Monday, February 27, 2012

"Honk If You're Happy"

I read this story the other day here and it touched me deeply. There were words throughout that caused my eyes to fill with tears.

There was a cardboard sign with these words, "Honk if you're happy" painted on it. The sign was posted on a stretch of a Canadian Highway. A cynical man who saw that sign on a regular basis, started to honk when he passed the sign. He first honked because of a certain little girl in the seat next to him. Then . . . he just started honking whether she was present or not because he found that when he honked, his happiness increased, if just but a little.

Ironic, don't you think? That if he was not happy, the honking could actually bring happiness on?

The driver was curious so he found a house, knocked, and asked the man at the door if he knew anything about that cardboard sign.

The man, one who sat next to his terminal wife, day in and day out, each day bringing her closer to death, knew the origins of the sign.

He painted that sign and nailed it to a tree.

He wanted a bit of light in the darkness. It was a gift to his dying wife. The honks from the highway could be heard by wife as she lay in bed.

Those honks, brought light . . . happiness to her . . . and to him.

Why did that sign mean so much to him?

"I just wanted people in their cars not to take this moment for granted. This special, never-again-to-be-repeated moment with the ones they care for the most should be savored and they should be aware of the happiness in the moment."

Is he too counting without realizing it? Is he too counting all of those little gifts that mean so much?

People have found it necessary to point out all the good in my life. It is frustrating but I do understand why they do it. Even though the good doesn't always take away the pain, I understand.

I don't need a highlighter ran across my blessings from another. I am hyper-aware of all the blessings in my life.

I am more aware now then I ever was before.

And it makes me wonder: How can gratitude be birthed from deep grief and searing pain?

I know bitterness exists. I know there are bitter people in this world. But I also know that there is always a choice.

I believe that it is innate when we have lost huge, that we notice all those small, wonderful moments that consume memory, that the wonderfulness of them birth big.

For me, I have become hyper-aware of all the good, of all those small moments that consume me large. I am hyper-aware and I feel a profound weight and I have to share.

Even in the midst of loss, of deep pain, of darkness, there are always blessings waiting to be found and taken notice of. There is always a little string of light waiting for an eye to open.

And so, like the cardboard-painting-sign-man, I want to honk. I want to paint my words that cause others to take pause and take notice, that life is full of moments and those moments are what memories are born from. 

I count. I started counting after my loss. It was reflexive. Even if I would have never read the words on her blog or read the words in her book, I would have taken notice.

And so I am counting . . .

I made my own cardboard sign, decorated it and I'm counting all of those honks in my life.

Counting all those blessing, all the way to 1,000, possibly . . . hopefully . . . more.

10. Little voices

19. Sweatshirts all old and frayed

32. Skilled hands

40. Friends who travel in the snow to visit

73. The "big part" of a grocery cart

80. Tiny shirts hanging to dry

85. Giggles from children playing

88. Little girl rocking in little rocking chair

90. Slippers for cold feet


Friday, February 24, 2012

To Find The Answers

I don't know.

I know the way the heart squeezes, causing blood to push life through. I know the way air is breathed in and love is breathed out but I don't know this and this is what I want to know. What I search in vain to find.

I don't know.

Once pieces of the heart, pieces of love, have been broken off, does the healing ever cause new growth? Allowing those broken, missing pieces to regenerate . . . self-repair?

I think this missing piece . . . pieces of brokenness are not meant to be fixed, repaired, or replaced.

I think the brokenness is meant to stay. A reminder that I am broken, that no matter the searching and all those attempts at the self-fixing, I am broken.

The ragged edges, the reminder of the loss are only made smooth when the Pierced Hand covers and soothes.

That Hand doesn't regenerate or fix or replace. That Hand covers it all and by the covering performs the healing.

I think those missing pieces remain, like the thorn in Paul's side, to remind that we are only whole by that broken, Pierced Hand.

It takes The Broken to mend the breaking. Not to fix, repair, or replace but to remind that we are loved. We are loved and in the loving made whole. And this is beautiful.

"Embrace every pain as a peeling away of something ~ to make me know it in new ways, that He is enough."
Ann Voskamp 


Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Wish I Could . . .

I wish I could turn back the hands of the time
and go back to that June day. See another image on the Ultrasound screen, have the air that filled that room one of joy and not stillness, utter shock.

