Monday, March 31, 2014

a year ago today...

March 31, 2013, one year ago today, was the day that we found out we were pregnant with Jaxon.  It was Easter sunday and my mom was here visiting.  I remember taking a pregnancy test that morning first thing, totally expecting a negative because well, that's all I had ever gotten.  My cycles are abnormally long, but they are consistent, so being on day 43 wasn't a huge deal for me.  But I thought oh what the heck, wouldn't it be cool if we were pregnant?  

And there it was… the word 'pregnant.'  :)  I remember just staring at the word for a minute or two.  Is this real?  Am I really pregnant?  No way.  Really?  :) I was in shock, I was ecstatic, I was trying hard not to bounce off the wall because what if it was a false positive?  Well, obviously it wasn't a false positive, it was Jaxon.  The beginning of the best 9 months of my life so far.  

A year ago today, he was here with us.  And now he's not.  Depressing, yes?  And then, I think about what he would be doing here… He'd be about 4 1/2 months old, sleeping and eating and pooping and peeing, repeat.  He'd be smiling and giggling, cooing and rolling over.  But you know what?  He's not doing that in heaven I don't think.  I think he's running and laughing with the other souls in heaven right now- the friends he's made in the last 4 months, talking with Jesus, and learning about who he is.  But not the way we do.  It's just different up there, so much better.  He is being loved in a way that I can only imagine- and I'm 100% sure what I can imagine doesn't even scratch the surface.  

I miss those feet in my ribs.  Today really could have just sucked- it marked the first of many anniversaries yet to come.  But when I think of my boy and what his day was like, I'm happy with it.  He is happy where he is.  And that does make me happy.  

Thank God that life here on this earth is not the whole story.

John 16:33-
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  

Friday, March 28, 2014

everything to gain

During my visit with Kate on Tuesday, I told her about my doubts and my anger and all my questions.  I could see the urgency in her eyes- she wanted to tell me "it's all going to be okay," but couldn't because she knew all to well that those words wouldn't help.  Instead, she says, "borrow my hope."  This is why I like reading the stories of other moms who have been there.  Because I see in their stories how they survive, how they find joy in the details, how they put their trust in Jesus's promise.  (Now seriously be careful whose stories you read, because obviously there are some stories out there that just plain suck- no hope, no will to live, no God, etc.  These are people with no hope.)

Speaking of hope, do you have hope?  Do you know what Jesus did for you on the cross?  I mean what He did for you.  Have you ever accepted His promises as truth?  If you were to die today, do you know where you are going?

John 14:1-4
"Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going."

Those are Jesus' words.  He says we know the way to heaven, it's a matter of acknowledging it or not.    If you've never accepted any of this as truth, will you?  What do you have to lose by putting your trust in God?  You don't have anything to lose.  But you have everything to gain.

John 3:16-17
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

If you're curious about who this God is I'm always talking about, ask Him.  Talk to Him.  Literally!  I usually wait until I'm alone in my apartment, but yea, I talk out loud to God :)  Ask Him into your heart and into your life and then seek Him out.  The best thing I ever did is go to a bible study.  The bible is real, the history is there.  God is real, He will be there.  If He shows up for someone like me, I promise you He will show up for you.  All you have to do is say something like, "Jesus I want to know you.  I feel in my heart that you are God, you made the heavens and the earth, you made all of us.  I have done some awful things (we all have) and these things weigh me down.  I need your forgiveness and your salvation.  Please come into my life and take over.  Take these burdens and help me carry them."

It's as simple as that.  I have the hope that helps me survive because of what Jesus did for me and for you on the cross.  I will see my son again because of Jesus and nothing else.  Hope means confident expectation in Hebrew… somewhere in America we got screwed up into using the word 'hope' in place of 'wish.'  That's not what I have, I don't have a wish to see my son again.  I have the confident expectation that I will see my son again.  

hope group

So Monday was Healing Matters in Plano, Tuesday was sharing my testimony at bible study, and Wednesday was finally hope group time.  Hope groups is something that was started in Hope Mommies as a way to connect with other hope moms and work through some of the junk associated with grief.  It's centered around scripture, something that is desperately needed if you want to keep the devil from lying to you about who God is. 

We all shared our stories, I was second to go.  I started to share about Jaxon when E's dog (I'll just call her E to keep it confidential- E leads this group) kept getting on my lap, I'm sure she was smelling the exciting collage of animals on my jeans because my husband and I have a zoo in our apartment ;).  Anyway, I welcomed the laugh when I was so close to crying.  So I started again, "Things started to go wrong when they couldn't find a heartbeat... <and the floodgates opened>."  And that's ok.  They understand and not one of them gave me that uncomfortable look of horror, that look of suddenly they wanted to bolt because they unknowingly asked the wrong question. 

There were so many different stories that night.  But they all end the same... not one of us got to bring our babies home.  One of the girls had a similar story to mine, with the exception that she didn't go to a birthing center, she went to a hospital- which I think was God's way of reassuring me that Jaxon's death was not a result of something I did or didn't do.  I've been working on this with Kate, and I'll share more about that later when the time is right... I still have some feelings to sort out, but I no longer blame myself for what happened- thank God!  That just makes it 10x worse.

After we shared our stories, we read some scripture.  I saw this verse twice this week- once during bible study at IBC and again during hope groups:
Luke 6:46-49
"Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and don't do the things I say?  I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them:  He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.  When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn't shake it, because it was well built.  But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.  The river crashed against it and immediately it collapsed.  And the destruction of that house was great!" 

My point is, I have built my house without a strong foundation.  It has huge cracks.  I grew up hearing God's word, but never applied it.  I was regurgitating what I heard in church and I'm sure I looked like a big hypocrite.  And I'm sure there will be times in the future that I will still do hypocritical things!  Pastor Ed at Fellowship church is doing a series on this.  He is hilarious :)  He says, "When people say, 'oh I don't go to church because there are so many hypocrites there, I can't stand it,' I say oh no!  The church isn't full of hypocrites!  There's always room for one more!!"  Ha- and he's right.  We all hate hypocrites, but we are all hypocritically human.  We are all hypocrites- especially if you don't think you are.  Some just hide it better than others. ;)  Anyway, I'm a little off topic...

So, let me try this again... My point is, my faith was shaken down to it's core.  All that is left standing is this cracked foundation, my house fell.  I was never forced to ask so many questions and to truly seek the characteristics of God before now.  I'm so ready to have God fill these cracks and help me build my house again.  I know He has great things ahead for John-Michael and me.  I just have to be patient and trust, even when I don't understand.  It's impossible for me to do things when I don't understand... but that's where God come in.  He makes beauty out of ashes- literally.  My son' ashes are displayed proudly on his memorial hanging in our living room.  But Jaxon is not there.  God made Jaxon beautifully whole again.

