Thursday, April 29, 2010

 It will not be in vain...

I don't write about him that much anymore. When I first started my blog- preserving the memory of our son JD was a great motivator for it. And I had a deep need to write about him. Remember him. Make him known.

My needs are different now, but he is still very much a part of each moment of my life.

He's in my dreams more than anyone knows. He fills my heart in paces that are dear to me.

And the pain of his passing form our life will not be in vain.

It was one of my greatest fears in the early days after losing him. That everything we went through would lack purpose and seem pointless.

But I know that God doesn't waste pain. I know that he uses everything for his glory.

And Joshua is part of that.

I am amazed at the way that God has already used this experience. I could never have known how many hurting women would be in my life or whom my life would touch in some way.

It's already here. It's already happening. This multiplying of peace and being used by God because of what happened.

Some of you know that I have been working on writing a book dealing with our experiences of Joshua and Caleb's birth and Joshua's death.

Some days the book seems like a dream. I have briefly looked into what it takes to get published and I became intimidated. And yet, I feel a great pull to get this thing done. So I have been contemplating simply getting some printed and having them available to a few hospitals in the area to give out to women who are facing loss. I have already talked to the nurses in my birthing center about it and they are eager for the moment I finish.

I know the pain of loss.

I know the deep and unrelenting torture that goes on in a mommy's heart when she must say good bye to her baby.

I also know the beauty of hope. And it is this hope that drives my desire to get my experiences written down and in the hands of women who need to read it.

Will you pray with me as I pursue this desire?

Alot of what I have written actually comes straight from my journal. Here is an excerpt:

January 15, 2003

It was so cold. In the single digits outside. Even colder inside of me.

We stood at the tiny grave and for the first time a thought went through my mind that I didn’t know I was capable of thinking.

“I want to be with him. Don’t put dirt over him until I can climb in too. I don’t want this pain. Let me go with him!! Please don't make me stay here, living in this agony!”

The intensity of that desire took my breath away. I didn’t really want to go on. This charade of doing life was too exhausting, when the moment he died something died inside of me as well.

And then a vivid picture entered my mind. A tiny hand reaching out. A miniature little body. A boy who was lying in a small enclosed bed an hour away. Mine. My hope. And at that point, my reason to go on.

Every one had walked away from the graveside by then. It was far too cold to spend much time out there at all. Dave and I stood there and prayed, holding one another a few minutes longer.

I took a deep breath then, conjured up a mental picture of Caleb again, and walked away.

I had to see him. We went up to the hospital as soon as we had hugged and thanked the last person who had come to support us.

And there he was. Still looking very frail, but still fighting.

He has to live. He just has to. Do I dare hope? Should I pray? Would it do any good? 

The confusion that I had begun feeling spiritually continued to work its way into my life, causing me to feel further and further away from God. Some how I knew that it was me, not God causing this chasm, but in my grief and sometimes even anger, I pushed that knowledge aside and tricked myself into thinking that God had some how changed. That he didn’t really care. That he hadn’t heard, listened, or cared about the hours I had spent pleading with him for the life of my baby.

I started an almost manic search for why this had happened. I had to make sense of it. The questions tumbled into my mind in droves. They trampled most all other logical thoughts. I had to know.

Why had God granted my request for twins if he knew one would die?

If He is who He said He was, all knowing, all powerful God, then he could have stopped this. Why didn’t he?

Was there a greater purpose? What was it?

Was some one going to come to know him through it? Who? And wasn’t there a better way? A way that was not at my expense?

Where was He?

Why couldn’t I feel Him?

Why did I feel like I was drowning?

When would the suffering end?

Why was Caleb still so sick?

My quest for answers only multiplied the questions and the frustration resulting from that was tearing me apart inside. Slowly. Painfully.

A few weeks after Joshua’s funeral I sat in church singing mindlessly to a God whom I was learning to block out of my life.

My lips sang “At all times I will sing of your greatness. At all times I will sing of your love. At all times I will sing of your faithfulness. For your goodness remains and your love is the same at all times.”

Some thing broke deep with in me. Because although I was denying his nearness, He had not changed. He had not moved. It was I who had moved away from Him. And he was right there, speaking truth into my heart. As my lips sang the words my heart was yearning to once again have sweet fellowship with the one who created my inmost being and loved me beyond comprehension.

