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

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Strength for today...

I don't know how much time I have right now, but I just wanted to share another line from another devotional from my study bible.  One that is another packed statement that I find I can struggle with.

The devotional is titled "Go in strength" based from Judges 6:14 "Go in the strength you have...Am I not sending you?" and promised "I will be with you" (6:16).

The line that really struck home with me is from a plaque from a mother's wall that said "The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you."

In thinking of diappointment and struggle and heart ache in so many, it's often a question of mine...why would God's will include that.  Yup, I know...fallen world.  I get that.  I know it's not that God does mean stuff to us.  I know our fallen world is the cause for pain.  And I know that it is God's love, strength and sacrifice that gets us through.  But still, the human nature wants to point a finger at the most innocent direction.

But it's true...God's grace gets us through!  It's not our strength...it's HIS.  His love, His grace, His comfort, His protection. 

No matter the pain...He will get us through.  And through the pain...we can see the good things in life too!! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Finding the fight...

Often I've found myself struggling with hope.  It became such a confusing word.  While pregnant with Zac and Evan I thrived on that word.  I hung on to it like it was the last word I'd ever hear or speak.
Then things happened.  And I began to question the value of "hope". 
As always...the very confusing emotions a grieving mother yet a rejoicing mother.

I put "hope" on the shelf.  I figured...what's the point.  It hurts too much to hope.  The things that I hope for may never come to be.  And if I hope, and those dreams are never fullfilled...how will I manage without resenting feeling hopeful.  Without feeling gullible or niave? 

Ah yes...the tainted heart of a grieving mother.

And then...the fight of a mother who watches her surviving son live life to the fullest.  Watching him in amazement of who is becoming, from where he once began.  And it blows my mind. 

How do I not hold on to hope.

When we lost our first babies I lived in the book of Job.  I felt like Job...the mourning Job, the Job who seemed to have everything taken away.  I read Job faithfully and tried to believe that I too could have a life after loss.

My last post shows the three passages that seem to have been my "Job Journey".  But tonight I read another passage that I REALLY needed to read.  It is 2 Chronicles 20:15-17.
My short version of this passage that really hit home with me is as follows:
"Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God's.  Tomorrow march down against them.  You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you; O Judah and Jerusalem.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.

Intense.  Very intense.  And so what I needed.  I needed that kick in the pants.
I am a stresser.  I am a worrier.  I create the negative scenarios in my mind of things that have not even come to be yet.  I assume the heart-break. 
I think it is a coping mechanism.  I think if I assume the "worst", then if it doesn't happen and things turn out good...then I can really feel true relief and rejoicing. 
I know that must sound so twisted.  So "not Christian".  So very jaded. 
But I really have just always thought of it as being "safe". 
If you don't expect too much...then the pain of the fall doesn't hurt AS bad.  So I once thought.

I don't like living like that.  I've never thought of myself as a jaded pessimist.  I've never wanted to be that kind of person.  And on the surface and to those around me...I probably don't seem like that kind of person.  And really, I don't think that I am 100% of the time like that.  I think that "coping mechanism" kicks in when I feel like my heart is going to be threatened by more sadness or disappointment.
But that is not what I want my son seeing in me.  I don't want him seeing a person who is afraid of the unknown.  A person who would rather build brick walls around her heart IN CASE she MIGHT be hurt instead of having a heart open to the possibility of good things and blessings.

I have a study Bible.  I like the stories from others that they share.  The other day I stumbled across one titled "Crisis of Faith" by Jim Conway.  I love the last line in what he shared.  It again hit home to me.  He said "I realized if I trusted myself there would be nothing but despair, because I could not control life.  SO THE ONLY VIABLE OPTION WAS TO TRUST GOD."
Wow...it's a hard thing for a control-person to do.  It is something I have to focus on EVERY day.  I CAN NOT CONTROL MY LIFE!!!!  Yes, I can control what I eat, when I exercise, when I clean, my attitude with my husband and my son (well, sometimes there is a loss of control in that one that I then have to eat humble-pie!!).  But I can not control future.  I can not control the unknown.  I can not control many things in the unknown future of my life.  And...the control person in me HATES that fact.  I NEED to be able to "fix" things, and control what happens to me.  But ummmmmm...I CAN'T!!  It never works.  Because I do not KNOW my future.  I know the dreams and hopes and prayers and desires...but I have no idea if that is what God has planned for me, for us.  And that scares me...because if it isn't...I know my heart will hurt, and I will question "why not me?  why not us?" once again.  And I don't want to do that.

