Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I've always been a cuddler. Physical touch is definitely one of my love languages. I remember getting to the age where it was no longer cool to hold hands with your friends and it honestly hurt my feelings. Thankfully, I married a cuddler and we get along just fine.

I can remember when I was little, I would bury my face into my mom, sometimes rubbing it in the process. My mom isn't the cuddly type, but she was sweet to let me waller (cuddle, snuggle and climb all over her). Though she tolerated it during my baby and toddler years, as I got bigger I can actually remember with fondness being scolded for 'rubbing my nose' on her. I would always balk and say, "I'm not rubbing my nose on you!!" And I wasn't. 
It was a comforting thing to rub my face on my mom. I don't know why, but it was.

I now have my very own face-rubber. And I love it. I am so thankful.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I remember

I blog-jumped for the first time in a long while the other night. I found myself walking into a family's fresh grief; three weeks out. Just barely home from the funeral, the flowers, the cards and condolences. I felt a familiar pang of sadness and pain, and tears formed in my eyes. I remember...

I remember sitting on the couch with my family after we came home from the hospital without Owen. Before the funeral, after the devastation of his birth. Chris made the funeral plans and I cried. I made my way from the couch to the shower to our bed. Crying everywhere I went.

I remember when my milk came in. It was a day after I was discharged from the hospital. The nurses told me it would, but I had no idea. I was lying on the couch, Chris was arranging the funeral, my mom in the kitchen, my dad pacing, my brother and his girlfriend (now wife) sitting at the table working on their graduate studies, and I was lying like a dead woman when I felt the shock and horror of a pain I can't describe now without feeling nauseous. I sobbed and held my chest with my arms, hunched over in pain and humiliation. I kept my head down as I walked past my family to the bathroom. I cried in the shower for a long time. The south was still in a drought, I remember it so clearly, but I didn't care. I let the water pound on my back and I stood there wishing the ground could shallow me whole.

I remember not caring about anyone or anything in those long days before the funeral. I couldn't feel thankful for the meals or the visits or well meaning words of sympathy. I couldn't feel anything but the pain of his absence.

I remember when the shock wore off. And I remember the nights I thought I would die of a broken heart.

But unbelievably, I didn't. I don't know why.

My mind turns back to the words of a family hurting and grieving with all the raw emotion of the beginning. It hurts like hell, I whisper to my computer screen, but unbelievably, your heart will still keep beating. I don't know why.

But I know how- God's grace. He will hold you in the darkest of dark nights. He will comfort your broken heart, though it can't be fixed. Not yet anyways.
He will keep your broken heart beating and he will keep all his promises. I remember. And I'm thankful I  do.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Maybe One Day

Bitterness, jealousy, anger, why, why, why....

You'd think that after three and a half years I would be 'over it', right?

Yeah, not so much. I still struggle with those feelings of jealousy and bitterness that I used to blog about so often. Jealousy over things that seem so easy for other people, things they never worry about, things taken for granted.  It's sometimes very hard to remain calm and not slowly combust. Sometimes it's all I can do not to internalize everything and make someone else's struggles about me or compare experiences. Sounds selfish, doesn't it? Oh, it is.
I can only assume that everyone else does this too, in some area or another. Relationships in the here and now are hard. Made strained and tense by sin. All of our sins.

Bitter, jealous, angry...
I don't always feel this way, and for that, I'm very thankful.

But on the days when I feel eaten alive with jealousy and bitterness, God's unending grace is big enough. And on the days when I don't feel eaten alive, that's God's grace too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seminary lessons

Going to seminary has taught me a lot. And I'm not even the one taking all the classes.

One thing I've learned: 
pray for your pastors and their families.

They need your prayers and support just like you would expect from them. 

I feel ashamed of the way I've thought of my pastors in the past. I've expected perfection and when I received less, I've been angry. I've expected them to say all the right things when I'm hurt or afraid. I've expected them to fill me with hope, joy and peace at all times with every action and spoken word.

I don't know if you've ever tried, but it's impossible to say the right thing at the right time all the time.
It is a huge responsibility to lead a church and care for its flock. I am quite daunted by the thought of this responsibility and again, I'm not even the one who will be leading the church. I think we could (I know I could) have a little more grace with our pastors and their families. Though we may wish for them to have all the right answers, they can't. Though we may expect perfection, they will never live up.

They can only point to the One who brings hope, joy and peace.

I am praying that once we're out of seminary (it's a little unbelievable that we only have two years left), we will point to Christ in our daily life and not just on Sunday mornings.

We have a lot to learn about ministering within a church. I was naive about seminary before coming here (that's another post in and of itself), and I know I am naive about working in a church too, but I know that God will continue to be faithful and gracious to us as we learn.

Today, I'm taking some time to pray for my pastors back home in Georgia and for the other pastors in my life*. I'm so thankful for the One who brings hope, joy, peace and who is far more gracious than we can understand.

*A special note for Sara- We pray for you guys often.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hope in the dark

I write my best posts at night. Lying in bed, snuggling under the covers I compose beautifully laid out posts full of symbolism and eloquent soliloquies, all in my head. I wrap it all up in a bow and tie it tightly, hoping against hope that I remember it in the morning. But I never do.

Six and a half years of lying next to someone who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat doesn't do much for my insomnia. In fact, I struggle with a lot of resentment towards this person who can fall asleep and stay asleep so easily. I often lie under the covers shifting my feet, turning over to one side and then back again. I open and close my eyes. Count to one hundred, count sheep, count backwards, recite the ABCs forwards and backwards, list the attributes of God through the ABCs.... and write blog posts.

I've done this as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, even middle school, I would often get out of bed to write down something that I had written in my head. I was afraid of losing it in the dark.

I don't do that very often anymore. But one day, not long ago, I wrote something in the night that I had to remember. I fumbled in the dark and wrote the words as they were in my head:

born to die, not born alive.
saved from pain
but what he gained was our great loss

Yes, our great and terrible loss. But his great and wonderful gain.

I miss him. I miss them everyday. And it doesn't get any easier. I say that not in a 'pity-me' way; it is the truth of the matter. It is a truth that runs deeper than my personal grief. It is the reality of a broken world that is groaning with pain, waiting for reconciliation. Waiting for the day when all things will be made right.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Mother's day poem

Years ago, I wrote poetry all the time. I found it healing to place my thoughts and feelings into verses. As an emotional love struck crazy teenage girl, poetry fit me best. I still write poems, but not as frequently as I did when I was younger.
I wrote this poem three years ago. My first Mother's day without Owen.

Are you a mother when your child is dead?
No one to hold, the nights are too quiet.
I have been told
that time heals and pain lessens.

After all the platitudes, positive attitudes
and smiling nodding faces are gone
We are left in emptiness and grief,
to walk alone, sorrow alone.

What do you say to a dead man?
To a half dead woman with a hole in her heart?
Nothing is good enough.
Words are not kind, all sting and hurt.

But silence cuts the deepest.

I pushed published before I meant to!

After three and a half years since Owen's death and after many thoughtless or insensitive words from others, I have found that I would rather someone try to talk to me about Owen. Though my feelings may get hurt from an ignorant or well-meaning comment, silence still cuts the deepest.

Having people ignore the 'elephant' in the room, especially around Mother's day or the anniversary of Owen's death and birth is far worse than having a well-meaning comment hurt my feelings because they were trying to comfort or console me.

Happy Mother's day to all my fellow bereaved mommies. I love you all. You are beautiful mothers. I will be holding you close in my heart this Sunday.