Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ths Dance of Grief and Joy

"Joy in affliction is rooted in the hope of resurrection, but our experience of suffering also deepens the root of that hope.
~ John Piper

The only way I can describe this emotional week to you is a dance of grief and Joy. Sometimes I wanted off the dance floor completely because it hurt too much, and on the other days I didn't want to get off.

The dance of grief :

Our family has gone through another tragedy and the sudden loss of a much anticipated niece. My sister in-law went into labor Sunday night and when she got to the hospital there was no heartbeat the baby had already passed into Jesus's arms. When we got the call that night I just sat on the couch shaking in shock from the news I just heard. I cried out NO God not again in our family! This can't be happening. What good is this going to do? I was upset and wanted to scream!!! Instead I turned to God in prayer asking him to bring healing to our family, and peace and comfort to my sister and brother in-law. We have never been on this side of the fence where we are expecting and someone else loses their child. I hate this feeling of helplessness. I want to fix what happened and put band-aids on all my sisters hurts and pains, but all I can do is offer my hand to walk this tough road, and pray for them.

The dance of JOY :

We have been waiting and anticipating our ultrasound that following day. I had no idea what to think. I had mixed emotions when I woke up that morning, feeling heavy hearted for my sister, and also excited to finally see our little miracle. We were hopefully going to find out if we were adding pink or blue to the house.

A wise friend called me that morning telling me she was praying for us and the family, but reminding me that satan comes to hurt, lie, and steal. She told me do not let him steal your joy today! God is a God of life and this little one along with Grace and Kaden have the best gift of all eternal life, and someday we to will join them in glory. I needed to hear what she had to share. I had feelings of guilt that I had to humbling lay at the cross, because I can't change anything or have to carry that burden. Jesus did that on the cross! The only thing I had control of was how I wanted to live my day that day. I could choose the dance of grief or Joy.

Lucas my 4 year old precious boy who has seen baby bumps and no baby at the end asked me Why did Jesus take the baby home? I prayed for the words to come and replied God calls us home when were young, or when we are old. We don't know when it will be our time to go, but bottom line He wants us to come home and live with Him. It is is ultimate goal in life to have us live with him in heaven. He answered ok Mom so she is with Grace, Kaden, and great grandpa? Yes I replied. Then she is happy and has no pain. I cried and hugged him. It took the faith of a child to open my eyes to see how simple it really is. We are only here for a short time, and life can be done on earth with a blink of an eye.

Steve came home later that afternoon to take us to the ultrasound, and I told him that I choose Joy! We started off to the appointment and to the "dark room" as Lucas called it. I layed on the table in anticipation. Was everyone going to be right? Would it be a girl? How would having a girl affect our family? The tech put the jelly on my belly and right away pops up a beautiful profile of a growing miracle. I had tears right away, and was praising God for our little one. The tech had it in position where you could tell what the child was, and asked if we wanted to guess. I said it looks like a girl, and she said YES it is a girl!!!!! I cried tears of joy for it has always been my hearts desire to have a baby girl, and for you that know me I am as girly as they come. lol All we wanted was a healthy child and were told that she is perfect. Sweet pea didn't stop showing off. She flashed us a peace sign, and even stuck her toe in her nose. Yoga baby already ;)

We are praising God for this child and for answering Lucas's prayer of wanting a sister. NOTHING is impossible with God!!!

It's a Girl!!!! Toe in the nose

Thank you for your prayers for Steve, Lucas, sweet pea, and I. Also thank you for keeping my family in your prayers as we grieve this life cut short. Please pray for strength, healing, comfort, and peace for our sister and brother. I am sure I will continue this dance of grief and Joy, but will try to lean on God's understanding and not my own!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Our "tree of HOPE" is in full bloom.....

"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" ~ Isaiah 40:31

To our surprise we were greeted this spring with the site of a blossoming tree. Our beautiful gift from our small group that we named our "tree of HOPE" was in full bloom.

A new page to turn in our lives......

I was a week late and was feeling peaceful about waiting to take a test to see if we were expecting. A week prior I was tucking Lucas in to bed and he told me that he wanted to be a big brother and have a sister. We prayed together that night that God would bless our family by making Lucas a big brother. A week later I am tucking him in again and he places his hand on my belly and tells me that there is a baby in there. I have been keeping it quiet that I was late and was planning on taking a test the next morning. he has quite a gift and we are now nicknaming him the baby whisperer. LOL

The next morning I snuck out and took a test and it was two lines before it hit the counter top. WOW we are PG and I was going back in forth from being so excited and crying.

I was Praising God for the new life He has placed in my womb and answering our prayers!!!!!!

Now I got to wake Steve up for work with the best news ever!!!

