I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge,
That myth is more potent than history.
I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts
That hope always triumphs over experience
That laughter is the only cure for grief
And I believe that love is stronger than death.
~~Robert Fulghum. Storyteller's Creed.~~

I have mentioned before that somehow, however contradictory it may sound, I have hope for the future, but sometimes I just don't have hope for the present.

Hope - believing that a better or positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary.

Everyday there is mounting "evidence to the contrary" everywhere I look. The news is full of terrible things--proof that this world does not and should not make sense to us. If the happenings of the earth make sense to me, then I have a serious problem. Even the things that are not controlled by humans (like this) do not make sense to me. They can't make sense because I cannot see the Master's plan. However, seeing all of these things only makes it more clear that without a hope in God, I am forever going to be stuck trying to make sense of this life.

Whatever happiness or expectancy hope engenders within a person, the feelings that must come first are anger and courage--anger at the way things are and courage to see that they do not remain that way.

For someone to experience the happiness of hope, I think that they have to get through the anger and courage first. Sometimes that journey is instantaneous. The very first time you see those two pink lines you have no firsthand knowledge of the anger at the way things are. The first thought that crosses your mind is not about all of the babies in Heaven who have left grieving mamas behind. Since there is no anger, courage to see the world differently is not needed and you can jump straight to hope. Trying to rekindle hope after a tragedy is completely different. That journey is long and the obstacles change on a daily (or sometimes hourly) basis depending on where you are in your grief.

I'm somewhere in between anger and courage. I am still angry every time I see a new blog that is dedicated to a child's memory. I am outraged when I hear about women like this when there are so many who would do almost anything to have one. But, I don't yet have the courage to truly believe that things will not always be this way. Don't get me wrong. I know that a day is coming when all will be made right and we will walk the New Earth with Jesus. I know that His grace is sufficient for all of my needs. I know that this world is broken. I know all of these things, but this is that hope for the future that I mentioned. Everything will be okay, but everything is not okay now.

For now, I am struggling with this lack of hope. Tomorrow will be eight long months since I last held Raelyn in my arms, but this is not the source of my pain right now. I rejoice in the fact that she is living in Heaven, free and whole, even though I miss her dearly and I wonder what she would be doing now if she were still here. My lack of hope comes from trying to give her a sibling. Every month that passes brings another torrential wave of intense hope in the beginning which turns to a crushing blackness by the end. Obviously, the gift of another child is not a decision that is left up to me. My head knows that it will happen (or not) in accordance with His plan and I trust in the fact that His plan truly is in my best interest. I just don't have the courage to let myself believe that things will change while I am still here on earth. Without that, I cannot have hope for the present, but I will keep pressing forward, leaning on Him.

Hoping does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusion. It is not compelled to work away at keeping up appearances with a bogus spirituality. It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying. And hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion or fantasy to protect us from our boredom or our pain. It means a confident, alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do. It is imagination put in the harness of faith. It is a willingness to let God do it in his way and in his time. It is the opposite of making plans that we demand that God put into effect, telling him both how and when to do it.


I feel totally, utterly defeated today.

I have worked, prayed, hoped for so long and still have nothing to show for it all.

My legs feel as heavy as my heart and my arms literally ache.

It's as if someone is standing on my shoulders as I walk through my life and sometimes, he covers my eyes so that I cannot see the path ahead.

Today is one of those times when my eyes are covered and I cannot respond to anything except through the darkness.

I don't know how to break out of this funk, but I can't keep walking in darkness or I'll alienate even the ones who have stuck by me.

Lord, move in a way that I've never seen before
Cause there's a mountain in the way and a lock on the door
I'm drifting away. Waves are crashing on the shore.
So, Lord move or move me.

***Sorry this post is so cryptic and vague. Just trying to work through my own thoughts...


Mother's Day 2009 is over.  

I did get a phone call from my friend who 'gets it' and a card from a friend from work who has no children, but is incredibly sweet.  My husband gave me a handmade mother/child heart pendant and wished me a Happy Mother's Day as soon as I woke up so I thought I was going to have an okay day.

I was most worried about church and if I was going to be upset by the message or the recognition of all the mothers.  I wondered if I was going to stand with them or not.  I have the marks of a mother, just not the marks of a Mom.  I have the stretch marks, the dark circles under my eyes, the saggy places that didn't use to sag.  What I don't have is the diaper bag instead of the purse, the carseat in the back of the car, or, most importantly, my beautiful 3 month old daughter.  I had decided that I would stand proudly, even if I had tears falling, in honor of Raelyn, but there was no recognition at church.  There was little recognition with my family either.  I overlooked the cards that didn't come.  I sat at meals with two different sets of family as people passed "Happy Mother's Day" across me, but inside I was crying out.  I was dying to pull my pictures out of my purse and pass them around the tables to prove that I am a mother because no one seems to remember.  Even the ones who were present at her birth gave no indication that they had ever set foot in my delivery room.  

But I didn't rain on anyone else's day.  I put on my 'face' and smiled and laughed while I cried inside.  It's days like this that make me wish I was more outspoken for myself.  Now, I feel guilty that I never stood and took my place as Raelyn's mom--like I was ashamed or something.  I wonder if everyone thinks that since I didn't push it, since I didn't make an issue out of everything, that I'm 'over it' or that I don't think about her anymore or that I don't consider myself a mother.  

I didn't choose this.  I was chosen to be Raelyn's mom.  God chose this path for me before the beginning of time.  I don't know why.  I don't know how to walk this road except by the grace of God.  I have to lean on Him to be able to move forward every day.  I read a quote today that really made sense to me at this time.  "Who God uses, He bruises.  What He makes, He first breaks."  I don't know that I am completely broken because I grieve with hope, but I am severely bruised.  I am not even sure how I am being used at this point, but someday, maybe never on this earth, I will understand the Master's plan and how Raelyn and I fit into it.