I wish I could return to that June day and hear different words, see faces that expressed excitement and not faces that said they were sorry.

I wish I could return to that June day and return all those excited, much anticipated calls and texts with news they were wanting . . . expecting . . . wishing to hear.

I wish I could have entered that dark room on different terms. I wish I could have entered it and it would have been a room of rejoicing and not regretting.

I wish I could turn around and start anew in that room so when the contractions gave way to life, I would have held you in my arms and rejoiced in the breaths of your cries.

I wish I could turn around and start anew in that room and while I held you, felt the movement of life, the breath of life, seen the eyes open and searching in wonder and in awe. Seen the lips of your daddy move and root and smacking together.

I wish I could whisper those three words to you during two am feedings, during diaper changes, during bath times. Always face to face to express how much this mommy loves you.

I wish I could have been given the chance to be your mommy, this side of heaven.

I wish I could carry you in these arms of mine and let my arms be the perch in which you could see the sweetness of the world, the beauty and the love of all time.

Mama’s Losin’ It


Monday, February 20, 2012

Six Days Gone

I feel like I can't cope . . . with anything.

I am frustrated, irritable and short-tempered.

Today is day six of six. That is six days of my husband being gone. He will get home late tonight. I hope to be asleep but I probably won't. I will most likely still be awake long after he has entered dream-land. I still have a hard time finding sleep. It is still a love-hate relationship.

I don't know how many days my husband will be home for. He has recurrent training due. So, depending on the flights his company has him booked on, he may drive or fly (depending on the one that gives him more days at home) to the state where he has to complete his recurrent training. He may be home for one day, or for three. Our life, it seems, is always dependent on something centering around his job.

He was not home for many days last week. It seems the only proof I have of him being home is the mess he leaves in his wake. The dirty dishes and the increased laundry. I feel like a single mom but with the responsibility and increased work load one has with a husband.

I'm having a pity party for myself right now. I hope you don't mind. I am just sick and tired of my life and my daughter's life being centered around what her Daddy does for a living. Even she has started to express frustration with it and it breaks my heart. I would like, just once, to not be the person that has to constantly change my schedule for my husbands. I know a marriage is give and take but I feel like I am doing all the giving. If things start falling through the cracks, if things were left undone, I am the one my husband turns to to fix it. I can rarely turn to him because he usually isn't available when things start breaking down. I am the one to fill in the gaps.

I know there are worse things. Trust me, I really know. I am living it right now.

There is another anniversary approaching and still those heavy, empty arms. The reality is setting in.

I can't cope.

My daughter is at that age where every interaction is a difficult one.

She is strong-willed, independent and stubborn.

I prayed for her to be independent and strong-willed. I don't want her to fall down and give in when faced with temptation. I don't want her to break and fall to pieces the first time she comes across a difficult situation. I want her to be strong and independent. I just don't want her to be that and two-years-old at the same time.

I want to run away. I want someone to be here to fill in the gaps when the holes are consuming me. I want the luxury of leaving the house for thirty minutes (without my daughter) when I need a breather and a little perspective. I don't want to have to wait six days to get that. I usually don't get that even when he's home. He has an agenda when he's home and so, once again, everything gets arranged around that and I am back at square one.

I am not coping well. With all of this responsibility and with being a mom who misses her children.

The dinners that need to be fixed just to have a child not eat any of it. The clothes that need to be washed. The furniture that needs to be cleaned. The items that need to be bought at the grocery. The dirty bathrooms. My child who argues with everything I tell her, who won't eat but complains of being hungry. The child who won't sleep but has a melt down because there's a crease in her jeans that she doesn't want there. That schedule. The one we get every month where I let out a long sigh and realize my husband will be in the clouds more than he will be at home. It all adds up and I can't cope with it all. I want a husband who is home.

My babies and that grave that haunts me. That place I can't go. That place, just to think about, causes me to stop breathing. I want to go but I can't. If I go, then its another reminder of what really happened.

I want my babies back!

I feel like all my walls are caving in.

I fill so empty and how can I continue to be for the loved ones in my life when I have nothing left to give?

All the little things, all those little jobs that being a wife and a mother require that usually bring joy, are weighing on me. That grave and this grief and I can't cope.

