Oct 20

Chapel in the Pines

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I surprised Dan with a birthday getaway to this quaint place in the mountains for a long weekend. It is dreamy, and it is exactly what we needed. We’ve been running in a million directions lately trying to renovate a house, start a business, raise two babies, oh and two pups, live with the rents out of suitcase, and the list goes on… Dan’s about to turn the big 3-0, and he’s been working basically 3 jobs, so our time together is so slim.

We spent our first morning here on a long walk in the woods on the property. We talked about life, laughed some and cried some, and we talked a lot about how big our God is. Sometimes it’s hard for the two of us: D, a workaholic and me, a control-freak of a mom; to really really check out and just be together. When we do this, we tend to grieve a lot and talk a lot about our Mary Anna.

Well, the owners of this farm that we are staying at recently experienced a deep sadness like we with live, and it hit us in a unique way today. The husband passed away suddenly at a young age, and the wife was left to raise their 5 children alone and run this business by herself. As we wandered through the edge of the trailhead, I spotted a white, quaint chapel tucked away on a hill. We were tired from our hike, and were debating if we wanted to take the short walk and see it, and we decided to do it. Unknowingly it was the gravesite of Sam, the owner who passed away.

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Dan with tears in his eyes looked over this sweet little white picket fence, and he said to me:
Karebear, this dirt is fresh. He walked to the grace, and I walked into the chapel. We both wept. We both know the pain of burying someone far too young, and trying to limp your family through grief, while the world keeps spinning.

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It’s caused the rest of our day here to be sweet and full of time together, but also full of memories of our girl. I heard a podcast this past week but a lady who lost her husband, and she made a point along the lines of this…

If we try to move on from the path that God has chosen for us, even if it includes death and sadness, then we aren’t fully living in the path that God chose for us.

As I am walking through loss with my friend, Katie, who lost her baby girl a month ago, I am looking at my own loss and grief so much more clearly. It’s only been 4 years, but the Lord has done a work in the those long, yet so short years. He has taught me that grief isn’t supposed to leave us. That like Lisa Appelo said on the podcast, that we should embrace this as a part of us. This embracing has truly made me a stronger and more caring person. Yes, it brings sadness on my getaways with my husband and bring me to my knees often, but isn’t that exactly where the Creator meets us the most with his humble love for us?

Y’all the Kingdom is waiting for us, and we can’t continue this life in utter blindness to sadness and hurt. IT’s the waves that make the calm sea more beautiful. The waves keep coming, but so doe the calm seas. Keep walking on water through the impossible.

And the only way to walk on water is like Jesus told Peter, to keep our eyes focused on Him.

When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm’s all about.
-Haruki Murakami

What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt- it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.
-Hal Boyle

As I sit on this amazing little porch crying while writing, D is sitting next to me crying too writing some letters to our two babies here on earth. William and Mary Kathryn get the best of us thank to our dear Mary Anna.

Our life…
It’s really messy…
But it’s really sweet.

Keep Walking.

Oct 01

Adeline

The unthinkable happened a few nights ago. I got a message that said, “Adeline is not doing well. Pray for her.” I was sitting in a friend’s house, and both of my kids were asleep, and when I saw the message I sank into this old yellow chair in the corner with a low light on, and I began to weep. I called Dan and told him what was going on, and we both admitted that when a parent admits those words that it is not looking good. We know that feeling, and it’s not a place you would admit to be at unless it was the inevitable.

Rewind over a decade ago, I met this girl, Katie Waitt, from a dairy farm in Indiana at Auburn as a new college student. We were from different backgrounds and honestly we did not have much in common besides some friends and our faith. We grew in our friendship, and I was quite preppy and girly, and slowly some friends and I convinced Katie that she needed some dresses in her closet, and my love for her grew.

We kept up off and on after college, and we would get together as time allowed. She met her husband and got married in Memphis, and over a year ago they found out they were expecting their first baby. I got a call a few weeks later about a scary ultrasound. I began to walk a road with her that I never knew that I would have to walk again so soon.

Adeline was born very early, but she was a fighter. She had fighters around her, and she faced her short life with strength and dignity, and her big brown eyes would melt any heart of stone. I was able to meet her very soon after she was born, but this past week things got really bleak. Baby Addie Bear faced a lot of procedures and the King of Kings called her home on September 28, 2017 early in the morning. Her life was short yet full.

My friend and I jumped in our cars as soon as we heard to go walk beside our dear dairy farm friend from Indiana. We shopped for an outfit for her daughters funeral, we helped think through logistics for a service, we planned meals, and we wept at plan that is bigger and greater than us, but sometimes does not bring the outcome that we want.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, no pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:3-5

I don’t get why Adeline went to be with Jesus. I don’t get why Mary Anna went to be with Jesus, but I do know one thing to be true right now. I feel grief creeping it’s messy self back in, and I feel like I am watching myself loose my baby all over again through my dear friend, but as I got ready to leave last Thursday, I grabbed William and looked into his big blue eyes and with tears said this:

Buddy no matter what, ALWAYS remember that God is bigger and He is stronger and He loves you. And He will protect you.

W: Like he protected Daniel in the lion’s den mommy?

Yes buddy, just like that. 

I love you and I will be home soon.

W: And I love you mommy

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And that is what carried me. It was that image that although this earth is the lion’s den, and sometimes it feels like there are roaring lions waiting to devour us, God ALWAYS shuts their mouths. I sat there in the lion’s den with my sweet friend, but God was there. We hurt and cried and might have even said a cuss word or two, but God was there. Shutting mouths. Slaying the enemy.

He will redeem.

He did redeem Adeline’s life for Himself.

And he did the same with my Mary Anna too.

Keep Walking. Even when the lions are closing in around you. Remember like my innocent 3-year-old reminded me, God will protect you.

In loving memory of Adeline Grace.
June 21, 2017- September 28- 2017