365 grateful {week 4 & 5}

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For time with my dear friend, Chey. We went wedding dress shopping and found her dress on this day! I am so blessed to call this girl friend (more like my sister) and I am {beyond} ecstatic for her to be married this summer to an amazing man and also, friend of Ted :)

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At the time I took this photo and was grateful that my boys were better. They had both caught a stomach bug. Unfortunetely Shailo’s lasted for over a week. Throwing up and then a fever (sometimes 103.2) for a week straight (which is apparently okay! Did you know this?! Crazy!) Broke my heart!

485897_10151254567471989_1962110312_nFor a few days with my beautiful, Aussie friend, Alanna. The last time I saw her I was overdue with Chase. She left just a week before he was born. It was so incredible to introduce her to our boys and to spend time with her!

196312_10151256784431989_2055762599_nFor precious time with our friends Alanna and Josh – visiting the zoo, but of course ;)

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For a day of painting, crafting, laughter and Downton Abbey.

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For this messy little one even when it’s really hard. Chocolate popsicle (hey, it’s homemade and healthy ;)) and an empty medicine bottle he dug out of the recycle. Momma of the year today during this week (jokes, seriously)
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 For Ted helping me be strong when I feel helpless and weak. My heart was aching. One full week of my sweet shai being sick (viral crap & teething.) He was a little better but wanted to be held literally ALL day. And only by me. I am thankful for a husband who helped encourage me while we let him “cry it out”. My first time ever doing that as a momma. Totally not my thing but it was this or my sanity. My heart felt so torn as I listened to him cry. Bah…
62336_10151263579956989_802508135_nFor a skype sesh with our dear friends that moved away. Here is a photo of our boys playing snakes  “together” from afar. At one point they even said, “I love you.” on their own accord! So thankful for Skype and amazing friends.
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For the ability to dream again. I am in the process of writing a blog about this. I haven’t really dreamt much since we’ve lost Eisley. In fact, I had thought I’d lost that ability. I was wrong. So very thankful for dreams and the ability to keep dreaming (of future plans, what we hope for our family, etc)…
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For time with my Madre and for her help and calming spirit that was able to put my clingy, sick son to sleep. Oh so thankful.
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Ted pulled out our juicer and juiced for the first time (for him.) I couldn’t be more thankful and excited that Ted’s now on board with me in learning what it means to be healthy! (I’ve been praying for this, shhh ;))
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For beautiful weather, fresh air …46694_10151269556736989_1817490193_n…and tons of chalk dust and laughter. :)

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For the opportunity to attend To Write Love On Her Arms (TWOLHA) Heavy & Light Tour. Truly an amazing ministry that in the past, spoke to me and my sisters hearts. I absolutely loved this night with my baby sis Abie and Ted. Moved to tears multiple times.

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For this boy and his fun imagination. He’s truly a {joy}! He and Shailo were my little Super Bowl Sunday crew. We had our own little fun “party” which ended with me muting the game and browsing through our Thailand photos, researching the cost of living in Thailand and sharing our stories and dreams with Chase! 5 years ago we watched the Super Bowl while in Thailand! I ache for Thailand lately… oh so much!

What’s something you’re grateful today?

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for her. for them. for me.

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This summer I began running – or really, jogging (I’m still so slow.) It was very therapeutic for me this summer as it was one of the most difficult summers in my life. I have written a bit about it here on the blog before. I was so proud to make it out of this summer and into fall. And now, into 2013 feeling much better and ready to face a new year. Eisley’s passing date and birthday this year was one I didn’t share on my blog. I guess I didn’t really know how to best convey my heart because honestly, I didn’t even know what was happening within me. I was a complete wreck this year, 2 years later. I can’t explain it and I guess if you’ve ever lost anyone, you’d understand that – there really sometimes isn’t a way to explain your grief.

