Heart of Esther

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

The Burden of Grief October 11, 2012

For those of you, like me, who are burdened by the heaviness of grief…and rest for your soul is hard to find in the tears and sadness, the anger and questions not answered…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
-Matthew 11:28-30

 

CALVIN’S HATS October 7, 2012

When we lost our little boy, Calvin’s Hats quickly sent a baby blue knitted hat that fit his gestation age perfectly.  We cherish that hat more than we can say.  Here is the website:  http://www.calvinshats.com/default.html

 

 

 

Heart Of Esther? October 4, 2012

Recently, I read my “About Me” page and I laughed bitterly as I read the introduction of a mother who was brave and strong and certain. Even the name of my blog seems to mock me. Esther was strong, courageous, and she appeared at peace. She changed a nation.

Here I am feeling battered and bruised by grief. Uncertain and fearful. I feel as if I don’t matter any longer. I’m just surviving every day.  Days spent in tears, not in victory.

But then I think, maybe I can have a heart like Esther. I can bravely face each day without the child I should have in my arms. I have not shut myself off to love-instead I have embraced my children even more strongly than before. I gaze into their eyes even more deeply, longing to learn and memorize who they are.

Every day, I can find strength I don’t have and courage that isn’t there to lay aside myself and my pain to take care of those in my care and do it joyfully.  I can find more compassion and grace in everything. And maybe I can change a nation-everyday I pour into others-especially those given in my care.

So maybe having strength and courage isn’t always some big thing that everyone acknowledges. Maybe its in the small things that make up our lives. A heart that has a sense of destiny-a heart of Esther.

 

GRIEF HAS CHANGED ME October 3, 2012

I wish I could say the past year has been horrible but I’ve been able to just bounce right back. I’ve always been a fighter, I’ve always looked at the positives in life, I’ve always felt I could take anything and come out on top. I’ve always been resilient…

But not this time. I’ve felt as if this past year has been me struggling for air, trying to find who I am again (because I honestly don’t know anymore) and trying to move on past all the heartbreak and trauma but never seeming to really be able to. This year has been a year of loneliness-mostly my fault because I’ve pushed everyone away because I feel so all alone-that no one understands me. Almost all my friends who became pregnant after our loss decided in their own heads that it would be hard for me to know they were pregnant, so they just avoided me.  Don’t they understand, hearing someone is expecting doesn’t change that my baby is gone. I want my baby, not theirs! 

All I really want to do is close the blinds and snuggle deep into my bed covers.  But there is no rest for a weary, grieving mother of children.  There’s no escaping myself.  It’s hard to explain, maybe unless you’ve been there, but going through almost losing your life and losing your baby’s life, has left me with so much anxiety, at times I can hardly handle life.

I feel like I need help-but what can anyone do?  All of this is so very deep in my heart.  I keep waiting on Him to fix me.

Grief has changed me.

 

Crying Out April 25, 2012

I know my posts have been a bit few and far between these days…

It has been difficult for me to put so much into a few words.  And there has been much that is so deep and so personal and raw, that I cannot share it, but for a couple of souls.

I was so grateful to hear from a reader-you know who you are!  🙂 You encouraged me so much and reading your post was like a glance into my own soul.

Yes, life has been a battleground lately.   I’m at that place of true forgiveness…and yet, the evil one still brings those feelings up now and again.  There are days I feel like I’m back at square one.  There are days that I feel like more than a conqueror.   Days when I am resting in His perfect peace and nothing will ripple the calm of my soul…  

Lately, there have been many days of brokenness.  Simply crying out to Him.  There have been health issues, surgeries, and obstacles that keep getting in the way of my body healing from both losses.  It feels like the storm hasn’t ended.  I have felt like the disciples on the boat, in the middle of this terrific storm…wondering why Jesus is sleeping???   My anguish echoes David in Psalms “Attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.” 

And then I realize He wants me in that place.  To understand, for His Glory, that I am desperate and helpless without Him.  There are so many walls, so many layers.  He is renewing me.  It is a time of amazing growth.  Just as I have come up for air and feel like I’ve learned and been renewed (new wine cannot be poured into old wine skins), He seems to find it perfect to teach me more-and back under I go.  A time for peeling away the old-like an onion whose outer layers need pulled away.  I have been growing and learning and deepening my relationship with Him.  

It’s been a heart-wrenching time and yet, this time has held such sweetness in it as well… 

I know why I am at this place.  I am to be in a place where I know it is only God who delivers.  I know the Lord hears my cry “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15)

Throughout the Word, I see time after time that there was a period when individuals or nations cried out in desperation.  Psalms is full of David’s pleas-asking the Lord if He will not turn His back on him, if He will hear his cry.  

And I feel peace because I see that time and again, the Lord did respond.  He did deliver.  He did heal.  He answered.  He restored.   

“In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”  (Psalm 18:6)
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Psalm 34:15
“I cried to the Lord with my voice and He heard me from His holy hill…O Lord my God, I cried out to You and You healed me.” Psalms 3:4, 30:2
So here I will remain-crying out to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or think.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.”

Psalm 40:1

 

recovering February 1, 2012

Last week, we found out our little “peanut” (as we affectionately named it) had no heartbeat.  

Another devastating blow.  To be given fresh hope and healing only to have it so quickly stolen again.

I was still terribly sick everyday, even after our sweet baby had no heartbeat.  Talk about extra depressing.  To be throwing up all day everyday for no reason whatsoever.  Yesterday, I had surgery.  

Today, I am recovering.  