I am snapping. I scream when it gets to be too much. I accuse my husband of not understanding, of being selfish and I tell him that we can't continue to function as a family that centers their days, their plans, their life around his job.

That is not fair and I know it. But when that weight overwhelms, I am not thinking of fairness, I'm thinking of how I can survive all of this.

This doesn't negate how I would and will follow him anywhere to support what it is he loves to do. But the following and the supporting doesn't negate the frustration and the exhaustion either.

I am sick of changing my plans for his planes. I am sick of canceling or rearranging last minute because his plane got delayed . . . again and he's stuck in a different time zone, yet again.

I am more than a pilot's wife, an almost three-year-olds mother, a stay-at-home-mom-who-used-to-love-her-job-as-a-nurse, a woman, a mother who buried two of her children.

I get lost in the shifting schedules, the dirty dishes, the chaos of clean and dirty clothes, that suitcase, the sifting and floating of the dust throughout the house, the grieving and the wishing and the missing. And it all consumes so much of my energy.

I know I am more than all of that and that life is much more than all of this but I can't find it and I can't feel it and I'm wondering if this life was only meant to be one where good is but a memory and stress and sadness are what is to greet me every time a corner has been turned.

The weight of it all is weighing me down, breaking me, exhausting me and I can't cope.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where You Go

"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay," is said at weddings and is artwork for the marital home. I understand why. It is a beautiful saying filled with promise.

There is a song with those exact words in it. Whenever I hear the song, I think it is such a beautiful promise to God.

Interestingly enough, they are words spoken from one woman to another. From a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law. Naomi became widowed and years later lost both of her married sons. I cannot even begin to imagine this woman's ache! It was custom, at that time, for widows to return to their homelands. One of Naomi's daughter-in-laws, Orpah, left but Ruth "clung to her" (Ruth 1:14).

Naomi encouraged Ruth to leave with her sister-in-law but Ruth replied, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16).

Such a beautiful declaration. I understand why it is used at weddings and why those words are hung on walls of a home made by love.

I have spoken those words (though not so eloquently) to my husband since the beginning of our marriage.

With my husband being a pilot, he could go anywhere, at anytime, and I understood this from the very beginning.

There have been times in our eleven and a half years of marriage where he has had to make some decisions regarding his career. Sometimes, in those conversations, he has said, "but if I decide to do that, or this happens, then it could mean a move farther away from family." I have always told him that no matter where flying takes him, I will be with him. I would rather us move clear across the world as long as it means that we are together. And there were a few short months where we had to seriously consider my husband taking a job in another country, which would have required us moving on the opposite side of the globe.

I have always said, "I will go where you go. I will do what I need to do to make sure that we are a family and our children grow up with their father apart of their lives as much as possible."

He loves what he does. Seriously, loves it! When we were dating, he would drool whenever he saw an airplane in the sky. There would be this longing look in his eyes and you could just see him itching to be the one piloting that plane. My mom used to joke around when we were dating about him taking me to the airport lookout site. That place was known for young couples to go and not watch the airplanes take off and land. My mom used to laugh and say "I never worry about when I hear that he took you to the airport because I know that he really did watch the airplanes. He probably didn't even realize you were there!"

I know how much he loves what he does. And that is why, when we had only been married for six months, he left the first time for three months of training and just like the second time, we did not see each other those three months, I promised myself that no matter how hard or frustrating his job gets, I will not ask him to do something else. He just loves what he does way too much.

Well, I did not keep that promise. When I get all frustrated, anxious and tired, I tend to get a bit dramatic.

I kept that promise to myself until we had our first born. He didn't leave us for three months but when she was two months old, he was rarely home. I was a first time mom, I was exhausted, I was stressed and I wanted to have my husband home for at least two days out of the week. Among the frustration and the tears, I asked him to find another job because I couldn't continue to take care of everything when he was never home.

I kicked myself shortly after for asking him that. I realized the stress and the struggle I then placed on him. I had virtually asked him to choose between his wife and child and his job.

About a week later I apologized for asking that of him.

So life carried on and we adjusted. The frustrations of being a pilots wife continued but we carried on.

Then, we buried two of our children. I was a basket case. His work was gracious and they gave him a month off.

I have always loved to be myself. I don't mind being alone, which maybe why I never had a hard time before our first born came with him being gone a lot. I just treasure my alone time, the solitude.

