Jul 22

Contentment

Most of the time my learning comes through a series of progression, and I am sure that I tend to learn a lot slower for that reason. Here’s the verdict people, I think we are too hard on ourselves and we expect perfection too easily.

Through a year now of wanting my heart to experience this great peace of being able to say “It is well with my soul”, I have felt like a constant failure. I tend to be known as pretty type A, and if there is a list to check off, then it is my great pleasure in life to finish a to do list in a timely manor. Math was my favorite subject, and I love anything when there is an answer, but when the answer does not come, then it makes my check-list all off.

Now you might say, that you are jealous of this, and at times it is a good trait of mine, but it also drives me mad at times. I try to be more relaxed like my easy going husband, and these past two years have taught me to reign in my control. All of this to say, I felt this pressure of being able to come to the place where I could say that I was thankful that my Mary Anna did not live. WRONG!!!!

People.

We are human.

If we could come to this conclusions on earth, then we would be Jesus. And I am not sure about you, but I am far from wanting to claim to be perfect. I think Satan uses this mask of being completely content as a stumbling block for believers. We are living in a world where the king of darkness wants nothing more than to see us fall.

The truth is that I kept falling down, because I did not thing I was doing enough to stand up. Satan was winning my battle, and I will not let him. All of this like I said has been a series of progression and learning, and I do believe that we can find pieces of contentment in all situations. I slowly can see the good that has come from my baby girl’s life, and I would not change who I am now due to all that I have walked through.

But I would change the outcome.


I want this perspective, heart, and knowledge, but I also want my baby girl in my arms. I want a “big sister” shirt to put on her in the hospital when her little brother is born, my house to be too small because we have two babies under two in it, not to have fear like I do, to wake up without a broken heart, for my eyes to look youthful again and not swollen, I want, I want, I want.


for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 3: 11b, 13

If any of this rambling even comes close to making sense, my heart just wanted to share to ease up on yourself. Strive for contentment and complete trust in the Lord, but know that you will probably never completely get there in this life. In the mean time, I truly believe that the God of all creation knows our heart, and I think he judges the desires of our heart not necessarily the perfection of our hearts.

Talking with some friends lately battling fear, one battling health issues, one battling marriage issues, one battling infertility, one battling unemployment, one battling a sick baby, and it hit me. All of us were putting so much pressure on ourselves that we could not see the light, because we were too caught up in expecting perfection.

Let your burdens rest on Him alone.

Give yourself a break.

And just Keep Walking.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28
Jul 15

A New Family Tradition

Yesterday, my sweet momma came to spend some time with me so that I would not be alone all day on Mary Anna’s birthday. She came with 14 pinks balloons in hand, since our sweet girl’s birthday is on the 14th and some pretty petite pink roses. Her suggestion was to release the balloons in honor of MAC, so without any idea what to do to celebrate our girl, Dan and I took the puppies to the park at sunset and did just that.

It was a precious time. The sunset was perfectly tinted pink and a little cloudy at the same time. D prayed over baby W, the dogs ran around, we cried, we smiled, we told Mary Anna Happy Birthday and how much we loved her, and then we went home.

It was sweet sharing Mary Anna’s first birthday with her baby brother, and this is a tradition that we plan to keep up with all our babies each year to celebrate their sister in heaven.

And some sweet sisters of mine not “real” sisters but they are my sisters if that makes sense, started a tradition with their babies too to celebrate little MAC. I got two texts unexpectedly yesterday saying that they sang Happy Birthday to Mary Anna. They did this on their own. Talk about precious.

It was a day filled with mixed emotions, tears, sweet memories, but the Lord carried us through it and covered us with sweet gifts, thoughts, words, and people that we cherish deeply. We are thankful that we do not have to walk this path alone.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Matthew 1:4
Jul 14

Happy Birthday Mary Anna!

July 14, 2013 | 4:28 p.m. | 2 lbs. 10 oz.

My Mary Anna,

Happy Birthday my sweet precious angel! I am so proud of you. You are my greatest accomplishment. Your daddy and I celebrate you today. Your life is worth celebrating. We miss you so much. I laid in bed for a long time longing to hear your voice, wishing you were here so that I could hold you, and somehow our Heavenly Father gave me the strength to get out of bed today. I will never understand why you had to go, but I trust that you are being celebrated really big today. I can’t even imagine what your first birthday party will be like in heaven.

If you were here, I would have taken you to the cupcake shop and let you try all the icing flavors. I love icing, so I always hoped that you would share that love with me, and if not, then you could be like your daddy and give me your icing! I would have gotten you the most precious outfit, and we would have had a really big party, and you would have opened lots of presents! There are so many things that we would have done together today, and that makes my heart hurt so deeply.

Birthdays are very special to me, so I will always cherish the day that you were born sweet angel.
You have already gotten birthday cards, pretty flowers left on our door step, so many messages, donations made in your name, and a sweet journal of the testimony of your life from the people that love you the most. July 14th will forever be marked by your life, and it will always be the day that changed me forever. You are the best gift that your daddy and I have ever been given, and we are so thankful that you are 1 today.

Mary Anna, thank you for your life and your sacrifice. I long to see you again baby girl.

