Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Remember: Finding Strength for the Tough Days

It's funny how the Lord seems to work in my life.  I often seem to "get" something.  I can write about it or teach about it.  But I don't realize how important this thing I "get" really is, until I really, really need to "get" it.  This lesson I'm "getting" in a big way is the importance of celebrating our victories--and really of how important journaling is to my faith.

I'm struggling.

Grief is slow moving.

I'm trying to stay faithful to what works for my spiritual life--reading and journaling my prayers.  Being able to go back and read about what the Lord is doing in my life is such a help and source of strength for my faith.  It's a tangible reminder of the victories in life.  The things He's brought me through.  The lessons He's taught me.

So when I'm struggling for words to pray (as I seem to often be these days), I'll re-read things I've written in the past.

On May 26th, which is just a couple short weeks before we found out we were expecting #4, I wrote this:

As if I needed a reason to journal--Joshua and Judges are perfect reminders.  Those who saw and remembered the Lord's work served Him.  The generations that didn't remember fell away and served other gods.  Let me never forget all the things You've done for me and for Christians throughout history.

I think we're also responsible for sharing what You're doing for us so that others can see it and remember what You've done for them.  

The Israelites were always building altars to remember Your work--visible reminders.  Exactly why having scriptures and things that remind us of You in our homes is so important.  

Keep it visible.  Remember.

Thank you for all You've done for me and my family! We are so blessed.  Thank you for pointing me to those scriptures as I read them.  

Remembering all the victories the Lord has given me is exactly what's helping me get through the toughest times of my grief right now.  Yes, I'm still breaking down.  Yes, I'm still visibly grieving.  Yes, I'm still dealing with anxiety.  

But I know my Lord is faithful.  

He's proven it to me.  He's proven it to my family.  He's proven it to so many of you.  

Let's remember that.  

Let's never stop remembering that.  

Let's never stop sharing that with others.  

I encourage you to read Joshua and Judges and look for that theme.  The ebb and flow of the Israelites' faith is so evident.  So frustrating to read about when it seems so obvious as to why they kept falling away.  But we do it all the time.  We forget the victories.  We don't share them with others.  We don't let them encourage us and help us through our trials.  We don't remember.  It may be one of the biggest benefits of journaling for me--to have my victories all written down so they can't be so easily forgotten.  

I leave you with a passage from 1 Chronicles 16 today.  It's a great encouragement to constantly be remembering and sharing our victories with others:

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
Sing to him; yes, sing praises.
Tell everyone of his miracles.
Exult in his holy name;
O worshipers of the Lord, rejoice!
Search for the Lord and for his strength, 
and keep on searching.  
Think of the wonderful works he has done, 
the miracles, and the judgments he handed down.
(verses 8-12)

Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be revered above all gods.
The gods of other nations are merely idols, 
but the Lord made the heavens!
Honor and majesty surround him;
strength and beauty are in his dwelling.
(verses 23-27)

What do you need to remember today?

**If you're a new reader, this post refers to grief.  I recently lost a baby to miscarriage--that's what I'm grieving.  If you'd like to read more about that story, you can find it here. Thanks for reading!**

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Thursday, August 13, 2015


I am truly overwhelmed at the response from all of you since I posted our miscarriage story on Monday.  The post has been viewed nearly 500 times, which, for a tiny blog like mine, is huge. I'm even more overwhelmed, however, with the number of women who have shared their personal miscarriage stories with me--some of which were as recent as last week. I wrote this for me, as part of my healing process, but many of you have shared gratitude to me for sharing it because it's helping you in your healing process.  Knowing that my story and my pain is helping others has been a huge source of comfort to me.  It is healing to know that my pain is serving a purpose.

You will probably never know all the people in your life who have lost a child to miscarriage. I would ask that you please share my post from yesterday with those you know. You never know who might need to read it. If my story can meet someone else in their grief, it gives even greater purpose to my pain.

The link for the original post is here.

The pain is still unbearable most of the time, but I'm trying. I'm searching the Bible for comfort. Praying--even if it's only in cries and moans the Holy Spirit can recognize.  Surrounding myself with songs of praise and worship to remind myself of the Lord's faithfulness. Reading through my old prayer journal entries to remind myself of the victories in my past.

Here's a snippet of what I wrote yesterday:

I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. -Psalm 31:7

Lord, I know these words are true.  I know that you care in my mind. Help me to know it in my heart.

I'm thankful my pain is serving a purpose, but I'm still grieving and searching for peace. It's a long road, I'm told.  One day, one hour, one moment at a time...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Unexpected Sorrow

I don't know how to even begin a post like this.  Still trying to wrap my mind around what I'm about to write.

On Wednesday, July 29th, during a routine ultrasound, it was discovered that our sweet baby #4 had stopped growing two weeks before.  I came to the appointment alone.  After three perfect pregnancies, I didn't have any concerns about the appointment.  My belly was in full pregnancy mode.  I had regular morning sickness for the first time ever.  Everything seemed to be going as expected.

As I sat in the ultrasound room alone, however, I knew there was something wrong. The tech barely spoke a word as she took some quick measurements.  A first time mom might not have known what was going on, but I watched as she searched for a heartbeat and scanned for circulation.  The baby stayed dark--no color, no signs of life.  She quickly left the room to go get the midwife, but she was unavailable, so I was taken to a small, private waiting room to sit alone.  I may have only waited for a few minutes, but it felt like an hour.  My face was hot, my gut wrenched with fear.  I knew that my baby was gone.  It made no sense.  It still makes no sense, but I knew.

