To My Daughter in Heaven, Who Would You be Today?

It’s been fourteen years since we said hello and goodbye to our first born, a daughter.  She celebrated her earthly birthday on June 21st  just before dawn. We were thrilled to finally meet Aurora but knew time was slipping through our fingers. After an hour and a half, she left for her heavenly birthday.  While she must have rejoiced to be welcomed into the arms of our Heavenly Father, I was weeping. I didn’t want to say goodbye.

The great lie that has been told is that after time passes, you will get over the loss. How you could ever stop missing your child, is beyond me. The lives of those who go on before us, are there to help shape us for events to come.  They help us hang onto the hope of a kingdom we have not experienced yet.

Our children ask more and more questions about her as each year passes.  I do my best to try and answer, but there are some questions that I will never have the answers too.

My youngest daughter has been lamenting not having her big sis. She often gets a bit melancholy when she sees sisters playing together and asks if Aurora would have loved her or if they would have looked alike? Would she have been protective of her?

I try to be real and not make saints out of our children who have passed away. I don’t want my kids here on earth to feel that they can’t measure up to the level of perfection of their siblings in Heaven.  I remind them that they would have had their good days and their bad days. We normally giggle at the thought of made up scenarios of what they might have encountered.

As two of my nephews graduated 8th grade, I found myself wondering where Aurora would be in all of this?

Would she like to have her hair long like her sister, or short like mine? Would there be battles over makeup and skirts being too short? Would she love academics or tumbling around on a gym mat? Would she be honing in on what she would like to do for the rest of her life, or be content with the here and now?

Still after all these years,  I pray to G-d to let me see her in my dreams and just be able to observe what she looks like and to see her smile. Five minutes, just five more minutes…

I miss my daughter, and I always will.

I long to hold her in my arms and just hear his say, “Mom…”

I want more stories to share of what I know about her because so much has been left undone.

Still I often ask G-d, who would she be today?

Would she be sweet like her daddy? Or sassy like her Mom?  Would she boy crazy and loud?  Or would she be a quiet bookworm?

What I do have are the treasured memories of my pregnancy with her and her short time in my arms.

I am so thankful to have priceless photographs that have helped us keep her memory alive.

I am thankful for modern technology notifying us of her terminal status, long before she was born. We were able to get to know her long before she was born and prepare to capture her short time on earth.

Many may think when you die, that your life is over and there isn’t more you can contribute. I have found that love transcends all time and boundaries.  Though she was only here a brief moment in time, she has forever changed my heart and how we look at the sacredness of life that begins in the womb.

As her birthday rapidly approaches, I think about who she would be today and smile with tears. In the natural it seems her life has faded into time, but in Christ, she has begun her endless journey of joy.

I miss her for the selfish reasons of wanting to share her crazy antics of being a fourteen-year-old girl. I miss the hugs and conversations that I wish could have taken place. I miss her presence.

And then I realize she wouldn’t be a girl, she would be a young woman….

Since having our children, we have made sure to make Aurora’s Day, one that was fun and filled with beauty. I think she wouldn’t want me holed up in my room and feeling so sad every time I heard her name.

It’s hard because I do find myself wanting to cry, and sometimes I do. But I know that she would want us to remember her and smile.  She was a gift from G-d, not a burden.

So today I want to share the beautiful pictures that I do have of our sweet Aurora. I want to remind others that life is precious and sacred, no matter how brief the visit is here on earth. She made a difference in our lives for the better.

What we saw as death, she has stepped into the real life of living.

Heaven is our home, and our children are there. We are blessed to be her parents not just here, but for all of eternity.

I came across this amazing song written by Angie Smith called, “I Will Carry You.”

She too had learned early in her pregnancy that her daughter had kidney issues and would not be staying for very long. As I read the words she wrote for her daughter, I felt as though she had ripped the words from my soul.

Till then, as the song says, “I will praise the one who has chosen me to carry you.”

 

 

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One Insignificant Change Catapults You Into Your Destiny

Often we hear that one good choice can set into motion a ripple effect. Have you ever noticed that one little change can get the ball rolling for a wagon load of joy and hope you would never have expected?

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Sixteen years of memories were on our couches. They were covered in stains from food and sagged so badly, we had to grunt to get ourselves in and out of them. They smelled of years gone by, they were embarrassing to look at and were the bane of my existence.

