Torn Asunder

This is the last worship song that I’ll be sharing this month, and it’s the one that touched me the most. I still have no words to express how this song has spoken to my heart.

When my Heart is Asunder

When my heart
Is torn asunder
And my world
Just falls apart
Lord You put
Me back together
And lift me up
To where You are

There is hope
Beyond the suffering
Joy beyond the tears
Peace in every tragedy
Love that conquers fear
I have found redemption
In the blood of Christ
My body might be dying
But I’ll always be alive

You have turned
Mourning to dancing
You have covered me with grace
The struggle here
May last a moment
But life with You
Will last always

There is hope
Beyond the suffering
Joy beyond the tears
Peace in every tragedy
Love that conquers fear
I have found redemption
In the blood of Christ
My body might be dying
But I’ll always be alive

When the age
Of death is over
And this world
Has been reborn
I’ll be there
Beside my Savior
This is our GREAT
And rich reward

There is hope
Beyond the suffering
Joy beyond the tears
Peace in every tragedy
Love that conquers fear
I have found redemption
In the blood of Christ
My body might be dying
But I’ll always be alive

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here. Know someone that this series may touch? Share as you see fit. 

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

Pregnancy Loss

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance day. This one day of they year, we pause to remember children who are lost and the families that mourn them still. I can imagine, so close to my loss, that I will still feel the loss of my daughter for the rest of my life, although my grief will change as time goes on.

For those of you who have lost children, in the 6th or the 41st week, I pray for your today. I pray that the Lord would give you comfort and peace. I do not know your exact pain, just as you do not know mine, but I am thankful that we are able to support one another as we walk a road of pain together. Something that people safe often in regards to grief is “time heals all wounds”. This phrase is not true. Wounds that are not treated correctly do not heal with time, they often get worse. In our Griefshare meeting yesterday, another phrase was offered. Time spent with Jesus heals. Spend time with Jesus. Bring your confusion and pain to Him. Choose to trust Him with your pain, even if you don’t feel like it.

For those who love someone who’s lost a baby, support them. Feel free to grieve their loss yourself, but be careful to think about them and pray for them. Offer your support. Don’t forget. Even years after, don’t forget.

“13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here. Know someone that this series may touch? Share as you see fit. 

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

Deep Love

When I’m in the depths of grief, I need reminded that God loves me. I need reminded of my faith; of the sacrifice Christ made for me when He died on the cross. I believe with my whole heart that God chose to allow His only Son to die to pay the penalty for my sins. His only Son.

I never thought I would, but I know what it’s like for my only child to die. I know how badly it hurt that Cora died. I know some measure of the pain that God experienced when He allowed His only Son to die for my sins. And knowing that God knows how I feel comforts me. The reminder that God is still sovereign and that I am still His comforts me. And I pray that you know that comfort as well. I pray that you know that no matter what is going on in your life that Christ died for you, and that all you have to do to know Him is to accept that gift by confess that He is Lord and that you have fallen short.

“…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 

How deep His love is for us indeed.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here. Know someone that this series may touch? Share as you see fit. 

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

When my Feet Fail

The song “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United has been popular since 2013. The song feels good to sing, and when you listen to it on the surface, it feels good to hear as well.

When you take a long, hard look at the lyrics, the refrain goes:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Asking for God to take you “deeper than my feet could ever wander” is asking to get thrown in water that is too deep for you to handle. It’s asking to get placed in water that will drown you if your focus is not correct.

Think of Peter in Matthew 14:22-33. Peter tells Jesus to call him out on the water with him “if that is You”. Jesus said to him, “Come” and Peter stepped out on the water. Peter then noticed a “strong wind” and began to sink. He stopped focusing on Jesus.

That is what happens to us when we mourn and take our eyes off Christ. The wind is blowing pretty heavily in my life right now. My stress level is high, and the rest of my life feels like it hinges on test results that have yet to come. Will I be able to have another baby ever? Do I have an illness that will affect me forever?

I am having a difficult time. Have I told you that? I’m a mess. I’m having a hard time. And when I take my eyes of Christ, I start to sink. I start to flail around and become so frightened that I’m paralyzed. Every day this happens to me, usually multiple times a day. What if something else bad happens? What if I start to feel more overwhelmed. What if? 

