Lessons At The Kitchen Sink.

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Hey you.

Mama.

The one standing at the sink washing the never ending dishes while staring blankly out the window.

The Mama in your own world for just a moment while peices of your family runs around your home.

I know what you’re thinking.

It’s funny isn’t it?

Maybe funny isn’t the word.

But isn’t it crazy how life just goes on?

How in a sometimes feels- like- yesterday, yet in another feels- so- distant time…. that your tummy contained a life that is no longer.

It’s little moments like these ones that remind you of  the missing feet running around and the absent giggles around the dinner table.

How did we get here?

From that dreary hospital chair to the kitchen sink .

Because there was a time we could barely stand.

Because there was a time where the pain was so immensely present that just existing was difficult.

Because there was a time where our other children’s laughter was not seen as a blessing, but as a breathtakingly painful reminder of the childs we would never hear.

Because there was a time when I placed my once alive but now lifeless baby in my husband’s arms to hand over to the coroner.

Because there was a time  I thought life was over for me too.

But it wasnt.

……And minutes turned in to hours and hours in to days.

…. And days in to weeks and weeks in to months.

…And then months into years.

YEARS.

And one day you wake up, and can thank the ever present never left your side God. The One who you battled with in the kitchen one stormy morning while your daughter laid breathless on the floor.

The One whom ultimately had the ability to “save the day” …..

……but didn’t.

And you look back at that not so distant time where you could not see any point in living any longer. That time when your other children was not even enough of a motive for you to live through this pain.

Then you remember the moments He showed up time and time again.

The moments where he put just a glimmer of light in the seemingly never ending darkness and just the smallest bit of joy in the forever feeling pain.

And you realize that although he may not have saved that day, He did save your life.

Then one day years from now you’ve emerged from the middle of the storm and you’re staring out your kitchen window….and not only are you remembering that precious child that once was, but you are thinking about the life thereafter you’d never thought you’d have.

The life you couldn’t even see in the midst.

A life that has had so many moments of pain and family shaken hard times. But a life of healing, of blessings, and of change.

But back then we couldn’t see it.

….And that’s okay.

We wouldn’t have believed it if we could.

Because back then all we could see was death and pain and the unfairness of this world we live in.

Back then all that we could see was the pink cold hospital chair where we last held our precious baby.

Until one day we didn’t.

I never would have thought that this journey would bave been and continues to be, even more than I could have ever imagined.

That I could feel so abudantly blessed and loved in a life that has contained so much pain and death.

But I am.

And He continues to be.

Our grief doesn’t stop.

But neither does our God.

And because of Him, today we can stand and be thankful for the veiw.

And for tomorrow we are filled with hope.

I don’t know how we got here.

But I am so very thankful we are.

Thankful that while our tough tierd hands  were created for cradling sweet babies and washing these very dishes….that His…

His were made for healing.

 

Sarah

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To The Mama Who Can’t See It….

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To the Mama anxiously awaiting bedtime.

To the Mama walking over graham cracker crumbs on her newly washed floors.

To the Mama whose after-the-supper-dishes fill her just empty sink.

To the Mama who just yelled when she could talk graciously no more.

To the Mama whose seemingly never empty laundry basket is overflowing.

To the Mama who hands, mouth and mind is tierd.

To the Mama who will stay up when everyone is asleep to get a head start on tomorrow.

To the Mama who will wake up and do it all over again.

To the Mama who wonders if this is how it will always be or if they are even making a diffence anyways.

…..it wont.

…..and you are.

You are not alone.

There’s so many of us here with you.

Someday these messy faced, sleep resisting, repeatative why questioners will be grown. Someday Your house will stay clean, your laundry will be your own, and your sleep will be restored.

Someday this time will be no longer.

Until then we embrace the messiness of it all.  We find the joy in the sometimes not so joyous moments. We take in the beauty in the fingerprints on our windows and muddy footprints on the floor. We answer their whys over and over again as their face lights up with excitement each time……. and we mess up over and over again in the process.

