Sunday, November 9, 2014

I Was Mad

I could feel it welling up inside me. It was an emotional fit I wasn't prepared for. My chest was heaving. My heart was pounding. I couldn't think - all I wanted to do was throw something. Where was this anger coming from? I was MAD!

It had been building up all week. I'd become increasingly aware of the baby bumps around me. Everytime I saw someone - complete strangers even - I was somehow drawn to their growing bellies. I seemed to feel physical emptiness each time I saw someone else's belly and became aware of the absence in my own.

Pregnancy announcements continued to pop up on the news feed. Not just one - multiple. Some due in May. Some I can genuinely say I am happy about - friends who deserve to be happy with their glowing pregnancies. But all reminders of joy that I was feeling left out of.

It wasn't one thing. But there was definitely a trigger. A handmade gift, something of a memoriam, that I found destroyed. Somehow my 65 lb doodle had confused it for a chew toy. There was that gift - in pieces. It seemed as though I was looking at my shattered heart. I knelt to pick up the pieces and then came the tears. But this wasn't a moment of sorrow. Sadness was void in my heart. I was full of outright anger and I just wanted to scream. 

I wasn't mad at God. I knew better than that. But I certainly told Him outloud how I felt. I knew He already knew but it didn't stop me from asking Him all the questions that had been tucked away. I had a good cry. An even better honest talk with God. 

Before anyone feels the need to reach out to me and offer your sympathies, let me explain something. Please hear me. I'm not still mad. I'm writing this days later. The truth is the only reason I'm writing this is for someone who may need to read this and know it's okay to feel this way too. I'm sharing this for the sheer fact that I'm normal. Human, in fact. Emotional and sometimes overwhelmed. And yes, sometimes even mad. It's okay, really, for me and for you. The thing I also know is that along with all the pregnancies that are being congratulated, there are other hearts aching who never even got the chance to announce their good news before they were all too soon experiencing grief. 

"Be angry, yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil a foothold." Ephesians 4:26-27

Anger is a normal part of the grief process. Necessary, if you will, to help reach acceptance. Taking the biblical guidance on how to handle anger, we cannot let it be a place we set up camp. We can't allow it to be a breeding ground for evil. It's a part of the process, not the ending place. 

So I admit. I was mad. I was mad. And I'm glad I was. I needed to let that out. I needed to feel it. I needed to go through it. I don't feel something everyday, not all the time. Sometimes I don't know when it will hit or what will be the trigger. But I do have my moments and I believe they are not only normal, they're allowed. All part of the healing process. 

(Now, please, pretty please, don't get all stressed out and worried. I'm not mad anymore!)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thankful for His Name

"Oh give thanks unto The Lord; call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people." Psalm 15:1

Today I give thanks for the name of The Lord. The name that will one day cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess. Today, this day, His name holds power. By His name we are saved. 

What does His name mean to you?

Jehovah Nissi - Banner
Jehovah Rophe - Healer
Jehovah Jirah - Provider
Yahweh - Lord
Jehovah Shalom - The God of peace
El Shaddai - God Almighty
Adonai - Master
Elohim - Strength
Jehovah Shammah - The Lord is there
El Elyon - Most High
El Roi - The God who sees
El Olam - Everlasting God
El Gibhor - Mighty God

At His name the demons tremble. At His name the angels rejoice. At His name mountains bow, seas are calmed. The power the name of The Lord holds is beyond what we can even comprehend. 

Today I am calling upon the name of my ever personal Father, The Lord my God and giving Him the glory He is due. There are so many more I could list, so many attributes He is, but for me today I give thanks for His name. The very name that I can utter and experience His presence. 

Thank You for Your Name, Lord!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy November

It was Halloween. I happened upon the candy aisle to purchase some goodies for work...When what to my wondering eyes would appear but the conflict of two holidays opposing forces on either side of the aisle, both fighting for their rightful place on the calendar. 

In case you can't see the full scope of the photo, Halloween's frightening fight on the left is taking on Christmas cheer on the right. I posted the photo only to have others remark about this not being the only store to do it. In fact, multiple stores were listed with the same celebratory conflict. Several other posts asked "Where is Thanksgiving?" Another even wondered, "What's a turkey gotta do to get some attention?"

Listen, I am one of the most festive people you will meet. I love to decorate and celebrate just about every holiday and Christmas is the epitome of pomp and circumstance in my world. But somewhere in this sea of commercialism is a lesson that I hope we all get.

It's not only November 1st, the start of a new month, it's also the month we kick-off the biggest holiday season of the year. Thanksgiving is no longer sacred given that Black Friday now begins on Thursday. I can't remember how many turkey dinners we had to post-pone until my dad's restaurant work shift was finished. I'm not going to turn this into an anthem to fight commercialism and stay home on Thanksgiving. However, I am hoping to share my declaration of "thanks" throughout this month as we anticipate the holiday that seems to be forgotten.