I have been dealing with chronic head, neck, and back pain for a long time. Each time I meet with a doctor they ask if we have the proper firm seating and mattress. I find myself muttering under my breath, “I am too busy paying you..”

My husband and I have lists of things we need to get and we both agreed a new couch just wasn’t possible. We just wouldn’t have enough and needed to save more.  Happy with our decision we decided to go to the grocery store and forget about couch hunting, when we spotted a furniture sale.

I rolled my eyes, as this place always is having the biggest sale of the year. But, I appeased my husband and got out of the car anyway.

We proceeded to look for charcoal grey couches but just wasn’t finding anything. A woman was lounging on a very spaceship looking white couch. I smiled at her. She still had on her waitress uniform and closed her eyes as she said, “The kids would destroy this thing in minutes.”

I laughed and said, “Who would be stupid enough to buy a white couch with kids? This is a bachelor’s couch.” We both chuckled and went about our way. I looked down at the price and was surprised. I brushed it off and thought only a fool would buy this couch.

As we got into the car, my husband started to talk about the white couch. Being that he rarely says anything about what he likes, I listened to what he had to say.

“Babe, it has neck support. I can’t stop thinking this couch might be awesome for us,” he said.

“It’s white,” I said logically.

“Really, it’s fake leather we could just wipe it down. You could wipe it with a disinfectant wipe! (A man after my own heart) And the price, could you believe it!?”

“Again, it’s white!” I was not budging.

We discussed at length our opinions about who was right.

“Let’s go back and sit on it, and see for yourself.” I reluctantly conceded.

We got back to store and I sat on the stupid white couch. It is horribly modern and we live in a hundred and sixteen-year-old house. We put the shabby, into shabby chic.

I wanted to find anything wrong that I could with it so that we could give up on this crazy find and look for a safe bet. Only when I sat down, it was firm and it had neck support. I felt heaven smile upon us and a choir sang “Hallelujah,” in the sky.

I knew this would be our couch.

I looked down at the price and saw that this would be way less than replacing our two couches. Still, I had to haggle a deal. After much debate, I spoke with the manager and asked them to come down in price with their showroom model of an obviously unwanted white couch.

To my dismay, they said no. Like a good Dave Ramsey family, we walked away.

I prayed for G-d to give me the wisdom about what to do.  I felt I was to be patient and had a peace about it.  I felt I was supposed to call back and give them my number and wait until they brought the price down.

Two days later they called. They offered to finance and I politely declined. I explained what money we had and held my ground. Long story somewhat shortened, we got the couch.

I was thrilled but also sad to see our other couches go. They had been with us before we got married. Brought in fresh with not a stain on them. Now they were worn and battered. Those couches had been with us as we planned our wedding, survived our apartment complex fire, held me during bed rest for two of my pregnancies, cradled me as we wept after the loss of each child, we have raised our kids on them, they comforted me as my body grew sick, frail, to the point of death, and now it was time to let go…

That one insignificant change has catapulted me into moving forward from feeling completely burnt out. I had put down my typewriter and felt like it was time to hang up my dream of being a writer. Not because of the couches, but I just felt stagnant and that one simple change had helped me to look at things with fresh eyes!

Our old house is now having new life breathed into it with paint and changes. What looked mundane and done, now has endless possibilities. Nothing changed, except my perspective.

Yes, it is crazy to have a white couch with young children. However isn’t it just like G-d to take the seemingly impossible and make it possible. How often do we feel like something is just too good for us and that we are going to just mark it up with our tainted hands?

After taking a big break from writing I have found myself believing I can never achieve the dreams that I long for. They are just too far out of my reach and it’s not possible. Who would have thought that G-d would take a white couch to help me realize, it takes is one small step of faith to create a domino effect of his blessings.

I know it’s just a couch and why would that be so life changing? For me it represents risk, rejuvination, and a reminder that G-d listens to my prayers.

I usually hate change, yet it is what helps us take one more step closer to our destiny. It breaks us of fear and opens our eyes to things we haven’t seen before that were there all along.

One insignificant leap…

Take that risk that seems impossible!

Take your dream and pray that G-d would lead you to that next courageous step.

