Friday, May 29, 2009

Blurry Vision

Last night Spencer was working re-caulking some areas in our shower. Well, actually, he never made it to the re-caulking part because as he was trying to get the caulk to come out, it squirted every which way... and one of those ways was straight into his right eye. He flushed it with water for 15 minutes, and then, per the recommendation of our nurses' hotline with the insurance company, went to the emergency room. They irrigated his eye with a full bag of saline solution (ouch!), gave him a few prescriptions for eye drops and eye cream, told him to not use his eyes for 24 hours (what?!) and sent him on his way.

His eye was quite red and felt scratchy. Spence said that he felt like there was this white film over it and that he couldn't quite see clearly.

If you've been to the ER, you know that you do a lot of.... waiting. I thought about how so often our lives are like that... like walking around with blurry vision. We want so badly to see clearly... to understand, to be able to make sense of life's disappointments, hurts, and even catastrophes. Sometimes it's our circumstances that cause the blurry vision, sometimes it's our response to them. Most often, though, I think it's our humanness... the fact that we just don't see the full picture. And if you're like me... you want to. At least, I think I do.

I was reminded of the oh-so-familiar passage that we, as I am sure some of you, had read at your weddings. It comes from 1 Corinthians 13, and while most often this passage is read because of its description of love, this is the part that stuck out to me:

9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:9-12

I know that now I see just a poor reflection... I have blurry vision. Things in life don't always make sense... reasons are often unclear, or unknown. I don't understand how and why God works the way He does sometimes. I only know part of the story. Some days that frustrates me, because with Isaac, the part I know is the part that hurts. I want so deeply to understand why Isaac couldn't be here with us longer; I want so deeply to know why it had to be my son. And sometimes the "whys" cause my vision to be blurry. In the midst of all of my blurry vision though, there is the One whose vision is not only perfectly clear, but more vast and wonderful than I could ever fathom... even when it hurts like crazy.

What a promise in verses 12 and 13... that one day I will know in full. One day I will meet Him, and Isaac, face to face... on no longer will my vision be blurry. It will be crystal clear.

Lastly, if you haven't checked out the Sponbergs' blog, you should. Nicol Sponberg used to sing in Selah, and is working on releasing a solo album this summer. She and her husband, Greg, lost their second child, Luke, to SIDS on May 27th last year. She has written a song in honor of Luke that will be on her solo album. Click here to get to the Sonbergs' to view the video and listen to this absolutely beautiful song.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our weekend in (a few) pictures, and some updates

This past weekend Spencer and I headed out to the eastern shore to spend time with family. My mom and stepdad have a home there, and Spencer's mom and stepdad live about 35 minutes from them a few towns over. It was nice to get away for a few days, enjoy the sunshine, play a few rounds of golf, and enjoy being together. Here are a few pictures...

Spence and I on my mom's back porch...

Here are Spence and I on a boat ride prior to having dinner...
Not the greatest picture as I was holding the camera :)

We arrived back home to see that Isaac's rose bush (given to us by my dad and stepmom last September) had grown seemingly overnight, and had so many blooms!! I cut a few off and stuck them in a vase. For several of the others, I pulled of the petals and stuck them in a clear bowl. They smell so wonderful.

While we were away, I was working on my Beth Moore Esther study for this week. We're in week 3, at the part in Esther where Haman persuades King Xerxes to issue a decree to kill all of the Jews about 11 months later. Part of the commentary in the study surrounding this event asked us if we could imagine what it would be like to know the date you and your loved ones were going to die? To have that impending catastrophe looming in front of you? And though I feel like the question was meant to be, for the most part, rhetorical, a part of me just wanted to shout out, "YES!!! I KNOW!!"

I know what it was like to have October 7 marked on the calendar. I know what it was like to be living with impending catastrophe (barring God's intervention) in front of me... not for 11 months, but for 5 1/2.

