Mourning into Joy 

I have the honour of being a part of a series called mourning into joy stories started by Sharon McKeeman (@sharonmckeeman on instagram #mourningintojoystories). As I began to write, I realized that there was more I wanted to share than a few sentences on instagram hence this blog post. I feel like sharing my own process might help someone out there.

*Disclaimer, this post is super raw and real and deals a lot with loss, mess and mental illness. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, please feel free to avoid this post!*

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2017. We’ve now entered the 7th year since we lost our daughter Eisley. In some ways it definitely feels like it’s been years, and in others it feel as though it was just yesterday. Here is a bit of our journey and my own honest process through loss.

At 13 weeks pregnant I bled, they found a blood clot which ultimately killed 2/3 of my placenta by week 19. And so began our journey with our Eisley-girl. Nearly every day for months we were told that we would lose her (due to the lack of nourishment to her body). That we should abort her and get on with our lives. But she fought, she held on longer than they’d ever expected. So much longer that the day before she passed away they shared with us that they’d deemed her “viable” and they would deliver her the next Friday. While her potential death had been lingering in it minds for months, it was still a complete shock to our systems when she passed away. It felt unbelievable – she’d held on for so long (7 months). We were so close. We had prayed and believed with everything in us. Many around the world prayed for her. And yet there we were, suddenly thrown into a world of loss: deciding how to birth her (we choose induction and she came 3 days later), preparing to meet her only to say goodbye, planning arrangements for her body, a memorial service to honour her life… and then the years of grief that have followed since.

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At first, I felt peace. Along with many, many things and I let myself feel through them all. I thought I was grieving “well”, to be honest. And then year after year I noticed my heart growing harder, I realized my prayer life had died along with our sweet girl. I didn’t even know how to pray and even how to believe for the best anymore. I denied these things, of course. Until the ache and bitterness inside me seeped out. Into my marriage, my family, my friends. My dreams and desires had changed, even my beliefs shifted. 2015 was my toughest year – I found myself depressed beyond what I’d ever imagined. My marriage was falling apart due to distance I’d created. I felt angry and bitter at everything, especially with God.

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I found myself living defensively, afraid to be broken again – believing I couldn’t possibly live through anymore brokenness and I’d do my best to control all things to avoid this. Having control seemed like the place to be. It seemed safer than giving anyone or God the reigns, that much was certain. So I clenched my fists and held on. But what I found instead was I felt out of control trying to maintain control. I was always angry (still struggle with this bad habit), always defensive and overly protective, always building new walls, all while trying to appear as though I had it all together. Trying to show loss hadn’t broken me beyond repair, that God was still on the throne of my life, that having two healthy pregnancies after Eisley had “redeemed” many things. Yet beneath the hardened shell was a broken Jami who didn’t even know if she believed in God anymore, and she certainly didn’t believe the sayings she’d heard others speak over her to cover her grieving and broken heart. Beneath it all was a girl who felt she’d scarred her marriage, her children and her own life beyond repair. A girl who felt all hope was lost and constantly wondered how she’d carry on.
I hit rock bottom March 2015. I entered the new year pregnant yet lost the baby at 8 weeks. Less than a month later, our daughter Everly (almost 1) was hospitalized with RSV and it triggered memories of loss and I imagined the worst case scenario possible during the scary times with her. Though she was only in for 4 days and recovered well it triggered grief I’d shoved away and it all felt too much to handle. And to be completely honest, the best option I saw was to leave this world of pain and heartache. I walked my husband and family through hell on that terrible night in March, when I felt I couldn’t continue living the way I was.

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But Jesus met me in my brokeness. When I felt all hope was lost. He met me and I didn’t feel hopeless even though I didn’t know what was next. My husband and I started counseling. I got on medication for depression and anxiety. And we fought: for life, for restoration, for hope, for dreams.
By the time 2016 came I still felt broken though healing was happening. Ted had to move away to Alaska to provide for us as a family and I suddenly was thrown into parenting alone and actually two of my worst fears were combined: I felt so alone. And I felt judged and misunderstood by those around me.
It was unfair to place expectations on others to look after me, especially when I wasn’t honest with where I was really at emotionally/mentally. But I did. And guess what? I was wounded and expectations weren’t met. And I felt utterly alone – so alone in fact it felt physically painful.
And He met me again. Jesus, without any amount of phony sayings to get me through suffering, He just met me in my broken mess. I picture it like this: I’m sitting on the ground with huge glass mirrors shattered all around me. No one wants to come close because of the mess and the fear of being hurt themselves, but here comes this guy I’d rejected so much in the past few years. He didn’t care about the mess, the chance of being wounded… He cared about ME. In fact so much that He joined me in the thick of the mess and brokenness.

