Wednesday, February 26, 2014

He carries me

Since my outburst a couple days ago, I've been looking at Philippians 4:8 quite a bit.  And guess what! It showed up today as my verse of the day in my bible app.  I think God is trying to tell me something here. :)  "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."  Phil 4:8

Last night I had bible study with some of my favorite women.  Our lesson was basically about shaking off the burdens we all carry.  Some are so heavy, some are creeper-uppers, and some we don't even realize they are there.  But at some point, they begin to cripple us.  In Luke 13:10-13, we see a woman who was crippled with arthritis for 18 years that comes to Jesus to be healed.  Verse 12 says, "When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, 'Woman you are set free from your infirmity.'"  Just like that, she stood up straight and was healed.  Wow.  There are stories like this all over the gospels.  Jesus is a miracle worker!

We all have burdens that cripple us in one way or another.  That old flame that shows his face and stomps ache in your heart all over again?  Those bills piled up in the corner?  Your precious gramma diagnosed with cancer?  Your mother recovered from cancer only to find out she has congestive heart failure? That unexpected miracle that keeps you up at night worrying and in fear because you know what's coming?  That job interview that went so well and they haven't called you back yet?  The fear that you have of that bedroom door being open because your father abused you as a child?  That sweet baby that you said hello and goodbye to all in the same day?  These are all reasons (not all of these are my reasons) to make us want to pull our hair out and cry ourselves to sleep.  The other night, my burden was so heavy that I lashed out in anger at my keyboard.  I am not proud that I did that, but you know what?  I'm not sorry, either.  I'm not sorry because it was REAL.  I'm not here to say that because I know Jesus, my life is all flowers and sunshine no matter what.  I don't believe that God won't give me more than I can handle either, because obviously I can't handle this.  I have lovingly been hit in the face once again by the One who has carried me for the past 3 months and 13 days.

I can't handle this.  But Jesus can.  And He carries me, when I come to Him.  He will carry you when you come to Him.  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30.  Jesus wants us to come to Him so we can rest.  He will take it all on.  I think I'm ready to try this again and let Him.

And so, I will think of the day that Jaxon and I will be reunited, the day I will look at God in the face and ask Him to show me the big picture.  Because, that is a lovely thing.  It's right.  So now, I'll focus on my sign that I bought a few weeks ago that is hung up on my bathroom wall.  When I saw this sign, I immediately grabbed it because I knew I would need it.  The funny thing is, it was the only one left and I think I know Who left it there for me.  So here I am, looking in awe, because the One who carries me reminded me to.  :)  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Anger and Jealousy

Ok, this is going to be rough.  I need to get this out.  I am extremely jealous of new moms and their babies.  This shouldn't be a surprise.  It hurts to see pictures on Facebook.  It hurts to see mommies with their babies in the grocery store because mine is supposed to be there with me too.  Sometimes, it just plain hurts to see babies.  I know I should't ask this question, but why God, WHY do they get to have their babies and I don't???  

I received an email last night from our birthing class instructor.  Apparently the group had a reunion and they all shared their birth stories and met each other's babies and I'm sure it was a wonderful time.  I can only imagine <insert raging jealousy here>.  Well, I got the follow up email to that reunion by mistake.  Complete with pictures.  Really?!?!?  I was able to shrug it off last night surprisingly easy.  But today, I saw it again… note to self- Immediately delete emails like this in the future!!!

Today I spent some time with my dear friend, Miranda.  We were so fancy, she took me to this cute little coffee shop where we drank fancy coffee out of fancy, crooked coffee mugs… Did I mention we were fancy? :) Ah, it feels good to smile through the tears :) Anyway, I shared the email with her and told her how I was able to shrug it off last night surprisingly well.  But as I listened to the words come out of my mouth, my heart began to sink, and I think she saw that.  I handed her my phone so she could read the email, and I actually think I saw a little anger in her eyes!  She gave me some good advice (as always) and suggested that I email her back and kindly request that she take me off the email list and suggest that she take note to do so in the future with similar situations.