Risk takers are the movers and the shakers of this world and they don’t get anywhere by playing it safe.

What is your dream that seems out of your reach?

Has logic killed your drive?

Life is short,

have faith,

and that white whale can be yours.

 

What small step can you take to put some wind in your sail?  Pray about it, G-d works in mysterious ways!

To the Empty Arms On Mother’s Day

I know that you see Mother’s Day on the calendar and it stings. Whether it’s the loss of a child or of your own mother, this day can be very difficult for many reasons. While children are scouring the stores or the backyard for their latest Mother’s Day finds, your heart is aching.

Maybe you long to be pregnant and you have been praying for two lines to appear on the magic eight ball of pregnancy test sticks. But time after time, only one line appears.

Maybe you have children and your heart longs for another baby to snuggle, but each month that goes by, your hope sinks. You are grateful for your children, but you long for more.

Maybe you were pregnant, but only for a brief time leaving you shell-shocked. Your mind was dreaming of nurseries, maternity wear, and so many unknowns of excitement, just to learn your baby’s heartbeat had stopped. And so did yours.

Maybe you are pregnant and you found out that something isn’t right with your baby. You are coming to grips with a grim diagnosis and you don’t know what the future holds. All you know is that you love your baby and you are begging G-d for his/her life. You are scared but so filled with love. You are praying and hoping that all will be well and you treasure each movement of your child all the more.

Maybe you had a wonderful pregnancy. Your nursery is complete, baby showers were had, and clothing had been washed and ready to go. You were as big as a house, and you were counting down the days to delivery when suddenly there was no movement. Your baby was born asleep.

Maybe you had your baby and your nights had been sleepless. Pictures were taken, diapers had been filled, and clothes were soiled. You were enjoying every moment with snuggles and admiring eyes when one day, your baby didn’t wake up.

Maybe your baby has turned into a toddler, goofball, giggle machine, a tween, or teenager, and something happened. The doctor came into the room as you held your breath in the hopes for good news. He shakes his head and you drop to the floor is guttural sobs. Your world has stopped and the tears can’t stop falling.

Maybe your baby had grown up and has babies of their own. You had been looking forward to watching them grow old. Only you got a phone call that you needed to get to the hospital and watched them helplessly fade before your very eyes.

Maybe your child has strayed away and your relationship is heavily strained. You feel incomplete without them and your heart aches to have the things back the way they were.

Maybe it’s your own mother that you are missing. No matter how old we are, our mothers hold a deep bond in our hearts. We are always our mother’s child and you miss hugging her and listening to her voice. You miss her words of encouragement, the smell of her perfume, and her everlasting love. Maybe she wasn’t perfect, but you were her’s and you miss her sweet embrace.

I know you feel an emptiness that no one else can fill and you ache to have your arms filled once more with those who had brought so much joy and meaning into your life.

I remember after the death of my first daughter we were in church. I had dreaded Mother’s Day as I knew there would be no cards, kisses, or snuggles from the one who had brought wholeness to my heart. I felt lost. Everyone else seemed to have their families bundled around them.  My daughter Aurora was gone and my arms were empty.

They had asked all of the mothers to stand. I was so so confused. Did I stand or was I not a mother anymore? How would I explain my baby’s ashes were in the locket around my neck and not in the nursery.

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My locket necklace with our daughter Aurora’s ashes. Photographed by Mark Nickerson.

My knees were weak and my sweet husband nudged me forward. I found myself half standing and felt like my legs were going to buckle. If I sat, that meant I was denying she had ever existed. If I stood how would I explain…

There are so many of us. They come to me and share their stories in whispers and sobs and they let me know, “I had a child once too….” And they open up stories that have been vaulted up for years.

Or those who lost their mother who say to me, “She has missed out on so much.  I wish she could have seen….”

So on this Mother’s Day, whether you don’t have any children, you have children, but some are missing, or you just miss your own mother, know that you are not alone.

Know that we are wrapping our arms around you as you shed your tears of longing. You are still their mother no matter what.

She will always be your mom, and that will never change.

This is your day. Go ahead and pull out the photo albums and share stories. Maybe do something in honor of that little one that is meaningful to you. Start a tradition that allows the missing to turn from heartache to heart warming.

