Wednesday, June 26, 2013

But If Not...

 A few weeks ago, a visiting Pastor gave a very challenging sermon on Daniel that I have wanted to write about since, but am just now making the time to do so. I was very convicted by it and have been thinking on it since then in regards to some struggles I am having right now.

Daniel was a man who worshiped the matter what the cost. Daniel had 3 friends named  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were also determined to honor God in the midst of a pagan nation.

They all four stood firm in their faith among the Babylonian people on several significant matters.

When looking up different thoughts on Daniel, I found this from a pretty cool website. "The determination of Daniel and his 3 friends to remain loyal to the Lord speaks volumes about the value of the parental training they must have received. When God-fearing parents put spiritual interests first in their lives and teach their offspring to do the same, their children are very likely to resist whatever temptations and pressures that may arise at school or elsewhere."

You may be familiar with "Daniel and the Lion's Den" and  "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the Fiery Furnace" from Sunday School as a kid. These are the stories I wanted to write a little bit about real quick. Especially the Fiery Furnace, and the character of the three, how they trusted God. No. Matter. What.

"As was common at the time, King Nebuchadnezzar built a huge golden image and commanded all the people to fall down and worship it whenever they heard the sound of his musical herald. Anyone who failed to bow and worship the image would be thrown into an immense, blazing furnace.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were determined to worship the One true God only, and thus were reported to the king. Courageously they stood before him as the king pressured the men to deny their God.

They said, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18)"

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego courageously took their stand before Nebuchadnezzar, they didn't know with certainty that God would deliver them. They had no assurance they would survive the flames. But they stood firm anyway, even in the face of death.

I found this picture and I love it. It kinda makes me cry. (But that's because I'm pregnant. Ha.) I love how Jesus is there (I know it could be an Angel, but to me, it's Jesus) with them. WITH THEM. In their pain and suffering, protecting them. They survived, came out unscathed. Even the guards who threw them in, passed away because it was too hot to even be near. Yet, God, in His mercy and sovereignty decided it best to save them from death. I love that.

We have faced death in a different kind of way this past year. We have not backed down from our faith. It has been hard, I have said choice words to God at times, but He has always forgave me and helped me see through His eyes and from His perspective.

 Since we have another little girl very close to making her grand entrance, I have struggled with joy and fear at the same time at different times throughout the whole pregnancy.

I really....really would love the privilege and blessing of being her Mom...on EARTH. Through losing Greyson, I have learned that it's not just a guarantee you get to be a parent... and it's not something you just get because you deserve it or "it's that time in my life that I get this".  I have tried to hold loosely to this little baby girl, but yah right.

 She's part of me, part of us, attached to my body and my soul... it's too late.

I can't love her less or think "if the same thing happens, it'll be easier this time".


Even though parts of my heart is expecting tragedy again, the other part is rejoicing in the hope He has given us...
I have found my prayers lately to be somewhat like the words the 3 friends of Daniel's announced to the King...

"My God is able...
 to deliver us from death ...
 But if not...
We will still walk with You, Lord... I will still follow you. I will still trust You."

We know He is able to give us a healthy little girl, one who lives longer than us, one that never stops breathing in our arms, one we do not have to plan a funeral for, or ever say good-bye to longer than we want. A little girl we can disciple, train, help grow, teach, love, bless, and enjoy. A little girl we can give back to Him each day. (which may even prove harder than we know. It already is hard with her just in my belly, who am I kidding.) ( Every morning I wait for her to move before I even pray or start the day. If she doesn't move, I literally move her whole body until she does. I am sure she is already irritated with her Mama, haha)

BUT IF NOT... if we don't get a healthy little baby... will we? Will we? Can we? Because some days I think about that...and wonder...what it would be like say good-bye again, so soon.
I would want to grab my husband and stand in front of a train. No questions asked.

And would anyone blame us?

But, after this sermon, and after going through the book of Philippians and Paul saying how he couldn't WAIT to suffer for the Lord...and how it is a PRIVILEGE and how we get to KNOW HIM DEEPER because of suffering... My heart is somewhat softer and more "open" to this idea of trusting NO MATTER WHAT. And knowing He gave us her, baby girl #2, for today, but maybe not tomorrow.

That is where I am at today.

Waiting & praying eagerly for labor to start in a couple weeks.

Looking forward to holding this lil girl in my arms, flesh and blood, ALIVE... nursing her, kissing her and  looking forward to all the things that I miss about Greyson...

and hoping I don't have to give her back so soon...

BUT if we do.... being able to say

Lord whom we serve, you are able to save her....