We were asked to reflect on what it "would be" like right after hearing the news, a few months into it, and then shortly before the time was "up." I didn't have to search to deeply to remember what it was like to have my head spinning on April 21, 2008 and then again in mid-June. I didn't have to search back too far to remember what it was like living in the tension of knowing what was likely, and yet hoping and praying for Isaac to live. And I didn't have to think too hard at all to remember what it was like when I turned the calendar to October of 2008... or on the night of October 6 when Spence and I went up to bed and I knew it was the last time we would say goodnight to him.

To be honest, remembering all that just hurt like crazy. Yet somehow, God used it to remind me of His faithfulness through it all... that even though He didn't allow Isaac to live long here, He did allow him to be born alive; and ultimately, Isaac is alive and well in the presence of our Creator. As I often say to Spencer, though, I just wish he could have spent more time here with us first.

As for updates...

Kirsten's mom is doing okay and making small steps of progress. The doctors determined that she did not in fact have a heart attack, but they still aren't sure (as of the last I heard) what exactly happened. Her mom is having some unpleasant side effects from some of the medications she's being given. Kirsten is up with her mom, as is her oldest brother. They've worked out a schedule for someone to be with her at all times. I know that Kirsten is just very drained from all of this, and caring for her 3 and 1 year olds on top of it. Would you please continue to pray for Barb, but also please pray for Kirsten as she is trying to care for both her mom and her kids right now?

The golf tournament is trucking along!! We have several holes sponsored, and registrations are starting to come in. We're really excited about being able to remember Isaac and bring honor to God through his life and story. If this happens to be the first time you're hearing about the golf tournament, click here to head to the tournament website and learn more. We would love it if you would pray for this tournament... for good weather, for the details to come together, for people's hearts and lives to be touched, and for God to receive all the glory.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We Need a Miracle


Thank you for praying!! Here's an update from Kirsten as of last night...

Thanks for all of your prayers. God's grace and mercy is evident.

Mom woke up this morning and was looking around and responded to simple questions. However, the doctors are keeping her heavily sedated so that they can continue to diagnosed the problem. Currently, it appears that she had a heart attack. Tomorrow, the cardiologist is going in to her heart with a cathetir to look at the heart and to figure out what caused it in the first place. The other good news is that she less dependent on medicine and machines. However, she will most likely remain in the ICU for several days.

Today was a good day. We really appreciate the outpouring of support. We continue to request your prayers for her continued healing.

John and Kirsten

Those are words I remember saying when I was first sharing with people about Isaac. We needed a miracle.

And today, my close friend, Kristen, needs one.

Yesterday, Kirsten received a call saying that her mother, Barbara, had fallen at work, hit her head, and was unconscious. She was rushed to the hospital wand was admitted to the ICU.

As the day unfolded, she learned that her mother had most likely suffered a minor heart attack. They believe that hitting her head may have caused some neurological damage. However, the doctors weren't able to figure too much of that out because the medication that Barbara was put on to keep her heart functioning in a normal rhythm was causing her blood pressure to be low. She has not regained consciousness, and is currently in a coma. The doctors have told Kirsten that they are not sure when, or if, she would wake up.

Kirsten and John headed out on the several hour trek last night to go be with Barbara.

I received an e-mail this morning from Kirsten that said this...

Keep Praying!!
And thank you for all your prayers and encouragement!!
We are hoping to hear some new information from the doctors around10:30 or so this morning.
Pray for a miracle, because that is what we NEED!!
My mom's name is Barbara , and Adam, Erik and Patti, and Jason, are my other siblings.
I know that God is the giver of life, and He is the one who takes it away; but He also calls us to present our requests before Him. So, would you join me in boldly beseeching the throne of God on Barbara (and Kirsten, Adam, Erik, Patti, and Jason's) behalf? Would you pray for Barbara's complete healing, and for God to use this all for His glory? We need a miracle....
If you have encouragement you'd like me to pass on to Kirsten and her family, please leave a comment below and I will forward the comments to her via e-mail.
Thank you for praying.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Heavy Heart

My heart is just heavy today. I am missing Isaac a ton... I don't know if it's the fact that with all the warm weather, more little kids have been out playing on the playground behind our house and I am reminded of what could have been with Isaac. I can't believe that I have been without him almost as long as I had him with me.