Mother's Day

Technically, this is not my first Mother's Day.

Last year, I was pregnant with Raelyn but I just didn't know it yet.

I didn't know that just two weeks later, a pregnancy test would give me the best day of my life.

I didn't know that my husband was about to have his first Father's Day and our dads were going to be Grandfathers on Father's Day.

I didn't know about this mother's love that transcends all time, space, and logic.

I didn't know that we would share this pregnancy with our friends who would become pregnant a month later.

I didn't know about nausea and onesies and stretch marks and OB visits and bouncy seats and tiny dresses and so many other tiny beautiful scary things.

I didn't know that five months later, my world would come crashing down around me.

I didn't know about soft markers or the lemon sign or rocker-bottom feet or clenched fists or Trisomy 18.

I didn't know that we would lose those pregnant friends because we were too uncomfortable to be around.

I didn't know about grief.

I didn't truly know about God's grace to carry me when I cannot stand.

I didn't truly know about His peace that passes all (and I do mean all) understanding.

I didn't truly know how He could love us as His own children because I had never held one of my own.

I didn't know...

I know now.

Something to think about...

I found this post on this heart-wrenching blog I just discovered today. All of this is something I know to be true, but somehow, I have to make myself believe and submit to this idea of radical trust. This post gives me something to think about. I needed this today...

By: John Piper

One of the reasons God rarely gives micro reasons for his painful providences, but regularly gives magnificent macro reasons, is that there are too many micro reasons for us to manage, namely, millions and millions and millions and millions and millions.

God says things like:
These bad things happened to you because I intend to work it together for your good (Romans 8).
These happened so that you would rely more on God who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1).
This happened so that the gold and silver of your faith would be refined (1 Peter 1).
This thorn is so that the power of Christ would be magnified in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12).

But we can always object that there are other easier ways for God to accomplish those things. We want to know more specifics: Why now? Why this much? Why this often? Why this way? Why these people?

The problem is, we would have to be God to grasp all that God is doing in our problems. In fact, pushing too hard for more detailed explanations from God is a kind of demand that we be God.

Think of this, you are a blacksmith making horseshoes. You are hammering on a white hot shoe and it ricochets off and hits you in the leg and burns you. In your haste to tend to your leg you let the shoe alone unfinished. You wonder why God let this happen. You were singing a hymn and doing his will.

Your helper, not knowing the horseshoe was unfinished gathered it up and put it with the others.Later there was an invasion of your country by a hostile army with a powerful cavalry. They came through your town and demanded that you supply them with food and with shoes for their horses. You comply.

Their commander has his horse shoed by his own smith using the stolen horseshoes, and the unfinished shoe with the thin weak spot is put on the commander’s horse.

In the decisive battle against the loyal troops defending your homeland the enemy commander is leading the final charge. The weak shoe snaps and catches on a root and causes his horse to fall. He crashes to the ground and his own soldiers, galloping at full speed, trample him to death. This causes such a confusion that the defenders are able to rout the enemy and the country is saved.

Now you might say, well, it would sure help me trust God if he informed me of these events so that I would know why the horseshoe ricocheted and burned my leg. Well maybe it would help you. Maybe not.

God cannot make plain all he is doing, because there are millions and millions and millions and millions of effects of every event in your life, the good and the bad. God guides them all. They all have micro purposes and macro purposes. He cannot tell you all of them because your brain can’t hold all of them.

Trust does not demand more than God has told us. And he has given us immeasurably precious promises that he is in control of all things and only does good to his children. And he has given us a very thick book where we can read story after story after story about how he rules for the good of his people.

Let’s trust him and not ask for what our brains cannot contain.

Naming it

I have been largely silent here for the past few weeks. I have been feeling like I want to write something, anything but I have been telling myself that I just don't have time because I'm too busy. Wednesday night, on my 20th-ish consecutive night spent in front of the computer watching old episodes of my favorite TV shows it hit me. I was watching last week's episode of Grey's Anatomy (if you don't watch it, bear with me) and I got to the end of the episode where Owen is in therapy with Dr. Wyatt. She is encouraging him to speak his feelings so that they can start to work through his post-traumatic stress disorder and when he finally does, she says something that struck me. Here is the conversation:

Owen: I jumped. In front of her car. And she was just driving to the bank.

Dr. Wyatt: Are you talking about Cristina?

Owen: I jumped in front of her. I knew, I knew I wasn't together. I knew I was no good for her, or for anyone. And I wrecked her. And that is unforgivable. I don't forgive myself for that. I can't forgive myself for that. And I feel shameful about that. That is what I feel today. Shame.

Dr. Wyatt: Good. That's a start.

Owen: How is that a start?

Dr. Wyatt: You named it. The feeling. You have to know what it is, before you can start to navigate to somewhere better.

I am not busy. I come home from work and don't want to do anything--just sit on the couch and vegetate. I can't write because I don't know how to name this feeling. I don't even know if there is a feeling. How can I sum up such conflicting emotions? How can I think about moving forward? How can I think about leaving her behind? How can I qualitatively describe the effects of a life which some don't even consider to be a life? How can her existence only be chronicled in this tiny little corner of the internet? How can I continue to write about this child that I never got the opportunity to know? How can I not continue? How do I reconcile my love for the sovereign God of the universe with my limited understanding of His perfect plan for my life? How can I not love Him? How do I comprehend His unending love for me while remembering the fact that He holds my daughter in Heaven? How can I not rejoice for her and praise Him for His grace?

For some of these questions, there is no answer. For some, there is no question. These are some of the questions banging around in my heart as I try to name this feeling so that I can begin to navigate to somewhere better.