Thursday, February 4, 2016

Even in This

Today is February 4th. Tomorrow marks 4 years since Elias was born, and we said hello and goodbye all at once. It was a truly traumatic experience for me. He was my first pregnancy, my first delivery. To go through that experience without the reward of a living baby is a feeling that's hard to describe. Everything just goes black. And memories of that day are haunting.

In the wake of our daughter's death, just three weeks later, we're facing his birthday. It's a lot. But having to face his birthday is honestly just the tip of the ice burg. There has been much to go on since we buried Eva's body and her brother's ashes together. These are hard things. Unfathomably painful things. Things that are a part of Eva's story, but that can't be shared yet. One day I hope I can tell all the ways that God used her life to change ours. But now is not quite the time.

As difficult as these weeks and months have been, I can see so clearly how God has orchestrated every painful detail, and how He's going to make true beauty come from our pain.

I hear constantly from people how strong I am. Sometimes hearing that feels like a needle to a wound. I know that's not at all the intention, but when you feel nothing but weakness pouring from your bones, it's hard to take that in. The truth is, as the reality of her death is settling into my heart, I shake with fear. A fear that I will crack at any moment can be overwhelming. This doesn't feel like strength....it feels like complete and utter weakness.

There are more days than not when I can barely parent Emmarie. The exhaustion from grief takes over. The agitation and frustration, common in a grieving person, make it nearly impossible to manage my spirited, high strung three year old. Am I strong? Not at all. And I'm learning that the saying "it takes a village" is more true than ever.

I watch as friend after friend gives birth or announces they're having a girl. Am I strong? No...I shrink in pain and jealousy. I want to be happy for them, but deep down all I think is "why me?" Instead of holding a newborn, I'm sleeping with her blanket and bunny...anything to fill my empty arms and help me feel closer to her.

Believe me, strength is far from what I feel. Broken and raw, and deeply wounded are the words that best describe where I am.

After Elias died I settled into those feelings. Before he died if someone had painted a landscape of my life and how I viewed the world, it would have been full of color and innocence...vibrancy. But once he died, someone just painted over all of that with gray paint. Even after Emmarie was born, it stayed gray. How I viewed God, how I viewed the world....everything was forever changed by his death. In many ways, there's no escaping this. Suffering, and especially the death of a child, will forever change that landscape. But for me, it went deeper.

I didn't realize how hard I had to fight to keep the colors in my painting alive. I didn't realize that the pain, and how it effected every single facet of my life, had the potential to change me....and not for the better. We all go through suffering, not one of us is immune to it. One way or another, we will ALL face it.

What I didn't understand was this "Our choice, then, often revolves around not what has happened or will happen to us, but how we will relate to life's turns and circumstances. Put another way: Will I relate to my life resentfully or gratefully?" Henri Nouwen. This sounds almost too simple, right? Especially when you're standing at a grave and two of your children are beneath you, cold, and in the ground.

Last night Ruben and I sat and talked, and I expressed as tears rolled down my cheeks, how it was so much harder to fight to believe than I ever thought it would be. Does Jesus comfort us, yes, He does. But the fight to keep believing in His goodness is more than just a feeling. My thought process must go something like this:

"This isn't fair"
"I trust you"
"Why did her baby live and not mine?"
"You're still good."
"Why didn't you just heal her?"
"Even in this, you're still a loving God."

And that's hard....

Because my mind is whirling, literally nonstop, it's so easy for me to want to give up and stop believing the Truth.

Yesterday I received a call from the geneticist at Wake Forest. After Eva was born they cut a small part of her heel off and had it sent off to be tested. We had already tested her chromosomes in several other ways, but sometimes tests can be wrong, so they wanted one more way just to be sure. She started explaining to me the process, and what they did, and it all became jumbled as she explained that 15% of her X chromosomes had missing pieces. My mind began whirling. I started sobbing as she told me that as it turns out, Eva had Turner's Syndrome. I cried as I asked her "Are you sure? Could the test be wrong?"