My heart is also especially heavy for my dear friend Monica. Though we've never met in person, Monica has been such a source of support and warrior of prayer for us over this last year. She has encouraged me, cried with me, and beckoned God on our behalf... and now I would like to ask you to do the same for her.

I received an e-mail from Monica this past weekend and the subject line read, "Sharing in your grief in a new and profound way." My heart just sank. Monica was 24.5 weeks pregnant with their second son. In her e-mail she shared that she had not felt the baby move, despite all of "tricks of the trade" to get him to do so. She went to the doctor, who confirmed that their sweet son, Duncan Thomas, no longer had a heartbeat.

Monica delivered Duncan yesterday evening, and this is the e-mail I received from her this morning...

Family and friends,

With weary hearts, we sadly announce the birth and death of our second son, Duncan Thomas.

We learned on Saturday that Duncan's heart had stopped, and Monica was induced Monday afternoon. Duncan Thomas was born into our family at 8:14 pm Tuesday, May 19, and went directly into the joy of heaven.

Duncan weighed 1 lb., 1 oz, was 11" long, and had Seth's nose and HUGE feet! =) We were able to spend time with him, hold him, photograph him, and introduce him to his grandparents. We feel blessed for the six months he was with us, and choose to rejoice in his life, though we don't understand its brevity.

We covet your prayers as we grieve and heal, and as Monica recovers from delivery. Circumstances were such that we were actually in Toledo when all of this happened, and barring any complications with Monica's recovery, we will return to Nashville soon.

Jim and Monica
Would you please pray for me on her behalf?
I would encourage you to click on her name to link to her blog and leave her a comment. Or, you are welcome to leave a comment here and I would be happy to pass them along to her via e-mail.
Thank you for praying...

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Source

I can't remember if I mentioned here or not that I am "training" for a half marathon that's coming up at the end of this month. I use the term training very lightly. Last time I ran a half marathon, I trained for real; this time, I think I will be able to finish the race without walking. Anyhow, on my long run days, I have a lot of time to think. On Saturday, I was thinking a lot about Isaac, like I usually do. One of the things I have had a hard time with was that there was nothing I could do for him to make things better... I couldn't fix his tummy, I couldn't grow his lungs. As a mom, it's hard to feel so helpless when it comes to your child. But the Lord then reminded me that I was able to do something for Isaac...

Through God and His infinite wisdom in creation, I gave him life.

Not just in the decision to carry him to term, but the fact that my body physically kept him alive. I am amazed that in God's design, He has orchestrated such an intimate thing between a mother and her child.

As Isaac's birthday was approaching, I wrestled with the anxiety of knowing that when the doctors would cut the cord, that he would be cut off from the source that was giving him life.... that if the ultrasound and fetal MRI images were correct, and if God didn't intervene, that he wouldn't be able to survive on his own. In many ways, there was a part of me that wished I could have been pregnant with him forever, because I knew he was safe in there. In my womb, he had what he needed to live. You see, he was connected to the source of life.

I was thinking about how our lives are no different. One of my favorite passages is John 15, particularly verses 1-17:

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.

The whole image of the vine and branches thing really works for me; but after having Isaac, it became even more profound... the fact that literally, a branch not connected to the vine will not be able to make it. I know it sounds obvious, and it is, but it hit me in a whole new way.

You know, walking through the loss of a child with faith in God is still an excruciatingly painful thing; but at the end of the day, there is hope... hope in the fact that I know Isaac is alive and well in heaven. I couldn't imagine walking through this without that hope.

I've appreciated so much the comments and the e-mails I have received from my readers. Many of you have commented on my faith being an inspiration, but want I want you to know is this:

Apart from Him, I can do nothing.

Apart from Him, there would be no hope. Apart from Him, there would be no place to lay my burdens. Apart from Him, this would all feel more out of control than in already does... and there would be no moments of peace. He is the source... of hope, of strength to be able to walk (even if it is with a limp), and of love.

So I would encourage you... get to know the Source of life and of love itself.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jump on In

I would like to preface this post in saying that Spencer and I are so thankful for the prayers and word of encouragement you have spoken, and continue to speak on our behalf. We treasure them greatly.

