Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Capture Your Grief ~ Day 24


Day 24 ~ Consciously Becoming

Prompt: So many of us split our lives into a timeline of before and after our children died. Who were you before your children died? Who are you now? Who are you now in this present moment? What are you feeling? Have you been irrevocably changed by the death of your children? How are you different now? Do you love anything about the new you? Do you want any old part of your back? Who are you becoming?

I don't think of myself in terms of before and after Phoenix, but I recognize the changes in myself since we loved her and lost her. My faith has changed. Before I prayed big prayers and had such incredible assurance that I continued to pray boldly even when prayers went unanswered. I asked and believed for miracles. I prayed for everyone and everything. My loss shook me like nothing else had before. It struck the closest to my heart.

There's more hesitation in the asking and the praying. There's been distance. It's been harder to get in the Word, harder to journal my prayers, harder to pray confidently for others, harder to worship in abandonment, harder to feel that closeness. It doesn't come as easily. I have to work at it.

I know He's near, but I'm still struggling at times to reconcile my feelings of betrayal. Because I fully believe in His power to do miracles, but my miracle didn't come. How do I reconcile His ability to save her with the fact that He didn't? What prevented Him from acting? I know His heart is for life and I know He conquered death, yet the reality of what happened doesn't align with what I know is Truth.

In many ways, I've relied on my faith, on Jesus, to get through this. I still believe in the Truth of His word, which has carried me through, but relationally, I became closed off toward Him for a season. Now I am becoming more open toward Him once again. As I have recognized my need, I have sought Him out more and more. 

Without that connection and infusion of the Spirit in my life, I've been increasingly short tempered, impatient, rude, and so on. It's been a bit ugly to be honest. And so I've been pressing in once again, because I have seen my need. I don't like who I am when I'm distanced from Him, so I'm choosing differently. I am choosing to become the most whole and healthy person I can be by pressing into the only One who can make me so.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Capture Your Grief ~ Day 13


What do I want the world to know about my kind of grief?

When I do things to remember Phoenix Bliss, it's not about making other people sad. It's how I share my love for my baby. It's how I keep her memory alive since she isn't here. For loss mamas, it's one of the ways we love our angels from afar. We talk about them. We honor them. We make memorials or light candles or get tattoos or raise awareness. Our angels are part of who we are, part of our story. We are forever changed by the fact that they were here for however brief a time. Yes, there are still tears that come at times, but usually, it's very matter of fact when I share about Phoenix Bliss. She was here. She's now in heaven waiting for me. And I love her. [Thank you to @honoringjensen and @mommyofsullivan for providing the inspiration for this part. You gave me a way to express what I had been feeling.]


The other thing I wanted to share about was the sense of embarrassment or shame that I battled in the back of my mind when I put out the word about my loss. Which is stupid, I know, but we all know how some people feel about early pregnancy announcements being improper or unwise. I had "broken the rules" by openly announcing our joy at five weeks on Facebook, declaring how good God was to give us this blessing, and then I lost my baby. My answer to prayer had been snatched away from me and I was now left to announce our loss, "burdening" other people with the awkwardness of witnessing our grief and loss. Of course, everyone was very gracious when I shared and no one actually said anything like that to directly to me. There was just that fear of the silent judgement.

In this last year, I have been very vocal about my loss and this is part of the reason why. I hope that someday this will not even be in the back of anyone's mind after a loss, so they can share as freely as they are comfortable without any hesitation from that kind of thinking. The pain and grief of miscarriage is not shameful and it does not need to be hidden. Is there any other loss where we try to hide what happened? So why the hush hush related to miscarriage? No matter how early, the loss is felt just as keenly. The pain is just as real. The need for support is just as tangible. I will keep speaking up in the hope that this stigma will one day disappear.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Capture Your Grief ~ Day 3


Day 3: What It Felt Like

It felt like labor but worse. The pains came without the joyful anticipation and happy hormones that make labor easier. Instead, the contractions were accompanied by gut wrenching grief. The sharp physical pains were a mere echo of the breaking in my heart. Because of course the physical pain was not the worst part, but rather knowing what the pains meant. 

My baby was gone and I was having a miscarriage.

For over an hour, I rocked on my bathroom floor crying and praying in denial, no, no, no, no, no, no, no... I repeated the words "You're gonna live and not die, says God. We speak life." over and over. After awhile, with the amount of blood I was losing, I wondered if I was really singing those words over myself. Maybe.

When we went to the ER, I got rushed in and had two IVs placed because my blood pressure was so low. I mostly felt numb laying in the ER hospital bed, except when the staff would look at me with teary eyes and tell me they were so sorry for why I was there. Eventually, my red eyed husband had to go home to take care of our boys so my sister could get to work while we waited for my mom to arrive so he could come back to my side.

While I sat alone, waiting, I reached out on Facebook and via text message, seeking prayers and letting people know what had happened. And over and over, I typed out the very worst words I've ever had to type...

We lost our baby.

It made it real. Like if I never spoke the words, maybe it wouldn't be true. If only... But no, and so I typed out repeatedly through sobs and tears the words that tasted like acid in my heart, seeking solace and relief from my friends and family. 

And so my grief journey began.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Capture Your Grief ~ Day 1


A few days ago, I found out about Capture Your Grief happening in October. I'm 33 weeks along with my rainbow princess, due in November, and my loss also happened in November. It felt like a perfect opportunity to both remember Phoenix Bliss and prepare my heart for my rainbow.

I felt like I had pretty well processed my grief. Like I had done a good job of moving forward. And then yesterday I read a few chapters in Lysa TerKeurst's book Uninvited. She was writing about rejection, but her words kept bringing me back to my loss and then I recognized myself in this:
He draws you near despite the sharp evidence of your grieving heart. The anger. The deep disappointment and disillusionment. The questions of why you and why now? ... How could He let this happen? The cussing and banging your fist on the steering wheel. The shame and anguish. All of these are shards of being shattered. - pg 143
I began thinking maybe I need this Capture Your Grief thing more than I realized. Maybe my heart isn't as healed as I thought. Maybe all the anger and cussing that's been coming out over the last six months or so is actually rooted in unprocessed grief and not just pregnancy hormones or lack of self control. Maybe it's really rooted in that deep disappointment and disillusionment. In trying and failing to reconcile within my heart God's ability to change hard things and the fact that He didn't. 

And that's okay. It just means I'm still on my journey of healing. And Lysa's next words speak so much hope and comfort to my heart:
God isn't afraid of your sharp edges that may seem quite risky to others. He doesn't pull back. He pulls you close. His love and grace covers your exposed grief. And step by step He leads you to a new place of victory. - pg. 143
 So this morning I got up for the sunrise for Day 1 to remember and honor Phoenix and all the other angel babies. I lit a few candles and prayed. I listened to the birds sing. I kept thinking of the line in the song Forever by Kari Jobe, "Now Death where is your sting? Our Resurrected King has rendered you defeated!" and Phoenix's verse Isaiah 40:11 "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young."

My plan for this month is to process, to remember, to heal and to prepare for the arrival of my rainbow. This is where I start.

"The Lord draws near to the one who has had her heart shattered and delivers her from exposed grief to victory." - Psalm 34:18