The geneticist, who we have worked with since Elias, apologized over and over again, because unfortunately, this does not give us any real answers. Turner's Syndrome is a sex chromosome abnormality, but it only effects girls. I wanted her to tell me that this was the answer....Eva had Turner's Syndrome, and Elias was again, just a fluke. But she can't tell me that. My heart broke in two as I realized that the truth is most likely that Eva had Turner's Syndrome in addition to the recessive gene we had already assumed was the cause. This belief comes from reasons that are unimportant. But basically, had Elias and Eva's conditions not been SO identical, Turner's Syndrome would be our cause and we could move on, believing that more children were possible. But she couldn't tell me that. Her voice softened as she told me that we were still glaring at a 25% chance that we could lose another baby to the exact same, mysterious disorder. A disorder that will likely go unnamed forever.

All day yesterday I sat and simmered....how could her body have possibly had TWO syndromes? And why would we learn of the one syndrome that can't be the cause for Elias??

"Even in this, Lord. You are good."

Strength? I'm falling apart.

This news doesn't give us any answers, in fact, it just muddies things. In the words of the geneticist "This makes absolutely no sense, and I am shocked to find this out."

I cried to Ruben last night as I questioned how all of this would even be possible. I cried because I so badly want a baby in my arms, but the fear of going through this again is more than anyone can bear. I cried because I want to believe in His goodness....even in this.

I've always heard people talk about their belief and trust in God having to be a day by day thing. For me, it's literally minute by minute. As the questions, and the hurt, and the doubts of ever having another living child bombard my mind, I have to repeat every other minute "You're still good." "Your mercies never fail." "Be still and know that I am God." "Your love is unfailing."

Even in this.

The dust has settled. And it's in my eyes, and in my throat, and it hurts. It's a moment by moment struggle to not allow the painting of my life to turn even darker still. I'm learning that in my weakness, not my strength, that this is where He invites us in. This is where He's able to heal us. Through His healing he can help me repaint the landscape. It won't be what it was before my babies died, but if I allow Him to, He can heal parts of my soul so that there's color again.

Even in this.

"Mourning makes us poor; it powerfully reminds us of our smallness. But it is precisely here, in that pain or poverty or awkwardness, that the Dancer invites us to rise up and take the first steps. For in our suffering, not apart from it, Jesus enters our sadness, takes us by the hand, pulls us gently up to stand, and invites us to dance. We find the way to pray, as the psalmist did, "You have turned my mourning into dancing" (Ps. 30:11), because at the center of our grief we find the grace of God." Henri Nouwen, Turn My Mourning into Dancing

"But He said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, January 22, 2016

Pieces of Eva

I haven't written on this blog for two years. I hung it up because truthfully, I didn't have much to say. Processing the hurt became too hard. And that's what this blog was; a place to process my grief while I was pregnant, and after he died. I'm not one to write about "our days." I've never used my blog as a way to chronicle our life...it's always been used as a way for me to vent and share my heart.
So, to come back here and write about another baby who has died is just hard. In fact, I hardly even know where to begin. Ten days ago I delivered another dead baby. That's two babies. The sad memories of that hospital now out weigh the happy ones. How does one even begin to process that kind of deep sadness?

On October 27th, our worlds were rocked once again. I've not shared much about the circumstances surrounding Eva's pregnancy, but allow me to share some of her story. I was 11 weeks pregnant when we went in for an ultrasound. I'm treated as fairly high risk due to losing Elias in 2012, so we get a few more early ultrasounds than normal. Routinely, they offer a first trimester screen around 12/13 weeks, which is when we found out about Elias's condition. When we went in at 11 weeks with Eva, I was hoping they would be able to get a good view of her neck so we'd know whether she had the same condition or not. Elias had an excessive accumulation of fluid on the back of his neck, which progressed to a host of other issues.