To top it off I had thrown up walls with every person in my life (Ted too). I had two friends (nearby) that really continued to pursue me despite my walls and pushing away – my “funk” – or whatever you’d call it. They are the ones I asked to join me in a 5k I did, not because I didn’t still love my other friends or anything! But because it was, at the time, what I felt was best for me.377847_10151065744211989_890910759_nA verse of truth that I still cling to, especially in troubled times where truth is hard to remember. (a piece of a letter I wrote to E in the hospital)
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This year, we had a simple picnic lunch on her birthday and did a balloon release. each year we write notes on pink balloons and release them. 267197_10151068118951989_1913800824_n  Chase was way more involved and understanding this year and that made our hearts both full and ache simultaneously. 380053_10151072238656989_1697785671_n

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our family photo on Eisley’s birthday September 17, 2012

EisleysbirthdayfamilyphotoCollage2011 // 2012
426795_10151068722831989_1162516962_nwe went out to a local ice cream shop, Scrumptious, for Eisley’s birthday after the balloon release.
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I knew I wanted to run a 5k around Eisley’s birthday and last minute, I found one. The {PERFECT} one. Colour Me Rad. How incredibly fitting. The final stretch was PINK powder too which just made my heart so very happy and thankful, like it was truly a run in honour of her.

This run was so much more to me than words can describe. The physical victory was amazing – 3.2 miles (mostly ran, I was sick with a cough and strep throat – which at the time I didn’t know that!) – but more than anything, the significance of this run meant more than anything. I felt like it was a declaration – one in honour of Eisley and also as a declaration that I WILL keep going. That I can. That despite everything I am FEELING, I can do this. I can live.

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for her.
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for them.
620886_10152252958760727_15126740_o for me.

a {different} beautiful dream.

It’s a moment I will never forget, probably because it was one that would either scar a person for life, or move them to tears. It was the very first time I witnessed a birth, at the young age of 13. I was watching the kiddos of my mom’s friend while she labored away in their home. My mom was there and as the time of their daughter’s birth neared, they asked me if I would like to be in the room. I decided I did and I have never regretted that decision since. It was beautiful and I knew at the moment, that was what I hoped for some day. I always knew I wanted a family (being the eldest, I always did), but now I knew how I wanted to birth my children. In the peace of our home.

Years later, I was 24 weeks pregnant, I had a wonderful midwife and a beautiful birth story all planned out.  But they were telling me that I was Group B Strep positive and I was told that I wouldn’t be able to have the home birth I had always dreamt of (I later learned, you actually can be GBS + and still have a home birth, but thankfully He knew what we needed at the time). I was crushed. I mean, devesated. I balled and balled. Ted, who was never fully at peace with the idea of a home birth, finally felt peace and knew this was the best decision for us. Then, at almost 42 weeks they told me the likelihood of me having to have a c-section was great. Many factors that weren’t adding up. I felt like the biggest failure, frustrated with my body for being unable to have my baby naturally.

I won’t go into detail Chase’s birth story, if you’re really curious – just click here as I have written his birth story online once before. To sum it up, 42 hours of labor, 3.5 hours of pushing, making it all the way to 10cm only to have him get stuck and unable to fit and come out. I had him by c-section, totally exhausted and drugged up and unable to remember anything or hold him until a day later.

My perspective has greatly changed since we’ve lost Eisley. I have since realized, through our own life experience, that any birth story that is able to bring the baby to your arms, alive, is the really best birth story there is.

Words can’t express how incredibly thankful I am that I was able to have Eisley naturally (vaginally) 73 hours of labor later I met our sweet girl face to face. It wasn’t what I had dreamt when I thought of having a baby but I am so very thankful that I was able to hold my daughter, to see her precious face before we said goodbye, and because of that, I wouldn’t trade any of those 73 hours in for anything. (we just recently had the 2nd anniversaries or her death -september 14th and her birthday – september 17th. Blog post about those precious anniversaries, soon.)

I decided to schedule a c-section with Shailo. There was really no question in my mind. I knew I couldn’t go through another long labor that would potentially result in a c-section, again. And also, I felt a natural birth was too traumatic from going through what we had with Eisley just shy of 14 months before. So, in regards to a c-section, even though it was a dream lost – I was able to have two beautiful boys due to them. So very thankful we live in a day and age that it is possible.

