A Year In The Life; From Incredibly Broken To Immeasurably Blessed.

           ” Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny”~ C.S Lewis

 

blog post

 

   The other night was like any other. I made supper. I danced barefoot in my living room and laughed with four amazing beings. I gave baths, and I fought every single one as they refused bed and finally closed their eyes.

           I walked back up the stairs, pulled on a pair of comfy black leggings and fell onto the couch. Exhausted, somewhat defeated, but with a intense sense of purpose I couldn’t help but smile. 

    Smile because there I was. Here I was. Strong, happy, and thriving in a world that I never could have imagined a year prior. In a life I never believed could have existed because I was so trapped in the one I had thought I deserved. 

    and it hit me.

    Life drastically changed this year for me and my family. Our lives were turned upside down. Relationships were lost, and my faith shaken when guilts of not being able to keep my marriage together the way God had intended crept into every single part of me.  Insecurities and feelings of worthlessness consumed me and for the first time in my life I was completely alone, terrified for what was next, and so entirely sure that I had nothing left to offer to anything or anyone.

   I blamed my damaged marriage and I reasoned that it was my broken past…..and to some degree I guess it was true,  that the choices I had made to get to where I was in that moment were all affected in one way or another by my previous experiences. But I had also forgot a few very important things.  First, I had forgotten that the God I believe in, the one whom I so easily doubted every single time my life didn’t go as planned…. had a life waiting for me far greater then any broken mess. Secondly, nothing that has happened to me and nothing I had ever done took away from my worthiness of the very love we all deserve.  Thirdly, That I have always had a choice. A choice right now to not only start over, but to invest in and learn to love the very woman I had always wanted to be.

   So as one chapter closed, another one opened.  I cried in to my pillow, I began to write again, and I learned to listen to the ones who mattered most. I grew into my self  better and more ready to take on life than ever before, and my passions intensified as I chose what was most important and began to weed out the rest.

   I learned what love was again. What it was to be loved. Not from a man, but from the very girl who lived within me, and for the first time in my life I felt what it was to feel free from any one else expectations. So free in fact, that I had never been more certain of what I wanted, and so completely sure of what I deserved.

  I learned to take chances. Chances where I didn’t know the outcome. Some that have been worth it and some not so much but all of which have included growth. Life is beautiful and messy and full of so many opportunities’, some of which we never experience because we are to busy keeping safe.

So here I am. Cracked but still standing, a joy in my heart that I never thought was possible, and a fire burning for whatever comes next. Terrified but excited. In a place I never thought I could be and completely confident in the woman I am.

From incredibly broken to immeasurably blessed.

…..and for that I am so very thankful.

 

signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Year 4 After Loss. Death, Divorce, & Discovering Truths.

” My story is filled with broken pieces, terrible choices, and ugly truths. It is also filled with a major comeback, peace in my soul and a grace that saved my life.”

FB_IMG_1537545067708

On July 6th, 2018 I awoke to a home loudly submerged in chaos. I stood in the kitchen. Breakfast on the go, as my beautiful creations ran around our home. It would seem just like any other day and to the world it was, but that day was the day that only four years ago I awoke in my home to find one of my creations had left it.

One where breakfast was not being made, but a tiny twelve pound life was attempting to be restored and where loud chaos was my broken screams, ambulance sirens, and the sounds of the stretcher that carried her tiny body being rushed into the emergency room.

I am a few months late for this post. Or maybe I’m just on time. Life has changed more this year than any of the others. Extremely difficult decisions have been made, and a new discovering of myself began.

My yearly updates have always been about progress ahead.  About finding the joy in the pain and continuing to carry on through. It’s been about me surviving through the repercussions of life thereafter child loss.

Except this year was filled with set backs, brokenness, and a complete loss of who I was. This year the person I had worked so very hard to become vanished as my life was stripped back down to reveal so many ugly truths.

