Friday, September 18, 2009


Lily is a good child. By good I mean just that- good. She is compassionate and kind. She is loving and caring. She is very well behaved.

But she is also 2.

We have been butting heads alot lately. She skirts the line of defiance almost with every interaction where I am requesting something of her she doesn't want to do. And the things she doesn't want to do is lengthy. She wants to do what SHE wants. All the time. No matter what.

And that just can't happen.

So, we have a night like last night. I make her a good meal of things she likes, but I interrupt her show to have her come to the table. Oh she doesn't refuse to eat, noooooo. She just holds every single bite of food in her mouth and doesn't swallow. See- skirting the line of definance. Infuriating.

Then, we go to change her diaper and get dressed. She doesn't want to come to me. She doesn't refuse...but she dilly dallies mightily. In the end, I have asked her to come to me no less than 10 times. I grab her arm, bring her to me. She flops like a fish, holding her hand as if it is mortally wounded. I change her diaper, and warn her she is going to get a spank if she doesn't stop.



So, she gets a spank and a time out to boot.

I have had a hard time with deciding if spanking was an option for us. In the end, Mark and I agreed that it was a discipline tool to be used sparingly. I know many people don't agree with it, and I get that, but for us, it works. But that doesn't mean I like it. In fact, I hate doing it. But if I say it's a consequence, I have to give it as one.

Afterwards, I sat on the couch while she was in time out. She was crying. I listened to her, and I started to cry as well. I don't enjoy any aspect of disciplining her. I know it's necessary, and I know she responds very well to it and learns from it, but damnitt, it HURTS me to hurt her.

When I called her out of time out, I held her for a long time. When I pulled back to talk to her, I began crying again. She was shocked, and then she cried herself. I told her of how I don't like to spank her, how it hurts my heart and makes me sad. I don't like to make her cry, and it makes me sad when she misbehaves, because I have to take things from her. As I cried, she cried. As I wiped the tears from her face, she wiped mine.

Eventually we just rocked together. I started thinking of all of the amazing things my child is. How kind. How loving. How giving. How she truly cares for others. She is empathetic. She is compassionate.

She is a reflection of me, and my treatment of her. I treasure her. I cherish her. I work very hard to be aware of her tiny spirit and her feelings. I am affectionate. I tell her I love her a thousand times a day. I am gentle.

And all of these things, she is as well. Even in the darker moments, when I have to discipline her, I still treasure her.

I thought alot about my hangups I have carried into motherhood. I tend to be always thinking 10 steps ahead, trying to avoid situations where she could be hurt. I break my neck to keep her from feeling rejected or sad. The idea of her hurting emotionally is almost too much for me to bear. But then there are times where I must be the one hurting her to TEACH her.

I also thought about how God must feel this way with me as well. I am stubborn. I want my own way. I do the wrong thing. I am defiant. He corrects me, often, and I am humbled and saddened by his disappointment. But I always know He loves me. I always know I am safe. I can only hope Lily always feels the same with me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's time

It's time to let him go. Today he would have been due. I would have held him by now. I would have known him. But it wasn't in the plans. And I have to say, I am at peace with it.

I was talking this morning to Mark. He very honestly told me that today didn't make him sad. He was looking forward, not backward. At first it stung, and I was disappointed. But after I thought about it, I understand. Men are just not hardwired like women are. They aren't bonded until they see the baby. To Mark, Joshua was an idea. And I get that. He mourned for MY loss. He was sad for ME.

On days like this, I tend to spend time outside, planting something. I want my hands in the dirt. I want to plant something living, a remembrance.

We went to the nursery as a family, to pick out mums to plant. It is my favorite flower, because it represents my favorite season, fall.