I kind of digress, but I wanted to share a bit of my heart behind what I’m about what I am really blogging about. When I was pregnant with Chase, Eisley and Shailo I enjoyed looking through photographs of birth stories – home births, c-section births, hospital births… I was constantly moved to tears by them. In my pregnancy with Shailo I really felt that God gave me an incredible dream. I wanted to be a birth photographer. I wanted to capture “that moment” for another. You know, that one moment when the mother first meets their baby face to face. The moment when they birth their baby and he/she is placed on their chest. The incredible emotion, the overwhelming love… that moment. That specific moment was one that I was unable to have but I wanted to capture that for someone else.

And, the story beforehand and those precious moments afterwards. But especially the moment the momma (and daddy) first sees their little one.

The question, “How could you photograph…”that moment”… something you’ve never experienced yourself?” started to plague my mind. And while that makes total sense in a way, I had to battle that. I honestly think there will always be this yearning in my heart. Wondering what “that” moment would be like. And even without the experience of a home birth or a completely natural, un-medicated birth, I feel that yearning so strong that I am able to truly capture the moments I would believe to be beautiful – as if it were my birth story. What would I want captured?

Another thing that began to draw out insecurity from within me was knowing that I wasn’t a professional photographer, so how could I just jump right in. My wonderful hubby jumped on board with my dream and wanted to help me in any way possible. So he has been teaching me. :) I have a lot to learn but I can already see a change in the work that I do. And also, I don’t want to be a professional photographer, maybe not ever, right now I just know I want to understand the camera and how to best captures those moments for someone else.

So how do I begin?

I knew that I wanted to start with friends, but even with close friends… how do you ask something like that? “Hi, I’d like to photograph your birth story, what do ya think?” The first thought of many is most likely – “I don’t want …down there… photographed!” haha. Thankfully, I was spared that awkward conversation and just 3 weeks after I shared this dream with Ted (October 2011), a friend of mine called me. She asked if I would consider photographing the birth of their son, Seth. I literally got goosebumps and tears filled my eyes. I was honoured to shoot my first birth in April.

During the birth of my friend Brittany’s son, I was asked to shoot my second birth by another dear friend, Bethany. She was Brittany’s doula and a long time friend and inspiration of mine. The amazing thing is that when I had shared with Ted about my dream, I had told Ted that I wanted to ask Bethany when they got pregnant with their next baby. And not too long later, they shared they were pregnant with baby #7! On September 15th, just a few weeks ago, I shot my second birth – the beautiful birth of their 4th daughter; Lilyana Elaine.

I hope to share both birth stories here soon. Today I will be posting the birth story of Seth Tyrus Maxwell (with permission.)

I am hoping for more wonderful opportunities like the two I’ve had this year. So very thankful for this dream I believe He’s given me and can’t wait to see how He will use this and bless others with it! Possible overseas someday? We shall see!

I just wanted to share a little bit about the story behind this dream that I believe God’s birthed in me (pun intended ;)) Thanks for stopping by!

on the mend. whatever that looks like, that is.

i struggle with what i believe most momma’s struggle with and that is, doing things for ourselves. myself. me. i remember before i had Chase i wanted to be sure that i really focused on yes, being a momma, but also still being who i am too. what makes me, me. doing the things i love all while being his mother.

over the years – and through everything we’ve walked through in his “short” (almost) 3 years – i’ve really began to push that aside. it has {really} hit me recently though. it’s taking it’s toll on me. it’s another reason i decided to keep blogging. i’m a verbal processor, just in case you haven’t figured that out yet ;) and i need the time to process. like really process everything. and i do mean EVERY thing. i’m just wired that way. i often wish i wasn’t.

we recently moved  back to a city where we lived just 2 years ago. {So much} has happened and changed within our family and within us since we’ve moved. i kind of expected a lot out of this move and instead i found that my high expectations were crumbling as i watched the reality kind of set in. and oh so quickly. we are so different than we were when we lived down here. our lives were too. we’re in a completely and totally different place in almost every way than before. i didn’t expect to feel what i feel now.