But it's true...the only viable option is to trust God...because He holds our future.  He has great things for us, whether that includes OUR dreams and desires or not.  But we will live the life God will choose for us.  
I guess in that we DO have a choice.  Accept God's plan, or not.  Live to fullfill God's purpose for our lives...or not.
I can't imagine life being very fullfilling if I am walking away from the life God has provided.  No matter the pain.  No matter the loss.  No matter the struggle to joy.  

I'm glad that I stumbled across 2 Chronicles.  I'm glad, because it truly IS what I needed to read for my tomorrow!  I'm thankful for God's word.  The key is to hold on to it...good or bad.  When the bumps come (and they will), that is when the real battle of holding to God's word comes.  And I'm tired of turning my head from His word when the bumps come...because honestly...without His word, the bumps really bring bruises with them when there is no comfort from God to cushion the blow.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Back up and carrying on...

Well, my new laptop is ready to roll.  It's bizarre how much you realize you come to rely on technology.  And to be honest...the break has been good for me.  As much as it can be a good outlet for me, it can also be a huge distraction to the things that are important on a daily basis.  Life will be getting a little chaotic for a while, so updates may not be as frequent for the next few weeks...but we'll see.  I really don't even know who follows along with this blog of mine anymore anyhow.  I find it's more like an online journal for myself.

Evan is doing amazing.  Growing so fast.  Learning so much.  Talking up a storm.  Playing every sport he can.  He is one smart little guy!!  And he is my world!  He makes me laugh so much!!  I love that he loves to laugh.

Mother's Day was fun.  Brett, Evan and I went for breakfast and then just hung out.  Later I made a cake for me and my mom :)  hee hee hee.  It was fun!  And Evan sure had fun "helping" me out!
And I went and spent some time out at the cemetery taking down Christmas items around Zac's plot and adding some spring/summer items.  Then I just sat there.  I journaled.  I cried.  I smiled.  I watched the very busy cemetery as others were coming to visit their moms, grandmas, aunts.  It was very busy.  During my visit with Zac I was the only mom at that time visiting their child.  It's true...it felt so backwards.  He should be here.  My boys should be grown men visiting MY gravesite.  However, it is not how it is...so I made sure to reflect on every precious memory with both my sons wrestling and punching and kicking inside me.  Hearing Zac's hiccups during daily NST tests while in the hospital.  All the ultrasounds of my boys squirming all around. 

Today when I was reading my bible I decided to go to Job.  I like Job.  Job hits home to me.
I had LOTS highlighted since our journey of infertility and loss began.  And I chose to focus on three particular sections.  Let me share...

Job 6:11-13 "What strength do I have, that I should still hope?  What prospects, that I should be patient?  Do I have the strength of stone?  Is my flesh bronze?  Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?"

Job 8:5-7 "But if you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place.  Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be."

Job 8:21 "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."

These sections have been really important to me.  Yet, since all that happened with Zac and Evan, I've come to be very cautious and careful in how I choose to interpret scripture.  Sometimes I wonder if I just choose the sections that fit my current situation and desire to read what I need to hear.  I don't know. 

The first section of these scriptures speak volumes about how I've been feeling about myself lately and wondering about the future.  I've struggled to have hope in dreams that still resonate within me.  I've been scared to hope.  Patients??  Well, I guess I struggle always with that since it took 8 years to get pregnant the first time, only to lose our twins.  Then to be blessed with Zac and Evan, only to rupture with Zac at 23wks and deliver at 28wks...and then hold Zac in my arms as he left this earth. 
Yes...hope became a scary word to me.  Yet...looking at my sweet precious Evan...how do I NOT hope!!  And believe!
Sometimes I feel like I'm supposed to have the emotions of stone and skin thick as an elephants.  And how do I help myself?!  OH YA...I have no control over the future. 

The second section is a bit hard for me.  I'm not sure how "pure" and "upright" I am.  So why would I deserve such a prosperous future? 

The third section of scripture was a section of scripture that I read after we lost our first babies, and desired to believe in it...and then came Zac and Evan.  Then after Zac passed away...I held on to that verse so I wouldn't get lost in my grief and sorrow...and remember that I have much to greatful for. 

It's hard sometimes because I can feel so vulnerable when I open myself to scripture and knowing it is from God to me.  I want to protect myself from believing it is saying something to me that I WANT it to say to me...not necessarily what it really is meant.  Sometimes I find it confusing.  But really...mostly I find it very comforting and encouraging and strengthening.  Like in any relationship...communications can be crossed and misunderstood and misinterpreted...and yes, there are times where we can do that with God's word...but ultimately I believe what has been given to us from God.  His love, His word...His truth.
I know the doubts come from the enemy. 

And that is when we dig deeper, read further, and hold on to the truth.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Everything beautiful...