But if not... 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Things I Have Learned in One Year

I've been wanting to write this post for a LONG time, but just never got around to it or thought it was ever a good time...
Over the past year, I have seen a lot, heard a lot, changed a lot, watched a lot.  I have wanted to write this more of as a reminder to myself when people I know go through hard times of grieving, not really as a list for those reading of "what to do or not do".
 That being said, I do hope it helps those who have experienced an acquaintance, friend, or family member that has to deal with a very personal loss.

I personally have been surprised (both pleasantly and sometimes sadly) at the reactions and responses to us losing our daughter over the past year. It's so cliche, but this year has revealed character. Mostly my own, but those around me, too.

So, here are some ideas of the things that helped me the most.
 If you have a friend who is grieving, or you are struggling with grieving yourself and need to express your needs to your friends or family members, I hope this helps.  I am going to keep it related to losing a baby because that is what I know, but it can be related to any loss.


truly pray for them. Pray, pray, pray.
send notes (email, snail mail, etc.)
take the time to send texts of encouragement.
offer Bible verses anytime you read something that would encourage
phone calls
make meals for them
when with them, talk about their loss. (don't fear tears or "bringing it up")
say their baby's name.
remember anniversary's
do something to honor their baby 


purchase a tree
buy them a plant or flowers
seeds for future tree or fruit/vegetable plant
build a bear/ any stuffed animal
any kind of jewelry that says their baby's name or initials


disappear or wait for them to contact you. (they probably won't.) (And it's not because they don't care about you.)
be scared of asking questions
assume your friendship will "return to normal" after they "get over it"
think "leaving her alone" will be a good thing.
complain about anything related to your kids or pregnancy or baby (assume blank stares if you do)

complain about minor things like a hard day at work or trouble with a relationship and expect them to have much to offer but a listening ear. (Again, it's not because they do not care)
compare losses (especially miscarriage to infant death)  (that's a whole 'nother post)


 that a simple "how are you?" could make them cry.
disappearing/withdrawing (depending on their personality)
not much excitement for big social gatherings.
not much interest in things that used to be fun to them
lack of concentration
not much energy or care for ordinary things (takes a lot of energy to grieve)
still wanting to talk about it no matter how long it's been

I have found a year to be just the start of a lifetime without my daughter. That kills my heart. Makes me not want to live to even 60.  I had previously thought after a year, things may be "back to normal-ish", but I have been wrong.
In writing all these things down, it has helped remind me of the kind of friend I hope to be in the future. Much will be expected of me because I have and still am walking through death.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48

I was given the gift of walking through this suffering. Seems weird to write it like that, but if everything God does is good, how can I not at least ask Him to help me view this season as a gift?

 Writing this list has reminded me how thankful I am for the friends and family members the Lord blessed us with to walk hardcore beside us this last year. The things mentioned above (in the good categories) are things they have done for me/us that have blessed us so much. Some things we can never repay.

I am sure there is more I am missing, but I really just wanted to get this published so as to help those just beginning this journey or ones walking beside friends who are. 

"A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." Proverbs 17:17

Thursday, June 13, 2013

One Year Since You've Been Gone

A year ago today, I had to say good-bye (for now) to my sweet baby Greyson.

I had just spent 9 months carrying her, but only barely 2 days with her.

I showed up to the ER in an ambulance with my sweet lil baby girl in the back.

I left 2 hours later with a box.

A box with a bracelet, her clothes, and her bear hat.

It's every parent's worst nightmare come true.

We couldn't protect her or save her, we had to let her go and leave her there and walk away empty handed. Never to see her face or feel her skin again this side of Heaven.

Worst day of our lives.

Hands down.

I wanted to be her Mommy more than anything else I have ever even thought about wanting in my life. Hard to swallow sometimes that God, in His wisdom, had another plan. A better one.

She went from my arms into the arms of Jesus at 11:04a. She took her last breathe on earth in my arms and woke up in Paradise. She has been there a year now, though I'm sure time is different in Heaven.

 I wonder what she does? If she is still a baby, frozen in time, until her Mommy or Daddy arrive? Does she miss us? Does she ask Jesus about us? Is she what a 1 year old living on Earth looks like, crawling, walking, saying little words and tasting yummy new food for the first time?  Or is she in Babyland being cared for by the Angels and the close friends and family I know up there?

All I know, is that I can't wait to get there.

I have asked myself this week ... why. WHY. Why do I *have* to wake up everyday this week and she doesn't *get* to? Asked that to the Lord on her birthday, especially.

Why am I here and she's not? Seems so unfair. Unfair to me, not to her.

We released balloons at 7:17p on June 11, the exact time she was born. So bittersweet. Mostly bitter. Not what I've ever dreamt of doing for my first baby's first birthday.

Sweet though... just because of the people the Lord has placed as support for my husband and I over the past year were there to be with us.

