This week will feature a series of posts from Rachel on her losses in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
I remember the day that I lost Frances. It was very still. When I woke up that morning I knew something was going to happen. The worry seemed to overcome me, I was asking everyone for prayers and trying to discern what to do. Now, looking back, the whole day’s gray to me.
My craving for a Steak N’ Shake Frisco Melt and chili cheese fries was really strong. It seemed my body was in constant pain and that was all I wanted to eat. After discerning, I decided to wait until The Scientist got home to go into the hospital. The pain seemed to be coming in waves; little did I know I was in labor.
When I got to the hospital, I made sure to keep in contact with my mom and Kristi, keeping them updated so they could update everyone else. Frances was born. She was beautiful and looked exactly like me, freckles and all.
My heart still aches for all of my children.
That day I was filled with anxiety and today I realized that my faith at that moment wasn’t strong. I was trying to control the situation.
Emotions, in my experience, are intense and they suck.
When I got home, I was filled with emotions of failure, guilt, anger, sadness, happiness, and the feeling of being judged. Lots of unhelpful advice came regarding waiting, not trying again, adopting, and just being content with it being me and my husband. These emotions and advice lead my thoughts away from the path they were on.
Sometimes people don’t really understand that words, and sometimes actions, can help a person think a certain way. Emotions are tough because they are charged by the moment.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it.” Jeremiah 17:9
Hearts can be deceived, and my heart was definitely being led astray. And it was hurt. In my mind, I know that everyone who said and did judgmental, inappropriate, hurtful things to me; they didn’t intentionally mean to hurt my heart.
The truth is your heart after losing a child is going to be sad, sensitive, and it will not be true.
How does one heal and lead their heart and emotions back to the truth?
For me, the first thing I had to do was to give up all of my anxiety, hurt feelings, feelings of guilt, sadness, and anger to God. I sat and prayed and then I kept on repeating this process until I felt lighter. When God is in control of your mind and your mouth, it seems that your heart will follow. God showed me in his time and wisdom what he has planned for me every step of the way.
Through all of these traumatic situations, I have come to rely on God more. He showed me through my pain that my vocation is important to my own household.
Another thing I have learned is patience; with people and myself.
Learning to control my own thoughts and words has really strengthened my relationships.
The only advice I can give is to pray and to wait in the stillness for God’s answers. He will always provide and he will always answer.
I love the song “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe. It came out when I was in high school and I knew it first as a Christian song, then a phenomenon that even the popular radio stations were playing. It played everywhere. For months.
Haven’t heard the song? Take a listen really quickly and then come right back.
Its lyrics hit home for a lot of people, and I have always loved the honesty of asking the questions of what it will be like in Heaven. I never imagined (see what I did there?) that the story behind it was so powerfully moving.
I was placed on a list for Christian movie previews a few years back (I’m not sure how, but I love it!) and have attended some pretty great Christian movies. I’ve also watched several cheesy ones on Netflix and through Redbox. Usually, I convince Superman to watch with me, and he does so, expecting cheese, bad acting, and a contrived plot.
Not so with this film.
“I Can Only Imagine” is a true story, featuring real characters in real situations. It’s the story of a boy whose father is abusive. A young adult whose path is sure, but filled with the debris of his past. It’s the story of two men, experiencing the redemptive power of God’s love.
The characters have moments that made the packed preview audience laugh, audibly gasp, and cry. The emotions displayed on the screen are emotions we’ve all felt.
Now to the part my husband usually dislikes most: the acting. Simply put, it was stellar. Broadway’s J. Michael Finley stars as Bart Millard and the man is a vocal powerhouse. He’s funny, relatable, and (dare I say?) a bit quirky. His Bart is raised by Dennis Quaid’s Arthur. Dennis Quaid is a fine actor and this film proves no exception. Other players are Trace Adkins, Cloris Leachman, and Madeline Carroll.
You have a while before “I Can Only Imagine” comes out (March 16, 2018), but please do yourself a favor and go see it. As Christians, it’s a story that we all need to be reminded of what Jesus can do. As Catholics, the timing of the release of this redemption film, during Lent, is ideal.