The next day we told Lucas that he was going to be a big brother. He had quite the grin on his face, and told us that God had answered his prayers. He is obsessed with my belly and wants the baby to come out now. He has been calling the baby "sweet pea", and wants to see pictures in the book and a online video of babies in the womb. This will develop his patience.

We started to tell friends and family right away so that they could be praying for peace for us, and a healthy "sweet pea". I had my first Dr. appointment at 8 weeks. I was greeted with open arms and joyful hearts. They were so happy to see me :) I am so blessed to have such a caring Dr. and staff. They are the best :) At my first Dr. appointment they did a routine ultrasound where I got to meet our little one. Baby looks great and it was music to my ears and heart to hear the babies heartbeat!!! PRAISE GOD from whom blessings flow. We will be extra thankful this Thanksgiving welcoming a new member to our family!

"For you created my in most being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~ psalm 139:13-14

Friday, April 23, 2010

My heart will choose to say, blessed be your name! You give and take away...

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (New International Version)
The Coming of the Lord 13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

I can't believe it has been so long since I have posted! We are truly thankful for all your support and prayers through out the year!

Looking back on this year of loss we are counting our blessings!

we were able to take part in a "walk to remember" this past Oct. where we walked with other grieving parents to remember our little babies in heaven. We released balloons in honor of each child as their names were read out loud. We tied Grace and Kaden's balloons together and watched them go up! It was such a beautiful day and a reminder that we are not on this earth to walk through these hard times alone. That God gives us each other and Hope in Him!

Last year we were given a "cherry blossom" tree in honor of our angel babies Grace and Kaden from our wonderful small group. We planted it last fall not knowing if it would blossom in the spring or not. We call it our tree of Hope!

This past year I also lost my Grandpa Longberg who has been fighting Alzheimer's for a few years. He has always been like a father to me and my bro, and He was such an amazing guy who loved God with all his heart, soul, and mind. Such a gracious man that was always willing to meet a need. On His death bed I asked him if he would watch over my babies for me? He took his big hand and placed it on my cheek and patted it. I will forever hold that memory in my heart. Grandpa, Gracie, and Kaden are all dancing with Jesus and the angels in glory! xo

For my Brother Ryan's birthday he was given a picture of Grandpa saving a little girl from a fire. It meant the world to him! Grandpa was always a hero in our eyes and will be forever in our hearts! Love you Grandpa xo

More to come ... Blessings to you and yours :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

behind the story...

From journal entry: 6/4

I joined a bible study a few weeks ago to study the book of Esther and to take the focus off of what I was going through and to learn why it is "tough being a women" I thought it would be a good thing to get my mind off what was hurting inside. Boy did God have other plans, and I soon found out that he had me at the right time and place. I joined this group of women that was made up of some friends from E.G.M, and other girls that were in college and other places in life. My first week was a week after Kaden was born and I tried wearing the mask of I'm ok, but it slowly came off through out our visits. So as we are sitting there watching the very animated Beth Moore one of the first things that comes out of her mouth is " One of the hardest things to go through and see is loosing a child" WHAT was screaming from within and seriously not now God!!! weeping during the lesson I surrendered my heart and mind to Christ Jesus asking him to fill the gap with his eternal love. I felt the Holy Spirit descend on me and say " my child I am here for you, but you need to deal with your grief and let me heal your broken wings".

To shine some light on the backdrop of the book of Esther we see that God is not mentioned by name in the story. Beth Moore describes it like God is the author behind the story line, and writing Esther into his story. We see him working as the pages of Esther are turned.

We can apply this concept to our lives. That God is not seen in the natural, but is apart of every chapter in YOUR life. He is writing US into his story. One of Beth's quotes was " coinsidences are miracles in which God prefers to remain anonymous" God is building up our faith to blow our minds.

Ephesians 1:11
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out EVERYTHING in conformity with the purpose of his will." and

Philippians 2:13
"for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

He is going to work out all the hardships, pain, and, fill in blank ____ for his good!

Seek him FIRST and God's will for your life and he will find you and meet you where your at. We have a destiny. This life isn't meaningless there is a purpose for your life. Start living it in Jesus name!

So I leave you with a question... Where have you seen God working behind the story of your own life? In the people, places and things around you?

Think of them as not coinsidences, but miracles!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Journey to the "hiding place" and Choosing to receive

From past journal entry:

I don't know about you, but it seems that God speaks to me through song a lot and not just familiar songs. A great deal of the songs that stick in my mind are from my past. Here is one that has been lay ed on my heart:

"You are my hiding place. You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance, whenever I am afraid I will trust in you! I will trust in you, let the weak say I am strong in the strength of the Lord."
After this came to mind I started searching through the word trying to find the verse that this song was from. After searching which seemed like a while I noticed that it was on the very next chapter in my "grieving the child I never knew" book my mouth dropped. Have you ever searched for something not realizing that it was right in front of your face the whole time. I felt God saying stop searching and look I have given you what you need. So the verse is a small but a powerful one...