As I look back over the last year, I see so much of God. He has carried us through. This year has sped by and we are so thankful to have one full year of grieving behind us. It has been hard. Very hard.

I can start sobbing without even a thought entering my head. I have trouble remembering things. I can't make myself care about things I want to care about it. It's very hard to find things in common with most of my friends. I am exhausted. Time has stopped.  (some of these things are just exasperated due to pregnancy hormones I am sure) Plus much more.

I see how the Lord has set aside this last year for sweet times with Him. Sweet times with my husband with Him. His Word holding our Souls like an anchor. His Word bringing healing and direction and refreshing. Him supplying our needs. Jesus showing Himself through my parents, through our friends. 
God has been our Rock. There is no way, we could've made it this whole year without Jesus.

I am so thankful for the Lord for hand-picking my husband knowing this would be something we'd have to endure only 1.5 years in our marriage. 80% of marriages that have the death of a child end in divorce. He has been so patient with me, so loving and tender and compassionate. He has taken care of me in so many ways.

I am so thankful for my Mom. She has had to endure what no Nana ever should- a grandchild stopping breathing in her arms. How traumatic and painful. She has been so patient and loving and giving and always there for me. She has prayed for me and us and... with me so many times.

I am sure I have not been easy to be around or live with.

We have made it one year, but we know it's not over. We are so close to witnessing another mircacle in our family. She kicks and bumps her booty all the time. We cannot wait to have her in our arms and in our lives. We know God has big plans for her and has given her a big job to do before she even is aware of what's going on. We look forward to her arrival into the world next month.

We know in no way will she ever ever replace our lil G, but we know God sent her in His perfect timing to give us HOPE...

Papaw and Nana with her just minutes after she was born. My dad looks creepy, sorry.
Upset because she has to get measured and weighed. Poor lil chica.

My two daughters.  Can't wait to hear lil Squishy talk of lil Lumpy.
Living for the day they get to unite in Heaven one day and we as a family will be complete.
Love you so much baby girl.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I Will Cover You

As I was crying this morning and trying to pray, I felt the Lord speak to me comfort. The kind only a Heavenly Father could...
He showed me a picture of a mother hen covering her baby chick with her wings, the baby being able to hide completely until the harm or storm passed. 
He reminded me of the following verses and said this is what He would be doing with me this week (and beyond...and has been doing this all year)...covering me until the storm has passed. I just need to "open my eyes and see" Him and I can find rest in His Shadow.

Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.

12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.

13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

He reminded me that I didn't need to be afraid or dread the coming weeks before giving birth to our 2nd little girl. (Easier said, harder done, but I will try with His grace and strength).

I am in a state of remembrance and feel the fresh and raw state of grief like I did the weeks following Greyson's death. I feel the wounds reopening. It hurts and I bleed, but I know it is good and necessary.

Last year on this day, we were celebrating my sweet baby. Thirty of my good friends & family came to my baby shower. I was having contractions, but enjoying the party. Looking back, that seems to be the last day of the life I used to know.

I can't believe this week marks a year. It seems like a few weeks ago. 

Longest shortest hardest year of my life. 

...But the Lord promises to cover me until the storm has passed. (The end of my life)
He promises to make all things work together for my good, He promises that nothing can separate Him and I, He promises His love never fails.  He will carry me from strength to strength as I go about the journey.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Piano