But after the death of our girls, I was a nervous wreck. I feared being alone for even five minutes. I was a zombie, I didn't talk much to anyone in those first six weeks or so but I couldn't bear the thought of being alone. I didn't want to talk but I wanted to have someone with me at all times.

I didn't know what I was going to do when he went back to work. I couldn't take care of myself. He would pick me up out of the bed most days, undress me and put me in the shower and then dress me when I got out. I couldn't take care of myself so how was I going to take care of myself, the house and our daughter when he went back to work?

So, because I was so scared, I asked him to quit his job. He didn't respond to me and that is all I said.

Once he returned to work, I asked that question time and time again because I couldn't cope, with him being gone, with all of the responsibility . . . with life. So I asked him to quit.

I know I made an already difficult time even harder for him. I know he was terrified to leave me (he feared me being alone as much as I did) but we had bills that needed to be paid and food to put on the table.

Time has made some of these things "better". I am getting back to the point where I long for some solitude and I am able to not only dress myself but care for our daughter as well.

I am not so fearful of him leaving for the better part of the week.

He is my husband. The one I chose and the one whom I am so grateful is walking this road with me and offers pieces of his strength to me when I am weak.

Where ever this crazy journey called life takes him, I will follow. If it calls for us to remain where we are, I will remain with him.

For so many years, I thought the going was always to a physical place, another town, another state, another country. I have learned that the going may be an emotional journey. It may be a journey to hell and back. We've been, together, hand in hand, on many different journeys . . .

Where you go I will go . . .


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Will You Be My Valentine?

I have a confession to make. I do not like Valentine's Day.

I think it is a silly, Hallmark Holiday that leaves men feeling as if they did something wrong and women as if they were forgotten. I feel like it's a holiday that forces you to spend money on things that are going to die or sweets that will get eaten and then make the one who consumed them feel guilty.

My husband and I don't celebrate it. I made him promise me years ago that he wouldn't acknowledge it in any way. He can buy jewelry any other time. He knows I don't require a special day in order to receive jewelry but I am starting to wonder when he thinks a good time to open a little bling would be. It has seemed that he has forgotten that any day is a good day for some sparkle.

We are both really happy when that day comes around because neither one of us is disappointed by not having our expectations met.

So for years now, we have not acknowledged this Day of Love.

A couple of days ago, I walked to the mailbox and retrieved our mail and started sifting through it on my way back to our house. Usually our mail is made up of a collection of bills and junk mail. On this particular day, there were two envelopes that were neither bills or junk mail. Two!

I got really excited. I am not ashamed to admit that I still get all giddy when I receive fun mail in the mail.

One of the envelopes held the contents of a birthday party invitation. This excited me because who doesn't like getting invited to a birthday party? It is for a little boy's party but still, its fun mail!

The other envelope had me stumped because it was labeled 'Mom' with no return address. The envelope was fat too. I was stumped. I could not figure out who had sent this and I couldn't identify the handwriting. I opened this one last. I like suspicion and I wanted to postpone the big reveal as long as I could. And I needed a few more minutes to do my detective work. I started thinking of all the sweet things my husband and daughter planned behind my back when I was busy being all domestic.

I finally opened the envelope and this is what fell out.

And then, the detective in me figured it all out. This was from my daughter! Clue number one being that her name was on the back, clue number two being that it had a lot of stickers on it and clue number three being that red was the primary choice of color used (that's her favorite "of all the colors"). Because I'm such a great detective, I concluded that she made it at preschool and the unidentified handwriting on the envelope was her Preschool Teachers. It's hard to pull the wool over my eyes, I'm telling you.

I was touched. And I had a huge, goofy school-girl-who-had-just-been-kissed-by-her-crush smile on my face after that.

When she saw the heart she told me with much excitement that she made it for me and then she told me that she loved me.

For the first time in years, I am thrilled to have received a Valentine.  I have to admit, it was much better than receiving jewelry but please don't tell that to my husband. 

I hope she grows to know just how much of my heart is captured by her.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Sometimes . . .

Sometimes I miss what was . . . and what could have been.

Sometimes I cry a little more . . . a little harder.

Sometimes I smile and wonder how joy tugged the corners of my lips up.

Sometimes I laugh and the sound takes me by surprise. Always by surprise.