So, I emailed her back when I got home this evening.  My words…
Hi Linda,
I'm glad you guys were able to catch up and the new parents were able to share the joys of parenthood with each other.  I am more than happy for all of them!  To say the least, the past three months have been rough on us, however we are doing very well considering.  I completely understand if this was sent to us by accident, but I must be completely honest here.  This made me hurt today.  Please be sure and remove our email from the group.  Thank you.
Kindest regards,
Michelle Garza

As I began reading her response, which was completely apologetic by the way, I began to get angry.  How could you forget?!?  Really, you forgot to remove our email from the list?!? Obviously our faces were NOT in that picture that you took the time to attach.  I mean, dang.  We spent 8 weeks with you! Were we that easy to forget?!?  I mean, if I were teaching that class, it would break my heart to learn that one of my couples' baby DIED DURING LABOR and I would never forget that.  Really lady???  I would be thinking about that couple all the time, and I sure as hell would make sure that I wasn't adding to their pain by being so careless as to send them an email shoving it in their face!! 

As I'm writing, I'm realizing that I was not completely honest with her in my reply to that email.  I do not completely understand if the email was sent by accident.  I am angry that she sent it by accident.  I am angry that God let my baby die.  I am angry that with all His power and miracle-waving fingers, He chose not to let me have my son.  I'm angry that this life is so unfair.  

But I'll leave it at that for now.  Tomorrow is a new day, but right now I am just plain angry.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Three Musketeers

I have to take some time to write about two very special girls that God has placed in my life.  Chelsea and Jocelyn, I love it that you are my musketeers.  :)  I have shown my crazy to these girls in ways that I am embarrassed and ashamed of, but I am very grateful to still have friends that knew this version of me.  They knew me before Jesus took over my life, and somehow they are still around.  When I think about us now, talking and sharing about how God is changing our lives, it takes my breath away.  God is so good!  And no, I'm not perfect now by any means.  I still have crazy that needs taming, but I leave that to God now.

On January 9th, Jocelyn came up with the idea that we should share bible verses daily.  Ones that we felt were speaking to us that day.  We loved the idea and started sharing every day.  I soon realized how much this would help me to begin to heal.  This was only two days after I saw Kate for the first time.  God was really working on me in January!  Jocelyn, I think God was speaking to you that day, and He used your idea to bring His healing to both Chelsea and me.  I've said it before, but I want to emphasize that there is something special about sharing your belief in God with others that immediately makes you best friends.  But it's something so much more than "best friends."  You become sisters in Christ.  Girls, I dream that one day, when we get to heaven, we will be next door neighbors.

So this daily bible verse sharing had me searching the Bible and searching facebook for some inspirational notes on bible verses (one of my favorite bible based fb pages is Beauty for Ashes), and eventually I found my Jesus Calling devotional, by Sarah Young.  This devotional has spoken to me every. single. day.  I got it last year or the year before, I don't recall exactly when, but I hadn't given it much thought.  I had my bible study, which has been my daily read for about 2 1/2 years now, and it had been good enough for me until now.  Now I need more, and I hadn't realized that yet.  But God knew who He could use to push me into His arms, and she listened.  I don't think we realize how God uses us to be blessings to each other most of the time.  

If you are a bereaved mother or father, or even if you just know someone who is, I encourage you to drown yourself in God's word.  You will need Him to reassure you every day that He is good.  You need to really know who He is to understand that, and the only way to know Him is to read His word.