Many of you have left comments or e-mailed me asking how those of you, who don't play golf or who live too far away to play, could participate in Isaac's Golf Tournament. We are humbled that folks would be looking for ways to take part in this. We invite you to jump on in and join us.

Just a little background... the tournament is being sponsored by the men's ministry at out church, Mountain View Community Church, and will be played at Worthington Manor Golf Club on August 21, 2009. This inaugural year of the event, the proceeds from the tournament will be going to the perinatal loss unit at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital where I delivered Isaac. The perinatal loss unit provides support and resources for parents who have lost a child just before, at, or shortly after birth. You can find more information about the tournament here.

More than anything, we covet your prayers for this tournament... for God to be honored in all aspects of the tournament, that God would draw people to Himself through Isaac's story, for the hearts of those who will be playing, and of course, for good weather.

In addition, if you feel compelled to be involved in other ways we could use your help.

We are looking for a corporate sponsor to provide funding for the giveaway for the tournament. We are hoping to be able to provide each golfer with a golf shirt embroidered with the tournament's logo designed by the incredibly talented Danielle, also known as The Design Girl. Please contact me directly at to discuss the specifics if this is a way you might be able to get involved.

We are also looking for folks who are willing to be hole sponsors. Hole sponsorship is $250 and is completely tax deductible.

Lastly, we are looking for folks who would be willing to serve as contributors. Funds from contributors will be used to help offset the costs associated with running the tournament.

If you are interested in hole sponsorship or contributing in some way, please also e-mail me at so that I can e-mail you the hole sponsor forms and provide you with specific details.

If you are local and would like to participate in this event, we would love for you to join us!! Please visit to register.

Most of all, we just appreciate your prayers as we seek the Lord in His plans for this tournament, and trust him to use this in part of His process of making beauty from ashes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


As you can imagine, today is an extremely bittersweet day... and I believe it is for many people... those who have lost a child, those who have never had their dreams of motherhood realized, those who have lost a mom. I am so fortunate to still have my mom here... a mom who has modeled for me what it means to love, what it means to do anything for your child, and who has been there for Spencer and I in every way, especially over this past year. My mom is not only a fabulous mom to me and my sister (and my step-brother, step-sister, my brother-in-law, and Spencer!), but she has also been a wonderful grandmom to Isaac. Despite the bittersweetness and the pain that is involved with Mother's Day this year, I am grateful for my mom.

I think the "bitter" half of this bittersweetness goes without saying. It is a difficult thing to figure out what it means to be a mother when your only child has died... when your "proof" of motherhood isn't with you in a stroller or a car seat. And it's days like today when my heart just physically aches just wishing that he was.

But there's also the "sweet" half of bittersweet. The sweetness of those 9 months that I carried Isaac, getting to know him a little bit while he was in the womb. In many aspects, I had a great pregnancy... I felt great physically, was able to bond with Isaac and savor the time I had with him, and knew to relish in the little things. Then there were those 16 minutes he was with us. I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Yesterday my sister and I celebrated Mother's Day with my mom and went to see a movie that starred to of my favorite actors/actresses. Towards the end of the movie, the guy is talking about this girl had to choices: to love or to live with regret. He explained how there can be great pain in love, but that even with great pain, the choice to love was better than regret any day. This particular actor doesn't typically deliver lines that are overly profound; but this one stuck with me.

It is so true. We knew that loving Isaac would come with great pain... but he was worth it. The time we had with him was worth all the heartache... and we could choose to love well because we knew that God would show us how to do it, and that He would be with us in our time of heartache and grief. And He has.

Below is the letter to Isaac that Spencer and I wrote and read at his memorial service, and while I shared it back in October, I just wanted to share it again today. I am just so proud of him, and so proud to be his mom.

Dear Isaac,

I don’t know how to put into one letter everything I would want to tell you in a lifetime… but I want to try because Daddy and I love you so much. We are so proud of you.

From the moment we found out about you, Daddy and I were so excited to meet you. As you grew, I could feel all of your kicks and wiggles, especially when I would drink a fizzy Zazz or eat something sweet. I remember the first time Daddy could feel you kick, too. As you grew, I would feel you move in new places, and that made me so happy because I knew that you were growing and were full of life. I loved it.