When we ask Christ to call us out on the water with Him, may we remember that it isn’t “safe”. It is not within our comfort zone. When we’re called out on the water and we’re scared, may we remember that Christ is still good, even when we feel like we’re in over our heads. And He is right there when we cry, “Lord, save me!” like Peter did when he began to sink. May our faith grow as our trust grows. May we remember that trust doesn’t grow without the opportunity to trust more and more as God takes us out of our comfort zones.

When my feet fail, like they do daily, may I turn to Christ. 

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will standAnd I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

[6x]
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Oh, Jesus, you’re my God!

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here. Know someone that this series may touch? Share as you see fit. 

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

I Need Thee Every Hour

Another song that I listened to on repeat in the days following her loss was “I Need Thee Every Hour”. This song, penned by Annie S. Hawks and Robert Lowry, is a plea for God to be near. When my mind was so muddle by grief and pain, I could hardly come up with my own words to pray to ask God to be near. This song is a plea for the Lord to draw near; an expression of total dependence on God. When I had no words to express myself, I hid in this song. I cried as I listened to it over and over again.

I Need Thee Every Hour

1 I need thee every hour,
most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine
can peace afford.

Refrain:
I need thee, O I need thee,
every hour I need thee.
O bless me now, my Savior;
I come to thee.

I need thee every hour;
stay thou near by;
temptations lose their power
when thou art nigh. [Refrain]

I need thee every hour,
in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide,
or life is vain. [Refrain]

I need thee every hour;
teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises
in me fulfill. [Refrain]

I need thee every hour,
Most Holy One;
O make me thine indeed,
thou Blessed Son! [Refrain]

I am thankful that God is near when we need Him most, even when we don’t have the words to express our needs. I am thankful that we have music available to us when words fail to express our deep need for God, even in suffering. I am thankful that when I lived my life trying to just make it through the next ten minutes, that someone else had written such apt words and music with which I could worship. 

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here. Know someone that this series may touch? Share as you see fit. 

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

It is Well

One of the things that has helped carry me through this loss is music. Music has always been a very special part of my life. When I’m scared, I sing. When I can’t sleep, I pray and praise God for who He is, often through going through songs that I’ve loved in my heart and in my head. When I’m scared of the days to come, I find great solace in music. I believe that God designs each of us to worship in a certain way. Some worship through painting or writing, and some through singing. I have been singing since I was a little girl, and hope that I never have to stop. I find the mingling of voices in a church choir to worship God a small glimpse into what I think Heaven will be like when we’re in God’s presence. There is something beautiful about singing with those that we love, each lending our own unique voices to a piece written by someone else and sung by many others in their native tongue in times of pain and in times of joy.  

“It is Well with my Soul” was written by Horatio Spafford. Spafford was a successful businessman in Chicago, and had a great deal of real estate holdings. After the loss of his son and the loss of his property holdings in the Great Chicago Fire, Spafford scheduled a European trip for his family to help them recover. He was delayed in his journey, and sent his wife and daughters ahead. He received news shortly thereafter that all of his daughters drowned on the journey, and that his wife alone survived. He wrote this powerful, hopeful song as his ship sailed over the very place where his daughters died.

(http://www.sharefaith.com/guide/Christian-Music/hymns-the-songs-and-the-stories/it-is-well-with-my-soul-the-song-and-the-story.html)

This song speaks to my heart. Spafford lost everything, and at the very site where his children drowned, he praised God. He praised God as he reminded his soul of God’s goodness.

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Refrain

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

Refrain

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Refrain

As I live daily without my own daughter, I am thankful for the reminder to my soul that all is well, because of who God is. I am thankful for the reminder that no matter the trial, God is with me. It truly is well with my soul. 

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here. Know someone that this series may touch? Share as you see fit. 

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

A Story of Stillbirth- Hope

That’s our story so far. Husbandman and I are back at work full time, and I’m physically fully recovered. We’re still waiting on test results, but the likelihood that we’ll find out exactly what caused our baby girl to die are slim. (And if I’m completely honest, I am really struggling with not having test results back yet. I really want to know what we can know.)

There have been a few days that I haven’t cried since we lost her, but many more days that I have. Sometimes, the grief comes out of nowhere and takes me by surprise. Some days I wake up sadder than others, and some days I remember to laugh.

I’m used to wrapping up stories in a neat bow, but the truth is that this story won’t ever really be “over”. I have been changed by Cora’s life and death, which means that every experience that I have for the rest of my life will be colored by her’s. And I’m okay with that. Allowing my life to be changed by the fact that she lived means that I won’t forget her, and that’s a good thing.

