Friday, March 23, 2012

Even now

I don't know why, but God saw fit to remind me this week that I am not forgotten, and that Caroline is still having an impact.

I met a stranger on Sunday who has been through similar loss, and we comisserated. I've had several people email me to tell me they still think about me and hope I'm doing well. And I also had a friend of Cameron's from high school contact me (I've never met her personally, but we're facebook friends. :) ) to let me know that she's still thinking about us and praying for us. She was actually very sweet after Caroline was born and sent us a really cool carved picture of Caroline to remember her by. (Her business website is if you're interested in seeing what it's like).

So overall, I've had lots of reminders this week that I am cared for by people here on earth, a blessing bestowed upon me by the One who cares about me in Heaven.

It's been just over three months since Caroline came and left in the same moment. Cameron and I are doing well, and while we're still dealing with the hurt, we have tremendous joy. I never truly thought we would have so much support, even this long after she came. It is such a blessing to know we are not forgotten now that the immediate crisis is over.

Even now, God is showing His faithfulness and goodness. Even now, people are showing their care and concern for us. Even now, we are not alone. I am so grateful.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Some days...

Since I've tried to be open and honest throughout this whole process, I guess I shouldn't quit now. Even though this post will probably make me look bad. Haha.

Some days, I don't really like being around myself. I know that sounds a little odd, but it's true. I don't like how I respond or act or think some days. I'm sure my husband would agree if he wasn't afraid of the repercussions it would cause. Haha. But seriously, it's a struggle to like myself at times.

I'm not saying I have an unhealthy self-perception. I'm not hanging on by a thread to my own well-being. Believe me when I say that there's a difference between not liking my own behavior and not liking myself. I struggle like any flawed person with self-awareness, self-doubt, self-respect, and self-love. But not unhealthily so. But I do sometimes step back for a minute, in my more peaceful moments, and think, "Dude, I am jacked. up." All the more reason to rejoice in the grace given to me.

You may be wondering why I feel this way right now. I'll tell you. Even though it makes me look ugly on the inside. :) I guess we all are, huh? Save by grace, there go I, and all that. Anyway. I digress. Why I feel this way...

I am a self-pitying, envious, impatient, selfish punk.

Yep. That about sums it up.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful God who constantly urges me to purge myself from all unrighteousness. Even when He has to drag me kicking and screaming.

I guess that's why I have 4 friends locally, and about 10 more from a distance, that are pregnant right now. So far, all are healthy babies. I also have about 5 friends who have recently had babies, all relatively healthy.

I think that the challenge of slaying the beast of envy while trying not to throw myself a pity party is almost as hard as going through everything I've already gone through. I sincerely and desperately want to rejoice with my friends in their joy. And I do. I am so happy for all of them. I've encouraged them not to hold back in front of me in their joy. I even went registry shopping with one of them.

That doesn't change the fact that I want my own child. I am impatiently waiting on God's timing. I sit back and see the joy on so many of my friends' faces, and I'm envious. I hate to admit that, especially knowing some of these friends will read this post. It doesn't diminish the joy I feel for them, I just wish I had it for myself. It's just not God's time for me yet. He gets to hear about my opinion on that subject rather frequently. Haha.

The past couple weeks have been a little weird for me, too. My due date came and went, and it has been a little harder than I expected. Her due date wasn't too terrible, but the aftermath is. Before her due date, it was a little weird, because I knew I should still be pregnant. Now that I would have had her, I've been surprised how often I've thought, "I should have my baby right now." It's surprised me a good bit how much I've felt a sense of loss all over again. It's not as intense as the initial loss, of course, but it's been profound anyway.

Hence my struggle with self pity.

I whine to God a lot, saying stupid things about how unfair it is. I'm not really angry, but I am hurt and confused. I don't know why God allowed this to happen. I know good has come from it, and I know I learned a lot. All the "good things" we as believers tend to look for when tragedy strikes. I still try to accept it with grace, but it doesn't change the fact that I hurt. That I wanted my child. That I see lots of other people with healthy pregnancies and babies and wonder why He allowed us to go through what we went through with Caroline. Self-pity is a hard beast to slay.

I also hate that I'm envious of them. These expected and recently born children are not mine. They aren't Caroline. I wouldn't get to keep those children. They belong to God first, and their earthly parents second. I sometimes think, "What exactly do you want? One of your friends to go through what you did? For them not to have one because you can't yet?" Heck. to. the. no. I wouldn't wish what happened to us on anyone. The grace and peace, sure, but not the pain and loss. No matter how much I want a child of my own, I would never wish for my friends not to have their own. I just wish I could have one too. I want a healthy, normal pragnancy, with a healthy, beautiful baby at the end.