“In brokenness I see your face, the colour of your eyes and the taste of your ways.”

(I wrote this years ago and it’s so very true. I realized how close He really was. He’s in my suffering with me.)

Finals-14(September 17, 2013. Eisley’s 3rd birthday, and pregnant with our second daughter, Everly)

Suffering is so complex. And I still have my doubts, I still have questions, and still have no full answers but one thing I do believe with everything within me is that He meets me here. In this mess, in the suffering. He doesn’t shun me for asking the hard questions or for having doubt. He can handle me at my worst and is unashamed of me. He is not disappointed with me. He’s WITH me in my suffering.
Whatever you are going through currently or still processing from years and maybe decades past, HE is with you in your suffering. And anyone who tells you that you must have blind faith, and accept that He “gives and takes away”. Let it go. It isn’t true. He is a good and loving Father and He didn’t do “this” to you. (Seriously, go and watch the sermon on Job by Greg Boyd called Twisted Scripture – it wrecked me in the best way!)
People may not be able to handle you at your worst, but Jesus sure can. Go to Him, He will walk beside you until you find your feet and even then He stays put, helping you as you walk through this journey of loss, heartache and pain.

Through every ebb and flow of grief’s waves. Through every memory that still stings, through every present ache that exists.

He is with you, carrying you, holding you, crying with you…

He will be with you always.

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He can turn your mourning into joy.

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Since the loss of our Eisley-girl, we have since welcomed two healthy pregnancies and babies into our family. While they do not take the place of our sweet girl or perfectly redeem what we’ve walked through, their precious lives have helped in our healing process. We are so grateful for who they are, and how much they’ve impacted our family!

Shailo Valour (5) – We were terrified during his pregnancy yet felt so strongly that he was everything we named him, Shailo (Shiloh) – God’s gift, a place of peace and rest and worship in a time of battle and Valour (Valor) meaning courage in the face of fear/battle, brave. He has truly, even from the womb, been our brave little gift from God in the midst of fear/anxiety/battle. Seriously, our lives are so much more full, exciting and adventurous with Shailo Valour in our lives.

And Everly Selah (almost 3) –  I remember crying out to Him one evening and journaling my heart out. There was a part of me that felt we would have another daughter someday, and I decided on that evening her name would be a reflection (of who He is to us, to her and who she is to Him) and a declaration that would mean “Forever Amen”. I knew that I wanted her name to declare that He is forever sovereign, good, loving, caring, worthy, etc, etc, etc… amen. We wanted to declare that even though we’ve walked through the darkest valley (for us) He is still all of the beautiful things we believed He was. Despite our suffering and loss, He was still good and caring. We were still His and He was still our Father who loved us. I decided I wanted our next girl’s name to mean forever… so I decided on Ever and added ‘ly’ to fit with our Eisley-girl’s name. Though she ins’t here with us on Earth, I still, very much so, wanted her to be apart of our family. Even when it comes to names. 

We are now 30 weeks pregnant with our 3rd son, and we are hopeful and believing he will be joining us come early March! 

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Lessons at the Royal Gorge.

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(The Royal Gorge – photo by Ted)

We’re facing some huge mountains and even deep valleys in our lives. (pun intended with this post, but I’m also quite serious) ‘The mountains’ being decisions we’re having to make and ‘the valleys’ representing the areas we have yet to face that we are afraid to, or “haven’t had time” to. We are weighed down by life’s punches and blows, the sudden ones and the old blows that still ache with each breath. Today, we just knew we had to get out – literally.  Where better to run to in Colorado than to the mountains? It’s always our favourite escape. We begin our trek usually not knowing where we are going – letting go of (almost) all control (which is why Ted drives in such circumstances), we drive until we decide where to go and what to do. More often than not, our kiddos fall asleep within the first 20-30 minutes, we roll our windows down to take in the fresh air and just listen to music.

