Heart of Esther

"And who knows but that you have come to this position for such a time as this?" –Esther 4:14

aftermath December 29, 2011

I am sitting here in the aftermath of Christmas.  

The children playing happily with new toys, the tiredness of all the work involved with the holiday catching up to me, and the laundry and mess that’s piled up in the meantime.  

Cup of coffee in hand, I’m pondering the last few days.  Honestly, as the Christmas Season rolled around, I felt anything but the spirit of Christmas.  I wouldn’t have even decorated the house or celebrated much if it hadn’t been for the children.  So, my husband and I pushed past our apathy and decorated, put up lights, and made ourselves participate in the goings on of the holidays.  It seemed now more than ever that I needed to rely on our traditions because I didn’t have the enthusiasm to make it through.

Maybe it was because I had no expectations, maybe because we stayed home away without the pressure of extended families, or maybe because we had much to be thankful for-but it turned out to be the best Christmas we ever had. It was peacefully, happy, the real meaning of Christmas was deep within our hearts.  It wasn’t about the rush and the gifts and the commercialization of the holiday.  Awareness of our blessings, taking stock of the precious moments we had, and just a general sense of surrender to Him and resting in the Peace and deep meaning of Christmas.  Our friends gave us a wonderful break and took our kids for the day before Christmas Eve.  We shopped and wrapped presents and spent time talking-really talking.  I spent two whole days cooking up the biggest Christmas dinner!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we filled with meaningful family traditions.  Our hearts were so knit together as a family.  The children had so much fun opening their gifts and playing together.  It was a beautiful family Christmas-the one I always wanted (minus the snow).  And to top it all off-my Christmas present to the family-we are unexpectedly expecting! 🙂

I purposed to have no time frame in my head on when to get pregnant again.  I couldn’t do that to my heart.  I didn’t know if we could get pregnant right away.  I didn’t know what God had in store for us after losing Andrew.  But this has given us some hope and restoration.  And as we’ve learned-nothing is for certain and nothing is guaranteed.  We are praying for this baby-that it will be strong and healthy and go full term.  

As I sit here reflecting, the tears overflow.  Tears of  happiness and filled with hope because we have a new life to look forward to and yet mixed with sadness because my heart still aches for the precious boy we lost.  But I am thankful for the moment I’m in.  

And my heart is full.   

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Christmas Hope December 25, 2011

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.”

Psalm 71:20-21

So you may have hope this Christmas…

 

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and His Name shall be called

 

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6
 

Miscarriage, Stillbirth December 23, 2011

I do not like the name miscarriage for several reasons. I guess I don’t understand the label.  I think it puts the tragic death of a baby into a neat little word. It’s a word in our society that, frankly, if you’ve never experienced it, is often “just” a miscarriage. A medical term that downplays the existence of a BABY in the womb.  Women often return to work shortly after. Too often, no one even knows the baby’s life existed.  The grief  is thought to be not as real or as intense.  Many expect you to move on and get over it quickly or as if nothing happened.

“There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.”

I held my baby in my hands. I kissed his face.  He existed! I saw his beautifully made form.  His perfectly made tiny hands and feet.  His mouth and nose.  He wasn’t neatly and carefully washed away as if his life never made a ripple.  He was a baby.  From the moment of conception.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  

Psalms 139:13-14

 

 

expectations December 22, 2011

I don’t expect much from others.  At least, I don’t think I do.  

I believe my expectations are minimal and reasonable at that.  

I don’t expect them to know what to say.  And I do not get angry when they don’t.

I understand they may feel awkward with the subject, especially if I allow a tear to fall.  

I don’t expect them to say the right thing.  And I do not get offended when they do not.  

I don’t expect others to say or do anything to fix it.

I expect people to understand that even though I have other children, it still hurts just as much to lose one. 

I don’t really even expect anyone to have to listen to me talk or cry.  I haven’t expected or relied on anyone to be there for me.  I feel blessed to have a husband who has been so wonderful through this.  I’m genuinely touched by those who have had the courage to reach out.  I am especially thankful those dear friends who still seek out my company and don’t expect anything from me.  If I cry, that’s alright.  If I act normal, that’s alright.  

I don’t expect any “help” to get over this.  One thing I’ve learned is that there is nothing anyone can do to repair what happened or the way I feel.  

I, however, do have certain expectations for myself.  I expect myself to get out of bed everyday and take care of my family even when its difficult.  I expect myself to have a roller coaster of emotions, but to still have a center-a grounding, if you will-in Him that brings me back.  I expect that even though I get angry, its my responsibility to not allow the anger to overtake me, or the bitterness to set in.  I expect myself to count my blessings, and focus on what I do have and not dwell on what I’ve lost.  I expect myself to still try to be the best mother and wife I can be.

