Monday, June 30, 2014

June 3rd part 2

So June 3rd comes around and I'm so nervous!  I practiced what I was going to say about 100 times throughout the day.  The way I was carrying on about it in my head, you would think I was going to give this hour long speech in front of a million people!  But no, it was a 5 minute interview…

Jodie was gracious enough to pick up on my nerves and suggest that we talk about Hope Mommies in sort of like an interview type fashion.  She would introduce a little of how I brought Hope Mommies to her attention and I would explain who they are and what they do.  Then she would introduce Jaxon's story a little bit and I would tie it in with how I received a Hope Box and how it ministered to me.  And then we would tell about the project- raising money to build Hope Boxes and I explained a little about what goes in each box and how we would get them out to future Hope Moms on behalf of our women at IBC.  So simple.  And yet I made it so hard!!!

So at 6:30 I get to bible study.  I meet up with some of the girls I've known for a little while and chat for a little bit (as I'm shaking in my flip flops.)  Time comes for us to pick our tables.  Here we go.

The first thing we do after we settle down at our tables is an ice breaker exercise to get to know the women at your table and introduce yourselves and chat a little bit.  We had to draw a piece of paper out of this basket and answer the random question that was on the paper you picked.  I was pretty much the last to go, so I got to hear most of the questions and plan my answers.  There were questions like "what is your favorite hobby," "what is the most random job you've had," and "tell us about something you have as a keepsake."  Oh crap, I thought, I hope I don't get that question.  Let me explain that I even get nervous introducing myself to a table of women, and the last thing I want to do right now is cry to these new ladies that my son passed away and I have A TON of keepsakes of him.  I did know some of the girls at my table, but most of the were unfamiliar faces.

But of course I drew that question.  And of course I ran from it like a chicken.  I believe I said something like, "the necklace I am wearing around my neck right now is a keepsake of my son.  And that's all I'll say about that!"  I quickly passed the basket of questions before I teared up and freaked these new ladies out.  :)

Ok, I survived that… now it's time for announcements.  I knew I was to go up at some point during this, but not sure exactly when.

The next 20 mins or so seemed to draaaaaaaag oooooooooon and I seriously considered bolting out of the side door.  But too late… It was my turn.

And I have good news :)  It went great.  :)

Yet again, God pushed me to do something way out of my comfort zone.  I did it (although I about threw up while I was walking up on stage!).  Later that evening, a friend of mine called and said that while I was speaking about Hope Mommies, she could hear coins clinking left and right as they were dropped in the money jars.  How cool is that! :)

I am so proud to be a part of such an amazing church and to know this women's ministry is made up of women that help.  It was my bible study girls that lifted us up with food and prayer.  They were donating to Hope Mommies months before IBC began raising money.  It was Jodie that came to visit me in the hospital the day after Jaxon passed.  This is my family!!  I am so thankful that God placed me here with them.  He knew what was coming.  He loves us so much, I am sitting here with this huge smile on my tear soaked face, filled with so much broken joy...

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 3rd part 1

Oh boy, a lot has happened this month!  God has taken me on a journey, and if you told me in February that God and I were about to do the things I have done this month, I would have laughed in your face and said you are talking about the wrong girl.

Let me give you a little more backstory before I get into what happened on June 3rd...

About 4 months ago, I felt like God was starting to lay a few things on my heart.  I just felt this tug in the back of my mind…
Help them.  What can you do to help?  How are you going to honor Jaxon and his 38 1/2 weeks of life?  God has a purpose for Jaxon, for your pain.  Follow my lead.  You can do this.  What if my church did a hope box gathering?  

This was late February, and shortly after having these thoughts, I had sent an email to our women's pastor, Jodie, suggesting the idea of putting Hope Boxes on the list of things to do for a "service project."  Each year, each table in our women's bible study (there are typically about 30 tables, 8-10 women at each table) complete a service project.  Women can volunteer at a homeless shelter, do a 5k and raise money for that race's cause, or fill any other need the community has.  If the table is undecided on what to do, there is a list of options given to help with ideas.  I suggested that we give them the option of putting together a Hope Box or two for a newly bereaved mom.

