I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord
Psalm 27: 13-14

Friday, February 25, 2011

Birthday Invites = smiles and tears...

In just over a week my boys will (and would have) turn two.  First, I can't believe almost two years have passed.  I can't believe my 28 weeker will be almost 24 months!  It actually makes my head spin.

I was just writing out birthday invitations for Evan's party.  I know it's mainly family that will be coming, but I don't care.  I waited so long to do birthdays and invitations...so even though it's mostly family...invitations are still being mailed out.  AND I suppose that should prompt me to hussle up since it's in just over a week!!

But here I am writing out these invitations...with only one name, and one name missing.  One face that will not be seen at this party...except in a photograph.  One name that won't be sung to.

I know it will always be hard on my heart.  And I know that no matter what, my heart will also always rejoice watching Evan each year that we are blessed to be his parents here on earth. 

But each year comes with the sting of missing Zac.  And that will always be a part of it. 
And each year I will try to make sure that each party holds a piece of him as well...because he BELONGS there.  Even if just in heart and memory. 

I'm excited to make Evan's cake.  I am excited to blow up balloons.  I am excited to watch him next Sunday.  I am excited to see what this new year holds for him.  I overflow with love for him.

I wish that Zac was going to be here.  I wish that Zac had been here each day of the passed two years.  I wish that Evan had his brother with him.  I hope that Evan will understand that he is a twin...that his brother loved, and loves him always.  But that is up to me, and to us as parents to continue to make Zac a part of our every day.  Not in a strange way.  Not in a "shrine" sense.  But in the way that is real...the very fact that Evan and Zac are two together always.

Writing out these invitations bring me such joy and honor...and also many tears and pangs of sadness.
The sadness will not over take the joy...but the sadness is reality.  It always will be.

Two years...where has time gone?!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


"For in this hope we were saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  - Romans 8: 24-28

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faith in prayer."  - Romans 12:12

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  - Romans 15:13

The other day Evan and I went on a "date".  We went to my favorite Christian bookstore where Evan played in the play area for a while and then helped me pick out my favorite thing...a book!
While I was there I thought about Hope.  I don't know why it came to my mind.  Maybe because of the past events of life I realised that "hope" seems like just another word to me some days.  The importance that I felt in hope and the drive I felt by that word seems to have become a bit distant to me. 
And it makes me sad.  I make myself sad knowing that I've become this distant person to the things that kept me going while in the hospital those 5 weeks, and each day since then.  Not that I've rejected God...no, by no means.  But I guess I allowed the enemy to plant the seed of "well look at you now!  You had all this hope and where did it get you." 

AGAIN, let me be clear that these are NOT negative thoughts or feelings projected on to Evan and the miracle of his life or the amazing and endless love that I have for my son!  Don't EVER presume I feel this way towards such a gift.  When I speak candidly, and openly about my struggles and questions...these come from the grieving mommy heart.  The mommy who will never understand why both her sons are not here in her arms.  Once again, these thoughts, emotions and feelings are the joy of living in two totally opposite ends of the spectrum.

Before I left the store I ran back to where they have mugs.  I KNEW I'd find one with the word Hope on it...and I was right.  There it is above in my picture.  I'm drinking my coffee from it now as I type, and look at it often and see that word HOPE...and I know what I must do.

I must find my way back.

No matter how scary, no matter how uncertain, no matter WHAT may lay ahead of us...we can't go on without HOPE.  I can't shut myself off to these words of encouragement and promise just because I felt betrayed.  And even then...I wasn't betrayed.  My little Zac carried out his purpose.  It was by NO MEANS long enough for me to touch him, smell him, watch his eyes focus on me, or to hold him in my arms as he passed away.  But his fight for me and for his brother is slowly helping to restore my HOPE that I will find the strength in myself that I once had. 

The life of a Christian is not to be assumed will be an easy one.  I think we place too much expectation on God sometimes.  Again, don't get me wrong, He is a God of miracles and healing and restoration...but often times we are praying for OUR desires.  Of course, why wouldn't we!!  Look at me!  I know I have sure placed my tall requests.  And we ARE to bring our desires and petitions to God.  But HOW HE chooses to answer them can often rock our worlds when it isn't the way WE asked or believed. 
So begins the very daunting journey of restoring our faith and strength when we have felt forgotten or abandoned.  Or backing down from our anger when prayers may not be answered to how we ferverently prayed.