As we walked up to the plant section, I noticed a stand of beautiful purple flowers off to one side. As I watched, a butterfly landed on them and sat still the entire time we were picking out flowers. As Mark was checking out, Lily and I approached the butterfly and watched it flit gently. I then reached out and touched it' soft wings. It flew away, and then back. I touched it again. It sat on my finger for just a few seconds before flying away, coming to flit around Lily and I, nearly landing on me several times. It was a big butterfly, yellow with baby blue just around the edges of his wings. I laughed like a child as it came back again and again. Samuel kicked me. Lily laughed with me.

And I knew it was Joshua, letting me know he was with me this day.

He has sent many creatures- several to his resting place. Small bunnies, birds, butterflies. Many times the bunny has simply laid down in front of Joshua's statue and stayed, even when we came outside. The butterflies land on his statue and stay.

Will the ever come again? I just don't know. But I do know this: as the butterfly today flew off for the last time, my sadness flew with it. I was joyful. As we planted flowers, I thought of the months to come and smiled. There was no guilt for loving Samuel, no worry that we were simply replacing one child with another. Just joy.

So here it is, September 13th. I know I will always remember this date. But from now on, I am looking forward to the life God planned for me, with the boy God let me keep, and the family that I treasure.

Rest well, my sweet little Joshua. You can go now. I'll be just fine.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Images from Tuesday night stay with me. Mark and Lily in the doorway of the bathroom as I screamed that I was bleeding. Feeling such a horrible, sinking feeling as we drove to the ER. The words coming out of my mouth "I think he is gone. Oh my baby boy, my boy my boy." Marks face, white with fear. Too much blood, too bright on my skin, on the bed, everywhere.

As I lay in the hospital bed, waiting for the nurse to find the heartbeat of my precious son, I experienced pain that I had never known. Such uncertainty, such desperation. Everything in me was screaming, but all I could do was cry, whimper, and call out to God.

And then... his heartbeat. I grabbed the nurses hand, thanked her over and over. Her eyes filled as she said "You are so welcome." She let the doppler rest on my belly for a very long time, just letting me hear him. I knew then she was a mother as well.

It was a moment I will never ever forget. Rescue came, as swift as the tide. It rushed over me, flooding me. The rescue of my very soul, a soul that would have been shattered if that tiny bump bump bump wasn't found. God came. He found me in my anguish. He found me, sought me out, and rescued me. He rescued my son. He restored hope. He came between Mark and I, sat with us in our terror, and comforted us both.

Every test came back normal. The baby was moving, kicking, and doing his practice breathing. His little legs stretched, his heart beat. Proof of life, right there for me to see. The doctor lingered over his heart, letting me see it. She proclaimed him to be happy, totally unconcerned with what was going on in the outside world.

The bleeding slowed and stopped. By the time I went to bed, it was as if it has never happened. Sleep didn't come easy. I spent alot of time with God. I told Him, without any hesitation, that if Samuel was supposed to go to Him now, I could think of no better hands to lose him to. I never asked Him why, because the why is not important. I simply sat at His feet. I didn't need to say many words. What could I say? Nothing is profound enough, no words are enough. Just my heart, open for Him to see.

He is showing me, bit by bit, lesson by lesson, how precious life is. How second chances are real. How treasuring what I have been given is required. That love is a living, vibrant, thriving thing. That the family I have now is the family I was meant to have. I don't deserve them. I can't earn the paradise that I have been given. It is a gift.

So I am humbled. I am brought low, in the sweetest of ways. I am taking not one day with Samuel for granted. I am not hurrying to his due date, or counting the hours until I have him in my arms. I am just loving him with all of myself, every single day. Every moment of discomfort is one that I can remember I have been given life to carry.

Moments of panic are inevitable in this life. I wish I could be at peace every moment of this pregnancy. But just as I am holding my Samuel, my Savior is also holding me. He will carry me if the world falls apart. He never lets go.

Monday, September 7, 2009


September 13th. A day I never would have suspected would have meaning for me. In the in-between...not summer, not fall. Not hot, not cold. A time for changes in the trees, the grass. The geese fly, the leaves turn.