Because we are their Mamas…

Beautiful, coffee drinking, question answering, sleep deprived beings who was created by God to do just so.

You’re making a difference you know..

….in their life.

And in the future you will look back at this not so distant past and remember not only the hard work but these messy moments in this beautiful time.

Those messy moments that helped shape the amazing mother you are.

You are enough.

You’ll see.

Love,

A waist -deep- in- the-mess  Mama, whose right where you are.

 

To My Sweet Chubby Cheeked Girl-Year 3

 

audrey                                                  ” God gave me you.”

Audrey Girl,

In a few weeks it will have been three years since I met you. Three years since the day I pushed you from my body and held you in my arms. That day was so peaceful. So full of love, joy and thankfulness. It would be a lie to say that I loved you from the minute I had seen you because truth is I had already fallen so hard for you by then. My love formed for you before you were even fully formed yourself. From the moment a tiny plus sign appeared on that small screen, the moment the faintest heartbeat could be heard by my very ears, and with each flutter in my belly thereafter.

Two and a half months we showed you as much love as possible, you enriched our lives and such joy came from small victories like your weight gain from nursing and your half smiles we refused to believe were gas.

Although I’ve told you a million times before,that morning when we woke up and found you breathless changed my life. It was the day I prayed harder than ever before yet they weren’t answered, the moment I learned that life can be taken in an instant…that I always don’t have time to prepare for a storm, but it was also a time that showed me the intense love of the people around me, and by the very God who I had ignored.

The first year it was so easy to keep my faith. After all, I couldn’t survive without it. I had been brought down to the very bottom…shaken to my very core, and without it I was unable to get back up. Your life was in the spotlight. In our small town there were not too many places I could go where someone didn’t approach me and speak your beautiful name. It was the year we welcomed your brother Asher and although I was so incredibly afraid for ever breath of life he breathed as I waited for each one to be the last, he was something to focus on and that brought joy.

The second year was breathtakingly painful. It was the year “after your death.” Life with you was no longer in this year or in this moment….it was in my past, and with the most real understanding that you would no longer be in the years to come. Year two was the year I felt your loss tremendously. your name had faded from the lips around me and even when I tried to speak it I felt like a repetitive robot.

Then came this year. This year I missed you with every bone in my body. I’ve watched children in the church nursery born the same time as you and wished you were there beside them. I’ve braided your sisters two heads and longed for the third, and I have struggled at times as your death as faded from the minds of people around me. Months ago I found out that once again you were going to have another sibling, only this time it made you seem so much farther away. So much more a child who “once was.”

My last pregnancy I had prayed so hard for a boy. I pleaded with God to not just take one of my girls away to give me another months later, but this time a part of me longed for you. This time I prayed that this would be my chance to mother a baby girl again and that maybe this time I would be enough to be able to keep her…and truth is when the ultrasound revealed a sweet baby boy I cried.

……..and some of those tears were for you.

See, three years later on an examination table came the realization that you were gone and that time has moved on. That since you occupied that very space in my womb two others had now grown there. Two others that could never occupy the same space in our family. Two that could never fill the hole you left so deeply.

But then today I was once again showed who was. That my God is.

The last few months have been hard ones. With each pregnancy after you has come the joys, the fears, and the stresses of the what ifs to come. I have once again let depression hit as life hasn’t turned out the way that I’ve planned. When my home hasn’t lived up to be the home I dreamed, when my body doesn’t look the way that I’ve wanted, or through the loss of friends and support networks I once had.

At times I have become too occupied with what others see in me and less with how He sees me. I let my insecurities, my failures and my “have nots” over rule my thankfulness for what He has given me.

The past couple of weeks I have allowed the enemy in. I have became depressed in your death, I have let my anger trouble my marriage, and I have questioned if I was enough. There were even times I have felt my children deserved more than me. I have wondered what theirs lives would have been if they had been born in a family who were able to provide more, into a family were their siblings lived and where chicken poop didn’t decorate their door step.