At the end of hope group we prayed for other hope moms that were new to the club no one wants to be a part of.  This community is where you need to be if you have lost a child or lost children. God has huge things planned for Hope Mommies.

Jaxon's story- outloud

This week, I've done a lot of speaking about Jaxon out loud.  It's been hard, and I've still cried every time.  For some reason I was thinking that telling the story out loud a few times would mean that eventually I'd stop crying when I tell it... well, I haven't reached that point yet.  Maybe I never will, but I'm ok with that.  Most of the time.

Monday, John-Michael and I went to a grief group called Healing Matters.  It was at Medical Center of Plano- a little drive, but it was worth it.  I'm so happy that my hubby agreed to go!  By the end of the night, he was talking more than I was, which is what usually happens because that's our personalities.  I was glad to see him speaking about Jaxon and trying to connect with the others in the group, because honestly I think we've been kind of stuck and don't know what else to say.  Don't get me wrong- we've never been closer.  There just comes a time when sharing your story with others becomes the next step of the healing- there's only so much we can say to each other about it.  We are sad.  We both have good days and bad days.  We tell each other about what gave us that too familiar sting in our hearts and what gave us joy.  We know where each other is in our grief.  I think it's time to help others in their grief.  By the way, thank you Amy for introducing us to another piece of our healing puzzle.  I can't say enough wonderful things about this girl- really.  She's linked me up with Hope Mommies in more ways than one, and now with a grief group.  Absolute wonderful human being that I look up to. 

Tuesday, I spoke with Kate about all the crappy things that were going through my mind last week and over the weekend.  Very.  Crappy.  Place.  To.  Be.  We cried and she said, "borrow my hope, please!"  Anyway, more on that later, because I think it deserves an entire post to itself :)  I told her about sharing my testimony at bible study that same evening and how I'm so glad to be in a better place, because if I hadn't shaken that doubt I wouldn't speak about it- how depressing is that?  She said, "oh I completely forgot that you were sharing your testimony tonight!  That devil was working hard to screw that us wasn't he?!?"  And yes, there it is.  I keep forgetting about that stupid guy.  He's so freaking sneaky!!  But she also said something that I will never forget.  "God allowed you to feel those things and ask those questions because He wanted you to learn something.  He would have kept the devil away from you if He wanted to, but He didn't.  There is a purpose there and you made a choice.  You've done so much work these past few days!"  And just like that, I realized that God allowed me to fight a battle against the devil and because I turned to Him for help, I won!  How cool is that?!? 

Anyway, remember when I said some things about Angie Smith's book What Women Fear?  She said something that has been instrumental in conquering my fear of speaking out loud.  All my life, I've looked at what other people have done, in awe, but in total acceptance that there is just no way that I can do that (insert anything that involves speaking to strangers whether it be 1 or 300).  But I was feeling a nudge.  A nudge to speak about Jaxon and what this has done to me.  How this has changed me forever.  (Referring to when Peter walked on water with Jesus)- Angie says:
If you don't get out of the boat, He will never be your God.  All my life, I have refused to get out of the boat and trust what God has to say about me.  I put so many limits on myself because I would believe that I am not good enough to be a witness, I am not strong enough, I am not brave enough, smart enough, etc.  The list goes on and on and on!! 

But Tuesday, I got out of the boat and now I can say, finally, He is my God.  I got up at bible study in front of a bazillion women (with a microphone- woah!!) and spoke about Jaxon.  I don't even remember what I said, but I cried, and I spoke, and I cried some more, and I spoke.  I think I spoke too long because I abandoned my plan of reading what I wanted to say and I spoke from my heart.  And it felt so good to let all of my petty worries float to Him and put Him in control, finally.  Better late than never, right? :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

it's in the details...

So as I was walking through the aisles of Hobby Lobby, I ran through the scrapbooking aisle to see if maybe I could find a photo album for Jaxon.  I have all of my pregnancy photos, baby shower photos, and Jaxon's newborn photos waiting to be put into an album, but I have NOT found the perfect one.  I just won't settle, it has to be the perfect one for Jaxon.  Anyway… as I was looking, there was this lady in the aisle on her phone.  It seems that she was talking to her daughter about her grandson.  She says something like, "I'm sorry Jackson (yea, she prob spells it the normal way :) )hasn't been sleeping for you honey."  Ugh, needles in my chest… As I turn my head to hide my scrunched up face, I look down and see a little baseball album… could this be Jaxon's album?!?  No, it was a small scrapbook album, not a photo album.  .

Now, I realize that my son is not the only boy with that name, and I'm probably going to hear it over and over again.  I've realized that I pick up on those things way more than I probably would if Jaxon were here with me.  (There were 4 pregnant women in Hobby Lobby by the way.)  My heart was hurting.  So I stopped and I had a little conversation with God.

God, I know you work in the little details.  You have made this day.  Is it possible that you have something here for me that will bring me joy?  I don't want to feel this pain today.  Is it possible that somewhere in the details of today I can find some joy?

I was about to leave, when I decided to look at the baseball stuff- a place I was a little too familiar with when I was pregnant with Jaxon.  I had my eye on this little baseball figurine, but every time I had gone, it was either not on sale or there weren't any left.  Well, guess what was there!?!?

It was the last piece to our little memorial we have for Jaxon in our living room.  We've been working on it since December…

The little pewter heart in the bottom is my baby's urn.  So small and so precious.  I know he's not really in there, he's up in heaven, but it gives me comfort to have his ashes so close.  My God has made my boy whole again.  I often think of my boy, not as a baby, but as a teenager.  Not sure why, but I do.  One day I will see him again and hold him in my arms like he is my baby anyway.  That makes my heart happy.  Thank you God for bringing me joy in the details of what began as another hard day.  You are faithful and You bring me joy.  

Hope Boxes

Yesterday I took a trip out to Mardels and Hobby Lobby to get a few more things on sale to build more hope boxes.  So far, all I've been able to find on sale are the journals at Mardels and the photo boxes at Hobby Lobby.  Wait a minute… I don't think I've explained Hope Boxes yet.  Shortly after Jaxon died and I joined Mallie's facebook group, I got a hope box.  It included a bible, a journal, the One Year book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie, Heaven by Randy Alcorn, scripture cards, tea, lotion, lip balm, and info about Hope Mommies.  It comforted me on a whole new level.  It connected me with other women who share this journey… an awful journey, but one with hope.  We support each other and remind each other that we will see our babies again.  (See the Hope Mommies button I added to the blog on the right? :) I was so proud of myself when I got it to work!  I'm slowly learning how to navigate blogger. Ha!  Still clueless about Google plus though and have no idea why Google is connected to blogger?- oh well)  Here's a picture of my box and the things inside…

Fyi- I have 10 of these boxes going, but none of them are complete!  They still need bibles, lip balms, Jesus Today, and the One Year book of Hope.  If you'd like to help out, let me know and I would LOVE your help- you would be such a blessing to one of these mommies.  Here's what I've got started… 

When I stop feeling sorry for myself (ugh a yucky habit I've got to break!), I know that this ministry is way bigger than me, and I am so glad to have connected with other moms that I can share this journey with.  Support and HOPE make a huge difference and offering that to another mom in this little box is the least I can do.  Amazing stuff!  

