Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Firefly

I have been a part of an on-line Mommy forum site since I was pregnant with June Bug. She has been June Bug on there since she was born in June.

When I found out I was pregnant with Mikayla, I started referring to her on the forums as Firefly. It went well with June Bug. I didn't know if the baby was a boy or girl, but an August due date reminds me of summer nights as a child catching fireflies in a mason jar with holes poked in the lid, enjoying their flashes of brilliance from the front porch swing with siblings and cousins, always at the end of the night to take of the lid and watch them all fly off in a frenzy of flashes.

Tonight I Googled fireflies. I have been contemplating trying to paint something with fireflies and/or get some kind of jewelry featuring fireflies to honor Mikayla.

What I found is that while there are many options for butterflies and dragonflies, fireflies are sorely under-represented in the jewelry department. I guess the reason is that during the day, fireflies are actually quite boring. Black wings, with some brown and a tiny bit of red for accents. They are dark and somber. It is only when the sun goes down and the darkness comes that these ugly bugs show off their true beauty.

This is the first time I have though of it that way, but stillbirth is something like a firefly. When you meet it and inspect it, it looks ugly and dark. The grief of it overwhelms. But when I give in to the grief, let the sadness in and embrace it, I suddenly begin to see little glimmers of light. Little flashes of hope and joy that stand out all the brighter for the inky blackness around them.

I can try to catch those bugs in a mason jar and hold them tight, but at the end of the night I know I have to let them go to truly enjoy the splendor of them. I held Mikayla for a short time in my womb, but it is only since she has flown away to heaven that I have come to see more clearly the deepness of God's love and mercy and His majestic light in the midst of darkness in my soul.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


They say the number 13 is bad luck. I have never really been superstitious about numbers, but boy do I hate the number 13 today.

April 13th, 2014 will be a date that will be seared on my brain for as long as I live. And now today, July 13th, marks 3 months, and exactly 13 weeks since that day my world was turned up-side down and I had to say good-bye to a daughter before ever getting the chance to say hello.

13 weeks. 13 Sundays re-living the horror as I inevitably wake up early morning, around 5 or 6, the time I gave birth 13 weeks ago (why do I never wake up on other nights?). Tomorrow will be the 13th Monday, when I should be adding another week to my pregnancy count (it would be 35) but instead look down at my empty belly with an ache inside instead of a child.

But I am glad I woke up this morning in time for church. I'm glad I forced myself to go through getting ready, putting on clothes, eating breakfast even though I didn't feel like doing anything but throwing the covers back over my head and shutting the world out for a day.

This morning the pastor preached on Revelation 1. He focused on the love of God, and the encouragement that John was sending to the people in the churches who were experiencing trials and persecution. He also focused on the phrase, "who is and was, and is to come." He spoke that John put "is" first in order to encourage us that God is not just the God of the past or the God of the future, but He is God right here and right now, present with us at this very moment.

As he summed up the sermon this morning, I felt like he was speaking directly to me when He said, "Whatever  pain and trials you are facing, always remember that God's love is greater than our pain."

I still hate 13. It's still a hard day. But I am comforted remembering as one of the songs we sang this morning said, "He has hidden my life in the depths of His love, and covered me there with His hand." So I spend my 13th Sunday, July 13th, not huddled alone in bed under the bedspread, but lovingly tucked into the love of God, covered by His loving hand.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Belong


Where do I belong? I feel like my life has been one long struggle to find belonging. 

As I said in my post 10 things about me, I have changed addresses on average once per year of life (a few were longer than a year, but 3.5 is my record, and many have been less than a year). My childhood was a pattern of moving somewhere new, getting to know people, finally making friends, and then after a short time of actually having friends, it was time to go somewhere new. I am what they call a third-culture kid (TCK). Part one thing and part another and really not fitting or belonging anywhere in particular.  

After a while I got so tired and scared of saying good-bye that I stopped letting anyone in beyond hello. I put up my walls and closed off my heart and kept everyone at arm's length.

