Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Letter to Hope Mommies

Last week, I was given the opportunity to write a letter telling about my experiences after Jaxon's death and how Hope Mommies has helped me grow and heal.  This letter will ultimately be used by Hope Mommies to seek funding, but shortly after sending it to her, Erin (founder of Hope Mommies) immediately wrote me back telling me how reading my story had her crying on her couch with a renewed heart.  I want to share this with ya'll so you get a taste of how powerful this journey has actually been for me because God used it to open up my eyes to Him.  Only God can make something so good out of the worst day of my life…

My letter-

My name is Michelle Garza, I'm 31, and live in Dallas, TX with my husband, John-Michael, and our retired seeing-eye dog and 2 cats.  We have one child, Jaxon Nicolas, who lives in heaven with Jesus.  I'd like to give you a peek into my journey of becoming a Hope Mom and the impact Hope Mommies has had on my life. 

We found out we were expecting our first baby on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013.  We had been trying to get pregnant for 8 months, so needless to say I was a little in shock and of course super excited when this pregnancy test said we were "pregnant!"  It was a wonderful pregnancy, and Jaxon was growing strong and healthy.  The baby showers were over, his nursery was almost ready, and we had almost finished packing our bags for the birthing center.  We were as ready as we were going to be!  When we approached 38 weeks, my midwife noticed my blood pressure was on the rise and my amniotic fluid level was falling.  So, at 38 1/2 weeks, she decided to induce my labor; this was noon on November 12, 2013.  I went home to get some rest and start the beginning stages of labor.  My labor pains began around 4:30 that day and I found myself at the birthing center at around midnight that night.  This is where my life changed forever.

Immediately, I got on the bed and we listened for Jaxon's heartbeat.  She had never had trouble finding it before, but she struggled for what seemed like an eternity.  The next thing I know, we are rushing down the road to Baylor.  As soon as I get there, they got me on the sonogram table to confirm our worst fear.  Our boy was gone. 

We had just felt him move at 9:45 that night, a little more than two hours before we arrived at the birthing center.  I delivered him November 13 at 4:27pm.  Jaxon looks just like his daddy and weighed 6lbs 12 oz and measured 22 in long.   

That day still holds our highest highs and our lowest lows.  We finally saw and held our firstborn; it was a beautiful moment.  But in the same day we had to give him back.  My faith in God and His promises had been shaken to its core.  How can a God that is good let my baby die?  He knew Jaxon was in trouble and He had the power to fix it, but he didn't.  The house I had built with God had fallen and I was desperate to rebuild, but just didn't know how. 

Thankfully, God led me to Hope Mommies before the anger of losing my firstborn became permanent.  The first time I heard about Hope Mommies was when a friend that I had met through my Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer sent me a Hope Box.  She had also lost her full term daughter just two months prior and had become involved with Hope Mommies and outreach after someone sent her a hope box. 

Shortly after receiving my box, I checked out hopemommies.org.  Then, I was added to the private Facebook group page, where moms like me can interact and support one another.  I remember that one of the hope moms had said that God can handle whatever anger, questions, or struggles we have.  We won't hurt His feelings and he doesn't disown us for doubting him.  She said the God He is now is the same God He was before our babies died.  This stuck with me and I began to search the bible for some perspective.  I started to seek the true character of God, I started to see and understand Who He is, even in the midst of tragedy and grief.  

I started reading the One Year Book of Hope that was in my hope box and discovered what it means to be a sufferer.  I discovered that tragedy and pain is no stranger to a believer and follower of Christ.  I discovered what it means to grieve with God and grieve well.  I found comfort.  I'm learning how to work through and carry this pain and use it for God's glory.

I decided to go to the Dallas Hope Group that began this March and met 7 other local moms face-to-face while attending.  We all shared our stories and met each other with compassion and understanding.  It felt so good to share with other moms who just "get it."  I learned that a lot of what I was feeling was normal.  I was given bible verses to cling to and to learn from.  I dug deep into God's word and answered some hard questions.  I learned more about grieving well and using my experience to help others.  The best part of it for me was I was doing this alongside other grieving moms.  I found a community of women who know exactly how this feels and we are all growing together and helping others together.   

For our last meeting, we released a balloon for each of our babies and the babies of moms we knew and couldn't be there.  We made hope boxes for new moms.  We had cake and a final bible study focusing on outreach and helping other moms on their grief journey.  Without these women, I wouldn't have grown as much as I have.  The curriculum in the group is something that I can continuously look back on and remind myself of things that I need reminding of.  I look forward to the next hope group in the Fall, because grieving is definitely an ongoing process, and fellowship with these women helps me to grieve well.  I also look forward to meeting more moms at the next Hope Mommies Retreat, because I've heard it is an amazing experience. 

I can truly say that I finally know my God, I'm not just talking about what I've heard about him.  I aimed all of my grief at Him, I asked the hard questions, and I sought after Who He is.  And He told me who he is, no doubt.  He is the God that sacrificed His Son, to die for me- a sinner.  God knows what it is like to lose a child, he knows the pain and the grief I am in, and He cries with us.  Can I say that I would give my son to an angry mob to be beaten and hung on a cross to die?  Would I ever choose for my son to die in the place of someone that doesn't deserve it?  No.  But I am not God, and thank goodness because I would be horrible at it!  His ways are higher than mine.  I may not understand because of my human nature, but I do have hope in His promise.  Because of His love which is beyond my understanding, I will see my son again.  Jaxon is not "lost."  I know where he is. 

The Hope Mommies community and organization was exactly the vessel God needed and used to bring healing and hope into my life.  The community, bible study, and outreach of Hope Mommies is amazing and I thank God for them every day! 

And here was her response-

Oh Michelle.

I am sitting on my couch, weeping while I read your story. It it just so unbelievable to me the way that God moves. He gifted you with precious Jaxon, but in such a way that … my human heart cannot understand. He designed our babies for eternity, and what a relief that is to us moms! We KNOW that they are safe. We KNOW that they are loved, forever. We never have to fear for Jaxon and Gwendolyn. That is such a balm to my heart. 


But it’s so wrong that babies die, and that we miss them. And being broken in this way is excruciating. I remember physically aching from grief. 

And yet, because of God’s great love for us — for me, for you — He gave us what we really needed, which was more of Himself. A greater understanding and faith. And the hope that life on this Earth really won’t be too long, and we’ll be with them. 

I’m preaching/typing at myself, because even 3.5 years later, I miss her and my humanity longs for that old “normal”. And reading your story of God’s redemption in your sorrow is tragically beautiful. 

I might not even be making any sense! So I’m sorry if I’m being ridiculous. But I did want you to know how much your story has renewed in my heart afresh that God is a good God who loves us so thoroughly that He does whatever it takes to make us wholly His. And that He did, ultimately, give us the best for Gwen and Jaxon, because we know they’re safe and we’ll see them soon. Thank you for sharing this with me, and allowing me to share it with others for funding. 

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