Heart of Esther

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

DUE DATE March 18, 2012

Today is Andrew’s due date.

I knew this day would come and I knew it would be hard.  The last two weeks have been terribly difficult-knowing I should have been delivering him soon.  I’ve tried to carry on with day-to-day life while fighting back tears all day.  I think it’s the most difficult in the moments you realize it actually feels like someone is missing in your family, in your home.  The face you aren’t kissing, the baby you aren’t holding, the one you aren’t setting a place for at the table. ..  

They say the hard times show you what you’re made of.  They peel back layers to reveal your true colors.  

I can say this-I’m still standing firm in Christ.  Though I have been shaken, I have not been moved.  

I have not allowed the ugliness of bitterness and anger to grow in my heart.  

I have chosen to not be offended by others.  

I have embraced surrender.  

I have forgiven.  

My heart aches daily. But I don’t want to walk away from this pain not having learned and grown from it.  

I value my relationships more.  I enjoy the living of life more instead of looking for what I can accomplish.  Our family has grown closer and stronger.  I admire my husband more than I ever thought I could.  I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life.  I am choosing to thank God for the ways He works in my life-even in the bad things-and even if I don’t always see the fruit yet.

It’s funny how hard times brings out others true colors as well.  The people who surround you who have been supportive and show they care.  Who have been there in any way they can.  The awkward ones are the ones the friendships have drifted apart.  And that’s all right.  

It’s like roses and fruit trees-when you prune them in the winter, they produce better and more fruit in the spring.  

And I am thankful for those God has brought into my life and made me who I am.  

I said to my good friend the other day-when you face opposition, where you stand becomes so much clearer.  Sometimes, you don’t even know where you stand until the opposition comes.  

So I surrender myself to the Potter’s Hands.  The refiner’s fire doesn’t burn so badly when I am willing to be more easily shaped and molded.  I humbly yield my rights to Him.

Andrew, my sweet baby, I miss you and love you.  I wish you were here with me.  

But I know the Perfect One holds you.  

And it will be all the more sweet when we meet again…

 

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

 

 

fix our eyes December 10, 2011

I’ve been contemplating death and the hereafter lately.  To be honest, it’s not something I’ve given much thought to before-not really.  Heaven sometimes seems like this far off fairytale and not real.  But its been so impressed on my heart how real and present it is.  I know as a Christian it seems silly that I’ve never mulled over the topic before, but I haven’t.  I think the reason I’ve never given it much thought is because death is so mysterious and I never wanted to dwell too much on it.

I think the Lord has been showing me that there is so much more to LIFE than this one here on earth we see and we know.   This is our temporary, our beginning.  After this, well-the Bible says its eternal.  Our minds cannot even comprehend this.  Forever.  I’ve been understanding that this life here is just as the Bible says-here today and gone tomorrow.  So brief and yet there is so much more.  My heart is full of this vision of not just death but life.  It’s understanding that this life isn’t as real as the next.

Fix your eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.  (Acts 20) 

Then I read this book, “Heaven Is For Real” and it had me thinking even of our purpose in heaven (other than the obvious-our relationship with and worship of the Lord).

Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back  -             By: Todd Burpo, Lynn Vincent

So I have been thinking lately-Andrew’s life began for a reason.  Who knows what purpose the Lord has for him in heaven?

It’s hurts so much to have lost him and all he meant to us.  So, I will choose instead to feel honored that God allowed me to have Andrew. And to even in a way that can only be understood through knowing Christ, that somehow, the pain will make me better.  The fire refines us if we allow it to.  It’s the struggle, the choice, to allow it to make me better that’s the hardest.  It’s easier to fall into my pain, anger, even bitterness.  But He wants so much more for me.  This is what it means to die to really live…


 

Today December 8, 2011

8 weeks ago today…

Heartsick and missing you, Andrew, my love!

 

life all around me November 29, 2011

Another dark day, I think.