For us, we go to the cemetery. I like to bring flowers and then rip off the petals and scatter them around as we sing songs to them.

That heartbreak that you feel shows that you are filled with so much love.

I like to think that our loved ones see us and are whispering,

I never went away.

I am with you always,

and we will hold each other again.

As a mother who has lost, my greatest fear is they will be forgotten.

But they won’t.

They are not only in the arms of our loving Father, but they are in our memories and our hearts. No one can take their place. All that love you have for them will be spilled over into so many who may never have known your kind of love.

Your tears are an example that love knows no boundaries and is eternal. That my sweet one is priceless.

To all the ones that we dream about, may we remember them because they forever changed our lives for the better. And we miss them…

Mother’s Day is a time of reflection for all mothers in every walk of life.

Do you know one of these mothers or daughters? It doesn’t matter if this happened years ago or recently, please let her know that her child/mother is remembered.

Say their names.

Ask them how they are doing.

Take a moment to stroll down memory lane with them.

If you can’t think of anything to say, just squeeze their hand and look into their eyes, they’ll know what you mean.

I guarantee you, you will make her day.

Please feel free to share this with anyone that you know who might find some comfort from these words.

Could You Be the Most Beautiful Girl?

 

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I used to love to watch my mom get all dolled up.  I would intently watch as she put on her mascara, lipstick, and the  amazing dangle earrings!  Every now and then, she would stroke my face with a makeup brush and I would gaze into the mirror hoping one day to be as pretty as her.

I now have my daughter sitting by my side begging me to add some sparkle to her day. It’s amazing what a sprinkle of powder can do for her confidence. We’ll find a flower for her hair and flowy gown to twirl in.  She will run to the mirror and dance with joy!

When I buy an outfit now, I could care less what any man thinks, (except my hubby!) it’s my women friends that I want to notice.  There is nothing like a compliment from a woman/girl. They truly appreciate all the trouble we go through just to get just the right outfit, shoes, or hair done perfectly.

A bit silly, I know.  But so much fun, to fuss over someone finding something that makes that person just sparkle!

Sadly many women today are expected to look perfect.  Even models are airbrushed. We are being told to be beautiful is to be flawless and that just isn’t true.

I have met a lot of beautiful people in my lifetime.  Not one do I remember that way because of what they looked like on the outside.  Rather it was their character that left them unforgettable.

I have met some people that by the world’s standard should be a model but were not pretty on the inside.  I have also met others who were considered wallflowers that were gorgeous!

What I love about G-d, is that each person is made in His image.  Really, there are no ugly people.  Every person has something stunning about them, that someone else longs to have.

It’s not their nose, bustline, waistline, or skin…  Rather it’s that twinkle in their personality that illuminates their shell and allows me to see who they really are.  When you look into their eyes you can see the kindness and love shimmer through their eyes or smile, and you just feel loved.

After a long bout of being really sick, it took it’s toll on my skin. I have always been insecure about the way I looked.  Since I have been recovering, I have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror. At thirty-seven, it just feels so shameful to be dealing with the scars of serious acne.

One day as I poured on the makeup to hide my imperfections, I felt this feeling of a deeper voice inside saying, “I am a survivor. These marks are scars of battle, and they are beautiful.”

As I felt myself pull back a bit stunned, I was reminded of so many who daily deal with much more pressing issues than their self-esteem.

Self-focus is taught in our society, and it’s destroying everything it touches.

The media has lied to us. Marketing is teaching us that we are not enough unless we look a certain way.  We constantly are bombarded by body shame, fad diets, makeup,  youth serums, surgery, anything to make the ugly go away! But in reality, those things aren’t what enhance our beauty.  Instead, it is who we really are on the inside that makes us stand out.

I remember as I got ready for my own son’s funeral, I was thankful to have a friend to help dress me. I was lost in my grief and could barely figure out how to buckle my shoe, let alone prepare myself to be in public. It was a sobering experience. Looks didn’t matter.

I didn’t remember what anyone was wearing or if they looked good.

Instead, I remembered all the beautiful souls.

You know, the ones whose mascara was running down their faces as they wept with me.

The people who came over to feed me and sat quietly as I worked through the shock.

Or the loved ones who stood by the coffin of my son and spoke kind words, when I felt I couldn’t make it one more hour.

