Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Beautiful Brokenness

About a year ago, I realized that there is a problem I face because of the type of personality God has given me. Something I don't like to admit to or reveal but is true and real whether I like accepting it or not. Sometimes, like every other human on this earth, I am sad. I am disappointed. I am mad. I am bitter. I am angry. I am anxious. I am not full of joy. I am NOT okay. For the free spirited, always keep a smile on, keep the peace kinda gal that I am, this really threw me for a loop.

God has taken me through such a whirlwind this year, even before our tiny one went to be with Jesus. It has been a year of self- discovery and healing and learning so many things about myself that keep me from being in perfect peace in my dear savior. I have learned that it is okay, not to be okay and that my only truest hope is in Christ alone. (There's a whole nother post that I'm sure I will write about at some point about this past year and all that God is continuing to do in my heart specifically related to this, but for today, just trust me, that it has been quite a journey.)

I say all this to say that God has allowed me to learn the value in vulnerability and peace in my lack of perfection and keeping it together all the time. But, in my humanness, I still want limits. I still want to project only the image I'm okay with people seeing and not let them see the tears as they are falling. It's okay for people to know my heart is still hurting over our tiny one- it's not okay for them to see my brokenness in its real, hardest, rawest state. Or so I had myself convinced anyways :)

A few weeks ago, a precious friend of ours had a worship celebration for her birthday. Matt, and two other guys, led worship and it was an incredible time of fellowship with dear friends. A few songs in, one of the other worship leaders, who didn't know about Matt and I's recent miscarriage, began sharing Lamentations 3:24 " The Lord is my portion," says my soul ,"therefore I will hope in Him."  He continued on to tell about an experience he had recently had at the doctors office. While at the office he ran into some friends of his who were walking out in tears-after a few moments he realized they had just found out they had miscarried their first baby.

I couldn't tell you what happened after that. Me, the keep it all together, always has a smile, trying to find the beauty in the broken self, couldn't control the tears that followed that story and ran out of the room in the some of the loudest cries I'm pretty sure have ever come out of me. I was broken, angry, sad, tired, and embarrassed that I had just had a meltdown at my friends awesome birthday party. But then, it happened. God showed up as always, this time in the form of my precious husband, and friends who followed me into the other room and prayed over me and for me while I just wept uncontrollably.  They wept with me and brought my broken self to Jesus when I couldn't get a word out to Him or them. They were the body, the precious body of Christ, who loves me like He does in wonderful and raw moments in this life.

Why do we run so far from the freedom that comes in Christ through his church?

What do we have to prove that Christ hasn't proven in Himself on the cross?

Why, in the rawest moments, do we turn people away so we can mourn or struggle or fear on our own?

Friends, I believe God has given us more. I believe he has given us his bride, to love and care for one another in the hardest moments of life. Life isn't always perfect. Okay, let's get real, it is never perfect! There is ALWAYS something going on, in someone's life, that makes them long for something more. That more is eternity. We struggle, we feel, we have very real heartache on this earth that will one do be nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed when we get to Heaven. Until then:

We aren't called to cry alone.
We aren't called to fear what people think.
We aren't called to live up to an insane expectation of having it all together all the time.
We aren't called to doing this life alone.

I'm not saying every person that reads this needs to go post a Facebook status about their deepest struggles and fears and be done with it. I don't know that that is necessarily the answer either :) What I do know though, is that living life; real, hard, messy, life, with people you love is the way to truest deepest community. I have seen the love of Christ, the character of Christ, the goodness of Christ, more in the last year than probably ever before . This has also probably been one of, if not the, hardest year of my life.

In those moments where His love didn't FEEL real, a sweet friend reminded me and believed it for me and with me.

In those moments where His character didn't SEEM good or loving, precious sisters reminded me of the truth of His word and times when His goodness has been absolutely undeniable.

We need each other sweet friends. Don't hide behind walls of shame and embarrassment because your life doesn't look as awesome as everyone else's on your Facebook or instagram.  Real friendships are hard, but the most rewarding kind I've ever been in. Remember that people only see what you let them- Let people in to the real, true, messy, raw, you. You will be blessed dear friends.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It is well with my soul

It's rainy and windy and cloudy this afternoon. My heart felt the same way until a few minutes ago- it's been a hard few days friends.

I would have found this week if Matt and I's tiny one was a little guy or little gal- instead, I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to see how my body is dealing with not being pregnant and if things are returning to "normal." 

What does that even mean? How do things just return to normal when your baby dies and the world moves on but you just can't ? How do you move on when your baby was a real living, heart beating, tiny human and then is just gone and the world can't look past the latest TV finale and your heart is still broken? Like I said and you can probably tell, emotions are on high this week which is good because it reveals how much this hurting heart needs Jesus in every single second.

I came home from work this afternoon and my heart was struggling. I curled up in the rocking chair on the front porch and started journaling and watching and listening to the rain pour down. My heart just kept asking, Jesus why do you just let it rain so hard sometimes? Why do precious families with a whole bunch of babies get in car wrecks and die and why do families get torn apart and why do daddy's get cancer and babies die in tummies? My baby, my tummy. And God spoke to me in my big ole' mess of sinfulness and I'm encouraged once again by His grace and mercy. 