Sometimes its hard to hear of all the life going on around us right now. Our lives have stopped. Don’t you know we can’t go on as always, as if nothing every happened??

It’s these days that its hard for the day to start before it has begun.  The tasks of the day ahead seem insurmountable. I feel listless and tired. I’m sad and heavy-hearted. It’s as if my strength is gone.

And, yet, I know that checking out of life and not being thankful for what He has so graciously given me is what the enemy wants. Sometimes its as if He’s asking in His quiet way “will you still serve Me when everything goes wrong?”

And so on I go-sometimes in a numb kind of way, going through the motions or choking back the tears that too easily come.  

“There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief….and unspeakable love.”
Washington Irving

 

PREGNANCY LOSS November 27, 2011

Click Link:  Pregnancy Loss

 

ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER… November 23, 2011

Today, I am despondent.

Some days I feel almost alright, some days horrible, and everything in between.  Even at night, I often wake in anxiousness and sadness…

There are days like today when I am so heavyhearted its difficult to function in everyday tasks.  But I must.  There are chores to be done and other children to love.

I’m trudging on.  I want to close the blinds crawl in bed and exit from life for a while.  Even from my own family.  Grief is strange.  Some moments I want to smother the children with love and cuddles which I cannot give Andrew.  Other times, I want to be far away from them because their demands are too much for my soul and my body (I am still so incredibly exhausted and weak) right now.  There are moments now when the tears have dried.  At least, for some of the day.  And when the tears dry up, I feel emptied out.  There’s nothing left to feel at all.  

I guess my feelings are so raw and so tumultuous; the wound so fresh, that the only reprieve is silence from them. Just a breath of not feeling anything.  And then I feel checked out.  Most of the time I cannot make sense of my own heart.  There are so many different feelings and sometimes all at once.  I feel that I’ve hit rock bottom but I have yet to reach upward for The Hand that I know is there waiting for me to grasp.  

Is it because I know I need this process?  Have I pushed Him away and built another wall because of the pain He has allowed me to feel?  I am angry at myself because I think of the million ways its MY fault that God allowed this.  The million ways I have failed.  I know in my head the Truth and that all have fallen short and yet my heart does not feel it.

So I know I must go on.  I must keep going.  I must keep pouring out that which I do not have within me to give.

It seems while He is there to comfort me; there is still silence to my questions.  It brings me some reconciliation to think of Andrew’s peaceful face and perfect little form-fingers, toes, mouth and all-with Jesus.  I know He can somehow give him the love from my heart and tell him it’s from his mommy.  Somehow, knowing that Andrew is being taken care of-that Jesus is holding him instead of me-is okay.  Even though I don’t know why and my heart screams to have him here with me, I have no choice but to take peace in that image in my head.  

I realize there is nothing else to do but make myself get up again today and put one foot in front of the other…

 

IMPLODING November 22, 2011

I am strong enough now to put on a face around others.  And I’m even brave enough to venture leaving the house now.  Sometimes I wonder if they think I am okay now.  It feels as if the inside of me is a big black hole.  As if all of me is continually being sucked into this dark place.  My very heart is imploding.  There is heaviness.  Sadness.  Guilt.  Sorrow.  Despair.  Aching and longing.  Emptiness.  I feel so sad inside that when I’m left alone for a moment and without a task I feel as if I could fade away.

Sometimes it brings perspective to hear of the pain others go through.  That other parents have carried far larger burdens than ours and somehow survived.  Today I heard of a friend whose three-year old has cancer.  They are enduring surgeries and chemotherapy.  I shutter to imagine what they must be going through.  Or the other stories we’ve heard of parents who have lost their children.  How do they find the strength to endure?

But it doesn’t lessen our pain. And that’s alright, too.  But, somehow, they made it through.  They found a way to get out of bed.  They found strength to forgive. So there is hope that I will too.