Or those who float in my life with just the right words of encouragement to keep me focused on what really matters.

The beautiful people aren’t the ones with the perfect body.  Rather it is those who choose to bless others with kind acts that don’t get much attention but may have saved you or I from the depths of despair.

So the next time that you find yourself looking in the mirror feeling like you are not enough, I want to remind you of this truth.  Your face does not define your beauty, rather it’s who you are.  G-d created your very heart for a specific reason, and that is not to be taken lightly.

At the end of the day, if you have embodied kindness and love, you can be assured that you are the most beautiful girl, and you are priceless.

Seven Ways to let Your Words be Few…

cojq6xju0vAs I sit listening to my friend/family member pour their heart out, I am tempted.  My fleshly thoughts rile up as I burn at the sound of injustice in their life and I want to spout out words of solidarity, that add fuel to the fire.

My thoughts try to overthrow the peaceful voice in my heart that says, “Let your words be few and listen to me.”

You know it’s the spirit of the living G-d when you go from passionately filled anger to a peaceful resolve, that I could never think of on my own.

I have seen a lot of heartache in my short time here on earth. Nothing has gotten me into more trouble than my mouth. Sometimes we use them to comfort, while others it becomes our weapon of choice.

The more I study the Bible or listen to speakers, it is spoken time and time again to be careful with your words.  James 3:4-5 (NLT) says:

” And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.”

Sure, we all love it when someone wants to come to us for our advice, but the truth is, we are mere mortals who make mistakes too.  What works for me, may not work for another.  What may have been my saving grace, may be another’s poison.

I love to communicate. Sometimes I realize I have been talking nonstop for ten or fifteen minutes (or let’s be honest, maybe longer..) to realize that I have not only made my point, but probably created a crater.

The very words I meant to help bring relief, may accidentally bring disaster.

Prayer and scripture really should be our first line of offense and defense.  G-d tends to show up in unique ways for us all. Many are answered by prayer with patience.

However, I too fall for the temptation of an instantaneous answer. I have searched for help from others hoping to get an answer that will make my problem go away.

I do believe G-d, at times sends us to search for someone that can help us. We can find wisdom from those who have experienced the very  crisis that we find ourselves in or a trained counselor.

Some of the wisest people I have ever met were great listeners and slow responders.  They are humble enough to admit when they don’t have the answers. They speak with great care. They speak truth with love, and often get straight to the point.

Most people aren’t coming for advice, but rather just to be heard. Sometimes there is no fixing that can be done by the power of our suggestion.

I am learning with each conversation that G-d allows me to be a part of, is the reminder to let my words be few (still learning..).  Let the Lord lead the conversation and just because you have a thought in your head doesn’t mean G-d put it there. We have to very careful to be slow to speak.

I think this world has become a place of over-communicating.  Be it our politicians, media, or just plain everyday interactions, everyone wants to spout out their opinions. After all, it’s only words, right?

How many people are ending their relationships because of those words? How many have been permanently scarred by the words of others?  Or worse, end their life because of them…

What if we all just listened more, and spoke less?

Some of the wisest people I have met, tend to be the ones that speak only when necessary.

Here’s what I have learned  from studying and my own personal experiences:

  1. Pray for wisdom.
  2. Listen to what they have to say without trying to solve their issues.
  3. When speaking, let your words be few.  If it is G-d led, it will be straight to the point.
  4. Don’t focus on trying to fix the person or their problems.
  5. Be a friend and be honest.  Don’t give advice that you know nothing about. Tell them if you haven’t had a similar situation and be honest if you don’t know the true answer.
  6. Pray together. When we don’t have the answers (which is a good chunk of the time), we know that we send up our petitions to the one who knows it all.
  7. Be a safe place.  Be honorable and don’t share information unless it is a true emergency.

When someone approaches me now to share their heart, I know what they share is sacred and that they trust me. We need to be careful not to let our feelings lead the conversation.

As James 1:19 (ESV) says,

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to be angry.”

As much as I want to help, I have learned casually handing out advice can be damaging if it isn’t the right time. We must never think of ourselves as wise. We must ask ourselves, is the scripture based? Prayer led? Or just my own opinion?

Proverbs 17:28 (NLT) says:

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

Our words have power.

Let our words speak life.

