Saturday, December 13, 2014

The song

At Gracia's funeral, December 13, 2012, we had Steve's brother, Ben, play guitar and sing worship songs. Ben buried his wife and daughter just two months before. His boldness to proclaim God's goodness through music was medicine to my soul. His life after death gave me hope.

He sang his late wife's favorite song "Jesus Savior Pilot me" and the song we requested,  "How He loves".

If you are a church goer, you know how common it is to sing "How He loves" by David Crowder Band. I typically start off the song with courage and then it gets to the lyrics "I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory" and each time I lose it. I let the people around me sing, their voices raise to the Heavenly realm and I say the words quietly as a thankful pray.

Two years ago, I prayed that my afflictions would be eclipsed by glory. And they have. That song is a reminder to me of what God has done AND is continuing to do for me.

"In all their affliction, He too was afflicted and the angel of His presence SAVED them; in His love and in His pity He REDEEMED them; He lifted them up and carried them ALL THE DAYS of old"
Isaiah 63:9


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

my Healer

The thing with a death is that you don't have just one day you remember. It's many days. Each has it's own significance. Two years ago today, I met my daughter Gracia. I got to study her toes and discover that she has the same piggies as her older sister, Keilah.  And they share a nose. I memorized the lines of her lips. They were perfect. She had curly brown hair. My other children are blond and even though my husband has brown hair now, he didn't when he was a child. So I claim Gracia's brunette curls as mine :)


I want people to know that I'm not sad, I'm only just reflecting. It's a good place to be in to be able to look back on a painful time and not be depressed. God has healed me 100%. It was a choice to turn to Him and call upon Him as my Healer. My story is proof that He can do the same for you. I am no special than you. I am chosen, just as you are chosen. You are His child, just as I am. He wants to heal you just as He has healed me. Now being healed doesn't mean that I don't let tears drop, because my tears make me human. To me, it means what was once a dark place now has light. My gaping wound is now a scar, a beauty mark. My daughter's death refined me and my Savior's death has given us both new life. Sorrow is just temporary, eternity with Christ is my anchor.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Surviving the Sword

Today marks Gracia's 2 year anniversary. I was pretty worried how I would feel today and I have to say I'm a little surprised how stable I am. I've thought to myself that it must be because it's been two years, but then I remembered that time doesn't heal. God does.

I was able to go through Gracia's memory box with very little tears. It's hard to explain but I'm thankful she's in Heaven, she was a very sick baby girl. I read my journal and one excerpt that stuck out to me was how I could feel Gracia dying. Her movements became less and less. As she filled with fluid my belly swelled. Carrying her straight to Heaven was a gift.

I've talked with Keilah about Gracia many times. Her name is common in our household. I reminded Keilah of a dream she had while she stayed with Aunt Mimi, when I was in the hospital delivering Gracia. Mimi wrote down that sleeping Keilah said "hold my hand Gracia" then a moment later said "please". Then I noticed a tear falling down Keilah's cheek so I grabbed her for a hug and she let out the deepest cry. It's as if she held on to those tears for two years. I have never heard weeping like that before. I prayed for her as I held her. I didn't try to get her to stop her crying. I understand what it's like to just let the tears come. Once she calmed down she said they were happy tears, but she misses Gracia.

We went to the store and we each picked a flower for Gracia's grave. Daddy and Keilah picked purple flowers and Simon chose an orange daisy and I chose some sparkly Christmas flowers. This was Simon's first time visiting Gracia's grave.

When Gracia's death pierced my soul, I wondered how I would survive but I found grace in the wilderness. He is enough for me.

"The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness"
Jeremiah 31:2

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My everything

The theme for my church's women's retreat this year is "Who am I?" On the character of God and it's really got me thinking who is God to me. If you had to choose one name to encompass who God is to you, what would you choose? Deliverer, Father, Prince of Peace, Redeemer...the list goes on and on.

I have been wracking my mind the last few days and thought I had settled on one and then the next day it was another. This morning as I gave myself time with God but found myself distracted, I got a text from a friend. She was obviously prompted by the Spirit and as I listened to "though you slay me" by Shane and Shane, my heart filled and tears rushed down my cheeks.

I don't know how to receive a compliment when I get thanked for how I lived when Gracia was dying.  At the time, I didn't know what else to do but to love my Lord. He was my Breath, my Smile, my Strength, my Rock, my Comfort, my Hope, my Clarity, my Voice.

He was my Everything.

I didn't just want Him as my Redeemer or my Deliverer. I wanted ALL of Him. Every inch of Him, I thirsted for.  He was my very bread of life.

It was a very special, unique and intimate time with God.  A time that I treasure.

There isn't one facet of God that I cling to more than another. I am hungry for Him. I have tasted His goodness and I want to feast on His life giving buffet. He doesn't just have one dish in mind for you, He has a buffet. Everything you can imagine and everything you can't imagine. And He's offering it to you.  His very word and promise will sustain you.

In the quiet and the chaos, in the plagues and in the blessings, in the new day and in the darkest night...Lord, may I choose You. You are my Everything.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Heaven Minded

Losing Gracia has forced me to meditate on the eternal. I think before her death I didn't understand the gravity of eternity. Often, I day dream of Heaven. Keilah and I talk about what animals we'll play with and how we'll spend our time.