Husbandman and I choose to see our story as one of hope. We have chosen to see her life in the light of our faith. We could easily focus on the sadness of what we’ve experienced, or we can focus on the hope of our salvation in Christ Jesus. Our faith doesn’t mean that hard times won’t come. Christ only lived into His thirties, He told people that to follow Him was to renounce all of their physical possessions, and He wasn’t the CEO of a major carpentry business. He spent His time with social outcasts and slept where His head fell. He chose to die on a cross, the death of a criminal, to pay the price for my sins so that He could redeem me, the very one who is responsible for him being on that cross. I will not deny my faith in Christ, because He does not deny me.

Today, we choose hope. We choose to hope in Christ that we will be reunited with her when we die. We choose to hope in Christ that her life will bring others closer to Him. Tomorrow, we choose to hope as well, and all the days after that.

We encourage you to choose hope with us, regardless of your circumstances. We encourage you to choose hope in Christ Jesus because of a personal relationship with Him. It’s not easy. It hurts. But, it’s worth it. It’s good.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here. Know someone that this series may touch? Share as you see fit. 

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

A Story of Stillbirth- Home

After we got home, I noticed how still our house was, and how loud the silence was. I slept at night, but woke up every three hours on the dot, looking for a baby to need me to take of her. I started lactating, and spend miserable days waiting for the engorgement to ease; waiting for the physical pain to ebb and stop reminding me every second of how there was no Cora to feed. We made a visit to the funeral home, to finalize the arrangements for her remains.

My body healed well. My ability to work and to do physical labor returned slowly. I slept as much as I could, and we had a steady stream of visitors blessing us with their time, gifts, and food. On more than one occasion, I hid in the bathroom off of our bedroom and cried while there were people at our house, because I was so overwhelmed. I cried so much that I had an almost constant headache from being dehydrated. We started keeping tissues in each room of the house for all of the crying that happened  seemingly at random.

I spent time listening to music, studying my Bible, and praying. I spent as much time as I could. I felt like the moment that I took my eyes off of Christ, I would drown like Peter when Jesus called him to walk on the stormy waters towards him.

We spent every day focusing on making it through the day, and waited to think about tomorrow until it arrived. Husbandman spent one week at home with me, and went back to work the week after. I was alone in the house, but got daily visitors from work or church with food and a hug just when I needed it.

Along with the redefinition of myself, my home had to be redefined in my mind. The room that had been the guest room and was intending to be the nursery was the guest room again. The space in our bedroom where she was supposed to sleep is just a space on the floor now. It took a long time before I could walk past the guest room and not cry every time. Sometimes, I go and sit in that room and still cry, remembering what was planned that won’t occur. 

Being home was a lovely, painful refuge. I couldn’t do much because I was physically and mentally too weak, but God brought people to me. He brought beautiful days when I could walk up and down our little street and build my strength. He provided my neighbor’s dog when I just need to pet something fluffy, and my neighbors when I needed a friendly face and to know that someone was physically near. He provided what I needed every day, even when I didn’t know how to handle my grief. He carried me as I learned how to live with the grief that I will carry to my grave.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here. Know someone that this series may touch? Share as you see fit. 

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

A Story of Stillbirth- One Less than Planned

It took about ten hours from her delivery for me to be able to feel how sore my backside was. I’m convinced that I fractured my tailbone, because I still can’t sit on certain surfaces for too long, and it’s almost been nine weeks. While we rested, we ate, we talked, we cried. We laughed too, when we found out that epidurals take your ability to control certain bodily functions. We spoke with staff about what we would do with her body after all of the testing was done. We talked about how I was supposed to care for my body as I recovered from delivery. Husbandman’s boss told him about a local funeral home that did arrangements at no cost to families that lost children, and we worked on getting in touch with them. We made more decisions, about what tests to do or not do to try and figure out what caused Cora to die. I made all of these decisions in a haze, half unbelieving that this had happened. Sometimes, it still doesn’t feel real. Sometimes, it all still feels like a bad dream from which I will wake up and find that my little girl is still in my womb, safe. Instead, I know that she’s not with me, but that she’s safe with the Lord.