God the potter

How perfect.  So I "liked" the facebook page Beauty for Ashes some time ago and this is what they shared today…

You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "He did not make me"? Can the pot say of the potter, "He knows nothing"? ~ Isaiah 29:16
Yet, O LORD, You are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand. ~ Isaiah 64:8
What we believe about God does not change Who He is. (Parenthetically, note John 14:9.) Both unbelievers and believers alike often say with that twinkle of pride in their eyes, "Well, I believe that God..." or "Well, I don't believe that God...." I think that it was C. S. Lewis who said, "There is no question of what we can make of Him (God); it is entirely a question of what He intends to make of us."
This should inspire humility and excitement in us. It is a lifelong adventure to come to know God better and to come to know the new "us" that God is making. This comes from a dedication to seeking him with all our hearts.
Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the more quoted Old Testament verses as it relates to God's plans for us: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." However, look two verses later: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Therefore, His plans for us—which include His molding us—include our seeking Him to know Him better.
< Chuck >

God, You made me.  I am so grateful for Who You are.  Forgive me for not believing and trusting the way I should.  Forgive me for my pridefulness, my resentfulness, and my anger towards You.  You have given me way beyond what I deserve, and I have given You nothing but the expectation of more.  You are with me as I walk this path, I am not alone.  You love me more than I deserve.  Thank you for loving me beyond what I can comprehend.  Thank you for Your plan to prosper me and not to harm me.  Thank you for wanting to mold me into Who you created me to be, even after I have proven myself unworthy.  I give up my willfulness and I submit to Your will, because You know what is best.  Not me.  It is because of the sacrifice of Your Son, I have hope to see my son again.  And that alone is all I need to know.  Thank you.     

Saturday, March 22, 2014

God's ways

To sum today up in a few words- it was better than yesterday.  I am just sad and angry and I was stuck there.  That has to be normal- anger is just a part of the grief right?  Well, I'm not angry anymore, I don't think.

I spent some time in Jaxon's room today and poured my heart out to God.  I don't do that nearly enough, which has had a negative effect on my faith.  Yesterday I asked God to ease the pain in my heart and to bring me some of that peace that Jesus always talked about in the gospel.  Here are a few of the things I found…

John 14:27- I am leaving you with a gift- peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don't be troubled or afraid.

This peace that Jesus is talking about is the peace of knowing that we will be in heaven with God and all our loved ones.  All our questions will be answered and the mystery of this world will be revealed.  His plan will be revealed.  We just cannot understand the entirety of what that means while we are still living on this side of heaven.  But we can hope… this hope is not the hope that we think of often, like I hope I can conceive again or I hope we get that house.  This hope is truth.  It is solid, it is a promise that will be kept.  

Isaiah 55:8-9-  "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord.  "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

So God doesn't operate the way we do.  I feel like God owes me an explanation because in my mind, if I understand what He is up to then maybe I will feel better.  But then again, no it won't make me feel better.  Like I said before, I am not ready to accept that my son was sacrificed to help another.  But wait- what???  I am not ready to accept that my son was sacrificed to help another.  Wow, I am glad I am not God.  I would be horrible at it!   I am not ready to accept that my son's death is a part of a plan bigger than me.  

I am selfish.  For me to sit here and be mad at the same God that sacrificed His Son for me seems very childish now.  He does for us something that we would never do for Him.  God's ways are not our ways.  If they were then He wouldn't be God.  He gave me life, He gave Jaxon life, He gave all of us life… and He takes it away too.  He doesn't owe me an explanation, although He does say one day we will know why.

He is good- well my definition of good lately seems to exclude pain.  If God is good, then why does He let so many bad things happen?  That's just a part of His plan that will be revealed to us on the other side.  In the meantime we are called to trust.  Humans have trust issues, we doubt, because we have all been wronged and we have all been made to look like a fool for trusting someone we shouldn't have.  We fall for the one who deceives.  This world is fallen because the devil is allowed to roam freely here and cause pain and death and deceit and guilt and doubt.  God will put him in his place, but until then we have to trust in God's plan, not ours.

God's plan.  I have finally accepted that part of God's plan is for Jaxon not to be here with me.  He really is not my Jaxon, he is God's Jaxon.  He was never truly mine to begin with, he is God's.  (By the way, please don't ever tell me that this is all part of God's plan.  Even though it is, it is a dagger in my heart.  It hurts!!)

Psalm 139:16- Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

All the days written for Jaxon were already planned.  Kate has tried to spell this out for me before, but I haven't fully accepted this until today.  He was planned to be here for 38 1/2 weeks and that's it.  I've heard this said over and over and over again, but I just couldn't believe that a God that planned for my baby to be here for only that amount of time is a good God.  But He is, because His plan is bigger than mine.  I am stubborn and hard-headed, my dad has told me that many times.  Maybe now I believe him.  God you have said this over and over and I still try to put your ways into my tiny box.  They don't fit, they never will.  Your ways are not mine.

Friday, March 21, 2014

a bad day...

Today I am so sad.  The pieces of my shattered life are still on the ground because I can't let go of why?  My search in the bible for answers only leads me to more tears.  Why can't I let this go???  I want peace in my heart, and today I feel like the only way to get it is to find answers.  I looked through Ecclesiastes and through the Psalms.  All I find are the same questions.  Nobody knows the answers.  The only answer is to hope and to praise.  Why is that so hard for me to do right now?!?  It was easier a couple of weeks ago. 

Ecclesiastes 7:10-  Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?"  For it is not wise to ask such questions.
(well duh, but easier said than done!!)

Ecc 7:14-  When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. 
(ok, fine! so God made all the days, including the day that my baby died.  So what am I supposed to think about you God?  How do you think we will respond to that?  You make bad days too?  I thought you were good?!?  And the reason for the bad days was because of the devil.  But you're allowing the devil to be here... when are you going to end this meaningless time?!?!)

Ecc 7:1-4- A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.  It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.  Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.  The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
(Ok, the day of MY death might be better than the day I was born because I will be so close to seeing my son again, but it is not the same thing as my son dying... that is just not supposed to happen.  And why is sorrow better than laughter?!?  Anyone who has suffered through the death of their child can definitely relate when I say that the happy days are way better than the sad days.  If this is what being wise means, then God I don't want to grow up!!)

God, I am not ready for this.  I am not ready to be ok with this.  I said before that finding purpose in this pain makes me feel better.  Well not today.  God, you are asking me to help other people at the expense of my son.  This is not fair, this is not right, this doesn't help me or my sorrow.  I'm sorry but it's the truth.  I don't want this and I am so angry and so tired.  Where are you God?  I thought you were near to the brokenhearted?  I'm waiting...

