Some Days, Getting Out of Bed is Courageous

We walk past them every Sunday.  

Those people who almost didn’t come to church.  The ones who spent thirty minutes just talking themselves into getting out of bed.

And we never know.

Life is hard.  Suffering abounds.  

Since losing Dominic I have become ever more aware of how very many people are hurting. And how very many people are truly brave.  Every. single. day.

It’s one thing to act in an instant-when adrenaline rushes through your veins and pumps extraordinary strength to your muscles and grants clarity to your mind to gather all your nerve and power to jump in and DO SOMETHING.

It is quite another when, without aid of chemical courage, you wake each day to a long list of “to do” items knowing all the while you will be dragging the heavy weight of grief and sorrow everywhere you go.

Read the rest here:  Brave

 

Mother’s Day as a Bereaved Mother

In recent years I’ve noticed more awareness of how hard it can be for women who struggle with infertility to walk into church on Mother’s Day and I am glad.

Pews filled with other women’s children and bulletin announcements, public recognition of “oldest mother”, “youngest mother”, “mother with the most children” along with the obligatory sermon based on Proverbs 31 conspire in a litany of accusation against the barren womb.

Some of these women choose to stay home.  Others may be silently lifting a prayer for grace or may, like Hannah, be begging God for a child.

As a bereaved mother, this is a complicated holiday for me too.

I am so, so thankful for all my children.

I received each as a gift from God and treasure them in my heart.

Being a mother has been and continues to be the most demanding and most rewarding thing I have ever done or ever hope to do.

I used to look forward to Mother’s Day.

Not so much because it celebrated me as a mom, but because it was a moment to pause, reflect and remember how wonderful it is to be surrounded by my children.

But there’s no train from here to Heaven, no telephone line that can bridge the gap between where I am and where Dominic is.

I will never again be able to gather my children around our earthly table, see each of their faces, hug their necks.

So bear with me.

  • Let me be happy for the children I can see and sad for the one I can’t.
  • I might join in with singing, or I might just close my eyes and remember Sundays past when we were sitting in the same pew, together and strong.
  • If you see me rush out of the sanctuary at the end of service, please don’t stop me.  Let me go-I may have held back sobs during the closing prayer and need to escape and let them loose.

And if you think of me and other mothers who have buried children, pray for me and for them.

Pray that we finish strong, that we persevere and that we continue to cling to the One Who can carry us through the rest of our days with hope and courage.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.

Romans 15:13 AMP

 

 

 

Can I Quit Now?

Yesterday was one of those days-a mixed bag.  I enjoyed an unseasonably cool yet sunny day but sorrow was sighing in the blowing breeze.

I’ll be honest:

I want to quit.

I want to give up.

I’m tired of hauling the extra weight of grief while trying to do the everyday.

charlie brown too tired to cry

Every. single. thing. is harder and takes more effort than it used to.

I want a time-out!  

I’d take even two minutes of absolute unadulterated rest and joy.

I am stronger and more capable than I was, but today, this minute-I’m just plain tired.

I’m often teetering on the brink of despair and forced to throw out my arms in a desperate attempt to maintain my  balance.

Six months ago, in one of my first posts, I wrote:

One reason grief is so exhausting is that every step I take is on a balance beam of faith and hope.

I must navigate every necessary task without falling off.

Read the rest here:  Walking The Balance Beam

 

 

 

 

Love Doesn’t End

I know that others want desperately me to be “better”.  They want me to be happy and carefree and back to the Melanie they knew before child loss.

And not just for their sake, for mine too.  

It’s hard to watch someone you care about in pain.

But my reality has been forever changed.

It’s no more likely that I can revert to the person I was before Dominic left us than that I could revert to the person I was before I became a mother.

How many times have you heard, “Becoming a mother changed EVERYTHING”?

Holding my baby for the first time was truly love at first sight.  And that love never ends.

Losing my son did not end my love for him.

Great grief is the price I pay for great love.

I pay it willingly.

Watching the young mother with her infant, the older mama and her child at play in a park, the joy and pride of the even older woman as her son or daughter graduates high school, college or gets married–how could anyone think a mother’s grief could be small?