See that girl above? The one with her toes dug into the sand as the waves wash over her feet. Despite the last three hundred and sixty five days, she STILL survived. Despite the waves and the storms she is still standing.

This year lead to the end of her marriage.

This year lead to her being left for the first time in years, maybe ever…….alone.

This year lead her to realize that there was still a fire in her that she thought a damaging relationship and the death of her children had distinguished years ago.

This year brought her closer to her children in ways she could never imagine.

Most importantly this year, that girl, myself,  has lead me to embrace the fear. Something I have avoided and battled with my entire life.

Fear was something I hid from. I thought it protected me, kept me safe from hurt, from loneliness, from allowing myself to make the wrong decisions.

……..and it did. To some degree.

It also caused me to allow thoughts of unworthiness to stay way too long within me, It stripped away amazing opportunities, and it held me back from taking chances where I had no control of the outcome.

Fear damaged my relationships and caused more loneliness and isolation as I hid my broken marriage from my friends, and church family in order to keep my got it all together image.

Fear kept me “safe, ” but fear also lied. Because it was that very thing that also kept me from finding myself.

This year I took the opporunity to embrace everything it has thrown at me. As someone who has strived to make every single decision based intentionally on the outcome this hasn’t come easily.

I’ve made mistakes, I’ve allowed myself to become too reckless at times, and I have had repercussions because of it.

But I have learned some very beautiful things not only about life, but beautiful truths about that once- was- beaten- down girl above.

The one with her feet in the ocean, a smile on her face, holding on so very tightly to one of her own.

I remember the days when I so desperately wanted to tell her.

I wanted to tell her that I knew that very image was one of the first times she breathed in not just the salty ocean air, but a peace and free-ness she had been so long without.

I tried to tell her that she was strong and beautiful….and that  someday she would look in the mirror and not just see the labels, scars, and names that have been branded into her the last thirteen years.

Most importantly for so long I wanted her to know that she deserves to be loved. Wholly. Entirely in all her messiness and imperfections. That she doesn’t have to settle or feel like because of her past she is unworthy of greatness. 

One thousand, four hundred and sixty days have passed since this journey of healing has began. My family looks different, my life has drastically changed, and my story has not been written the way I had imagined. If I have learned anything from my journey it seldom ever is.

I have learned that life is beautiful and ever changing. That it’s okay to live fiercely, to take chances, and to not leave possibilities undiscovered.

This year I was shown where I came from, what I’ve conquered, and the person I am because of it.

I’ve learned that in the midst of it all. God really is a “God of the hills and valleys.” That regardless of my choices and mess ups I am still loved.

I have no idea what the next chapter will bring, but I am ready because I do know one thing for sure.

That now matter how many times I’m told I can’t……I most absolutely will!

#Whosheis   #Whosesheis    #Shewill

Much love, Serre

FB_IMG_1537554297839.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To The Woman Who Feels Alone……

FB_IMG_1537547517158.jpg

Aug 1, 2017

I don’t remember exactly when it happened.

That pivotal moment when I realized I was married but I was alone.

I don’t remember if I was sitting on my couch after the kids were in bed or If I was driving to run errands like any other day.

I don’t remember because there were so many times. There was not one pivotal moment but many over time where lonliness sunk in and self worth was ripped away.

Lonliness so deep that even though in the same home I had never felt so far apart.

I don’t remember when we stopped trying.

Really trying.

The moment I realized that he had been checked out for awhile now and I was clinging to something that no longer existed.

I do remember when the fighting stopped, the battles seized, and the day came when there was nothing left to fight for.

Expectations and opinions of others encouraged me to keep going for awhile. I didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want to disappoint God. I wanted the world to think I had it together. I didn’t want to be judged. Judged for a relationship I had no control to fix. One I begged for to heal. One I had desperately  prayed for years for God to restore.

I had given my everything. All of me for so long what if it was a mistake?

