Sep 07

The Juggle

It’s okay to ache and be full at the same time. We are living in the already/not yet of the kingdom coming. Everything you’re feeling is the gospel.
-r.s.m.

A dear friend texted me that yesterday…

I was sitting on the couch holding my itty on my legs and sobbing. She was peacefully looking at me and sucking her paci, and I could not do anything to stop the tears. I hugged her a few times, prayed over her, and kept crying.

All I could put my finger on was that grief is so draining. We’re going through a lot of transitions at our house right now, and transitions are hard, and they’re especially hard when you have little ones under your feet. I forget how heavy grief is until life gets harder, and then I realize that waking up everyday is hard, and then you throw a wrench in the machine…

I mean there’s nothing to really do but just say: damn.

I try not to cus, except for pressing moments like stubbing your toe so hard it bleeds or pouring coffee on your newborns head {not that I’ve ever done such a thing}, but I mean sometimes there’s no other word to describe it.

Just sayin….

If you’re more noble and proper than me, bless you. Maybe one day i’ll be like you.

It kinda hit me in the midst of my tears, thinking through all the changes, anger, happiness, etc., that everyone goes through stages of grief and hard times. It’s just a fact of life.

BUT

There are a few of us that walk with that grief everyday. Every. Single. Day.

It does not diminish the grief or hurt that others feel, but there’s this little club of people who have to learn how to cope with 24/7, 365 grief. That process is hard. Like really hard y’all. And the truth is that it’s not a my life is harder than yours game by any means, it’s just the reality.

The Lord has been reminding me so much lately that, as a friend of mine says all the time, that comparison is the thief of joy. She’s so right. I don’t compare, because I can’t. I don’t have friends who have lost their babies in their arms, and I would drown daily if I compared my loss to their life. So what I can do is cling to the promises of the King of Kings, and cry and cus from time to time and just try to…

Keep Walking

Even when I do feel like life is heavy… Thankfully my baby girl taught me that life’s just about taking that next step. Sometimes you start to step, you trip, maybe skin your knee, maybe even break a leg, but we all stand up and start walking again eventually.




Aug 27

Bittersweet

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So there’s this thing that my husband loves to do, and it’s go to restaurants or movies alone. Like really? Is that even normal? It’s the most bizarre thing to my extroverted self. If I did such a thing, then I would  spend all my time feeling lonely, but to him it is peaceful. It’s something we have always debated in the years and years that we’ve been together.

Sadly, this has seemed like a season of life where I go to restaurants alone a lot and walk away feeling isolated and lonely. When it’s against my nature, then it makes it feel even more glaring.

As I get older, and sure I’m not quite old yet, but in the realm of life experiences, I should truly be on oxygen at this point. I realize that the Lord puts us in seasons of plenty and in seasons of isolation. I am not the best at resting during the season of isolation.

I texted a close friend recently that lives in Auburn, the place where a lot of times I feel like all of my problems would go away if we could just move back to that quaint little town. not true. And I told her that I feel like I am everyone’s second and third string friend, and I missed having her as a first string friend in my daily life. It’s true. I mean I have been given some SUPER cherishable and enviable friendships lately, but I am still not anyone’s “person” here.

Let me take a break by explaining your person. Your person is the one who no matter what is going on they ALWAYS get you. They can usually say what you’re thinking before you say it. Typically it’s not your spouse, even though they’re your person too, but it’s just different when it’s someone of the same gender. They can go into a store and know what you would buy and what you wouldn’t. Usually, they’re a different personality type than your own, and you can enjoy laughing at each others strengths and weaknesses. No competition. No comparison. No explanation. Just living life together. Through it all.

Like right now, I am sick and feeling even more isolated, because my toddler is at BB and Doc’s house (grandparents) and my infant is sleeping and my hubs is working (on a saturday, vomit!), so I need my person to drop off a muffin and a latte on my doorstep, because they know that’s what I love when I’m sick. Instead I went and got it alone this morning with the itty.

