Remembering our little Eli…

Today is my due date of our 3rd child.

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I only got to carry him 11 weeks and 3 days. We called him a him because we thought he might be a boy. We decided to name our baby “Eli” which means “ascended,” “uplifted,” “high.” Over the last 40 weeks, there wasn’t one week I didn’t know exactly how far along I would be. The grief of this miscarriage took me by surprise. Every pregnancy I’ve had, I’ve always been very aware and concerned of the possibility of miscarriage, but I didn’t expect to hurt so much if it actually happened. Today, I just want to spend some time remembering this journey and our child.

I remember with detail of emotion going in for my 12 week appointment and truly being caught off guard when they said, “I’m so sorry Kelly…”. I am a guarded person. I feel like I live (almost to a negative) in preparation for bad things to happen. But you just can’t really prepare yourself for this kind of thing. Honestly, I thought if it ever happened, I’d just be okay. But the sadness of this loss shook me and I just want to take some time today and reflect.

On the way to my doctor appointment that morning, I felt prompted to listen to the song Sovereign by Chris Tomlin. The lyrics are:

Sovereign in the mountain air
Sovereign on the ocean floor
With me in the calm
With me in the storm

Sovereign in my greatest joy
Sovereign in my deepest cry
With me in the dark
With me at the dawn

In your everlasting arms
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end
I can trust you

In your never failing love
You work everything for good
God whatever comes my way
I will trust you

Sitting in the doctor’s office after getting the news, I could feel the truth of those lyrics. I felt God’s hand of protection and His love for me in a way I hadn’t experienced before. I could feel Him covering me and even though this sucked, I knew He was good and works all things for good and I just trusted Him. I can’t explain the peace I had amongst the sadness. The days following, I was driven to His Word almost like never before. I clung to it with all my might. It was my lifeline. I was shocked out of my monotonous routine and felt closer to God than I had in a long time. It felt like my heart really beat and felt and ached and hurt for the first time in a long period of just numbness. God is my rock and these are His Words I clung to:

“The Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:11-12

“To those who mourn in Zion, I will give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. I will give them the oil of joy instead of sorrow, and a spirit of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Then they will be called oaks of righteousness, planted by The Lord that he may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

“The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek The Lord lack no good thing.” Psalm 34:10

“When the righteous cry for help, The Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18 (The whole chapter is awesome!)

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘behold, I am making all things new.’ And he said, ‘write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” Rev 21:4-5

The 3 days following my D&C were the worst, by far. I was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t stop sobbing. My body ached all over from crying so much. I was emotional, hormonal, and while I was surrounded by many people who loved me and hurt with me, I felt alone in a lot of ways with my grief. No body felt it like me. Of course people were sad for me and they cared deeply but nobody loved this baby the way I did. Nobody got to have a connection with him like me and it bothered me so much to think others wouldn’t miss him or think about him – simply because they never got to have a relationship with him. But I did. And I felt like I had to feel a lot of the hurt alone. One night while sobbing in my bed over these thoughts, God reminded me that I wasn’t alone in my grief or my love for this child. It was His hand, His love, His very breath that had brought forth this life. And in that moment, I experienced God’s love for my baby like never before. I was comforted by the fact that my child was already with the One person who loved him more than me.

I have to say a couple of things. One thing that struck me big time was the number of people who reached out to me following this miscarriage and the number of people that I reached out to and the enormous comfort and encouragement they were to me. People I didn’t even know met me and wrote me and sympathized and encouraged me. My family and friends reminded me of Truth, sent songs, letters, flowers, fixed us meals, and dropped by just to give a hug. We are loved and we felt loved.

Another thing that struck me was this one line we sing in church from the Matt Maher song, Christ is Risen. One of the lines, from 1 Cor. 15:55 says, “Oh death! Where is your sting?” I remember singing that line (before this happened) and in my spirit shouting it like, almost mocking it…”Yeah death, where is your sting? You don’t have nothing on God!” And after this happened, David and I kept talking about this sting we felt. We couldn’t think of another word to describe it. But we felt it a lot, when we heard so and so was pregnant, saw the pregnant bellies, thought about how far along we would be…anything and everything that reminded of us of our loss felt like a sting. And all the sudden that song and verse took on a different meaning. Because until you have experienced death, you haven’t really felt the sting of it. And oh, how it stings! And this is the point of the verse, that all of it has been swallowed up in Christ’s victory over death. But my gosh, you feel that sting on this earth!