Except one day I woke up and realized I had given so much with so little in return that I wasn’t even here anymore.

Not the real me anyways.

Just the shell of a woman who went through the motions, who encouraged strength, and faith, and trust, and self worth but didn’t believe any of them for herself.

A woman who was living a lie, who wanted so desperatley to fit into society’a standards, to be seen as an overcommer, to live up to others expectations and willing to put it all above herself.

The mother willing to continue to teach her children, her daughters that to receive love meant to give up everything about themselves in return.

All because I cared more about what the world seen outside of my home then what my children could see in it.

Because for some reason thats what we do.

I don’t know whats next.

To say I am terrified would be an understatement.

But I do know one thing for sure.

To the woman who has left….

You are not alone.

This is so extremely hard.

The guilt is not yours. Get rid of it.

Find your support. Your going to need it.

The pain doesn’t just go away.

The lonliness is still there. For now.

Theres days youre going to question your decision. That choice is yours. Find your support.

The God I beleive is still there. Let him be.

Youre going to just need time to think. Take it.

Its going to take time to learn to love yourself again. Embrace it.

You may seem like you failed. You didn’t.

You may seem so very weak, but your strong.

Most importantly in a world where right now you feel unloved, unwanted, and not good enough.

Where you feel judged and looked at as the one who didn’t suceed.

Remember you are so so much more.

You are worthy of love, of respect, of happiness.

You are worth it.

You always have been.

You just couldn’t see it yet.

I hope you someday do.

That someday you realize that no matter how alone you feel, you never really are. 

 

Picking Up The Pieces…

40139675_10157036053925110_7518180392965242880_o

Aug 25, 2018

My Sweet Little Ones,

Right now life is crazy and painful and you’re confused.

Right now it feels like everything I promised you was a lie. That what God intended for marriage, I have failed. That what you deserved, I took away.

….. and right now I don’t have the answers.

There seems to be alot that has happened in our lives that I haven’t had the answers for.

But I do know that even though it doesn’t make sense right now every single decision I make is with the best intentions of you living a great life.

That what may seem like a weakness, a failure, or a giving up took every single ounce of strength I had in my body to do.

That even though I know you are all hurting in your own ways in this very moment, that life remaining the way it has, was not only hurting you more but impacting the very way you see your own self worth in the future.

Right now life is a blur, and you may not be able to see it but between the cracks and in the nearly never quiet moments of our everyday busy lives brokensss is pouring out of me too.

You are so very loved.

I want you to not only be told what love is or how love is meant to be but to be shown it, to see it lived out.

I want you to continue to seek God and trust him even when right now I am trying to very hard to hide my own struggles and anger with Him.

I want you to know your worth, to learn what you deserve. So that in the future you learn to love and treat others in the very ways you would expect, and not to accept any less in return.

I want you to learn from my own failures. To see that I’m human and not perfect. That as much as I don’t want to dissapoint you I will. But to hold on to the One that doesn’t.

I only hope that you you look back someday and see that everything I have done, every decision I have made….has been done with love. That I have always been right here walking with you. That in all of my imperfectness there has been nothing but a perfect love for you.

Love, Mom

 

What I Want Them To Know.

momy

     As a very young girl my struggle with self-esteem began. My parents separated when I was very young and at times my sister and I were but mere pawns in a game of “who could hurt who more” between them.  It wasn’t long after that I was shifted back and forth between the foster care system and my home before being permanently placed.

   My understanding of love was warped. I didn’t know exactly what it meant to be loved. To be really loved. I wasn’t raised being told that I was good or that I was even worthy of it. Worthy of anything for that matter. In fact most times I was told the total opposite. At the age of thirteen I stood in a brightly lighted office building while my mom spoke the words “take her. I cant do this anymore.” 

   That summer I was placed for good and that fall I started grade eight. I struggled with forming relationships, I struggled with trust. I wanted so desperately to feel like I was a part of the crowd. To be worthy of being the same as everyone else, but as we all know Middle and High School can be some of the most cruelest of places to be.

