to you at a stop light, your friend, and your co-worker.

He is everywhere!

Everyone has their cross. Everyone has their aches and their struggles.

Christ is made visible where grace and mercy is extended.

He is everywhere!

What ever you have done for the least of these . . .


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Want . . .

I know my last post was a bit dark. I feel like I should apologize but I am not going to apologize for how I am feeling. It is what it is.

It seems like Christmas for my family this year is carrying on like it always has. I really don't expect people to not celebrate because scrooge here doesn't. It would be nice if everything could be changed up and different so I don't feel the absence of my sweet girls as much.

I dreaded the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" Because what I truly want cannot be given. And that hurts so much.

My reflex response is, "I want you to go up to Heaven, get Emmerson and Vivienne and bring them back to me."

I stop myself before I actually utter those words. I stop because I know it is an unrealistic expectation to be jotted down on a wish list. I stop myself because I cannot stand to see the pity look on another's face.

So, instead I list off items that I don't really want or need. In fact, I actually cannot remember a single thing I said I wanted. I wish now, I would have had the energy to tell them nothing. Give whatever you would have bought for me or the money you would have spent to someone who truly needs.

You see, I am in deep pain but I am still aware of the blessings that surround me. I may grieve my girls but it doesn't mean that I also am not thankful for what I do have.

I think some people find it necessary to point out all the good in my life when I cry over what I have lost. I don't need someone to do that! In that moment I need a shoulder and an ear to listen. I know what I have! Trust me, missing my girls doesn't make me blind to what surrounds. And when someone points out a blessing in the moment a tear drops, it makes me feel like my loss does not matter. That their lives were not worth something. That I am not allowed to grieve sweet, innocent Emmy and Vivi because I have a living, breathing blessing in my arms.

This Christmas, it is dark for me but it does not take away the fact that I can see glimmers of light. It doesn't mean that I don't count my blessings.

This Christmas, just because I don't want to celebrate in the ways of year's pass, does not mean that I don't turn to the Heaven's and notice the Light that transcends all and gives hope.

Hope . . . that is all I need.

Hope . . . that there is a true end to all suffering.

Hope . . . that I will see my girls again.

Hope . . . that I will bow before my King and give thanks for all that has been given.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What is Christmas All About?

Christmas is . . . hard for me this year.

It is hard trying to find any bit of Christmas spirit. There is none.

It is hard to go Christmas shopping, or put up Christmas decorations.

Okay. That last one I didn't do. My husband put the tree up a couple of weeks ago and just yesterday, my daughter and him put on some of the ornaments. I sat by and watched.

There is no spirit in me for Christmas and that is definitely foreign to me. Like I have said before, I used to always LOVE Christmas.

Their have been some say that I need to do certain "Christmas" things for my daughter. To be quite honest, I am really getting sick of hearing that.

I don't have to do anything.

I know that sounds really defiant and bratty but it's the truth.

Christmas for me this year isn't full of the usual splendor and good cheer that it has in years past.

It just doesn't. 

Do those people who tell me what I "need" to do realize that they are ripping the scab off my still-fresh wound? Don't they realize it hurts more to step into the light of "here, everything is wonderful" when it really isn't at all? It never was. Don't they realize it hurts to pretend? It hurts to be among those who have never hurt this way?

I have been thinking a lot about Christmas. Not like I used to, mind you. But I have been thinking a lot about it.

I think, that for all these years, I have approached Christmas all wrong.

A few months ago, I was dreading this season. Now I am counting down the days when it will be over. I looked towards to December and saw nothing but black. I still do see a lot of black in spite of all the twinkling lights.

About a month ago at church, my minister preached about Jesus' birth and the circumstances surrounding it. He talked about a terrifying King and the beauty that was absent. He talked about the terror and darkness that surrounded the One True Kings birth and I felt . . . relieved.

Relieved to know that I am not the only one who does not see Christmas as that which we have made it. A lot of masked cheer and too much consumerism veiled in good intent.

We look back to His birth and we have made something of it that it wasn't. We have made it seem like everyone was waiting on pins and needles for His arrival and all the world was right.

It wasn't! He arrived in a barn with only the animals as a witness! There were no bells ringing signifying new life. Let alone a birth of a King. There was no write up in the local paper declaring His weight or naming the proud parents. He arrived in the midst of pain and darkness.