when we left (YWAM) we still felt young, carefree and adventurous. we left feeling hopeful for a new season and where we felt God was leading us. it was a hard and difficult step to take leaving the (structured) ministry of YWAM and jumping into the (not so structured) ministry of being out here and pursuing our dreams, away from what we had known since graduating High School. we stepped out, rather naive to what we’d be facing. the reality hit us full force. ( i feel like it {still is}). we found out soon after leaving YWAM that we were pregnant with Eisley…

it’s hard to say that “everything went downhill from there” because even though that is true, we wouldn’t trade one minute of {any} of it. we had our beautiful baby girl and for that we could never be more thankful and never regret a moment. yet the reality is, everything did go “downhill” from there. after we lost her, i’ll never forget, around a month after losing her – we were living with my grandparents, broke as could be. we sifted through our things in storage and sold the items that we were using that could bring us in a little money to help with groceries and to pay for diapers. all while grieving and feeling confused (and at the time, still an incredible amount of shock). i remember sitting outside in the sunshine of autumn (thanks, Colorado for being so sunny year-round) and pulling Chase into my arms and just crying my heart out. it felt like it couldn’t possibly get any worse, but to be honest, it hasn’t felt much better (besides the awesome addition to our family! he blesses our hearts so very much!)

i really thought, 2 years from the time we left YWAM, that we’d be in a different place (in so many ways) than where we are now. like i said, we don’t regret anything, but it’s freaking hard out here. and then add to the mix… just everything… we sometimes joke (but are kind of looking at each other like, are you serious, yeah..confused haha) that we need to go back on staff so we can live off with support again. it’s not a bad thing, (please, please, please don’t assume that’s what i’m saying here) we just remember what life was like before and sometimes miss it.

i turned 25 in march. (i have completely avoided my 25 by 25 list, because it’s really too painful, more reminders) i hit my first official identity crisis. no, i am not exaggeratting. i thought many a times wondering, “who am i anymore?!” should i be admitting this to the “world”, maybe not, but i guess my way of thinking is that if you stop in to read my blog, you might care just a tiny bit about us/me.

i was sharing with a dear friend of mine – who has walked beside me literally every step of the way since 2005- about all of this (much more drama and tears while sharing face-to-face ;)). she encouraged me and had a thought and perspective that hadn’t had. during our time away, even though just 2 years, it seems like so much longer and now as we come back, it makes sense why there is this struggle within us. we have changed so much (which i know) while some of the surroundings and even people, have stayed the same. but also, more than that, during our time away, it was a constant fight for our daughter’s life, and our life and survival. now we are here and God has seriously provided us with a beautiful (temporary) home (sunshine galore here, thank you, Jesus!) Ted has a new job that is more uplifting (for the most part and obviously not his dream job) and now we are busy with things in life that are productive for us and our dreams, rather than just busy with survival mode.

and now that we are here, in this place where burdens that once were, seem a little lighter. it hits us. the reality of what we’ve gone through. the shock far gone, and the survival mode no longer on full speed. it hits us. and it’s hard and dark and icky and sucky and frankly, the overwhelming thoughts are hell. hell. hell. how do you even process certain things? … how?!

i know that, really, there is just so much to process and so little time to sit down and actually do that. it’s a matter of being intentional and setting aside time to do so. also, just learning to do this as we keep up with the busyness of life. we’ve realized lately the importance of taking care of ourselves, saying no to this or that so we can actually maybe even process some things. and sometimes maybe it’s just the opposite that we need, saying yes to this or that to get ourselves out of this funk. we’re trying to take this all step-by-step, little by little. in hopes to find a way and time for our hearts to begin mending.

here i am – yet again – admitting i’m (we’re) struggling, broken and confused but this time seeking peace for our family. peace for our broken hearts. peace all the way around. peace amidst this chaotic life.

thanks for listening. :)

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

{Psalms 121}

suffering.

many times within a short 2 week span, i’ve heard a different take on suffering. repeatedely and in different ways. today, at a mom’s group i attend, it came up yet again and i sat stunned. but this time, hot tears fell onto my cheeks and i let myself breathe it in.

another momma was standing before the entire group, sharing what we call a “mom minute” of something the Lord was speaking to her heart lately. she shared this passage from James;

My brethren, {count it all joy} when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be {perfect and complete}, {lacking nothing}.

she shared how she often wanted to run from suffering and then ended with (i’m summarizing but here’s the jist); what would happen if instead of running from it, what if we embraced it?

please note that what i am {not} saying here is that what he is saying in the passage with the “testing of your faith” is that same as “to teach us a lesson”. ugh, no. when that is said to me or when i hear it, it baffles me and to be honest, it’s hard to swallow. that’s not the Father heart of the God that i know. not at all. 