 

KISS HIM FOR ME November 21, 2011

Sometimes other people are frustrating.  They may say things that aren’t very thoughtful.  I know their intentions are good.  Sometimes people just don’t know what to say.  Someone said I didn’t have years with him and loose him.  Yet others have said I will come out of this stronger or that God has a plan. 

That doesn’t lessen my pain.  We DID loose a child-no matter how brief his life here on earth.  He was still our precious child.  We still miss him.  We still long to hold him and plant kisses on his sweet cheeks.  To gaze into his eyes and know him.

My son said to me today that Andrew is in a beautiful place and that God has a special place for him.  Then, Lord will you hold him close and kiss him for me?  😥  I miss my baby so!  My arms ache to hold him and nurse him.  All the plans and dreaming of him-GONE.  

And I’m helpless to change it.

 

RAW November 19, 2011

I am continually touched by my children’s hearts through this grieving process.  They are raw and real as they speak of their little brother.  They grieve as much as we do.  They wanted another brother or sister so much!  They were SO excited for him to come!  They cry often.  They pray for another baby.

It’s very difficult to put into words the depth of the pain that is in my heart.  My heart is completely broken.  The circles, the ebbs and flows, the intensity, the numbness…

Some days I’m SO angry at God.  WHY did He allow this??  The anguished cry of my heart repeats…what did I do wrong?  The beautiful part of having such a loving Savior is that I can have my moments of anger and he covers it.  I can question Him, and He allows me to.  Some things coming out of the grief of my soul may offend others, but He is not offended.  He is still there, waiting for me.

Other days, I am at rest (purposefully, not naturally) in knowing simply this:  He is GOD.  He created me.  He created Andrew.  Who am I to tell Him what to do or question Him?  Even if His reason does not seem right to me-who am I?  In His Almighty wisdom and power He can do what He likes.  

 

Before the mountains were brought forth, or you had formed the earth and the world,  from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalms 90:2)

 

So that’s where I am today.  

Trusting and resting in His understanding because, honestly, I have none…

 

ONLY IN MY HEART November 18, 2011

How precious all the words of love and comfort we’ve received-emails, cards, flowers-from those who were touched by our grief.  As the flowers are dying off, my heart wrenches for fear that Andrew’s memory will also die off…

It never will in my heart, but others will move on as though he never was.  People who look at me will not see the hidden tears or the piece of my heart that’s missing since he’s gone.  I used to carry him with me and dreamed of when I would hold him in my arms.  

Now he only remains in my heart.

I will carry him with me always, but some will never understand.  We’ve heard things like “it was meant to be” or “its better than having a child for a long time than loosing them”.  They don’t know how deep our pain and grief remain.

I know someday I will be on the other side of this.  There will always be pain but I’m told not so raw.  But my heart will forever have a piece missing.  Andrew, my love, I miss you SO much!

 

GLORY BABY November 17, 2011

I have no words to write at the moment…at least none you would like to read.  And certainly none that would be inspiring.  I feel as if I’m drowning in tears.  But, here are beautiful lyrics a friend sent to me today…

GLORY BABY WATERMARK  

Glory Baby lyrics
Glory baby, you slipped away
As fast as we could say baby, baby
You were growing, what happened dear
You disappeared on us baby, baby

Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe
Until we’re home with you
Until we’re home with you

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Before we do

Sweet little baby, it’s hard to understand it
‘Cause we are hurting, we are hurting
But there is healing, and we know we’re stronger people
Through the growing, and in knowing

All things work together for our good
And God works his purposes
Just like he said he would
Just like he said he would

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do

I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
Heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know
All you’ll ever know

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Yeah, you’ll just have heaven before we do
Before we do

 

THERE ARE NO ANSWERS November 15, 2011

Nothing makes sense to me right now.  I know things in my head but my heart does not comprehend.  Everything I believe has come in to question.  But my spirit knows the truth and though I lost my way (temporarily) I know my way back.  I could allow bitterness to take root, but I refuse to.  My heart is still His.

