Monday, February 27, 2012

From Waiting to Anticipating

I feel as though I am in a season of waiting. My miscarriage has ended, but now I am waiting to see if I will be brave enough to try once more. Because what if I miscarry again? Could I handle more disappointment? And if I do indeed decide that I am brave enough (which I am pretty sure that I am, seeing as children and family are my hearts desire), I will then have to wait to see if the Lord allows us to conceive another child. And if He allows that, then I will be waiting to see if this time we will get to hold our little one in our arms at the end of the pregnancy.

We are also currently waiting for some other things in our life. Some small things, some big. We are waiting to celebrate Jack's second birthday (which is right around the corner!), and we are waiting for Spring Break (we have an exciting trip planned!). We are waiting for some bigger changes that will be happening in our family at the end of this school year, and I am waiting to turn thirty over the summer (for some reason the idea of turning thirty is greatly bothering me!).

The problem is that I have never been good at waiting, at living one day at a time. I like to know the outcome, the way that the story is going to end. Even when I read a fictional novel I always read the last chapter first! If the ending is good, I give the book a chance. If not, I pass the story up entirely. Who wants to waste their time on a story with a bad ending? But life isn't like that. I can't read what the ending chapters of my life on this earth will look like. I can't skip ahead and see that down the road I did indeed have four children (or more!), or if the three I already have will be my only loves. I can't know for sure, and I am not promised, that we will all have good health, or that we will always know financial security. I can't predict if our family will ever have to walk through a tragedy. In fact, I am not even promised that my story will have more chapters. I desire the story of my life to be a long, thick, good book, but the fact of the matter is that some stories are shorter than others. And I don't know what kind of story the Lord has written for me, or for my family. So I must wait to find out.

I used to think that it was the only option that I had, this waiting. Dreadful, agonizing waiting. And I have been doing the dreadful waiting thing for a number of years. I know those chapters well. Waiting to meet my special someone, waiting to get married. Waiting for children, new jobs, moves. Always waiting for something more exciting! Waiting for God to do something *BIG* in my life. Waiting to be different, more mature, responsible, likable. Waiting to be thinner. Waiting to love myself more. Always waiting for tomorrow. Never living for today.

That Monday two weeks ago, when I began to miscarry, I wasn't sure what to pray for. Of course I wanted to ask God to let it be something else, to allow me to keep my September baby. But I also wanted to pray for His will to be done. I felt conflicted about what to ask Him for. So as I sat there (that time waiting on a doctor), as the tears rolled down my cheeks, I simply just asked Him as I finished my day, to not leave me the same person I was at the start of my day. To somehow grow me through this experience, whatever the outcome. I asked Him over and over again, please Lord, just let me learn from this, please don't let me be the same once it is over. And it has been my same prayer for the past two weeks. Please Lord, grow me. Change me. Use me.

Yet, I have still struggled. I have struggled with having a positive attitude. I have struggled with feeling depressed as friends announce September due dates (they seem to be everywhere!). I struggle with getting out of bed in the morning. I struggle with being nice to teenagers. And as I previously mentioned, I have struggled the most with finding myself in a season of waiting once again. I did not want to be here, waiting to see what happens next.

But as I was thinking today on how much I hated this dreadful waiting, and on the fact that I have no option but to wait, God placed it on my heart that I do in fact have options. I have the option to choose how I will wait. Will I continue to wait with anger, anxiety, hopelessness, and fear of the unknown? Or will I wait with joy? Joy knowing the Lord already knows my ending chapters! He has already written them! Will I wait with excitement? Excitement over what He is going to do next! Will I wait hopeful, trusting Him to show me His ways that are best? Trusting that He has a plan, and allowing Him to have control?

These have been my thoughts this day. I know what I want to choose. And if I meant what I prayed, that the Lord would not leave me the same through this experience, then I know what I will choose. I will choose the opposite of what I have chosen in previous chapters of my life. I will choose the joy, excitement, and the hope. I will choose God and His truth. It is as simple as that. Because what I seem to keep forgetting is that it is not really my story to tell anyway. It's His. And He can write the book any way that He wants. And I can rest easy, because I know for a fact that He is an incredible author! I am so thankful that He holds the pen. And that knowledge alone can turn even the most dreadful season of waiting, into the most beautiful season of anticipating. I am excited to see what He will write next.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Tiny Tribute