Don’t get me wrong, I am capable of getting my own muffin and cappuccino, but it’s just the feeling of knowing that they’re there. I have a few persons that are those people to me, and they’re only a phone call away, but it just stinks when you don’t share the same grocery store and coffee shop with them.

During this season of isolation, I have come to realize that I don’t like isolation, and yet the Lord has been rich in his mercy to show me that I don’t like it, because I don’t want to sit still long enough to recognize the pain that I face everyday.

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead the people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey al the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
Joshua 1:6-7

My Auburn momma used to always say this verse to me. Do not look to the right or to the left Kari. Don’t do it. I spend too much time looking to the right or left and not looking to Him.

Even in isolation, He is enough. He will sustain.

I started this book at the beach, which is kinda my thing. Read about 3 chapters in a book, keep my bookmark there and think about picking it up for a while, and then giving up on finishing the book, because my type AAAA self is too worried about keeping the house clean and making to do lists to sit down and read. I mean come on stay at home mommas, really? Reading! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Bizarre, because I would kinda like to write a book one day. Guess I better become a better reader first.

Anyways, this book Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist is just rich and good. Read it. Even if you don’t get past the first chapter. She says this:

When your life is easy, a lot of the really crucial parts of Christian doctrine and life are nice theories, but you don’t really need them. When, however, death of any kind is staring you in the face, all of a sudden rebirth and new life are very, very important to you.

Just like one of my persons texted me last week, I feel like our conversation about Mary Anna and Mary Kathryn is the definition of bittersweet. That’s kinda my theme right now I guess. Trying to wade through the bittersweetness of a baby girl who’s with Jesus and another one who’s in my arms, all the while tacking life with a busy 2 year old, a husband who works a lot, and some isolation mixed with lots of snuggles, cookies, and laughter too.

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…when life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.
-bittersweet

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Keep Walking.




Jul 17

3

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Mary Anna,

It was your 3rd birthday on Thursday, and today is the anniversary of the day that you went to heaven. Sometimes I don’t know which day is harder for me, or if it is the days leading up to your special the day and the days in between your birthday and today that I recollect on those short, yet long 4 days that we had with you. I fell asleep last night crying, because I was remembering the last moments that we had with you the night before you left this earth.

Baby girl, I wanted to write you this letter on your birthday, but I got really sick, and I just had a horrible day. A horrible day, because I physically felt as bad as I did emotionally.

We released 14 pink balloons and sang you to on your birthday. We will always celebrate your special day.

I have spent most of this week wondering what your voice would have sounded like. Your little brother talks ALL the time, and I think that he has the cutest little voice.

And now I look at your little sister, and can’t help but imagine how you would’ve grown and looked as you grew. She looks just like you, and it melts me.

My angel, I don’t know what to say or think, but that we miss you and love you deeply. You used to jump in my belly when I played music, and music still speaks to me. One of your daddy and my favorite bands came out with this new song this week, and it was fitting because it remind us of you.

I don’t want any relief

Cause I don’t wanna let you go right now.

Close my eyes and think of you

Go to sleep and dream of you

We don’t get to be here long.

Baby girl, I am glad that I don’t have to be here much longer without you. I am glad that life on earth is not it. You are the promise of heaven that points me to Jesus. You taught me how to long to be with Him. What a gift. You are my greatest treasure.

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I know you found the promise land

But I’m still here and I’m missing you.

Keep Walking.




Jul 11

Mad

I am just mad today.

Just flat mad.

I caught myself being mad at everyone in my life for no plain reason. Well, I mean the reason is that Mary Anna’s birthday and the anniversary of her death are all happening in the next 7 days, and I just dread all of them.

I have been stuck. I can’t print Mary Kathryn’s birth announcement. I can’t plan William’s 2nd birthday party. I just can’t.