Sometimes I get lost in a moment and I forget that life has become so hard.

Sometimes I forget about the pain . . . if only for a moment.

Sometimes I wonder why . . . about so many things.

Sometimes all that wondering leaves me more hurt and confused.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever enjoy the ocean breeze instead of feeling the constant pounding of ocean waves.

Sometimes I wish for time to pass me by so I will no longer have to live with this pain . . . without them.

Sometimes the gratefulness comes easy . . . other times it comes hard.

Sometimes I feel God near.

Sometimes I feel as He if He has left me.

Sometimes I wonder if bravery will ever strengthen me enough to visit the scarred earth . . . the place that says death really occurred.

Sometimes I have dreams and others nightmares consume.

Sometimes I feel at peace and other times I feel like a war is raging about.

Most times I struggle for the laughter, the tears, the joy, the heartache, the questions and the answers to step into sync and let the tug of war end and the dancing begin.


Friday, February 10, 2012

When It Seems So Hard To Trust.

To Trust . . .

It seems easy and can be hard.

It seems hard and can be easy.

I choose to trust. I made that promise that I would.

It seems easy but it is so hard at times.

Seven and half months ago, I walked into a hospital, received some of the worse kind of news a mother could hear and I chose to trust and to believe.

I trusted and believed in the One but it didn't make the outcome different.

Now, for me, trusting is hard because I know.

I know that to trust doesn't mean that all of your dreams come true.

I know that to trust doesn't mean that you get what you want.

I know that to trust doesn't free you from pain.

It is a hard and an easy thing to trust in the Maker. It is hard when you have had a child, a dream, a miracle die in your arms.

It is easy when you have learned that He is enough.

It used to be an easy thing for me to say that I trust my loved ones in His hands.

But now? I know to trust means that His plan prevails. I know that when my husband is lost in the clouds, the wind could be lost under wings and he would not return home. I know that children don't always out live their parents. I know to trust doesn't free you from a painless life.

I still choose to trust. 

I trust because, despite this pain, I have learned that He is enough.

I do not know what life has in store for me, and to be honest, I am sometimes fearful of that. But then I turn toward the heavens and declare that I trust that He is enough.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ten Years Ago . . .

Ten years ago on this exact date . . . I have no idea what I was doing.

I know what was going on around this time ten years ago but I cannot, for the life of me, pin point what ten years ago today was. And it is kind of weird that I can't. I have a freakishly good memory. Freakish because it not only freaks out my husband but myself as well.

My memory is a photogenic one.

A couple of years after we had started dating, my husband had mentioned something about our first date.

He got it all wrong. So, I did what any sweet, normal girlfriend would do. I let him believe that he was right.

Not, really. I am not "any sweet, normal girlfriend". He was wrong and I let him know it. I corrected him. I let him know what movie we had scene and what time the movie had started. I told him the movie theater we went to, where we had sat, and what he was wearing, right down to his shoes. Up to that point, I thought everybody was able to remember those tiny details. I found out, that that is not the case.

And its just not with big days like First Dates, it is with anything.

I rarely forget a face. I sometimes pretend that I don't remember who someone is because I have learned how my memory can creep someone out. So . . . sometimes I pretend that I have no idea where I know so-and-so from.

For example: you pass someone in a store and you both look at each other and the look on the other's face is that they recognize you from somewhere. I try really hard to have this look on my face as well. Then, after a few minutes, they will say something like this, "You look really familiar to me, do I know you from somewhere?" And I will respond, "I was just thinking the same thing." All along, I know exactly where it was I had scene them, what season it was, who was with them and so on. But I do not say that!

I have learned that I don't. I used to. I stopped after I saw the looks on those peoples faces and that look said something like this, "Oh, my! Have they been stalking me?" or "This girl has no life. I think I will end this conversation right here, right now."

So, I pretend.

My memory can be really painful too. Because I just don't remember vaguely. I remember in vivid detail. When a memory surfaces, I smell the scents from that day, that moment. I can feel the chill from a winters day or the warmth of the summers sun. I feel all the emotions from that moment and the emotions that are bubbling over in the current one. I see the faces of those that were near. I hear the words that were spoken floating on air around. If I was alone, I remember where I was sitting and how I was sitting. I remember which lights were on, what TV show was playing and which scene was being acted out.