My doctors said that I would be allowed to go home that day if I felt up to it, but because I was so numb from the epidural, we decided to stay until the next day so that I could gain control of my faculties a bit more before being without nurses and doctors. Mercifully, we stayed in the room in which she was delivered, instead of being sent to the “Mother and Babies” part of the hospital for recovery. We heard one baby cry the entire time we were in the hospital, and we all cried. We didn’t cry because we begrudged that baby it’s life or that mother her child, but because we knew that we would never hear Cora cry.

That night, another nurse let me sleep as much as I could. I feel like I’m still catching up on sleep. When we woke up the next morning, we heard a decent amount of screaming from at least two other rooms, and assumed that a couple of other patients were having rough deliveries. My nurse that day was the same as the day before, and when things quieted down, we spent a decent amount of time figuring out how I was supposed to be taken care of, physically and mentally. When you lose a baby, you’re at even higher risk than normal for anxiety issues or post-partum depression. Husbandman was given a prescription for an anti-anxiety medicine that he still is keeping in his wallet in case I start to have anxiety issues. I’m still being watched for postpartum depression, which can show up six months after delivering a baby. My doctors said that I wasn’t allowed to think about going back to work until after I’d been seen for a two-week follow up appointment, and that it could take “a while” for us to get test results back. Spoiler: “a while”, it turns out, is up to three months. We’re still waiting.

When we finally left, we loaded our bag and paperwork onto a pushcart, and me into a wheelchair. They pushed me to where Husbandman was picking up the car, and helped load the two of us, only the two of us, into the car. My nurse, the same one that I had the day of Cora’s birth, hugged me goodbye.

As we drove home, we cried. We never ever thought that we would go home from the hospital after enduring labor and delivery with just the two of us. We went home with one less than expected. I didn’t get to think, “why are they letting me take the baby home? I’m not ready.” All I could do was cry and feel the emptiness that had taken up such a large part of our lives in such a short amount of time.

God offered us redemption. As we drove home, even before we got to the interstate, the funeral director called us to tell us that he was on his way to pick up Cora’s body from the hospital. I felt so much relief to know that even though we didn’t get to bring her home with us, her body would not be left in the hospital alone. Her body would be in our small town with us one last time.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

A Story of Stillbirth- Hello/Goodbye

I am so thankful for the hospital in which Cora was born, and for the staff that served us as we walked through the hardest days of our lives (see day seven for more on how I really feel about our staff). I have heard and read stories of women whose babies were lost too soon, and of staff that wouldn’t let them hold their babies or who didn’t treat the families as though they had experienced loss. If you experienced such hardship, I am truly sorry. I cannot imagine the added stress of not being able to see her or hold her.

Almost as soon as the frenzy started, it was over. I delivered the placenta easily and quickly, and spoke briefly with the doctor about my little girl. After Cora was born, my nurses whisked her away into an adjoining room, cleaned her up, and dressed her in tiny, handmade clothes made by sweet church ladies who feel called to minister to families whose babies are born too small to fit into store bought clothes.

My nurse brought her out to us, swaddled in soft clothes. I cannot begin to express how it felt to see my little girl; how it felt to hold her body. Her skin was thin and delicate, not ready to be outside of the womb and slightly damaged from her delivery. Her little mouth stood slightly open, and you could see a tiny tongue sitting behind her lips. Her nose was small and delicate, smaller than the smallest button that I’ve ever seen. Her little ears looked just like her daddy’s, only about a sixth of the size. She was longer than I expected, but skinny, having not had the opportunity to build up baby fat in my womb. She was beautiful, but she was gone.

It hurt so much to hold her. My heart and my eyes cried; sometimes together, sometimes apart. I had had dreams since seeing two pink lines on a pregnancy test, and for years before that, about holding my baby for the first time. I never imagined that she would have already died. I never imagined that I would say “Hello” and “Goodbye” in the same moment, trying my hardest to memorize her features, her smell, her weight and form.

We didn’t hold her for very long. My heart couldn’t bear it. A team from the hospital came in, that specializes in dealing with children who are lost or who have long term illnesses, and walked us through creating mementos of her short life by taking impressions of her hands, fingers, and taking photographs.

My dear friend from when we were still teenagers in college came and took beautiful photographs of her. After we were done with them all, we held her for one last time, and my nurse took her body away for testing.

After seven months of doing everything that I could to take good care of my girl, she was gone. My womb was empty, and so were my arms. They ache still to hold that baby that with the Lord, and they will until I reunited with her again in heaven.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media.