And then I am reminded of you. The biggest gift that God has ever given me, and the grandest blessings He has provided in your life and death. You are not only one of my proudest accomplishments, but my life long reminder of Gods love. That very love that is a forever reminder that I am enough, created in his image, and loved not for what I have but for who I am.

You my sweet girl were so loved through your very short life, through your death, and will continue to be through the what seems like forever time between the day you left my arms until I am joined with you in HIS.

This year I am not only reminded how thankful I am that he gave you to me for even a moment of time….that he chose me to mother you, but that through you He has shown me that my worth is not measured by success, that my wants are not always what I need,  where love is not always deserved it is given, and that some of my most greatest blessing come from the complete and utter darkness.

Thank you for that.

I love you my Chubby Cheeked Girl.

My girl that is not “once was”, but because of Him continues to be.

I will always love you.

Mommy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the Mama who Chose Abortion.

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Sweet Lady,

With the fight for Women’s rights, protests, and lobbyist so evidently apparent in the news my mind has gone to you so many times.

As a Christian woman I have sat quietly on the sideline while I’ve watched woman tear woman apart. There have been extremist on both ends. Christians who have had nothing but hate to spew and feminist who have showed nothing but the exact same.

See the minute I used the words Christian Woman I’m sure you cringed a little bit inside. I am so sorry for that. I am so sorry that some of “my own”……of what you have read, of what they have said….has pushed you further away from a loving God that teaches the exact opposite.

I know you are probably waiting for me to write this and it is true, abortion is against my beliefs. Myself, personally would not choose that option, but in absolutely no way does that give me the right to judge you for yours.

I may never know your story, and I may never see your face, but I do know one thing. I know that you didn’t grow up as a little girl dreaming about the day that you would feel the need to lay on a cold sterile table as a teeny being was removed from your body. I know that your decision wasn’t made lightly, and that you wrestled back and forth about the permanency of the choice you were about to make, and I do know that regardless of Christian or not Christian you are a woman, and a piece of you forever changed that day.

So as I’ve sat quietly reading comment after comment you have continually been on my mind…..

….because you have also most likely been quietly reading each and every one.

I want you to know as a Christian Woman;

It is not my right to hate you.

It is not my right to stand outside of the abortion clinic with a sign that calls you a murderer.

It is not my right to look down at you and cause you to walk in shame.

…..and it is most certainly not my right to turn you away because your choices differ from my own.

I want you to know that based on my faith, on my very beliefs that you cringe away from, that it is my job to love you.

That regardless of whether I believe your decision is right or wrong that it is my job to welcome you with open arms.

I want you to know that it is my job to pray for you. Not for the reasons you think, but for your heart, for your health and for your emotions thereafter.

Because those things are the very things I believe. Those very seemingly so basic principals are a part of what Christianity, what my God…. is all about.

So whether you sit at home alone confident in the decision you made or with tears of unsureness running down your face. You are still loved, you are still valuable, you are still cared for, and I am so sorry that you have been made to feel otherwise by the incorrect use of God’s name.

I am confident in that because I am confident in Him, because my God is bigger than any President or Worldly Leader, because He is bigger than any protest sign or hurtful comment, and because He loves you more than you will ever know.

Love,

A Jesus-following, YOU-loving Woman.

 

 

 

……Because it all Leads Back To Hope.

” I will praise the one whos chosen me to carry YOU.” ~Selah

 

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Dear Sweet Mama,

      It’s almost Christmas and I can feel your heart tugging in a million different directions. I can feel it because mine to, is doing the same.

     December has a way of bringing out the hustle and bustle, the financial struggles, and the family stresses….and with it comes the emotions of it all. You feel them a little stronger and harder as family is placed at the forefront and it reminds you over and over again of the  someone who’s missing.

      Every year I prepare for the emotions…the reminders….the memories. As I dig out the Santa bags with children’s names whom will never be filled. As I hang stockings for five when there should be seven, and the Christmas pictures that will never be complete.

      I feel your confusion as you wonder how to sign that Christmas card or gift tag. I know your desire to write your precious child’s name down with the rest of your family’s, but your weariness of making someone else feel uncomfortable.