It’s early now, but as we approach the release date, we’ll be rerunning this post. It really is such a good film; better than I had imagined. I hope you’ll check it out! In the meantime, head over to the movie website and explore. In the comments, we’d love to know what you think about the song, as well.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:10
Who am I?
It’s a question we sometimes ask ourselves. It can be a reflective question, help us spur up some motivation to adjust our priorities, or sometimes we ask and have no answer.
As I’ve travelled through my vocation as wife and mother I’ve often been left unsure of the answer. I’d previously been very comfortable in who I was, but cleaving to my husband gave me new responsibilities and direction. Having children really turned things upside down. I no longer had time or energy for the things I used to do that made me ME. The important, mundane, exhausting, and subliminally rewarding tasks of motherhood consumed me and I no longer recognized myself in the mirror.
Through all of these changes and my identity crises God was constantly bestowing His graces, strengthening me in my weakness and giving me the courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Every time I’d ask Him this question, “Who am I?” there were always two answers – the most important being His beloved daughter.
Wherever you are on your journey, whether you are sure of who you are and where you are going or you feel aimless and completely lost in the darkness, rest in the knowledge that you are who you are by the grace of God. He loved you into being and delights in you. His grace is sufficient and is not bestowed in vain. You are a beloved child of God. That is who you are.
It’s October 4! That means that today we celebrate St. Francis of Assisi! A man who cast aside all his wealth (and garments, too!…read the story if you’re unfamiliar) to build a religious, Gospel-driven life, restore the church, and be Jesus to the least in his day: lepers. Known as the patron saint of animals, many parishes offer a pet blessing today. St. Francis, pray for us!
I think, though, that the true legacy of St. Francis should not be in his treatment of and love for animals; nor, even, should it be in his famous “make me a channel of your peace” prayer or his Canticle of the Sun. It should be, especially in this month and in this culture, his upholding of a human’s inherent right to life with dignity.
For those of you who are unaware, lepers were highly contagious, almost certainly a death sentence, and made to live as outsiders and sub-humans in the culture of the time. Francis bathed them, fed them, clothed them, and gave them something no one else would: a few moments of his time.
Many saints have been Franciscan, and it is this St. Francis from whom our pope chose his moniker. Several orders have also been founded under the patronage of St. Francis, and why not? He’s quite an inspiration.
We recently stumbled across the Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen in the United States through the blogosphere. They continue St. Francis’s legacy of treating humans…as humans, and provide many resources on their website through videos, prayers, retreats, and a blog.
I think that, sometimes, we see sisters as out-of-reach and unrelatable to those of us in the marriage-wife-and-motherhood vocation. We’re wrong to think that. Just look at this blog post from the sisters entitled “No Time for Baking?'” and you’ll see that they have so much in common with us!
I humbly submit to you, on this feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, to go read some of their blog posts, check out their website, and consider donating to their mission. It is, after all, Respect Life Month, and helping them in their mission will help us all be the hands and feet of Christ.
Happy feast day to all of our guardian angels (and happy October)! Miss daily Mass, don’t own a Magnificat, and want to see today’s readings? Check them out here on the USCCB website! We know, we know…the featured image for this post features Christmas angels (and ornaments!) and it’s still ordinary time over here, BUT two things: first, our guardian angels are with us during Christmas and secondly, those are from my mom’s mantle at Christmas and I just love her house then. A preview of an upcoming post, perhaps? We shall see!
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 336: “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. ‘Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.’ Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.” You can read more about the angels in the catechism online here. How cool is it to know that we have an angel as a protector and shepherd for us from conception to death? Dearest guardian angel, pray for me.
This reminds me that I’m never alone and that God is providing for me ALWAYS, from the time I was in my mother’s womb until I return to him. I mean, we know that he gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us as well, so we’re never truly alone, but this brings me to a greater point that I heard in our deacon’s homily yesterday: God gives us second (and third…and seventh…and fiftieth…) chances.
God wants us to seek him, but he’s constantly seeking us, too.
Does it matter if I let my plate get too full and skimp on the prayers? Welllll…yes, for my spiritual health, it does. But it isn’t a deal breaker for God. He wants us to get back on the proverbial horse when we fall and pick back up where we left off. Like Bridgette mentioned last week, God can take that which we can’t, and he’s always there for us with open arms.