So much darkness! He arrived at a time when a ferocious King feared anyone who would steal his crown. He killed family members who threatened to take it! He killed innocent male babies and children because his fear overwhelmed (Matthew 2:16).

It was not a Hallmark movie set. It was awful.

It was dark.

Just like this Christmas is for me.

For all these years, I have thought all the wrong things about Christmas.

It isn't about Santa Claus, trees, twinkling lights, dishes or gifts.

It is about a ray of Light who dared to enter the darkness.

It isn't about the gifts we buy, the foods we make, and all the pretty things we decorate our homes and packages with.

It is about darkness and how an innocent, pure baby broke through and created a way of Light for Life.

I'm not saying Christmas Trees, decorations and shopping are wrong or bad, I just don't want Christ to be an after thought or use Him as an excuse. I want Him to be the reason. I want Him and what He did to dwell in me and motivate me.

I want to give to those who are in true need. In need of food. In need of water. In need of shelter. In need of the Light.

If this is what I have received from the darkness, I will take it.

It is Truth that comes down and pierces the darkness with Light.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Big Made Small

I knew. That day I knew.

Not by the words that were spoken but more by the words that were not.

I knew.

By the looks on the faces and the unspoken words that exaggerated the noise of the silence.

I knew and yet I still begged God to do something!

I knew that the hope I desperately wanted to cling to of taking Emmy and Vivi home was slipping through my fingers.

Yet still, I begged. I begged for Him to do something. To perform a miracle .  . .

. . . so the next time those faces entered the room, the look would be different.

He did not perform the miracle I had requested.

I don't know why. I may never know.

But I am sure of this: He was there! That day, amid those faces, among the deafening silence, He was there.

He held my weak, shaking body.

The God of the Universe made Himself small to fit into that dark hospital room and wrap Himself around the hurt.

He is not so Big that He cannot comfort in small ways. He is not so Big that He cannot enter into our hurt, our rooms, our world.

It is not the first time the Big became Small.

Some two thousand years ago, He became microscopic and grew to a tiny baby born from a virgin.

A Big God made Himself small and helpless. Every need needing to be supplied by the very ones who needed to be saved.

The creator of everything, entered into His creation.

He entered into the silence, into the hurt in a small way.

He entered into His creation in a helpless way. In a small yet big way.

He entered into His creation to do the Big. He entered into His creation to wrap Himself around the hurt and to heal . . . to save . . .

. . . To perform a miracle. 

All because the Big became Small.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I am an impatient person. It is one of the qualities about myself that I don't particularly care for.

I used to pray for patience. I stopped. I stopped because, well . . . there just became too many circumstances which required my patience. I didn't like it because it requires patience to tolerate the time and energy it takes to develop patience.

While I am doing one thing, my mind is on the next. I am always ten steps ahead of myself. I am not patient enough to just be in the moment.

I am either looking back or looking ahead. I am rarely ever looking at what is in front of me in the present moment.

I have been doing that a lot lately. I am either looking back to what was or I am looking forward to what will be. I don't want to open my eyes to the now. I don't want to be here! I don't want to be in the mist.

It is so very hot in the now. It is so very painful to be present in the now.

I want the healing to be over because the healing hurts. I want this grief process to be done quickly because I don't have the patience for it. I want it over. I want to be better. I don't like the rawness, the still weeping wounds.

I am trying to be grateful for all that I have and all that I have had.

The rawness of the pain has caused me to open the eye to see. I have noticed things that I never did before.

When I am in a moment with my daughter, I see how immersed in the present she is. I am delighted to see that joy in her. She is not thinking about what she was doing earlier, and how that was better or worse. She is not thinking about five minutes from now. She is just in the moment and she is enjoying it!

I try to meet her there. I try to be ever present in that moment with her and for her. I breathe in deep and give a thanks for just that moment because that is all I am able to give thanks for. Just that one singular moment . . . like she is doing. Even if she doesn't consciously give thanks with her mouth, she is giving thanks by being present in the moment and enjoying it. I think that is the best way to give thanks.

In giving thanks for a moment, I have become more in tune to everything. EVERY emotion that penetrates the heart and makes a demand to be noticed. Every emotion! The good, the hard, the ugly, the joy . . . all of it. So much more now then I did before.