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround you with songs of deliverance. ( Psalm 32:7 )

A question came to my mind. How is the Lord a hiding place? In the psalm David speaks of the Lord as his hiding place --- a place of security in an insecure world. Though David was probably thinking mostly of safety from physical threats, God also provides safety from spiritual trouble. He delivers us from death and evil.

The storms of life come in with sometimes no warning. Some are short hail storms and some are very long and draining. There is no heavy rain or damaging winds to spot and prepare for in advance. When we see a tornado or hard time coming we immediately run for cover or shelter.

So comparing this scenario to my life I would say a year ago when we found out the something was wrong with Grace and that she wasn't compatible to life as a warning for what was about to come. During the time of getting the confusing and terrifying news I found myself drawing closer to God then ever. I remember sitting at the table for hrs just reading God's word and trying to take comfort from anything or anyone that came my way. I didn't want to be by my self in a room, because I know that is the place where the enemy would attack the most. I found my hiding place to be out in the open and laying my life and my child's before the feet of our Father. Believe me if I was told that if I jumped the whole way around the block while eating a pb& j sandwich I would have done it. I would have done anything that was in my control to save my baby girl. God however had other ways of saving her and took her home from my womb at five months gestation. He saw the pain that she and us would have suffered and decided what was best for us. What happened this year was a tornado out of no where. We had no time to prepare for Kaden being called home, and I feel the Holy Spirits presence and anointing so strong right now. Again God had a higher purpose then what we can comprehend for Kaden. As parents we can relate on a small scale of taking things away from our kids that would cause harm to them. God wants to take away your pain if you let him take control. He will do what's best for you if you believe and trust in Him.

It's your choice to receive:

In the salon I have so many great conversations and I am so thankful that God has provided me a place where people can be open to talk about what they want. I once worked at a place where I was told by the owner that "Jesus' doesn't belong here and I am not to bring any talk of him to work" I was hurt and furious, but know I am blessed for all the times I had to bite my lip from saying his name out loud. Well on this day when I was talking to a friend I had a revelation. I was telling her how God is so good and that the strength and peace he has given me is amazing and unexplainable. She commented on my strength and how amazing it is to see, and I answered by saying that it is all God. "I am weak, but he is strong" She agreed that God is the giver of strength, but also wanted me to know that through her journey with caring for a sick baby son she has learned that God gives us the strength, but we have to CHOOSE to receive it. she went on to say "Rochelle you have to take some credit for the way you have responded to tragedy and your faithful attitude". wow I never thought of it as a choice. There is so much freedom in choosing to believe, it's that "free will" gift that God gave us. Sometimes it's a good thing and other times we take advantage of it and abuse the privilege. Humm reminds me of how toddlers operate you give them and "inch. and they will take a mile" We are a lot like toddlers in God's eyes.

I pray that through the storms of life that you are always my hiding place and that I continue to put my faith and trust in you. Lord God help me to continue to choose to walk in your ways and to fight for you. Lord I pray for anyone that is making something else their hiding place would come out and find peace and strength in the shadow of your wing. We love you Lord and i ask this all in your name alone. Amen

Friday, July 3, 2009

The cup of optimism...

Before I begin sharing what I wrote in my journal in the past weeks I write today with a heavy heart. I am thankful that we serve a God that gives us strength and peace even around hard dates. July 2 was my scheduled c -section and the day Kaden would have been born. So many emotions these past weeks and I would like to fill you in.

We got the autopsy results back and the Dr. explained everything to us about what had caused Kaden's death. He said it is placenta related and basically what happened is we had twins!!! I know CRAZY except the one hooked on to the placenta and gave it extra chromosomes and couldn't give Kaden what he needed to grow. We were sad to find out that it was the placenta that failed him, but happy to know that it wasn't genetic related or stressed related. PRAISE GOD!!! So join us in thanking him for answers.

The Dr. also told us that I am not in a high risk category because the things that happen to me doesn't happen to people. Last year and this year are both shot's in the dark and extremely rare. Steve and I walked in to the results united in heart and mind as we both feel so strongly that we would like to conceive a child to raise, and we would walk by faith no matter what the results were. Well now that we have answers it gives us the green light to try again and I also get to bypass any unnecessary tests. The Dr. said that in most cases where a baby dies late in pregnancy they don't find out anything and it causes a lot of fear with proceeding to try again.