Some of the doctors we met with suggested that we let you go; but that was never an option for us. You are our child. We have loved you from the moment we found out about you, and wanted nothing more than to be your Mommy and Daddy and to shower you with as much love as one could possibly give in a lifetime.

I remember the day that Daddy and I chose on a name for you… Isaac Timothy. We chose the name Isaac for two reasons; first, because of the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible, and feeling as though we were being asked to take a large step of faith in entrusting you into God’s care; and secondly because Isaac means “he will laugh.” We both just loved the thought of you laughing with joy. We chose Timothy as your middle name because Timothy means “to honor God.” We knew that your life would be honoring to God, and we wanted your name to reflect that. The night we chose your name, Daddy made up a name certificate and we prayed as we named you… we couldn’t wait to tell people your name so that they could pray for you, too, and start to get to know you even more. We loved naming you because at that point, you became even more personal and we felt even more connected to you as your Mommy and Daddy.

While you were still in my tummy, every morning I would sit and write you a letter while playing you music. You really liked when I played Wonderful, Merciful Savior and How Deep the Father’s Love for Us. After the letter was finished, I would read it to you. On my way to work each morning, I would talk to you, telling you about the colors in the morning sky, or simply just how much I love you and how proud I am of you and to be your Mommy. Every night, Daddy would say good night to you… he told you how much he loves you and how proud he is of you, too. We wanted so much for you to hear our voices and know that it was your Mommy and Daddy who love you, Isaac. I hope that you heard us, and that in hearing us, you just felt so deeply loved.

Did you know that while you were in my tummy we took you all sorts of places? We went hiking at Sugarloaf Mountain and walked through the tree-lined path. On the Fourth of July we watched fireworks and listened to their big, loud “booms.” We took you to the beach and jumped waves with you in the ocean. You and I even sat on the beach in the early mornings and I would tell you all about the beautiful sunrise and the sounds the seagulls made. Over the summer after a big thunderstorm we would often see a rainbow; I wished so much that you could have seen them, too. I told you all about the beautiful colors and the way each one would stretch across the sky. Towards the end of the summer we went golfing with Daddy, and I know he was excited to share that with you. We went to weddings, and football games, on picnics, and to so many other places; yet there are still so many things Daddy and I would have loved to do with you. We just weren’t finished making memories with you yet.

October 7th was the greatest day of our lives. You were born at 8:33am; you weighed 4 pounds, 12 ounces, and were 17 ½ inches long. Not only did your body have weight, but your life has weight, and significance, and you matter. You still matter, sweet Isaac. You matter to the One who so uniquely created you. You matter to the people whose lives you have touched and who you have brought closer to Jesus. You matter to me and to Daddy; you will always be our first child and our son. We are so proud of you because you…your life… has made a such a difference, especially to us. The sixteen minutes you were with us were the sweetest sixteen minutes of our lives; and I am thankful to have had that time to whisper in your ear over and over again how much I love you… to have kissed your little nose and sweet cheeks, held your hand with all your perfect little fingers, and then to hold you for hours afterwards, just studying all of your perfect little features and seeing how beautiful you are.

Isaac, we miss you so much. My arms are heavy and ache with the emptiness of not being able to hold you and snuggle with you anymore. But, we are so thankful to have had the chance to meet you… to look at you and just take you all in; to look at your cute nose and realize it’s just like mine; to see how your toes are just like Daddy’s; to look at the details of your little hands and feet, and to be captivated by the beauty of who you are. You are the greatest miracle I have ever been a part of, sweet Isaac. We loved being able to kiss your soft little cheeks and little button nose, and to tell you over and over again how much we love you and how proud we are to be your Mommy and Daddy. We hope that you heard us every time we told you we love you, that you felt every squeeze, and hug, and kiss we gave you, and that we somehow managed to give you all the love of a lifetime in the time we had with you. The sixteen minutes we were able to share with you were the sweetest sixteen minutes of our lives. We know that Heaven is the best place to be, and we long for the day when we will get to see you again. Please know that you hold the most special place in our hearts, and that we will never stop loving you.