My Jesus Calling devotional had this written for the date of November 13:

"I am Christ in you, the hope of Glory.  The One who walks beside you, holding you by your hand, is the same One who lives within you.  This is a deep, unfathomable mystery.  You and I are intertwined in an intimacy involving every fiber of your being.  The Light of My Presence shines within you, as well as upon you.  I am in you, and you are in Me; therefore, nothing in heaven or on earth can separate you from Me!
As you sit quietly in My Presence, your awareness of My Life within you is heightened.  This produces the Joy of the Lord, which is your strength.  I, the God of hope, fill you with all Joy and Peace as you trust in Me, so that you may bubble over with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Colossians 1:27; Isaiah 42:6; Nehemiah 8:10; Romans 15:13

I have seen Romans 15:13 pop up everywhere since Jaxon's death.  Maybe this is just a popular verse, but maybe it is more than that.  I believe God is using this verse to comfort me.  If I focus on Him, and cling to His promises that I will be reunited with my son again, and there will be no tears in heaven, and death on this earth is not the end of the story, then I will be filled with His peace.  He is my God of hope and He will fill me with peace.  I feel that.  Romans 15:13 reminds me of my anchor whenever I see it.  And my musketeers have played a big role in helping me search the Bible for that anchor all over again every day.  Thank you musketeers :)

He took away the haze

This past Thursday was a very hazy, dirty looking day.  A day where you look across the horizon and you don't see blue sky, you see brown, fuzzy sky.  Yuck.  But then, at noon, the wind started to pick up.  I think I choked on my hair about 4 times before I could finish getting gas that afternoon!  I remember thinking, how God worked in my life just like that a few weeks ago.

Last week, I wrote about ugly crying and choking on my own tears a few weeks ago with Kate, and how that was the beginning of some real healing.  Let me explain…

There is something very scary about sharing your innermost thoughts with people.  I've had a little practice by sharing with the girls at bible study, but this hurt is so different that I haven't talked about it much with others.  I know that for many, counselors are not the answer, but Kate in many ways has been my answer.  She has been there.  She lost her daughter.  And she heals with Jesus.

You know, when you are in your head trying to make sense of things, it can get pretty hazy in there.  I  mean, yes, I used to be able to go for walks and think about things and be able to come home feeling like I cleared my head.  But when I think about something like my son dying, it doesn't clear up.  It gets very hazy, which is why I'm writing it down in this blog.  I need this to sort through my emotions and discern what God is telling me and what the devil is telling me.  What happened to us is not normal.  You expect your parents to go before you, maybe even your spouse, or a friend, but not a child.  It's simply not natural.  I had created some thoughts about why this happened to us, desperately trying to make sense of it.  Thoughts like, "I've prayed for God to teach me how to be a better person.  Is this how He answered my prayer?"  Or, "I've done some yucky things in my life, is this what I deserve?"  "There are so many powerful testimonies out there, I remember once I prayed for God to give me a strong testimony.  Is this God answering that prayer?  If so, what a crappy God!"  "God, where were you?!?"  It got ugly.  I brought this up with Kate and what she said really hit me like a brick.
She said, "Michelle, do you think God knew your life from conception.  Did He know that you would lose Jaxon even before you were born?"  I said, "definitely, yes."  (A timeline of events has happened to me that is, no doubt, evidence of God preparing me for Jaxon's death.  Oh yea, He knew… more on that later ;) )
So then she asks a second question, "If God knew your life from conception, then was Jaxon's life already planned, or was it simply a response to your prayer? "
Jaxon's life was already planned. 
I did not author Jaxon's life, God did.
Jaxon's death is not simply a result of something I prayed for.
Jaxon is a child of God, he is so much more than what I misconstrued as a misunderstanding between God and me. 
I had created this guilt in my head, that somehow I caused this for Jaxon through my prayers.  And just as soon as I realized that I didn't cause this through a prayer, I never thought of it like that again.  Right then and there, I let it go.  I had felt so bad with all of these unanswered questions hanging over my head.  Putting blame on yourself for losing your child puts so much extra weight on your soul.  So much unnecessary weight.  And if I hadn't been open about those crazy thoughts in my head, I quite possibly would have never figured that out.

