I am spending another lazy Saturday, sipping coffee, crocheting, and hanging out with my wonderful husband. Again, I find myself gazing out our living room windows and I have made a wonderful discovery. A beautiful Robin is building her nest right outside of our window.

OK, I must admit that at first, I was struck by the irony of this. Sure we recently lost our son, and now I have to gaze out at a bird preparing a nest for her new babies. Not fair. This reminds me of another not fair animal moment. While Matt and I were on our trip to California, we stopped to see a geyser we read about in our travel guide. Well, this turned out to be quite the roadside attraction. Sure the geyser was cool but there were lots of other cheesy things set up - one being a petting zoo. In one fenced in area, a mother goat was nursing her baby goat and I found myself balling. You know your emotions are raw when a nursing goat brings you to tears - seriously a goat! I think the kids around the petting zoo thought I was a complete nut.

Anyway, back to my Robin. After I got through my initial moment of irony, I found myself drawn to this mother bird as she builds her nest. It is so amazing to watch her bring back scraps, twigs and strings and weave them together to make nest. Its stunning to watch her wind these items around in circles and pat them down with her feet. There is such beauty and love in the way that she builds this nest for her babies. One of the things I found most stunning about this whole process is how secure this nest is. Its a rather windy morning. All of the leaves and delicate branches of the tree are swaying about in the wind yet the nest - which is made of nothing more than scraps and twigs - stands firm. It doesn't sway at all. Matt mentioned something about a mother Robin's spit being like cement which holds the nest together so strongly. I have no idea if that is actually true, but I like the imagery of it!

Gods love is a lot like that. Man this world is just plain windy. We are constantly blown back and forth by the turbulent gusts of the struggles and hardships and pain of this life. Yet, God's love is immovable. He keeps telling me just rest in the nest of love and protection and hope that He has made for me. Yes, the world will still be turbulent, and unfortunately, we do not get a quick pass out of these troubles, but in Him, we are secure and will find rest.

This reminds me of the picture that Matt created to go over our bed. In large lime green text, is the word Sileo which is Latin for rest or quiet. Under that, is the verse that reminds me of God's amazing, immovable love:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the Shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God in whom I trust."

-Psalm 91:1-2


Brown Trees

This year, spring has refreshed my heart in a new way. The new leaves and flowers that are blooming all around me feel like God's beautiful reminders that in a world that can be so dark and painful and sad, there is still beauty and joy. I love to sit on my couch and look out the window at all the fresh signs of life, and looking out these windows as the trees bud always makes me think of a funny story.

Matt and I moved to Chicago rather hastily. Matt was just graduating grad school for architecture, and he got a promising new job offer. There was one caveat. They needed us there in just over three weeks. We were in the process of looking to buy a place in Minneapolis. We had already been pre-approved, were analyzing our finances and dreaming of all the personal touches you could put on a place of your own - like painting and drilling things into a wall. (We had been so trained in college about not nailing or drilling things into the wall, that this seemed oddly appealing). The prospect of having to rent again in Chicago seemed dreary. So we decided to head to Chicago for a weekend and meet with a realtor to see if it would be possible to choose a place and close on it in just three weeks.

After looking at just over a million places in 2 days, we fell in love with a small condo in Edgewater. We put in an offer, and just three weeks later we closed. When we looked at our place, it was just before the leaves came out on the trees. We loved all of the giant trees on our street and we couldn't wait for the beauty of the green canopy of leaves that was sure to follow.

Well, I came up a few days early to interview at my new job and do a walk through of the condo and I came across a startling realization. Our trees were brown! I remember calling Matt and asking him how we could possibly have just bought a place with the only brown trees on our street!

Life can be like that. We expect certain things. Like you would expect green leaves on a tree in spring, you expect life to fall into a certain pattern - like that old nursery rhyme..first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. The first two parts of that worked for me so where is my baby in the baby carriage. Twice now, once through an early miscarriage and then through the loss of Isaiah, this dream has been shattered before my eyes. The carriage that we borrowed from a friend still stands empty.

I still struggle with the meaning of all this. Why me? Does God really care? How in the world can He allow me and so many other beautiful women I know to go through such tragic loss. God still hasn't given me an explanation and I don't think I will ever get answers to all my questions, but over and over, God keeps showing me how much He does care. Lately, He has been giving me glimpses of how He prepared my heart and my faith to walk through this valley and He has shown me how He continues to walk through it with me and hopes to lead me out. I will never understand why Isaiah can't be here with me and there are a lot of other things about life and my past that I will never understand, but I am leaning on this verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. -Proverbs 3:5


our holy joy

why did YOU make us to feel so deeply? why did YOU form us to love so strongly and despair so thoroughly? we miss our son more than words, everything inside us aches: our insides collapse and our minds spin. the only truth we can piece together is that we are in YOUR image and YOUR likeness. If we--fallen and sinful creatures--ache this much, how much more do YOU, our HOLY JOY, ache for us?

our tears moisten, YOUR tears flood.

since losing isaiah, david crowder's rendition of "how HE loves" captures the hope found in JESUS, our holy joy:

how HE loves*

HE is jealous for me, LOVES like a hurricane, i am a tree,
bending beneath the weight of HIS wind and mercy.
when all of a sudden, i am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
and I realize just how beautiful YOU are,
and how great YOUR affections are for me.

how HE loves us oh,
how HE loves us,
how HE loves us all

HE loves us,
oh how HE loves us,
oh how HE loves us,
oh how HE loves.

and we are HIS portion and HE is our prize,
drawn to redemption by the grace in HIS eyes,
if HIS grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
and heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
and my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
i don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
when i think about, the way that

HE loves us,
oh how HE loves us,
oh how HE loves us,
oh how HE loves.
yeah, HE loves us,
oh how HE loves us,
oh how HE loves us,
oh how HE loves.

