Wednesday, April 9, 2008

For Jill....and all the other mommies of Glory Babies

It's amazing what happens when tragedy strikes your family.

When I lost our fourth baby back in December, people asked me all the time, "How are you doing?" I would answer with the standard, "Okay" and try to leave it at that. It was just too hard to talk about without becoming emotional. I needed to heal first, before I could talk about my loss.

I have found that tragedy is like anything else in life. When it is new, it is all that consumes you (and, maybe, others as well.) It is all you can think about, and even when you are able to NOT think about it, random things that have nothing to do with your particular circumstance will bring you back to it anyway. But, as time passes, and weeks turn into months since "IT" happened, people stop asking. It's code for, "It's time to move on, now." That is never really said out loud....and only the people who have experienced a loss like what I am talking about really know what I mean. It's the whole, "life goes on" mentality. "You can't dwell on this forever. Pick yourself up, and keep going."

You start to try to heal, and then begin to have some good days. Then, many more good days. Then, the good days begin to outnumber the bad ones....until the bad ones are actually few and far between. Oh, there will always be bad days. But they do decrease over time.

I've been doing really well. God has provided me with great healing, and for that, I am so thankful.

But circumstances of this week have brought strong, painful memories flooding back to me. Pain that I thought had faded away through God's healing. I have realized that, though the pain may been deeply tucked inside, it may never fade away completely. And I think that is how God wants it to be. It is a now one of our distinguishing characteristics. A marker we have, we women who have known this pain....for us to use to be able reach out when this pain turns it's grip on others.

Heaven welcomed two more glory babies in the last 48 hours.....and it has brought me back all over again. It has hit close to home, as one of these mommies was a personal friend of mine. My sadness, while not overtaking me, has returned.

I would have been 31 weeks on Friday. 31 weeks. That is hard to think about. In a few weeks, I would have started going to Dr. Shepherd every week. Then, soon after that, I would be experiencing new life all over again. Bringing a new one home from the hospital again (and realizing all over again just how CRAZY people drive out on the road). The sleepless nights. Nursing. Showing off our precious bundle at church. Toting FOUR children around now, instead of three. Experiencing all of those first.....coos, smiles, teeth, sitting, crawling. Being able to be the protective and nurturing one to my sweet newborn.

All those what ifs.

Here is the thing, though. I can not dwell on those things. I choose not to dwell on those things. The Bible tells us to "think on those things that are TRUE....." For me, and for so many others, the above paragraph is not a true reality. It is one that exists only in my head. Imagining all of the things that I would have done, and what the baby would have been like....that's exactly what it is. Imagination. That is not a reality for me, and for this fourth child of ours, it never will be.

And, I know, for God's glory and my greater good, there is a perfect and holy reason for that. I don't quite understand it, and I don't feel as though I even need too. That is exactly the definition of faith. I am believing and trusting in something that I can not see for myself. Only God knows why our baby is not with us. Why so many others--Maddox, Miller Grace, Tristan, Copeland, Madeline Grace, Audrey Caroline, Tabitha Grace, Joshua, Poppy Joy, Eva Janette, Noah, Mary Grace, Eliot, Jonathan, Asher, and so many more babies that were lost in utero--the list goes on and on--have babies that are sitting at the feet of Jesus today instead of being in our care.

One thing I feel the need to say here: I am not sure exactly who reads this blog of mine. But, just in case, if you are sitting here reading my words today, and you do not know this same Jesus that I know, let me strive to make one thing very clear. My God is not something that I (or anyone else for that matter) have created as sort of a 'coping mechanism'. Well, if I only could believe that my baby is in a better place.....I would be able to handle all of this. So, I will choose to believe that he is in heaven now. That makes me feel better.

God is REAL. He is alive, in heaven, ruling over this earth. He is coming back, someday that I believe will be soon. He loves me, He loves you. He cares about every single thing that happens to me, no matter how small. He does not cause evil, but He does allow it--again, for His glory and our ultimately greater good.

And He loves my sweet little glory baby so much more than I ever could.