Psalm 143:7-8
Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails.  Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.  Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.

God I need peace in my heart.  You know me, you knew this would happen since before I was even born, you know the events that will take place years from now.  How am I going to get through this?  Please ease this pain in my heart.   

Thursday, March 20, 2014

family tree

I have a picture that I want to share with you.  I don't know if I've even mentioned my "second family" shame on me!  I am a nanny to two children who mean the world to me, I've watched them both grow since they were babies.  I won't share their names because I haven't asked permission yet.  The little girl drew her family tree for school this year.  Yesterday I saw her artwork for the first time and it brought me to tears.

I feel guilty for not letting these kids see me cry because I don't want to make them sad or upset.  But I think the fact of the matter is, I might be doing them a disservice when I hide my tears.  I don't want them to grow up wondering why I never cried when my son died.  Even thought that is the complete opposite of the truth, that is what they see.  So I let myself cry in front of her when I saw this picture…

From left to right- John-Michael in the grey, baby Jaxon, me, and our dog Cooper.  Doesn't this just bring you to tears?!?

She was so compassionate, she put her arm around me and started rubbing my back.  She didn't say anything to try and make it better, she was just there.  And that means the world.  Don't try to make it better with your words because you just can't.  Usually something awkward or stupid comes out and you make it worse.  We can all learn something from a child, and this little girl's innocent compassion blew me out of the water yesterday.  I am blessed.

Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28 says,
"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."

This says a lot to me about all those questions that keep torturing my relationship with God.  I do think that God did not cause this to happen.  God is good- if you read and study His word, then you know who God is.  I do think the devil messes with us quite a bit as well.  I find that I contradict myself a lot with my thoughts and my writing.  But God doesn't do that.  Humans do.  I think that's why christians are called hypocrites so often.  Because we are! ;)  I am not perfect and I don't have it all figured out.  Yes, I am mad at God, but I LOVE HIM.

I think of it like a parent child relationship… a child will lash out at their parents- have you seen a 2 yr old throw a tantrum?  Well, I guess thats sort of what I'm doing right now.  I just don't understand why this has to be.  I know it happens to other people, but it happened to me and I don't like it.  Just like the 2 yr old.  Yea, sister didn't get that cookie either, but I WANT IT and YOU"RE SO MEAN for not letting me have it, so I'm going to be mad and I'm going to scream at you because I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY.  But you know that 2 yr old loves his parents.  And you know those parents love that 2 yr old.

"…in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…"  Even in death.  Even when your child dies, God is working to make it good.  I trust in God and I know He keeps His promises.  I seek this plan- His plan, because His Word says that if I seek Him, I will find Him, and ultimately His purpose- and it is good.  There is purpose in this pain.  There is purpose in your pain.  There is purpose in the pain when we seek the purpose.  And the only way to find it is to find God.  God will make it good.  Read His word, talk to Him, listen for His voice.  Be still and know that He is God- not the tv, not facebook, not your friends or your coworkers, not the mall, and definitely not that chocolate chip cookie (yes that's soooo my weakness.)  

I had a long walk with my friend Miranda the other day.  I came to her with all these questions and my anger with God.  Neither of us had the answers.  But we did agree on one thing… we don't have to know the answers, we just have to trust.  That can be the easiest thing, or the hardest thing.  It's easy when you let it go.  It's hard when you hang onto the questions.  My little 2 yr old brain just can't comprehend God's infinity yr old ways.

Jaxon's story

So, at the dinner last week, one of the moms was telling me about a project that she started.  She was going to make a book to go in the Hope Boxes that would include some of the stories of hope moms and their babies.  She said she would love for me to submit my story for the book!  I was thrilled!  Mostly at first because I get to share my boy with people who will genuinely appreciate hearing about him.  But not only that, but this would be a chance to help someone.  Someone with a similar story could read about our story and connect to it and feel like she is not alone.  Kate said something recently that hit the nail on the head. We like reading about other people with similar stories because we get to borrow their hope.  Yes!  Exactly.  You are so lost, you don't know what to think or feel.  The grief is all consuming at first.  These stories help tremendously.

