Nov 25

Pre- Thanksgiving 2014

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… if it shall come to pass that for Christ’s sake and the gospel’s you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not, but rejoice in the honor thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord, and joy also in this – that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform, from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus.
- Charles Spurgeon

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.

We rejoice with great sadness that our family is split this week. Half of our home lives in heaven and half here temporarily lives here on earth. May we lift our eyes to heaven and be thankful for what Christ has done. For He alone has bore all of our sin, and we do not walk through this life alone. Praise to our King who gives and takes away.

My Mary Anna,

I have not written you in a while, because your baby brother is all-consuming, but it does not mean that I do not think about you all the time. You are in my heart always, and you are ALWAYS missed. I just want to hold you so badly today, but I am so thankful for your life. When I get weak and think that I am not strong enough to keep going, you are my inspiration baby girl. There is so much that I want to tell you and say, but today I just needed to tell you that we miss you. We miss you bad, but we will Keep Walking.

with love,
your mommy

Nov 18

Baptism

I started to write this yesterday, and the words just weren’t flowing. I realized as I pondered this past weekend that the problem was that my heart was not in a place of thankfulness. I am doing a devotional AP right now called SheReadsTruth (amazing) and the topic is on being thankful, and it hit me slap in the face what my problem is. As much as I love my babies, my heart has stayed in a place of bitterness instead of thankfulness.

My prayer as I approach Thanksgiving in the coming week is that I come to the throne of Jesus with a thankful heart for my babies. With that said, I would love to share with you about our William’s baptism, because I am SO thankful for the day that we had this past Sunday…

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It was a very special day for our little William, because we had the privilege of baptizing him in the name of Jesus Christ. What an honor as his parents to be able to show him at such an early age what we believe, and to vow to raise him in the church and in the knowledge of who Christ is. We believe that baptism is a symbol of Christ’s covenant with his people, but it is not saying that William is a believer himself. Our prayer as his parents is that he never knows a day without Jesus in his life, and we vow to relinquish power and let our King take complete control over our sweet boy.

There were so many special things that happened to make this day complete. We met with our pastor ahead of time and went through what all baptism means to William and to us as his parents, and we spent a lot of time in prayer as we prepared our hearts for this day. Some of our friends here prepared a wonderful lunch for us afterwards, and we were able to continue the celebration throughout the afternoon.

Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
Psalms 113:2

Now with a baby girl in heaven, there was a lot of emotion as well leading up to this day. We baptized Mary Anna a few hours before she passed, so my heart was so full of sadness too, because it just did not seem fair the difference in the two baptisms. I looked through pictures of our girl on her special day all weekend, and cried a lot wishing things were just different.

My mom smocked the gown that Mary Anna was baptized in, and she smocked a special gown for William to be baptized in as well. It was STUNNING on him, and we will hopefully share this gown with more babies in the future!

And side not here, but little William was quite the doll in front of the church! He did not cry one time, and he just looked around and smiled at everyone. What a charmer he is!

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We asked our dear friends to sing, “Rock of Ages (When the Day Seems Long)” during the service, and it brought me to the throne of Jesus. I closed my eyes and pictured Mary Anna in heaven praying with all the angels over her little brother, and I know that it was a momentous day in heaven as it was here on earth as we sprinkled water over William Daniel’s little head.

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Also, there was a precious prayer that was said for both of our babies, and we are just overwhelmed with gratefulness at how the church has continued to love us through all of this. God is good.

It was so sweet how the Lord prepared our hearts and ordained all the little details. Finally, the sermon just happened to be on one of the passages that has been special to us since our Mary Anna went to be with Jesus.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Matthew 19:14

We are honored to serve a God who loves our children more than we do and prepares a place for them in His Kingdom. We are thankful that Mary Anna calls the kingdom of heaven home, and we pray that William will call it home one day soon too.