But no one can live like that. Not for long. It makes for a lonely and sad existence. So I found my courage; courage to let people in. Courage to build relationships even if I knew they would sooner or later be rooted up and tossed aside. Courage to love, even if it meant having my heart broken.

And I discovered something. The only lasting relationships I have ever had with other human beings all have something in common. The only truly meaningful relationships are those that have pointed me closer to my savior. The only lasting friendships are the ones with brothers and sisters in Christ. They are the ones I can count on to be there for anything whenever I need them. 

I figured out where I belong; where my home is. I belong with my savior. My home is the kingdom of heaven. I don't fit in anywhere on this earth because I will only truly fit in when I get to my eternal home. All relationships on this earth will pass away, except those with other citizens of the heavenly kingdom. It is investing in those relationships --  first with Christ and then with other Christians -- that makes this life meaningful and gives us that sense of belonging.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

10 Things About Me - Grief Aside

Joining in the linky from http://stillstandingmag.com/2014/07/10-things-grief-aside-link/ tonight to remember that our grief does not define us.

10 things about me:

1. What are you reading right now? I have always been a voracious reader, and as a child often had 3-4 stories going at once. For a few years there I wasn't reading very much anymore except online, but now that I have a Kindle (and found Bookbub) I find myself in the middle of several books at once again :). Currently reading A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada, Apron Strings by Mary Morony, and just started The Stolen Kingdom by Ross Rosenfield. 
2. Hobbies? Other than reading, I enjoy scrap-booking, card-making, sewing, pretty much anything craftsy
3. What is your favorite food? Ice Cream. Yes, I am serious. No, I won't choose a grown-up food.
4.What have you been procrastinating on? Oh my, what a question! What am I NOT procrastinating on? I guess the biggest right now would be cleaning out my closet that desperately needs it. 
5. What is your perfect idea of a night out? Pizza and lemonade eaten on a blanket on the beach watching the sunset, followed by ice cream and a snuggle in a hammock.
6.  What is your perfect idea of a night in? Curled up in a big comfy chair with a great book and good cup of coffee reading until 3am (after which I get to sleep in until 11) while the husband takes care of June Bug and all the housework. A girl can dream, right?
7. Any bad habits? See #4. Also, I spend too much time on the internet. 
8. What is your favorite color? My favorite colors are green and blue. Blue like a summer sky, and deep dark green like Christmas trees.
9. What is a strange fact about you? If I total up all the houses/apartments/trailers/etc. I have lived in and divide it by my age, it would be less than one. My record for keeping one dwelling place is 3.5 years. 
10. What are you passionate about? This is an easy one, and hopefully it has shown already on my blog. I am passionate about Jesus, and the hope and love that He has poured out into my life, and I am passionately pursuing more bravery to share Him more readily with others.
My hope is that my grief will not define me, but that I can say as Paul says, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Still Standing in Memory of Mikayla Sophie, born still April 13, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Exhale

Five Minute Friday


I feel like I am holding my breathe. Like I have been holding my breathe for 3 months now. Holding my breathe and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My baby died. After all the prayers and longing and begging, God decided it was better to take her from us. I'm holding my breathe waiting to see what else he'll take.

He took my job, but then I found a new (better) one, but I still feel like I'm waiting to find out something went wrong with the paperwork and the offer will be taken off the table.

My husband and I have (mostly) worked through our issues and stopped fighting and blaming one another, but I feel like I am walking around holding my breathe scared to say or do the wrong thing that will be the straw that breaks the camel's back and he will be gone.

The money that we have to pay to not get to take home our daughter is ridiculous, but we got a good payment plan and insurance covered their bit, but I'm waiting to find out we owe more than I thought, or insurance decided not to pay.

I worry. I worry a lot. I worry because I realize now that life can't and won't be easy and things can't and won't always go the way I want them to. Even the enormous things (so why should I think the little ones will?).

But then I realize I can't hold my breathe forever. I have to exhale sometime. So I breathe out all the worries and anxieties and stress, and breathe in pure grace, mercy, and love. I breathe out all my fears to my savior, and breathe in peace that passes understanding. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. I need to stop banging my head against the wall and just fall down on my knees.

And just breathe.