Why I still feel blessed — Children

I am blessed with 4 wonderful boys here on earth and 1 sonin Heaven. For that we are thankful.  Enough said right? It would be so easy forsomeone who talks as much as I do. J

Losing Knox has reminded us just how blessed we are, to experiencethe joy of children here on earth and also the anticipation of being reunited withones we never got to see grow up here on earth.
I think having our 4 boys has made grieving the death ofKnox easier. They have helped keep me from being swallowed by grief, but alsoin their childlike ways have helped me see the other side of losing a child,the hope that often follows such a difficult time. In explaining what happenedwith Knox to the boys we were also able to explain the hope that we find in God’spromises and why we can look forward to meeting Knox when we die. We have had theopportunity to talk about God’s promises for those who honor Him.
We have also talked about the hope of having more children. Zekehas been the hardest to explain the loss to. He and Otto had been praying for ababy (a sister specifically) since August. The boys were so excited about a newbaby and delighted to hear what their new sibling was doing in my womb, whatwas growing and developing, how big he was getting and what he might look like.Zeke would always pull out the measuring tape to see how big the baby wasgetting. When we talk about Knox now, Zeke shakes his head and says “baby…no…inHeaven” and we say “yes, the baby is in Heaven…won’t it be great when we get tosee him someday?” Zeke, then says “yeah…baby…another baby…” and points to mystomach. He prays daily for “another baby” when we pray at meal time or duringour Bible time. We always respond with “yes, if it’s God’s will we will haveanother baby.”
One of the things I have been reminded of is how preciousour wonderful children are, and how precious little time we have with them. Godhas numbered each of our days, we don’t know how much or how little time wehave with each other. He has numbered our days, even when those days end beforewe are born. .. and even if the Lord allows my children to grow to an old age,they are only in our house for a short period of time, and they are little foreven less time. I need to make sure that I’m spending my time wisely as amother.
I have been blessed by the smiles my children have given meeach day. Titus thinks everything is something to smile about, and it warms myheart every time I look at him and he gives me a cheesy grin. I have beenblessed by the prayers of Otto and Zeke, their prayers for healing for mommyand prayers for more children if it is God’s will. I have been blessed by thehugs from Gabe, he is a young man with few words about the events that havehappened, but he seems to know when I need a hug.
I have been blessed to be reminded to delight in my childrenmore and get frustrated less. I have been blessed to have a reason to get up inthe morning. My children don’t wait for breakfast, even on the days when Iwanted to stay and bed and mourn the loss of Knox.
I feel so blessed to have the children that I do. Knowingthe joy of watching a baby grow and learn is such an awesome joy. There aretimes that it has been bittersweet to think of all the things I’ll misswatching Knox do, but in the same breath I’m so very thankful that I’ve beenable to see those things in the children I have here with me on earth. I can’timagine the pain of a mother who loses child after child before they are bornand to never know the delight of holding her own baby. I am so very thankfulthat while I have known the pain of losing a baby, I have not known the pain ofan empty womb.
I feel so very blessed to have the opportunity to bereminded what a privilege it is to raise children. What an awesomeresponsibility it is to bring them up to love God and love others. It’s like Isee my children in a different light since this happened. Not that I didn’tcherish them before, but somehow it’s different. I am seeing my family in adifferent light, I am blessed to see them through the eyes I was intended tosee them through. Through the eyes of that God intended a mother to have. Forthat I am thankful. 

Why I still feel blessed…Friends

In the days that followed Knox’s birth, I was continually reminded of how blessed we are to have friends and family who love us so much. I’m going to be painfully honest here (not that I’m anything less any other time), but in the months prior to losing Knox, Kerry and I felt isolated. Me especially. I’ve never been one to have really close friends that weren’t family, but I was really feeling alone. I just don’t have many friends, especially friends my age.  I *knew* I had friends, but I wasn’t sure who I would call if something really bad were to happen or if something really great were to happen. But…

God has used this experience to remind me just how loved and supported we are. The large majority of our family lives in Kansas, and we were thankful some of them were able to come and care for us after we got home from the hospital. Family is so important. 

In church circles you often hear fellow church attendees referred to as your “church family”, but in some churches they don’t feel much like family. In our church though, our church family really feels like family. Our lives are inextricably woven together and we are so very blessed to have 2 “families” we are part of.