Have you ever inhaled while eating and a piece of food goes down the wrong pipe?  Or laugh so hard that you inhale your spit?  And immediately you can't catch your breath, because all you can do is cough, but not inhale?  Yea, it's ok to bust out a laugh, my mother and I have laughed at each other on many different occasions for doing this very thing.  Well, that day when God used Kate to comfort me and show me that I didn't pray Jaxon to his death, I cried so hard that I choked on my own spit and went into a coughing convulsion right there in front of Kate.  Yikes, I can't help but laugh when I think about it.  But that is ok, because once I did catch my breath, good grief, I cried some more and it felt good.  It is hard to put it into words, but I'm going to try.  Crying cleanses the soul.  I cried because I realized that God knew I needed to hear that and He gave her the words to show me.  He used Kate to hug me and remind me of who He is.  I know that God knew that I needed someone like Kate and he led me straight to her.  I cried because I was finally letting Him love me again and it felt good.  I remembered that God was crying with me because He knows what it's like to lose a son.  I felt lighter.  That is what giving it to God truly means…  I get it now.

And just like that, He took away the haze.  And my healing began, because He cried with me.

…not the whole story.

The word "healing."
I do believe I am healing, but I use that word pretty loosely at this point.  Healing does not mean I'm getting over it.  Those heavy grief days are still coming on strong for sure, but I'd like to think that one day they will be here for shorter periods of time and more days in between.  Besides talking with Kate and reading/hearing other bereaved mothers' stories, I have had some very special things helping me with my healing process.

Back in November, I had something very tiny, but very useful given to me.  A friend from bible study gave me a little journal, small enough to fit in my tiny purse.  Yes, I have a tiny purse, and I love it because it MAKES me clear out my junk every couple weeks or so! :) Anyway, this little journal became a very good friend to me in the late weeks of november and most of december.  I poured my soul into this journal at first.  The good, bad, and the ugly.  But mostly it began with bad and ugly, and that's ok.  I think we have to get these things out, or they will eat us alive.  Yell at God, throw a pillow across the room, scream and cry until you have no voice left if that's what you have to do.  Get it out.  And then, we have to pick ourselves up, dry our tears, and face another day, because we owe it to our babies to continue on without them.  Like I said before, this story doesn't define me.  It is a part of who I am now, but I will not lay down and let a sad story end me.  This is just the beginning of a new me.  So, I was spending a lot of time reading blogs, grief books, the Bible, cards and encouraging notes.  I would read something really encouraging and write down tiny bits here and there so that I could look back to on a very hard day and give myself encouragement.  Here are a few of the things I wrote myself for encouragement:

"...<insert bad and ugly here> ...I know you are in heaven with our Lord.  I know you went from our love to the perfect and greatest love.  You never knew the pain of this world.  You never were betrayed, cheated on, made fun of, beaten up, or taken advantage of.  You are with JESUS! I often imagine what you are doing.  Are you an adult in your perfect body, or are you still a baby?  Can you see me?  Do you know how much we love you and how sad we are that we don't get to watch you grow?  We are so selfish in our humanity, I am sad because I don't get to raise you.  But GOD gets to raise you and how awesome is that for you?!?!?  I can only imagine the time you are having.  I love you so much  my sweet rib kicker.  I pray you are having a blast.  I wish you a beautiful day my sweet boy.
I love you,
Mom :) "

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

"God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying." Revelation 21:4

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

"And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him."  Romans 8:28, even in Jaxon's death, because I believe and trust in Him, I know that good will come from this.