While watching the rain, and questioning our big Jesus who is so able to handle my hurts and doubts, I heard what sounded like several little birds chirping. The most precious, tiny, adorable little chirps. I looked up and saw a bird's nest up in the corner of our porch- mama bird wasn't around so I thought I'd take a little peek. ( I know you aren't supposed to mess with bird's nests blah blah blah but God totally used this so I'm okay with it.) I climbed up on the ledge of our porch railing and very carefully, with much intention not to break the nest, cupped it in my hands and pulled it into eyes view. Inside the nest were three of the tiniest birds barely even feathered yet, and one perfect egg. After staring and admiring the little guys for a bit, I decided to move the nest to a safer place where it didn't look like it was going to fall off the porch ledge at any minute (Another no no, I know- whoops.) 

I went back to journaling and listening to the rain and listening to praises to my Jesus who I was so struggling to trust in that moment and God totally showed up and reminded me of His providence and hope. I heard a chirping sound again- this time louder, almost ferocious, if you can imagine that from a few pound bird. It was the mama- she was back and her babies were gone. And the floodgates opened and tears started flowing and wouldn't stop. She was crying out for her babies and they were nowhere to be found. Someone had come along and moved HER tiny ones and she couldn't even begin to fathom that. She wanted them-they were safe and they were hers. 

And that's me, a mommy crying out for my baby who is in Heaven and not with me. Jesus, I would have been a good mom! Jesus I would have loved our tiny one with all I had! Why did you take my baby Jesus! And Jesus quietly whispered the truths I know back into my aching heart this afternoon that He is the best my tiny one could ever have. He loves that baby more than I do. Like me, who wanted to see the beauty inside that nest and ended up ripping that mama bird's world apart- God knows the beauty He can reveal in me and through me that only comes through suffering. A beauty I may never know or see if our tiny one wasn't removed from where I thought was safe and taken somewhere far better- with no hurt, fear, pain, or ladies moving birds nests and killing mama birds dreams. 

I sat out there for hours. The mama kept coming back for her babies. She kept crying out every time she did, in hopes that they would hear her and she would find them. Isn't that what I'm doing Jesus? It's only been a little over a month and I have to keep coming back to you Father. I have to every day, reflect on the promises of God, not on this promises of this world. I have to come back and cry out for my baby but cry out knowing my baby is safe and so am I. I am loved and cared for and cherished inside the nest of my Father who will never break me or move me beyond what He alone can carry me through. 

About a week ago, a precious friend gave me a necklace as a tangible reminder of my tiny one and the hope we have in Jesus. The necklace was a tiny nest with a little turquoise egg inside- I immediately attached it to another charm I bought about a week after the miscarriage and put it on my neck. The charm reads " It is well with my soul." I bought it believing and trusting that though my soul hurts- I can trust it to Jesus and He will see me through this season. I'm so thankful even more now than a week ago, for my precious nest. I can trust my nest, all my little babies I hope to have one day and already have in Heaven, to my sweet Jesus. He does things I don't understand and that's okay- There is beauty to be found in the searching and safety to be found in the waiting. 

I'm so thankful for the sweet reminder today, that Jesus has my baby with Him and is bringing beauty through the pain and healing. Thank you Jesus. You are good and enough. Always. 

PS- I had some sort of skewed view about moving birds nests and what happens so had convinced myself I couldn't just move it back. Matt got home and moved it back and mama bird and the baby birds were reunited and they lived happily ever after. No birds were harmed in the writing of this blog. :) 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

He who promised is faithful.

I knew I would be waiting this Mother's Day. 

I'd be waiting for our tiny one to get bigger and give me a big ole' belly. 

I'd be waiting for the school year to end so I could start focusing on decorating the nursery.

I'd be waiting at doctor's appointments every month to see our baby growing. 

I'd be waiting for October, when our baby would be in our arms. 

That's not the kind of waiting I'm doing though. 

Instead, I'm waiting on blood work results every week while my body adjusts to no longer being pregnant. 

I'm waiting on precious friends to stop (innocently) asking if the morning sickness is getting better or how the baby's doing because they don't know that my baby's in Heaven now.

I'm waiting to be a mommy to a baby on Earth because our tiny one went right on up to Heaven and we know and believe that is better than anything we or this earth could offer. 

That doesn't make the waiting easier though. 

I know I'm not the only one waiting. I'm a mommy waiting to see my sweet firstborn in Heaven one day and waiting on God to fulfill the promises I know He has for our little family. 

What are you waiting for?

God to fill your barren womb and give you that sweet little love you already know you adore? 

God to fulfill the promise He made you that adoption is at the heart of God and you are begging, pleading Him for your little one from across the ocean to come home sooner rather than later? 

God to heal your loved ones cancer stricken body and praying that means healing on this Earth? 

God to bring your wayward child to His sweet arms of love and redemption and restoration?

God to bring that lifelong love that every part of you is so deeply longing for?

