How are you?

How are you?

I feel like I have been asked this question a thousand times recently. Don't get me wrong, I love that people are willing to continue to support us and show their love and concern, but I have to admit I get sick of this question because it is a really hard one for me to answer. I think most people expect a few short words as a response to that question. Unfortunately, I can't sum up how I am really doing in a few words, so I warn you now, if you want an honest answer to how I am doing, be prepared for a book.

I have made the effort to condense my answers a bit since most people would prefer the cliff notes to the three part epic novel. The best thing I have come up with is to say that everyday is a roller coaster - some days are good - I would even go as far as to say really good - but some days are still so tough.

For those of you that truly do want to know, here's a glimpse into the deeper reality of how I am doing. I truly do feel like I am stuck on a roller coaster. I have had some wonderful moments lately. I am finding the deepest joy in the fact that God seems to be drawing Matt and I so close to Himself. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me to see how God is working and moving in Matt's life. I continue to see more and more of God's character shine through him and I can feel God drawing us closer together though our love for Him. The conversations we have had, the prayers we have prayed together, the sweet time we have just hanging out together, its simply amazing!

I have also found great joy in spending time with my friends and family. I find that more and more lately, I am able to enjoy myself while I am out doing things with people. I find myself laughing and smiling more often and I am so thankful for that.

But I have to be honest, though things are "better" sometimes, I am still deeply struggling at times too. Every new situation seems to bring the thought that Isaiah should be with us. I also really struggle with jealousy at times. I desire to be a mother to a child here on earth so seeing pregnant women and babies everywhere brings pangs of longing. I find myself wondering why I don't deserve to be a mother like these other women? What's wrong with me? I know this is not true and I have to fight these thoughts with God's truth. Still as strong as I try to be, my heart and arms ache with emptiness and my mind spins as I try to answer the never ending why's in my head. Why me? Why us? Why Isaiah? I have thought to myself many a time that when I get to heaven I have some questions for God. He better help me understand this!

Matt has really helped me deal with this desire to get answers from God. He was listening to a podcast of one of our favorite pastors. The pastor began by reading from Isaiah 6: 1-5

In the year that Kind Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces , with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips , and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."

Wow, is all I can say. Can you imagine seeing such a powerful scene? What MAJESTY and AWE!

After reading this portion of scripture, the pastor asked if we were standing in this amazing scene before Almighty God, would we really want to demand any answers from him? Would we really want to share our "beefs" with him? Really?

No! If I were standing there, like Isaiah, I would be totally freaked out. I would also want to throw myself on the ground and cry out "Woe is me! I am unclean and I am gazing upon Almighty God." All the beefs and questions I have will disappear as I gaze upon God's beauty and majesty.

The amazing thing about God is that He is this majestic fear-inspiring God but He is also full of love, grace and compassion. He is truly amazing! Though on this earth, I may never understand why God allowed Isaiah to die, I rest in knowing that God is God and I am not. He may chose to answer some of my questions, or He may ask me to simply trust in His unfailing plan. Whatever He chooses to reveal to me, I am choosing to put Him on the throne of my life, and to Him I cry,

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty;
The Whole Earth is filled is his glory!"


The elusive sheep are back in town!

I made it through my first Mother's Day weekend without Isaiah, and it was not as bad as I anticipated it to be. In large part, that was due to my sweet grandmothers birthday. Well, I suppose the mere fact that I am writing this entry tonight is due to my grandmother's birthday because I wouldn't be here without her, but I digress.

This weekend, Matt and I made the long drive from Chicago to Tennessee to celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday. My mom planned a surprise party for her and invited the family and her friends. I have to admit, I dreaded this a bit in the weeks preceding. Being in a large group is still hard for me - especially when its seeing the people in the large group for the first time since I lost Isaiah since most people say something the first time they see me if they know what happened. Though I deeply appreciate their care and shows of support and affection, it is really hard to repeatedly hear, "I am so sorry," and "How are you," in that sympathetic, don't upset the grieving mom tone.

The party turned out to be a lot of fun. I could tell my grandma loved the surprise and loved that so many people came out to celebrate her special day. And yes, quite a few people came up to Matt and I with the expected questions and comments but they were all really sweet about it and we prepared a few answers so we wouldn't have to think about it too much and could keep as much attention as possible on my grandma.

My grandma told me something after the party that really touched my heart. As much fun as she had at the party, it was still hard to celebrate without thinking that my grandpa should be there with her. Just as I was feeling that Isaiah was missing from the party, she felt that grandpa was missing from the party. I know that is such a simple statement but I was so wrapped up in my own feelings of loss that it never occurred to me to think of how that would feel for her. I am so thankful that she shared that with me because in a weird way, I felt bonded to her in a special way through our grief.

I also felt bonded to my aunt this weekend. About 10 years ago, my aunt also lost a precious baby to stillbirth. I hate that we share this agonizing loss, but knowing she walked this road before me is such an encouragement to me. And seeing my cousin who was born just a year after she lost her baby was an encouragement to me as well. She is such a sweet, beautiful girl and she is a wonderful reminder that there is hope even in devastating loss. My aunt also gave me a beautiful mother's necklace. She didn't want to make a big deal of it, or call it a mother's day gift, but this gift really touched me. To have someone honor me as a mother meant so much to me - especially when it came from someone who really understood this lonely journey.

Matt and I also got to cook dinner for my mom and grandma on Sunday. As much as we wanted to bless these sweet women on Mother's Day, it was a blessing to us as well. It kept me busy not thinking about myself. The less time I have to think on these "hard days" the better, and it allowed Matt and I to do something fun together which is something we really appreciate right now.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, and on top of all the other blessings, God gave me one other present - 3 nights of falling asleep without having to take anything! For those of you that have journeyed with me through this loss, you know that sleep has been my toughest physical symptoms. Most nights, I cannot fall asleep without taking Benadryl or Tylenol PM, but for the last three nights, I have drifted off to sleep without taking anything. That's huge for me. I have spent so much time in the last week trying to track down some sheep to count, but this weekend, my elusive sheep were back in town!!


Keep Your Fork!

I can't believe its already been three months since we said hello and goodbye to Isaiah. Three months? My heart still aches for him like it was just yesterday. Yet at the same time, I feel like it was years ago. I think part of it is that I feel like I am a different person than I was three months and a day ago. Thanks to my sweet boy, I have learned to be so much more intentional about life. Each moment that I have seems so precious to me now, and I finally taking the time treasure friendships, family, and my husband and put life into perspective.

I recently read a book that talks a lot about perspective: The Noticer, by Andy Andrews. In this story, the main character, Jones, helps people discover perspective about their lives and their situations, and there is one story that has been a real encouragement to me.

A woman wakes up to find Jones comforting her husband, Harrison, who was losing his battle with cancer. He had become quite bitter and afraid of dying. In talking to him, Jones brought up the memory of holiday meals at Harrison's mother's house. Harrison reminisced of what a wonderful cook his mother was and how joyous these meals were. Then Jones reminded him of what she used to say as she would clear the table of the dinner dishes before dessert. You see even better than her cooking was her desert baking. Everybody raved about how good her pies and cookies were. So as she cleared the table, she would remind everyone to keep their dinner fork because the best was yet to come. Before Jones left Harrison that night, he kissed him on the head and said, "You don't have to be afraid anymore, Harrison. You can keep your fork. The best is yet to come."

How powerful and how true! I have had my share of hardships and I am sure I will have more, but I can rest in knowing that one day I will be reunited with my Glorious Savior. He will wipe away every tear. He will mend my broken heart. He will make all things right and in him I will be complete. I celebrate that no matter what life brings, the best is yet to come!