One of the first things that I did once I discovered that I was pregnant with number four, as I previously mentioned, was to call my super cute and talented photographer friend, Heather. I wanted pregnancy announcement pictures! With each of my other pregnancies I have always had Boss or my mom snap a few pictures of me here or there as my belly grew, but I had never had professional maternity pictures taken. The reason? I never really liked the way that I looked before I got pregnant, so I certainly did not like the way I looked once the extra pounds were packed on! I was always in awe of my pregnant body, thinking the whole process of growing a life was beautiful, but I never, ever thought that I looked beautiful pregnant. At only five feet tall, when pregnant, I look more like an oompa loompa. Just speaking the truth here. Perhaps a cute oompa loompa, but an oompa loompa all the same. So I always passed up the opportunity to capture each pregnancy in time through photographs. Another reason I passed pictures up was because I always assumed that there would be a next time. Next time, I would be thinner before I got pregnant so obviously pictures would be cuter then. Next time, I would grow my hair longer so my face would not look quite so round. Next time, I would have a better wardrobe. Totally shallow, but it is what I would think.

But suddenly, back in 2010, I found myself the mama to three beautiful children and I did not think that we would ever have any more. And I began to mourn all of the things I did not do in my pregnancies. Did I cherish my swollen belly enough? Did I implant deep in my mind and heart what it felt like to be heavy with the miracle of child so that I would never forget? And why, oh why, did I not take more pictures? Why didn't I document everything from the very beginning until the very end? I vowed then and there that if I ever became pregnant once again I would do those things. I would celebrate my pregnant body the way that it deserved to be celebrated.

So when we found out that number four was on the way, I wasted no time in calling Heather and having her come out to capture our new joy with her lens. I had so much fun in our little photo shoot! The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and Heather has a fantastic way of making everyone feel beautiful. How lucky am I to have such a talented friend?! It might seem silly to be posting these pictures now, considering that I lost our baby this week, but I am actually so thankful that I have these photographs! I am so glad that I did not think that I would just get pictures next time or later. Because this week has taught me that there might not always be a later. These pictures are my only memento from my fourth pregnancy, our baby that was not meant to be, and I will always cherish them. I think I might frame one and put it in my kitchen. That way I can always remember. A tiny tribute to the tiny one who taught me to celebrate each moment of life to the fullest. Who taught me not to take anything for granted, and who taught this mama to open her eyes to the beauty that is all around her instead of always wishing for something more. Thank you, Heather, for using your gift to gift me. May we all remember to celebrate and find joy in the lives that we have been given, and may we continuously praise our Father in Heaven who is the giver of life and all good gifts!

**** All photographs courtesy of Heather Matthews Photography. If you live in the area and are in need of a photo shoot, you can contact her at She is so fun and awesome! ****

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


My miscarriage has continued for the past 48 hours, and time is still marching on. Sometimes I wish the clock would just stop, just for a little bit, so that I could climb into my bed, pull the covers up over my head, and have a little bit of time alone to sort all of this out in my head. But so far that has not happened, the clock stopping, so I just keep pressing forward. We did have a nice, quiet (as quiet as a house with five teenagers and three children can be!), Valentine's day yesterday. After we completed our school assignments in the morning, the girls and I baked Boss a peanut butter and chocolate trifle. We sure do love Boss, and he sure loves peanut butter and chocolate, so we figured that would be a nice surprise for him. The girls got to lick the bowl, so they were happy campers. We also decorated the house with all of the party supplies I had intended to use for our baby announcement party the evening before. After dinner my little ladies took a candlelit bubble bath, and we all agreed that this day had been better than the one before it.

Today I had to drive back to the hospital for a follow up blood draw. I won't know until this afternoon what the results are, but basically, if the numbers have gone up there might still be hope, but if they have gone down, I have indeed miscarried. My heart already knows the results. It seemed cruel that I had to first explain to a stranger why I was there, and then that I had to sit in a waiting room full of women with large, lovely, baby bellies, who were there getting their glucose tests or a variety of other things done. It didn't matter to me that I had three healthy children at home. I know there are some families who have lost living children, some who have experienced multiple miscarriages, some who have no children at all to love. I know how blessed I am, I feel it and am thankful, and I know that this miscarriage is not a tragedy. It is a disappointment. But I did want this particular child. I wanted the September birthday, exactly two and a half years apart from Jack, and I wanted all of my children born in even numbered years. It was supposed to be 2004, 2006, 2010, and now 2012. (I never said that I was normal! Ha!). So for two days I have been mourning (pouting about?) all of the things that I had wanted this pregnancy to mean for our family's future. It has not been pretty.