By taking notice, I have realized how I cannot be impatient with the now. EVERYTHING is in the now. All of it!

God is the God of I AM! I don't think He dwells on what was, what should have been or what will come.

He is here, NOW! If I want to truly seek Him and find Him, then I need to be in the now.

If I search for His healing ways, for Him to wrap me in His arms of comfort, then I need to be patient enough to be in the now, to wait for Him. Because, that is the only place I will find Him and rest in His healing. His peace. His comfort.

I cannot expect the wounds to stop weeping if I am constantly looking beyond, but never giving them the care they need now. I cannot expect to fully experience the depths of joy, the grace of a moment, if I am constantly looking for what goodness I believe will come.

I need to learn from my daughter and just live in the moment I am living. To be grateful for it and enjoy it. And be thankful for it.

I have to be here. I am expected to be here. This moment, this now, is my now. It is where I am. It is where I breathe and where my blood circulates. I have to  notice it for what it is. The now is what I have, regardless of it being hard and ugly, it is what I have. It is all I have. It is where I have to live. It is where He is and where He offers grace. And where there is God and grace and mercy, there is beauty!


Monday, December 12, 2011

In the Dark, There is Light

The other day, my husband and I were driving to pick up our daughter from pre-school.

The sky behind us was clear. The sky ahead of us . . . dark and blanketed with clouds.

For months now, I have been praying for pleasant, peaceful dreams. For dreams where I hold my Emmy and Vivi again.

They have not come.

Instead, I have nightmares. I have had dreams where I am surrounded by dying babies. I am pregnant but without the promise of life. I give birth time and time again but there is no baby to hold. I have even had multiple dreams where Emmerson and Vivienne have accused me of killing them. Of not doing everything I could to save them.

I just want a peaceful rest. I just want to know that I can close my eyes and see them, feel them, hold them once more.

I want something to rest peacefully and beautifully on my soul.

We are driving toward a dark sky. I look behind me, in confusion, because I cannot remember the sky looking that dark when we left our home.

Sure enough, the sky behind us is clear and beautiful.

I turn back around in my seat. I sigh a satisfied sigh. The dark sky is fitting. At least something agrees with me that not everything twinkles like the Christmas lights. I give that sigh and sink into my seat. The weight of grief and sadness and missing has been wanting to settle in for that long winters nap. I have been fighting it. I am already enough of a scrooge this season, I don't need that weight to compound it.

I sigh and I look up and over to the South. What I see takes my breath away and causes me to smile.

Truly smile! From the inside out.

I tell my husband to pull over. I need to really see this. I need to not be moving. I need to be still and witness this.

In the mist of the clouds is a small hole where light is shining through. And I see four tiny hands pulling apart the clouds and letting their smiles shine. Twinkle.

It is Emmerson and Vivienne. From the depths of my soul, from everything I trust to be true, I know it is them.

It is them and they are telling me hello. They are letting me know that they are good and well. They are letting me know that even though it is dark now, it won't always be. They are letting me know that they love me.

They are letting me know that Light will always find a way through. 

They found a way to speak to their mothers heart. And I smile. From the inside out.

I tell them, with a smile and a whispered thanks, "I love you both, so deeply".


Friday, December 9, 2011

The First Without

To be honest, I have been dreading this month. Four and half months ago, I thought about this current time and my wish was to be in a deep coma.

That wish has not come true. To add to that, I cannot find anyone willing to knock me out during this holiday season so I won't have to live it.

I don't want to experience this first holiday season without my twins. I thought I would have two more stockings to fill and two more precious girls to buy for.

So, I hope you will excuse me if I don't want to "do" Christmas this year.

This is not me. Not at all. I am one of those annoying people who start listening to Christmas music in October and have all of my Christmas decorations out and up before the food for Thanksgiving has even been bought.

My house is decorated from ceiling to floor and not a spare inch spared from anything Christmas.

I tend to go a little crazy. I have always loved Christmas and everything it entails. I love Christmas shopping, Christmas music, Christmas trees (I pretty much have enough Christmas trees to put in each room), and at this time in the year, my family and I are eating off Christmas dishes.

I told you I tend to go a little crazy.

