What I Wish I Could Tell Them…………

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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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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.

 

 

 

To a New Hope Mom….because I’ve been there.

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Dear Sweet New Hope Mama,

 

Today you woke up to find evidence that your body had failed you tinged red on a piece of paper, today you walked in to the Dr’s office only to find the sweet sound of life had silenced within you.

Maybe today you laid that precious baby of yours down to sleep only to return and discover they had left your arms for His….or maybe tragedy struck and that beautiful, energetic, and full of life child was taken in an instant.

No matter the way…we all end up here.

In the very place you are right now.

In the gut wrenching, life changing, seemingly never-ending moment of complete brokenness.

I can’t describe it.

……because there are no words.

There never will be.

I would like to tell you that I am walking, talking  proof of survival…that I made it through to the other side.

….but I’d by lying.

Because there isn’t one.

I am just a little further ahead of you. Pondering the same unanswerable questions…the whys, the how comes, and the no fairs of this world.

I am but a mere figure of yourself in the years to come. Who can smile. Who has learned to laugh again, but who is attempting to navigate that same fine line between my old life….and my new….between my broken dreams and my ever so present reality.

Right now you are scared and angry.

You want to know the whys.

The why you? The why me? The why now’s?

Me too.

Truth is you sometimes never get that answer.

That one that you feel if you could just know…..if you could just figure out…then somehow, just some way it would be easier to accept.

But it wouldn’t.

Right now guilt is flooding in to every single vulnerable, grief stricken crevice of your being.

Your blaming that last workout, that missed kick count, or that one second you turned your head the wrong way.

Your beating yourself up over and over and over again as you continually contemplate the what ifs and the if I’s.

You replay the different scenarios repeatedly in your head as you try so desperately to turn back time.

But you can’t.

Because death is ever so present.

…..and as you lay in bed feeling the empty place where the precious life you created once was or as you sit in a cold, stark hospital room with your lifeless child in your arms….. it will never be more real than it is right now.

and you feel alone and isolated…and like no one understands.

Your heart lies in a million pieces in front of you and there is no one you feel that can help pick them  back up…..and no way it could be put back together the same way even  if they could.

Because it couldn’t.

You miss that beautiful baby already…and you break all over as you count those ten fingers and ten toes for the last time.

You aren’t ready to say goodbye and your desperate for just a few more minutes to prepare..

But you never will be.

Because no amount of time will ever be enough.

I hear your desperate cries and wails as you once again realize what is happening, because they are but an echo of my very own. They travel through me and I can feel every bit of your broken heart as mine shatters all over again.

Because you see…

We may have never met.

But we are bonded you and me.

Forever forced out of fear and our comfort zones and in to the very grief that the world tries so hard to ignore.

You are not alone.

There are so many of us on this same journey….more than you could ever imagine.

…and you’ll find us.

…….When your ready.

One day, in what seems a gazillion moments from now you will wake up to find that your smiles out number your cries. That the good days out weigh the bad, and you have traveled farther than you ever could have imagined.

But right now that seems impossible.

…and that’s okay.

Because right now..in this very moment.

I’ll sit with you in silence.

I will smile as you talk about the way that sweet baby would laugh as you blew raspberries on that now still tummy.

I will giggle as you describe the funny face he used to make when he tasted bananas for the first time.

….and I will cry with you as reality hits a million time in between.

Because I’ve been there.

Because this is not your fault.

………and right now…….

That’s the only words from me you need to hear.

 

Love,

A once too was hopeless, but now ever hopeful Hope Mom.

 

 

 

 

 

What I Want Them To Know……..

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6   11960112_10154143320265110_2618242373285066123_n (2)

My children are now growing up in a world where they will no longer know what it is like to be picked last, or maybe even not at all for a team. A world where a passing grade will be handed to them regardless of whether they are ready to advance to the next level or not.  A world that is continually finding new ways to remove the one who created it in the first place. A world that in some ways will have the power to prevent our children from shining to their full potential because the drive for them to work hard for what they want is no longer there. 

  As a mom this scares me.