After some time, one of the two of us speak the vulnerable, powerful words that carry so much…”I’m so sorry…”and reach for the other’s hand. Hot tears stream down our cheeks.

Here we are again, and again, and again.

So much pain and suffering shoved to the side, overlooked, or perhaps avoided, raising it’s ugly head in words spoken to one another. And life, oh life hasn’t been gracious to stop to say “Hey, it’s okay to grieve. Let’s talk. Let’s cry. Let’s scream. Let’s write. Let’s take time to heal.”

It’s been brutal. And boy, are we done.  But not done with LIFE and with LIVING. We are done with SUFFERING. Suffering, not just due to the losses we have had, but mainly the suffering due to the choices we’ve made along the way. Ones of avoidance, choices made to choose the busyness of life so not to feel and face the valleys, the deep and dark places that terrify us.

The first few months of this year have been incredibly painful, filled with sickness after sickness, hospitalization of Everly, and amidst all of that the loss of another baby (I would entering my 2nd trimester this week). From the outside looking in, we appear to be okay. And it makes sense why people around us have thought we’ve even moved on. Appearance… oh my. What a joke, am I right? How many times do we (you?) lie through your teeth “I’m doing good!”? We just keep pushing through and going and going and going. But is that strength? We know, we are anything but strong right now. We had given up just two weeks ago. We wanted to call it quits on everything. And those moments, our “rock bottom”, have led us to this moment here…

Now, we are making choices for our family that aren’t easy (the mountains) which don’t look anything like we’d imagined, or planned for. Or where we’d imagined. It actually might seem like a rather simple life, from the outside looking in. Or like we’ve given up on our dreams, our calling even. But we know this is not, and that this is the first time we are deliberate in choosing to face this “valley” that we haven’t fully faced, and that is no small or simple or weak thing. It is strong to decide this path, though it’s more painful and requires more faith (for us).

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(The Royal Gorge – photo by Ted)

I stood today and looked down into the depths of this gorge. And my stomach sank due to fear (especially with my kids near!) yet once I recognized how truly safe we were, the fear naturally dissolved and I began to see the beauty everywhere. There was beauty even in the depths where the river raged below. I almost gasped, it was so stunning. I suddenly realized it was no coincidence that we were there. I felt like this was a picture of where we are at: A picture of us, facing this gorge, this valley and feeling fear as we look down. Fear of falling and being unable to get back up, or worse. Fear of the unknown in facing the raging river. But from above I can see there is also beauty below. Though it will be difficult to crawl back into that valley and face these things, the beauty that will meet us amidst all of this pain and fear, is undeniably healing.

Now, if you had told me I would get this kind of an amazing picture, just even a week ago, I would have scoffed, honestly. I have put up some major barriers in my relationship with God in my search for answers. Searching for peace and understanding in every season of life and feeling as though I come up empty handed each time, or worse – suffering more loss. And that is painful and confusing. I want to be in a place where I can trust Him wholeheartedly, again. And with this picture, I feel like once I can do what He’s wanting us to do – to truly face this valley – our fear will begin dissolve, our trust will begin to build up again.

He’ll walk us through this valley. He will be with us.

And perhaps, for now, that is my answer. That He will be with us each step of the way.

(taken with my iphone)

 And for these little eyes that are watching, and looking into the gorge but not truly knowing what their momma and daddy are giong to be facing (and honestly, I don’t want them to fully know!)… I want to do this for all of us. I want to show them that though you will face these gorges, and have to walk through these valleys, you need to and you WILL come out alive.

We are more than conquerers with Him.

 We can do this.

However difficult and painful. However long it takes.IMG_4959

Time to face this valley.

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I’ve written posts with talk of this kind of having hope to face this. Talk of facing giants and valleys and mountains and fears, etc, etc, etc… but this time we actually have steps in place to help us. Such as long term grief and marital counseling for this year. Which is a first, the longest stretch we did was almost 2 months, and it was our healthiest 2 months since the loss of Eisley. Grief and lingering sorrow have truly seeped into every area of our lives: health – we are both the most unhealthy we’ve ever been physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s seeped into our drive, our passions, into who we are and how we live.