This year . . . is hard. My husband is downstairs right now putting up the Christmas tree. Just a little over two weeks until the 25th is upon us and we (I mean, my husband) is just now putting it up. I don't want any part of it.

We usually do all of this together. And you guessed it, with Christmas music playing in the background and some peppermint hot chocolate steaming in our Christmas mugs. It is an event!

I don't want to this year. My sweet husband has been wonderful. He has not pushed anything on me. He has not mentioned, not once, any of our traditions.

He did tell me the other day that we will put up the Christmas tree. JUST the Christmas tree.

And a moment ago he made a request that he would like all of us (the three of us, not five) to put the ornaments on together.

I said I would.

The tree, in relative comparison, is going to resemble Charlie Brown's. Just the basics are going to adorn it this year. It will not be covered in its usual splendor.

I said I would join in adorning the tree with our ornaments. It is going to be difficult but I said I would. I am doing this for my daughter. For two weeks now, she has told me that she "wants Christmas in her house".

For her, I am going through the motions without any of my usual excited Christmas emotions. I hope she doesn't realize what is missing in her mommy this year.

I hope the Lord continues to protect her. I hope none of her child-like innocence has been stolen.

I hope that this is part of the grieving process for me. I hope next year, a part of my old self has returned. I know I will never be the same "whole" me that I was before but I do hope that old "pieces" of who I used to be, returns.

I have realized that the Firsts in life are either celebrated or difficult. Six months ago, I thought we would be celebrating Emmy and Vivi's First Christmas. It will be celebrated, for they are experiencing their First Christmas, just not with me, and that is difficult.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Do I Know?

I am not the smartest.  I did not go to seminary school. I have not taken a single class on philosophy or theology. I do not hold a masters degree.

I do know the path of blood. I know the electrical current of the heart. I know the intricacies of breathing in and breathing out. I know cells divide, sometime for the good and sometimes for the bad. I know medication and the routes. I know the five rights.

That is all I know. I know a little of a lot of one area of life. One small intricate, delicate detail that makes this world go round.

I do not know much. I am not the smartest. I am not full of wisdom and knowledge.

I do not know much.

I don't know what the theologian does.

I only know what I feel, what I believe, what I have experienced.

I do not know the big, beautiful, perfect answer to faith. But I do know what I believe and what I have experienced.

I may not hold the exact, beautiful definition of faith and I have a hard time explaining it to another but this is what I know for myself.

My faith is the ugly, the hard, the unexplainable.
My belief is in the tears, the sharpnel, the ashes.
My hope is in the blood soaked wood.

This is what I feel, what I trust. And this is what causes more questions to flow.

Where does faith start? Is it inheriant? Are we born with all we need and then through life it becomes less, becoming tainted?

Or is it something that is acquired? Is it born from the hard?

Or does it just grow, nourished when the sun is eclipsed by clouds, making way for the True Light Source to shine, causing growth?

I do not know. I do not know the ways of faith. I do not know if it is the result of cells dividing, blood circulating through or a big electrical shock.

I do not know.

But I do know this.

I know that the small was made big and the ugly became beautiful. 
I know things, life, are ever changing, but there is One who stays the same, no matter what.
I know that The Suffering was made glory.

I also know this:

God is there when it is ugly, hard, unexplainable.
God is there when there are tears, sharpnel, ashes.
God was there in the blood. He was the blood. He still is the blood.

I don't have the theologians answer to faith but I have mine.

I have faith because my eyes are blind. Blind to The Way. Blind to the future. Blind to the purpose.
I believe because He births beauty. Even in the ugly, He births New.
And I have hope because there is a cross stained, scars visible and a tomb empty.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Letting go . . .

The letting go for me, the I-want-I-need-to-control-every-detail-me, is hard. So very hard.

I have never been good at dealing with the aftermath of unfulfilled plans. I don't know how to deal with dreams left floating for the two lives lost.

The letting go . . .

It is so hard.

The unclenching of fist always is.

I have held tight to all the good in life, never wanting to let any of it go. Holding so tight, I became unconsciously afraid to share the good. Because if I shared, would there be less for me? Would there be less for me when it all ended? When it was all over?

Finger by white knuckled finger, I let go while the heart was screaming in protest.

I let go. It was against my nature. My desire. My dreams.

