this holy moment

This passage in James 1:3-4 scares me: “.. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” (New Living Translation)  It’s this word: anything that scares me. It just does.

It feels wrong, maybe shameful to admit this. I know it sounds like doubt.

But in the midst of this fear, my heart and soul cries out to God: “I believe!! Help Thou my unbelief!!”

Aren’t those similar to the words I cried out several years ago: “I am powerless to sustain even my own faith- I need YOU Lord to pour faith into my heart and sustain me!”

So this word: anything.

It’s the realization that life will bring more pain. There is no bargaining with God. It’s not true that since He has Tirzah I am now entitled to a smooth road. Even though I feel like I want it to be true: “God, since you have Tirzah, now I get a healthy baby next and no more deaths. And I get to keep Jeremiah and Ryan.”

But the truth is: I don’t know God’s plan… And. Even. If. He calls Jeremiah away. He is still good.

Is this what it means to hold life with an open hand? To hold my most precious loved ones loosely. They *are* the Lord’s.

And what can I do but fall on my face before the Lord and worship?

Now more than ever I have a sense of the majesty of God.

This majesty calls forth the *Highest* praise.

“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; *blessed* be the name of the LORD.” ~ Job 1:21

And I say with this ancient man: “ I, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,…  and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”  (Daniel 4:34-35)

I lay my hand over my mouth- and fall on my face.

*This* is Holy Ground. This place of grief. This moment when Tirzah was called away. This Holy Moment.



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)

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….”

Dear Tirzah 9/26/14

Dear Tirzah,

Mommy didn’t wake up so sad this morning. I love you so much, and yesterday it just hurt so bad to miss you and remember your sweet face. I wish I had more time with you, but I know we’ll have eternity. And I know that this life is like the blink of an eye or like a breath that is quickly gone. It just doesn’t *feel* like that. And now getting old- gray, wrinkly and worn doesn’t sound so bad, because it means I’m nearer to you. And I’m excited to celebrate you for my life time and watch you continue to touch people’s lives throughout my life.

And I’m so excited to tell you- we are going to celebrate your birthday every ear with a party and collect gifts and baby items to donate. And we’ll praise the Lord together as we remember you.

Tirzah, you’ve taught me to *know* in my heart and with all my being that it is “better to be with the Lord”- My hope and my home is not in this life. It’s with Jesus and in Heaven with you. I am, as Paul said, a “sojourner” here on the earth, just passing through. And Tirzah, *thank you* for teaching your mommy- i pray to the Lord for grace and His Spirit to teach me even more to live in light of eternity. “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” I want to pour myself out for people hurting in this world, for my family, I want to live in communion with the Lord…. And the prayer i prayed for you, while you were growing within me, that you would one day walk with God as Enoch did, I feel that now you’re praying that back for me. And Tirzah, you encourage your mommy so much. I’m so thankful for you. And i pray for unshakable faith- that I would trust God so fully that even if I had the chance, I wouldn’t write the story differently. It sounds like a contradiction- to hurt so much for you, but I wouldn’t. I would *not* change the story…… love and one thousand kisses from your mommy. I miss you Tirzah.

2 Corinthians 5:2, 6-9; 4:14-18

For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,  for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him… knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.  For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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…

View original post 241 more words

Memorial Speech for Tirzah

The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy
As part of our memorial service for Tirzah, I’d like to share with you part of the journey that Ryan and I have been on over the last several months.
When Ryan and I first found out by ultrasound that we were expecting a baby girl, I cried tears of joy right then and there. I was so excited to have a girl and I hoped that she’d have red hair like me!
We knew right away that we’d name her Tirzah Catherine. Tirzah is a Hebrew word meaning “She is my delight”, and is found in the Scripture book The Song of Solomon, which is a love poem between a man and his bride. We chose our wedding scripture from this book, and we knew that our Tirzah was going to be a beautiful little picture of the special love that Ryan and I have in our marriage.
The Lord laid on my heart a Bible verse to be Tirzah’s “life verse”, which signified our prayers and desires for her: Song 2:10- “My Beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come away…”

Our prayer for her through this verse was that she would have a beautiful and intimate relationship with the Lord. We didn’t realize the meaning the words would later take on, as the Lord truly did call her away.
Ryan and I have joy in knowing that our main prayer for Tirzah, which we prayed over and over during the pregnancy, has been answered- our prayer for her salvation. We have the most confident assurance that she is with the Lord Jesus in Heaven. We believe that the Lord delighted in her so much that He wanted her to be with Him right away. And I believe with all my heart that if we knew what she knows now, and we could catch a glimpse of what she’s experiencing with God, we would have only pure joy and celebration for her. The Lord brought this to my mind in the first hours after learning of her passing, and it has sustained me through the dark valleys of grief.

