Sunday, July 10, 2016

Good Mom

Before I lost Gracia, I was a good Mom. I went through the alphabet with Keilah. Each week we went to the library and picked out books that started with whatever letter we were studying. I had a coordinating craft for every day of the week. I even had snacks prepared that began with that letter. I proudly displayed each adorable project that she completed in her play room. I have an accordion file full of her work. Maybe this is why she loves art so much. Even at the age of 6, you can find her hidden away in her bedroom surrounded by piles of scraps of paper and crayon shavings.  She talks about what inspires her and explains each drawing and creation with care.

I remember driving down the highway and trying not to cry. Those days it seemed that my eyes would well up with tears unannounced and definitely uninvited. I would hold them until they blurred my vision and I had no choice but to let them fall. Day after day, trying not to cry.  At my postpartum appointment after I delivered Gracia, I confided in my doctor. I thought I was doing alright until she asked "6 months ago would you talk to Keilah as you drove?" The answer was "Yes." That answer got me a prescription for an anti-depressant. I was embarrassed to fill it. And when it came time to take that tiny blue pill each day I wondered if it would make the tears go away and help me to be a good Mom again. After a few days I threw out the bottle.

Three and a half years later and I'm still waiting to be a good Mom.

Friday night I listened to Hillary Scott's 'Thy will be done' and read her story on why she wrote that song. She suffered a miscarriage last Fall. In the article she said that she is a different parent now than she was before.

And then it clicked for me.

I am a good Mom. I am just different than I was before. Enduring a miscarriage and stillbirth changed how I parent.

The Lord was so kind to show me that I am the Mom that He wants me to be. I asked Keilah if she wanted to play soccer this fall and she said no. She said she wanted to do Awana.  I was disappointed because she has natural ability and I enjoy watching her play, but I couldn't argue with her answer. "Learning the word of God is much more important than soccer."

I think I'll let the guilt roll off my back and keep parenting the way I have been, because eternity doesn't care if my child has an alligator A and green G in her accordion file or memories of letter P pickles for snacks. All those things will fade and wither, but the word of the Lord will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Can I keep her, Daddy?

Today is Gracia's due date, four years ago March 31st fell on Easter. When Easter rolls around I think of Gracia often. I remember the anxiety I felt as we stopped for gas after brunch and the thought crossed my mind that we could just go home and avoid the cemetery. Maybe that would help me to hurt less. But what stands out to me more than anything, was that my womb was empty and so is the tomb. Because of Christ's death and resurrection, I am able to "get" through this. He has conquered the grave and I get to meet my sweet daughter one day in Heaven.

Last fall I noticed that Keilah was thinking of Gracia often and wondering what it would have been like to have a little sister. Grief comes in waves...even when there are years wedge between and even when grief isn't voiced, grief is still there. I started to pray. I asked God that if He saw it fit, then I would like a baby sister for Keilah. I had hoped he didn't hear my prayer because my son was only a year old at the time and having two babies seemed like a responsibility I couldn't handle. Soon after I whispered that prayer, I was pregnant.

My pregnancy was full of joyful wonder. My due date was March 17th. Almost four years to the date (14 days apart) from Gracia's due date. We chose not to find out the gender even though we "knew" it was a girl. When I lost Gracia I thought my baby bearing days were over. Never in a million years did I think that God would gift me with another child. I guess giving me two babies in four years was one way to prove that He is bigger than my imagination. And I am so glad that He is.

Neriah is a sweet sweet baby. She brings me so much peace. I thought having three kids would bring out my flaws and stress me out, but having her has changed me. I thought this baby girl was for Keilah, I had no idea how much I needed her. I wanted a baby girl as much as Keilah but I shoved that dream down and didn't allow myself to yearn for that.

Sometimes fear creeps in. Because of my ministry, Lullaby of Hope, I know all the horror stories of failed pregnancies and infant loss. Even though Neriah was born healthy and we made it through pregnancy, I fear she could die in infancy. One night as Steve held Neriah and we were adoring our precious baby girl I said to him "Well, do you think we can keep her Daddy?" And as soon as the words tumbled from my mouth I realized my question was to my Heavenly Father.

That is where faith reigns. And where the tug between the present and eternal
pulsate. This is where I want to be. In a vulnerable place where my need for God is unavoidable.