Today after my heart was just cold at life, I decided to go on a run. Dan was on a bike ride while the babies were napping, so I greeted him at the door ready to go.

He said, “I think you need some fresh air, so go run…” I said, “bye”.

I started running during the hottest part of the day as fast as I possibly could. I am 5 weeks post partum, and I have very little stamina, but I just ran.

With this song on repeat.

baby, i’m not moving on, i’ll love you long after you’re gone

I ran fast.

and long after you’re gone, gone, gone

And faster.

for you, for you…

I remembered the way she looked the moment she was born, and how happy my heart was.

you’re my back bone, you’re my cornerstone, you’re my crutch when my legs stop moving

Hear little noises were in my ears, and my eyes could see only her eyes.

you’re the pulse that I’ve always needed

And I fell. I fell flat on my face. I scraped my knee, leg, both hands, and there was blood dripping off my finger.

like a drum baby don’t stop beating 

I stood up, and I started running again. Sobbing. I kept running.

like a drum, my heart never stops beating…

I ran until I could barely breathe.

for you

I was mad, because I just want her back. I want my Mary Anna in my arms, not in my memory.

baby, i’m not moving on, i’ll love you long after you’re gone

I opened the door, walked in, and burst into tears again. My sweet babies and hubs greeted me, and they were what I needed.

Grief hurts.

I showed D my wounds, and he tenderly said, “Somehow, this is just fitting karebear. I am sorry. But.. this would happen.”

I’m hurting literally and physically.

i’ll love you long after you’re gone, gone, gone. my sweet Mary Anna.

Keep Walking.




Jul 05

Strong

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To be honest, it used to, sometimes still does, annoy me when people say to me “you’re strong.” I guess it bothered me, because I felt like they indirectly were saying that I was strong enough to handle losing my baby, but they weren’t.

There truly is not a single person on earth that is strong enough to walk through heavy grief. Not one person.

I knew it would annoy me when that comment would be thrown around, but until this morning I could not put my finger on why it always got under my skin.

It’s rainy today…

We’re all tired from a fun-filled weekend at home with people that we love…

Mary Kathryn is napping…

William was watching the iPad like a good 21st century toddler…

And I sat down to read. Yep. Read the Bible.

I wish I could say that I did it fervently for hours daily, but I just don’t, but today it all made sense…

The end of today’s reading in New Morning Mercies by PDT said this:

Sometime in the next week, you’ll be confronted with your weakness; when you are, you’ll either work to convince yourself you’re strong or you’ll run to the One who is.

And that’s when it hit me. I am not strong. I am not any stronger than anyone else is. I just learned that the only way to find the strength to get up each day without my sweet girl here was to run to the One who is strong.

Not all stories of grief are as extreme as mine, but that truth is what Mary Anna helped me learn. That I truly don’t have to be strong or try to be strong anymore. And PDT says it better than I could again:

He calls you to mountains too big to climb so that in your inability, you will look to Him.

I hate when the calendar says July. I really do. It reminds me of the days of fear leading up to Mary Anna’s birth, it causes a pit in my stomach remembering how joyful I was the day that she was born and not knowing what was to come, it makes me want to crawl in a hole dreading the day that I held her while she was leaving me, and then it’s William’s birthday a few days later….

I mean come on… I am always filled with guilt, because planning a party for him is too much, yet I want to celebrate him. But dang. It’s all too close together.

I am not strong y’all. You aren’t either. But He is.

Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?
Who is like you-
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed
In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.

Exodus 15:11,13

Keep Walking.




Jun 27

Truth


I was getting my eyebrows waxed last week, and the girl was young and immature who was doing it, and she began talking about her baby boy. He is 3 months old, and she began jokingly telling me how he goes to daycare so that she can work, which I am not judging, but the next part is what got me. She laughed and said, “I mean it works out because when we get home, I feed him and throw him in the bed, and I really don’t have to deal with him.”

I kinda laid there baffled. Let her finish, and then I scurried out, because I had a rare 5 minutes without both babes.