But is it too much to ask that a family member not call you crying and expecting empathy because even though they were “done” they are pregnant again???  Didn’t it even cross her mind how thoughtless and insensitive to complain to me might be right now?  And on top of it, get irritated with you though you’ve graciously listened and encouraged, when you point out that the morning sickness will only last a few weeks?

Or, even though you haven’t once called anyone when you were upset,  that maybe when you are angry and having a bad day that they be there for you-especially your own mother? 

Or, when you DO call another family member to cry that they would just listen to you instead of being offended at your hurt or anger?  And maybe not be so uncomfortable with the hurt that they begin talking about unrelated things to the point you do not even get in a word?

My days are filled serving others (gratefully-I’m SO thankful for my family) but sometimes, to just be able to rest…

or have a thought to myself…

Or cry without the children watching you, concerned…

Or be angry for one morning…

Or be able to sit down and do nothing because you are so sad that its difficult to do anything?

Maybe this is why I am filled with anxiety.  

Because I need to be able to release some of this hurt but it’s difficult to find an outlet?  


Are my expectations really too high?

 

Picking up the pieces December 15, 2011

I feel sometimes like a vortex.  A big black hole inside of me is sucking all of me into oblivion.

But, I see so clearly two roads before me…  

The first is heavy with the ugliness of grief-animosity, anger, anxiety and depression. This road makes us bitter and hard and unable to really be filled with faith, have peace, or love deeply.

The other still has the burden of sadness but is heading down a path of healing and hope.  This one is harder.  It makes us vulnerable.  But it softens us, helps us appreciate life and the blessings we have, and makes us better friends, parents, people.  It gives us perspective into another’s struggles.  It gives us compassion, mercy. 

Grace.

I know in my heart that I can choose to surrender to the entrapment of grief  or rise above and accept His peace.  Jesus talks of a becoming like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven.  A little child doesn’t always understand but fully trusts his parents.  I guess I need to fully rest in His grace.  I know I can trust my pulverized heart in His hands.  I never imagined going through the unthinkable of losing a child and having my very heart ripped from my chest and being able to somehow still breathe, still carry on.  Though I’m not quite sure what carrying on looks like yet.  In Him, lies my only hope.  I know I can only do this with Him.  I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have Him to bring hope to my despair and healing to this deep and intense pain.

There is such vulnerability in grief.  There is such liability in vulnerability.  And yet there is power in vulnerability.  

In knowing that I am not too hard-hearted to let love wash over me.  That in this weakness, strength will be there.  Not my strength.  But my dependence on Him and His strength.  I want to make it through this to the other side.  I want to finish the race set before me.  I don’t want life and pain to conquer me.  I want to beat this.  

I want to be a survivor.

So here I am, picking up the pieces…

 

inside out December 13, 2011

So I braved a party this weekend.  I decided the only way to overcome this anxiousness is to slowly face it.  So, even though it sent me into a panic attack the night before, I went.

And, for the most part, it turned out alright.  I only broke down once.  Not bad, right?  More importantly, I faced my fears and survived.  

I didn’t feel like everyone was ignoring what happened.  I felt comfortable enough bringing it up if I wanted to.  I also didn’t feel pressure to talk about it if I didn’t want to.  The hard thing, though, was hearing how “good” I look.  Like because I somehow don’t look “bad” I must feel fine?  What exactly do people expect?  Should I be bursting into tears every five minutes?  Just because I’m not a blubbering mess doesn’t mean I’m not hurting beyond words inside.  I’m not walking around in sackcloth and ashes so I must not be desperate and depressed inside?  Most of the time I feel desperate and there’s no one who understands and no help out there for me.  I have to somehow make it through my days.  Of course I smile and talk politely.  What else can I do?  Our loss is too sacred to share with just anyone and if we walked around with our heart on our sleeves it would just make them uncomfortable.    

I don’t know, maybe it makes them feel better to think I’m doing well…

 

pain December 12, 2011

Post-traumatic stress.

My Dr. said after my experience, I was a prime candidate for post traumatic stress.  Yeah.  So that is all the anxiety, panic attacks, sleepless nights, nightmares, and strange random pain in my body.

I think my heart is manifesting in physical pain.  I was offered medication, but I don’t like taking that sort of thing so I haven’t.  We are being told we need to talk to someone-a counselor.  The thing is, I can talk until I’m blue in the face and it won’t change a thing.  Maybe it helps some people, but it hasn’t helped me.  In fact, it makes me push things further down.  Then, more anxiety.  More pain. 

Writing, however, has been very therapeutic for me.  It’s also not forced, its whenever I feel like reflecting.  It’s on my own terms.  And no one is telling me what to do to make it better.  Or giving me pat answers. 

Because nothing will be better until I work through my own feelings.  Until healing comes and soothes my heart. 

Until my soul finds peace.

 

 
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