I do NOT believe that God doesn't answer our prayers just to "pull rank" or to remind us of our "place".
We don't understand the result of some prayers.  We don't understand the "why" of it all.
But we are to continue to BELIEVE that God has it under control.  He loves us.  He hurts when we hurt. 
AND there is such rejoicing as well when prayers ARE answered as we asked or HOPED for.
I'm certainly no theologian, so these are just my own feelings.

In my case, 4 of our 5 children have passed away, far too soon.  A reminder that this earth is not our home.  That even in these moments we are born to die.  YET, as believers...we have that certainty that we are not just dying.  We are not evaporating in to nothingness.  We will rejoin those gone before us to our true home.  We will live as God always intended. 
It's hard for me to wrap my head around.  And it doesn't make the sufferings on earth any easier.  But earthly death is a reminder of what is important.

It's not the STUFF we accumulate, or the places we go, or the cars we drive or the house we live in.  Yes, God has blessed us with comforts while here, but we are to do more than just sit back comfortably.  We are to live like Christ.  We are to reach out to those who need Christ's love and HOPE.  We are to sit with those who are hurting, to extend a hand when a friend needs help up, to go beyond our own busy lives and to make sure those around us are doing well.
It's not easy.  Life gets busy.  We all know that.
But in an age of email and texting...how hard can it be to sit and take 3 minutes to shoot even a short "I'm thinking of you", or "Hope everything is well", or "How can I pray for you this week?"

I know that through the pain of losing Zac, and the fears of such a premature baby I got lost in my own world.  I didn't know how to reach out and ask for help, or even to ask for someone just to come and sit by my side when I needed someone to do just that.
And now I try to remember how I felt, and how lonely a journey it has been...and I want to somehow use what I learned in those days (and am still learning) to go beyond myself and my comforts. 

My prayer life has lacked.  I will admit that whole heartedly.  I've wished for a person to come along side me and say...lets just sit so I can pray for you.  HOWEVER, I DO have a dear friend in Calgary who calls and often ends our conversation in prayer.  She warms my heart!!  But I want to be that kind of person too!!  I want to get over myself and my setbacks and my "embarassement" of wondering if I won't sound "Godly" or have enough "wisdom" in my prayers.  Talk about needing to get over myself!  WHO CARES if I say a prayer as innocent and as short as a CHILD!!  JUST PRAY ALREADY!!!!  It is what we are called to do!!!!

Yes, so now I have put myself out there and have created a challenge for myself, as well as for who ever (if any) still follow along my blog and believe in the power of prayer.

I have a friend who just recently was diagnosed with cancer.  I won't name names, as it is really not my place, but this family is feeling the presence and peace of God through prayers happening for them literally all over the world.  I felt those same prayers while I was in the hospital.  Prayer has power...even when we don't think it's making a difference.  IT DOES to the person you are praying for!!
I am asking that you pray for this friend, and for his wife and young children.  Pray that this friend will feel the hand of God over his body, and that God will use this to HIS glory.  Pray for physical comfort and for mental peace as treatment looms ahead.  Pray that these children will be safe guarded from clinical talk, and from anything that their little ears just don't need to be subjected to.  Pray that they will lean on each other, and their family, friends and God through these scary times.  Pray for strength in each of us to uphold him in daily prayer...not putting our own setbacks in place of the power of prayer (aka...like me!). 
Pray for healing!!

Life will always throw us a curve ball, no matter how lucky we think we are.  That's just life.  But how fortunate for us to be blessed by the love of our Eternal Father, who even through the darkest of days will forever remain by our side, granting us strength and peace each day we move forward.  The days where we are just too tired and too weak from our burden, He is there to carry us through.  The days where we feel the loneliest and most abandoned by those around us...He is there to heal our hearts and hold our hands and catch our tears.