This has been such a horrible year.   Sigh.  Part of me feels like I can’t go on.  Another part of me wills me to look ahead to healing and to see what God has in store for us.  I will focus on good things.  Playing and enjoying my children.  Restoring my health.  Loving on my husband.  This past year has revolved so much around me, it will be refreshing to focus on my family and friends instead.  

Something good has to come out of this.  

It’s strange, on one hand I have never felt so alone.  It feels as if no one can possibly understand this pain.  The kind of pain that hurts so much, you physically can’t breathe.  Your heart literally skips beats.  To feel completely rejected by God.  To feel isolated from family.

And yet, I have felt more loved on this past year than ever before.  Close friends became closer.  My husband and I went through awful things and drew together instead of apart.  I saw the best in him and he took such good care of me.  

I treasure my relationships.  

Especially those who have been there for me to cry with, or just vent.  

And the ones who have loved on my children and watched them when I was recovering.  

The many, many meals that were so sacrificially brought.  

Those who came to be by my side when I needed them.  

Those who pulled me in as part of their family.  

The ones who just let me be…me.  In grief.  In pain.  Without judgement.

We haven’t even made it to our sweet Andrew’s due date, and we’ve already lost two babies.

I will recover.  Both physically and emotionally.  

But the grief will never end.  The tears will still flow.  My heart and arms will ache with emptiness.  And I will never be the same. 

 

Faith January 17, 2012

Every day, questions run through my mind…

Will this baby survive?  Is everything all right?  What if I have to endure losing a baby again??  Can I handle it?

I am quieting the fears and worries of my heart.  I am enjoying each day with this gift I’ve been given.  I am thankful for the hope this baby restored in us after losing Andrew, even though I still shed tears for him every day.  

And I will choose joy.  It’s there, peeking through the clouds.  Will I be too timid to allow it to warm my heart completely?  

I have not been given a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind.

“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)

 

our pain January 15, 2012

We can give our tears to God

because He is our Comforter…

our disappointments because 

He is our Confidence…

our pains because

He is our Healer…

our stress because

He is our Peace…

our heaviness because

He is our joy!

Roy Lessin

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Mathew 11:28

 

paralysed January 6, 2012

Filed under: Baby,Christ,Christianity,Family,God,Lord,Pregnancy Loss,Religion and Spirituality — Heart of Esther @ 1:38 am

My doctor’s office called this morning.  The labs I had taken came back low.

My hcg-low.  

Progesterone-low.  

So an ultrasound is scheduled for this afternoon.  In a couple of hours I find out if our baby is all right…if there’s a heartbeat.  I feel literally paralysed right now.  I should clean up dishes.  I should play with the kids.  I should vacuum.  I should read the Word.  I should do something.  But I can’t.  I’m sitting here waiting to find out if we lost another baby.  I cannot even begin to say what is going on in my heart right now.  

Today I woke up feeling pretty good and I thought-“oh, thank you, Lord for having mercy on me and helping me to not feel so sick this time!”  And then I found out why.  It wasn’t mercy or grace.  How ironic.  To have so much faith and peace but for nought.  

So, please, if you read this, send up a prayer for us.  That we will hear good news.  That we still have a baby.

 

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.   

 

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.

 

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!

 

A few words about him December 6, 2011

He’s the strong, silent type.

He doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, but I always know where he stands.

He’s calm and reassuring, even when the storm shakes him to his core.

He takes care of me-not just physically, but my heart, too.

He allows me to talk when I feel like talking, but he holds me in the silence when there are no words.

He makes decisions and takes care of things I cannot handle.

He lovingly has met all my needs to the best of his ability.

He is my buffer, and my guard.

He keeps me grounded in our faith.

He has brought me anything he thought might ease my pain and not judged me for it.

He has never demanded I move on or told me how or when to heal but has allowed me to work through my own heart.

His strength has carried me through and allowed me to be vulnerable.  

Even though he is in pain, he has not let it overtake him so that he can be there for me.

He has allowed me to grieve the way I do and I’ve allowed him to grieve how he does.  And its strengthened our bond.  Because no one knows the depth and dynamics of our loss but us.

I’m thankful for his strong arms and enveloping hugs that make me feel secure.  

For his quiet way of sacrificial living and loving and supporting and giving.

I could not have made it this far without him-my husband, my soul-mate, my friend.

 

green with envy… December 3, 2011

Last night I dreamed of a memorial service for our son and my husband and I left early and couldn’t speak.  There were no words.  We did not have a service.  At least not a public one.  My health was too bad (I couldn’t get out of bed for a week and a half) and to be honest, we just wanted to grieve privately.  We were just so raw and vulnerable and hurting.  I couldn’t even talk really for days.  There were no words to echo what I felt.  The words attempting to describe my heart came later.  And still they do not come close to revealing the depths of my sufferings.  I thought we might regret not having a service, but we don’t.  I think next year, on his birthday, I may be able to handle that. 

Facebook is a painful place lately…

I can count about five of my friends off-hand that were all due a few weeks after me and lately FB has been filled with ultrasound pictures and gender announcements.  It’s not that I am not happy for them, it’s just so hard to handle right now when we lost our little boy.  It feels so unfair.  It’s turning me into a jealous green monster!  It’s truly hard to describe the pain in my heart.  I know in my head it’s not right to feel this or even be jealous.  I would not want them to suffer what I went through and deep within me I am happy for their blessings.  It’s just the contrast is bringing out my deep loss…

So FB will not be seeing me for a long while….

As hard as this has been, I cannot imagine how I will feel when our baby’s due date passes and everyone else’s babies are being born…

I suppose that’s another battle for another day.


 

 
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