I was incredibly anxious before the ultrasound, and became very emotional during the screening. I told the technician our history, and she tried for several minutes, but failed to get a good view of baby's neck. She and Ruben tried to reassure me that everything was fine, but I persisted, saying I just had a bad feeling. So she kept working, hoping baby would reposition so she could see. Within a minute or two, the baby, who we now know as Eva Ruth, turned over revealing her sweet profile, and an increased amount of fluid on her neck (increased nuchal translucency). I have seen so many of these ultrasounds that I immediately knew the fluid was increased above the normal amount. The ultrasound technician didn't even have to confirm our worst fears.

Eva's condition progressed almost identically to how Elias progressed. They each started out with increased nuchal translucency, which led to a Cystic Hygroma, which led to lethal Hydrops.

Cystic Hygromas are very common in babies with trisomies, like Down Syndrome, and it's also frequently seen in babies with heart defects. My entire pregnancy with Elias, we were told over and over again to expect that he would have either or both of those issues. But he did not. When his genetic testing, and autopsy came back normal, we were told it was a fluke, and that we had likely less than 1% chance of it ever happening again.

Enter our Eva Ruth...

Eva also had normal chromosomes, and a normal heart. The gist of it is this: this doesn't happen in genetically normal babies. It might happen once as a fluke, but not twice in the same family. Elias and Eva very likely had a recessive genetic disorder that appears to have effected their muscles. Both of them had incredibly limited mobility. In fact, Eva appeared in the womb the exact same way Elias did - ankles crossed, hands to her face. This isn't abnormal to see in a baby once in a while, but it is abnormal for it to be the only thing you see.

Because we will likely never know what gene is effected, our doctors have given us a 25% chance of this recurring with every pregnancy. Not the kind of odds you want to hear when you're aching for a live baby to hold.

From the moment the ultrasound technician left the room at that 11 week scan, I have been crying "I can't do this again. I can't do this again." It seemed (and seems) unfathomable to lose another baby in the same exact way we lost the first. And even further, to know that this is potentially our future if we continue having babies.

Going into the same doctor's offices, and seeing nurses and doctors who remembered us "from the last time." Having to visually see yet another baby die before my eyes. It's all so unfair. Where was God?

When Elias died, I was a hopeless wreck. I dug deep into plans for another baby. It was a fluke, right? "So let's just try again" I told myself. And we did, and succeeded. But somehow, my heart still felt so unbelievably betrayed. I begged, my family begged, my friends begged, and an entire community of people I had never met, begged God to do something miraculous in that little boy's body. But He didn't.

Where was He?

Now here I am two weeks before what should have been my little boy's 4th birthday, and I'm only 4 days out from burying his ashes with my sweet daughter's body. We prayed again. We asked Him again. "Heal her." But He didn't.

Where was He?

I'll be honest...I've spent the majority of this week lying in the bed, unable to barely move. Yesterday I did nothing but lie in bed, stare at the wall, and eat the remains of my little girl's birthday cake who will never actually have a first birthday. The clothes I bought her when I learned she was a girl are still hanging in the closet, unworn. Her big sister is just down-right confused and thinks the stuffed bunnies are her siblings. How is that fair for my Emmarie? I don't have answers.

But I made my daughter a promise in the letter I wrote to her. It's lying in her casket as I type these words. We're expecting her first big snow tonight, and I'm trying not to imagine her cold and in the ground, but I'm trusting that she's experiencing more warmth and peace than I can even comprehend. I promised her that the Devil won't win this. He didn't get her life, and he won't destroy mine or my family's lives.

He wants so badly for her death to swallow me. To destroy my trust in the One who holds her. He wants me. If I have to come to Jesus weeping and crawling, and possibly muttering things that make no sense, I will do it. That was my promise to her.

I invite you to pray for my family. To pray for healing in the most supernatural way. Losing a child is unimaginably painful, and it threatens to overwhelm your soul until there's room for nothing but pain and bitterness.