So, I want to share with you what I submitted to her…

            My name is Michelle Garza and I have a beautiful son, Jaxon Nicolas, who lives in heaven with Jesus.
I will always remember the way he would constantly push up on my ribs.  It was like he was asking me, “Mom sit up straight, pleeeeease!  You’re squishing me!”  I remember asking my midwife if she could guess how long he was, because it was like he never had enough room.  I was only about 6 months along at the time, so in my mind I’m thinking he HAS to be long.  I will never forget her answer, “No honey, you’re just short!”  Yea, we’ll see is what I knowingly smirked back at her in my head.
My husband and I chose to welcome Jaxon, into this world at a birthing center in downtown Dallas.  I felt safe there because we were 3 minutes from the Big Baylor hospital just in case of an emergency.  But, I felt even safer at the birthing center because I knew I wouldn’t be pressured into using Pitocin, an epidural, or having an unnecessary C-section.  I wanted a drug-free labor so that my baby would latch on immediately and we could successfully breast-feed for as long as we wanted.  I prepared for the pain with an 8-week birthing class, read the books, bought the essential oils, and we had the recipe for homemade “labor-ade” (which I never had the time to make.)  Yes, I was “crunchy,” and I had the false assumption that if I did all of these things, nothing bad could possibly happen.  I thought I was in control.    
The day before I reached 38 weeks, everything began to change.  I went in for what I thought would be a quick check-up.  Well, not quite.  My blood pressure was noticeably higher than the week before.  Not hypertension yet, but my midwife wanted to do a couple of extra checks.  She started pressing on my belly, smooshing Jaxon around, trying to get a feel for his size.  After surprisingly feeling that he was smaller than he should be, she scheduled a sonogram for me the same afternoon.   
What they found was my amniotic fluid was low and Jaxon was measuring at only 5 ½ lbs.  I thought, no way that’s possible!  He’s constantly pushing up on me!  I was ordered to go home and lay on my left side, rest and drink lots of water, and they would check me again in 3 days.  If my fluid level didn’t improve, I would be induced.  I drank water non-stop because in my head I pictured I was building up my amniotic fluid and I was going to make it safe for Jaxon.  I was still in control. 
So there I was, 3 days later on the morning of Nov. 12, absolutely sure that my fluid level had gone up, happy to see my baby on the screen again, and anxious to hear that everything was back on track.  All too quickly my heart froze in fear as I heard the news that my fluid level dropped even further and they indeed were going to induce me.  My pulse then shot through the roof and I was on the verge of tears, but I trusted that they were making the right call and I went along with the new plan. 
My midwife began the induction that day at noon, with a Cook double balloon catheter that is used to thin and dilate the cervix.  Not to worry, there were no drugs used and this was perfectly safe and is common with midwives.  I was told to go home and rest and that I could expect some cramping, but more than likely, I would not go into labor just yet.  I was supposed to remove the catheter after 12 hours and then I would go back to see her in the morning after getting some sleep. 
Well, my labor began about 4 hours later, and by 12:45am we were at the birthing center in active labor.  My midwife turned on the Doppler several minutes after we arrived and started moving the jelly around in search of a heartbeat.  Jaxon’s heartbeat was never hard to find before, but she was struggling to find it.  This wasn’t happening and I wasn’t even entertaining the thought of something so horrible.  She called the dr. at Baylor and we rushed over.  I still wasn’t entertaining the thought.  Jaxon was fine.  I started to pray.  I told my husband to text everyone and ask them to pray.  If we did this everything would be fine. 
The sonogram room at Baylor was dim and cold.  I climbed up on the table, laid on my back (which was absolutely the worst position my laboring body wanted to be in), and grabbed for my husband’s hand.  I will never forget the fear of those searching eyes in that moment.  My midwife’s eyes, my husband’s eyes, the eyes of the sonographer and the nurses in the room.  My husband fell to his knees and wailed, he already knew.  The last time we felt Jaxon moving was around 9:45pm.  My husband knew his son.  He would kiss the bottom of my belly where Jaxon’s head was and in response, Jaxon would jump and kick up.  It was very noticeable.  Between the hours of 9:45pm and 12:45am, my boy passed away.  We were almost there.  I keep the memories of that night locked up in the vault.  With tears falling down my cheeks, I write this with such indescribable pain, I have no words other than my God, why?  
In this brokenness, I have pleaded with God to perform a miracle and just rewind time so I could go back and change what happened.  I’ve been so angry with Him because He didn’t save Jaxon.  I want the sweet illusion of control back.  I have so many questions, and most of them are simply questions that I won’t have an answer to until I reach the other side of heaven.  My faith was shaken to its core, and all that was left standing was its bare foundation.  I had to choose between resentment and thanksgiving, anger and hope.  I am still learning that if I want to find peace, I have to give up trying to control and I have to trust. 
I delivered my firstborn on November 13, 2013 just a week and a half shy of his due date.  We don’t have any concrete evidence of what happened, but we suspect that his cord was pinched.  Jaxon was a healthy baby boy, weighing 6 lbs. 12 oz. and 22 inches long.  I got confirmation of something that I already knew- Jaxon was going to be a tall boy after all, just like his daddy.  He had his daddy’s facial features for the most part, but I can claim his pudgy, pointy chin.  Oh, and I will also proudly claim his perfect little feet.  Oh, how I miss those baby toes.  I will forever remember the color of his hair, or rather colors of his hair.  He was blessed with not just brown, not just blonde, but also with red hair!!  Wild, colorful hair- a perfect match for his wild, colorful personality.   
In the weeks after Jaxon’s death, I was told many times, “Jaxon only felt love.  Jaxon is in a better place.  Jaxon has touched so many lives, what a legacy!”  I do deeply appreciate the kind words and know these things are said in purest sincerity to make me feel better, but there has only been one thing that offered me true comfort.  God finds ways to remind me, “you will see Jaxon again.”
It took me some time before I opened my Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young again, and I’m so glad I did.  I turned back to November 13th, the day that changed it all for me, and this verse was waiting for me-
 “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
When I read those words, I could hear a soft whisper in my ear, “I promise you, you will see your son again.  I know what it feels like to lose a son.  I am crying with you.  I will carry you through this.  You can trust me.  I keep my promises.”  


I just got home from the chiropractor and let me tell you… THAT WAS AWESOME!  I'm a chiro newbie and I. Was. Scared!  I don't like thinking about my bones cracking and popping at the mercy of some stranger that can possibly break me.  But I am hooked!  And the hour massage beforehand was nice too ;)

Since I physically am feeling so good (and I haven't felt this good in a loooooong time) it's putting me in a great mood!  So I decided to write.  To be completely transparent- I have been in a dark, lonely place the past week and a half.  It's been a mood that's just hard to shake.  I've been more self-conscious than usual (I didn't think that was possible) and I've been kind of a downer.  I don't like writing when I'm feeling that way.  The feelings are real, yes, but ultimately it's a choice to project that out into the world.  If we let these feelings take control of us for too long, then it's just a yucky place to be.  Nobody wants to be around you and you don't want to be around anybody… it gets pretty lonely and just, well, yucky.

Is this God's plan?  Or is it the new plan?  Was this His plan all along, to give me a child only for a split second and then see what would happen, see if this would grow me or be the end of me?  Or was it human error that led to Jaxon's death, and God decided to let it happen, because He saw a new plan that was better?  Did God let Jaxon die because Jaxon was going to get really sick and He thought it would be better to let Jaxon go and save us that sorrow?  Or maybe Jaxon was going to be a serial killer and God wanted to spare the world from that terror?  UGH.

You know what?!?  All I hear in my head is this whisper… You know better.  Be still and know that I am God.  

Wow.  Okay.  I have a feeling that this was God's plan all along.  And if so… I have to say it- I'm not a big fan right now.  I am still mad at God.  I don't like this plan, I hate this plan.  I want the illusion of control back.  Okay, I know I said I was in a good mood and I am.  Which is why I'm going to say this…

I don't have all the answers.  And today I am going to be okay with that.  

In fact, I'm pretty sure I'll never know the answers.  But I'm about to get into something great.  In my last post I talked about Hope Mommies.  Well, I'm going to start going to what they call Hope Groups.  A few of us local Hope Moms (I am so blessed to be a part of this group because most groups are online due to the moms being spread so far apart in location- God thank you, but I am still upset with you) are going to get together and share our stories with each other, share our grief, even share our relationship with God with each other.  This is the perfect spot for a grieving mother- a chance to feel like I am not alone.

I went to dinner with these mommies last week.  We went to BJs, one of my favorite places- the gourmet mac and cheese is glorious!  Haha- I don't know why they call it gourmet because I think they put goldfish crackers on top!  Nothin says gourmet like goldfish ya'll! :) Anyway, it was a great time.  My introvertedness showed up for sure, but these women are so kindhearted and compassionate.  They asked me questions and included me and it was a great place to be, even when surrounded by the grief.  There was a mom there who just lost her baby boy in February and let me tell you- wow!!  Her strength is amazing.  She cried yes, but you know what?  Allowing yourself to cry and be vulnerable like that is strength.

