Thursday, December 31, 2015

One Year Ago Today...

I've been composing this post in my head for over two weeks now.  I've written down drafts and then left them unpublished - how do you put into words the intense range of emotions that accompanies an anniversary of loss?  How do I stay real in this space without becoming too depressing and dark?  How do I honor our little one and our loss and yet still provide hope, encouragement, and glory to God? 

I was going to share a glimpse of the bitterness and anger that I've been going through.  The sense of emptiness and confusion - the "why her and not me?" that comes with every pregnancy announcement (of which there has been an abundance this holiday season).  I thought maybe I'd talk about the guilt of just wishing Christmas was over so you don't have to put on a fake smile anymore and things can just get back to "normal".

But if you're in this boat, you don't need a reminder.

You know what it feels like.

And you know how easy it is to give in to all these negative feelings.  We don't need to give them any more airtime...

they've had enough already.

So today I forced myself to make a list of the positives.  On this anniversary of loss, I'm choosing to dig deep and remember what I have to be thankful for.  This year was hard, but God gave us many blessings too.  I don't want to end this year on a low note.  I don't want Satan to take that from me too.  So here is a short list of gifts that I am thankful for this year:

- I'm thankful for all the ways Doad and I grew closer and stronger in our marriage.  These losses could have torn us apart, but by God's grace, they made our marriage stronger.  He is my best friend and I am so fortunate to have him to lean on through this journey.

- I am thankful for my church family who is always kind, loving, and supportive.

- I'm thankful for our trip to Cancun and the time we got to spend in each other's company relaxing and exploring and taking a much-needed vacation.

- I'm also thankful for all the other places we got to travel to together this year: New Jersey, Orlando, Massachusetts.

- I am thankful to no longer be in a stressful job and to instead be pursing a career that fills me with purpose and happiness.  I love what I am doing right now and am excited about the future in health-coaching and with essential oils.

- I'm thankful for Lacey and what a good companion and comfort she is.  She is such a good cuddler and so loyal.  She knows how to make us feel better and she brings so much joy to our home.

- I am thankful for dear friends and family who care enough about us to go through the ugly stuff with us.  They know when we need tough love and when we need a shoulder to cry on.  They have borne the brunt of bad attitudes and still love us.  They keep us accountable.  They pray for us.  They LOVE us.

- I am thankful for how we grew in Christ.  There has been a lot of questioning and hard lessons from God, but I am grateful that our faith is not stagnant and stale.  We are being stretched and tested.  We are learning about the Holy Spirit and his activity in our daily lives. We are learning to let go and to simplify.  We are learning to trust beyond what we though we were capable of and we are clinging to hope with all we've got.

So there's a list... and I am thankful.

And I do mean it... but... it feels fake.

I can't end this post here all pretty and resolved and let you think it's as simple as that.  I want you to see the battle here.  I want you to see that it took over an hour to write that list - that I'm fighting not to give in to the negativity.

This isn't easy.

The flesh in me wants to look at this list and say "That's not good enough."

I wanted a baby this year too.

Instead I lost not one, but two babies.

And all these months later, I still have no answers.  I wish I had more to share with you, but this is all I know:

Somehow

Someway

God is still good.

He is near to the brokenhearted.

He offers comfort, and peace, and hope.

His grace is sufficient for us, and his power is made perfect in our weakness.

He is the giver of life.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

He loves with an everlasting love and his faithfulness towards us continues.

O sister, sweet friend, dear one in the thick of this battle with me,  be encouraged!  Let your heart be open to the comfort of His Word.  It may sting as it goes down, but hidden in these promises is the only place I can find rest right now.  I pray the same for you.

This is the fight.

To go back to what we know, to cling to the promises of God.  To choose to dwell on the hope and the peace that He offers and not the death and despair of the world.  Fight with me.  Hope with me as the new year comes.