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." Lamentations 3:21-22

"Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength." Isaiah 40:31

"For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come." Hebrews 13:14

"Jesus replied, 'You don't understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.'" John 13:7

"I do not have to know why everything happens since I know God is good, he loves me, and life on earth is not the whole story." Rick Warren

I love and miss you Jaxon.  I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN.  In the meantime, I know you are having a wonderful time that is beyond my wildest dreams.  I am thankful that you only felt love and you did not feel pain.  Life on earth is not the whole story.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Amazing Grace

I have to admit, I feel inadequate. I feel like writing a blog is an art form.  And if I'm going to do this, I need to do it well.  And after reading so many wonderful blogs on all different topics from recipes and health to life and grief, I have come to this conclusion… I am not good at writing a blog! Ha! And that's ok. :) I am giving myself GRACE, which is a daily struggle.  (And I hope you give me grace as well, because there are bound to be rambling thoughts and grammar errors… sorry about that!) Negativity and judgement are huge gaping holes of weakness in my brain that I am trying to wrangle up and toss out for good.  It takes work!

When I think about someone with grace I think of a tiny, flowing, perfect ballerina.  I think of that leader that knows exactly what kind thing to say to someone who doesn't deserve it.  I think of a southern girl, raised in church, all pretty and neatly put together.  I think of God.  I don't deserve to be His child, I have done some mean and ugly things.  I have judged unfairly, I have made a fool out of myself countless times, and I have sinned so. many. times. over. and over. again.  I am not graceful.  And great.  Look what I just did.  Here come the ugly twins- negativity and judgement.  Grace.  I need grace.  I need to give myself grace.

I had a good chat with Kate over the phone last week because she couldn't get to the office due to ice.  Oh and by the way… what a crappy winter to have a crisis.  Talk about DEPRESSING.  Anyway, Kate gave me permission to give myself grace.  I had been struggling with writing thank you notes.  There were still notes I hadn't written from baby showers.  There were notes that I wanted to write for sympathy cards and gifts.  I wanted these people to know how much I appreciated their gifts and cards and words of encouragement.  These cards had been hanging over my head for 3 months.  I sat down to write these things about fifty times, but the words wouldn't come.  How do you tell someone "thank you for your sweet gift for Jaxon, but he didn't make it, but we will still use this for the next baby." Or "thank you for the sympathy card." I cannot make the words that were in my head come out sounding anything but depressing and morbid.  Who wants to get a card like that?  No, really… who wants a card like that?!? Nobody.  Kate said, "let it go.  These people don't want a thank you card from you! Just think about it with the roles reversed.  Would you expect to get a thank you card?  If somebody expects a thank you card from you, then maybe that person doesn't need to be in your circle."  And she's right.  She allowed me to give grace to myself and I've been practicing.  :)

God spoke to me this past weekend, and I'd like to tell you about it.  But first, I need to give you some details...
I have been avoiding church. But this weekend, I went twice, two different churches.  I am a member at Fellowship Church in Grapevine and my husband absolutely loves it.  We love Pastor Ed and think he is hilarious and he speaks simply and honestly.  I have spent a lot of my time serving at this church.  I've served as a greeter, as a cashier in the bookstore and even helped out one afternoon with their inventory.  But where I served most of my time was in the nursery.  I was in the "cuddler rooms" with babies from newborn status until they begin to crawl.  Obviously, it is painful to go to this church and see the familiar faces who were excited along with us during our pregnancy.  But what is most painful is not being able to serve in the nursery.  All I can do is cry when I think about going back.  I'm just not ready, when I really, really, really want to be ready.  Once again… I need grace, and I've given myself the grace of not MAKING myself do something I know I'm not ready for.  Then, there is Irving Bible Church.  This church is where I go to bible study every Tuesday night.  There is something about sharing your soul with women that just automatically makes you best friends.  I love and adore these women.  They have wrapped their arms around me and my husband like family.  They fed us, listened to us, looked at Jaxon's precious pictures with us, and have cried and prayed over us.  I have found my church home.  It's something I thought I'd have to sort through and make some decisions because you're not supposed to be a member of two churches right!?!? Well, I just don't care right now.  This is what John-Michael and I need.  He needs Fellowship and I need IBC.  I'm giving myself grace.  I'm starting to like that word.  :)