I can't wait to see what God has planned for Dallas… I see big things.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Amy and Hope Mommies

So I start looking through the page and I see 3 women are a part of the group.  Two of them have posted a picture of them holding their babies and a little bit of their story.  I bawled like a baby seeing these pictures.  One of these women is Amy.  Immediately I can see that we have something in common... she posted about her jealousy of other women and their healthy births.  It is such a vulnerable thing to say, because you don't want to make anyone feel bad, but it is the truth.  But this is a safe place to say what you feel.  By seeing that confession, I knew that I could feel safe here.  So a few days after I scoped out the group, I decided to post my story.  I shared with them a picture of me holding Jaxon that showed complete, broken sorrow.  I admitted my jealousy and also my guilt. (I will talk more about my guilt later- I am currently working through a lot of guilt issues with Kate.)

Soon after I posted, Amy commented.  We had a private message conversation that lasted a couple hours.  It exhausted me, but in a good way.  I was talking and sharing my struggles with her, a complete stranger!  But it helped- I think it was the fact that I was sharing my load with someone, getting things off my chest.  I will never forget her compassion either.  She had just experienced her loss 2 months prior, but she was reaching out to me.  She told me about this box that she received from a friend and she wanted to know if I wanted one?  It was a Hope box. 

Something I forgot to say earlier was that Mallie shared Amy's blog with me when she added me to the facebook group.  I immediately started reading Amy's blog (I linked to it in my second post I think it was?).  Wow, this girl is awesome.  She was so brave for putting her story out there for the world to read, and she held nothing back!  She said she was writing to heal.  She was writing to remember the events of her loss and who was there and what they did and the conversations that were had.  I thought, what a good idea.  I need to get some things out and maybe this will help me to heal as well, so that was my inspiration to start writing.  But being the introvert that I am, I set my blog to private and shared it with nobody until recently. 

A  few days passed and then Amy shared a website with our facebook group- www.hopemommies.org.  I played around this website in awe.  I read some of the blog and looked at info about a retreat they were going to have.  How awesome is it that moms who have lost their babies are joining together to help each other?!?  It seems natural for women to join together and talk and bond (haha-except for me it comes completely unnaturally), so why not grieving moms?  It was here that Amy sponsored my hope box from- what a cool idea.  I got my box in the mail shortly after I played around on the website.  It was such a cute box, very comforting, especially the heaven booklet.  I had so many questions about where Jaxon was, if he was still a baby in heaven or a man or a teenager.  Does he still have a body, or is he this shining bright soul floating around up there?  Although I didn't really get an answer about whether Jaxon is a baby or a teenager, I often think of him as a teenager.  I think of him as being a lot like his daddy, a kind heart, except untainted by the ways of this world like we all are.  Jaxon opened his eyes and saw the face of God- how awesome is that for him?!?   

God knew this was going to happen.  I'm not going to say He caused this to happen, because I don't believe that He works that way.  He knows our lives and sees what is about to happen, and He "causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them." -Romans 8:28 (I've clung to this promise so tightly these past couple weeks.) He works through so many different people and events to get you to where you need to be.  It is this intricate web- my little brain can only see the surface, the events that I can see, but there are so many other events that have happened that I didn't see in order for this meeting to happen.  God led me to hope mommies because He knew that I would need them.  I think we often miss what God has laid in front of us to help us through our struggles.  I missed a big opportunity to connect with these women when I decided not to go to the Hope Mommies retreat that was held in February.  I actually just read on Amy's blog this morning about her experience with this retreat and I deeply regret not going.  But that's not going to stop me. 

Something Amy said one day, while she was on the news that has stuck with me (oh yes the news- God has already worked through her in so many ways to impact mothers like me).  She said, "there is purpose in the pain."  And I'm pretty sure I have found Jaxon's purpose.  :) There is a plan that God is laying on my heart, "He is causing everything to work together for the good."  It is up to me to follow Him as he leads me through this plan... and I am scared to death!!!  Especially after reading what Amy posted in her blog this morning!  But He spoke to me this morning as I read in my Jesus Calling devotional....
  "Walk by faith, not by sight.  As you take steps of faith, depending on Me, I will show you how much I can do for you.  If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you.  When I gave you My Spirit, I empowered you to live beyond your natural ability and strength.  That's why it is so wrong to measure your energy level against the challenges ahead of you.  the issue is not your strength but Mine, which is limitless.  By walking close to Me, you can accomplish My purposes in My strength."



Mallie and NILMDTS

2 weeks ago, I had this random thought- what if our women's bible study did a hope box gathering?  If you know me, or have read my blog, you've probably picked up on my insecurities but I don't think I've actually said this- BIG time introvert here!  Thinking about being in a big group that I am supposed to interact with just sucks the energy right out of me!!  Yea, just thinking about it!  I'm not even talking about actually doing it yet.  Especially a group that I haven't met before.  And then, there's the after terror where I think of all the things I could have said and beat myself up for not fully embracing the time and saying a few things.  Ugh!  All you introverts out there know what I'm talking about :)  I realize this about myself, and I'm still trying to figure out how to be me and not be upset with myself about being me...

Ok, back to the hope box gathering idea- I have to tell you more about Mallie, Amy, and Hope Mommies first.  I know I've mentioned them before, but I feel like I've been vague with how God placed them into my life and the impact they have had on me these last several months.  Let me start with November 13, 2013.  A couple of hours after I found out that Jaxon was gone, the nurse that I will never forget, Sherry, asked if we wanted someone to come take pictures of Jaxon after he was born.  I'm sure she mentioned the organization Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, but I don't remember that part.  So about an hour after Jaxon was born, in walks the sweetest woman I know, Mallie Ray, our photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  The thing I remember the most about those couple hours was her compassion.  She cried with us.  As she posed Jaxon, she talked so sweetly to him.  As I'm writing this, I am in tears remembering how she posed him while whispering in his ear how beautiful he was, she herself in tears.  Mallie, you mean the world to families like ours because of the way you love on us. 

Mallie had brought a lamb and a blanket and a hat for Jaxon.  They were all from moms who had also lost their babies and wanted to give something to future moms in remembrance of their children (I had to ask my husband because I honestly didn't hear a word she said, all I can remember is the way she was with my boy).  We have pictures of Jaxon with that lamb (I included that pic in my previous post) and also a couple with him in the little white hat, that I believe was handmade.  Let me stop right here and say- these pictures are such a blessing to have.  If I didn't have these pictures to remember Jaxon by, that ache in my heart would be so much bigger.  I can look at him every day and I will never forget his face.  I discovered we have the same feet by these pictures.  I can remember the red in his hair.  It is healing.  A lot of people don't understand it, they think it is morbid.  But let me tell you firsthand, these pictures will help a broken heart find joy by remembrance.  Some days they make me cry, some days they make me smile too- that is my boy and I get to see him every day!!! :)

We kept in contact through email because she would add Jaxon's pictures to her photo website that she has send me the link for.  I checked that website several times a day in hopes to see another photo of my sweet boy.  To fully explain how absent minded I was about everything that was said to me, I tried to pay her for the photos!  I wanted all of the pictures on a disk so I could print them whenever I wanted.  You see, I didn't even remember that she was from NILMDTS, I thought in my head that maybe she was a volunteer through the hospital and stepped in when a family wanted photos.  So I emailed her and asked her for the disk and how much!  Haha, Mallied said, "absolutely NOT!!!"  She explained again about NILMDTS and that she would definitely be sending me the disk, but that I could not pay for it.  Haha- God is so good.  :) 