to think that our Father God would ever intentionally wound us or have us walk into a harmful situation or cause a child suffer with disabilities or have a fiance or husband just walk out and leave or let us watch as a loved one dies or permanently disable us or take away our ability to have a child (or another child) or cause a husband to verbally/physically assault a wife or let your child die… – to think that that is what is meant in “the testing of our faith” makes me feel kind of sickened. that is why i completely disagree with the statement that God does things to “teach us a lesson”…the passage says that “when you fall into various trials”, when suffering comes our way remember that “the testing of our faith produces patience”.

when.

then our faith is tested and that then we may learn something while walking through it. (i hope i’m making sense here) …

when we do fall into trials…pain… sorrow…

…suffering.

we can try to hide from it.

we can try to run from it.

we can’t try to suppress it someplace deep within.

oh and do we (i) try. we can temporarily “push it away” and what good does that do. to not face it one day doesn’t mean it won’t still be there tomorrow.

besides, not facing it or pushing it away causes it to fester up, to come up in other ways in our lives, like for me personally; anger towards my love and kids, unbelievable anxiety and fear…

someone i love so dearly is walking through the most difficult season of their life. they are in the midst of suffering and pain. she recently sat on my couch and astounded me with her view on suffering. with tears welling up in her eyes and a pain that was almost tangible she told me that she wanted to get the most out of this season and her time of suffering. for a split second i thought, why?

then it hit me, why not though? we cannot deny suffering when it comes our way. again, we can try, but to truly deny our suffering… no way. it’s there.

we can’t run from it. we can’t hide it away, deep within, without it festering up in some other way and then in the end, we still must face our sufferings.

I read this passage in The Message version (which i personally love) and this is what it read;

 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. {So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.} Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

i love that. “don’t try to get out of anything prematurely”.

i sometimes hate this word but “the reality” is that suffering is here. there is no denying suffering that comes our way or the suffering that is in this world.

so what if, instead of trying to run from it or suppress it, or instead of letting our suffering have a tight grip on us, immobilizing us, we instead turned and embraced it?

what if we counted it all joy?

 my “embracing” my own suffering is probably different from what “embracing” your suffering would look like just as our sufferings are also different and unique.  i’m still not even sure i know for myself what all of this fully means. but what i do know is that instead of trying to run from our reality of suffering that we’re in right now (and maybe until eternity, i don’t know) and instead of letting suffering have a tight grip on me, i will turn and embrace it.
we lost our daughter one year and 5 months ago, and here i am just coming to this realization. that the reality is she is gone to heaven, never to (physically) be a part of our little family here on earth. never to run with her brothers, never to dress like momma and to kiss her daddy’s cheek. and it hurts like hell, this realization. our suffering. but i will embrace the reality that this is how it is right now.
i will embrace our suffering and “count it all joy” knowing that there is promise of new life and a renewed spirit. 
i will “count it all joy” that she is no longer suffering, no longer fighting for life and that in the end of all of this, we will see her again.
i will “count it all joy” that rejoicing will come with the dawn.
i will no longer fear my suffering but embrace my sorrow, my grief, my suffering.

two songs for your Sunday.

I hope this music blesses your heart as much as it does mine.

“In winter I believe you
In springtime I see you
It’s so good to be with you
my hope has come
Lord you make all things new
Your love is my breakthrough
Now I sing Hallelujah
my hope has come”

How beautiful! I stumbled upon this Wednesday and pretty much haven’t stopped listening to it and their ‘Why oh Why’ song posted below. Simply beautiful, amazing and oh so {true}. Cherry blossoms have always reminded me of my Eisley-girl and of hope. That is what caused me to click the video in the first place, not gonna lie. :) I’m so glad I did.

“Faith can only grow in a real tight spot, love will only bloom when it’s all you’ve got
Nothing is sweet as a broken heart, giving God praise in the hardest part
What has been done we cannot undo, but love is never lost in the face of truth
And nothing is sweet as a broken heart, giving God praise in the hardest part”

Oh my heart….

So thankful to have found this music! Let’s carry this into next week, taking it one day at time.

“Praising Him in the hardest part.”

Celebration of her life.

September 17th the one year anniversary since Eisley’s birth.