In the recent months, I have wished for my memory to not be so clear. It has been painful. All consuming. My freakish memory has made this grieving thing all the more hard. I remember every detail, every moment I had with Emmerson and Vivienne. Most of the time, those memories come out of no where as I am going about my day and they hit me like a sledge hammer.

But then I am so grateful that I am able to remember, to feel those moments with them again. Those memories, those moments, every one of them were blessed moments. They are all that I have.

I cannot remember everything. Just almost everything.

Which is probably why I am unable to remember what I was doing ten years ago today. It is a little frustrating but also a little liberating to know that I am not a slave to every moment that I have lived.

I cannot remember what I was doing ten years ago today but I can remember what was going on ten years ago this month.

My husband had got a new job with a different airline. We were not that many months away from September 11, 2001 and the airlines were still clouded with uncertainty. He was in training down in Texas for almost three months. We had only been married for a year and a half and the three months apart had just started. The flight benefits the company offered were not yet ours and we could not afford for me to fly down and visit him even once. He was too busy with training to come home, so we spent three very long months apart.

After those three months, he was based out of Boston. He was stuck on reserve (its basically like being on-call) so even if he didn't get called out to fly, he still had to be in Boston since that was his base. He was on reserve six days a week. I took advantage of our flight benefits and flew out to Boston as much as I could to visit him.

He had one day off every week. Since he was commuting, he flew home on and back on that one day off. We spent six hours or less together a week, if that. Most of those days, he stayed in Boston because the trek home wasn't worth it.

Ten years ago I remember missing him A LOT. I was frustrated A LOT. I spent a lot of time wishing for my husband to have a "normal" job. I wanted to be able to plan for our future without having to wait for his job circumstances to be "better".

Ten years ago, I felt like our life was on-hold due to his job. We wanted to move but needed to wait to see how things with the airline was going and for his schedule to improve. We had to wait on those things before we could consider moving, starting a family, planning vacations and for me to go back to school.

It was so frustrating!

In those ten years, my husband has gone from being a First Officer stuck on reserve and commuting to holding a line (having an actual schedule), upgrading to Captain and being based out of the city we live in.

All of that has helped but his career is still a little frustrating and a little lonely for the both of us at times.

Just writing this, many memories are flooding me right now. I remember a lot of those flights out to Boston to visit him. I remember where I was sitting on the flights, what I wore, things we did in that city, things we said to each other and how we embraced after too many days apart.

Some of those memories are sweet. Some are bitter. All of them have been worth it.

Mama’s Losin’ It


Monday, February 6, 2012

The Choice is Yours

I was alone. That day, after I had given birth and then had that life end in my hands, I was alone. I still had one tender heart beating below my own but I felt so alone.

My husband had left to make some phone calls. The first time he had left my side in over a day. He performed a job I don't think I could have done: informing loved ones that a sweet life was over and that we still did not know the fate of the other.

While he spoke words of deep pain, I laid in a bed, completely weak and utterably dependent on others to move physically and I wept. I cried out in anger and confusion and a hurt that surpasses anything I have ever felt before in my life. I felt so alone. The most alone I have ever felt before.


Those three words, silently screamed, were directed at the God I had prayed endlessly to since we had learned the diagnosis of our sweet girls.

I felt like He had left me. Never to be seen or felt or trusted again.

Where was He? When I needed Him most in my life, where had He gone?

A few hours later, when I was weak from the medication and the emotions and the wrestling, I saw two roads lay before me.

They were both dark. They were both treacherous, unpaved, unknown roads. Both consumingly scary.

One road, I could travel down myself, completely alone.

The other road, was just as dark and as scary, but I would have Someone with me.

It was my choice.

And as angry and as hurt as I was with the One I had called my God, I chose the latter.

It wasn't an easy decision.

I knew deep in my heart that there would be no way I could do this alone. I had never seen anything so black, so desperate before in my life and I knew I needed someone.

Someone much stronger than I. Someone much wiser.

I made a choice that day and I reached out and grabbed tight to His hand.

It wasn't an easy thing to do.

This thing called Faith rarely is.

It is a daily choice and some days it is so hard.

We sometimes don't have a choice when it comes to circumstance but we ALWAYS have a choice in how we will respond.

My response was, and every day since, as been to choose to trust The One who sees it all. To trust that, even now, He can perform a miracle. He can turn the ugly to beautiful.