This world is broken and as a result, it is just not like it should be. Bad things happen and good things don’t always happen. The sun shines and the rain falls on us all. (Matt 5:45) And until you are faced with your plans not going…well, as you planned – many times we live under the delusion that we are in more control than we actually are.

We found out the week of Thanksgiving that I was pregnant again. While I was thrilled, it brought up a sadness in me once again I didn’t expect. I remember not wanting to tell anybody because I just knew that once people knew, they would never remember our little Eli again. They would just write the pain off…well, she’s pregnant again – she’s fine now. And I didn’t want him to be forgotten.

Well, little Eli – you are not forgotten! March 22nd will always be a very significant day to me. It will always be the day I think about you – separated for just a temporary period of time – but not for long. We will see you soon little buddy and I can’t wait to meet you!

Others haven’t forgotten you either. I’ve been blessed in so many ways by the thoughtfulness and caring of other people. Friends who remember he would be born soon and have asked – “How are you doing?” or sent notes, “I haven’t forgotten your little baby.” It’s amazing how simple and how much it means to me that people remember him.

At Christmas, my sister-in-law picked out an ornament for every significant person in her life to decorate her tree. Eli had one.

My cousin who also recently lost a little baby, gave us an ornament for Eli.

My mom also made us an ornament, molded a lemon out of clay (the size fruit our little Eli was when he died), painted it and attached this verse, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16.

My aunt had a small blanket made out of my grandmother’s clothes, a tradition she does for each grandchild, with the letter E on it.

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Today, our friends sent us flowers with a note that read, “Remembering Eli today…”

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And oh my goodness, David….For Christmas, he spent night after night in our garage, working on my gift. Little did I know, he was restoring this old park bench to place beside a dogwood he got me to plant for Eli. He already had the spot picked out to plant it right beside our playground – where we wouldn’t be able to watch Eli grow and play, but we would be able to watch this tree grow and think of him. Definitely the most thoughtful gift I have ever been given.

bench and tree for eli

You will always be remembered Eli. Until we met again…

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:55

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HALLOWEEN!

Yesterday was Halloween. I have always LOVED Halloween. I don’t know why….I guess because my mom is an artist so Halloween was always a really creative time in our household. We always had the greatest costumes as kids!!! Once I became an adult, I LOVED thinking of the most ridiculous costumes and just being silly!!! Here are a few costumes of past I threw together last minute. (I have found doing things last minute leads to the most creativity and usually end up the most fun or funniest! At least that’s my excuse for doing things that way!!)

College Halloween fun! Side note: if you want to stay warm in Boone, wrap your entire body in aluminum foil!

You can guess which one is me!!

However, now that I am a parent, Halloween kind of exhausts me….not kind of – it really exhausts me! The thought of making costumes for my kids or even trying to come up with what everyone should be drains me. I know that’s sad…right??? Me dressing up is usually out of the question – that is seriously too much work!! I know this is so terrible – I hate I’m even writing it – but it’s just where I’m at in life right now…everything seems exhausting! And I’m just being honest here!

Anyway, this year Payton was a fairy princess….thanks to my aunt Krista, who got her the outfit for her b-day last year, I didn’t have to do any work!! 🙂

Honestly while she was napping (which is always a glorious time of day I might add!)…I started getting excited! I couldn’t wait for her to get up so I could dress her up and fix her hair!!! I knew she would be so excited too!!!

And as the excitement grew, I even got a little (and I stress little) inspired and thought of a last minute costume myself!!!

Anybody guess who I am???...Yes, that's a cell phone strapped to my ear....I am my husband...wearing his work attire, though it's hard to tell in the pic!!!

David even joined the fun!!!

  • Cousin Eddie

Our sweet little fairy princess!

My little Punkin'!!!

And it was so much fun…once Payton woke up – her little eyes danced with excitement – mostly when she heard the words “lip gloss.” But that’s okay! She loved getting ready and was so pretty showing herself off to Daddy!