I mean don’t get me wrong, staying at home is HARD. There are days that I feel like I am losing my mind, but it is a cherished calling to raise my babies.

There are moms who choose to work for various reasons, and I am not here to make a call on those things, but the attitude is what got me.

The whole “I don’t have to deal with him” line…

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to cry or cus or just smack some sense into that girl, but instead I remained silent.

As my day goes along today, I realize how crazy these babies make life. It took me over an hour to go to the UPS store with a prepaid label, grab a smoothie, and pick up a gallon of milk. Like hello!

But this calling to be a parent or in my case, a mommy, is the highest calling from the Lord. Where have we gotten in our society that it’s funny to joke about not having to “deal with” our children.

Seriously.

We all think it at times, but my heart has been heavy since last Friday for that mentality in our culture.

I just pray as I take a deep breath during nap time that the Lord softens our selfish and self-indulging generation to cherish these lives and relish in the gift that HE has given us. To realize the responsibility as a parent to love and nurture these little adults and to stop looking at them as a hindrance to “our plans”.

My heart and mind isn’t always there, but thankfully my sweet Mary Anna has helped me cherish my two babies more and more, because I saw first hand what it was like to have to let one of my own go all too soon.

Soak up these years friends. If you’re a bit crazy or tired, then it’s okay… These babes are gone from our nests way too fast, and the world wants nothing more than to snatch them up and make them feel unworthy, so why don’t we use the time that we have to show them that they are worthy to be loved.

To be loved by the King of Kings.

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, 

for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Luke 18:16

Version 2

These are the days to be cherished…

Keep Walking




Jun 11

June 3, 2016

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On June 3, I felt the Lord’s kindness to me.

To us.

It was real.

It was big.

It was at 2:30 a.m.

They handed me our sweetest little angel, Mary Kathryn, and I just couldn’t help but smile. My whole body was shaking, and there were tons of doctors and nurses around and lots of bright lights, but all I could do is focus on her little face.

She looked just like her big sister.

It was the sweetest and the hardest moment to hold her instantly, because I had never experienced that. Both Mary Anna and William were taken from me immediately at birth, so I was shocked when they handed her little body to me, and said “here mom!”.

I really didn’t process this moment until two days ago when my best friend and I briefly chatted, and all she said was, “Karebear, how are you emotionally?”. I started to softly cry, because I hadn’t really thought about myself since my mind had been on making sure William wasn’t feeling neglected and getting used to our tiniest new family member.

I took a deep breath, and said that I was finally happy. I began to just spill what was in my heart even though I honestly didn’t know what I was feeling until she asked me.

You see, I lost Mary Anna, got pregnant 3 months later, experienced all the “firsts” of a loss simultaneously with a new pregnancy, then we had William, and lots of other huge life events followed. Once we moved to Birmingham, I began counseling for the first time about the time that I found out I was pregnant again, and Dan had 3 jobs in about 6 months. It has been a whirlwind for 3 years now. And I have spent a lot of that time really numb.

As I held Mary Kathryn, I realized that the Lord was kind. I think that I had forgotten that. I have had really happy moments, and loved being Williams mommy, but I hadn’t felt the Lord’s kindness and truly enjoyed it in a loooooong time.

Holding her is painful. She is so much like her sister if not an identical clone. The first time she held my finger, I wept, because for a moment I thought she was Mary Anna. The first time I brushed her hair I wept, because they have the same hairline. My heart explodes and weeps constantly these days.

Yet somehow in the joy and sorrow, I feel the Lord being so truly kind to us. Our journey is not one to covet, and as someone told me not long after we gave our sweet girl back to the Lord, “You lost your innocence way too young.” And we did.

D and I notice it a lot with friends that we just look at things and feel differently than most people our age, because tragic things don’t often happen at 25 years old. We had barely filed our own taxes before we were making funeral arrangements for our baby girl. We were just babies ourselves.