I chose the word "healed" as my word of the year. My hope was that, knowing she likely wouldn't make it, her family would experience the Lord like we never had before. That we would know His love and care for us through how He healed our hearts.

I'm prepared for this to not be very pretty. But I'm also welcoming God to create something truly beautiful out of the life that I mourn.

Baby girl, this is my promise to you. As we pick up the pieces that your precious life left behind, I pray that we only see Jesus. My prayer is that our family is better and stronger because of the brokenness you brought with you. We love you, our darling, Eva Ruth...our life giver.

  "I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:19-24


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Two Years

I never blog anymore. It was something I did as an outlet to express my thoughts and emotions, and keep friends and family updated on my pregnancy with our first child, Elias.

Yesterday was February 3rd. Two years ago on February 3rd I learned that he was dead. Two years ago today I went to the hospital and they induced delivery. On February 5th Elias Grey was born at 3:15 in the afternoon. And my world has never been the same, nor will it ever be.

In the beginning I didn't need to encourage myself to express what I was going through. My body didn't give me the choice. It was an awful, unimaginably dark time. I cried myself to sleep every night from February 5th until sometime in July of that year. I don't really remember how or why I stopped. But somehow I mustered the courage to find joy in the fact that I was pregnant with a new life. I still had frequent moments of sadness, but most days the dark cloud lifted, and I was able to see through the sadness.

December 19th, 2012 rolled around and I was overwhelmed with gladness. To this day I know she is the only reason I ever recovered. She's the only reason I am not still deep in sadness. Those nine months of pregnancy I had nightmares of delivering another dead baby...and I had dreams of delivering a screaming one. She has brought light back into my world in the most sacred way.

So what does two years after baby loss look like? Well, that's a loaded question.

His life and death makes me a pessimist and an optimist. His life and death makes me a better mom because I know what it feels like to miss your baby so badly you literally want to die. His life and death makes me ache for the redemption Heaven holds. His life and death makes me so, incredibly grateful. Because of his life, the pain is deeper and the joys of life are greater. I live in constant conflict between two worlds -- the one where my son lives and thrives, and the one where he is but a memory.

I wouldn't ever want anyone to believe that because two years have passed that I am all better. Some days it feels like a universe is between me and those two years. But most days, I can still smell the blanket he was laid on.

And two years later, after having a healthy, gorgeous baby girl, I still want a redo. I know all too well that if he had not died, I would never have Emmarie. But even still, I could never choose between the two. When I put myself back into that ultrasound room all I want to hear is "it's a miracle," not the horrible sound of silence.

I'll never be all better. Not in this life. But I'm learning to be okay with that.

I've wasted a lot of time, and I still do, wishing I even had the energy to worry about things like future birth plans or whether Emmarie will have more siblings or not. It seems to be the catch phrase of the century. Will you go natural? When are you having another baby? Truthfully the energy isn't there. Two years later I still don't have anymore courage than I did two years ago, and I simply want a living baby. I don't care how it gets here, I don't care how many. I think it's safe to say I'm completely content with my one living and breathing one year old, and I'm in no rush to join the masses in having 2 under 2.

Loss is bitter, and even when years pass the truth of what it is remains. Time doesn't fix a darn thing and it never will. And I've learned that real healing will never happen on this earth. But that's where hope enters the scene.

My son was the most beautiful thing that had ever happened to me on February 5th, 2012. I was completely in awe that I had been chosen to be his mother, just like any other parent is when they hold their child for the first time. I still wouldn't trade a minute of his life for anything in the world. His traumatic birth. Those long, awful weeks that we waited for him to die. And even the months, and now years I've lived without him. I wouldn't trade it for a life without loss. Because a life without loss would be a life without ever knowing Elias.

Two years later, not much has changed. Our family has grown and we're moving forward. But I still miss my son. I still wish it were different.