Turns out it was a little too late to add this project to the list this year, but next year it would totally be an option.  Score!!  But Jodie also suggested something I wasn't expecting.  She said, why don't you share your story with the ladies and how this study has been working in your life?  (Our study was about the women in Luke and one of the first lessons was "giving up control in exchange for peace.")  I had so much to say, but I was terrified!!  You can read some about this here. When that day came around (March 25th) I was sooo nervous, but I did it.  And I rambled like a silly person, but I overcame a BIG fear of mine (for that day) and I spoke Jaxon's story and how God was using my suffering to speak to me and get me through the daily struggles of being without my boy.  In front of 300 women.  With a microphone.

I was on this high after doing the unthinkable, and I emailed Jodie again, asking her thoughts on doing a hope box gathering during the summer bible study.  And she said yes.

She said yes!  Yay!!

And she would like for me to come tell a little about it on the first night of the summer study.  In front of 300 women.  With a microphone.  On stage.

On June 3rd.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Return to Zero

I recently watched this movie.  It was on network tv- the lifetime channel.  I had seen A LOT of posts about this movie on facebook, in the Hope Mommies community, because it was about stillbirth.  Movies like this just don't get picked up.  I mean, people don't want to talk about our loss.  It makes people uncomfortable. (oh my gosh, I could go on and on about this topic alone, but I'll save it). Who would go see a movie like that?!?

Minnie Driver plays the mom, who goes in for a check-up, full-term, and finds out that her baby's heart had stopped beating.  The movie plays out all of the things we go through- everything "baby" that seems to be magnified and everywhere like babyshowers and pregnant women and newborns.  It had the well-meaning but stupid comments, the depression, and just the constant reminders of what is missing.  

There was a part in this movie that really hit the nail on the head.  The part they got right was the part where she was about to give birth and you see her face.  It was a face of deep, deep sorrow, but at the same time you could see a glimmer of excitement because she was about to hold him.  

Then came the pictures.  Oh, we had such similar pictures.  Let me tell you, the faces, they haunt me.  And we have pictures just like them.  So skeletal-like (is that even a word?), the sorrow just takes the flesh right off of the face.  Deep, deep grief. 

The whole movie had this tone.  Sorrow.  Depression.  Emptiness.  Life never got better for her.  She even had a look of emptiness when she held her second child.  Her wiggly, screaming, earthly child.  I don't get it.  And I don't want to.  I don't want to be like that.  Something huge was missing from her life.  Christ. 

I want to talk about my son.  I want to look at those people in the eyes who make stupid comments and educate them, not tell them to f**k off.  Although sometimes, yea, it takes a lot not to slap some people- haha totally kidding.  Maybe.  

I will be the parent that picks up her child every single time he cries, not because I don't know any better, but because I do know better.  I know too much.  The life of a baby is precious beyond words.  The sound of my baby's cry will be the best sound in the world.    

So no, Minnie Driver, it does get better.  These babies are in heaven.  We will spend eternity there with our Creator and our babies.  That is something to have joy about.  My heart is not empty because Jaxon is with Jesus.  Don't get me wrong, I miss him so much.  But my life is here with my husband right now.  I will go to be with Jaxon one day, but until then, my sorrow can't bring him back.  I will have children here on earth to love and care for and they deserve nothing less than a fully alive mother. 

The length of my range in emotions has quadrupled since he passed.  Yes, my heart knows deep, deep grief.  But if there's only one thing I can acknowledge, it's that my heart is more full than it has been my entire life.  I have more appreciation, more compassion, more hope, and more life.  Thank you Jesus.  

I am thankful that they made a movie to raise awareness of stillbirth.  People do need to be aware of how often it does happen and learn how to be more sensitive to those who are experiencing it.  But the movie disappointingly ended with emptiness.  There needs to be a sequel about Jesus replenishing her empty soul with joy.