After that, I remembered her saying something about facebook, so I found her on facebook and added her as a friend.  Then a few things started coming back.  I could hear a whisper in my head- she started a private group, ask her.  God was showing up for me :)  I private messaged her on fb and she immediately added me to the page.  Wow, and here it all begins...  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Prayer and Pictures

I took my dog, Cooper, for a walk this afternoon.  The air was a little chilly, but the sun warmed us up as the few clouds that were in the blue sky blew their way out.  As we walked, I remembered those last few weeks leading up to Jaxon's last days.  Jaxon and I would walk with Cooper up and down the hill and my sweet baby boy would stretch and push up against my ribs.  Those last few weeks contained more pushes than kicks, he had lost the ability to kick me because his legs had gotten so long.  I would try my best to stand and sit as straight as I could in order to give him the room he needed, I remember I would laugh at him because anytime I would bend over, he would push right back up against me.  I will cherish the memory of those days forever.  

I have to tell you, it really surprises me the way some days I can look back with a smile.  I believe with all my heart, these days are beginning to come more often than not because of the prayers that have so generously been blanketed over us.

Thank you God, for the people that have been praying for us.  It is through them, that the dark parts of my soul have seen Your Light.  Thank you.   

I want to share a few pictures of my Jaxon with you.

These are my favorite pictures of him.  The first picture is Jaxon in his baseball outfit all wrapped up in his soooooooooooft sportie blanket.  The second one is just Jaxon, my sweet baby, looking like the perfect baby he was.  The third is John-Michael holding our Jaxon's feet- that I totally claim!! You see those pinkie toes that kind of curl in?  Yea, those are mine :)  And the last one is him looking all sweet with the lamb that Mallie brought for him.  Mallie Ray took these pictures- what a blessing she gives to us through these pictures.  You know, we didn't even notice his feet were like mine until we saw this picture.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

the devil returns

On the way back to Dallas on Sunday afternoon, we hit some bad ice.  It took us 9 hours to get home, when it should only take 4 hours.  It was a scary trip.  Wow, fear has really taken it's toll on my body lately.  My spine feels so wacked out, my neck hurts, and my jaw is sore from my tendency to clench my mouth shut so tight when I'm nervous.  I remember at one point we took a detour to a side highway that ran north parallel to I-35.  Yea, not a good idea.  I feared for my life like I had never feared before.  Eeeek!!  There weren't as many cars on that highway, but that meant we could go faster than 1 mph.  Suddenly the appeal of going faster than 1 mph was gone and I wanted to go 1 mph!!! I didn't care how long it took me to get home, I just wanted to be safe where the other cars were and the traffic forced us to go slow enough that we couldn't spin out.

Sometimes I feel like God wants me to go too fast.  I am only 16 weeks out from losing my Jaxon.  Am I really supposed to share my testimony now?  God do you realize who you are talking to?  I can barely talk to my table at bible study about Jaxon.  And you want me to talk about him in front of 300 women?  Ummmm… I want to get back on that road with all the traffic where I can go 1 mph and there is no risk of spinning out.  Just saying…

Fear.  It is crippling.

I just have to keep reminding myself.  If I fail to do what He is calling me to do, He is still there.  He is still God, no matter what I choose.  But until I fully trust His plan for me, He is not my God.  He is someone else's God.  He can do great things for other people.  He can break her fear, but not mine.  I have to let go and trust Him.  I do believe that He is good.  I do believe that He keeps His promises.  Don't I?  I'm beginning to think that when I say that, it means that I believe it for other people.  But not for myself.  These thoughts are real, but where are they coming from???  I already know

The babyshower

This past weekend John-Michael and I went to my sis-in-law's baby shower.  They are having a boy, finally after 3 girls! This was going to be special for us, Jaxon and his cousin were going to be close.  But God never authored for Jaxon to be here for long.  This is a hard pill to swallow, to say the least.  It's been almost 4 months and I still ask God, why?  It is a dangerous place to be yes, but it is real, and I don't think I'll ever stop asking God why.  But I do believe He is good, and He keeps His promises.

A couple of months ago, my sis-in-law, Kathleen asked if they could name their son after Jaxon.  We were both so happy to hear that.  Sebastian Jax.  I love it, and I can't wait to meet this little guy.

So we drive down to good, old SA on Saturday about noon.  I was in a good place- I can't quite describe how I arrived in this good place.  God's strength is the only answer I have for that.  We stopped in West, TX to get some goodies from the famous Czech bakery.  I got a cinnamon twist and a pulled pork kolache looking thing.  JM got a pecan roll (so much better than mine!!) and pepperoni rolls.  And we got our nieces a dozen mixed berry, cream cheese kolaches.  Indulgence always makes for a good time ;)

When we got to SA, I soaked it all in.  It has been years since I've been back.  We lived in Converse, which is just north of San Antonio.  I do miss visiting, but I must admit, I like Dallas better. ;)  Anyway, we stop at The Forum, a shopping development located as you get to Converse.  I wanted to get Kathleen some nautical deco to go in the baby room at Hobby Lobby.  We found perfect things for Jaxon's nursery there, and I wanted Sebastian to have some things like his cousin Jaxon had.  So we find the perfect frame, and a sign saying something about "I'm the captain."  It was cute, and perfect.  We all know that new babies call the shots ;)  Well, I'm pretty sure that's how it goes.  I'll know firsthand soon enough.

Sunday came, and I felt good.  We felt good.  Kathleen called and said that they had forgotten the Jello (they made cute little blue jello cups with little sailboats made from life savors.)  We stayed with his mom, Rachel, so I stayed behind to help her finish her cute little pickle rolls and JM left to grab the jello and head to the shower.  So, Rachel and I finish up and we head out to Aunt Gloria's for the shower.  I have to tell you, I don't know JM's family very well.  I am closest with his sister, Kathleen, and his mom, Rachel, but anyone else, I am not.  We have not spent a whole lot of time with them, first of all because we live in Dallas, but I think mostly because there is always drama.  I think most can relate to this.  Drama, drama, drama!!  I am glad we have managed to stay out of it… I like peace.  But, I have missed developing a relationship with Aunt Gloria, JM's father, his cousins, and even his sister.  Hopefully that can change a little.

Anyway, on the way out there, Rachel asks me how I am doing.  The real how are you doing, not the fake, surface layer, "how are you doing?"  I tell her I am doing as well as I can be.  Which is what I tell most people.  There is something about going there… I just don't want to go there with many people.  Especially on the way to a baby shower.  Common, I'm happy today… let me be!