My sweet, baby boy. You're untouched by the pain of this world. You'll never know loss or hurt. You'll only know the love that we showed you while you lived, and now the love of your Savior in Heaven. I'm jealous. I ache to know you. But we are living our lives to the fullest because of you! You have brought more joy to this family than I ever thought possible. Happy 2nd birthday, our Elias Grey!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Singles Friday

Linking up today over at Kelly's Korner, since I actually don't blog anymore ;), for Singles Friday! How awesome that 9 couples have met and married because of this :)

So, meet Carrie.

She's my older sister, and she is precious to me. She's strong, lots of fun, and loyal to the core. She is a working, single mom who has put her all into raising her sweet 7 year old son, Aidan. Carrie is also a fabulous aunt to all her nieces and nephews!

Above all, Carrie has trusted her life, and the ups and downs, with our Savior. I have always looked up to her, not just because she's my sister, but because of the woman she is.

Here are ten random, fun facts about Carrie, and some possible ice breakers if you so choose to contact this beauty:

1. She has a dog that has 3 legs...yes, only 3 ;)
2. She once glued her eye shut.
3. She's lived in NC her whole life.
4. She's the second of 6 children.
5. She was homeschooled until 11th grade.
6. She became a Christian when she was 4.
7. She likes wasabi peas.
8. She's introverted, but hilarious.
9. Her middle name is Elizabeth.
10. She probably drinks about a gallon of water each day.
BONUS: She's 31 years old.


Here is Carrie with her son Aidan at age 6


Carrie and I

Carrie and our brother Brent, her son Aidan, and my daughter Emmarie over Thanksgiving.




Carrie and our older sister, Maegan.


If you're interested in getting to know Carrie, would you mind emailing me? My email is trisharush11@gmail.com. Thanks!!! :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Lies About Fear

I have realized that pregnancy is a spiritual marathon. Especially after a loss. Trusting and praying, hoping and longing that the baby inside of you remains healthy and continues growing. When you don't have any other children you're chasing around, your focus is 100% on that baby. Has it moved enough over the past hour? Are you staying hydrated enough? etc. etc. You must pace yourself. Heaven knows you couldn't sprint to the finish line even if you wanted to! There's time, and less distraction. On the same note, there is time to keep your emotions and thoughts in check. Time to spend alone with the Lord.

I remember people saying that one of the things they miss about being childless was all the alone time they had. Although I can certainly say I don't miss it, I can acknowledge that this is a definite difference between having children and not.

Once that baby is born, things are totally different. There are diapers to wash, spit up dripping down your shirt, a crying newborn to console. There's dinner to make, a dog to take outside; for crying out loud, you need to brush your teeth too! There are so many things that need your attention that there is rarely a moment to just be by yourself. I had these visions of us having this perfect routine from day 1. I naively expected Emmarie to wake at the same time, sleep the same amount of time, and eat the same amounts every day. Like a beautiful clock the ticks steadily.

Excuse me while I spit water all over the keyboard from laughing. At my stupidity. ;)

There have been so many evenings that I've sat on the couch and realized that I've thought of nothing but a checklist since I woke up that morning. Sometimes I can't remember what was actually on the checklist, but in theory...you know?

The days just get away from you....

It's hard to notice it at first because you're so busy. But in between loads of laundry or feeding your child, those thoughts come into your mind. You know the ones I'm talking about. The kind you wish didn't exist. The thoughts that shouldn't even be an issue in the middle of complete mommy bliss.

But they are...

In the middle of the night, as you rock your sweet, innocent child to sleep, your mind wonders to all the possible what ifs. 

Fear.

It can drive us to be cautious and dig deeper with the Lord....or it can break us.

I don't think you just wake up one morning petrified of something horrific happening. I think fear is a lot like a lie. It starts small and grows until you truly believe it.

There is nothing as uncontrollably intoxicating as the love a mother has for her child. It literally swallows every part of you. God designed us this way, so it's meant to be beautiful. We're meant to love our babies this way so there is no shame in it. There are times when I can hardly take it...I have to pinch her. She's just that adorable. She's perfect. The love I feel for her makes the image of the cross that much more unfathomable. His plan was perfect.