I saw this quote (based on Colossians 1:15) on Facebook today and I know I was meant to see it:  You were made by God and for God and until you understand that, life will never make sense.  

Andrew was made BY God and FOR God.  Though I desperately want his life to be here with me, he’s not here.  But God still made him.  Somehow, there is comfort knowing that Andrew was made for Him.  I don’t know his purpose, but his brief life meant something.

Maybe this will help bring me some level of acceptance…

 

Another truth I know-the devil cannot take what I freely give.

So as much as it hurts and as much as it’s not what I want-Lord, I give baby Andrew to you. 

He is yours now, to keep and to love.  

 

JILL MCCLOGHRY SPEAKS ON THE LOSS OF HER CHILD November 14, 2011

A few weeks ago I posted a link to “Desert Song” by Hillsong United.  It is a song I’ve listened to for years and it has sustained me through so many seasons.  Little did I know the significance it would play in my life this week.  

After losing our little Andrew, I looked up this song on YouTube.  I knew I needed something encouraging to hold me back from this black hole of despair and grief.  I’ve been so angry at God for allowing my precious baby to die!  Bitterness and anger have threatened to swallow me up.  I want to hate God. My heart screamed at Him…  

Its a long story, but I happened across this interview by Hillsong United regarding the recording of this song that had seen me through so many times before.  I had NEVER seen this interview before!  I know it was the Holy Spirit who led me to see this.  Thank you God for this interview-it gave me hope and put things in perspective for me.  I knew if Jill McCloghry could survive, somehow, I would, too.  Thank you, Jill, for speaking LIFE into my death and hope in my pain.  

Please take a moment to watch this interview:  Desert Song Interview

 

WHY? November 13, 2011

I must warn you this entry from my journal is pretty raw, but it is real.  There are always the “right” things to say, but this is my heart and I’ll share it with you…

I try to fight the anger.  The outrageous fury that screams within me!  Why did you let this happen, God? WHY?

I want to hate God, but I cannot.  He is inexplicably woven into the very fibers of my being.  He is so apart of me, I have no life without him.  

So though with grief I try to reject Him, my soul cries out for Him alone.  He alone can restore peace and hope.  He is my comforter and my strength.  Even when comfort and strength seem unattainable.  Though questions, fear, even doubt pull me away-my heart is compelled to return to the One who loves me.  Within Him is my only rest.

So, instead, I hate myself.  What did I do wrong???  Why is this happening to me??  Why are you silent, Lord?  Where are my answers?  If you love me…why??

 

NEXT BREATH November 12, 2011

When I think there are no more tears; I find them.

I’m in a pit of despair and I cannot find reason to crawl out.

I wish there was no air to breath.

I feel the heavy weight of grief upon on my chest-pressing down on me.  It’s nearly impossible for me to inhale.

I want sleep to come-to somehow escape the pain.

But sleep evades me.

My arms scream for a baby I cannot hold!

My womb is as empty as my heart.

I don’t know how to endure.

I don’t know how to take the next breath…

 

BROKEN November 11, 2011

(Click link to view):  Broken by Lifehouse

I have no words to write or speak right now but this song somehow helps me.  I’m stripped.  Undone.  Broken.

 

LAMENTATIONS November 10, 2011

“My soul is deprived of peace. I have forgotten what happiness is; I tell myself my future is lost, all that I hoped for from the Lord…BUT I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope: the favors of the Lord are not exhausted, His mercies are not spent; they are renewed each morning, so great is His faithfulness. My portion is the Lord, says my soul; therefore I will hope in Him.”

(Lamentations 3:17-18, 21-24)

 

HELD November 9, 2011

Click to watch:  HELD BY NATALIE GRANT

Lyrics

Two months is too little, they let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling

Who told us we’d be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We’re asking why this happens to us

Who have died to live, it’s unfair
This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait for one hour
Watching for our Savior

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

 

 

 
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