Let our words be few…

 

 

 

Dear Perfection, it’s time to break up.

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Photographed by Mark Nickerson

I wanted to write a fancy post on how to overcome that feeling of utter defeat.  I had it all wrapped up with a beautiful bow. It was straight from my heart and I meant every word that I said.

Then, life happened…

I can’t post it today or I would be a fraud.

Yep, today stinks. It has been one of those, I want to go back to bed and pretend this never happened kind of day.

It wasn’t anything specific; in fact it’s probably the tail end of the winter blahs and mounting pressure from not leaving the house enough thus rousing a case of cabin fever.

And if you could peek in my house right now, here is what would see:

I’ve just changed from one pair of leisure pants/leggings to another, because let’s face it, we aren’t going anywhere fancy!  The homeschool hair that had been so beautifully tamed by my outstanding friend/beautician, now has taken its rightful place in the”I haven’t slept in days,” look.

The kids are looking at me and I see their mouths moving a mile a minute but my brain is just too tired to care.

I don’t care that she didn’t eat her meat.

I don’t care that he stole your pencil.

I don’t care that you can’t find the cat.

Scratch that.

Back peddle.

What?

What happened to the cat?

Oh. Okay. You didn’t shut the back door tight enough, and he could wander out.

Of course.

Have you ever seen a firecracker? (Stay with me here. This should hopefully all make sense by the end)  You know, it’s small and not really all that interesting to look at.  But then you casually light the fuse thinking some pretty sparkles might come out of the deal and… KABOOM!!!

Well yes there were flames and sparkles. But everything near the firecracker is torched!

It was my late grandfather’s nickname for me.

“Firecracker.”

(Yep, I earned it too!)

When I was little our friends joked, I was so small that when I rode a Chihuahua, my feet didn’t drag.

We little ones have to be scrappy.  We look like easy bait, but just like a pepper, the smaller the size, the more potent the heat.

“You just picked the wrong pepper mister!”

Who am I yelling at?

Well, when I get down to it, I am mad at myself.

I think women are under more pressure than ever.  We are expected to do it all and look good while we are at it.

However we weren’t meant to do it all.  One hundred years ago, women were just concerned about trying to survive.  They were fighting for the right for equality and just being able to support their families.

Now we have to look spectacular while doing it.

Can we do that with just one or two tasks?  Sure!

Three or four? Probably.

Five or six? Okay, now but you are pushing it.

Seven or eight? No. NO!

On top of that we are supposed to be in shape like Wonder Woman and have our make-up  perfectly applied.

It is not going to happen.

I realized a couple of days ago, I am a perfectionist-aholic wannabe (If I was healthier and richer maybe I could pull it off?)

I realized I am in bondage. Bondage that only I have created.

My husband supports me, I have a beautiful family, and great friends. There is a difference between wanting to do stuff and being able to do stuff. My body has been through a lot these past five years and I need to give it the grace, I so willingly give to others that I refuse to give myself.

So I can’t multi-task like I used to.  So my mind wants to be at every function, but then my body abruptly stops and says, “No way Jose’!”

It’s not a reflection of my character, it’s just a flaw in body.

I can only do so much, and that’s okay.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. My house gets messy. My kids fight. I sometimes blow up. I sometimes don’t get done half of what I thought I should.

And that’s okay!

We are all doing the best that we can, and that should be enough. I am not a machine like the media-tells me I should be. Talk about double messages.  Food commercial followed by a weight lost commercial.  Food commercial, followed by a weight loss commercial….

Really??  So I am encouraged to eat, then I’m shamed for it!?

Plus the make-up commercials spouting, “Do you want to look years younger?”

I have earned every line on my face. These lines show I care!! Not only that, they show I care about others and not just myself.

I have heard of women not smiling just to prevent laugh lines. But I need a good gut-busting laugh and I love to smile!  Life is too short not to smile!

So I am throwing away my dreams of perfection.  I am tired of trying in vain to do something that just isn’t necessary.

It’s okay to say no.

It’s okay to not be put together.

It’s okay to let things slide in order to enjoy life a little more.

It’s okay that we are marching to the beat of our own drum.

There is no how-to, because we are just going to throw our lists out the window!

So who is with me? Let’s chuck our “perfection” into the fire and just enjoy life again.