How can all the love and all the hopes and all the dreams of a mama’s heart be squeezed into days or weeks or months of tears and sorrow?

Read the rest here:

Love: The Reason I Grieve

 

God Uses Broken Things

It is a hard lesson to learn:  that my brokenness is more useful for God’s purposes than my strength.

When I feel strong, I’m like the Israelites who, being full of good things, forgot the One Who gave them.  I carry on, giving God a nod, but feeling quite capable of accomplishing things on my own.

Sure, it’s nice if He blesses me here and there-but the blessings are icing on a very thick cake.

I’ve got resources.

But when I’m broken, in the dust on my face, begging for the touch of His hand, pleading for His Presence, I am open to what He wants to say to me.

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
― C.S. Lewis

My brokenness allows the life and light of Christ to shine through the cracked veneer of self-assured independence.

It makes me useful in God’s Kingdom.

What I see as ruin, God views as the seed of victory:

Jar of Clay

 

 

 

Then and Now: Sacrifice of Praise

April 21, 2014

We bury Dom today-the day after Resurrection Sunday-we will place his mortal shell into the ground from whence he came.

But Father, I know that this is not the end.  I know that what makes Dominic, “Dominic” is not what I will bury.

He is alive and with You-he is stronger than he’s ever been, more full of life than he would possibly know on earth.

I know that You are sovereign and You are love.

At this moment, I don’t understand how losing Dom is a loving act of a loving Father but I must trust in Your character regardless of circumstances.

“I heard and my [whole inner self] trembled; my lips quivered at the sound. Rottenness enters into my bones and under me [down to my feet]; I tremble. I will wait quietly for the day of trouble and distress when there shall come up against [my] people him who is about to invade and oppress them.

Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls,

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!”

Habakkuk 3:16-18

May 3, 2016

I tremble still.

I often do not feel fruitful or particularly hopeful.

I wait for redemption and restoration.  

But my praise is not dependent upon my understanding of what God is doing.

My praise is a proclamation of Who God is.

So I declare with my mouth and speak truth to my heart:

Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless andaffectionately praise His name!

For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.

Psalm 100:3-5 AMPC

Then and Now: Open Hands, Open Heart

April 19, 2014

One week ago today my world was torn asunder, my eyes opened to the reality of what I said I believed-that any day, any moment, can be the last.  I was forced to face the test-second only to my own death should I have time to think before I die-of whether or not Scripture tells the truth or a tale:

Whether the loving God I claim to serve is for me or against me.

Whether this earthly existence is a path leading to the eternal life Christ promised or just a fleeting moment leading to eternal nothingness.

Will I define the rest of my days by what I have lost, always staring down the hole of emptiness left by Dominic’s breathing, vital absence or will I lift my eyes to the Eternal God and define my life by the very real connection I now have in Heaven?

Will I let grace, mercy and love fill me to overflowing and spill out into the lives of those around me or will I embrace bitterness and defeat and shrivel up so that my story dishonors the generous life Dominic lived?

By God’s grace, I choose love.

If my hands are open to the blessing, then they must be open to the pain.

If my heart is open to the memories and love, then it must be open to the grief and sorrow.

Oh LORD!  You have bruised me so that I will always be tender!

To walk with kindness and mercy and grace toward everyone-make that the legacy of my precious boy!

May 2, 2016

I continue to make the daily choice to hold out my empty hands to the God I serve.

Some days, it’s a greater challenge than others.

Sometimes I want to clinch my fists and cry, “No more!”

I would like to think that burying my son had filled up the quota of pain and hurt for a lifetime.  I want to believe that since I’ve been wounded so grievously, God would spare me further struggle.

But that’s not true.

Life goes on.  

I still face problems, I still face disappointment, I still face hardships and sorrow.

That is when I have to decide:  Will I close my heart and hands to the One Who can fill them with life and hope as well as grief and pain?

Where would I go?

I, like Peter, proclaim:

“Master, to whom would [I] go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. [I’ve] already committed [myself], confident that you are the Holy One of God.”

John 6:68 MSG