Mommy and Daddy

I also wanted to take some time to honor a few moms whose only children have passed away. Some of these women I have the honor of knowing in real life, and some through e-mail.Losing a child is the most devastating thing for anyone, even with other children at home. My heart, though, is just extra heavy today for the moms whose "proof" of being a mom is gone... for the moms who many might say "don't count" because they don't have other kids. To those moms, I would say that you do count. A mother who has lost her child is still a mother.

Carly- Her beautiful baby boy William Michael was born on January 17, 2008. After an uneventful pregnancy she was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia in the beginning of her 6th month. After spending 10 days in the hospital, Will was born 3 months early at 26 weeks. He was 1.3 lbs. and 11.5 in. Will was such a fighter and he was in the NICU for about 10 days. He brought more joy to his mom and dad than one could ever imagine.

Taylor- Taylor and Josh's son, Nathan Taylor, was born on June 24, 2008. He lived for just a few minutes before going to be with Jesus. Nathan was diagnosed with Trisomy 13.

Ashly- Ashly and Denny's son, Brooks, was stillborn on September 18, 2008.

Susi- Susi's son, Lucas, was born at the end of October, 2008. He was born a healthy baby, and they brought Lucas home. He ended up passing away about a month later due to an undiagnosed heart defect.

Trish- Trish and Dustin's son, Maxson, was born on December 5, 2008. He lived for almost three hours. Max was diagnosed with Trisomy 18.

Nicole- Nicole's son, Dylan James, was born on December 28, 2008 and passed away just 7 hours later. Like Max, he too was diagnosed with Trisomy 18.

Cortney- Her son, Matthew Phillip, was born on January 6, 2009 at 28 weeks. He passed away on January 11, 2009 due to an infection he developed. Cortney and her husband, Ken, currently reside in Greece, as that's where Ken is stationed. Cortney will be returning the States in June, with Ken to follow in later summer/early fall.

Whitney- Whitney and CJay's son, Isaac Liam, was born on March 5, 2009. He was diagnosed with Trisomy 18.

Amber- Amber's daughter, Megan Grace, has been diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta II. Though Megan is still safe inside her momma's womb, she is not expected to live once she is born. Amber is doing an amazing job loving her daughter while she is here, doing whatever she can to get to know her and make memories with her. Megan is due to arrive in early August.

I wanted to end with a poem that many people have shared with me. I have hesitated to post it before, because theologically, I don't believe it is completely accurate. But the sentiment is sweet, and I think that the author's main point is extremely true.

What Makes a Mother?
Written by Jennifer Wasik

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today.
I asked, "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard Him say,
"A Mother has a baby."
This we know is true.
"But God can you be a Mother,
When your baby's not with you?"

"Yes, you can," He replied
With confidence in His voice.
"I give many women babies,
When they leave is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime,
And others for the day.
And some I send to feel your womb,
But there's no need to stay."
"I just don't understand this God.
I want my baby to be here."
He took a deep breath and cleared His throat,
And then I saw the tear.
"I wish I could show you,
What your child is doing today.
If you could see your child's smile,
With all the other children and say... '
We go to Earth to learn our lessons,
Of love and life and fear.
My Mommy loved me oh so much,
I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a Mom,
Who had so much love for me.
I learned my lessons very quickly,
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy oh so much,
But I visit her every day.
When she goes to sleep,
On her pillow's where I lay.

I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek,
And whisper in her ear.
Mommy don't be sad today,
I'm your baby and I'm here.'
"So you see my dear sweet ones,
your children are okay.
Your babies are born here in My home,
And this is where they'll stay.
They'll wait for you with Me,
Until your lesson's through.
And on the day that you come home,
They'll be at the gates for you.
So now you see what makes a Mother,
It's the feeling in your heart.
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start.
Though some on earth may not realize,
you are a Mother.
Until their time is done.
They'll be up here with Me one day
And know that you are the best one!"
I don't believe that Isaac sits on my pillow at night, or that he even misses me... we are the ones doing the missing. He is full and complete and relishing in God's glory. But I love this author's point: the fact that it's not whether or not your child is still here that makes you a mother; it's the love you have for them.
Thank you for reading this far, and for continuing to walk this journey with us. Please be praying today for the moms whose children aren't here... whether they have other children or not, it's so hard to feel like someone is missing from your family. I would invite you, too, to take a peek at the blogs for the mom's mentioned above... get to know them, and please pray for them today, too.