When you lose a child, grieving is a lifelong experience
When our first child is born, a loud voice says, “Runners, take your marks!” We hear the starting gun and the race begins. It’s a race we must win at all cost. We have to win. The competition is called “I’ll race you to the grave.” I’m currently racing three sons. I really want to win.
Not everyone wins.
I’m here at the national meeting of Compassionate Friends, an organization offering support and resources for parents who lose the race. I’m wandering the halls during the “break-out” sessions. In this room are parents whose children died in car accidents. Over there is a room full of parents of murdered children. Parents of cancer victims are at the end of the hall. Miscarriages and stillbirths are grouped together, as are parents who have survived a child’s suicide. And so it goes.
In a few minutes, I’m going to address Compassionate Friends. This is the toughest audience of my life. I mix with the gathering crowd, and a woman from Delaware glances at my name tag. Her name tag has a photo of her deceased son. My name tag is absent photos.
“So … you haven’t … lost anyone,” she says cautiously.
“My three sons are yet alive, if that’s what you’re asking me,” I say gently.
She tries to nod politely, but I can see that I’ve lost credibility in her eyes. She’s wondering who invited this speaker, and what on earth he could ever have to say to her.
My address is titled “The Myth of Getting Over It.” It’s my attempt to answer the driving questions of grieving parents: When will I get over this? How do I get over this?
You don’t get over it. Getting over it is an inappropriate goal. An unreasonable hope. The loss of a child changes you. It changes your marriage. It changes the way birds sing. It changes the way the sun rises and sets. You are forever different.
You don’t want to get over it. Don’t act surprised. As awful a burden as grief is, you know intuitively that it matters, that it is profoundly important to be grieving. Your grief plays a crucial part in staying connected to your child’s life. To give up your grief would mean losing your child yet again. If I had the power to take your grief away, you’d fight me to keep it. Your grief is awful, but it is also holy. And somewhere inside you, you know that.
The goal is not to get over it. The goal is to get on with it.
Profound grief is like being in a stage play wherein suddenly the stagehands push a huge grand piano into the middle of the set. The piano paralyzes the play. It dominates the stage. No matter where you move, it impedes your sight lines, your blocking, your ability to interact with the other players. You keep banging into it, surprised each time that it’s still there. It takes all your concentration to work around it, this at a time when you have little ability or desire to concentrate on anything.
The piano changes everything. The entire play must be rewritten around it.
But over time the piano is pushed to stage left. Then to upper stage left. You are the playwright, and slowly, surely, you begin to find the impetus and wherewithal to stop reacting to the intrusive piano. Instead, you engage it. Instead of writing every scene around the piano, you begin to write the piano into each scene, into the story of your life.
You learn to play that piano. You’re surprised to find that you want to play, that it’s meaningful, even peaceful to play it. At first your songs are filled with pain, bitterness, even despair. But later you find your songs contain beauty, peace, a greater capacity for love and compassion. You and grief — together — begin to compose hope. Who’da thought?
Your grief becomes an intimate treasure, though the spaces between the grief lengthen. You no longer need to play the piano every day, or even every month. But later, when you’re 84, staring out your kitchen window on a random Tuesday morning, you welcome the sigh, the tears, the wistful pain that moves through your heart and reminds you that your child’s life mattered.
You wipe the dust off the piano and sit down to play.

Copyright: Las Vegas Review-Journal
Steven Kalas is a behavioral health consultant and counselor at Clear View Counseling and Wellness Center in Las Vegas. Contact him


Read this for the first time a few days ago. Parts of this analogy really resonated with me, parts of it I don't like. Mostly, I just wanted to share it with people who read my blog who are dealing with their own loss or walking with someone who is.

I have this fear that people are expecting us to be "over it" once we get through the first year or once we have another little daughter here with us. Part of that is me just hanging on to this huge heaviness in my soul and just not wanting to release it. I don't think I will ever be "normal" or my "old self" again. So, for those waiting for that, sorry.
Those things are gone to me now. I don't say that with negativity, just honesty. I am moving on into a different person. Parts of her I like, parts of her I hate.
I have lost friends, I have made new ones ones who can handle who I am now that my daughter has died and I am different. 
Hopefully not just different, but better?

The saddest part of "The Piano" was, when as a 84 yr old, you find yourself sitting down to play again through the tears. Remembering your little girl, she was YOURS, not just a baby that died or a sad thing that happened, but part of who you were and you will always grieve her, until she is handed into your arms at your arrival in Heaven. Always. 

There are no breaks, just distractions.

On days like today, the pain and sadness hit you, you remember. Remember that you forgot that you were sad. 
Forgot what you were doing this time last year and what you so badly wish you were doing this year. You wish you were someone else, anyone else, with a different life and on a different path. 
But then you stop and take a deep breath and find small glimpses of thankfulness and excitement over Heaven and the miracle inside your belly and you are convicted of comparing your life with another. 
You realize that God had all of this planned before you were born and He is still good and sovereign and He has your baby girl and He is healing you, even though it feels like you are at a stand still. 
He was, is, and will always be. 

So, He was there when you said hello a year ago and there when you said good-bye.
 He is ahead of you in time, preparing you for saying hello again. He knows how much it will hurt and also how much it will heal.
He knows how scared you are that might have to say good-bye again and He is helping you cope and handle that fear. He says, "Listen to Me."
He knows that right now, all that sounds good to your soul is to curl up and cry for a few weeks. 
He knows every thought that enters into your heart, mostly about her at random, uncontrollable times. He knows you hold back tears at her little reminders. He knows you get lost inside her pictures trying to remember what it felt like to hold her. 

He knows you are in a battle constantly trying to fight off who you want to be and who you know you need to be, the past and the present, bitterness, anger, jealousy, self-pity, etc. He has pity and compassion and comfort.
 He is not afraid of you or your sadness or the way you feel like your heart is breaking into a million pieces all over again. He is not waiting for you to be yourself again. He is molding you into a new creation. 
He cares. He remembers. He knows.

Hebrews 4:15

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses..."

 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."


Isaiah 43:18-19
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."