It was when I was sitting in the chair, when the tech was about to stick me, that I noticed it. I had turned my head away so that she would not see my tears, when my eyes took notice of the picture on the wall. Perhaps it was a picture of a rainbow? I am not certain, but I am certain about what the caption at the bottom said. The picture was entitled VISION, and the line underneath read:

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." ~ Marcel Proust

And right there in that plastic hospital chair, my heart was given a clear vision for the first time in days. Perhaps years. Life is not about where I am or what happens to me. It is how I see it and what I do about it that matters! Essentially, it is all about perspective! I know I have heard this particular lesson preached before, probably from my mother, but it took root in my soul in a new way for me today. My life has been sorely lacking vision. It was sorely lacking before I lost this baby, and it will continue to lack if I don't begin to open my eyes and look around me at what is really there, instead of only looking at what I want or desire to be there.

I have felt restless for quite some time. Years, really. Always thinking that changing this, or doing that will make things better. Add some spice to my life. I am ashamed to admit that I have even felt that way about having children. When you are pregnant, even if you are doing nothing, you are still doing something! Growing a person! But, oddly enough (or not really oddly at all), it never does. The change never lasts forever and the new thing never stays new. The babies grow up into delightful little people and need me less and less. They find their independence, while I am left still wondering what I am going to be when I grow up. And before long I feel restless once again. But sitting in that chair this afternoon, I realized that I don't need new circumstances. And I don't need a new life. I certainly would have loved a new baby, this baby, but what I most desperately need is a new set of eyes.

I don't know why I could not keep this particular baby. I sure wish that I had been able to. But I know that God knows why, and that this is just a tiny part of my entire story. A tiny person, a tiny part of the big picture, but a big part in perhaps giving this Mama a new set of eyes. A new life created that ended up giving me a new way of looking at life. And that feels pretty amazing. I know that God is at work, and I can't wait to see how He finishes this chapter. I have my eyes wide open, and I am ready to see.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Celebrating Life and Love

About a month ago I found out I was expecting number four. A new blessing to love! I have always wanted a large family, so my heart was overjoyed at the thought. Four children! Me, the mama to four little ones! I felt complete awe that God, in His goodness, had chosen to allow me to grow another tiny one in my womb. It was a very happy time. For the first time ever, I decided to keep my pregnancy a secret. Usually I shout my pregnancies from the rooftops (or yell excitedly about them into cellphones), but this time I decided to savor it. I wanted everything to be perfect. No blurting it out or making a fool of myself in my happiness. This time needed to be sweet and special.

I waited 48 whole hours before I told Boss. I didn't know when, exactly, I was going to tell him, I just knew that it needed to be special. A moment that he would never forget. 48 hours later and our moment arrived. We were standing in a space that has to do with some of our upcoming changes, when Boss suddenly pulled me into his arms and began praying with me for our family, our life, our children. This type of togetherness is new, and oh so special for us. It still makes me catch my breath when he draws me close and prays to our Father on our behalf. There are not many sweeter moments in life than praying with your love for your life together, so when he ended the prayer, I whispered it. I told him that he was going to be a daddy again. His eyes filled with tears and shown with such joy and tenderness at the news. Creating a new life together never gets old! Afterwards, we went out to dinner to celebrate!

The next month went by and we told very few people. A few family members knew, a few friends. But to most, we kept this new life growing inside of me a secret. It was actually kind of exciting! And during this past month we planned out how we were going to tell the children that they were going to be getting a new sibling. I decided that I wanted to tell them around Valentine's day. I have always wanted to incorporate a pregnancy surprise into a holiday, and this was my chance. Besides, what better way to celebrate a day of love, than by celebrating a new life that was created in love? I planned every last detail of our surprise party. There were going to be streamers, balloons, and confetti. We were going to have a bistro style meal of sandwiches, soups, and salad, with my mom's strawberry cake and chocolate trifle for dessert. I made each of the children shirts with numbers on them that told of their birth order. Emma 1, Kate 2, Jack 3, and a tiny onesie with a sweet little 4 on it. Each child would get to open their goody bag filled with their shirt and treats, and then together they would open the package with the onesie in it and see if they could figure out the surprise.

Besides our children, grandparents would be our guests of honor. My sweet and talented photographer friend, Heather, took pregnancy announcement photos for us, and we were going to gift the grandparents with a little album each. I could barely imagine the joy that was going to be surrounding our table once the surprise was figured out. My own heart nearly burst at the sight of four small shirts laid out on my bed! I had never felt more lucky or blessed.

All month long I had been talking up this surprise with the girls! Their guesses of what it was ranged from a tea set, to headbands, to a movie, a pony, a board game, a new brother or sister, to a trip to Disney World! My favorite part? They actually would have been happy with any of those gifts. But when I asked them what they wished for the very most, a new sibling and Disney World always topped the list! Our party was supposed to be tonight, and last night the girls were so excited they could hardly sleep! We were all ready for today to arrive!

