Sunday, September 27, 2009

10 days...

The fact that Isaac's birthday is approaching in 10 days has been wearing on me. I am just finding myself sort of heightened emotionally, not sleeping too well, and just overall a little more exhausted than usual.

On a positive note, Spencer and I finally found a cedar chest in which to store Isaac's things. What we haven't hung on walls or displayed has been sitting in the room that would have been his nursery for the past year. I just hadn't been ready to put them away... doing so just felt like I was moving on and I have been having a hard time with that recently. But yesterday, we went up to an Amish market and found a beautiful cedar chest that we both loved. We wanted it made slightly differently than the version they had in the store, so they were kind enough to custom order one for us. It won't be here in time for Isaac's birthday, but that's okay.

I had a dream last night about October 7th... I dreamed that I accidentally went to work because I had forgotten what day it was. When I showed up, my substitute teacher was there and was confused as to why I was there; when I realized it, I felt horrible... not believing I could forget a day as important as this. That must have been about the time I woke up.

And believe me... there's no place I would rather NOT be right now than work. While my hopes of this being better year were high, it just hasn't been the case. At all. I am thankful to have a job, and enjoy the students I am working with... but other aspects of my job are just not going well.

So throughout the next 10 days, we would really appreciate your prayers as I can feel the tidal wave of grief swelling and growing. I have learned to predict fairly well when it's going to strike, and I know October 7th will be no exception. The truth is, almost a year later, I still miss my son. Terribly. While the Lord has graciously carried us a long way through this journey, I don't miss Isaac any less... and I really don't think I ever will. I am learning that the missing just sort of becomes Incorporated into the fabric of who you are when you've lost a child... not that it ever goes away.

We appreciate your prayers for us and your continued words of encouragement. I know that the Lord uses them mightily.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Biggest Loser

Spencer and I totally have a thing for this show... The Biggest Loser. While both of us probably got into watching it because of our own interest in health and fitness, I now continue watching because I feel like you get to know so much about the contestants... their personalities, their stories. And quite frankly, they are just downright inspiring.

I missed this season's premier last Tuesday, and randomly found that some channel was re-airing it last night. So of course, Spence and I tuned in. This season's theme is all about second chances. There's a guy on there from last season, who we were actually really pulling for but he got voted off fairly early. Person after person was sharing their stories about why they wanted to come on the show.

And then they got to Abby.

Abby talked about how she had a husband, a 3 or 4 year-old daughter, and a 2 week old son. While this statement may not have alerted anyone else to what she was about to say, when you listen with the ears of a parent who has lost a child you notice subtleties such as the fact that Abby referred to her family in the past tense. I knew what she was going to say next couldn't be good.

And then she said it.

All three were killed in the same fatal car crash.

As my tears came pouring out, I just wanted to jump through the screen and hug this woman.

As she explained what happened, she said something along the lines of how every role she filled was taken away from her... being a wife... being a mother. It made so much sense. And so often, I have felt similarly.

Over the past almost year, it has been so hard to figure out what my role is as a mother when Isaac isn't here to love and to raise. We've been so fortunate to be presented with opportunities to share Isaac with others... through this blog, his memorial service, the golf tournament. Yet in the day-to-day, it is still such a difficult thing to have people ask you if you have any kids because they don't see your child with you... or worse yet, to just assume that you don't and tell you how "lucky" you are because once you do have kids, you can no longer have the freedom to just do this or that. Trust me... I'd give up that freedom in a nanosecond if it meant having Isaac here, as I am sure you well know.

In a little over two weeks, we'll be remembering Isaac's birthday... we'll no longer be counting months since we last hugged him and kissed his little face. It will be years, which is just really strange to be. I'm starting to really feel the heaviness of all of this weigh on me, and we'd appreciate your prayers as we continue to anticipate October 7th and plan a day for Spencer and I to be together and to remember our son.

And tune in on Tuesday nights to watch Abby and the rest of the gang. Despite Jillian and Ed's ridiculous training tactics, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

By Your Side

It's taking its toll on me that I haven't had the time to write here as much as I would like. Getting back to work has just turned my schedule crazy... much busier than I would like to be. The start of the school year is typically like that, but I certainly don't prefer my weeks to be this way.

So in the midst of the craziness, things would strike me and I would think, "I need to write about this." And of course, by the time I get around to it, it's the weekend... and I may or may not have remembered what I wanted to write; and if I did remember, it's usually with a lot less detail than I would like.

This morning, I was just thinking about a song that has been popping up a lot lately called "By Your Side" by Tenth Avenue North. I don't have much to say about it, other than the lyrics have spoken to me on so many levels, and to so many aspects of my life. I hope they speak to you as well this morning.

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

(Chorus 2x)

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

(Chorus 2x)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Risk is Right

Our small group is still working through John Piper's book Don't Waste Your Life. It's been a slow go at this book, but Piper's writing is laden with so much wisdom that it takes a while to read and let it all soak in.

Last night we were discussing the fifth chapter in this book that talks about risk. As I read through this chapter in preparation, I was profoundly struck by so many things that Piper had to say.

He begins by defining risk as an action that exposes you to the possibility of loss or injury, and continues on by talking about how the life that magnifies Christ the most is the one of costly love. Piper continues by talking about how risk is unavoidable because this world is anything but safe.

He explored the scriptures, talking about Joab leading the Israelites into battle against the Amalekites and Syians in 2 Samuel 10. He talked about Esther, who was implored by her cousin Mordecai to go before the king and plead the case of her (the Jewish) people. And in both cases, Piper points out that both Joab and Esther had to choose to risk or run. They both chose the path of great risk, and handed the results over to God.