I'm also impatient. I want my child now. I don't want to have to wait through another pregnancy, whenever that may be, for my next child, the first one that will get to know me here on earth. I wanted Caroline. I kinda feel like a spoiled two year old who didn't get the treat they wanted at the store. "But Go-o-o-o-o-d, I wanted that baby, and I wanted her right NOW!" (said in my best whiney voice). It's hard to trust that God's timing is perfect when it hurts so much to wait. Really hard.

Which leads to my selfishness. I want what I want, and I want it right now. And I'm not very nice when I don't get my way. Just ask my husband. I've been a bear the last couple weeks as I've been dealing with this. Thankfully, my husband is a pretty great guy and puts up with a lot. Even when I get set off by the smallest things, and he knows why it's happening even as I'm denying it. "No, I really am this upset because you left your plate on the table after dinner! It's the most grievous error you've ever made, dangit!" Yeah...

All of this to say...this is still hard. Harder than I want it to be. Things are slowly getting better, but I know I'm not done yet. As I said earlier in this post, God is still gracious. He still gets me through the hard parts. He still carries me through even when I don't know I need Him to. He still holds my hand as I learn more lessons under His careful tutelage. He still keeps my marriage in tact and growing when we are trying each others' patience at every turn and stumbling our way through uncharted territory.

I had to rely on God when Caroline was still here. I have to continue to do so now that she's gone home ahead of me. I still have to make the choice everyday to follow His lead, to let Him help me, to let Him teach me. Some days I choose well. Other days I do not. The spirit is willing but the body is weak (Matthew 26:41). I'm still learning perseverance, which is growing my character, and giving me hope (Romans 5:3-4). I'm still attempting to have an eternal mindset, but it's still hard. "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Ephesians 6:13). Standing is hard. More often I'm in the fetal position crying. Haha. "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." ( 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

I am continually amazed that God's Word can so perfectly describe my thoughts and emotions. I am grateful for the comfort it brings. Even as I struggle, I know that victory will come. I know even as I despise the failings I see in myself, those same failings are what draw me to seek righteousness in Christ. My insufficiency points me to my need for a Savior. Not just for salvation, but also for all the time between now and Heaven. My "religious views" on Facebook says "Jesus saved me from myself and continues to do so." Even though I wrote that a long time ago, it's true. I have been eternally saved once and for all, but I need saving from my own stupidity daily. Thank God, through Christ's sacrifice and the Holy Spirit's help, that He does that for me daily, whenever I will seek Him.

He looks at this self-pitying, envious, impatient, selfish creature and sees a child He loves. God is incredible.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Due Date

Today is Caroline's original due date. I know babies rarely come on their actual due date, but it's a day to look forward to when they'll be here, give or take a few days.

Before Caroline was born, and before we got her diagnosis, her due date was just that. A day to look forward to. We were excited to be having a baby, and couldn't wait to meet the little person.

After her diagnosis, her due date wasn't quite so exciting. It was going to be a time of joy and sorrow. She would join us only to leave us a short time later. We still looked forward to meeting her, but we were also dreading the loss of her.

She decided she would just come early and throw us off completely. Haha.

Now that her due date has arrived, it's brought some interesting emotions with it. I wasn't really sure what to expect. I've been doing pretty well the past several weeks, so I didn't know if it would be just another day or if I would be emotional. I have been a little emotional. Cameron has been too. I guess no matter how much progress you've made, there are still some days where it will catch up with you.

Cameron and I are going to spend the day having as good a day as we can. We're hoping to do some fun stuff, but I know we'll also think about Caroline a good bit too. It's been almost 3 months since her birthday. Time keeps chugging along, and we keep chugging with it. God continues to give us what we need when we need it, and I know He always will. It doesn't mean we don't have days that are hard. We just have help to get through them.

I'm very grateful that Caroline is in Heaven today. She's not suffering, she's not hanging on to life by an umbilical cord. She's perfect and whole in Jesus' arms. While I do miss her, and wish today was a day to rejoice in her coming to stay with us for a while, I have a Heavenly Father who comforts me and reminds me that what happens here on earth isn't the end.

So now, I can look forward to another "due date," one I don't know the date of, but one where I will be due in Heaven to see my little girl again. Until then, I will press on here for a while longer. To God be the glory.