I will love you forever,
your mommy

July 14

KEEP WALKING with Me along the path I have chosen for you. Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to My heart. I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you. Together we will forge a pathway up the high mountain. The journey is arduous at times, and you are weak. Someday you will dance lightfooted on the high peaks; but for now, your walk is often plodding and heavy. All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction. Though the path is difficult and the scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around the bend. Stay on the path I have selected for you. It is truly the path of life.

If the LORD delights in a man’s way; he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
Psalm 37: 23-24

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Keep Walking.


Jul 08

Scars

Dan, my husband, wears one of his favorite t-shirts often that says on the back, “scars are tattoos with better stories.” He loves this shirt, because he has some large scars on his left leg from a boating accident that happened almost 9 years ago. These scars tell a story, remind him of some events that majorly changed his life, and he often says that he is thankful for them and the accident.

The scars are from a boat propeller that literally cut his leg in 5 places, one scar from each prop. We have this propeller on our coffee table as a reminder of the graciousness of the Lord for sparing D and his leg, but also as a sign of all the good that came out of that accident.

There’s so much more to the story, but the point is that now I bear a scar. A large scar on my lower abdomen that is a daily reminder of my baby girl. A scar that I wear proudly, and I will never regret.

D and I talk often about what these visual signs on our bodies mean.

Our Mary Anna early on showed signs of what we thought was going to be a severe clubbed foot. We met with a few doctors to prepare for what this would mean, and we anticipated some surgeries, bracing, and possibly some visible scars on our sweet girl.

There were times that these possible scars caused us to cry and fear, but then again, we knew what was to come, so we anticipated them being a sign of how far she would come. We planned to use them to teach her about life and perseverance and how to overcome obstacles that even her daddy and I could not relate to.

I remember right after she was born, before I had even seen my scar, my dad prepping me on what the visual of her little leg/foot looked like, because he did not want it to upset me. He was tender and gracious, and I did not care. I loved her so much.

So often people will say things to us like, “she is healed now” or “she has no scars” or “she is perfect”, and I have thought so much that I wonder if Mary Anna does bear scars of her battles her on earth. As much as we picture heaven as completion and perfection, why do these scars that we receive on earth have to leave us?

I wonder if our scars would be evident in heaven.

Battle scars as a sign of victory.

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
John 20:27
After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared to Thomas, and he was proving to him that he indeed was Jesus Christ, the Son of God by pointing to his scars. Thomas obviously needed some proof, because he had just visibly seen Jesus die, be buried, and now apparently he was standing in front of him? Really? Yeah, not possible.
As soon as Jesus showed Thomas his nail scarred hands and side where he had been pierced by a sword, Thomas knew exactly who Jesus was.
This is a prediction that Jesus’ scars stayed on him after death.
So as a proud mom, I have had this odd hope that Mary Anna’s scars are still with her. To me, it is not who she is, but it is a huge part of her. It’s what she endured, it shows her strength, and I am so proud of each thing that she conquered during her short days on earth.
Just as Dan proudly wears all 5 scars down his left leg, and I now proudly wear my scar of my baby girl too, my hope has been that these scars won’t ever leave us.
… for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
Galatians 6:17
So often, we try to hide our scars to prove that we are strong, but I offer a new suggestion, what if we wore them proudly as a mark of who we are. Not they they define us, but that they are more a part of us. They are a hope of what is to come. A sign of redemption.
I don’t know what scars or wounds following Jesus will leave on your body, on your emotions, or on your soul. But the glory to come will be worth the wounds. Your scars will be a cause for celebration. We’ll be glad we followed the way of the Cross. One day we’ll experience in reality what we now embrace by faith- that suffering is the pathway to glory.
-Nancy Guthrie
Jul 01

July

It’s July. 
As I flip my calendar, the first thing that I see is my baby girls name written on July 14th. Her sweet birthday.
It’s the day that I keep going back to and basking in. She was tiny and early, but she was here and breathing on her own. She was perfect.
My angel.
the very first picture that was taken of her.
Her life was short but very full.
As I begin feeling ready for the birth of baby W, I miss her more than ever. The grief has not gotten easier. It is heavier than it has ever been.
The hymn that we sang at the end of the service Sunday has been on repeat, because it is the only way that I know how to pray right now. I need the Lord to be my vision.
“Be Thou My Vision”

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light

Be Thou my wisdom and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Though with me, Lord
Though my great Father, I, Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Riches I heed not nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Though and thou only first in my heart
High King of heaven my treasure Thou are

High King of heaven my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun
Heart of my own heart whatever befall
 Still be my vision O Ruler of all

We finally added baby W a mobile over the crib this past weekend. This was a very big move for us, and it may seem silly, but after this addition, we spent a few hours crying over our baby girl.

During lunch with a friend recently, she told me that she kept thinking it would be hard to let our baby boy come home and start using all the things that Mary Anna never got to, and she was spot on.

Oh July, you stink.
I have dreaded you for a year now. I want to forget you and to fast forward, but I do not have that luxury.

Yet, somehow, I have been ready to celebrate my baby girl’s special day for a year now, and I am ready to face it. The only way that I am willing to is because like that hymn says, “High King of heaven my victory won.”

My victory has been won.
Keep Walking.