What is it for you? What is that longing or desire that you are just anxiously, not so patiently waiting for God to fulfill. I can promise you that if you aren't waiting now, or haven't yet, you will. I can promise this because the bible speaks to waiting so we know, at some point, we are all going to be in a season of wait. Through this new season of waiting that Matt and I are in, God's promises have been clearer than I've ever known. 

These are just a few of the verses God has used to encourage our heart- There are so many places in scripture where the heart of God is revealed and promises are fulfilled after seasons of painful waiting. 

Psalm 40:1 
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry

How am I to wait for the Lord? By begging him to give me patience each day and trusting that he turns his heart to mine in each moment and hears my tears. 

Romans 5:3-4 
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

How am I to wait for the Lord? By trusting that we can have joy in our sufferings because suffering produces endurance, endurance helps us trust in Jesus and become more like him, and what could ever give us more hope than the promise of life in Jesus forever. 

Romans 12:12 
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

How am I to wait for the Lord? Joyfully, patiently, and faithfully trusting that my dear Savior is the God who heals and reveals and gives only good to me.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

How am I to wait for the Lord? By persevering, knowing that God has promised good to those who love Him, and His good is ALWAYS better than my idea of good. 

Hebrews 10:23 
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

How am I to wait for the Lord? By knowing and believing, in the good and the bad, that we can hold onto hope because God is the one who always keeps His promises and is faithful forever.

On Mother's Day, I'm holding onto the hope of Christ- the hope that this season of tears and fears will one day end and the hope that God's plans for our life are perfect and good and He knows much better than we do when the time is right for our waiting to end. Questioning and wrestling and hurting are real and part of an aching wait- but God is near in those moments and tears so I encourage you tonight to embrace whatever season of waiting you are in. Wait well, by waking up each morning and begging Jesus to help you trust Him. Wait well, by getting on your knees and as your tears spill onto the floor ask sweet Jesus to heal your aching heart and give you peace in seasons of seemingly no end. Wait well, by trusting that He who promised is faithful- what a perfect promise we have in Jesus. 

Happy Mother's Day sweet friends- to all the mommy's with babies on this earth and in Heaven with sweet Jesus.



Friday, May 2, 2014

Romans 12:15

*If you haven't read my first blog post, scroll down and read that before this one. This post will make a lot more sense after reading the first. For those of you who did read it, your responses have been absolutely overwhelming. Thank you for loving us so well during this season. Every single kind word touches our hearts so deeply. We are so thankful for each one of you.*

There are a few things I want you to hear if you read my blog post yesterday and plan to continue reading in the days to come. 

I want you to know that my heart in sharing our struggles in such a public way are not without great thought and intention. The part of our story we are currently walking through, and any part that has passed or is to come, is how God is molding and shaping us for His glory and our joy. I want you, my sweet friends, to know that He is good and gracious and hears us. I want you to know that God is on His throne in Heaven and that can and should be so overwhelmingly comforting. But, I also want you to know that we live in a fallen world and life can be so very hard sometimes. Right now, is one of those seasons for us and that's okay. God doesn't promise a life without suffering, rather He promises that He is near and that suffering makes us more like Him. God is big enough to comfort our hearts when we can't fathom what that looks like and loving enough to be so near in times of brokenness. I want you to know, that life is hard and hurts and wrecks us- but our God is bigger than the ruin and wreckage and redeems the most raw places in our hurting hearts. He is good and gracious, always.

I want you to know that miscarriage is much more common than people might think. Hearing from so many of you, about your own journey with miscarriage has been so comforting to me. So sad in a way, because it breaks my hearts that so many of my dear friends have had to deal with this struggle as well, but comforting to know that we are not alone in this, and as our Father carried you through, He will carry us as well. As with so many hard and personal struggles, families often deal with miscarriage alone, feeling shame, embarrassment, and uncertainty about how to share with friends what they are going through. For Matt and I,  after we saw that precious tiny heart beating, we were ecstatic to share with everyone about the life God was creating in my womb. Everyone knew that Matt and I were having a baby, and now I want, I need, people to know that right now, we are not. I want it to be clear that my heart in creating this blog isn't a plea for sympathy- it's a plea for community. God has not called us to live a life in secrecy or pain or shame. He has called us to live life together, in community with people who love Him and love us and can bear our burdens and pour out to Jesus on our behalves. As a believer, we are told to "rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15.) That's what this is about. Not attention, but affliction. It's real ya'll. God tells us we will suffer in this world. How much better is it to suffer with people who love you than suffer behind closed hearts and doors? I want our precious friends to know that suffering is hard , but we don't have to suffer alone. Being real and honest with people who live life with us has and I'm sure will continue to be such an incredible blessing for Matt and I during this season.  I want you to be encouraged that tears and fears don't make you less of a believer, less of a person- they affirm your humanness and need for Jesus and what more could we really ask for ? 

I don't have a clue what this blog is going to look like, but I know that God does. Maybe I post a few times and that's all. Maybe God continues to use our story to bring glory to Him and comfort to someone else. Maybe it's healing for me to write my thoughts and let you hear my heart. Who knows? Jesus does, and that's enough for me.