But don't you love how the enemy takes this lovely picture and twists it? You love her so much that your life would incomplete without her....can you even imagine it? And that's how it starts. Small. Little bits of truth and lies that become one big fear over time.

Lately this very real fear has become a daily challenge for me. The endless scenarios. The thoughts that quickly steal the joy out of one of the greatest gifts in life.

And the second I begin to give that fear to the Lord, give her to the Lord, I get stuck. To be honest, sometimes I feel safer living in that fear than I do giving her and the fear up. As though having my grip on her will somehow save her life from whatever fear I think holds her destiny.

I have fought this battle for months, wondering why it's so hard for me to just let go. Let go of the fear that can rule our hearts in regards to our children. Then finally I realized...

The lie: the last time you gave a child to Him, He took him from you.......

And when the truth comes out...that which is really holding me back, I am mortified. Sickened by my own sin, and the lies I believe. Do I really believe that He will take her from me because I let go? Of course not.

You know, the first step to recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem, and figuring out the source ;). In this case, a little old fashioned therapy does us all some good...whether it's from someone with a license or with my keyboard.

These lies, whatever lie we choose to believe, can absolutely cripple us. They achieve the goal that was set out, which was to deceive us, to cause us to try and rely on ourselves, to become afraid, and ultimately to lose our Trust in the One who wants nothing more than to take care of us.

There have been times when I thought there was nothing I could do; I am a mom, fear is part of the game. And to a degree, it is. BUT, I'm learning that it just doesn't need to be that way. It never has, nor will it ever be okay to live a life in such a way.

Now, in the wee hours of the night, while I'm desperately trying to teach my 7 month old to like sleep, I will be praying this verse, believing this verse, and trust Him to help me live it out...

"For God has not given me a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Six Month Old Girl

Time sure is flying by for our little 6 month old. It's so hard to believe she's already hit the half way mark to finishing her first year of life outside the womb.

Our girl.

Have I told you how much of a stinker she is?

She makes us laugh daily with her grunts, scrunched up faces, and constant smiles.


She has a temper and little priss, attitude that will make any momma scared for the teen years! But we love her all the more for her spunk.

She grows more beautiful everyday, and I can't believe something that pretty was born from me! (I'm only a little biased.)

She's hitting milestones pretty well. Rolling over both ways, "talking" up a storm, and very interested in her toys.

Our diva, girl ;)


6 months has brought along some hardships too. For a few weeks she was just not herself. She had been overly fussy, very frustrated while she ate, and not sleeping well. After about two weeks of this we headed to the doctor. I assumed she was only teething, but to my dismay, found out that she had lost almost two pounds since her 4 month check up.

As scary as this has been, we've quickly started her on donor milk and formula to pack on the pounds! In less than a week we've seen a huge difference -- not just in her thighs ;), but in her entire personality! She is SO much more content.

I've been surprised to find that I feel just as rewarded giving her a bottle as I ever did breast feeding. Although we're still doing both, I know I won't be breast feeding her nearly as long as I thought I would. I had always planned to breastfeed her until she didn't want it anymore, but I figured she would be well past a year. I have the same plan, but it could be weeks from now, instead of months and months due to her preference for a bottle. And I think I'm okay with that.

From the time I learned I was pregnant with her, I wanted one thing: a healthy baby. That's still our goal.

Six months has also brought a lot of fun things! FOOD! We are doing Baby Led Weaning with Emmarie. It's messy and sort of crazy, but it certainly takes the pressure off of me and her to consume a certain amount of food. She has control over how much she eats. For now, it's all for fun! So far we've given her avocado, sweet potato, and banana. I just cut her food up in large chunks and let her go for it! She's kind of like a cave man, picking it up by the fist and gnawing on it. Most of the time, though, it just slides through her little hand, and then the remnants wind up all over her face. Nice.