Please pray that in his timing we will conceive again. Pray for a safe pregnancy and healthy baby. Also pray that God will trump any fears we may have along the way with peace. We will keep you updated and let you know as soon as we become prego so you can pray. We appreciate all the prayers you are lifting up for us and glad we don't have a quota. ;)

From Journal entry 6/3 (before we had autopsy results)

2 Corinthians 12: 8-10 (Paul's vision and his thorn)

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. that is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

There are too different categories people can fit in either looking at the glass half-full or half- empty. Well as most of you know I am a half-full kinda gal. Sometimes I would have to say it is so full that it begins to overflow before it overwhelms. The downside of being an extreme optimist is that you are too busy focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel and future anticipations that you miss out on the healing opportunity's and molding process that God wants us to desire. I like to think that in the spiritual world optimism is equal to Faith. I just have to remind myself that life is a journey and not just a book that you can skip to the end. In hard situations I start seeing near sided and skip the things that are right in front of my face. This is when God steps in to helps me grow from my weakness. Humm so can being to optimistic be a weakness, because you are not dealing with the heart of the issues? I am going to let that sink in to my mind and let it marinate. Heavy stuff that I can't wrap my mind around right now. Any thoughts please feel free to ad:

I think that being nearsighted can be good,because it is having faith I just have to remind myself not to go blind to what's going on around me. taking it one step at a time, and one day at a time. The next step in our journey will be getting the autopsy results back. No matter what Steve and I have decided that we don't feel God pushing the stop button to have more children, so we will go with the attitude of listening to his direction and following our hearts no matter what the outcome is. Thank you for walking this road of Faith with us it means so much to us to have your support. We also pray that if people feel ill about our decision that God will work in you and strengthen your faith because NOTHING is impossible or too big for God to do. We pray you will be encouraged and not driven away from the peace and faith we have been given. If you are facing a hard time right now and you just can't see the light, run to our fathers arms and believe he can give you what you need and kneel at the thrown of grace and be willing to receive what he is handing to you. The key is we have to receive it believing and not doubting;

James 1: 6
But when he asks, he must BELIEVE and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Dear God, help me to start this journey of healing with open eyes driving slowly taking it one step and day at a time. help me to lean on you for truth and understanding. You are the potter and I am the clay. Help me to be a slow paced optimist and not to be blind to the things you want to teach me through this process of grieving. For when I am weak you can help me be strong.

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Grieving the child I never knew"

I want to start off by thanking my wonderful M.O.P.S mom's for giving me a resource that has helped me so much through this journey...

I received a book called "Grieving the child I never knew" by Kathe Wunnenberg

"A companion for comfort in the loss of your unborn child or newly born child."

from my journal entry 6/1

(Before I began to digest this book and take this journey to healing. I began to pray asking God to to open my heart and peel the scab that this past and present year has brought).

Dear God,

I pray that you will reveal truth to me and help mend my broken heart. Even though it may be painful Lord I pray that you will speak to me and expose those wounds and specific feelings I may be having deep down about our loss, and restore my heart and mind in Christ Jesus' amen.

As I dug into the intro I was captured by the author and all she had been through. Isn't it true that just when you think you had it bad someone comes along that seems to have or had it worse. This is the case as I read this amazing women's journey through faith and putting her hope in God. The author has struggled with fertility for a few years and lost four children before conceiving a child to raise on earth. One of the children was born with a fatal birth defect, but she still believed God was able to heal him, and if he chose not to she would praise him through losing him.
This hit me because it is very similar to how I felt when Grace was diagnosed in the womb with something fatal. I remember begging God to do a miracle and show his great power that we knew he could preform. We believed and trusted it with all our hearts that he could heal her. He chose instead to take her home for an eternal purpose.
In reading her story I could really feel empathy on how our paths are similar. I am weeping as I read this, but in awe that this couple is unified in their feelings just as Steve and I are. Neither of us has been shown the stop button from God in having more kids, and we have chosen to follow our hearts trusting God the whole way. She finally conceived at 40!!! with her 5th child. Praise God for perseverance! She compares pregnancy to a roller coaster ride; and loosing a child to never getting to the end of the ride and instead told that the ride is over. Wow what a picture and I am sure some of you can relate to pregnancy to a crazy and scary time.

If you are in the same boat and have lost a child I am so sorry for your loss, but remember that God is close to the broken hearted and wants to hold you close and heal your pain. He can show the ultimate empathy with the loss of a child. He gave his own son up to save us from an eternity of pain. It's because of living in a broken world that we have to go through suffering not because of something you or I did, so take comfort knowing that "HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE HIS SON SO THAT YOU COULD LIVE"

I encourage you to get this book for yourself or someone you know that has lost a child. I have only read the intro. and I am already captivated. Thank you Lord Jesus' for resources to help us work through the pain of living in a broken world, and giving us the courage to follow our hearts desires even when the ride seems scary.