1 John 3: 17-18 says:
17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
Our friends and family didn’t just love us with their words, but also with their actions. Our church family provided meals for us this whole last week. It was such a blessing to take a little stress off and be able to focus on healing.

But even more than that, we knew we were being prayed for a daily basis. We were checked in on a regular basis to see how we were doing. And not just “can I bring you anything”, but asked us “how are you doing…and we really want to know”. I could be painfully honest with those who were around me. I could cry, question, yell and just sit with them. I was able to be me without being judged or afraid of my emotions. It is a freedom that many in churches (or families for that matter) don’t feel like they have.
They were the “friends” I wasn’t sure I had before this happened. I was reminded time and again that I am blessed with friends who love me, care for me and are there for me, all the time.

I have to say, our church isn’t huge, but our church is genuine and cares for everyone who walks through the doors whether it’s your first Sunday or your 100th. We are blessed.

In addition to our church friends and family, I have been reminded of how much I am cared for by my “online” friends. One can joke about whether online friends really count…but, for the most part, I would say they do. Some I have never met, but we are tied together by the births of our children years ago or other major life events. Some our lives intertwined years ago and some are new friendships. But I have had several friends email or call to say they’re praying for me or checking to see how I’m doing. Some of you have shared personal stories, scriptures or just provided encouragement. I have been blessed to know that our story has touched others and that others are helping share our grief.

I feel blessed to know that I have a support system that many of us rarely discover except in times of tragedy. I’m reminded that God often cares for us through the ministry of those around us. I am blessed with friends and family who care for me.

Out of the mud…into the sun

Have you ever had one of those moments when you went “this was so meant for me”?  I had one of those the other morning when doing our morning devotional with the boys. We were reading through the Proverb of the day and came across this passage:

Proverbs 22:24-25 (English Standard Version)

24Make no friendship with a man given to anger,
   nor go with a wrathful man,
25lest you learn his ways
   and entangle yourself in a snare.
Those 2 verses really spoke to me. They hit my right where it hurts in a sense. I have to confess sometimes I like to just stew in being angry. I feel justified to be mean, to be short with those around me and in general just be a big gray cloud over everyone’s head. When I start to get in a funk I like to surround myself with others who are also in a funk. We just sit in our funkiness and sulk.
I was in a funk a few weeks ago. The thing about sulking with others is that when you’re done and you leave them in the mud puddle alone and you hang out again…you realize just how toxic that attitude is. This is where I am. I am out of that rainy cloud and my friends aren’t. There are some of my friends that are never out of it…they are perpetually negative, grumpy and wronged in one way or another. I am seeing and feeling just how weighty that kind of friendship is.
I try to be positive and point out the good side of the situation, but this friend can always find a bit of gloom and dwells on that. She is a real true to life Eeyore.
What to do with Eeyore. What to do? What do I do with myself? I am so thankful that I have hope in Christ and the assurance that God is in control. He holds my future, He knows my heart and hurt. He cares. It is only by His grace that I am ever able to pull out of that funk that sometimes grabs and holds so very tight I wonder if I’ll ever see the sun again. But I do, and God always sees me through. I’ve noticed that when I’m on the other side of my funk I have done the most growing in my relationship with Him and with others.
Back to Eeyore. What do you do with a friend like that? I can find a thousand ways that eeyore can look at life differently, a thousand things to be thankful for and a thousand solutions, but it’s never the right one or one that is agreeable. I think my friend enjoys playing in the mud and being the rain cloud too much. When I’m around her my mood sinks, my outlook darkens and I feel rotten. I’ve seen that attitude spread to others. My Eeyore isn’t just negative and down about everything, but she’s angry. She always feel those around her are out to get her, she looks continuously for a fight or conflict with others. There is always some kind of turmoil and conflict, a reason she can’t work with someone, a reason she doesn’t like someone and a reason she is the victim. It’s tedious and tiring to be around her, but yet I feel the need to be her friend. I feel the need to try to “fix it”, to make it better, to make her happier. (I’m a fixer by nature, by the way). I’m Christopher Robin and she’s Eeyore.
These verses convicted me this last week about the time I spend in conversation with my own Eeyore, the time I spend sulking and participating in that whole “funk” process. I need to make a conscious decision not to be negative and not participate in “Eeyore” behavior. It also means to me that I have to be willing to stop conversation and get out of the mud puddle.