My mom showed up early this morning to take the kids for the day, so that I could finish shopping, decorate the house, and cook. But as soon as she pulled away from my house it happened. I started to bleed. I knew what was happening before I even went to check. And my heart crumbled into a million little pieces. I called Boss at work and he came home to hug me. Since I had not seen a doctor yet, we decided to just go to the emergency room. And two ultrasounds later revealed what my heart already knew to be true. This tiny little one was not meant to be a part of our family here on this earth. Where I should be nearly eight weeks along at the very least, the screen only showed a pregnancy that looked to be around five weeks. There is a very slim chance that my dates are simply wrong and it is still too early, but combined with my bleeding that is not likely. Most likely I will never hold this fourth little one in my arms, and it is funny how you can miss someone so much that you never even had the chance to meet. We drove home in silence with orders to come back on Wednesday for a final blood draw, but my head already seems to know what the answer is going to be. My heart is simply having a hard time accepting it.

When we got home we pulled our bigger babies onto our bed and told them the news. That we had wished so much that we would be celebrating the news of a new life with them tonight. Sweet sisters cried over their tiny brother or sister that they will never know. We hugged and held, and my heart did begin to feel better. Somewhere in the midst of the hugging and loving, someone suggested that we celebrate anyway. Because there was in fact a new life created and we do in fact have love. So that is what we did. We ordered Chinese food and ate cake. Jack made us all laugh, and we talked about heaven and whether we thought this baby would have been a boy or girl. We did celebrate both life and love tonight, just not in the way that I had imagined we would.

I have not lost hope that this baby might make it, because I know that my God can do ANYTHING, but I am simply praying that whatever the outcome, that I draw nearer to Him than I was when this started. Isn't that really the point of anything? To find God in everything? And I know that He is here. Waiting to bring me to Him whether I end up rejoicing or mourning.

Oh, sweet baby number 4. You were already wanted and loved by everyone in our family. You will always hold a special place in my heart. I was so excited to be your mama! Your daddy and I had already talked of you often and dreamed about your life. My arms sure wish that they could hold you. We will always celebrate your life, no matter that it was short. You will always be loved.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Swirling Thoughts

Lately, my brain has been a jumbled mess of swirling thoughts. I feel restless inside. The weather here in our part of the state has been much warmer than is typical for this time of year, so perhaps I am suffering from an early spring fever? Yes, we will go with that. With the weather being so pleasant, I have been going for afternoon walks. Me, alone with my thoughts in the midst of creation. I find peace there, when I am walking with my Creator. Lately, I find the need to be constantly communicating with Him. Changes (more than one!)are soon coming for our little family, which I will share on these pages soon, and I need His help to make sense of it all. I have written much lately on simply going through the motions of life, as that is what I feel I have been doing for so long. But lately I feel as though I am slowly starting to come alive. It is a little bit scary, a lot exciting. Thoughts, hopes, plans, and dreams constantly swirl through my mind. I think much on the kind of person, wife, and mother I want to be. I think long on the kind of mark I want to leave on this world. I want to make a difference. I want my contributions to God's kingdom to matter. He has gifted and blessed me with so many things. I want to make Him proud. I like to think of my life as a story that God is writing. If my life were a story (and I LOVE stories), I would look at my childhood and growing up years as the introduction. The foundation was laid, the characters introduced. And these last eight years of marriage? The beautiful beginning chapters. There were good parts, and bad, but all of the chapters have had a resounding sweetness to them. I have lived simply, and fairly contentedly. Enjoying the seasons and chapters we were in. But now the seasons are about to change, and our family is soon to head in a new direction. We are beginning a new chapter. Change is in the air, and change is deep in my soul. But I feel as though it is going to be good. I have big plans, and bigger prayers. Thank goodness I serve a Big God! I am so excited to see what these new chapters will bring. Hopefully, through the good and the bad, they will show that I am a person, and that we are a family, who is slowly becoming alive to all that we were meant to be. As we delve into the next pages of our life's story, I will continue to share here. In my study the other day, I stumbled upon a verse I had never taken notice of before. "Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord." Psalm 102:18 This is exactly my heart's desire. That as I record my story here, and the story of our family, that we will leave a lasting story of a family who loved the Lord and served Him. That when we look back through these pages that we will see God's goodness, His wisdom in timing, and answered prayers. Yes, I am excited for our new chapters to begin. And I am always excited to see God's hand at work. May our lives glorify Him!