We decided to get away as a family and it was truly what we needed. We spent 4 nights in Denver, some days around our friends and others just as a family. It was a time of remembering her, grieving our loss of her here and celebrating her life.

I really struggled as the anniversary of her passing and her birth came, for many reasons but mostly because it was the first year and I was wondering how on earth could I possibly do anything to commemorate her life in such a special way. I had many ideas on my “list” and was terrified that I wouldn’t honour her in the best way possible. As the time came, I let go of what I had planned and went with what we were feeling. Everything just fell into place naturally and traditions that we will do each year just came about. I feel we did the best in honouring her and no matter how much or how little we could have done, she’ll always hold a place in our family and in our hearts. There are a few things we really wanted to do this year and some things every year and I won’t share everything we did but here are some photos from out weekend.

We decided to do a family photo and a balloon release each year on the week of her birthday.

Another thing we would love to do each year is to make cupcakes with the kids and celebrate her life as one in our family. We want our boys and future kiddos to know their sister and who she was and is to our family.

Left: Chase’s god momma                                         Right: Eisley’s god momma

Melts my heart. <3

Pink Gerber Daisies remind us of her. Chase is blowing the flower to “make a wish” like he does with dandelions.

It was a bittersweet yet {healing} weekend for our us.

Eisley-girl, you are forever in our hearts and apart of our family.

sharing soon.

I have a few photos and  some things I’d like to share about the anniversary of Eisley’s passing and of her birth date. I’m not really sure where to begin and I might even just share photos from the celebration of her life that we did. I’m not sure, but sometime soon I really want to share a bit about that week and what it was like for me and for us as a family. For now I hope you enjoy this adorable (and deeply cherished) photo of Chase holding a cupcake we made to celebrate Eisley’s life.

There are a few blogs I want to share before I feel totally ready to share a post about that week. I am in the process of updating you all about Boy S (we had appointments today!) And also a few posts about Chase – one of them is coming tonight hopefully – and it’s about something we had to do that was VERY difficult for all of us. But… we did it! Coming oh so soon…because I know you’re just {SO} curious ;)

 

“anniversary reactions” & “shadow grief”

Last night I spent most of my time reading and taking in (most) every word of a chapter in ‘Empty Cradle, Broken Heart’. The section was called ‘Anniversary Reactions’. How perfectly fitting as we have now entered this week of anniversaries.

As I read, it helped bring clarity and peace to my mind with some of the things I’ve been struggling wondering. The book talked about having anniversary reactions and I really wanted to share a bit of what I’ve read.

You may find that you have particularly bad days at certain times of the year. These “anniversary reactions” are normal responses to the grief of anniversaries relevant to your baby’s life and death…anniversary dates are special and painful …

Anniversary reactions can be discouraging, especially as time goes on and you feel as though you’re putting your life back together. You may be surprised by the appearance of these emotions… some call this “shadow grief” – the dull background ache that stays with you; anniversaries simply bring that ache to the foreground.

When I read that about “shadow grief” it really resonated. One of the struggles, and I’m not sure how to even word this, is that I am aching everyday and yet there are specific dates that bring this ache our in me more than ever. I wondered if maybe something was wrong with me that on specific dates, it’s harder than others. A part of me know that it makes sense, totally. But then another part of me struggled with this as well. Was something wrong with me and my struggling?

As the dates of Eisley’s passing and her birthday come, pretty swiftly, upon us I found myself struggling more and more as this week drew nearer. I knew that the dates themselves would be really difficult and also bring up a lot of painful and precious memouries.

I think my biggest fear and struggle is wanting this week to be meaningful, to honour her memory and to help us in healing. I am worried and fearful that I will miss something or be unable to do something that I need to, for her and for us as a family.

All along I’ve wanted to still celebrate her birthday. I know that it could possibly sound weird, how could I celebrate her birthday when she wasn’t here with us? But something inside of me just really wants to, at least for this year and possibly in the years to come. I struggled at first, thinking that I was weird or messed up or maybe I was in denial still. But as I think about it more and more, it’s what I want and need. I want to celebrate her life and who she was and is to me and us as a family. I want to recognize her as a part of our family, even though she’s no longer with us. She’s a part of us forever.