 His will is not as much a path as it is a way of walking. 
-SheReadsTruth

Keep Walking.

to read about Mary Anna’s baptism: http://keepwalkingmac.com/heaven/

Nov 11

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

How deep the Father’s love for us , how vast beyond all measure
That he should give his only son, to make a wretch his treasure

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This has always been one of my favorite pictures of the day that Mary Anna was born. It is such a testament of my husband. He’s patient, loyal, and consistent.

My mom snapped it without him looking, because in the moment the talking was stressful for him. (The husband is allowed back during a C-section, but they begin the process without him in case anything starts spiraling downward.) During this period of waiting to go back with me, the talking was a little much for him, so he quietly walked over to the hallway door, put his arms behind his back, and patiently waited for them to escort him to my side.

This is my D. He is always by my side.

This period of school has been hard for us, especially with the rigors of a new baby. As I begin another evening home alone without him, I sat down to catch up on internet life, and ended up wandering through pictures of my sweet girl, and I found this one. It’s the reminder that I needed of why I love him, and why I am so thankful that he is my husband and the daddy to our babies.

HIs deep love for me, Mary Anna, and William is such a direct reflection of the Father’s love for us. For this I am so grateful.

As I look back on July 14th, 2013, the day that my Mary Anna was born, I will forever be glad to have this picture of her sweet daddy walking away from the crowd, saying a prayer for his girls, and patiently waiting to be with us. I want to remember in this season of life that even in the midst of a crazy schedule, that we did it. We came out better and stronger than before.

This song has been in my head since we sang it Sunday, and I pray over my William as he naps that he will know how deep his heavenly and earthly Fathers’ love for him is.

I will not boast in anything: no gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ; his death and resurrection

Nov 07

Advice

As I sit with my breakfast, humming baby monitor, and a fresh cup of coffee, I can’t help but wonder how in the world that I should write this post. I will probably just tell you my thoughts and later rewrite it in a different manner, but I think that we need a little advice on how to handle someone who is grieving. Baby boy is taking a nap, daddy bear is asleep because he had night shift in the ER, and mommy is a little annoyed!

I recently was told that some of my writings throughout the past year made me seem depressed. Well… you got it… I was depressed! Now was I in depression, no, but was I depressed, yes. Whatever being “depressed” really means. My baby girl died in my arms, yes I held her while she took her last breath, so please do not dare say “wow… Kari seems depressed” or “different” unless you have experienced this. Where is the grace to grieve in our culture?!

One of my biggest struggles in the last year and a half is people playing the comparison game and saying really stupid things to me. If I am being harshly honest, I feel like people gave me about a month to really grieve, and then they either pushed me away or put me in a box, and neither were very helpful to me at all. With of course, the exception of some who loved me so well.

My heart here is not to be on a rant or to seem mad, but to help you as you walk through grief with someone who you love. I want to share a few ideas and thoughts, and hopefully you never experience loss like this or know someone who does, but if you do, here ya go…

1. Please do not compare losses. If you lost a grandparent or a parent at the age of 80, please do not tell someone who has lost a child, teenager, or young adult that you know what they are feeling. I am not diminishing the loss of an older person, because I have experienced such loss as well, but it is just plain different. It is normal to bury your parent or grandparent, but not your child.

2. By all means, give them some time to grieve, but time does NOT equal space. Again, I feel like people rushed to our side and then quickly ran fast in the other direction. Run to people who are grieving! Show up at their door not just for days or weeks, but for months and years and cry with them. Bring a treat and sit on their couch and ask them about their loved ones. Skip the dinner party with them and bring to-go dinner and play cards with them. Laugh, cry, do whatever they need. Give them time, not space!

3. Do not push them into counseling or tell them they need medicine a week after their loss. Like really!!!! You are numb for a loooonnngggg time, and I do not feel like while you are numb that those things do much good. I am not against either one, but I found healing in other areas, so just give them a little grace to see what helps them heal.

4. By all means please do not say comments like:

  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • God did this because YOU could handle it… a.k.a “I sure as heck do not want to handle it!”
  • You will be stronger because of this.
  • No one could love this child/person like you can.
  • It gets better with time. OR Time heals all wounds.
  • He/She is better off in heaven anyways.
  • I know someone who has gone through the same thing, here is their number, you should call them.