We don't know how prayers will be answered.  But we HOPE in the petitions prayed.  And God will carry us through.

Blessings to you all...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh boy...

I really should be sleeping.  Why am I not sleeping! 
Oh ya...dishes, and then a stack of paper work that needed to get done after Evan went to bed. 
I always kick myself the next morning because I realize how tired I am THEN...but now?  I have a stupid second wind and just can't unravel myself to sleep.  Silly silly girl!!

Things have been good.  Evan has been great!  My heart and joy.  He just makes me laugh so much.
This afternoon we went by Brett's office and he got all shy and said "I shy!"  It was so funny!!

Yesterday we were out of town for a birthday party.  Evan's NICU sweetie had her 2nd birthday yesterday.  It is SUCH a joy to be able to be a part of such an amazing day.
Marley is another miracle indeed!  Born 27 weeks and weighed 2lb 6ou. 
She and Evan were side by side for most of our NICU stay, so we were blessed to become friends with Marley's parents...and how special it is to be able to visit and to watch our little ones outside of the isolettes and NICU bays! 
And how PRECIOUS to hear them laughing and giggling together as they run off to play in another room.
Seriously just so so sweet.

Of course with that comes that all too connected ache.  Wishing I were hearing Zac among the laughter and playing.  Having him a part of the birthday celebrations too.
But he is forever in our hearts.  He is not forgotten, and he is not unmentioned.

Tonight as I was washing up dinner dishes I was watching and listening to Evan and Brett playing on the floor...and suddenly tears were just pouring down my face.  Fortunately they had their backs to me, so I was able to have my moment in private.
But as I listened to them and watched them together, and watched and listened to Evan talking away and putting puzzles together, my heart just overflowed with love and awe of this little guy.
And yet in the same breathe...I wondered what it would have been like to have Zac right there in the mix.  Not just in our minds and our hearts...but HERE.
I KNOW that he would have never crawled, or walked, or talked or even ate like Evan has and does.  I know we were told that the way he was laying in his isolette with his beautiful eyes staring at us would be how he was expected to always be IF he survived.
And I feel so angry all over again with the thoughts.  Maybe because this time 2 years ago I was still hanging on to every day we were granted while living at the hospital, begging for my boys lives.
I get so angry trying to understand WHY I ever ruptured to begin with.  What did I do wrong to put my sons at risk?  And I know logically that I couldn't have been MORE careful during my pregnancy...but still.  I am mommy.  And isn't the mommy the protector of the one(s) inside her? 
I get sad thinking that Zac would have struggled.  I get sad knowing the choice we had to make.  I get mad remembering that day and get disappointed that we were ever put in that position.

BUT...my days are getting better.  Never without a tear escaping here and there, and never without thoughts of both my sons.
But I know I will see Zac again.  I know we will see all our children again.
So for that...I have to just realize that I don't have the answers to my why's.  And I have to put that to rest.
I have precious memories along with the heart ache.  And I'm trying to keep those sweet memories front and center.

Grief is never replaced.  Grief is there.  I suppose it's how we allow grief to play in our lives. 
No matter how badly I wish both my sons were asleep in their bedroom right now...that is not the case.
But I am so greatful that I know heaven holds Zac, while I get to hold Evan in my arms every day.
I hold both my sons in their own way.
I refuse to let grief over take me.
I refuse to let the enemy win.
I refuse to lose that which is in my life now.

I know as March approaches the confusion and joy/grief tug-of-war tightens just that bit more.
I'm so excited for Evan's birthday, but I'm also bracing myself for that lump in my throat as we sing "Happy Birthday".  I'm excited for the day of celebration and for those who will join with us...but I struggle because Zac will not be blowing out candles.
I am filled with awe and gratitude for the days, weeks, months and soon yearS we have had with Evan.  What an amazing blessing this little boy is in our lives.  What lessons he teaches us every day!
What music to my ears to hear him chattering away with his daddy.  What music to my ears to hear his melt downs!  What music to my ears to hear him call for me in the night, and the feeling of him racing to me and flinging himself in to my arms.

My sons are precious gifts.  And I will never take them forgranted!