So the service at Fellowship on Saturday evening was spoken by Darius Daniels.  If you have never heard him preach, look him up.  He is very animated, we love him.  He preaches it and we smile.  Every time.  So this past Saturday, Darius preached to us about the story of David and Goliath.  To make a long story very simple and short, I will get straight to Darius's point.  David was a small, puny shepherd.  He was NOT a mighty and muscly, brawny man.  Well, he was chosen by God to fight Goliath, the giant.  Nobody thought David could win, so Saul (a very tall and brawny man) gave David his armor.  David tried it on, but it didn't fit, and so he took it off and simply said, "I can not go in these.  I am not used to them."  I'm taking my rocks and my slingshot and that will be enough. David had confidence in himself.  He knew that God wanted him to do this, so he did it the best way he knew how, which obviously was not the way any of the other men would have done it.  And we all know, David beat Goliath with the very first stone.  You see, David was an extremely good marksman.  He protected the sheep from bears and lions.  God knew he only needed one shot.  I encourage you to read the whole story in 1 Samuel 17.

On Sunday morning, I met two of my girls at IBC for the 9:00 service (early! ooof! haha) because we had planned to go out to the Perot Museum and see the Animal Inside Out exhibit around noon. (The exhibit was awesome by the way!!!) So we settle in and Pastor Andy starts talking about the story of Paul speaking to the Athenians about Jesus.  This story is in Acts 17:16-34.  In order to keep this an entry and not a book, I'll skip to the point. Or at least the point I think God was trying to pound into my non-graceful brain. ;) Pastor Andy began to ponder… what if the only reason the Athenians agreed for Paul to come share his story with them is because he was beaten nearly to death because of his beliefs.  The Athenians had a curiosity for God, which they had referred to as "the unknown god."  Paul came to share the one true God with them, and what if the only reason they accepted him was because he was beaten and bloodied a few days before?  Paul was suffering.  Paul knows pain.  And with that, Pastor Andy encouraged each of us to use our pain as our platform.  Use our pain as our platform?  You mean, if I am broken, then people will listen to me? Ok God, I think I know what you are doing here.  

So here I am, negative, judgmental, broken, and afraid that my blog isn't good enough.  But you know what? God is trying to teach me, encourage me, love me.  God isn't asking me to "write a blog like an artist."  He didn't ask David to "fight like a muscle-head warrior" either.  He asked David to defeat a giant by being who David is.  David could have easily said, "but I'm not a warrior.  I just a little shepherd boy that takes care of sheep.  I don't go to war!"  And He is asking me to defeat a giant.  I knew exactly what that giant was when I heard Darius ask us what our giants are.  My giant is my negativity, my judgmental habit.  And up until last weekend I said, "but God, I'm just a girl who has communication issues, I'm negative and sad.  How can I write about my baby dying and it be a good thing?"  And the very next day God reassured me. He spoke to me through Pastor Andy.  "Use your pain as your platform." He said being myself and sharing my suffering is exactly how he wants me to write.  This is right.
This is my story.  
God wants us to share our stories.  
My pain is crippling, but I choose not to let it cripple me.  
It can defeat me, but I choose to listen to God and defeat it instead.
I am not defined by this story nor am I defined by my negativity and self-doubting.
Because God says I am His child.  
Because God says I am worth dying for.  
Because God says He cried for me when Jaxon died.  
Because God says He knows this pain.  
Because God says He knows this suffering.  
Because God says He is carrying me through this. 
Because I know Who He Is, I have a reason to sing.  

And I will use this story that God has given me to show the world that yes, there are painful, ugly, miserable things in this world.  Yes, my son died.  But I still have a reason to sing.  I still have a reason to be happy.  I still have a reason to love and to live.  And yes, I can be negative and downright judgmental, but God loves me anyway.  He loves me enough to show me and to teach me how to have a better life.  His amazing grace is why I can write this blog and be confident that He will make good from what happened to John-Michael and me.  God will make good from this, because He loves Jaxon even more than we do.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

A week closer

I've done a lot of grieving since early December. The biggest thing that I've done is worked up the courage to go to a counselor.  This has helped me tremendously.  So, for the time during the months of December, January, and the first half of February, I did a lot of grieving, not writing.