We are still babies!

I woke up this morning tired, and I could hear W giggling down the hall. Dan was making omelets, and Mary Kathryn was ready to nurse. I grabbed her and walked down the hall realizing how sweet these days are. We are tired and not doing much, but we have been given a LIFE. A gift. Not to be taken for granted, but to cherish. We don’t cherish life these days enough.

So I’ll cry when I need to cry, and smile when I can smile, because in the midst of life’s ups and downs, the Lord is kind. Even when it doesn’t feel that way… He is Kind. He is good. He is King.

the steadfast Love of the Lord NEVER ceases

His mercies NEVER come to an end,

they are NEW every morning

great is YOUR faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23




May 31

Baby Watch

I’m shockingly still pregnant and waiting on baby girl #2. I wish I could say that I am patiently waiting, but the truth is that I am not a super patient person. So I am impatiently waiting. I don’t trust like I should, and I usually have a good plan that makes more sense to me than others plans, but the honest truth is that my plan hasn’t been working…

Mary Kathryn is a healthy baby girl, so I am grateful and overjoyed, but this emotional roller coaster called pregnancy is making my lack of patience run extra thin.

Yeah, I pretty much just left a message on Dan’s phone, because when he called to ask how I was at lunch, my response might have been “I mean will everyone stop asking me that… how the H*** am I supposed to know how I am anymore.” OOOPPS… bad response. Don’t worry, I humbly called back and apologized. I’m just raw and done right now… Done waiting…

Done.

The truth is that I love babies, but pregnancy is a turbulent and emotional thing for me. Last week, Dan could hear my wails from the bath tub, and he came rushing in to find me crying so hard that I couldn’t breathe. The following night, we both cried ourselves to sleep.

It’s just plain hard.

And I just wanna smack some people when I get comments like, “It’s all in God’s timing” or “She’s healthy so be thankful” or “You’ll hold her soon enough.” Blah. Blah. Blah. All true, but frankly not what I want to hear. Not what makes the pain of losing 3 babies bearable.

But… there is hope. The Lord continually breaks my heart of stone and reminds me of his goodness and kindness towards his children.

I wish your care was always easy, predictable, safe -
a cool drink
a soft pillow -
but you are too wise,
too loving,
too committed to your work of
transforming grace.
So your gracious care comes to me
in uncomfortable forms:
the redeeming care of
disappointment,
the unexpected 
trial,
suffering, loss.
These things don’t tell me you’re
cold-hearted,
absent,
uninvolved.
No, each is a sign of
zealous grace,
redeeming love.
I struggle to grasp how much you
care,
so I struggle to rest in that 
care.
You care enough to give me what I 
need,
not what I want.
You care enough to break my bones
in order
to recapture my heart.
- Paul David Tripp in New Morning Mercies

I sat on the couch with my big belly and my baby boy snuggled up on his “sissy”, and I read this, and I am reminded that my plan is flawed, and HIS plan is perfect.

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I struggle to trust and admit that, but it is so true.

Even in the pain and tears and waiting.

It is true. And good. And right. And for my good.

Keep Walking.




May 06

A letter

Dearest Friend,

I was just about to text you these things, and then I realized that there were more people out there feeling the same things that you must be feeling right now, so I sat down to write. You have/still do love me so well, and you’ve always listened to me, let me cry, and just let me be. You’re just solid. You always have been and always will be.

I miss you.

A lot.

I wish I could sit with you right now, but we’re far away from each other, and I hate that. You will act strong this weekend, and you’ll love your momma and your friends well, but I know deep down your heart is sad. And frankly I’m sad with you. I wish you were a momma right now, but you’re not, and dang, it’s just not fair. I don’t understand why your journey is so hard, and I wish I could make it easy for you.

You will be a momma, but ya know what, that’s not what you wanna hear right now. I get it.