To all the moms out there reading this... Happy Mother's Day.

PS-- I found this on my friend Sarah's blog this morning. Look closely at the petals...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

7 Months (and a few updates)

I woke up this morning and tried to figure out what I wanted to say today on Isaac's 7-month birthday. To be completely honest I don't know. What I do know is that I still miss my soon like crazy and would give anything to have him here.

It's still a roller coaster... some days missing Isaac so much I feel like I can barely breathe; and other days feeling like I have started to hope again. The thing I have been realizing lately is that hope can feel so scary...I think, at least in part, because it leaves me vulnerable, almost as if I am bracing myself for the bottom to fall out and things to fall apart again. And yet I know that even if the bottom were to fall out, God would graciously be there to catch us, uphold us, and carry us.

I was reading a blog post this morning about another family with a baby boy named Isaac, who also left his mommy and daddy way too soon. The father was recounting the beginning of C.S. Lewis's A Grief Observed which said, "No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear." It is so true. It really does... there is a lot of fear tied up in grief. That's something I have spent a lot of time lately trying to think about and pray through. There are so many places in the scriptures where we are told to "fear not" and that "perfect love casts out fear."

But as I am learning, especially recently, is that in addition to the sadness of missing Isaac, the longing for him to be here, the confusion of not udnerstanding why it had to happen this way, the anger that it did... there's also fear.

God has been very gracious in the way He has continued to provide for us, uphold us, and guard us with His peace these past 7 months... and even before, as we learned about the road we'd be walking with Isaac. Despite the grief, we see that... and we see how He continues to show us how He is making beauty from ashes.

A couple of updates...

1- Many folks have been asking about the playground. Thank you for checking in on that! Our new church building is still being constructed. It was originally slated to be completed this fall. I am not sure if that is still the plan... you know how timetables go with construction. After the church building is finished, the playground will be installed shortly thereafter. I will for sure continue to update you all on the playground's progress, especially once we have pictures!!

2- Folks have also been asking about ways you can help support Isaac's Golf Tournament. We appreciate you asking. There's a planning meeting next week for the tournament, and at that time, we hope to discuss how folks can be involved from afar. I will be sure to let you know once we have a more concrete list of specifics.

Thank you so much for continuing to pray for us and for remembering our sweet little boy, particularly this week with Mother's Day approaching.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


You may be wondering why a post that's being written on a day other than Friday is entitled TGIF. One reason is that I love Fridays. I love Saturdays more, but I do love Fridays, the fact that the work week is over, and the anticipation of the weekend.

This past Friday Spencer and I went to see Mark Schultz in concert. Mark sings "He Will Carry Me," the namesake of this blog. He also sings "He's My Son," a song which has (and continues to) tug at my heart and brings me to tears. A talented singer and song writer, Mark's songs are poignant and have a way of relating to others in the deep and personal places of their hearts. There's literally not a single song of his that I don't like; and what you'll not know about him unless you see him in concert is that he's really, really funny.

It was good for Spencer and I to have gone on Friday... not just for the fact that we got to have a great date night, but also because so much of Mark's music reminds us of Isaac. He played "He's My Son" (which is on my playlist at the bottom) and I think the kids sitting in front of us thought something was seriously wrong with Spencer and I due to the number of tears I was shedding. I think it goes without saying that that song has really struck a chord with both of us through my pregnancy with Isaac and just crying out to God through it all.

Mark also played a few songs off his new album. One of the songs starts off about a woman who is pregnant and finds out that the baby (who in this song happens to be a little girl), may not live. Sound familiar? The refrain of the song says something about the woman just wanting the chance to be this little baby's mom. I, of course, and am tears listening to this and the words that were the cry of this mother's heart, knowing all too well that longing. The difference between the song and Isaac's story, though, was that the little girl in the song? She lived.