And then last night, something so simple yet profound (for me) hit me; every day we are thankful for Chase and the dynamic he brings to this family and once a year we celebrate his life, his birthday. Even though every day, we’re thankful and recognize his life, we still do that once a year. It’s special and memorable and for him.

It’s different with our Eisley-girl because she’s not here and also in that, every day we ache and miss her whether it be like what they talk about with “shadow grief” or it be more intense. And it makes sense that, just as once a year we celebrate Chase’s birthday, that once a year the date of her passing will be more intense and difficult and also that I have a longing to celebrate her birthday as well. To me that date of her passing is very difficult, with a lot of painful memouries, shattering dreams, etc. The date of her birth I remember as peaceful. It is the day that I got to hold my baby girl in my arms, see her beauty and her features that resembled her daddy and me. To me, September 17th, though painful it was beautiful as well.

I want to celebrate her and I know this year, I need to.

I guess I just wanted to share a bit of where I’m at and also hope that this could maybe encourage and help a momma who has lost a baby as their anniversary dates come and with each year.

Side note: Reading ‘Emtpy Cradle, Broken Heart’ is helping me immensely and maybe it could help you too. I’ve read a few books that have helped my grieving and this is the only one that is written by someone with a Ph.D. I wasn’t sure I’d like it but I love it. They interview several momma who’ve lost a baby as different times or stages in pregnancy or after birth. Each momma has a different perspective and way that they are grieving. It has helped me immensely to not feel so alone or abnormal in what I’ve felt since we lost Eisley. If you haven’t heard of this book or read it, I seriously recommend it. It doesn’t reach you as a spiritual level, really at all, but it does help in other areas. 

music; held.

music.

The words, the movement, the beauty expressed, the harmonies, the emotion is can draw out of one.

I close my eyes, take it in and find myself healing.

I’ve seen God meet people where they’re at time and time again and I’ve found He meets me in music, speaks to me through music, heals my heart through music.

He meets my heart through many different types of music, both “christian” and “secular”. Since we’ve lost Eisley, I’ve gained an entire “soundtrack” or two of music that speaks to my heart. Some music people have shared with me. Some of the songs I’ve stumbled across.

Music that meets me in the deepest, darkest, most painful places. The unexplored regions of my aching heart that need healing.

I decided to start sharing some of these songs and what they mean to me.

I’ll begin with Held by Natalie Grant and the meaning below.

Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling

Who told us we’d be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We’re asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it’s unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows

The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our Savior

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

I don’t really even know if I need to share what this song means to me. I remember hearing it before we ever walked through losing our Eisley-girl and if I’m being honest, I brushed it off. I didn’t understand it.

A few people shared it with me after we lost her. I brushed it off again because I remember thinking it was cheesy and I didn’t want cheesy, I wanted something that met my heart. One day I finally decided to look up the lyrics (I’m always look up the lyrics of a “new” song while it’s playing to see if I really like what it’s saying or if there is something I have missed)

Whoa, this song brought me to tears.

it resontated.

it spoke what my heart and mind were having a hard time understanding. i knew people who had said if we’d prayed more or had more faith and i found myself doubting myself and how much faith i had.

i battled feeling that feeling although deep down i knew there was nothing more i could have done. nothing more. i had faith she would survive. God knew my heart’s cry but sometimes a miracle just doesn’t happen. sometimes, yes even with faith, we have no sudden healing.

“who told us we’d be rescued? why should we be saved from tragedy?”

the other part of the song that met me was when it speaks of being held, throughout everything.

and oh, are we held.

 i know that without a doubt in my mind and in my heart. we are held.

tightly held, between His shoulders.

amidst the darkest, most treacherous valleys, we are held.

in our grieving and aching, we are held.

in our questions and struggles, we are held.

i’m held. i feel this now.

and when i struggle in feeling this, i still know this to be the truth.

we. are. held.

September 14th, we were held, even though we couldn’t feel it at the time, we were held. i know that without a doubt.

September 17th, as Eisley was placed in our arms… as we held her, i felt him holding us.

as we said our earthly goodbyes and parted from our daughters body until eternity, we were held.

we were, we are and we will be held. 

and you…

YOU are held. whether mountain top or the darkest valley; You are held.