      I know because no matter the time. Whether your first Christmas or your twenty-fifth, that child will never be forgotten. I know because a piece of your heart is eternally missing where they implanted themselves the moment you laid eyes on them or found out they were coming.

   Last night I was wrapping presents with tear filled eyes. I was stressing about cookies that still needed to be decorated, the strained relationships that I did not have the ability to fix, and the list that seemed to be getting bigger instead of smaller.

   I was hurting, I was missing my “what should have beens” and longing for my “what could have beens.” As the emotions began to build I felt myself getting angrier and the feelings of hopelessness set in when in what seemed like an instant I was reminded of the most simplest, yet most complex point of it all.

Jesus is HOPE.

Christmas is where HOPE began.

…..and that very HOPE remains constant.

   So as we go into the coming week. When we are consumed with the pain, emotions, and memories of our empty arms and broken hearts be reminded of such HOPE.

    Be reminded of a tiny precious baby who was also born to a proud, faithful, loving mother whom held her baby with no clue that he would die years later. A mother whom God loved yet had bigger plans that she could not see. A mother who watched hopelessly as her son took his last breath.

….and most importantly that beautiful baby who was born to die.

A baby who gave us the HOPE of seeing our sweet little ones again.

The same God who chose us to carry our precious children.

So in the business, and the emotions of this week,

Be still. Remember. HOPE.

 

Merry Christmas Mama,

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To The Mama Who Feels Like She’s Failing…….

  ” The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” ~Isaiah 58:11

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      Last night as I was driving in to head to bible study I would like to be able to say that I was feeling good…but truth was that an hour before had been a total nightmare.

     See, My girls were also going to the church for a end of season pajama party for their youth group, but when the time came to get ready to go….what seemed like a quick easy thing turned in to total chaos in the matter of seconds. My toddler was screaming because nothing felt right on her body, my oldest was annoyed that she was going to be late and honestly I cant blame her…I felt the exact same way.

     I threatened to leave her…..you know…the empty threat that your never going to do and I don’t know why we do it because it never works anyways. My quiet calm voice grew louder and louder until everyone was screaming, frustrated, and exhausted from the battle of coats and boots.

    We all made it in the car with not a minute to spare. But that Mama, the one with Casting Crowns blaring in the background. The one heading to bible study. The one with their kids dressed in matching pajamas in the backseat….the one who looked like she had it all together…did not. In fact she felt like a total failure.

How many times have we all felt that exact same way?

How many times have we entered somewhere with a smile on our face and self doubt in our hearts? How many times have we hidden who we are or mistakes we’ve made just so that can measure up to the Mom besides us?

How many times have we handed over the power to judge us to the wrong being?

Truth is, the last couple months , ten years….I’ve been struggling.

      Since the moment that a tiny eight pound, beautiful, slippery body was placed on my chest I immediately entered in to the world of Motherhood. In to a whole new world where self doubt, comparison, and the ability to mess up lingered around every corner.

     A world where the beauty and excitement  of new life was so very evident but the hidden pressures and inadequacy’s surround your every being as each day passed and the realization of just how big, just how important the job…..this whole Mom thing….. was going to be.

     As the world has advanced I’m not so convinced that we have. While we’ve pushed for acceptance of differences those very things have given us even more oppourtunities to fail ourselves. The world has seemed to emphasize our differences, and has even given us labels. Labels where Soccer Mom, Granola Mom, and Helicopter Mom suddenly are something we put in an order of better than….on a scale between the mom we want to be and the mom we don’t. Glorifying some more than others. Oblivious to the fact that not only are we individuals….not only has God made each one of us uniquely, but that every Mom  we have labeled from the moment we laid eyes on them are not just that.

    I have spent seasons yearning to be “that” mom. The mom that has it all together. The mom whos home you visit without cheerios on the floor and last nights super dishes in the sink.

I have spent years missing out on the blessings that was given to me because I was spending so much more time trying to be someone else.

I tried so desperately at times to fill material needs instead of spiritual ones.