Let me explain something. My perspective has changed. Too many times I've experienced pain or loss or the disappointment of what I had hoped and planned. And too many times despite what has happened, I've witnessed an Almighty God work His Sovereign plan in my life. More than that, even when what I wanted wasn't what I got, I've seen God provide comfort, grace, peace, love and mercy for whatever I've faced. So I'm declaring the right to give thanks. I'm claiming a reason to celebrate. I'm giving God the glory - for everything - and making November a time to remember. At least for me. 

My hope is that this month I can give Him the praise and honor He is due but learn all over again how to give thanks in ALL things. Give thanks unto The Lord. Enter His courts with Thanksgiving. 

Today I give thanks for a new month, a new day. Happy November

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

OK. Not Okay

#7 on the list I shared the other day...It's okay not to be okay. 

I guess I should heed my own advice. Understand something. If you know me at all you know that I don't go into anything half-heartedly. So going back to "normal" (whatever that is) would also be full throttle for me. Or so I had hoped. The thing is if I lead everyone to believe I'm okay then they will treat me that way. I didn't want everyone to be afraid of me. I didn't want to - once again - disappoint. 

But honestly - who am I trying not to disappoint anyway?! Because the only three people who matter right now are God, my husband and my son. Oh, and me. I'm just being honest - I had convinced myself everything was fine. And most days (moments?) it is. I am. But not every moment. Not every time. Not every day. 

I went back to work and did it with joy in my heart. I had spent some exceptional time in the Presence of The Lord, completely basking in His glory, relishing His Spirit and claiming the power He promises is mine. I felt it down to the marrow of my soul. I went through the day with that supernatural empowerment only to receive a phone call on my way home. It was the hospital calling to follow up after surgery and to also invite our family to a Walk to Remember where we can have Baby Wright's name called out and plant a tulip bulb in our baby's honor. Yep, you better believe I lost it. But it's okay that I did! In fact, it's healthy that I did. Whatever others may think or feel (or not feel) this is a death for us. There is grief and as I very well know, grief comes with stages. For a goal-oriented person like me, reaching the next "stage" in the grief process, doesn't mean I've earned my badge. It doesn't work that way. This is a process that rides much like a roller coaster. Just when you think you've reached a plateau, you find yourself climbing only to drop and twist and turn again. 

Yesterday a nurse and mother and someone who has experienced miscarriage shared her experience with me. She also shared the knowledge from her doctor to "treat this as if you've given birth - they tell you to take 6 weeks to allow your body to readjust. You may even experience postpartum depression." What?! I'm not depressed. Six weeks? Physically I feel okay after the surgery. At least I physically feel healed. And no, this isn't like having a baby at all because I am left with empty arms. But for real - six weeks?! Certainly I, Carrie, don't need that much time. You want to know what happens when you try to play God? Okay, what happens when I try to play God and take control of my circumstance? Inevitably He reminds me that He does not require or need my help and it is up to me to surrender fully to Him. Okay, God. Maybe I do need more time. Maybe I'm not healed. Maybe things are still out of whack. Maybe I am still experiencing unexplainable things - physically and emotionally - that I have to still work through. How many more times do I have to hear it to let it officially soak in - to give myself permission?

I'm relieving myself of the added pressure (put solely there by my own doing) and declaring that it's okay to not be okay. Thank you for the many who have understood this even when I stubbornly have not. Thank you for still checking on me. Thank you for giving me the freedom to not be "me" all the time. Thank you for not expecting anything more than a broken version of myself that is still in healing. Thank you for reminding me that it's okay to not be okay. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pregnancy Loss Awareness

Two days after surgery I received a message. Someone else was going through the exact same thing. She was scheduled for a D&C the following day after just learning she had lost her little one. A few days later while my body is starting to "feel" healed someone shared her tears as she mourned with us. More than three decades later the memories and emotions came flooding back to remind her of her own loss. 

As I've walked this journey I've found a commonality with so many women, so many I never even knew about, and have realized the truth in the statistic that one in four pregnancies end in a loss or miscarriage. I've read forums, scoured websites, poured over the stories of other women who have experienced the same grief and loss. Some have struggled to feel the ability to grieve over their pregnancy. Others have hesitated to even refer to the life as a baby. I understand there are so many different emotions that came and for most they come in waves. 

Our journey began three weeks ago with what we were told was a threatened miscarriage. From the very beginning they told me I couldn't do anything differently and nothing was my fault. The only thing I can now say is that I've had those moments of "what if..." What could I have done? I've also had those moments where everything is fine...then something hits me and everything is not fine. 

I'm writing this post, and a few others to come, as October 15th approaches. This isn't just for me and Baby Wright. This is for every baby lost. For every dream that died. For every plan that never came to be. This is for all the women who have reached out to me because they have felt what I feel. The thing I've learned is that no matter how much time has passed, they can still feel it. While it may not be as current, it's a feeling they can instantly and always go back to. 

