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.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hope is Not Lost

A week ago I wrote about hope. I didn't know what was happening or what was to come but with all of my heart I wanted to hold onto hope. From the depths of my soul I cried out to God to answer the way in which I hoped. He didn't. But I need you to understand that I haven't lost my hope. 

My hope is in The Lord. My expectation is from Him. My souls rests in Him. (Psalm 62:5)

Hope does not disappoint. In fact, it is the result of our trials producing perseverance and endurance. (Romans 5:3-5) God uses these times to show us Himself. It can be difficult to find Him when we feel He's not answering how we want. We can become angry or bitter when we don't get what we hope for. But when we allow supernatural faith to take over finite humanity, we find Him in all His sovereignty and we can find rest in His presence. This is where we find peace. This is where our faith is encouraged and our hope is renewed. 

Hope. "The desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment." Hope is the longing for something we expect to happen. Hope is deeply rooted in our trust of an Almighty Father knowing He has secured our eternity with Him. Hope is trusting, believing, depending, expecting and being strengthened by our desire for Him and all that He desires for us. Hope is recognizing His love never fails. Hope is knowing we live because He lives. Hope stays alive because He conquered death. And yes, even in death we can find hope. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Peace and Thanksgiving

Peace and thanksgiving. It seems a contradiction to think those two could walk hand-in-hand in the midst of sorrow and grief. You want me to be honest? You know I always am. I have had moments of anger, moments of flat out temper tantrums of wanting my way. MY WAY. God, this was NOT my way. This was NOT the desire of my heart. I waiver back and forth between accepting God's Sovereign plan and being so utterly broken that I cannot even fathom the good that could come out of this. Oh yes, I know. I KNOW ALL THESE THINGS IN MY HEAD. His promises are true. Though He causes grief, joy comes, eventually, in the morning. He comforts those who mourn. He is close to the brokenhearted. Yes, these things I know. I've recited them over and over in my grief. There are moments of solice when the words wash over me as a healing balm. There are also moments of such unbearable pain that it seems nothing could soothe.

Let My peace rule in your heart - and be thankful. I have called you to a life of peace and thankfulness. These two are closely related. The more grateful you are, the better able you are to receive My peace. Conversely, the more peaceful you are, the easier it is to be grateful. Your calmness helps you to think clearly and to recognize the many blessings I shower upon you.

Oh yes, Lord, I can see how these two work together but what I cannot see is how this grief will somehow work together for my good. Yes, I can stand back and see the abundance of blessings you pour into my life and I know I am not worthy of any of it. None of it have I earned and yet I would be willing to give it all back if You could take this cup from me, if You could have allowed this blessing to be mine. 

This calm thankfulness is independent of circumstances; it flows out of your confidence that I always do what is best - even when you cannot understand My ways. My peace can function as an umpire in your heart, settling the questions and doubts that rise up in your thoughts. 

I admit - this is the most difficult part. Do I trust You? Yes. Do I have faith in You? Of course. Do I trust You with even this? I must. It is all I can do. 

Whenever you start to feel anxioius, use those feelings as a reminder to communicate with Me. Talk with Me about whatever is disturbing you. Bring me all your requests with thanksgiving.

Father, You know what it is that troubles me. You know why my heart is broken. How can I be thankful for this? I am trying to move past the deep grief and look to You for all that is good, knowing full well that when You planned all the days for my life, you saw even this. It's so hard to say that I am thankful for this pain. What I know I can be thankful for is the life you gave us, even if just for a few short weeks. I am thankful for Your presence in the midst of pain. I am thankful for the many people who have gathered around us to comfort and encourage. There are things I can find to be thankful for but I admit it seems too much of a stretch to say I am grateful this has happened. 

You are Mine - intimately united with Me - I personally guard your heart and mind with My peace. Remember that this is supernatural peace, which surpasses all understanding.

It has to be, because my finite human mind can't comprehend. All I can do is hold onto You and in Your presence I find peace. For all that you've done for me, I will give thanks. For all I know You can do through even this, I will still choose to give thanks. You are good, even when the things we face are awful. You alone God. In You I find peace and can offer thanks.

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of The Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. Psalm 18:30

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Carry His Praises

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen me
To carry you

He chose me to carry you and I did. For almost 8 weeks I carried my baby. I heard your heart beat. I watched the flutter moving on the screen. So tiny, still forming, only budding in shape but never fully forming who you were meant to become. You never got to breathe life on earth but the love we grew for you was insurmountable in such a short amount of time. I know that God has a plan for you. Even now He is working out His plan for your little life. I can't fully understand His plan but I rest in knowing there is a greater story for you.

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness

But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says

I've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

Lord, truly You have shown me that no one loves my baby like You. This life I never got to know, You've planned every single one of the brief days that would never come to be this side of heaven. Now You are holding our baby, with more love and more compassion than these arms could ever dream of holding. This life we had dreamed of has come to meet You before we will. I cannot even begin to fathom the life now being lived in eternity. There are no more teary eyes in heaven, but Lord, the tears still fall from my eyes here on earth. 

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen Me
To carry you

It is the namesake of this blog. It is my heart's cry. To carry praise and glory to Your name. Oh but Lord, I need You. Right now I need You to carry me through this. I know this is one of those times in life when I cannot rely on my own strength. There is simply no strength to claim other than what You give. So Father, I'm calling on You to carry me. You saw fit to let me carry this child and now I know You will carry me through the sorrow as we grieve this life lost. I pray that You will receive the glory. Let us carry praises to You as we find You close to our broken hearts. Let the prayers of so many being offered up on our behalf be lifted to You as a chorus of the adoration You deserve. Lord, we cannot know why but we do know You. Even through tears, we carry our praise to You. We rejoice in this suffering because we know it will bring endurance. May our character bring us hope and may Your love be poured into our hearts.

Carry us, Lord. We carry our praises to You.