I doubted my choices, because they were not yours.

I downplayed by abilities and strengths because they were not the same as others.

I’ve let Facebook hide the truths behind the pictures.

I have kept my eyes focused on becoming “mother-like” and not “God-like.”

I have spent years putting woman on pedestals for doing the exact same thing that all of us are doing…..

….raising our children to the very best of our abilities.

See, we may all parent differently but we all have the same goal.

We all love our children deeply and want what’s best for them.

….and I am learning(Sometimes the hard way) that God’s best and my best may be two different things and that if that is the case then I am going to fail at mine every single time.

    So to the Mama who feels like she’s failing…I’m here with you, fighting the same battle. Sitting hopelessly on the kitchen floor, feeling discouraged as I walk across my living room and cheerios crunch between my toes, and as I walk away from what seems like a fun family event only to have crying children and a doubting heart.

No one says it was going to be easy, but we can stop being so hard on ourselves….on each other.

You are not a failure.

You are a mother.

A beautiful and blessed being of God’s that sometimes needs a reminder that not only are you raising warriors, but that you already have a Warrior leading you through every battle you face.

We got this.

….and hey, when we don’t. He does.

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When He CAN…..But He Doesn’t.


“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28 “

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I remember the breath-takingly surreal moment I found myself desperately waiting in the small room in back of the Outpatient Department. The nurse in me was anticipating the moment the emotionally and physically drained doctor would come in and tell me that my baby girl was gone. After all, it had been too long. Far past the appropriate amount of time we give someone in a code. A code? My baby was being resuscitated in this very moment? How in the world did we get from  a nursing, smiling, sleepy baby… to this?

But the Mama in me…..the God believing part of me begged Him to save her, pleaded with him to show my church family in the waiting room…. that he was bigger than all of this. That if only He would perform this miracle, he would enable the physicians, the nurses, the staff involved to see just how mighty He was.

I tried to reason with him in my final moments before the words of my new reality would be spoken. In my last desperate attempt I told him that he could use this moment to change lives. That he could perform a miracle that would be talked about throughout this community….one that would ultimately lead people to him.

Then moments later It happened.

…..and as the physician entered I immediately began to scream no. No to what he was going to say. No to God because this was not in the plan. No because this was not happening, not my life, not my story. I refused it to be. The doctor did manage to say the words. That all attempts of resuscitation had been unsuccessful. But I had already knew that part. I knew that part when twenty minutes had gone by and there were still no more signs of life than when she had left my home. I knew that when one of my co workers who had checked in gave me the look to get prepared for what was next.

My faith had never been in the science.

My faith has been in God, but with the stipulation that he was going to go along with my plan. The miracle. The saving her part. The breathing life back in to my breathless  baby ending.

Yet there we were. Small baby girl in my arms, proof of the attempts to save her still stuck in to her body. A white fleece hospital blanket and tear filled kisses that could not cover up the fact that time was causing her to become colder and colder.

Surrounded my friends and family and questions and whys?

Encapsulated by a God bigger than it all.

He could have saved her.

He could have changed the outcome of my story that early July morning.

He could have performed a miracle,

……but He didn’t.

Or so I thought.

Audrey’s survival wasn’t my story changer.

Her death was.

As painful as it was, it was our family’s survival that became the miracle.

The never ending prayers for healing from our amazing church family, My pastors gracious ability to love like Jesus, and every single day thereafter He gave me to go on.

The community watched as we wept, trusted, and healed. They became enveloped in our story…..in Gods strength and watched closely and questionably as He carried us through.

Audrey’s death ultimately led people to God.

All things I begged him for that morning.

All outcomes I prayed would come from my baby girls life.

Assumingly unanswered prayers; answered.

His way…..not mine.

Still a miracle….just one that took longer to see.

He’s here. In all of it. Working behind the scenes. Healing,transforming, preparing, saving, carrying…..

writing your story.

A story that may be unlike anything you would have written.

…..but with an ending that is ever so beautiful.

Because ultimately its not the miracle we really want……….it is the God that makes it all possible.