So David picked up some candy just in case some trick-or-treaters showed up at the house before we left. Unfortunately, we learned this lesson the hard way when poor little trick-or-treaters rang our doorbell and we had to go tell them we didn’t have any candy. Oh my gracious…never again!!!! Can’t take breaking their hearts that way!!! And we did it two years in a row! Anyway, I digress.

Well…Payton spotted it. Tootsie Pops. And she wouldn’t let it go. She kept asking incessantly for a “treat.” But I knew where we were getting ready to go and there was going to be TONS of treats! I knew if she had a sucker now, she wouldn’t be able to have much later. I wanted her to enjoy herself at the Halloween party where she could play games and get lots of candy. But all she could see were those Tootsie Pops sitting on the counter. And all she wanted was those….NOW!

I’ve thought a lot about this today….how often I just can’t see what’s ahead – how I WANT WHAT I WANT NOW! I’m ashamed how much like a two year old I am. I do this all the time, with all kinds of different things….namely with food and material possessions. I don’t want to wait for anything. I want it all NOW! I mean honestly, I don’t even enjoy cooking…because I hate the process of it all. I just want food to be ready when I’m ready to eat.

My quest for the immediate goes way beyond the tangible. I want it for my life. I don’t like the struggle. I want my marriage to be perfect NOW – I mean EVERY PART of it! I’m so unrealistic. I want to parent PERFECT…NOW! I want my kids to respond perfectly NOW – I don’t want them to EVER be disobedient! (I mean, this sounds ridiculous – but it’s how I act when I get so frustrated every time they don’t respond “right.”) I want my house to be done NOW. I want to be settled NOW. I don’t like the process of things.  Have I said that yet?

Last night I caught a small glimpse of  how God must feel watching me – seeing what He sees…knowing what’s ahead and how much He wishes I would just wait…how much He wishes I would just get His perspective on things. What richness do I forfeit for my inability to wait?

Tonight, I pause. Tonight I stop and think about all the areas of my life I am in “process”…from big to small. I choose a different perspective. I choose a perspective that isn’t focused on the here and now. This, after all, is the theology I profess… it’s time I start living it in the every day aspects of life.

Ready to write…

It is almost midnight. As I was laying in bed, trying to go to sleep, my mind raced and my heart began burning with things I must write. I have felt this sense of urgency before and ignored it. That was many months ago. I knew God was speaking to me to write. But I was tired. “I’ll write in the morning, Lord.” So, I rolled back over and wrestled for hours to go back to sleep. Why didn’t I just get up? The bed wasn’t even comfortable anymore. The discomfort I felt wasn’t because of the bed but because of my lack of obedience. As the months have rolled on, I have wondered if God would burden my heart again with what He wanted me to say.

So, I began to feel it tonight. ..once again, this sense of urgency to write. My mind was flooded with things I should say. My first thought was, “No, not tonight. I’m tired.” But then I remembered my previous experience and I thought, “Will I disobey again?” Absolutely not. So, I got up, put my glasses on, got the computer out, turned the lamp on & went to log on my blog. (I set it up in February but still haven’t written anything.) So, I went to log on: Username…..”What IS my username?” I have no clue. I started making guesses with the most common ones I use. Of course none of them worked. I finally gave up before they locked me out of the account and tried to muster up the energy to go upstairs and just look on the notepad where I keep all of our usernames and passwords. “Ughhhh….Why does everything have to be so difficult???? I began scanning the pages of the notepad…of course I didn’t write down the username and password to our blog. Seriously….this is ridiculous! I went back downstairs, clicked forgot username and password, got everything reset and now I have no clue what was even on my heart to write about.

This is my life. Welcome to my blog!

Hello!

Welcome to my blog! I am new to this world but really excited about it! Sometimes I feel inspired to write…sometimes burdened. But what an awesome outlet! What will I write about? All of life! Right now, David & I both have felt a burden to share about our marriage and what God has done in and through it. Parenting will be another big topic for me to write about – my joys and my struggles. And really just what God is doing in our lives. We hope that you will not only enjoy reading, but that God will accomplish His purposes by us opening up our lives and sharing our joys and our struggles.

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