I am so ready for spring it’s not even funny. I don’t know why, but I’m sick of winter and we haven’t even had a particularly hard one at that. It’s supposed to be in the 60s here on Wednesday and I can’t tell you how excited I am , even though it’s going to be very windy. I’m hoping to be able to run outside instead of on the dreadmill. (I feel like a hamster on that thing).

I wonder some, if my desire for spring is because I’ve been in  a funk since Knox was born. I’m eager for more sunshine and the “fresh start” that spring brings. I’m anxious to start planting our garden and watch things grow. I’m ready to see bits of green on the trees and ground rather than brown and dull.

There is something about watching things around me come to life again after a long cold winter. To hear the birds singing and see the little plants poking through the ground. There is always that day when you look around and suddenly realize how green everything has become. And then there’s the first time you smell that someone has cut their grass. Unfortunately here in PW, there isn’t much grass to be cut.

I think it’s the optimistic freshness of spring that I want more than anything these days. The HOPE of something new on the horizon, the HOPE of something better, of something yet to come.

Most of the time pruning is done in winter, just before new growth begins. One of the reasons for this is because the “wound” on the tree is exposed for a shorter period of time before the new growth emerges. It seems like it’s that way with God sometimes. He prunes us just before we start growing. And He prunes those He loves. Pruning is a way to care for a tree; it prevents disease, damage, it promotes health and most importantly we prune so that trees will bear more fruit. 

John 15: 1-3
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

God uses our trials and our winters to prune us, so that we can bear fruit. Sometimes that’s so we can bear the fruits of the spirit or the fruits of leading others to know Him.

I am so thankful that God gives us a time of renewal after a trial. That we have the opportunity to bear fruit again after being dormant. I’m thankful that He puts people in our paths to help guide us through that difficult and long winter.

I am ready for spring, I am ready for the hope that comes tomorrow.


It caught me this week. It snuck up on me when I thought I was doing okay. 

Last weekend marked 2 months since Knox was born. I thought I was doing okay, but I have been really angry this last week. I mean really angry. And I’m not an angry person. I’ve been angry at God for taking Knox from our family. I have been angry about women who are complaining how uncomfortable they are in their pregnancies. I have been angry at people asking for my time. My internal dialogue has not been nice or kind. Thankfully my “filter” has been engaged most of the time and the comments running through my head stay there and don’t spew angry stuff all over those around me.

I know that anger is a normal part of the grief process, but to be honest I thought I’d moved through it and it was over. I would rather be a crying mess part of the time than be an angry person. So in an effort to get some of this whole anger stuff out I’m going to share some of the things I was thinking this week.

I broke down in hot tears several times this week while I was driving to school or coming home. I would be praying to God about whatever was on my heart and it would just come bubbling up from out of nowhere. I would just let Him have it. I am angry that we had to go through this. I am angry that our family lost a child that was so wanted, desired and prayed for. I don’t understand. I know God doesn’t have to tell me and I trust that there is a purpose for our loss, but I don’t get it now and that makes me angry. I feel robbed.

I struggle with feelings like God “owes me one” because He took our son. In fact, there was one point this week as I was driving that I remember shaking my finger and saying “You owe me God.” Pretty irreverent, and totally not my call. God doesn’t owe me anything. He sent His son to die on the cross for my sins. His sinless perfect son suffered so that I could spend eternity with Him. He doesn’t own me anything…He’s already given me the best gift there is. But…it’s hard not to feel that way in my flesh.

But you know…because we’ve decided to let God plan our family it is up to Him whether we’re blessed with more children or not. As much as I don’t want to end on a failure (and it does feel like a failure), it’s not up to me. Part of trusting Him means we’re okay with it even if He doesn’t add to our family. To be honest, I’m not at that point yet. I don’t want to be done being pregnant. I don’t like the thought that my first home birth could also be my last. I’m not okay with that. I’m still learning and “discussing” this issue with God. I know it’s not my call, but I’m praying for peace.

I’ve been angry pregnant women. Something I thought would never happen. I love pregnant women. I’m angry that they get to have their pregnancies (and eventually their babies) and I don’t. I have been really irritated lately when I see or hear a pregnant woman complain about how “uncomfortable” she is or how bad it sucks to be sick. I would give anything to feel those things rather than the black hole in the middle of my chest. I really just want to grab them by their shoulders and say “Just be THANKFUL! Cherish it…You don’t know how special it is.” I get it though. I don’t blame them, it’s not their fault, but I have a different perspective. My view is jaded now.