The goal is that as she grows, her little fingers will become more coordinated at getting the food into her mouth. But while we wait on that, she's going to be trying out lots of different textures, tastes and smells, developing a healthy palette and appetite, at her own pace!

I love you so much baby girl! I still cannot believe that I get to love and parent you. What a privilege! Being home with you is an absolute joy! Keep growing sweet, Emmarie Cate!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Time

I want time to slow down in the worst kind of way. Lately I've spent way too much time spilling over pictures and videos of my sweet girl from just a few months ago, and it makes my heart ache. How could she have changed this much already?

Her little cry, so sweet and new, has already turned to a baby's cry. Where did my snotty, grunty newborn go?


Her slender legs, fresh from the oven, were wrinkled with sweet goodness, lacking the fat so many babies earn as they grow. Where did it go?

It must have happened while we slept. While we dreamed of sleep, for sure, when sleep seemed forever away. It must have happened while I wished for her to sit up, or roll over, or coo for the first time. It must have happened while I danced around her, doing things only a mother would do, trying to achieve the first smile. It must have been then...

Was I not looking? Did I not keep my eyes on her the whole time?

I thought I meant to take captive every single expression she made, wrinkle of her nose, smell of her skin, and size of her toes. But somehow I didn't. Because here I am four months later, wondering what happened.

Last night we drove home from a birthday celebration. Night was pitch black, and the car was silent. A tiny bunny went bounding across the road, Ruben put on the breaks and we both stared at each other and smiled. A bunny. The symbol of our son. Our sweet boy, our bunny. For months after he died, I saw bunnies everywhere. It was God's reminder to me that he wasn't as far away as it felt. Has it really been that long?

Time. It replenishes, and it breaks our hearts all at once.

Watching our daughter go from a newborn to a baby reminds me of so many things. Sometimes I rock her and kiss her, and I just want to tell her everything. I want her to know that she is immeasurably loved. And not just by us. But by Him. The One who made her. I want her to know that she can stay a child as long as she wants. Don't grow up too quickly, love. And I don't mean just physically...

I want to tell her how hard her daddy works for her. Even if it's hard on us. I want her to understand, as I try to understand, that it's for us. For our future.

I want to tell her of a little boy that was once our only child. The boy I thought I would never stop hurting over. The boy she will meet one day. I want her to know his name, and say it often. My brother, Elias. I want her to know that our family includes that little boy. Always.



I want her to know about her future. Her victorious future. I want her to know that her future, and the One who created it, claims her as a beautiful treasure. I want those words to rule her heart. As she grows from a baby, to a little girl, to a woman...you are a beautiful treasure.

And my heart hurts because there are so many things I want her to know. To believe. And I feel like there's not enough time in the day for it all. I fear my slipping up and forgetting to pay attention will ruin it all. I fear my temper or carelessness will somehow mess up everything. I want to stop all the nonsense of this life, and just live the important things. But I can't.


At some point, I have to trust her with the One who loves her more than I. I have to trust she is in His hands. I have to trust that watching her grow up will be both a sacred and joyful experience, albeit bittersweet at times. I have to trust that my love for her will cover my mistakes; that He will cover my mistakes.


Is parenthood just some cruel joke? Some incredibly intoxicating experience that brings such joy, yet pain at once. My obsession with my daughter is so small in comparison to my Father's obsession for me. I can't fathom it. I will never understand it. But yet, it's true. To think of giving up my own daughter as Christ gave His son...that picture alone will make any mother shutter.


I think that's why He allows us to love our children as courageously as we do. How would we ever understand His love? It's really a beautiful picture.



And that's what I want her to know. And so much more...that my love for her is incredibly large. It fills every part of my being, until I feel so full that I might burst; but His love is so much greater. More complete than anything I could ever offer her.

Oh sweetie, just embrace it.

You have eternity's time...


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