I want my children to make mistakes, to fail sometimes, and to fall down and scrape their knees. Not because I want them to feel pain, but because I want them to learn from them, to problem solve, to have a drive to succeed, and to get back up and try again. I want them to need Jesus, to seek him when they need help. I want them to learn these things now so that when their backpacks are exchanged for brief cases they are not confused as to why they were not picked and given that promotion. I want them to be ready for the world that they will soon have to navigate, and work their way through. A life where you only get out of it… what you put in.

I want them to know that they won’t always make the team. That sometimes there will be someone who plays better than them. That sometimes they can practice, practice, practice, but it doesn’t always make perfect….but that no matter what they are always on my team, and I on theirs.

I want them to know that they do not need acceptance from others. That in this life they may be called dumb, not good enough, annoying, and weird at times….that those names will hurt them and cause them to question themselves, but that the one who loves them most in this world….that the one that created them in his image thought they were perfect enough to die for. 

I want them to realize that people will hurt and disappoint them in this world. That I will hurt and disappoint them. I want them to not look for or depend on human perfection because there is no such thing, but to instead rely on a God that is.

With that comes the fact that you cannot please everyone. That the choices they make for their life or family may be best for them although others may disagree. That I may disagree. I want them to know that my path and dreams for their life are just that…mine. That I may sometimes unintentionally push my own on to them.  I want them to be confident and strong enough in their selves and in their faith to stand up for what they believe in. To stay focused on God-pleasing instead of people-pleasing.

I want them to guard their hearts. I want them to choose their spouse wisely. To choose quality over quantity. I want them to learn that sometimes the most beautiful of people may not come in the prettiest of packages. That the wrapping paper doesn’t matter as it gets tattered and thrown away…but that what is on the inside of that gift is what we treasure. I want them to choose a man with a caring heart over a muscly bod. A love for God, over a love for money, and a love for them, over lust. 

  I want them to wait for marriage. Not because I want them to miss out on ” normal high school experiences or college life.” Not because I want them to be made fun of or ” teach them to summit to a man”, but because I want them to know that their worth is not defined by their bodies. That they themselves are enough.  That sex is not something you give away to win someone over, but is a gift you give to the one who has won you. I want them to know that sex before marriage can lead to pain and comparison to other partners. That you can not get that first time back. That I am not just “preaching” it, but that I have lived it. 

 I want them to know that marriage is not the fairy tale that they watch continually in their Disney movies. That it is like a roller coaster full of excitement, fear, and butterflies. That sometimes there will be hills so steep that you just make it to the top. I want them to know that their spouse will drive them crazy. That they will argue, make up, and argue again. That there will be times in their lives where they may love them, but not like them. That there will be moments that they question if their partner is really the one…if it is worth it. That like anything their ride will sometimes need repairs…to try and fix it, but that if they choose to get off I will be there to help them put their feet back on solid ground. 

I want them to know that in this life they will fail….but that failing leads to determination to try again. Sometimes with a better outcome then they would have had before. That they will experience pain. Pain they cause themselves, and pain that they don’t deserve.That things will happen that will shake them to their inner core and will be beyond all understanding, but that through pain comes knowledge, growth, and strength that they would never have had otherwise. 

I want to share with them my mistakes and my own failures. Not because I want to “give them ideas”, but because I am not embarrassed by them. That they are mistakes and they do not define who I am, and will not define who they are. That they have a chance to make better choices. I want them to know that I have messed up….that I am not perfect and I do not expect them to be. 

 I want them to know how much they are loved and cherished. That the moment their tiny slippery bodies were placed on my chest that was it. That in that moment I became theirs. That I am their biggest advocate for their needs. That I would do anything to protect them from this world but I cannot. That all I can do is be there to help them up, to comfort them, and to guide them until I am no longer here to do so. That no matter how old they get I will forever brush their hair out of their face, and hold them tightly. I want them to know that this parenting thing is hard. That I am trying my very best, and sometimes I may unintentionally make the wrong decisions in their lives. That I will sometimes not know the answers or not have the ones they want to hear. 

 Most importantly I want them to know a God that does have the answers. I want them to know him not because they feel pressured to, but because they desire to. I want them to learn to pray when they need guidance, to lean in to him when they are pain, and to praise him not only through the good……but through the storms. I want them to experience a love far greater than my own. A love that they could never imagine. A love that will remain present and constant in their lives long after I am gone.

   

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