I told Ted today, for the first time since Eisley passed away, I have felt it is time to move forward. I need to figure out how to say goodbye, which is something I haven’t been able to let go and to do yet. Almost 5 years later… I don’t know what this will look like, but I am ready to move forward and begin my trek through this valley.

Thankful that Jesus is walking before us.

Thank you for reading this novel. :)

-J

Sharing Eisley (on sharing child loss)

This week Chase asked me about Eisley… again. His curious mind, wondering and trying to process things he either vaguely remembers, or things he’s heard and seen. Pictures, memorabilia, even the breakdowns I’ve had (that I can’t say I’m overly proud of).

I remember before I had her as the fear of losing her became greater and greater, I struggled with wondering, do I tell my almost 14-month-old anything? I mean he wouldn’t even remember, right? I knew he wouldn’t understand but would he feel things?

While I was in labor with Eisley, I was given a nurse who had two stillborn babies,her first baby and her third. She had children between and after her losses and she shared with me that she and her husband had decided to tell her other children. They were a part of their family, and they would celebrate them each year.

But what would we do? And if I don’t share now while he was little, then when? Do I ever?

Then I had Eisley, and to be honest, I didn’t really have time to think things through… clearly, anyways. It was all kind of a blur, a fog…a nightmare.

I think I knew deep down, not sharing about her wasn’t really an option. I felt so close with her, and now I felt like a part of me was missing. How could I not share her?

And even the moments, like this week and and the weeks to come – where the haunting anniversaries arrive, memories resurface, pain feels raw all over again,… I don’t ever regret sharing her…

and I especially don’t regret sharing Eisley with Chase, and now Shailo and some day, Everly.

There is truly an Eisley-shaped hole in our family that not only are Ted and I learning to live with. But also our children. They don’t feel the magnitude of what we felt and feel, but they feel something. Chase remembers some things from that time, though he was little.

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And more than that, they too, are processing the questions that arise in them that their minds can’t wrap around. It’s funny, in a childlike way, he has had some of the same thoughts/questions I’ve had for my Heavenly Father.

Like this last week when he said to me, “I know Eisley is with Jesus… But I wish she could come here and stay in our new home with us.”

Oh my heart.

I found myself wanting to say something comforting like, “but she is in heaven with Jesus and I bet she has a super cool room!”

But I just couldn’t. Validation, Jami, it’s what helped you when you needed it most, “yeah, me too, buddy.”

“Well, we can pretend she’s here!” He said and pulled Everly’s little rocker into the hallway.

I didn’t really know what to do or to say. So I didn’t. I didn’t move the chair for hours. But when the house was quiet as all 3 kiddos napped and I spotted the sun shining perfectly on the little rocker. It just broke me. I fell to my knees, put my head down and wept on to the empty rocker.

Even in these painful moments and memories, I still don’t… And can’t… Regret sharing her with her siblings.

Or sharing her with you along the way.

I had this fear she’d be forgotten, like she’d never existed, when we first lost her.

I wanted people to know of the beautiful little girl we held for 45 minutes. I wanted people to know of who we felt she was and to remember how she impacted us and also those who prayed for her.

To not share who she was, who she is and how she impacted our lives, felt like an injustice. For her, and honestly, for myself too. I always desire authenticity, even here on my
Blog. It has helped my grieving immensely, to write about her life and my struggles since she passed, and how we are moving forward as life is speeding by.

I realized, almost four years later, the ache is still ever-present and though it seems different, it isn’t any easier to process. We are still learning how to live with this ache, with the questions that arise in ourselves and in our kids/

This week I have felt so thankful that we decided to share her life with our other kiddos. And that we don’t hide behind close doors with our grief (though at time, we do). That even though the sudden questions may take us aback, we address them.

I haven’t been proud of many moments in my grief these past four years, but this is an area I am very thankful we allowed.

That we accept this as a part of our lives and say it’s okay to grieve and to talk about her. To ask the questions that linger.

We are learning what it means to share her life, to grieve and rejoice, together. Though each grieves so very differently, it is together as a family. And for that, I am beyond thankful.

I wanted to close the doors on my emotions this year, for some reason that I can’t quite pinpoint. But Chaseyboy’s questions and that moment in the hallway broke me.

I’m thankful. So thankful, as we are less than two weeks away from anniversaries.