You would think it would be easy for me to continue to let go now. You would think, but you would be wrong. I want to hold tighter. I want to grab tight and pull in close.

I cannot do that and trust in the same moment. I cannot have white knuckles and trust in the same beat of the heart.

To hold tight, is the false sense of control. To hold tight is the opposite of trust.

The letting go, the releasing, that is the trusting.

I want to trust. I want to believe. I want to have faith that there is more. I want to have faith, to trust, that there is hope.

I can't clinch the fist tight and whisper hope together. Trust me, I have tried. In vain, I have tried. It doesn't work. It is not natural.

It hurts more.

So everyday, I unclinch the fist in an act of trust in order to trust.

I let go. I let go and it hurts.

I want what I have to always be mine. I want what remains to never be lost. I want a promise to fall down from the heavens and rest softly in my heart. I want the promise to whisper that no more will be lost.

It doesn't come.

While still praying for a miracle to enter that dark room, the only Promise that really matters came and pried every finger away from what the heart held dear. Held sacred.

You would think that I would have left the hand open. Left it open in the hopes that something good would fall into it.

I didn't. I closed that fist right back up tight.

I held the one I chose close. Closer than ever before. I feared my first blessing of Motherhood would be lost as well. In the wake of loss, in the wake of death, the soul became hyper-aware of what stood to be lost.

I couldn't bear another heart break.

I couldn't bear it so if I just grab, pull, and hold close, I can control the breath, the squeeze of the heart. They won't leave. I won't lose.

But what a sweet lie that is.

If I close a fist around what I already have, if I just hold on to what I know, how will I ever receive more? How can more be had?

The day before the funeral, our minister, the one performing the ceremony, came over to talk with my husband and I. I spoke to him of long ago dreams. I spoke them to him because I was no longer afraid. I told him the fear was gone. How can I fear death when I have already stared it in the face? Walked day in and day out with it?

He held out his arm and at the end was a clinched fist. As he slowly opened the fist till the palm was flat, facing toward the heavens, he said, ". . . when the fear is gone, you start living with open hands".

I thought I understood what he was saying then, but I didn't.

I do now.

I am scared to lose again but I am not going to let that fear keep the hands closed, unable to catch the blessings that rain down.

I am designed to receive it all.

It can only be received when the hand is open, palms faced to the heavens.

The letting go . . .

It is so painful, yet so beautiful.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Who's Tired?

It's another Friday with Gypsy Mama. So that means it is time to stop, sit and pound the keys for five minutes.

I'm going to pound away on the topic of being tired.

And Go . . .

I think every mom knows a thing or two about being tired. I am tired all the time. After I had my first daughter, I suffered from insomnia. Seriously. When I would mention how tired I was, people, especially women, would give me a look and nod their heads.

No! I wanted to scream. I'm not tired just because I have a new baby! I'm tired because I. CAN'T. SLEEP! I would watch the sun rise, nod off for an hour or two and then wake back up. 

The bed became my enemy. I dreaded the hour in the day when most "normal" people would go to bed and take sleep for granted.

The insomnia lasted until my daughter was almost a year old. 

Just around the time I started sleeping well again, I got pregnant a second time and all those trips to the bathroom interrupted every hour of sleep.

I didn't remember getting up THAT MUCH when I was pregnant with my first one.

A few weeks later, I understood why I was getting up more. I had more weight on my bladder. TWINS!!

I was tired all the time! When I was pregnant with the first, I was narcoleptic. The pregnancy with the twins, I was even more tired but I couldn't sleep. Trust me, I wanted to sleep, but sleep wanted nothing to do with me.

I am tired all the time now. Not because I have two more babies to take care of. I would love for that to be the case. Absolutely LOVE to be tired because of two precious girls.

I have to take a sleep aid in order to sleep. Right after I lost Emmerson and Vivienne, a sleep aid wouldn't even allow sweet sleep to come. 

It comes now, I just need help in getting there. 

I am tired but I still fear going to sleep. Right after my great loss, that is when the nightmares came. So, I am still scared to nod off. Even though I want sweet dreams to take over and take me away to another world for a brief moment, I still fear it. I am still so tired. 

It's a tired I have never known and hope to never know again. It's a tired caused by grief and a weary soul.

And stop!



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