I had a hard December.  And through it, I also had the best women in the world lifting me up with encouragement, hugs, love, listening ears, and food.  Yes, food. :) My husband and I didn't have to cook a single meal for about 2 months after Jaxon died. I also had a Hope box sent to my by a stranger who also knows what this grief looks and feels like.  Many cards and visits.  Oh I cherished those visits.  This my friends, is what the hands and feet of God look like.  But at the same time, by December, I was back at work and the family had gone home.  It was good to get out of the apartment and back into the real world, but at the same time, I just wanted to come home and be in the arms of my husband. And oh, the Christmas music.  I love Christmas music, but it made my heart hurt.  I was looking forward to taking Jaxon out to Christmas shop.  I was looking forward to having him with my mom and I as we looked at Christmas lights, decorated the tree, took pictures of him and posted them to facebook.  John-Michael and I were going to send out Christmas cards with Jaxon's picture on them.  He was going to be dressed in nothing but a christmas tie… an absolutely adorable picture I saw on Pinterest that I was going to mimic. I felt so empty not being able to take that picture and we didn't send any christmas cards.  My arms were supposed to be holding my baby and instead they were empty.  My mom was here again, and this was the visit she had planned literally the very week we found out we were pregnant.  She was beyond excited to spend this time with Jaxon.  Her first grandbaby!  Facebook was bursting with pictures of babies and their first christmases.  Absolute emptiness in my heart.  We went to the christmas eve service and all I wanted to do was cry.  Christmas eve by far was my hardest day in December. I could not get out of that sad, dark, lonely valley.

January was stale.  I remember telling my husband John-Michael, "I am just waiting.  Waiting to move forward. Waiting for February 13th so we can start trying to have another baby."  By the way, I could not have gotten a better man and husband than John-Michael.  I remember feeling so bad for him when I heard the words, "I'm so sorry, but there is no heartbeat."  I didn't even register the pain for myself, I didn't cry for seven hours! (This, I now believe, was my brain protecting itself from coming to terms with what my intuition had been trying to tell my soul for a while.  But more on that later…) But my heart broke for him.  I felt so bad for him. How does that even make any sense?!? I came across a quote yesterday that described this feeling very well and kind of made it make sense. Kind of.  It goes like this…
"The saddest kind of sad is when your tears can't even drop and you feel nothing.  It's like the world has just ended.  You don't cry.  You don't hear.  You don't see.  You stay.  For a second, the heart dies."
I guess it kind of makes sense.  But instead of my heart dying for a second, my heart broke for my husband.  When I was pregnant with Jaxon, I would say "ugh, I've never wanted time to move by so quickly in my life!" I wanted to meet my boy, I wanted to hold him so bad! Ha. Yea, I had no idea how drastically the meaning of that statement would intensify on November 13th. I think I said "ugh, I've never wanted time to move by so quickly in my life" every. single. day. of January.

Earlier, I said I started seeing a counselor.  On January 7th, I went to see Kate for the first time. Looking back on it now, I would say this day was the real beginning of climbing out of my valley. When I say "climbing out of my valley" what I really mean is climbing up a feet or two and then falling back down a foot or two.  Climbing up another two or three feet, and then falling down a foot or two again.  And some days I fall three more feet before climbing up a foot.  Here's another visual that I've found a little more helpful when explaining grief...  They say grief comes in waves.  Sometimes they are small waves, and you can ride these waves without much effort until they pass.  But, then, sometimes they are not just waves.  They are tsunamis.  And the only thing that keeps you from being blown away is that anchor I talked about in my last post.  Well, Kate reminded me of that anchor.  I had it the whole time, (Jesus never takes away the anchor) but I was forgetting to use it. And you know what?? It was my anchor that led me to Kate.  Crazy huh?!? :)  

And oh yes, I still count the weeks.  It has been 13 weeks since I said hello and goodbye to my boy.  My Tuesday nights are still sad, but my Wednesdays bring me a week closer to the day I will see my Jaxon again.  And they bring me a week closer to the day I say hello to Jaxon's sibling.