Thank you for reading my emo blog post. I guess I just want to be sure I keep sharing. That I don’t close the door to the blog world, too. I know this blog has touched so many grieving mommas. I want to say to you that it’s okay to grieve, it’s okay to share and to be heard and feel validated. Your child’s life happened, your loss happened. Speak it, cry it out, scream it out if needed. Be heard by at least one. I’m not saying you must write a blog in order to validate their life and your loss, but I just want to speak it out for you mommas, especially those who feel weak… don’t shut the doors to your grief, don’t fret that you will mess up your other kiddos if you cry in front of them.  It is okay to share, it might even help those around you too.

Sharing has helped in my healing. Sharing has helped in our family’s healing. It’s still painful, but it does helps.

Love,
J

 

3 years.

“I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all – oh, how well I remember – the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember and remembering, {I keep a grip on hope.}

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning, how great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over) He’s all I’ve got left.”

Lamentations 3:19-24

eisleysbirthdayballoonrelease-53 years ago this morning we found ourselves in a place we’d never imagined. The morning our sweet and strong Eisley-girl passed away.

In some ways I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already. But honestly, it many ways, it feels like a lifetime since I held her in my arms, since we said our hellos and goodbyes.

We miss her so very much.

The ache, the ‘Eisley shaped hole’ still ever-present.

Even 3 years later, in remembering, it feels hard to breath. I sometimes still want to stomp my feet like a child, it just doesn’t seem fair. Or cry until I can’t anymore as if it would help ease the grief. Or veg out – like I did first thing this morning – to be completely honest. My boys woke super early. I walked to the living room, made them breakfast and then turned on a season of Project Runway. I didn’t want to think. I knew where my mind would go, and I was afraid of that.

That horrible morning still takes away my breath if I allow myself to think about it. The past few years I’ve found that I push Ted away, when this week comes around. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why until today. Even with all of my months of grief and trauma counseling, I still can’t fully “go there”, to that morning, to having my fears confirmed, to what it felt like to feel alone; to be away from Ted when I heard the news… How do we wrap our minds around this? I mean, can we? Do we even really want to? And add to that, our circumstances of that day which didn’t allow Ted to be with me when we lost her. I couldn’t even muster up the courage to call and tell him myself. Which I’ve forever regretted.

I realized today that when this anniversary of her death comes around, I want to push Ted away, shut him out. I was alone when I lost her and feel confused and alone even still, but that isn’t HIS fault. He is incredible; he practically became a single dad over night, while going to College and working full time. I mean, come on. Our circumstances just totally sucked, for lack of a better, non-profane word.

I realized today, I need to let him in. I need to let those who want in, in. Just because I was alone the morning of her death, doesn’t mean I have to be alone in grieving her. Ted was alone that day too. Most of our family and friends were alone too when they heard.

Eisley’s birthday is Tuesday September 17th and we will celebrate her life. I think on the 14th it will always be especially difficult and painful, because it was and in many ways, it still is. I think I need today and each September 14th to really just let it out, grieve and not hold back. This year I am not. The past two years I’ve forced this or that to happen and this year, I’m rolling with it. This morning I needed to veg. Now, I want to feel. Ted sent me off to a cafe to have time to myself. To journal and blog and do whatever I need to do. I am so thankful.

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(Chaseyboy on the 1st anniversary of her birthday. September 17, 2011)

I’ve been somewhat of an open book here on my blog, about the loss of Eisley and our journey through grief. I’ve come to accept that this is me. This is who I am and what I have felt has helped me process. And I just run with it. Thank you to those of you who’ve allowed me to just be me. Who haven’t judged me, or at least not to my face ;) Over the past 3 years, and in all my sharing, I’ve only ever heard two comments of negativity towards my sharing. Thank you for never shutting me down. Thank you for listening and caring.

Thank you mostly for remembering our sweet girl with us. We are forever grateful and honoured that she too touched and inspired your lives.

Much love.

Jami Joann

 

 

26 weeks 4 days…

I’ve been processing and thinking a lot, very privately, as you may have noticed…or maybe not :) I haven’t written much on how we’re doing or where I’m at. I realized just the other day that I’ve been posting such “light” posts like I used to, I guess just to blog and to kind of say “I’m still here.” But today I really want to share a vulnerable place within me and what today means to me.