This morning I am glancing back at the note I made in the margin which says, "This is so scary!" I feel like that's true on so many levels. First, I think that being in control gives us a facade of safety. When we hand the results over to someone else, we're no longer in control. It doesn't feel safe. It's risky. Secondly, as Piper points out, that when we risk for the cause of God, there is no promise that every effort will succeed, at least not in the short run. When we make the decision to risk boldly for the sake of making much of God and hand the results over to Him, in His sovereignty, He may allow the unthinkable, the disastrous, the catastrophic to happen. In His infinite wisdom, He knows what will bring Him the most glory.

While I was pregnant with Isaac and so many of us (and you) were praying for his healing, I just kept thinking to myself, "The stage is set, Lord. You can come in, heal this precious little boy, and thousands of people would bear witness to your greatness. The doctors have said this is impossible, but with You, all things are possible." It never occurred to me at the time that He could have been setting the stage to somehow receive greater glory by saying, "No" when the results were handed over to Him.

I am only just now beginning to really understand this... to understand how, in this situation God is somehow receiving greater glory through our pain, rather than the miracle we prayed for; through loss, rather than restoration on this side of heaven.

But I can tell you with absolute resolve, that I don't regret for one minute choosing the road of costly love.

Piper draws this chapter to a close by saying, "On the far side of every risk- even if it results in death- the love of God triumphs." And it has. The love of God triumphs in the way that He has faithfully cared and provided for Spencer and I over the last year. The love of God triumphs in the way that He didn't spare His only son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. The love of God triumphs in the fact that Isaac is safe in His presence.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:37-39

Monday, September 7, 2009

11 Months

The fact that this is the last "month marker" we'll pass for Isaac is hitting me hard this morning. I wish so much that I was picking out invitations and planning his first birthday party; but instead, Spencer and I are figuring out how to remember Isaac on October 7th in a different way. For the last few months, I had sort of felt like I was in a holding pattern, but these past couple of weeks with fall beginning to make its presence known, and with October 7 drawing nearer, I have found myself missing Isaac in such a fresh way.

At some point, and I am not quite sure when, I went from missing the little baby boy who was born on October 7 of last year, to starting to miss the 9, 10, and now 11 month-old baby boy who I long to have here with us... a little boy who can crawl, pull himself up, has a few teeth, or maybe even take a few steps by now (at least, if he took after his mom!). It's all hard to put into words... the fact that you can miss someone in a fresh, new way. But I do. A lot.

There's this old saying that goes, "There's no rest for the weary." In some ways, our schedule over the last year would indicate that. As I was driving (somewhere... I don't remember) the other day, I began thinking about that phrase in a different way... how we KNOW rest for the weary. I suppose my Reading/English teacher mind comes up with things like that.

I began thinking about the last two years of our lives, really... my mother-in-law's diagnosis of cancer (from which she is now cancer-free!), my miscarriage at 13 weeks, and then our sweet Isaac. Suffice it to say that Spencer and I have felt extremely weary over the last two years... particularly, these last 15 or 16 months. Yet as I thought through all that the Lord has allowed us to endure, I also was struck by His promise in Matthew 11:28-29, a passage that seems to be popping up everywhere lately...

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

I am so thankful that the worn out, the wounded, the hurting, the burdened, and the weary can KNOW rest. I know we have... in the midst of loss, grief, heartache, and missing someone more than I thought was humanly possible, God has been faithful in allowing us to rest in Him.

So, the next time life takes you down a path where you feel like there's no rest for the weary... remember that the weary can KNOW rest when those burdens are placed at the feet of Jesus.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


How on earth has it gotten to be September already? The month made its presence quickly known around here... cool evenings, almost brisk mornings, warm days with a nice breeze. A far cry from the hot, muggy, humid summers of the mid-Atlantic.

I remember turning the calendar to September last year... realizing it was the last time I would turn to a month where Isaac would be alive the whole time. How weird is that... to know that in September of 2008, Isaac would be with us. Through all of it. In my tummy, kicking away. And in October 2008, he would be with us for some of it... but not all of it. It would be the month where hello also meant goodbye... two words that should never be ushered in the same breath.

I remember sitting in counseling a few months ago talking with her (the counselor I see) about where I am in my grief journey, and she shared with me how grief is an incredibly sensory experience. At the time, it made sense to me in my head, but I didn't totally "get it." I had always thought of grief as an emotional thing, and a spiritual thing... but not necessarily a sensory thing.

These past few days, it has really struck me. The coolness of the air as I went for a run, the smell of pumpkin bread cooking in my oven... all of the things that start to speak of fall.


When Isaac was born... and when he passed away.

This past Sunday when we visited the cemetery, it was a bit cooler than usual. There was this great breeze and I just remember thinking how much it physically started to feel like the days we visited the cemetery shortly after Isaac was buried.

I guess it's just hard for me to know that in 5 days, we'll mark the last month milestone since Isaac was born... then we'll be moving onto years.


Gosh, that sounds so long... so much farther than I want to be from my son.

I know this post is a bit random, and I am not sure if it even makes any sense. :) It's just hard to articulate the realization that the one year mark of your son's birth... and death... is dawning. And while I am so thankful for how the Lord has brought us through this and where He has led us, there's a part of me that wishes it wasn't all feeling like it was slipping so far away.

I suppose it's times like this that I am reminded, and am so thankful, that eternity is far greater than any distance that can be measured in months, years, or even decades.