My prayer has been this last week for God to take the anger away. And it’s still here. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s something that I just have to work through or if it’s to teach me another lesson (I’m guessing it’s this one). I have made the deliberate choice this last week to not let my anger affect how I treat those around me. I have prayed everyday, sometimes before I speak every sentence, for God to give me kind and compassionate words for those around me. To not let it spill over into how I interact with my children, my husband, my friends and my students. He has answered my prayer. For that I am thankful.

I have resolved to not let my anger consume me. I’m not denying that I feel it, but it will not be the only thing I feel. I have been reminded in Proverbs 16: 32 “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” 

I pray that I will be restored emotionally. That I will be able to rest in Him. That the anger will go away and be replaced with the kind of peace that only God gives. I trust that God will do that for me because He loves me. I pray that one day He will bless us with another baby. That I will be able to deeply inhale the smell of my newborn child and that we will rejoice in the blessing of watching our boys welcome a sibling. But I also pray that if that isn’t His will that He will give me peace and will heal my heart. I trust that will all come in His timing. 

In the mean time though, I am praying that the anger that rages inside me will be replaced with peace and understanding. I will look at things from a different perspective. I will remember to cherish the blessings I already have. That I won’t be so anxious to look for the next one, that I forget about the ones I have right in front of me. 

Ecclesiastes 11:10

So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.

2 months

Two months ago tomorrow (Feb 3) was the day Knox was born. In many ways it seems so far away, but like it happened yesterday. It seems like we’ve had such a busy 2 months but also that time is moving slowly.

Most days are “good” days, but I think of him every day. Most nights I sleep through the night without waking up reaching for him. Most days I don’t cry out in grief to God. Most days are fairly normal…most days.

I am teaching OB this semester, I think of him often and where I would be in my pregnancy while I’m preparing my lectures. I was illustrating a point today to my students while pointing to my belly. In my mind I was thinking “this would make so much more sense if I were pregnant” and then I thought “I would be if Knox hadn’t died”. It caught me off guard in a way. I can’t talk to the students about miscarriage or pregnancy loss without stuttering or having pause. It always creates such an awkward moment.

I’ve paused more lately when someone asks me how many children I have. I thought for awhile I’d be okay saying 4, but now it seems weird to me. I always have to think a little bit about how to answer, like I’m counting in my head. Do I say 4 or 5? Does the person asking really want to know? How am I going to explain it? If I say 4, I feel a bit guilty later, like I’m leaving him out or like he wasn’t ever really part of the family. But if I say 5, there is always an uncomfortable moment for the other person and I feel badly that I shared. I’m not sure there is a right answer to the question “how many kids do you have?”…which seems weird for me to say. I mean I’m a mom, I should know how many children I have.

But which ones are enough to “count”. Do I count Knox because I gave birth to him and we got to hold him? Do I leave the other 2 children I lost in early pregnancy out (I lost a baby in October of 2003 and November of 2009)? Were they any less my children than the others I’ve had? It gets messy…and touchy for those around me. They’re uncomfortable. It would be different if I were talking about the death of a grandparent, but the loss of a child is a completely different beast. It touches a raw nerve, it hits a different part of the heart…it punches you in the gut.

I think the one of the difficult parts of losing a baby is dealing with everyone else. I don’t blame them. I mean what do you say? You can’t say “well at least they had a fulfilling life” or “What a legacy they left”. I had a stranger comment a couple weeks ago…”Oh! You have 4 boys! Are you hoping the next one is a girl?” In all honesty…I was thinking “No, I just hope the next one is born alive.” But thankfully my *filter* kicked in and I just said “Nope, we’ll take whatever we can get…besides you can’t order them anyway.”

I’m thankful though, in a way. I’m thankful that God has used this experience to grow me. He has taught me more reliance on Him and less on me. He has brought me a peace. Initially I was incredibly fearful that I wouldn’t be able to have more children or there would be lasting consequences of the D&C I had after Knox was born. But God has brought me peace to replace the anxiety. I desire more children most definitely, but I’m not worried, I’m not anxious…I’m content. I pray daily for the blessing of other children, and I pray that they will be born at term and healthy. But I don’t worry if it will happen. God told me to trust Him and I do.

God tells me in Psalm 37:7 “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him:” I am resting.I am trusting. I am waiting.

God has been good to our family. God has blessed us beyond expectation. God heals us. I am thankful for His grace and His love. His timing is perfect. Even the timing of loss. 

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.