   I lived in a Foster Home, my bottom was not covered by jeans with the Silver label on the pocket, and my body circumference was a lot larger than I would have liked.  My feet were resting in <insert gasp now> no name Crocs because I couldn’t afford to have the real ones. ( They were all the craze during that time okay?) All that seems like silliness now, but to the fourteen year old broken and “unworthy” me it was just another sign that because of who I was and the circumstances I was in, that I would never be as good as everyone else. 

   At the age of sixteen, my bigger than I would like body circumference became even larger as I now walked the hallways of my school not just “croc-less” but pregnant. 

   At the young age of seventeen I birthed a tiny eight pound, ten fingered, chubby cheeked miracle and I was absolutely terrified. I will never forget the days, and months, and even years that followed, where my own feelings of “unworthiness” took away from allowing my self to see Gods greatness for the very thing that it was.

   See I sat in the very church seats I still sit in each Sunday today and asked God why in the world he would give her to me. A child myself, unable to love her the way she needed.  That she deserved more than a high school student Mom, and an Sobeys working Dad. That more than anything I didn’t want her to become me. 

Then I truly met God.

Not in one particular big bang of a moment.

But in the ordinary moments when he chooses to reveal extraordinary blessings.

A God who began to ask me just why I was unworthy of love, of happiness, and of being someone other than a statistic I had labelled myself of.

 My eight pound, ten fingered, chubby cheeked miracle is now almost twelve years old. She is a year and half away from the very age I stood in the lighted office building and allowed my mothers issues and illnesses to define my own worth. Its been an age I’ve wondered that if I was gone tomorrow,  that if the love my own daughter knows from me was suddenly stripped away…. Would she continue to know the most important love of all?

That although my entire identity as a mother has been to express my love and my children’s worthiness to me… have I done enough to allow them out of my mother knows best bubble  to see His?

I continued on to have three other precious girls after her. Then two sweet boys after that.

My biggest and greatest prayer for them is not that I get everything right but that I am able to prepare them for when I disappoint them, that I am able to continue to raise them up and lead them to the very One who won’t. 

I want them to not only know they are loved by her father and I, but by a God so much bigger than anything they could imagine. 

I want them to know that their worth is far greater than a label on a clothing or a wink from a prepubescent teenage boy.

I want them to know that they live in a world where they will be judged by the way they look, by the partners they choose, by the people they help, by the people they don’t, by the way the speak, by the way they live, by their parenting, by the cleanliness of their homes, by their newest car, by whether they have the highest paying job. I want them to know those other opinions aren’t the ones that matter.

I want them to know there will be times when society will tell them they should when they shouldn’t and not to when they should. 

I want them to know they will mess up sometimes. Most likely over and over again.

I want them to not strive to be anyone but their amazingly beautiful sometimes-messy selves.

Because the truth is whether sixteen or twenty eight we are all a hot mess loved by an amazing  self-less God. 

….and so will they be too.

Because of that God….. in the here and now, and long after I am gone they will be forever be loved.

They will never be alone.

They will be given opportunities to rise up above struggles.

They will be welcomed back with opened arms when they are led astray.

I want them to know that above all, that although this world is extremely warped…. Gods love for them isn’t anything but crystal clear.

Because it is Him that shows us extraordinary worthiness in our seemingly ordinary lives.

…….and I want ever so desperately for them to know just that.

 

 

 

What I Wish I Could Tell Them…………

deeeee

I’ll never forget the moments when I found out that my children had died. In an instant the only world I had ever known was completely shattered. It immediately became dark…..as if I had been thrown ever so deeply in a hole that I couldn’t see a way out. My heart stopped beating….or at least it felt like it. It somehow kept going enough to keep my body alive, but everything else had disappeared with the words “we couldn’t save her.”