A day my baby boy would have been due.

January 26th, 2009. It seems just yesterday I lost him. It seems forever ago. The pain recedes and returns, never with the brutal nightmarish quality of the first few days, but still there. It's a wound. An injury I will always favor. But one that has made me a much fuller person, more commited to what is important. I miss him, I think of him....but I also let him go willingly.

January 30th, 2009. I was an emotional and physical train wreck. Bleeding, mourning, vowing to never ever try for another child.

January 30th, 2010. The day I am due this pregnancy. Due with my son. My Samuel.

I want to say so much about this past year. I want to tell you of how I have grown, how I have leaned into God. But I can't put it into words. It simply is. It is all as it was supposed to be. I no longer linger in disappointment or anger. Without losing Joshua, I would not have Samuel. I want them both, but it's not possible. So I will love the one I have been given twice over. I will know death holds no sadness, no fear for me. When I die, I will see my lost boy. While I am here, I will give everything I am to the one I get to hold.

But I will still remember. The day I watch Samuel walk the first time. The day he gets his first tooth. The day he says mama. The first day of school. In all times, in all ways, I will carry Joshua with me. He may never sit at the table, never snuggle in for a book and prayer before bed. But he will never be forgotten.

I can't prove to anyone that God exists. I can't say anything to make you believe.

I can only offer you this. I conceived Joshua on Christmas Eve. After I lost him, my heartbreak was like a living thing. I stepped out onto God's grace, and trusted Him to help me become a mother again.

He did not fail me.

Samuel was conceived on Mother's Day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I gave up after I lost Joshua. My hope evaporated. I told anyone who asked that I was done. No more children. And I meant it.

And now I sit here, feeling my son kick me. Feeling his life. A miracle.

I am so thankful God was not intimidated by my stubborness. I'm thankful that Mark held on. I am thankful for the one sentence my best friend said to me, one I have carried since- "You can't give up on life because of death." And I am thankful that God saw fit to carry me through with faith, if not with hope.

We only see part of the picture, don't we? Less than that even. We have a small window into our life, while God knows the full story. He knows our choices, the things we will go through. He knows it all. The shame. The joy. He knows what we will hide from, and what we will embrace.

In my loneliest of times, Christ has been there. He has set up vigil in my times of darkness, has dogged my steps when I turned and ran. He has been there. I remember sitting, weeping, as I paged through my Bible. I was looking for-something. And there was a painting of Christ in the garden, all of His companions asleep. He whispered to me "I know loneliness, I know despair. I know fear." And I believed Him. He knows of everything that I can go through. Any human emotion, any experience. There is such comfort there.

I know we all have different picture in our mind of God. We carry it all our lives. But for me the picture has changed, from age to age. When I was a child, I saw God as a far away diety, waiting to pounce. Later, I was angry with what I felt was a vengeful God. And then, the picture cleared.

I see Him now as I believe He wants me to see Him. As a healer, come for the sick. As a teacher, to show us how to live. As a leader, to give us hope. And also, as a broken man alone in the garden. As a Savior, forgiving even as He dies. As a Messiah, rolling the stone away. They are all Him.

And the most beautiful picture of all- as Abba, father. Come to rescue me from myself, to hold me and carry me when I am weak. To be there, rejoicing with me. To look at ME- not me, but ME. As I am. Wholly. And to still love me. To still give and take from me, because He knows more than I do.

So I'l leave the bigger picture to God, and I will be content with mine. The picture of a God who rushes in to fill the voids left behind by the world, the one who comes when everyone else turns away, the one who gathers up what is broken and lost and mends it.

Actual conversation

*We are driving home from an afternoon in the park, eating a great dinner together, and enjoying the fall weather.*



Can you woll my widow down?


*She sits a few minutes, face in the sun, wind in her hair. I watch her in the rearview mirror.*



I just love...*long pause*...eveything.

Me too, baby girl. Me too.