into Arabia

…but I went away into Arabia~ Galatians 1:17

So *this*, this desert of grief is my Arabia…

My life verse is Jeremiah 2:2: Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.

I love this verse. I’ve also tried to escape it as *my* verse. Before all this. I’m not sure why. But it seems like I was always looking for a different *life* verse. Even though the Lord clearly gave me this one. I guess I was running from the wilderness. The idea scared me. But now I’m here and there is no running. Just tears. And hope. Painful hope.

Right now it is most painful to look back at the moment my doctor put the heart monitor on my abdomen and found no heart beat. At that time my mind was reeling- all I could think was- “We have to trust God. ”  And then trying desperately to hold Ryan together. I was afraid I would loose him too. And then phone calls i had to make to family and friends. To Mom, to Sara, to Janet- how did I manage to say the words “we lost her”. I couldn’t say the words dead or died then.

My whole body clenches.

This is the sting of death.

And it feels like it’s choking me and squeezing the breath from my lungs.

Am i to be pitied most of all??

Is my faith in vain??

“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile…”

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead… For as by a man (Adam) came death, by a man (Jesus) has come also the resurrection of the dead….The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”

“then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

My heart waits for that triumphant day.

Until then I am steadfast, immovable… knowing that my struggles are *not* in vain.

(Scripture selections quoted from 1 Corinthians 15)

Dear Tirzah 10/1/14

Dear Tirzah,

you are *always* in our hearts and thoughts. Every moment of every day you are woven into our lives.

It hurts so much this morning. Maybe it was seeing the newborn girl photos online? I had everything ready for you, every detail I could think of. I wish I had just one moment to see the pinkness of your body, to feel your life. Just o have one moment to hold you and comfort you the way a mommy is designed to do. I wish I had a moment to really *be* your mommy.

You are my dream come true Tirzah. I had always wanted a daughter. I’ll tell you a little secret ;o) : when I found out that Jeremiah was a boy, it took me about two weeks to adjust! ha! I wanted a girl so bad!

I couldn’t wait for Ryan to meet you. I knew it would be so special for him to have a daughter. I don’t think he realized it would be special in a different way, but I did. I wanted to see him rock his baby girl to sleep- I know he’d *never* be able to put you down.

And if I had you now I’d never be able to let you go, maybe that’s why God took you in my womb. He knew I’d never survive it if I had to let you go from my arms.

I just want to send 1000 kisses up to you, and imagine that your mommy can stroke your cheek again.

You’re so beautiful to your mommy. The most beautiful princess the world has ever known, my Tirzah.

*love* you, and I can’t wait for our eyes to finally meet on that *triumphant* day!

Grieving is a community project

It is my strong conviction that grieving is meant to be done in community. That is why I started this post. We are called to “bare one another’s burdens” and to weep *with* those who weep, and that is my invitation to you: to mourn with me, to share in my tears, but also share in my joy and celebrate Tirzah’s life with me. This is *true* communion and intimacy that God designed us for.

I starting reading a book today, that my dear friend, Esme gave me at Tirzah’s service: Holding on to Hope by Nancy Guthrie. I felt like she took her words straight from my own heart, and even very similar thoughts I shared with Ryan last night as we were walking along Lake Michigan:

(Preface: Nancy lost her daughter, Hope, when she was 199 days old)

“So many people are afraid to bring up my loss. They don’t want to upset me. But my tears are the only way I have to release the deep sorrow i feel. I tell people, “Don’t worry about crying in front of me, and don’t be afraid that you will make me cry! Your tears tell me that you care, and my tears tell me that you’ve touched me in a place that is meaningful to me- and I will never forget your willingness to share my grief.” …. when others shed their tears with me, it is as if they are taking a bucketful of sadness and carrying it for me….”

The End of Running (9/20/14)

delight of my life

I decided to get away this weekend, and went to a women’s conference hosted by my wonderful friend, Esme. When I walked into the church building, I immediately saw a woman holding a tiny newborn baby girl. All I can say is it took my breath away- literally, for a moment, it was all I could do to keep from just weeping right there…. God brought me to this place to show me that I’ve been running- by distraction after distraction: dreams of a new baby, planning activities with Jeremiah, reading about other peoples stories- I think I’m just learning how deep my grief is. Tirzah has changed my life and *who* I am forever. When Jeremiah was born, I easily recognized the profound impact. From the moment I heard him cry I simply felt that nothing in life before him mattered. Tirzah’s birth was just as profound on my…

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Broken Dreams

I woke up this morning crying for Tirzah… Usually, I struggle more at night and think of her as I’m going to sleep…