So this is an issue I have had to learn how to handle.  When I am happy, I let myself be happy.  I don't go there because people (completely unaware of what they are asking of) ask me to.  I know it's easy to because you want to be polite and answer their questions, but that will rob you of your good days.  I know that when people ask me this, they have best of intentions.  This is a tricky thing to talk about, and I'm still trying to figure out how to navigate it.  The fact is, every day I feel different.  It is not something anyone can figure out, myself included.  Just take me at my word when I say I am doing the best I can be.  If I take it further, then I am ok with talking about it.  Even if I take it further and I cry, that means I need to.  But if I don't say anything else, that means I don't want to go to that place today.  So I left it at that, and she rambled on.  And I'll leave it at that ;)  

We get there and I love it.  We look at the cake, the decorations, the food.  It looks fabulous and perfect.  And then it happens…  In walks a woman with her little baby boy.  In his car seat, looking all cute and like a boy.  Crap.  I immediately turn to go to the opposite side of the room.  I start looking at the food again, which is tucked away in the dining area, away from most of the people.  JM follows me.  The baby starts to cry.  I grab my mouth and face the wall.  CRAP!!!  It happens, here comes the flood of emotions that I haven't learned to control in public yet.

That was supposed to be me. That was supposed to be us, carrying in sweet Jaxon to his cousin's shower.  I was supposed to be the one with a crying baby boy in his car seat.  Pulling him out to comfort him.  That was supposed to be me and Jaxon.  This would have been his first trip to SA.  His first trip to Aunt Gloria's.  His first long car ride.  The first time he would meet his daddy's side of the family.  Was I fooling myself for thinking that I could do this? 

No.  Kate said no.  I saw Kate on Tuesday, and described the scene to her.  She said I am not fooling myself for recognizing that I had been feeling happy and chose to be brave enough to celebrate.  And I have to remember that.

JM saw what had happened, and was standing right next to me.  He wrapped his arm around me and I took a deep breath.  I refuse to have anyone see me doing this.  In no way was I going to take the attention off of Kathleen.  I took several deep breaths, wiped my eyes, and we headed toward the door. There were many people there by this time, so we went outside unnoticed.  We got to the car and I let myself loose it.  Sobs and ugly cries came out.  I left, JM stayed behind.

As I drove, I slowly began to remember where I was and remembered how to get to familiar places.  I went to my old neighborhood, my old elementary school, and took the back roads.  I drove to a familiar highway and went to Rolling Oaks Mall.  This mall used to have giant horses everywhere, but they are gone.  Bummer.  I parked and sat in the parking lot, reading Angie Smith's book I Will Carry You.  I figured, well if I am going to be sad, then I might as well take advantage of it and get it all out.  You learn to be a productive cryer.

I must have been sitting there for about an hour until I had to pee really bad, so I got out of the car and went inside the mall.  Wow, so many memories here.  So much has changed.  I thought about that girl in high school.  You remember, the girl that thought she was safe.  Nothing bad would happen to me.  Not that I ever said that, but it was just something I assumed.  I think we all assume that at some point.  But life happens and eventually we realize that we are not in control.

Fear Can Go To Hell

My husband, John-Michael, and I grew up in Converse, TX.  From what I hear, the school isn't what it used to be, and that makes me a little sad.  I was proud of my school.  We were football champs, we had a million kids, and it was just fun to be a Rocket.  Now, I'm sure many of my classmates won't agree, but I miss it.  I had a lot of fun.  Friday night lights, the band, the cheers, performances, and the hot chocolate on those cold nights.  I was in the colorguard with the band (yes, the band, and I'm proud of it!) my freshman and sophomore years, and in the dance team my junior and senior years.  I don't think I missed a single football game.  Something I have regretted is not ever making it back for a football game.  I know I still can, but it won't be the same now.  The school has since been torn down and rebuilt.  The stadium has been "upgraded."  The school is no longer divided into the "red campus" and the "grey campus."  They have since built another high school and dubbed the "grey campus" as a middle school.  It is completely different- I'd rather reminisce what used to be.  I miss being in high school.  I had an innocent perspective on life.  

Fear has somewhat taken over my life since Jaxon died.  I felt like I was in control in high school.  And even in the years leading up to Jaxon's death, I was naive to the possibility that anything bad could happen to me.  I would hear and say, God is in control, but I don't think I ever really stopped to think about what that meant.  I was regurgitating my mother's faith.  The week leading up to November 13 has replayed over and over and over again.  These memories take my sleep, take my energy, take my common sense, they take my life.  

I read Angie Smith's blog about 2 weeks ago, maybe 3 weeks ago.  This woman can write!!! Anyway, she began to open up a whole new world of healing with her words.  So, my mom recently mailed me two of Angie's books- I Will Carry You and What Women Fear (that she just happened to buy a few years ago and hadn't even read them yet, not a coincidence).  If you don't know Angie Smith, let me start by telling you that she lost her child too.  Her story is a bit different from mine, but none the less, she lost her child.  Her baby girl Audrey was developing in a way that made her non-compatible with life.  They never diagnosed her with the condition, but I believe it was somewhat like Trisomy.  

So I started reading from her book What Women Fear.  I skipped around to read the chapters I felt would apply to me and some of these words started screaming at me!  I realize, she has the same fears.  These are real, these don't make me crazy.  These are common fears.  We often don't realize how common our fearful thoughts are because we don't share them with each other.    

I realize, I am in a position here to tell my story.  To share what is happening to me, because of what happened to me.  I am called to "use my pain as my platform."  Suffering happens to everyone, and the healing begins when we share. This has come up several times in the past week.  I have been presented with opportunities to share my testimony.  And then yesterday, that guy on the radio- Share.  And today while reading Angie's book, What Women Fear- 
"God will still be God if you stay in the boat.  
But He won't be your God unless you get out."  

I hear you God.  I get it.
God is telling me to share, and I am terrified
I have recognized something this past week- My thoughts.  
You won't be able to get a word out. 
Even if you write down what you want to say, you will choke up on the first word. 
They'll all be staring at you.
Nobody wants to hear about your pain.  What a downer!
You'll be shaking so bad, you won't even be able to read the words! 
Your adrenaline is your worst enemy, you can't control that.

I've said before, I have the tendency to be negative and judgmental.  I think these qualities come from an insecurity that I've never dealt with before.  I'm always trying to get people to like me, and then I lose myself.  Ugh… vicious cycle that never ends up pretty.  It is straight up insecurity, and I believe it's because I've listened to these thoughts over and over and over.  Eventually you begin to believe them, right? Anyway, by recognizing these thoughts, I've also recognized where they come from.  The devil.  Period.  End of story.  These are thoughts that the devil is putting into my head because he doesn't want me to share.  He doesn't want this story to get out, because his plan to break me didn't work.  In our weakness, we can either run and hide under the covers, or we can turn to God and receive the strength to fight back.  The devil can go to hell.