December 31, 2015

Thank You Grace

Thank You Grace,

When I selected you as my word for 2015 I had no idea what that year would bring. Even more important and pressing was how much I would need Grace to be the center of my year.

The year started off with the goal of showing others more of you. I tend to have very high standards and low trust. So I followed my deep conviction, and set out to shower others with Grace. Some friendships were mended, some grew even stronger, and others came to their end. But I learned that Grace has no expiration regardless of a relationship status.

Then as the year settled into early summer Grace turned the tables. I became very sick with very limited resources. But Grace is not bound by our restrictions. My husband and I were overwhelmed with donations of time, encouragements, and financial support! Grace, you have really out done yourself.

We had a beautiful dance. A step forward in faith was reciprocated with more Grace. And as the situations grew more complicated and unstable, David and I reflected on our previous dance routines. Our responses were more than choreographed, they were a genuine natural movement.

With the cool breeze of Fall you graced us with your presence. You gave us a beautiful gift that we had patiently waited for. And when that gift slipped through our hands, you held us so tight. Your touch provided peace and love. Your constant guidance was the only light pulling us out of darkness and toward healing. You allowed us to scream and beat our chest. You allowed us to mourn and worship. There were no rules under your direction.

When David and I decided that we would like to name our child, we did not look far. This child was yours before it was ours. While singing the song "Lord I need You" the following verse sealed the deal.

Our child was not lost but found with the Lord, in a paradise of Grace. We had referred to Baby O as a boy and settled in on the name Gracen. His memory would be rooted in the overwhelming, undeserving gift of the Love of Christ. 

As tears and years come and go, I know you will guide my heart. As people inquire about this family of two, you will give me courage. As we meet other hurting couples, you will give me wisdom. As we celebrate with others, you will give me strength. 

Thank you Grace. 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:16

November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Trimester

I mulled over this post over and over again constantly debating with how transparent I want to be with you and how transparent I need to be [for myself]. This may not be understood by anyone else but for me, I need to read this. 


Just a few months ago I thought it would take ages to reach this week and yet here we are. This week would have marked my second trimester of pregnancy. So how am I feeling? How am I holding up?

deep breathe in...


deep breathe out...

That is such a short sentence, and often so flippantly used but here, in this moment, it is pure. This simple sentence takes my breathe away and restores it with calm assurance.  

This week does not get to belong to my past. It does not get to be a mourning marker but a healing marker. It is the marking of my second trimester of healing. My main symptoms are deep breaths and my top craving is a whole lotta Jesus.....and a little bit of Adele   :)

Don't think about tomorrow. I just need this moment. 
Don't think about May. My heart can't see that far just yet. 
Don't think about the trials to come. After all, I know who I belong to, and nothing catches Him off guard. 

Our loving Father knew that Thanksgiving and my second trimester would share a day.
Sweet November has held my gentle spirit and taken calendar dates from the depths of mourning and adorned them on a heart in the middle of restoration. 

So Thanksgiving surrounded us with family, and a giggling niece and nephews. With hours of card games and football games (including a BIG 12 championship...BOOMER SOONER.) Delicious food and even some shopping.

Our thankfulness was expressed in living life with each other and embracing each other in love and laughter. It was beautiful marker of healing and celebration of the simple blessings. 

November 18, 2015

Phase Six: Altered

If you are visiting my blog for the first time, you may refer to the Phase One for background on our miscarriage story. We are thankful for your continued prayer support during our journey. 

When I began these posts I wrestled with what to call them. I jumped between "Part" and "Phase." And even though I have decided on "phase" it still does not adequately label these forms of expression.

A "part" & "phase" elude to a conclusion. There may be dozens of parts and phases, but eventually they will be complete; they conclude. I think this reveals my mind set at the time of losing Baby O. My Type-A personality said "you will only mourn for a short time, this will just be a portion of your story, this will only be a phase."

And while some days I wish it was over, there are tender sweet November moments when I am thankful to have my battle wounds. There are times when I just want to write a blog post about my weekend plans or show off my Christmas decor. There are also times when I open a post, bare my soul, and leave the post in draft mode because it is all too tender to release to you.

I am learning that a time is coming when "phase" is not permanent enough. I no longer want to look back and read about my phase of miscarriage, because God has moved mountains in my identity, marriage, relationships that far exceed the capacity of a "phase."

There has not been a day since September when I do not think of Baby O. in one aspect or another. That has never changed.

What has changed, and is so beautiful, is what brings Baby O to mind.

At first the thoughts came from a place of deep mourning. I missed my baby. Then through gentle interactions and tender conversations I was reflecting on Baby O in a positive light. God used our child to reach those around us that had not yet come to terms with their out miscarriage story. God used our child to soften our hearts toward the hurting hearts of others. My husband and I mourn better. Our arms are open with unconditional apology for the hurts of a broken world.

And with that I am thankful.

Only the God of the Bible, our Creator, and redeemer. Only He can take something awful and by His spirit use it to bring peace and comfort to our hearts and to the hearts of others.

Nothing else can do that. No one else can do that.

This is a life change. Not a "part" or "portion" or "phase" of my life. The very fabric of my thoughts, of my love, and of my actions are altered.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come." - 2nd Corinthians 5:17

November 4, 2015

Phase Five: Sweet November

Thank you for your continued prayer during this season of our life and phase of healing. If you are reading this post for the first time, you may refer to the Phase One for background on our miscarriage story. 

I have always wanted to be pregnant in Autumn.

I loved everything about cozy blankets, football games, and two holidays back to back. Many of the ideas of sharing news with family and friends centered around cute pumpkins, at the Thanksgiving Dinner table, or through Christmas gifts. 

So it was a tender sweet gift to be pregnant in the fall. The pregnancy was not only an answer to prayer but the timing was as well.

A few weeks ago I shared about the cruelty of this miscarriage experience. While writing that post I viewed my autumn miscarriage as a cruel taunting of this fallen world. Why did it have to be during my favorite season? Why did it have to be near my birthday? The hurt seemed so intentional. The pain seemed so specific. 

Then, during a crisp fall night, October passed away and gave birth to November. 

Sweet November. 

A time of Thankfulness. A time of looking back on what God has done this year. 

Throughout the New Testament the apostle Paul continues to remind his fellow Christians to seek a heart of thankfulness, especially during a time of trial. 

"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
 - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

So here I am. In my autumn, barring wounds from battle, as I march in the season of Thanksgiving. 

What I have found when I am face down before God is that I can more accurately see His provision over my life instead of my vision for my life. When I am humble before God I am reminded of the 1,000's of dollars He provided for my surgery. When I step back from my current hurt I am reminded that God puts air in my lungs each morning. There are things to be thankful for everywhere!

So how tender and how sweet of the Lord to have November after October. How tender and sweet of Him to move me toward a heart of mourning to a heart of thanksgiving with autumn leaves all around me. While October seemed cruel, November seems sweet.