Friday, June 12, 2015

This Is The Day

I recently began working in a grief workshop. Not so much because I am in the depths of grief, but because I thought I may learn a bit about myself.

Today we were asked to tell others what our "mantra" was, and I shared mine:

"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Ps. 118:24)

Every morning I say this to myself before I roll out of bed. When I have a disagreement with my children or my husband, I repeat it in my head. I say it to myself when the money is gone before the bills are, and I whisper it out as I lay down to sleep.

It was what I posted on my Facebook profile when my water broke, at 34 weeks, the night that my sweet Beatrix was born.

"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Ps. 118:24)

One recurring theme throughout my post-loss life has been the concept that God always has a handle on things. I have a difficult time comprehending this, at times -- but I still have faith that it's true.

In Christian faith circles today we have a trend of calling people to "claim God's power" over their life, or to "believe in the power of prayer" to fix their problems.

The problem is that within this mind-set there is a tendency to begin believing that we have some sort of control over every situation we may face. We just need to claim God's blessings or pray harder. When faced with baby-loss this becomes a terrible weight -- is it my fault my baby died?

Didn't I pray hard enough?

I claimed that blessing over my life, why didn't I receive it?

Was my faith too weak?

Working in the context that we have some type of power through prayer isn't just defeating -- it's not Biblical. All power resides in God. As difficult as that is to swallow, it's the truth. We can't believe ourselves into controlling God's will. No matter how long our prayer chain is, it will never be capable of outpacing God and his plans.

When we  say, "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Ps. 118:24), what we are stating is that we understand that while we have free-will, this doesn't give us control over the ultimate outcome of the story. We are saying that we comprehend that God has it all under control, and we trust that his outcomes are part of the work of salvation.

I would not claim to know what God was thinking, but I know that my daughter's death was not part of His plan. His plan did not include death and disease. His plan did not include sorrow.

Could He have changed things and given her life?


But He didn't, and the declaration in Psalm 118:24, the declaration which I make daily, is that I have put my trust in Him as the creator of days. I have made the decision to trust His plan. It is not ever easy. I don't always choose trust joyfully, but I always choose to trust completely. My trust delivers a promise for me, as well:

 "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." (Ps. 4:8)

We search so diligently for peace, especially in this post-loss world. We all want to find some answer, some reasoning for such tragic circumstances. Really, this side of heaven, we will never be satisfied with the answers we are given. 

But this trust, this rejoicing in each day with its triumphs and sorrows is a beginning. This accepting our powerlessness is the first step in healing. 

This day is the day the Lord has made -- and thank goodness for that. Because of that promise, I know I will eventually see my daughter again, and I rejoice without ceasing at the thought of that reunion.

{For more information regarding Power of Prayer here's an excellent post about the subject.

For more information about the "name it, claim it" philosophy, here's an excellent article about the subject.}

Thursday, June 11, 2015

She Brings Joy Blog Hop- Where I am Today

Each week brings all types of new experiences, and new thoughts on this baby loss journey. Whether you are at the beginning of your bereavement or a seasoned veteran your view on life "today" has been permanently changed, and is so valuable.

For those of us further along, a fresh view helps to remind us of how much we've grown and how much our grief has shaped who we are today. 

For those of us whose wounds are still fresh, it helps to know that someone has survived this. It helps to see that you can get through. It helps when you grow to understand that your feelings are natural.

This weeks prompt is:

 Where I am today

Where are you today, in terms of grief? Where are you in terms of disillusionment, strength, abandonment, acceptance, rebellion, or any number of other life-descriptions which fit into this world of loss?

We all take different routes on this path, and what works for some may not work for others -- but sharing the stories of our personal experiences can help guide someone else in their struggle. 

I hope to learn a lot about your path, and I hope you can learn from mine. 

As always:

Four rules: 

1) This is a child-loss hop. You must be a bereaved/healing parent to participate. This includes children lost from conception forward- early term miscarriage, teenagers, adults. If you have lost a child, you can link up.

2) This is a carry to term blog. I would prefer no posts promoting termination of pregnancy after a poor pregnancy diagnosis. 

3) Please link back to this post, somewhere in your own. That way other moms can find it, and participate or read stories which may speak to their experience.

4) Please leave a comment on as many other entries as possible. Every mom needs support.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Where I Am

It has been four years, five months, three weeks, and six days since I touched my daughter. 

That's what the tiny Lillypie ticker at the bottom of my page says.

So, where am I today? 

I am o.k. I go days without crying. I go days without dwelling on losing her. I can sleep. What ifs are generally a thing of the past. I don't replay the moments of her life in my mind.

I am o.k. Average. There's more to me than being a woman who lost a baby.

Am I the same as I was before this happened? 

In many ways, yes. Trauma is supposed to bring out bravery and a new lease on life, but loss did not make me a hero. For a while it made me very bitter. I thought I was supposed to be doing something with my time, something monumental. Everyone else had these great ideas. Started up charitable organizations. They seemed to be doing amazing things in their baby's memories, and here I was just trying to make sure that my kids had clean clothes on every day.

I still have all of the same bad habits, and there are times when I don't embrace every second.

Has anything changed? 

Yes. I think twice before I turn away from my children. I understand what it means to spend a last minute with someone. I hate to say it, but I'm more fearful. I worry about my family more. 

But -- counteracting that fear is a faith which is growing in leaps and bounds. I find myself yielding to grace in a less complicated way. It has taken me a while to get here; four years, five months, three weeks, and six days to be exact. I am less angry with God. More accepting of His will. I am more accepting  He knows my entire story, even the difficult parts, and it's part of a plan. 

Where am I today? I suppose that I'm where I should be. Less grief stricken. Less edgy. Less raw. 

This year would have been the year she began kindergarten, and as long as I don't think too pointedly on that, then I think I'll be just fine.

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