*lyrics by john mark mcmillian, performed (best!) by david crowder band


March for Isaiah (march for babies)

The agony of golgotha. The anticipation at the tomb . The glory of the Easter resurrection.

The drama of the past week traces GOD's great rescue plan. JESUS defeats the shameful cross, bears the weight of sin, ransoms the cold grave, and boldly offers new life. After weathering darkness and an all-consuming spiritual winter, all we can do now is glow in Easter truth. This year's early spring weather came just as Easter dawned and has blessed the barren Chicago soil with verdant chutes, buds, and blossoms. New life. Everywhere.

To celebrate our Easter joy and the hope of new life, we are participating in the March for Babies at 9am on Saturday, April 25 along the Chicago lakefront. We are marching 6.2 miles in memory of our beautiful son Isaiah and to help support the thousands of babies that are born too soon, too small and often very sick. The march for babies is affiliated with the march of dimes. The goal of this organization is to fund research and support programs that help babies begin healthy lives. If you're interested in sponsoring our walk, please visit our webpage at http://www.marchforbabies.org/LEGamache

Happy Easter.


Old Jeans, New Me

Today I reached a wonderful milestone - I fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans. They are a bit snug, but I'm in! I know that seams like a rather shallow milestone considering all that has happened but there is something so healing about fitting into my old clothes. I treasured all of the changes that my body took on during my pregnancy with Isaiah. I was not a woman that feared gaining a few healthy pounds, but in the wake of his loss, the physical reminder was so hard to bear. And on top of that physical reminder, it just took a toll on my self esteem. I have felt utterly shattered emotionally and then to feel unattractive physically just added insult to injury.

Its just amazing how fitting into old jeans can lift my spirits. I am finding that lots of little things have been lifting my spirits lately and that is a welcome change. The sunshine on my face, the beautiful flowers that are blooming throughout the neighborhood, sweet conversations with amazing friends, and spending lazy afternoons with my husband has brought me little glimpses of joy that I have missed in the last two months.

I still long to hold Isaiah in my arms more than words can express, but I treasure the fact that I can embrace this longing while still experiencing moments of joy. I know that each day and sometimes each moment will be different and at times this joy will be hard to find, so I want to treasure the moments of joy that I have.

So while I slide into my old jeans, I feel like a new me. A me that has experienced unthinkable tragedy yet has learned to celebrate the little joys of life.

Weeping my last for a night, but joy comes with the morning. - Psalm 30:5


So Loved

This week has been one of the best yet hardest weeks for me since Isaiah passed away. It feels so strange to say it was the best and yet the worst at the same time, but I am learning to accept this roller coaster of emotions as life now.

Tuesday was my due date. It was just a date that most likely Isaiah wouldn't have been born on yet we looked forward to that date for so many months, so it had deep significance to us. I dreaded this day as I knew the tears and emotions it would bring - which it did, but it also brought one of the most touching surprises.

I received an email from a dear friend, Jen, on Monday night. I know Jen from my high school days of laughing our way through French class, but time and distance drew us apart in the last 10 years. We both went to college, met amazing husbands and started "real life" - she in Seattle and I in Chicago. Thanks to Facebook (that's right I still use Facebook and I'm proud of it!), Jen and I have been able to stay in contact over the years, and when she learned about Isaiah, she and the amazing women in her Bible study showered me in prayer and sent me sweet encouraging messages. These sweet women became my Seattle Prayer Brigade.

On the eve of my due date, I opened my email to the most touching surprise. Since she knew how tough the day would be, Jen organized people to cover me in prayer for the full 24 hours. It gave me such peace to know that I was not trudging through this day on my own - godly men and women from around the country were holding me up in prayer, literally carrying me through the day.

A few women from my work signed up to pray for me and invited me to a mid-day prayer session. These women prayed for me, shared encouraging scriptures and thoughts with me and wept with me. It was such a sweet time.

We made it through that day - I wont deny that there were many tears, but it wasn't nearly as awful as I expected. My prayer brigade from Seattle and around the world supported us and loved on us so much and for that I am so thankful.

You all have been the tangible love of Christ to me, and as I celebrate this first holiday without my boy, I am reminded daily of how loved I am - by my husband, family, friends, people I have never met face-to-face, and ultimately God.

This Easter, I am choosing not to dwell on the lonely ache in my heart. I am choosing to dwell on this love and the amazing resurrection of Christ. Its because of His victory over the grave, I know my boy is looking his savior face-to-face on this glorious Easter morn.

One of the most commonly known verses of the Bible has had a new profound meaning to me this year:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

This is a God that is also well acquainted with losing a son, yet He loves us so much that was willing to sacrifice His son that we all might have eternal life with him

I am so loved!