If you're not familiar with Mark Schultz's music, you need to be. Seriously. He has some songs that are so great and uplifting, and others that speak to the brokenness in people's lives and how God can be found in all of it. Click here to becoming more acquainted with Mark and his music.

After the show, we noticed an autograph line. We had nothing to be autographed, but I wanted the chance to tell Mark about Isaac, my blog (which is, after all, named after one of his songs!), and how much his music has meant to me. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do so... I even wrote down the url to this blog and gave it to him... not that he asked :) But maybe he'll find that little crumpled up piece of paper in his jeans pocket while on his tour bus and will get to "meet" Isaac. Anyhow... here are Spence and I with Mark himself...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Commas, Periods, and Everything In Between

There's this saying that goes, "Don't put a period where God has placed a comma." I forget who is credited for having said it. Truth be known, this little saying used to bring me some sort of comfort when faced with life's disappointments, because I would just think to myself, "Ok. So maybe God's response is 'not yet' instead of 'no.'"

Now, this little statement just confuses me. Lately, I have been wondering, "How do I really know which one it is?"

After my miscarriage back in November 2007, I felt like it was a comma. Though heartbroken over the loss of that child, particularly after having been told that everything looked great with that pregnancy, I could wrap my head around the fact that a first trimester miscarriage is more common than many people may realize. I found a way to somehow be okay with having fallen into that lovely 20% of people who miscarry in the first trimester. And so, I felt like God was putting a comma on our desire to start a family. "Not yet... but one day..."

Sitting here on the other side of having birthed and buried a child, I am just not sure that I know any more. Was Isaac another comma? A period? And what of his life... a period? Or a comma?

I had a conversation recently with someone about how after my miscarriage, it wasn't too difficult to get back to the "When we have children..." thing; but now, I find myself saying "If..." The whole having our own children at home to raise no longer feels like a guarantee, and to be honest, that's knocked me a bit off kilter. Perhaps it's the realization that we were the ones who found the 1/10,000 odds; or, perhaps it's that I am learning more about God's sovereignty and who I am in light of it.

Because you see, I am not sure that whether it's a comma or a period totally matters. Whether Isaac's life here on Earth is viewed as a period because it is over, or as a comma because the time between now and when I see him again in heaven is a "not yet" doesn't change the fact that he's not here.

What has changed is my regard for our desire to start a family in light of God's sovereignty... wondering if I am or will ever be okay if at this point, he had placed a period on that desire.

The honest answer is, I don't know.

I would like to think that we've had our fair share of commas and periods, and we're due for a few rounds of exclamation points (in a good way!) if you know what I mean! But it doesn't work that way. There isn't a checklist for having suffered and endured certain life difficulties so that the next time, everything works out just fine.

Because God is sovereign. And while I still find myself completely confused at times about what He is up to, I know He is in control... even when I don't like what He has allowed. Even when it feels like our lives have been punctuated with so many commas and periods lately while others have had exclamation point after exclamation point... He is sovereign.

I remember being on the elliptical at my gym, about 20-some weeks pregnant with Isaac, reading an article in People magazine about Steven Curtis Chapman and his family shortly after their daughter, Maria, had died. Steven said something in his interview with People that just really struck me. He said (and I am paraphrasing), "The only thing scarier than going through this with my faith, would be to go through it alone, cursing God."

So when the confusion sets in and life has been marked with punctuation I would rather not see... when I desire to trust Him even when I am afraid of what He may have for us... what is there to do?

Lay it at his feet.

Hebrews 4:14-16 says,

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
I guess the conclusion I have come to is that it doesn't really matter quite so much whether God has placed a comma or a period. What matters is to remember that He is sovereign, He is the same, and He can sympathize with us in our weaknesses and times of need. So we can go to Him, lay it all at His feet, and learn to trust and rest in who He is.
This is certainly not something I have perfected (don't let the cool punctuation anology from this English teacher fool you)! But I just feel like it's much easier to rest in knowing that when things feel out of control or don't make sense, that none of it is a surprise to God.