Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Resting and Learning

Hello everyone. Sorry it's been a little while since I posted. This past week I've been trying to rest. Not just physically, but emotionally too.

I realized that for a month, I was basically mourning in public. While I wasn't hiding anything from anyone or trying to put on a brave face, it is just exhausting to be around a lot of people all the time. Even family and friends, who I loved being with. It's hard to be asked, "How are you doing?" over and over, and to be told, "You look wonderful." It's also hard to just see the looks on people's faces; the "knowing" looks of sadness or pity. It's also hard to hear "I'm sorry." Don't hear me wrong. I am not upset that people care and want to show it. I'm glad I had time to be around people so I wouldn't have to be alone. I know people meant the best and want the best for us. I appreciate it all. But after a need time alone to think, to pray, and to just heal. I didn't really get much of that alone time until this week. It was extremely nice to be able to do nothing unless I wanted to, and to be able to rest physically so that I could rest emotionally as well.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I have learned some new lessons this week. Haha. If you sit and think and pray enough, you'll learn something. I guess that's why God tells us to "Be still, and know that [He] is God" (Psalm 46:9). In such a busy world, it is good to take a break and rest. Anyway...

I've been a crazy jumble of emotions this last week. Sometimes I felt wonderful, almost as if I didn't need to mourn anymore. Other days, I was a grumpy, moody mess, with about fifty million emotions warring inside my heart. Some days I could think about babies and children and all the people around me dealing with them, and barely even feel a twinge. Some days, I wanted to throw a temper tantrum because things aren't "fair." Lawsy, I feel sorry for my husband right now. Haha. He never knows what he's going to get with me. But I can say, even on the bad days, that the negative is not as strong as the positive. Part of that is because I am choosing to look at the positive as much as I can, through God's grace, and some of it is because God is just awesome.

I'll tell you something else. I have learned more deeply the meaning of taking your thoughts captive..."We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5. This is my new challenge.

I have learned a lot about the character of God because of our time with Caroline. I have begun to know God in a way I never have before. A lot of the lessons I learned involved trust, sacrifice, and humility. I had to trust God with a lot. I had to be humble. I had to learn what true sacrifice is. I had to learn to die to myself so that Jesus could work in me. Much of it is very painful. Many of these lessons were understood only through many tears. But I am so glad God is patient enough to teach me. In this new time of life without Caroline, I'm having to learn some of those lessons all over again.

I've shared that I'm not terribly nervous about future pregnancies, healthwise. I'm trying really hard to trust God with all of that. He's in control, He's in charge, and He's the Creator and Healer. Whatever He wants to happen in my next pregnancy will. I truly believe that and have found peace and comfort in that knowledge.

What I have to do is a little different than I expected, I think. The thoughts I have to take captive and return to Christ are numerous and varied. Some are self-pity thoughts. I shared in my last post that there are many, many things that remind me of my loss. Seeing babies, seeing toys, walking through stores and seeing any baby related item, seeing pictures of friends' baby showers, seeing updates on friends that are now expecting their own babies. In fact, just taking down my Christmas decorations was extremely difficult for me emotionally. I'm not sure I can describe why...I decorated before she was born, I celebrated her life all through Christmas, and now things are done. I guess it was just an emptiness knowing she was gone. It's amazing to me how much can remind me of what I've lost. It's in those moments that I have to take my thoughts captive. I have to take my human, limited vision and try to replace it with eternal perspective. I have to make my thoughts "obedient to Christ." My feelings of jealousy or anger are not glorifying to Him, even though they are completely "normal" and "natural." If I begin to question His character, which is what I do when I start to feel and think, "this isn't fair, it shouldn't have happened to me," I'm not making myself obedient. Christ was obedient even to die himself. I can be obedient in this. I can rejoice that Christ is holding my baby girl for me instead of letting her experience this fallen world. Because that's the truth.

Other thoughts I have to take captive are ones for the future. I want another child badly. I am incredibly anxious to have another baby. Recently, God has reminded me of the lesson I learned with Caroline. I cannot want another child more than I want Christ. My next baby cannot become an idol or stumbling block. I need to surrender our next one just as much as I needed to surrender Caroline. I know wanting to have a child is not wrong. I know that desiring to have a relationship with our children is a mirror of God wanting to have a relationship with us. Wanting another one is not the problem. The state of my heart is. If my heart desires another child more than it desires to be obedient to Christ, then I'm off. If I want another child for God's glory, then I'm ok. I've had to really ask myself where I stand when it comes to that area of my heart. It's a tough struggle, but it's worth it. Any children we have will never be "ours." They'll be His, on loan to us. The better I am at remembering that, the better a parent I will be. I want to be a good mom, so I'll keep trying to make myself obedient in that. When my thoughts start to wander too far into the "I want one and I want one right now!" area, I have to submit them to Christ in obedience. I want one right now, but I want God's will more. In His timing, with His blessing. Another area I have to trust to Him.

It may sound like I have things going pretty well in this regard. Don't be fooled. This is a struggle to me just as everything else has been in our time with Caroline. As I have said over and over again...I have good days and bad days. I'm still learning. I'm not perfect. I'm nowhere near perfect. It's hard to do these things I'm talking about, and I struggle to do them. But I want to do them. I want to glorify God, not just in outward actions that impact others, but in my private thought life. I can't be a light outwardly if I'm filled with darkness internally.

I want to be close to Jesus. He's been close to me throughout our time with Caroline. I want to continue being close to Him. I know emotions will change and fade, but I don't want to lose what I've found in Him because of our experience with Caroline. He's given me a precious gift in Caroline, and I never want to take it for granted or to forget about it. I've been praying that He will help me. Because it's hard.

I'm still sad. I still mourn. I still miss my baby girl. But I take my thoughts captive and submit them to my Savior, some days better than others. And I have amazing joy knowing Caroline is perfect in Heaven, waiting for me.


  1. Hi Emily,

    I was thinking of you this morning and praying for you and Cameron. Thank you for being so open with your thoughts and feelings. I told Kara I wanted her to read your blog sometime when she's up to it because she has expressed many of the same feelings. I think it would help her to not feel alone.

    She goes in Monday the 6th to have Brayden Michael. She's anxious to meet him and hold him, but afraid of the unknown and saying goodbye.

    Emily, you and Cameron are never far from my heart and in prayer. I'm thankful for God's timing when it comes to "meeting" you when I did. Your posts have brought more comfort and peace for me about God's plan for Kara and Brayden. Plus it's given me more wisdom into what Kara might need from me and her family.

    Would you please be praying for Kara on Monday? I would appreciate it so much!

    In His Love, Amy

  2. Emily, I loved reading this post. It's so ironic I read it now because I was just sitting down to work on a post for our blog. Our situations are completely different, but in my own life I've been struggling with the whole "take every thought captive" balancing act. Our son has numerous medical issues with a still very uncertain future. Some days I find myself wallowing in self-pity (embarrassing, I know). But slowly, God is working in my heart. Removing the idols I've propped up and showing me over and over again that Christ is enough and He is all I need. Reading your blog really brings so much perspective to my struggles as well. I continue to pray for you. Thank you for your honesty!

  3. Amy, I was thinking and praying for Kara and you all day Monday. I hope you're both doing as well as you can. Feel free to contact me any time if you need to.

    Lindsay, thank you for the kind words. I'm glad my blog has been a help to you. God bless.


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