Who cares what others think. I am running my own race. I am here to help in anyway that I can, but I can’t be perfect.

Ahh, I feel better.

Messy.

But better.

So goodbye perfection.

You look nice, but you aren’t worth it.

Broken Together

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“How I wish we could go back to simpler times

Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light

Now on this hallowed ground, we’ve drawn the battle lines

Will we make it through the night?

It’s going to take more much more than promises this time

Only G-d can change our minds

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete,

Could we just be broken together

If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine

Could healing still be spoken and save us.

The only way we’ll last forever is broken together..”

When I hear Casting Crowns sing this song, I feel as though some one pulled this song out of my soul. Between the lyrics and with my favorite stringed instruments, and the saddest of all, the cello.

My husband and I have been married over fifteen years. Sometimes it stings to look back on our wedding photos. We have this utter look of innocence in our eyes. We had no idea the storms that we would encounter through the years, and yet I know we have only just begun.

I remember sitting in the geneticist’s office after our daughter had died. We were awaiting her autopsy results. (I still get sick to my stomach thinking about it.) The doctor shared with us the results and then said, “You know most couples that lose a child, the divorce rate is about seventy percent.”

We sat there stunned, it took me a few minutes to start to cry. We had just lost our daughter, and now I may lose my best friend?

She got up and gave us a moment. As soon as the door slammed shut we grabbed each others hands and promised each other that no matter what, we would stay together.

Little did we know that the storm we thought we were in the middle of, was only just the beginning.

After our daughter passed away in our arms, I slipped into a deep depression. My husband stood by my side and allowed me to deeply grieve. We tried to get pregnant again, and two times we miscarried, and the grief ensued.

We finally got pregnant with our son, and he too was diagnosed with the same thing our daughter had. We poured into prayer and begged G-d to spare our son. The good Lord allowed for the doctor to do experimental treatments and inject saline into my belly every three days. It was dangerous to both me and my son, but we chose to trust G-d.

My husband took care of me while I was on thirty-two weeks of bed rest. We welcomed our son Elijah Praise alive and he was whisked off the NICU. That night they asked us if we wanted to prolong his life by doing dialysis, or allow him to die peacefully in our arms. The doctor had stated if it was his child he would never take the proactive measures that we were about to embark upon.

I laid in my bed, post op, and sobbed. Do we keep him for us? Or let him go for him? We wanted him so much. I knew his every movement. We had to let Aurora go and we had always wondered if we had tried harder. . .

We prayed and went forward. We lived and breathed for that sweet boy. G-d smiled on us and allowed us as much continuous time with him as possible. We prayed together. We rejoiced together. We wept together.

Our son Elijah was our Hezekiah baby. We got more time that we were supposed to have.

The doctor would prepare us that he was going to die with each hurdle. But G-d…

Pretty soon the skeptic doctor saw the love we had for him and the hand of G-d that was upon him. He brought in other doctors and proudly would say, “You have got to check this kid out! He is a miracle!”

My husband and I had placed bible verses all over his room, as we pretty much lived in the hospital. It was hard and taxing on our bodies, but it seemed to draw us closer together, to G-d and to each other.

But then…. Eli passed away unexpectedly after six and a half months.

As I heard my husband weep over our son, “No buddy, don’t go! Please don’t go..” Our hearts seemed to shatter as one, all over the floor.

We went home broken, and grieved together. We thanked G-d each day for our children and we realized that even though we hurt for their presence, that they showed us what eternity was all about.

No more sadness.

No more sorrow.

No more pain.

Their lives showed us that G-d was real. With each grim diagnosis, G-d trumped them with more time and more daily miracles. What the enemy had meant for harm, G-d turned into good.

G-d allowed for us to be broken together. While there were times where I wondered how we would make through one more day, we fought together and chose to believe His promises.

G-d blessed us with another boy and a girl. They have not taken the place of their brother and sister. They know all about them and know that they are in Heaven. My kids have zero fear of death.

My husband and I in all our suffering found that G-d was the only way to keep us together . He has been faithful to His promises, and we have been faithful to ours.

If you are married and times are hard. Whatever the reasons that make you want to quit, I encourage you to stay true to your vows to G-d. Hold on to each other, and know that the only way you can last forever, is to be broken together.