The Mother’s Day after my miscarriages and after losing Mary Anna were miserable. I was thankful for my momma and for her role, but all I could think about was that I wanted to be a momma. Everything seemed miserable those weekends.

Now today, you love my William so much, and I am thankful for him, but I sit here with my sparkling water wishing that we could drink a latte and eat a blueberry muffin together and just cry, because my heart hurts. I miss Mary Anna, and I know you would let me feel crappy and you would miss her with me. And on the flip side I wanna feel crappy with you, because I want you to be pregnant and you have to endure this weekend and wait…. I know you’re tired of waiting. You should be.

Feel free my sweet, solid friend to be mad, frustrated, confused, and I know you won’t, but for the love just scream a cus word out loud! Don’t listen to other people’s stupid comments. Be free to feel and think what you need to. It’s okay.

You are worthy my friend.

And I love you.

And I don’t know why life has to be so hard, but I am thankful that in the hard times that we have each other.

Love always,
Kar




Apr 24

There’s Grace…

A lot of my writing hinges from the reality that there is so much that I wish people would have or will currently say to me or do for me or release me of. I was encouraged to write early on after losing Mary Anna, and I wrote more frequently back then due to the lack of a toddler hanging on my leg, and now my house is busy and messy and different than it was almost 3 years ago, but there’s still so much that I continue to learn.

I got to church this morning and realized that I had lipstick on my teeth, my dress had a stain on it that I forgot existed {should’ve given it to goodwill last time I wore it}, and my head just hurt. I’m basically 9 months pregnant, and I am just flat worn out. I debated being embarrassed about my nice stain, and then I figured I’d forget it. Thanks to a friend who recently gave me the book For the Love by Jen Hatmaker {get this book}, I have had a recent attitude of I just can’t do it all.

A lot of the last 3 years of my life have been spent battling guilt. Guilt because I….

should or should not be in counseling…

haven’t made this or that person feel comfortable enough in my grief…

should or should not have more kids this soon after losing a baby…

haven’t gone to this or that event..

need to be released.. wait need to do more…

told to walk away from a relationship…

being guilted because I walked away from a relationship

leave William more with a baby sitter and then feeling guilty because it’s too hard…

guilt, guilt, guilt.

We are just too hard on each other people… I mean really. I have felt more shunned and less love than I would care to admit. And yet, most of the time, I am left to feel like it’s my fault, because I have changed. Why yes, I have changed. I lost my daughter. I am not the same.

BUT I am not supposed to be.

As we sang this song in church today, I began to really listen to the words with my eyes closed, and I realized that I am not enough for most people, but I am enough for my Savior.

Yesterday we hung curtains in sweet Mary Kathryn’s nursery. They were the same curtains that we hung 3 years ago in Mary Anna’s nursery as we anticipated her life. William was riding the cozy coupe around and Dan was measuring to make sure they were perfect, and I stood there and began to weep.

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Guilt.

I felt so guilty trying to prepare for MK using MA’s stuff, yet I felt guilty for feeling guilty. D grabbed me and hugged me, and little W was making truck noises and babbling at our feet. There was mercy there in that moment.

So as I stood and sang these words:

Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong and perfect plea,

A great High Priest whose name is “Love,”
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

When Satan tempts me to despair;
And tells me of the guilt within,

Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
….

I realized that there is a release from this guilt, and I just can’t do it all. I just can’t.

So we eagerly await our 3rd baby, and we process what we can and do what we can, and we just try our best to cling to each other. As we lay in bed last night, D asked me if I was okay. I quietly said, “I think so.” And he said, “You know, I don’t know how we are here or how we are having another baby and how we are making it. I really don’t. If it weren’t for Jesus, we wouldn’t be here Karebear.” I gave him a hug, and we went to sleep.

Thankfully that great High Priest is the reason we can Keep Walking.

Happy Sunday. Enjoy your people today. And take a nap. That’s what we’re doing….

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Keep Walking baby boy, Keep Walking.