Finally, the nurse came and took me to an exam room.  She didn't take my weight, blood pressure or any of the normal things--further confirmation to me that I was right.  When the midwife came in, she sat down and just said it.  I'll never forget her words or the look of pity on her face.  "Stacy, your baby isn't alive." I melted into tears  I'm sure my sobs were heard outside the exam room.  I went from fear to unbelievable, agonizing pain just like that.  I never dreamed that this would happen to me.

I sat and cried with the midwife, talking about what might have happened and what need to happen next.  She was wonderful to hug me and do her best to comfort me, but I was inconsolable.  I knew I was devastated,  and knowing I was going to have to be the one to tell Kraig and the kids made it even worse.

Eventually, I gathered myself to quickly escape from the office.  I dialed Kraig as soon as I got to the hall and, through sobs, I told him our baby was dead.  I'll never forget his response and the minutes of crying we did together on the phone, as I sat in the stairwell of the hospital.  I could barely breathe.  We talked while I made my way to the van, then I sat and cried until I felt like I could drive.

When I got home, Kraig met me outside and we hugged and sobbed together.  Eventually, we calmed ourselves down and went inside to tell the kids that our baby wasn't coming anymore but had gone to Heaven to be with Jesus.  Kate and Jack both cried and cried for so long.  Jack just kept saying, "But I really wanted a baby brother to sleep in my room with me!"  It was awful in so many ways.  I can't even come up with words to adequately describe the pain of telling them and watching them mourn.

I never imagined the pain of miscarriage would be so hard.  So real.  But it is.  We lost a child.  We have a precious baby that we never got to hold, or see, or kiss.  Our baby never got to experience the deep love that we already had for him/her.  And it hurts so bad. 

My body hadn't begun to miscarry on it's own, so on Friday, we went to the hospital for a D&C.  I knew my baby was gone, but it felt like I was going to the hospital to have an abortion.  Like I was letting them take my baby from me.  I knew it was irrational, but that's how it felt.  This procedure was literally removing the pregnancy from me, so it was hard to separate the two.  I was so scared going in for it.  It felt completely unfair to wake up with morning sickness that day, knowing there was no little life causing it.

Registration was surprisingly quick and painless.  Then a sweet lady we go to church with came to take me back to get changed and settled into pre-op.  She was so helpful and sensitive to the situation.  One of my biggest fears about the procedure was that I would just be treated like another patient having another procedure, but I wasn't.

In a moment alone before they brought Kraig back to sit with me, I cried by myself and told the baby goodbye.  I know that he/she couldn't hear me, but I felt like I needed to say my goodbyes and tell the baby how much we loved him/her. It all just felt so wrong to know that I was going to be leaving the hospital empty handed.  There wasn't going to be a sweet newborn.  There wouldn't even be a body to hold or to bury, I would just be empty.  So I told my baby goodbye while he/she was still with me.

I had never met the doctor before, but when he came in he first took the time to ask me how I was doing. Until then, I'd held it together, but I cried--partially because I was sad, and partially because I was thankful that he cared enough to ask.

I was grateful to have Kraig with me for most of the pre-op time.  It was comforting to hold his hand and not feel so alone.  Before it was time to go, he prayed over me and we both cried.  It was a very special moment for me, as a wife, but it all just felt so very unfair.  Soon enough, they wheeled me to the operating room and I was asleep.

When I woke up, my sweet nurse was with me.  I was fairly alert, so we talked and she asked me how other people were treating me and if people were being sensitive.  She then shared that the surgical nurses had watched a video about a year ago on how to deal with patients going through a miscarriage. She said, "I sobbed through the whole thing, because I know I've said all the wrong things to people for years." We sat and cried together and talked until I was ready to be discharged.  She was a true blessing in that situation, as she let me open up with her about how I was feeling.  I actually bought a thank-you card last night to send to her.  She was exactly the nurse that I needed.

It's been a long week and a half.  I've lost people that I've been close to and felt that pain, but I've never experienced anything like this before.  The tears come in waves, but not a moment goes by when I'm not thinking about what we lost.

We told our family and our church family pretty quickly after we found out what was going on, and it's been wonderful to have their prayers and support.  People have been gracious to give us space, but to also surround us with prayers.  We've been extremely grateful for the texts, phone calls, cards, meals and words that you all have offered.  I am especially grateful to my mom, who came and spent a week with us--caring for the kids, especially, so that I could rest and heal and so that Kraig and I could have some time to grieve together.  I couldn't have done it without her.

It's amazing to me how many women have come forward to share their own miscarriage stories with me.  In a strange way, it's been helpful to hear them and to know that I'm not alone.  To know that my feelings aren't irrational.  Thank you to those who have shared with me.  I am so deeply sorry that you've had to bear this burden, too.

I know that things will get easier eventually and I know that God has a purpose and a plan, but right now things are still very tender and difficult.  I can't yet see how things are going to get better, but I'm trusting that my faithful God will get me there.  All I know now is that I miss my baby with this terrible, fierce ache.  It's also terribly painful to look in the mirror and still have a swollen abdomen that looks like it's carrying a baby. Some things will never make sense, I guess.

We could all use your prayers as we grieve this loss.  The Bible says we should mourn with those who mourn, and weep with those who weep.  Friends, we thank you for doing that with us.  It makes it just a little easier to bear.