Today I am 26 weeks and 4 days pregnant with Boy S. This was exactly where I was at when we lost our Eisley-girl. 26 weeks 4 days. This is the most bittersweet day of my pregnancy with S thus far. I am extremely thankful as I look down to see my quickly growing belly and knowing that there is a strong, well nourished baby boy within me yet at the same time, I am in awe that we’re already here; The very same place where in my pregnancy with our daughter, I wept. Where our dreams and hopes for her shattered the moment her heart stopped beating.

My heart aches and heals simultaneously every single day. In some ways it’s been aching more and more as each month passes by but I can say I am now I finding my heart is slowly healing. Last month, when we reached 10 months since Eisley passed away, I couldn’t even comprehend that. 10 months?! It seems so long since we last held her yet some days it feels like just yesterday since they told me she’d passed away. Soon, 11 months and then a year… can you believe that? We can’t.

A few weeks ago I spent the evening at my grandparent’s house having dinner, catching up and later, we all watched America’s Got Talent (it’s one of their favourite shows :)) As the show came on, this sudden wave of memouries flooded my mind and it took everything in me not to break down right there in front of everyone. Memouries of the last time I had seen this show, almost a year ago now…

I flashed back to the evening September 14th, hours after Eisley had passed away in my womb. We sat in our small hospital room; Ted, myself and Chase and Eisley’s godparents. We had turned on America’s Got Talent. My mind had grown completely numb. I know Ted would say the same, hence him turning on a television show at such a time. I remember sitting there blankly watching the “acts”. I’d keep placing my hand on my belly, as pregnant mothers often unconsciously do. I looked down to find my hand resting on my belly and then it suddenly hit me, like really hit me, she was no longer alive inside of me…

Next month is September which is incredibly hard to believe. I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that it’s been almost one year since we said our goodbyes. I’m just astounded. How can that possibly be? I’ve said it before on this blog, but time is flying a lot faster than my heart is healing. Even though I now recognize this as our reality, it doesn’t mean that my heart and mind have connected and come to terms with this. Will I ever? Is it humanly possible to “wrap my mind” around everything? I’m starting to think that it’s not because everything we have/are walking through is moving against how “it should be”. I’ve learned that no matter how detailed a conversation I have with our doctors about what happened and what went wrong doesn’t actually help much at all. I’ve realized that there truly isn’t one “answer” that could be said to me that would ever completely heal the aching heart of a mother. She is no longer with us and I will always ache knowing that to be truth.

How do you grieve the loss of one precious baby all while hoping and dreaming for another in little one in your womb?  I reach milestones with S that I never did with Eisley and can only describe them as bittersweet. I reach dates and (pregnancy) weeks that with Eisley were emotionally painful and here I carry within me a strong and growing baby boy. Processing both has brought me on an incredible “emotional rollercoaster”. It’s also brought me to places of healing. I’ve found that in my pregnancy with S I’ve become even more aware of how much of a miracle it was that Eisley fought for so long.  Our Eisley-girl was our miracle baby, even though she wasn’t able to be with for as long as we’d hoped.

I’ve realized that I don’t need or even want the “answers” if there are/were any. God has really helped my mind and my heart in this season. He’s close to my heart, I feel it.  I fight fear everyday in this pregnancy and some days I give in to fear more than I do in just resting in Him, but all along I know He’s never left my side. I know this because I wouldn’t be able to do this without him. It’s all too overwhelming and terrifying by myself. It is {truth} that in our weakness, He is strong. He truly is my refuge and my strength.

I read this verse just the other day and it resonated within me and I hope as I share, it too can resonate with someone who reads my blog who is walking in their own struggles, griefs, sorrows, or whatever “it”might be for you….

      Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;  though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold,  and there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 

The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
Habakkuk 3:17-19

Here we are, at 26 weeks and 4 days with aching yet hopeful hearts. Thankful that He really will help us to walk on the steepest, highest, most treacherous hills. My heart is heavy and more fearful than most days, but it’s also expectant and hopeful of incredible things to come.

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We miss you more than words can say, Eisley-girl. I am comforted in knowing that you, my precious baby girl, are resting between His shoulders. And even more comforted to know that someday I will see you, hold you and kiss your little nose. I love you and miss you deeply, momma.