I choose to trust.

On the road I didn't choose to take, I am choosing to trust in the One who calms all storms.

I've been faced with choices before, just like all of us have. I haven't always made the right choices. Responded in ways that were good or healthy. Some of the choices have led to more pain.

Our struggles with infertility left me bitter and angry. There were baby showers of close friends I couldn't attend. People didn't understand and I couldn't explain. But I know I must have hurt people.

I didn't realize the depth of resentment and bitterness until I held my first born in my arms. I became so ashamed with how I had let that situation . . . that trial affect me and make me into a person that I wasn't, that I made a promise to God, "I promise You, the next trial You place before me, I will trust You. I will let You make me into something You desire. I will allow You to make it something beautiful."

To say that I remembered that promise the day I held Emmerson and Vivienne would be a lie. I didn't. I couldn't.

I didn't remember that promise for a few months. But I had already made my choice.

I was going to choose to walk this road with God.

A few months later, when I remembered my promise, it made that daily choice a little easier. I had made a promise.

And because when I made that promise a few years previously, I knew in the marrow of my bones, that the beauty of God trumps everything else.

He gives beauty for ashes.

There is always a story in a trial. I want this trial, this story to be one that honors my girls and makes them proud to call me mom. And I want my promise to my God to glorify the majesty of the King.

"We only are broken and this is beautiful: in brokenness, we are instruments in the hands of the Wounded Healer."

Ann Voskamp 
One Thousand Gifts


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Living Life

With my daughter on my hip, I walk into my parents house. I thought my Mom was at work so I was stopping by yesterday morning to check on my Dad.

My Mom had to leave for work in a couple of hours. She was cleaning the kitchen and then had to get ready for work.

My Dad was sitting on the couch. His usual spot sense he got home from the hospital. He has a hint of color to him. Not much. He is still so very pale. And . . . he is so thin.

He lost over twenty pounds in the first two weeks after his surgery. It's just too much weight to lose.

I told him a week before that he needs to eat. "I don't want to. Everything tastes funny," he tells me.

"I know, Dad. I understand. But your body is using a lot of calories to just heal itself. Drink those protein drinks. That will help."

I walk into the house, say hello, ask him how he's doing.

"Not bad." That's my dad for you.

My daughter runs to the kitchen to see her Ma maw.

"I had a long conversation with God yesterday. I cried for a good while. I told Him that I wanted Him to heal me and to do it fast. I'm tired of this. I don't like being like this."

His eyes well up with fresh tears.

"I have that same conversation with God all the time. I've had it a lot over the last seven months. Sometimes life . . . it is so hard."

"I cried yesterday for no good reason."

"Dad, I cry every day. At least once. It's okay to cry. And there is always a good reason to cry."

"I don't like this."

"Tell me about it. The healing really hurts."

I grabbed the leash and then Toby (their dog), placed my Dad's shoes at his feet and put a jacket on him.

"The sun is out and it is so warm for the last day of January, lets go for a walk."

We walk, not far, but we walk. It's good to get out of the house sometimes. Specially when you feel little desire to move at all.

I was just doing for my Dad what he did for me immediately after the loss of Emmerson and Vivienne. He would come over, sometimes drag me out of my house and take me over to his, telling me that getting out would do me a world of good.

We return from our short walk and I tell him that I have dinner already cooking in the crock pot. I tell him to get his medication and that he's going to be spending the day at my house.

"I don't have anything at my house that you don't have here, other than different chairs to sit in and walls with different things to look at. It will do you good though."

He tells me that a coconut cream pie sounds good. I go and get him one. I was so excited that something sounded good to him.

Before dinner, he asked twice for something to snack on. I would fetch the goodies for him, all too excited to see him eating. He ate all of his dinner and a piece of pie. When I saw his cleared plate, I felt like a proud mama.

Life is strange sometimes. How places can be traded. How life can take turns and make you appreciative . . . grateful . . . for things, moments that you would not have considered blessings previously.

I haven't done anything huge or magnificent or prize worthy. I am doing for my dad what he had done for me. I'm going over to his house to check on him. I'm bringing him back to my house so he can have a change of scenery.

Breathing love is expressed in all of those little moments that leave an impression . . . leaving a footprint of a memory.



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