God has taught me so very much through all of this. Not only through my loss, but others' losses as well. I am a better prayer warrior now. When I see a family suffering, and I say, "I will pray for you....", I mean it. I add them to my prayer list. I pray for them. Sure, I miss a day here and there. I am certainly not perfect; far from it, in fact. But these families that are on my prayer list, both on my blog and at home, they mean something to me. I want to help them, and the best way I know how is by diligently praying for each of them. I am a better servant now. When I see someone who has a need, I am brought back to when I had a need. How many people reached out to me (or did not--both equally taught me something) when I needed it? How did they reach out to me? What can I, can any of us, do to help those who are grieving a loss, or going thru any other sort of life difficulty or tragedy?

Jill, it is going to take time. Don't let anyone tell you different. Jesus sees each tear, and he counts them....even the ones that never come from your eyes, but are there inside of your heart. This is going to hurt. It is actually surprising just how much it hurts. But God will heal your heart. He always does, if you allow Him too. And, I am confident that you will.

Our babies are playing together at Jesus' feet right at this moment. What an amazing thought. Love you Jill, and I am praying for you.

~Glory Baby, by Watermark~
An amazing, touching song that speaks wonderful truths!
(the music will not start automatically--
please click on launch standalone player to hear)


jillybean said...

Thank you, Devin! I can relate so much to what you wrote, and I'm sure I will continue to understand more as I move through this whole process.

Thank you also for your prayers! We do feel the love and support of so many and it means the world.

I love the Glory Baby song! I've heard it so many times before on my Watermark cd, but it takes on a whole new meaning now.

Thank you so much!

Anxious AF said...

Much of what you said about the grieving process is true for me also. I have not lost a child, but I am grieving the past 7 months, time has healed many things, and I am slowly getting there.
Thank you for this post.

Where in Illinois are you.

Hannah said...

Thank you so much for writing this post and for including Tabitha on your list. I have read your blog for a while now, but never commented (isn't that how it always goes!)

Today is 9 weeks since I delivered Tabitha, and this week I have really felt like people think my "appointed" mourning period is over. It is just so hard, and reading this today was just so encouraging. It's so easy to lose sight of God's purpose and His grace in the midst of grief, but He is present even (or especially?) in the darkest moments! Amazing, isn't it?
I'll be praying for you and for your friend.


boltefamily said...

Thanks for this post!

. said...

You really said it Dev! I can never put into words how I feel, but 6 1/2 years later I still long for my little man that left to soon. I never talk about him (to others, I think about him ALL the time, even this many years later)and feel awkward talking about miscarriage in general. I think it's because I haven't 'dealt' with it fully. My husband is lacking in this area, It was never really too real for him, (it usually takes the ultrasound or kicking for it to really kick in and be 'real' for him) I have a blood disorder which led to the miscarriage and I feel guilty that I didn't know about it and wasn't able to prevent it from happening. I also feel badly that we hadn't told our families yet and my parents found out that they
'were' going to be first time grandparents from a voicemail from my boss while I was on my way to the ER. 3 Babies later I still can't help but think of my littlest guy...

Julie said...

This was a very touching post, Devin.

I've never lost a child, but know several people who have. I would imagine that any time someone lacks the support of their family and/or friends it would make the healing process that much harder.

I can also say, as an "outsider" to loss, it's very difficult to know the right thing to say (or when it's better to say nothing at all) to someone we love who's dealing with grief.

Kara said...

Great post! I am praying for you, Shane, and all 4 of your kids daily! I will also pray my Papa gives your glory baby a good grandpa hug tonight from us here in OK!

boltefamily said...

I just wanted to thank you for commenting on my post. Your words were very encouraging and uplifting! THANK YOU!


Kenzie said...


Thank you for putting all of this down... for mentioning Maddox... for speaking to so many others that have gone through a loss. This is hard, there is a resurgange of feelings when you hear of another loss, or meet others in your situation. I love what you said about being marked... that is now part of us, part of who we are. Dusty and I have had many conversations about losing Maddox and it not "defining" our lives... I agree that it won't, but it will always change us. It will make us more sensitive, more compassionate, more understanding... better prayer warriors.

Thank you for sharing... you are beautiful!

Love you lots and praying,