Well, my new laptop has STILL not arrived.  Very annoyed with DELL computers!!!!!!  Status said my initial laptop was shipped and then when Brett checked in on where it was he was told it was BACK ORDERED!!  So...they lied!  It was never shipped.  Oh well.  New one is supposed to arrive around May 9th.  I'm annoyed!

I have pictures that I want to share, but still am not able to because I can't even download them until the laptop arrives.  I've wanted to do a proper update, but still have not been able to do so.

HOWEVER, I have Brett's work laptop tonight so I just wanted to share the lyrics of one (of many) songs that has been a true encouragement to me lately.  It's off a CD called I Will Praise You by Rececca St. James.  Highly recommend this CD.
The song is called YOU MAKE EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL based on the scripture Ecclesiates 3:11.

Grant me serenity to accept things, The things I cannot change.  Grant me the courage, Lord, to change what I can.  Wisdom to know the difference.  In my weakness You can shine.  In Your strength I can fly and - You make everything, everything beautiful.  You make everything, everything new.  You make everything, everything beautiful.  In its time, in Your time, it's beautiful.  Grant me serenity, Lord, and patience.  For things will take time.  Grant me freedom to walk a new path, and let me feel Your love.  In my weakness You can shine.  In Your strength I can fly and Lifting open hands to You my Savior, Beautify my soul knowing You redeem my pain and failure.  Purify my soul.  Beautify my soul.

We all have our stories.  We all have our valleys and our mountain peaks.  We all have sorrows and joys.  We all cry, and we all laugh.  But I pray that God will use my valleys, my sorrows and my tears to shine to someone else.  To encourage another soul.  That my heart breaks would make me more sensitive and empathetic to others.  To remember that not everyone lives unscathed.  To be gentle on those who need a gentle touch, and to be a shoulder for those who feel weak.

I know I have been the one in need of all the above.  And in the moments where I've felt alone...I now realize even more than ever...I haven't been.  Even though I've screamed at God and pushed at Him and questioned Him and in the moments where I've doubted my faith...He has never left my side.  He has once again waited patiently.  He has once again kept walking along my side.  He has once again been the arms to hold me up when all that is within me crumbles to the ground.
He is the one who has brought laughter to my soul.  He is the one who has whispered gently words of love and encouragement.  And once again...He has welcomed me back with open arms.
He has once again "redeemed my pain and failure".  My soul still needs MUCH beautifying, but we'll get there.  I still have MANY brick walls around my heart...but the mortar is starting to chip away.  I still have reserved hopes, yet at least hope has become a word I can appreciate again.

As for Evan...he is doing WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He is a boy of all boys.  Fearless, daring, ridiculously in to all types of sports now (especially motorbikes now!)...he knows no boundaries in what he thinks he can do.  I admire that!  I hope he never loses that...even though my heart is often in my throat.  He is such a little comic!  Quiet the chatter box.  He loves singing his ABC's and counting (he has done well with up to eleven and then skips here and there).  He sings Happy Birthday to everyone and everyTHING!  As of yesterday he is all about singing "O Canada" over and over.  Literally just those two words of the song, although today Brett got him to sing the whole first line!  It's a riot!!
He is an outdoors kid, and we take many outings. 
He is growing like a weed, and is actually feeling like he may be gaining more weight.  He is a Macfarlane...tall and lean.  But when I carry him...my arms are starting to tire much faster!  And that's GREAT! 
I want to get him in to swimming lessons.  I think he'd LOVE that. 
He loves playing with Playdoh and his markers.  He helps me unload the dishwasher.  It's now all about "Evan doooo!" - socks, shoes, jackets, shirts...anything.
And then he is also my greatest little snuggle buddy!!  He melts my heart.  He still wants to "climb" up in my arms and snuggle in to my neck.  He wants to snuggle in the glider chair at nap and bed time, even though his legs hang right off because he is so long.  He puts my face in his hands and gets this grin on his face and looks at me and says "I luv you very very very much."  He is my heart and soul.  He brings me joy and laughter and a feeling of pride.

Today we went and flew kites.  I had bought two.  At one point Brett had anchored his down and let it just fly and he and Evan disappeared on a walk while I manned both kites!  It was so fun to fly a kite again!  It's so fun blowing bubbles and doing sidewalk chalk, and picking up stones on a walk, and seeing things with new eyes.

We went for a walk around a new park the other day and I realized that park is right next to the cemetery where Zac "is".  So...Evan and I took an extended walk to say "hello".  Evan blew kisses and told Zac "I luv you!"
There is just something in hearing him say that.  Heart breaking, yet heart warming.  Knowing we will never hide Zac from Evan or what happened. 

Anyhow, I suppose I should sign off until my new laptop arrives.  It's getting late, and I need to get a few things done before I can head to bed.

Blessings to you all!!