Over the past couple of weeks I have watched gracefully broken and incredibly brave Moms say goodbye to the most treasured pieces of themselves.

Three and a half years have gone by since my loss…. three and a half heart-breakingly, breath-takingly, painful and beautiful all at the same time years have passed since the moment I sat in their very shoes.

And I wish I could tell them…..

I wish I could tell them that the minute the news of their precious babies deaths hit my ears, that as a Mama who has been there… I immediately felt their pain, their desperateness, and the newly formed holes in their hearts. That I thought of them constantly, prayed for them greatly, and felt the need to want to protect “one of our own”  from the heartaches ahead.

I wish I could tell them that they are so incredibly loved.  Not only by so many that they do not even know,  but also by a God who does.

I wish I could tell them that God, the very one I doubted to exist…the one that I screamed at and questioned over and over again, the God that chose to not breathe life back into my baby girl… revealed Himself in my pain in ways I could never have imagined.

I wish I could tell them that clinging to the very God and the hope that comes with him was the only thing that gave me strength even when friends and family didn’t understand.

I wish I could tell them that they’ve showed incredible strength. That although they feel numb, weak, and barely alive….that I have watched them in awe as they have battled on through.

I wish I could tell them that this immense pain that they are feeling, the pain that consumes every inch of their entire being will fade, not today, and certainly not tomorrow but as the moments , days, and “firsts without” go by…. the rawness of it all will soften and that waking up each day will get easier.

I wish I could tell them that the guilt can consume every single inch of you if you let it. That no matter the loss, or no matter the cause, we as mothers have the incredible urge to blame ourselves. That the most freeing thing I had ever been told was that it wasn’t my fault. That it isn’t their fault, but that horrible awful and incomprehensible things happen to good people.

I wish I could tell them that they’ll one day receive the answer. The answer to the question we all want to know. The whys…the why me. Except they won’t. That as infuriating, and frustrating, and painful that it is…… healing won’t come from the answer anyways.

I wish I could tell them that their precious children will never be forgotten. That although one of the biggest fears for us Mamas is that as time passes and our childrens names get spoken less and less, that not a day goes by that they wont think of them and whisper their sweet names from their lips.

I wish I could tell them that it is true. That a piece of their heart will forever be missing. That they’ll miss their precious children terribly, that they will at times desperately want nothing more but a chance to have a moment with them …but that each moment they keep going is one moment closer to seeing them again.

I wish I could tell them that their grieving hearts does not come with an expiry date. That they will be told that they should be beginning to heal, that as others lives begin to return to “normal” so should their own. That they will question and be questioned on the soul crushing grief that seems to be never ending. That their grief has no limits….because neither did their love.

I wish I could tell them that life does go on. That its the hardest part. That people vanish, that activities resume. That although this world has not stopped spinning, I know theirs did and has completely changed its orbit. That their lives will never be the same but eventually they will be able to start again.

I wish I could tell them that they will laugh again someday. Not the one they will force out of themselves to mask the silence in the days and weeks to come, but a real laugh that reminds them that joy does still exist in this unfathomable world.

Most importantly, I wish I could tell them that there is HOPE. That although there is absolutely no way that they are able to comprehend or even imagine that there is anything outside of this pain in this very moment….. that this Mama…the one who sat in the very same seats at the front of the very same church and said goodbye to my own little girl, the one who doubted the same God, the one who couldn’t see it myself…. has experienced a hope, a joy, and a healing that I never thought would be possible again in this lifetime.

I wish I could tell them that its the beginning of a life long, some times painful, other times beautiful, life altering journey that only they will be able to understand as the days, months, and years go by.

In their own grief.

Immersed in love.

Surround by Hope.

In His time.

A time when their heart begins to truly beat life again, when there is but a glimmer of light in the seemingly forever darkness, and when their hopelessness is restored to hope-filled once again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons At The Kitchen Sink.

20171005_112756

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