In a few moments we’ll be singing a praise song called “I stand in awe.” I requested this because through Tirzah’s passing, I have stood in awe at the work of Christ in new way. I accepted the Lord as my Savior when I was 5 years old, and in some ways I think it’s easy for me to take my own salvation for granted. However, when I realized that the death of Jesus on the cross as our substitute and payment for sin, made it possible for Tirzah to be with God as well I was overcome with thankfulness and awe in a new way.
As Ryan and I grieve by faith in the Lord and we have a lot of hope, and joy mixed in with grief. I often feel an overwhelming thankfulness- because Tirzah was a beautiful gift, and everything I prayed for- she even had red hair! Also, every prayer we prayed for her life has been answered as well, although in different timing than we expected.
Now our prayer is that many will be blessed through Tirzah’s precious life.
We pray for our loved friends and family who do not have assurance of salvation and eternity in Heaven that you will respond to the invitation of the Lord.
Romans 10:13 says, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The invitation is so simple and the grace of God so stunningly free: He requires no level of goodness or checklist of good works, and there is no sin He won’t freely forgive. All that He desires is that we come to Him with the simple trust and heart like a child to accept His gift of salvation with delight- like a child eagerly opens a gift on Christmas.
Romans 10:15 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” I picture this verse for Tirzah- how beautiful she is in heaven, like the instrumental hymn just played- in the Garden with Jesus, inviting us to join her in eternity.

I’d like to close by adding that Tirzah has been a very real part of our family the past 9 months, and even though Jeremiah did not get a chance to meet Tirzah face to face here on earth, he was the very best big brother to her!
I’d like to share just a few of our special memories:
1. Jeremiah would sit with me during story time with his little hand on my tummy to feel Tirzah move. He would pause and say, “Tirzah is moving!”
2. When I was getting Jeremiah out of the car one day, he kissed me and I said “You’re going to have lots of kisses for Baby Tirzah too right?” and in reply Jeremiah bent down and kissed my tummy for Tirzah!
3. During my trip Buy Buy Baby, Jeremiah knew right away that we were shopping for Baby Tirzah. I asked him help me pick out a little sweater for her- he knew right away that the one with brightly colored flowers was the one for her!
And last of all, Ryan and I want to thank you all for your love and support and being here with us today.
Thank you!

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.



Dear Tirzah

This is the place where I post little notes to my daughter, Tirzah Catherine, still born on August 20, 2014. Feel free to send her your love too in the comments section! She’d love to hear from you too!


Sweet little Tirzah, I am so proud of you, my beautiful girl. Everyone loves to see your pictures, and thinks you’re beautiful too! I’m so proud that your life is touching so many people’s hearts, and of course you’re always in your Mommy’s heart. You’ve changed my life too, and I just keep hoping that you’re proud of your Mommy, and that I can continue making God’s goodness and grace known. I know that when I’m nearest to God is when I’m nearest to you as well. And I know that you were smiling down on Jeremiah and I while we were out by the river today, enjoying the sun sparkling on the river, and I know that you’re proud of your big brother and you were laughing with us as he ran and jumped, and I clapped: “What a jump! What a landing! You’re amazing!” And I know he’s so happy to be your big brother, and you’re always in his heart too! And when he picked out your little sweater with bright flowers, and your prettiest rose dress, he knew you were going to be so beautiful too, and some day he’ll understand that you’re more beautiful now than we can imagine! Love you so much my little sweet princess. I’ll see you soon, and miss you until then. Love and kisses from your Mommy xoxoxoxoxoxoxo


Hi Baby girl, I just wanted to tell you how much I love you and miss you. And tell you that your Daddy loves and misses you so much too… you’re his most beautiful little princess and we’re both so proud of you… I know you’re up there enjoying the beauty and sunlight- except there is no sun, just the brightness and light of the Lord, and I want you to just bask in Him and dance and twirl in His light…. and I know you are singing His praise with the most beautiful voice, like I’ve never heard. And I can’t wait to be there and sing and twirl with you too! I love you so much, and your Daddy loves you and can’t wait to hold you in his arms again soon!!!!! ***So much love and kisses and hugs from your Mommy and Daddy too, and Jeremiah sends kisses as well****


Happy one month birthday, Tirzah, my sweet beautiful baby girl! I love you so much and I’m so proud of you and miss you like crazy. I know you’re experiencing delight and joy beyond what I can imagine. And I’m so happy for you. I know you’re walking in the gardens of Heaven with Jesus and with Monroe Faith too, and my grandma and her babies, and I wish I was there with you too, seeing what you’re seeing, and holding your hand. But you’re in my heart always, and I want you to have a wonderful one month birthday! Love you soooooooooooooo much! And so many *kisses* from your Mommy!IMG_3389