I imagine Gracia dancing and singing. I imagine her playing soccer with her Sister, Cousin and Aunt.  I imagine the wisdom and strength God has given her. I imagine the playful personality He's given her sister. I imagine both of their green eyes, just like their Daddy.  I imagine their curly hair, bright smiles and pure skin. I also think how Keilah is the big sister to all of them.  Thinking of them doesn't necessarily make me sad. It makes them very real to me. We are just separated for a while.

God has shared so much with us but He's also saved some things, the best is yet to come. Not everything has been revealed. Eternity with Jesus, God and The Holy Spirit (along with our loved ones) already sounds so marvelous I can't imagine what surprises lie ahead. What a good God we serve.

I think about all the things here on earth that bother me, that ail me. Lack of sleep, poor eating habits, not enough time in the day, making meals, meal planning, grocery shopping, budgets, replacing broken things, organizing and de-cluttering, cleaning dishes, cleaning house...the list of toil goes on and on. Even as I wash my face everyday and put on my make-up I think about how mundane it is and how one day it will end. Things will need to be re-placed because we live in a broken, fallen World.

I don't think of these things and feel dragged down and frustrated that I'm having to do them. I think of them and then my mind quickly thinks with a smile"In Heaven, I won't have to do this anymore!"

Although MAC creates some mighty fine eyeliner and gorgeous shimmer eye shadows, it will pale in comparison to how God will perfect me. I do enjoy my Picky-Palate meals but God is preparing a lavish feast for me.  I really enjoy my new home and there are some pretty upgrades but God has a mansion that will make this house look like a garbage can.

As I eagerly await my turn to go Home, I will gladly do the dishes.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" John 3:16

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meet with Me

I'm not sure where I went wrong. I don't know if one day I decided that I deserved my son because I grieved Gracia's death hard and did my duty serving God well enough that I believed that being a Mommy to a newborn would be joyous, easy and pleasant. Why did I forget how hard the sleepless nights and nursing would be? Especially on top of the normal demands of life. Why did I think balancing all of my duties would be easy. I was never promised easy. Along with all these responsibilities God also gave me the Holy Spirit. I may not always bear fruit but I know He is able, but I am weak. It's a fight of the flesh. Flesh is winning, which means that I am losing.

14 weeks have flown by. I no longer have a new born, I have a 3 month old. He rolls over, he sheepishly smiles, he watches his Daddy's every move. He doesn't nap, he has a never ending pit for a tummy, he cries when I put him down. He needs me. Which makes me need Him more than ever.

Saying that I am fatigued or sleep deprived is an under statement. Although, I don't know what I am. I am learning to function because I have to. And because I want to.

Most days I pretend that my matted hair, shirt drenched in spit up and yesterdays make-up is glamorous. This is what I have prayed for. This is what my heart has yearned for. I should be happy, right?

I have learned to whisper "Meet with me.  Meet with me, Lord. Will you meet with me?"

As I rock Simon for an afternoon nap, I start to sing. Not for him, but for me. Songs fill my heart and I forget that I need to be quiet. My soul needs to be soothed. So I sing boldly, making each word count. Making each word a plea. Show me You are good. That You are worthy. Tears start to escape my weary eyes and I look down at the child I am holding. He's asleep. And I am quieted.

God met with me.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Beloved has Heard

Thursday January 30th, I gave birth to a beautiful healthy boy. I have a son! My soul is elated. Nearing his birth I really thought that I would spend my sleepless, nursing nights in tears. Thankful tears. But instead, I am over joyed. Every time he wakes I am excited. I can't wait to take care of my sweet son, the baby I've wanted for years.  I often find myself shouting in my head "I have a baby!" I want to show him to the world.  You know in the movie, The Lion King, when Simba is born and he is presented to the kingdom? When he is lifted up for all to see and the animals "cheer"...that's what I am tempted to do. I know it sounds ridiculous but I am so very excited for his life (and really my new life) that I want to parade him around! For now, I happily hand him over to any willing arms. I get the joy of taking care of him and raising him but I want to be in the habit of letting him go because I believe that God has placed a precious calling on his life.

For those of you that know me and know my journey, this baby of mine is a big deal. Worth celebrating, perhaps even worth parading around. I have spent the last two years pregnant, three different times. Each ending with different results. A miscarriage, a burial and now a birth.

We didn't choose the name Simon. God told us the name four times. We listened. Simon means "has heard" and we chose the name David because it's a family name and King David saved the city of Keilah (our daughters name is Keilah). David means beloved.

As I rock Simon to sleep, give him baby massages, change his diapers, I thank God. I wonder who he will grow to become and how God will use him. My heart still dances when I catch Steve playing peek-a-boo with his son or when I find Keilah gawking over her brother, that she's nicknamed Si Si. I cherish all these moments, they are forever engrained in my memory. They don't replace the other heart wrenching memories that I have. I remember those very well. But it makes it easier to re-visit my heart ache. It's been a long and hard journey and I am not near the finish line but I already have my prize. Peace in Jesus, Faith that's been multiplied, a prayer life that has been strengthened and a son.

I've anticipated Simon's lullaby so when I caught myself singing the same song over and over again, I decided to look at it more closely. It's the well known Revelation song. In Revelation 4, it says that four appointed creatures sing "Holy Holy Holy is The Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come" day and night. They never stop. It goes on to say "Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever, they worship. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and their being." God willed Simon's life. Praise Him!

I thank God that I feel satisfied, I'm full because of all He's done for me. Glory to God!