Yes, people mean well with these comments, but I promise if you don’t have anything to say to this person in your life, then plainly just say, “I do not know what to say, and I am here, and I love you.”, it goes a lot further than hurting them more with your words.

The list will continue to change and evolve as my grief continues, but for now this is what I have for you! Instead of trying to “fix” or “change” this person, just let them be what they need to be. As always, there are times you need to step in and push them a little to get out of the house or finally show up at the dinner party, but when someone is ready to do those things varies from person to person.

If you have not been there, then just love them. Grief is different for everyone, and even though we all experience grief, some see it in much worse forms than others. When that happens, go there with them, love them, and give them time, but remember… time does not equal space!!!

Lastly, for me just because I had another baby quickly after does not mean my grief is done. It’s a life-long process that changes you and shows up all the time. I know that I will grieve my baby girl until I am in glory and can see with my own eyes the big picture.

Grief changes you. Vow to take the long road with your friends.

Keep Walking.

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Nov 02

Personality

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I almost started writing something like, “WOW! we have been sooooo busy lately!”, but then I quickly got annoyed at myself. For starters, aren’t we all busy? And with that, why are we so busy? Sometimes I think the term “Sorry, I’m busy” is just an excuse, but that’s beside the point. Life is crazy for us all, and I am trying to cherish these days and not stay so “busy”.

Daddybear has been working a lot lately, so this month has been quite an adjustment for all of us. We miss daddy, and daddy misses us.

It has caused me to again “busy” myself a lot trying to take up the extra time that he is gone, and this morning as I started my first Sunday morning routine of getting ready for church alone, I got sad. Sundays are just plain hard for me and as I look forward to the next few years, I realize that me and the kiddos will have to go to church alone some here and there. I started thinking that I could busy myself this morning with all the things that I could do real quick, or I could stop and write and think and prepare for worship…

So… here I am. Not being busy, but thinking.

Not long after my Mary Anna went to heaven, a friend said to be about her newborn, “I am anxious to get to know her personality.” I remember in that moment feeling defensive thinking:

really… I mean I know Mary Anna and she only lived 4 days…
or did I know her?

It was one of those things that I wrestled with for a long time when I would hear people discuss their kids personalities. I wanted to know Mary Anna so badly. I wanted to know what made her happy and sad, and I just did not want to admit that I did not know her personality. All I really knew was that she was a fighter, which was enough, but sometimes it just was not /is not enough.

As I was doing my normal routine this morning with William, I started thinking about his little personality, and it hit me how much more I know about him than I do/did know about my sweet girl.

It breaks my heart, and my friend was right, it takes time to get to know someone, even your own child. I miss so much about learning who my girl is/was.

W is calm unless he’s ready for the next thing. Pretty much like his daddy! Chill until it’s time to eat, and when it’s time to eat it’s like…. “SERIOUSLY!!! I SAID I AM HUNGRY!!”. Chill until he’s ready to go to sleep, and hello people! please put the baby to sleep! And when he’s ready to play, he plays harder than any 3 1/2 the half makes a difference right now thank you month old that I have ever seen!

Ya know… I guess I am really grieving not knowing everything about my sweet girl, all the while trying to enjoy getting to know my W more and more each day.

Through this, I do what I usually do and boycott prayer and the Word, because it’s just fair right? I am sad and want to stay here, so I should just run, run, run, because I CAN!

During my debate in my head, the Lord calmly reminded me of that feeling of missing my Mary Anna, and showed me that it is just the same with him. Without the time with him, I do not truly know Him. I can’t just assume He is who I think He is, but I have unbusy my “busy” little self and learn everything about Him.

How can I be like Him if I do not know Him?

My sweet Bible study of moms on Wednesdays is my weekly boost of energy these days, and I want to leave you with the passage that has changed me lately:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to HIS power that is at work within us, to HIM be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
Amen

Ephesians 3: 20-21

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KEEP WALKING

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