My anchor

It's been a while since I've written.  I just plain didn't feel like writing.  However, I've done some digging and soul searching and I've made some choices about how I want to heal and remember.  I went back to my last post and added links to NILMDTS and to Amy's blog because I've decided to make my blog public.  I had set it to private because I couldn't bare the thought of someone reading my deepest hurts.  What if I'm doing it wrong? (More on this later…) But, God will use My Jaxon's short life here on Earth and make good from it.  He has given me this story and I need to share it.  If you find yourself reading this blog, I hope to give you an honest look at what grief looks like through a mother who just lost her son.  If you are a mother who has lost a child, I hope that you can really let yourself feel your grief, because that is the only way to work through it and learn how to live a happy life with it.  That is what I am learning to do.

My life has changed.  I will never be the same person I was before Jaxon died. I have known hurt that has brought me to the ground, shaking and laying in the fetal position while holding Jaxon's precious baby clothes.  I've taken showers where the water has gone cold before getting to wash my hair because I couldn't stop crying and cursing at God. I've held back tears while fighting resentment towards parents who complain about the chaos of packing up their children to take a plane trip out of state to celebrate Christmas with family. Oh, how my heart ached that day! I've cancelled birthday dinners because I had a bad day and was afraid of being a downer.  I've avoided familiar places like our grocery store and our local bakery in fear that someone will either ask me how the baby is or ask me how I'm holding up.  I absolutely HATE crying in front of others! I've sobbed so hard that I choked on my own tears (and that was in front of my counselor and the beginning of some real healing! More on that later…) But, in spite of all of this pain, I know that God is good.  God is good.  God is good.  God is so good.  My words can't express this supernatural truth better than this song…

Before the Morning
by Josh Wilson

Do you wonder why you have to feel the things that hurt you
If there's a God who loves you, where is He now?
Maybe there are things you can't see
and all those things are happening to bring a better ending
Someday somehow you'll see, you'll see

Would you dare, would you dare to believe
that you still have a reason to sing
cause the pain that you've been feeling
it can't compare to the joy that's coming
so hold on you gotta wait for the light
press on and just fight the good fight
cause the pain that you've been feeling
it's just the dark before the morning

my friend, you know how this all ends
you know where you're going
you just don't know how you'll get there
so say a prayer
and hold on cause there's good for those who love God
but life is not a snapshot
it might take a little time
but you'll see the bigger picture

once you feel the weight of glory
all your pain will fade to memory
once you feel the weight of glory
all your pain will fade to memory

would you dare, would you dare to believe
that you still got a reason to sing
cause the pain that you've been feeling
it can't compare to the joy that's coming
come on you gotta wait for the light
press on and just fight the good fight
cause the pain that you've been feeling
it's just the hurt before the healing
oh the pain that you've been feeling
it's just the dark before the morning

I have discovered the strength of an anchor holding me safe and sound. These waves of grief have the power to take me far out into the darkness, but my anchor, my God holds me safe and sound.  Through all this pain, God has worked my soul over.  He is still working on me.  The people in my life, the experiences I've had, the things I am involved in today, the people who I've met since Jaxon died… this is ALL God working in my life to prepare me for/heal me from this disaster of pain that is now my life.  God is so good. Because God gave his one and only son to die for me so that I can live eternity with Him, I have an anchor for my soul.  There will be a day when I will have no tears.  Because I know where my son is and I know who is holding him, I am ok.  That is my anchor.