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.
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” ~ John 11:33-36
You might recognize these words from the Gospel of John or maybe these verses get overshadowed by the verses that precede and follow. I know for a long time I didn’t think much of these words, until I needed them.
I don’t know that I ever really grieved the death of my mother. It’s a pain that lingers and fades and occasionally causes me to raise a fist at God in anger that my boys will never know her this side of Heaven. That she wasn’t there to talk me through my first pregnancy or childbirth when I thought I would need her the most. That I can’t call her when I have no clue what to do and need advise or just to chat about the day and the exciting things going on.
It’s easy to think God did this on purpose. It’s easy to think God doesn’t care or isn’t concerned with our pain and struggle when we are in the midst of hardship. Maybe yours isn’t the death of a loved one, maybe it’s a class at school. Maybe it’s a relationship gone wrong or a job that doesn’t fulfill your needs financially, professionally, or personally. It’s easy to lash out and get mad at God for not providing for us the way we would like.
Get mad at God. He can take it. He gave you your emotions and they are good. But while you are angry at Him for His silence think about why He might be silent.
Perhaps you’re not listening or not ready to hear what He has to say about the situation. Perhaps He is holding you or carrying the yoke alongside you. Perhaps He knows the beautiful outcome that awaits you on the other end, but also deeply understands the pain in this moment. Perhaps you are in the fire for your own purification.
Perhaps God is weeping, too.
We are going to suffer in this life. We just are. We live in a fallen world surrounded by sin and free will. Our God is good and faithful, and He is always there when we need Him. Sometimes He will act like a mighty wind and defeat our enemies for us. Sometimes He will be a good Father and know that He shouldn’t. God knows when to act and when to be silent and when He is there is always love in the silence.
Patriot Day. Did you know that today has been celebrated as such since 2002, on the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001? Did you realize it’s been sixteen years?!
I remember this day so vividly. I was a junior in high school, heading from my Pre-AP Physics fifth period class to my APAl US History class. My friend, Kristen, met me to walk together to class and said, with an almost chuckle, “An airplane hit one of the buildings in New York.”
I was still trying to process her statement when I walked into the classroom. The TV was on, displaying billowing smoke from one of the towers and a plane sticking out of it. Our eyes were glued to the screen. Just as the bell rang, we watched is disbelief as the second plane crashed into the second tower.
The classes were 90 minutes long. This one will always stick out in my mind as the longest class. We opened our textbooks, attempting to determine why today, not realizing the significance of 911. Then we kept hearing about Dulles Airport on the news, but we heard Dallas and began to freak out in that teenage way, because many of our families were employed at DFW International Airport.
We were learning about the American Revolution, and our teacher silently typed an outline, printed them, turned them into transparencies, and asked that we copy them down. It was surreal.
In 2007, I became a teacher. At that time, my students still remembered the day. We had excellent conversations and created a mural on the board as a memorial; something I continued to do until 2011, on the 10th anniversary, when I taught fifth grade social studies.
At that point, the students no longer remembered it, and many weren’t yet born.
As a Parent
Little Miss loves museums. One that we frequent had a piece of one tower on display and she stared at it, eyes aghast at the thought that it once looked like a normal piece of building steel. I should say that I now work in the steel industry, so she is aware of what beams and columns are meant to look like. Immediately, Superman and I were inundated with questions about the day. I recounted my memories, as above.
Superman said, instead, “You know, honey, I actually went on a date that night.” Little Miss asked if he was scared. He replied, “Not really. I mean, it was horrible and tragic, don’t get me wrong, but I know that God is in control of this world, so there was no sense in being fearful.”
Out of the mouth of my wise husband, ladies and gents.
He’s SO right.
I’ve been thinking lately about how I struggle to feel like I have everything under control.
It isn’t my world to control.
Yesterday in the homily, Fr. Eugene spoke of natural disasters and how it is our practical Christian life to reach out and help these evacuees. He also added, however, that we cannot live in fear of it happening to us as well. He said, “Don’t worry about it. Just make sure that you’re with Jesus and living the life you’re called to as a Christian.”
Amen to that!
So are you worried? Anxious? Already freaking out about the holidays?
Listen to Fr. Eugene.
Don’t worry about it. Just make sure that you’re with Jesus and living the life you’re called to as a Christian.
P.S. We’d love to hear your memories on this day, as well as your tips for weaning control from yourself and living the Christian life.
I would love to approach summer similarly to Rachel, but I am a working mom with a working husband and a child out of school. We have two summer birthdays in our family, a family reunion, and a list of things to accomplish before the school year, so…we do it a little differently.
We’re a bit busy. It isn’t the frenetic pace of the school year with a ton of commitments, but my work schedule is a little different in the summer and we don’t end to travel, so it is its own brand of busy.
Sometimes 5:00 comes and catches me unaware. Other times the days and weeks seem to stretch in the way that only a summer day can. So how do I find time to pray in this season of relaxed busyness?
Prayer is a conversation between myself and my God. The Creator, the Redeemer, the Father, the Paraclete. I can’t sacrifice this part of my relationship. I may not always have time for a marathon gab-session with God, but a little chat to check in works really well to keep those communication lines open, too.
Here are 5 quick prayers I turn to for busy days…well…four quick prayers and a fun prayer suggestion.
It’s Memorial Day, so we are taking a break to enjoy the three-day weekend with our family.
But that’s not what today is about.
Today, while being with our family, we remember those who have served and passed on, those who have fallen in battle, and those separated from families by being stationed in foreign lands, in our prayers. It is to them we owe our freedom.
Please join us in praying for the families of those who have have fallen today while we spend time with our own.
Kristi, Rachel, and Bridgette