I have been thinking today about the hole in our lives without Tirzah here… all the dreams and plans we had for our lives with her as part of our family…

I was so excited for Tirzah to wear the dress my great grandma made for her baby dedication, the same dress I wore for mine… I wanted to take cute brother & sister photos like these…. I bought a sailor dress for her so I could carry on my mom’s photo tradition (haha!) and I was going to have her learn the violin like I did…

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This song “House of Broken Dreams” (below) by Mark Heard comes to mind:

Hear the whistle blow
It echoes down my soul
It’s something I have always known
Nothing sounds so sad
A cry to the unknown
The fundamental sigh of all who’ve gone this way before

Lay me down to sleep
Come and comfort me
I’ll sleep in peace
In a house of broken dreams

Give me the reasons to go on
Soften the sorrow that shatters and bends
And mend broken dreams

Lay me down to sleep
Come and comfort me
I’ll sleep in peace
In a house of broken dreams

Even though we know that God’s plans for Tirzah are higher than what our plans and dreams were, and we’re so thankful that Tirzah is with the Lord, and for everything beautiful He’s working through her life, we still feel a deep sense of loss. Death was not God’s original plan… Life was meant to be swallowed up in everlasting life… But we cling to the promise of Heaven (made certain to us by the death and resurrection of Christ, through which He secured the gifts of the forgiveness of God, freedom from the penalty of Hell, and adoption as God’s children)…

Isaiah 8:9 says: “He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.  It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

And until then we seek to please the Lord, and make Tirzah proud of us, so she will always be smiling down on us! Jeremiah and I are going to start learning the violin so we can play for Tirzah watching us!!! And we will keep laughing, so she can laugh with us!

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The End of Running (9/20/14)

I decided to get away this weekend, and went to a women’s conference hosted by my wonderful friend, Esme. When I walked into the church building, I immediately saw a woman holding a tiny newborn baby girl. All I can say is it took my breath away- literally, for a moment, it was all I could do to keep from just weeping right there…. God brought me to this place to show me that I’ve been running- by distraction after distraction: dreams of a new baby, planning activities with Jeremiah, reading about other peoples stories- I think I’m just learning how deep my grief is. Tirzah has changed my life and *who* I am forever. When Jeremiah was born, I easily recognized the profound impact. From the moment I heard him cry I simply felt that nothing in life before him mattered. Tirzah’s birth was just as profound on my heart, although there was no cry heard. Perhaps a piece of me died with her- is there waiting with her… on the other hand, there is a new clarity of life- every experience- everything I read, every song, every face- has a new depth of meaning: grief, longing, joy, gratitude. Before this, life was passing in a kind of subdued, kind of thoughtless way, taking things for granted. Now when I sing of the goodness of God, there is a striking depth to my understanding of that. Now I *know*- not just in my head, but in my heart, how creation *groans* in eager expectation of the coming redemption. And now I *know* that when I don’t even know what to pray, there are groanings too deep for words.

Tirzah IS my daughter. I have two children. And sometimes it doesn’t feel real, because I didn’t get to know her or bond with her. I only held her body, while her soul was away with the Lord. I feel that it’s a new experience of the “already and not-yet” of God’s Kingdom. She IS my daughter, but the bond, the *knowing* is left waiting. And hope is hard. In hope there is waiting, and longing so much it hurts, and the groanings too deep for words. I want to stop running, stop living in distraction. I want to be *still* before the Lord and simply wait although it comes with pain.

Beautiful Mosaic

“You are the only you this world will ever know, and something about your life is meant to make something about God known in a way no one else can do.” ~ Dan Allender “The Healing Path”
This is my prayer for Tirzah’s life. And my own.
“A radical life begins with the premise that I exist for God and his purposes, not my own… A radical life has eyes and ears for the deepest purposes of God.” – D.B Allender
That’s why I submit to God’s purposes for Tirzah, they are different than what my dreams for her were…. and so much higher. And one day I’ll fully understand. And I’ll see with clarity the beauty of her life.
“When God looks at a painful or wicked event through His-wide angle lens {as opposed to His narrow-angle lens, where He sees just the pure tragedy}, He sees the tragedy of the [event] and everything leading up to it, and everything flowing from it. He sees it in relation to all the connections and effects that form a pattern, or mosaic, stretching into eternity. This mosaic in all it’s parts brings Him delight….. He has designed from all eternity, and is infallibly forming every event, a magnificent mosaic of redemptive history. ” ~ John Piper, “Desiring God”

I know that Tirzah is a beautiful piece in this mosaic of redemption.

 

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