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- Birth

At 7:30 AM, my water broke and I pushed the call button. My nurse rushed in, and I told her, “either the catheter just popped out, or my water broke”. She checked, and it was my water. She said that doctor would be in soon, and I would be checked then. I sent Husbandman to get breakfast, because I knew it wouldn’t be long before she came. I made him promise to not eat in the cafeteria and to come right back after he got his food. I sat and talked to mom for a while.

Five minutes after Husbandman left, I felt pressure. A whole lot of pressure. And like I had to go to the bathroom. (Apparently, that means that I felt like I had to push.) I told my nurse, who said that that doctor should be coming in at any time, but I asked her to do what she could to get him to come in. I needed the doctor to be there.

After what felt like forever, which really want’s long at all, the doctor came in. He explained that he was going to check me to see how close I was, and that I was probably ready for another dose of medication. He said that four hours after that dose, they would probably start a pitocin drip to help me progress further. In my head, the whole time he was talking, all I could think was, “No. I don’t need more medicine. It’s time for the baby to come now.”

He checked me, and as he removed his hand, he told the nurse to pull the cord, that it was time to deliver. I found out afterwards that after he checked me, Cora’s body was born. In two seconds, everything changed. Another nurse came into the room, and two other doctors materialized out of thin air. My nurse laid my bed all the way back, and Husbandman and my nurse held my hands. Momma stood at the head of my bed and stroked my hair. A senior doctor came in, because I was considered high risk because we didn’t know what happened to Cora.

Delivering her was a blur. I remember being confused and a little scared; Mom stroking my hair; Husbandman telling me that everything was okay; my nurse telling me that I was doing a good job. I don’t know how long the delivery took, but I knew that it was fast. The doctors told me to push, and I couldn’t figure out what they meant. I tried, and I guess it worked, because the epidural worked well enough that I didn’t feel much but they doctors told me I was doing well. After a few tries at pushing, I saw the doctor reaching for a scalpel, and I couldn’t figure out what he was doing. I asked him, and he told me that he was cutting the cord. I didn’t even know that she was born until then, because she didn’t make a sound when her body entered the world.

I have never heard such deafening silence. I had spent seven months imagining what she would be like when she was born, and when it actually happened, my heart broke. Instead of being flooded with relief and more love for her tiny life, my heart learned what loss truly felt like.

It was 8:24 AM on August 7th. All that I could cling to was that I knew the first voices she heard were mine and Husbandman’s, but the first face that she saw was God’s.

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. 

Kind

Oh, my friends.

We all need a hug.

Why?

Because, collectively, we are terrible at being kind. And it’s a particular sort of kindness that we lack. We are not kind to ourselves. We work so hard to have grace with the children in our lives. We work so diligently to have grace with our spouses, loved ones, coworkers, friends. We pray for grace and kindness with pets, with inanimate objects.

But when I’m dealing with myself? I have less than zero grace.

Last week, I almost caused a car accident. I cringe as I think about it. We just moved, and the entrance to our new house is tricky to navigate. If you time your turn wrong and can’t see the four way stop not twenty feet ahead of the left hand turn, you can easily pull out in front of someone else. Which is exactly what I did. And instead of speeding up to get out of their way, I stopped and honked my horn. I have no earthly idea why I did this. But I did. And I have beat myself up about the incident time and time again. Because in my head, I should know better. I almost hurt my car. I almost hurt myself and someone else. I almost almost almost almost. And I feel ashamed.

I am even less kind to my body. I’m almost 19 weeks pregnant, and my middle is growing. I have turned into a teenage boy on the hunger scale. And I see myself gaining weight. And it’s so hard to accept that gaining weight is a good thing in this context. Because in my mind, it’s always been a bad thing. I already have stretch marks. I have this fun hip pain at the end of every day that keeps me from unpacking as much as I want to. I cry all the time, even more than I did before. And I expect myself to not need any extra rest. I expect myself to have a super energetic pregnancy. My expectations are unrealistic, and I am holding myself to a standard that I cannot and should not be able to achieve.

The other day, an unsuspecting friend asked me how I was doing. And she got an earful (via text) about how dumb I was being because I’m emotional, I’m not handling things well, and so on. And she was quick to point out how many times I used the word “dumb” in reference to myself. And then this lovely friend told me “This is normal. You’re pregnant. You’re doing a good job.” And I just about cried. (Lie; I actually in-real-life cried.) She had kindness for me when I had none for myself. And I want to pass that nudge along to you.

You’re not perfect. You’re not supposed to be perfect. God created you, and knows all of your flaws. He’s not surprised when you mess up. He’s not surprised when you don’t do well. Now, that’s not license to stop trying. But it is license to be kind to yourself. Sometimes, kindness is asking for help or encouragement. Sometimes, kindness to yourself is accepting a failure, dusting yourself off, and trying again. And sometimes kindness is giving yourself permission to take a break and rest. Sometimes, kindness is working to accept who you are and where you are in life.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV).

Praise God for our failures and weakness. Praise God for His grace and kindness.

Be kind to yourself when…

  • you’re pregnant
  • you’re a momma
  • your heart struggles with wanting to become a momma
  • your heart struggles with not wanting to be a momma
  • your children ate sugary cereal for breakfast because that’s what’s in your house
  • your husband ate Ramen noodles for dinner (again) because you didn’t cook anything
  • you need a nap
  • you lack patience
  • you make a mistake
  • you don’t measure up to someone else’s standard of “beauty”
  • you don’t measure up to your own unrealistic standards of “beauty”
  • you’re only human

be kind to yourself

How do you need to show yourself kindness?

Let’s start here:

Dear self:

Please, be kind to me. Work to show me as much grace as you work to show others. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image, and I deserve kindness.

Love,

Me

Oceans

Singing is such an natural thing for me. I put on music, sing along, dance some. But I often don’t think about what I’m singing. I often don’t take the time to consider the words of the song that’s coming out of my mouth.

“Oceans” by Hill Song United speaks to me while I’m waiting, but I didn’t really listen to the words until recently.

The refrain is:

“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”

This song is asking for God to stretch me to breaking. “Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander” means (in my head) “drop me in the deep end so that I can have more faith”. When we ask for God to give us more faith, more patience, He doesn’t just snap His fingers and give us what we ask for. He gives us the opportunity to cultivate characteristics like Him.

This year of waiting has taken me deeper than I ever thought was possible. And the song has taken on new meaning.

So, when you sing, listen to the words. Consider the true meaning of the words that you’re singing.

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. Want to read all of my posts in this series? Click here