October 15th is pregnancy & infant loss awareness day. Even if you haven't experienced a loss, you're reading this and becoming aware of the feelings that come for those of us who have. I don't think that anyone has said or done anything to make me feel adversely but I also know that everyone deals with this differently. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for taking the time to honor our babies. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rain Boots

Several months ago Elijah was given a pair of rain boots. Rain boots come in all styles but these are fashoined just like a fireman's boots. It may be one of the best hand-me-down presents he's ever received. Truthfully, I was afraid the boots were too big and thought he might not wear them, save for a rainy day. I would be more than proven wrong.

These boots have done more walking, more splashing, more climbing, more digging, more kicking and more dirt collecting than any other pair of shoes he's ever owned. I may not be exaggerating if I go as far as saying these boots may have in fact collected more wear and tear than all the shoes he's owned in the past 6 years. But for real...

One of the best discoveries of my little boot-wearer is the purpose they were acctually made for: rain. More importantly to a boy, puddles. I won't blame Peppa Pig for the splashing in mud puddles episode that provided added inspiration. Certainly this boy didn't need any help with the idea. Rain + rain boots + an active boy = jumping in every single puddle produced by rain and any other moisture.

The last few days have provided ample rain and accompanying puddles. My little boy didn't mind the rain. Not one bit. He put the boots on and headed out to play. 

Fast forward to a break in the downpour and I saw him outside but the boots were sitting on the porch. Clearly not on his feet. What to my wondering eyes would appear but his fairly new Nike tennis shoes bought intentionally, and solely, for school and outings. NOT MUD PUDDLES. Make no mistake, he was in fact jumping in the puddles with his tennis shoes. The boots were made for puddles - the tennis shoes were not. 

I admit I had one of those freak out mom moments, "What on earth are you thinking?" I could tell by the completely shocked and confused look on his face that he wasn't - he wasn't thinking at all. We had gotten home and he hopped out of the car and went straight to playing, never paying attention to the shoes on his feet, never realizing that he wasn't prepared for the puddles. Not only were his shoes a muddy mess but the inevitable splash had transferred to his pants and somehow even managed to travel all the way up to his shirt.

"I'm sorry mom," he said, hanging his head, "I just wanted to splash in the puddles because they're so much fun!" 

Here's the point. Rain will come. Puddles will happen. You can't control the weather. Every so often you may even choose to make the most of the situation and splash around. But if you're not suited up for the rain and the puddles, you'll find yourself in an inevitable mess. The other point is this: even though you may save your good shoes for a not-so-rainy day, you may just find that the splashing and puddle-jumping makes for a really good way to make the most of what you can't control. You may in fact realize, just like my outdoor-loving boy, that the rainboots are your favorite even if it's not a rainy day. After all, they make quite a fashion statement, don't you think?! 

(This picture is a representation of his own style, complete with PJ top, magnetic darts on his lampshade hat and the infamous fireman boots.)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Every Detail

The leaves are starting to change. The brilliance of the sun on a fall morning is blinding. I'm in my favorite chair. I've been here for three hours. Streams of sunlight are pouring through the window. I've had worship music playing for most of the time. I began with a heavy heart. The house was empty and quiet. I had a recurring moment of asking God why, why our baby. Then I found comfort in His word, peace in His presence, grace in His embrace. I've found so much encouragement in His written Word, so much peace in the words sung by artists pouring out their praises to a God who amazes me. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to sit still.

The beauty of this fall morning is surrounding me and I am overwhelmed by His goodness. I know I am not the only one processing grief, walking through tragedy, dealing with disappointment. So many are hurting. So many are searching for meaning. Too many are trying to make sense of things that just don't make sense. I can't imagine what you're going through. In my own grief I don't want to forget the needs around me. In fact it helps me remember that I am not alone - none of us are.

I need you to understand something. God holds every single circumstance we'll ever face. It doesn't necessarily remove the hurt and suffering but knowing that He is at work in all that comes our way allows everything, even the tragedy, to be filled with meaning. We may not gain a full understanding on earth but what we do gain is a clearer picture of Who He is and how He is at work in our lives.

Remember those turning leaves? Not a single one would change or fall if it were not orchestrated by the very Creator who spoke each one of them into existence. He gives life. He IS life! He knows the pain of death because He gave His very own Son over to death, the death I deserved. Yet He lives. Death was overcome and because of this we can look forward to spring. We can look forward to new life. We also look forward with hope and assurance to the eternity that is ours to claim when we accept His gift of salvation.

Here it is - the meaning of all of this. He gives us the ability to be SAVED from the pain, to be HEALED from disease, to be REDEEMED from this fallen world. The eternal promise of our salvation has been secured because of His death and life and while we may have to endure on earth, we have this hope to look forward to.

When I can't find understanding in my circumstance, I find meaning in His name that gives light to the darkness. When I can't seem to make sense of the uncertainty, I rest in His eternal promise.

The sun is still shining through the window. Outside it highlights the oranges and yellows that are now tinting the leaves. I find hope in the changing leaves because they serve as a reminder that He is watching over every detail of our lives.