Category Archives: Faith

But His Mother Treasured All These Things In Her Heart

I’ve always loved this part of Scripture.  There are two places in Luke where the Bible talks about Mary treasuring things and pondering them in her heart.  The first time is in Luke 2:19 after Jesus is born and is visited by the shepherds.  Here’s Mary, this very young women who just had a child.  And not just any child but God’s Son.  I can’t imagine how overwhelmed she must have been.  I love that her reaction was to treasure up these feelings and memories and hold them in her heart.

Even though I’ve always related to Mary’s action, I don’t think I really got it until I became a mom.  Of course I have a lot of memories from before I became a mother that will always be special and important to me…family vacations, getting baptized, graduating from college, getting married, finding out we were going to be parents, etc. but, there are so many little moments that I have stored up since becoming a mom.  Time just goes by so fast, and babies change and grow every day.  I try to take a lot of pictures and really need to be better about taking videos, but let’s be honest, there’s no way I could ever document every moment and memory.  But I have so many of these little day-to-day things treasured up in my heart.  Even if the fine details fade, I will always have these impressions on my heart…the way Hannah felt in my arms, how Noah looks when he sleeps, his sweet little laugh and mischievous grin, the way he gives hugs and kisses, hearing him say “mama”, the way he cries when he’s tired, and on, and on, and on.

Last Thursday, Zach and I took Noah out to visit Hannah after dinner.  It was the first time we’ve taken him since he really started walking.  When we put him down in front of Hannah’s marker, he immediately grabbed the butterfly pick out of her flowers, then stuck his face in the bouquet and tried to smell them.  I’m pretty sure he inhaled a lot of dirt.  Zach and I were laughing and trying to explain that they don’t smell, but he didn’t care.  He saw flowers, and he wanted to smell them.  Over and over again 🙂  We practiced saying Hannah’s name, and he blew kisses to her.  When it was time to leave, he waved “bye bye” as we were carrying him to the car.  As we were pulling away, I told Zach that I wished I would have taken my phone with me to take pictures.  The more I thought about it though, as sweet as that picture would have been, that moment is something that is forever engraved on my heart.  I will never forget that.

I pray tonight that as life gets busier, I always remember to be present and allow myself to soak in the moment.  Thank you Jesus for all these things I have stored up.

 

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Filed under Faith, Hannah, Noah, Parenting

Unexpected Answers to Prayer

How is it that the answers to our prayers can be so different than what we thought?

My journey into motherhood looks nothing like I always thought it would. Losing a child, having a high-risk pregnancy with complications, having an unplanned c-section, having a premature baby who spends two and a half weeks in the NICU—not what I pictured. But, God answered my prayer of becoming a mother.

I remember telling Zach before Hannah was born that my greatest fear was that our children will not come to know God. Now, Hannah knows God more intimately than I can imagine. His face was the first face she saw when she opened her eyes. I had dreams of watching my first-born accept Jesus and get baptized. That wasn’t what God had planned, but He still answered my prayer.

After Hannah died, I didn’t think I would be able to experience that “We’re having a baby – it’s time to go the hospital” moment. Then, six weeks before Noah was supposed to be born, my water broke and we headed to the hospital. It was mixed with fear and uncertainty, but God provided that moment for me.

Honestly, there are a lot of moments where I wish my life was simpler and not so messy. And I struggle with thinking that my life would be better/easier if my prayers were answered differently. It’s hard to see why God’s way is better when His way hurts. I fall into the trap of thinking that I know what I need more than He does. I’m working on that.

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Words of Hope

I  just wanted to share a few passages from a devotional I read a few nights ago.  I bought the One Year Book of Hope devotional by Nancy Guthrie last year shortly Hannah died.  I’ve opened it a few times and read entries here or there, but I’ve just started going through it day by day.  So far, I love it….it’s definitely what I need.

“Grief is different for the believer than it is for those who do not know Christ – at least it should be.  Actually, death is the great revealer of what we really believe and of how much we value resurrected life after physical death.”  

“His were tears of compassion for Mary and Martha, and tears of determination, perhaps, to finish the work he came to do, to win a victory, once and for all, over the power of death.  It breaks the heart of God that death has so much power to hurt those he loves.  Look here and see tears on the face of God, because he feels the hurt and emptiness that death leaves in its wake, and he longs with us for the day when death is destroyed forever.”

These two passages have stuck with me the past few days, and I felt the need to share them with you.  This is a devotional for anyone dealing with any kind of loss, but really, this is a great devotional for anyone who wants to experience the hope found in having a relationship with Jesus.  I can’t explain the peace and joy that I have had and continue to have in my heart throughout the past 10 months.  I know by spending the next year focusing on passages of hope found in God’s Word that unexplainable peace will continue to grow.

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Precious Tears

My tears don’t just matter to God.  They are precious to Him.  Psalm 56:8 says that they are precious enough for Him to catch every single tear I’ve ever cried in a bottle, and I’m sure by now He has several bottles just for me.

That kind of love is overwhelming for me to think about.  He has held every single tear I’ve cried.  He has held every tear that Jesus cried!  God has already written the story, and He knows why Hannah died, but because He loves me, my tears are important to Him.  Even when I’m being petty and childish, and my tears aren’t justified, He still loves me enough to collect them, too.  Who else could ever love you this way?

The Monday after Hannah died, Zach and I met our families at the funeral home to make arrangements for Hannah’s service.  Soon after we got there, my dad handed me one of his handkerchiefs.  In just that day, that handkerchief held the tears of seeing my daughter’s casket for the first time, meeting with our Pastor to plan her celebration of life, and picking out the sweetest outfit I’ve ever seen for her to be buried in.  I carried that same square of fabric with me when I went shopping the next day to find a dress to wear for her service.  In the dressing room, I cried into it thinking about how unfair and cruel the whole day was.  It was with me at her funeral.  And, I’ve carried it with me everyday since.

It’s in my bag every time I leave the house.  It’s caught a million hidden tears that I’ve cried in my car on the way to work, while I’m sitting and visiting with her at the cemetery, and even in the restroom of a store when I see or hear something that makes me think of her.  It’s covered in makeup and mascara stains, but I can’t bring myself to throw it in the wash.  As painful as those tears are, I can’t stand the thought of just washing them away.  That piece of fabric is the bottle that I use to collect my tears.

It’s really easy to feel alone in times of sorrow.  I’ve even been guilty of trying to explain how I’m feeling to Zach and getting frustrated because I can’t find the words, and I’m sure he doesn’t understand.  Even today, he stopped me and said, “You don’t have to explain it.  I feel the same way.”  But that’s how Satan works.  He convinces us that no one – not even our God or our husbands understand the pain.  It’s just not true.  God knows exactly what it feels like to endure the death of a child; He sent His only Son to die on a cross so that we could have a relationship with Him.  If anyone knows the pain and sorrow and grief of losing a child, it is God.

I have to be honest though.  Knowing this and believing this in my heart doesn’t make everything ok.  Hannah’s death is still painful, and I think it will be for the rest of my life.  And, God knows this.  I have a peace in my heart that I know where Hannah is and that I’ll see her again soon, but it’s not a band-aid that makes the problem go away.  Humans have human emotions.  And, our feelings and our tears are precious to God because He loves us so much.  And, it doesn’t make anything better, but it does make it a little easier to endure the storms of this life.

***For more commentary on Psalm 56: 8 -11 and what our tears mean to God, please click here!

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Filed under Faith, Grief