I collapsed into the pew sobbing. I gasped for breath. I couldn’t stay there. Not with that song playing and every one around me singing those horrible lyrics! It wasn’t true. He couldn’t be trusted and He wasn’t the same at all times. At least I couldn’t sing of His faithfulness at all times. I couldn’t right then.

I grabbed my purse and ran for the door. I went into the first room I got to; the pastor’s office. It wasn’t long before the pastor’s wife and my friend Rachel quietly came in and closed the door behind them.

They let me cry, and then they lovingly asked me what was going on.

I know my words sounded bitter. I also know I wasn’t judged in that moment.

“I can’t sing…that…song!”

More crying.

“He isn’t loving and faithful all the time. Sometimes he lets us go through awful stuff. Stuff that hurts so bad I just want to crawl out of my skin! Where is He? Where was He when I cried out to Him asking Him to heal Joshua?!”

God was using this song, this moment, these questions to move me into a phase of grief I had to enter into. I couldn’t by pass it. I had to reach this breaking point to move past it.

The two lovely women with me let me talk. They shared some scripture with me. They told me it was okay. Honestly I don’t remember much of what they said or did. I just remember that when I left that room some thing had changed for me. It wasn’t a big step and most, if not all, of my questions still remained, but a small crack was forming in the wall I had built between myself and God.

I didn’t run to him and allow His comfort to envelope me like I wish I had at that time, but I began speaking to him again. Little by little. Here and there. It wasn’t complete unburdening, but it was a step in the right direction.

Then one night I demolished the wall and boldly approached Him in a way I had never in my life done.

We got a call from our dear friends who worked in the youth group at church with us. They were informing us that one of the young teen girls who attended our youth group was pregnant.

I had been living each day in state of numbness. I would put one foot in front of the other. I would visit Caleb. He was making little progress. I would eat, so that I could make milk for him. Emotions came, still mainly when I was alone. Some thing big felt like it was always just below the surface. I couldn’t allow it to come out. If I did I may never stop crying. I had to keep it at bay.

The night we received that phone call I lost the control that I had been so carefully putting in place daily. The situation with the girl in our church started my complete unraveling. It started out as a quiet crying. I look at Dave in disbelief. “I bet her baby will be perfect.” I whispered the words and immediately felt guilt. I would never wish ill on any one’s child, and I wasn’t wishing this one any harm. I was just struck with some of the ironies of this world. The tainted realities that cut so deep.

My crying became louder, insistent, desperate. I had never cried like that in my life. I was screaming and yelling, pounding my pillow. And I finally talked to God. Openly, freely, with no reservation. I yelled at Him. I told Him I was angry, I asked Him why. I screamed at Him. “He was my baby! And you took him!!”

And then, in a whimpering state of exhaustion, as I was being rocked in the arms of my dear husband, I finally surrendered to the comfort that God had been offering me all along.

 The comfort, the love, and the peace that entered into my being right then stunned me. It rushed in like a torrential downpour of sweet goodness. And that is when I realized it had been there all the time. God was longing to soothe the hurts of my heart. But he had created with in me a free will. A will to run to Him or go my own way. The hurt, the disappointment, the grief, the confusion – it had turned my focus from Him. But He was waiting. Always waiting.

I got it then, that it hurt Him so much to see one He loved crying alone. So close to comfort, but denying it. Oh how He loved me. He even loved me when I screamed at Him. I felt as if he were telling me “Go ahead, tell me daughter! Tell me where it hurts. Tell me how you feel. Oh how I have been waiting for this moment.”

I felt no guilt in expressing my feelings to my God. And it was the turning point of my loneliness.

It still hurt. I still struggled, but I was not alone. Not for a minute.


Amanda said...

oh wendi...words escape me...but tears don't. thank you friend...thank you. and, yes, i will be praying...our God is big...and wendi, He already has and will continue to draw women to Himself because you are faithfully revealing His glory and goodness. i love you friend.

Katie@The Baby Factory said...

I too, have no words. God has given you such a gift in the ability to express your grief in words. Best seller, for sure.
I'll buy it.....and cry my eyeballs out while reading it.

Anonymous said...

Wendi, I just started reading Angie Smith's book and I've been crying off and on reading it. I think your idea of having your book available at hospitals and birthing centers for women is an AMAZING idea and I am praying for doors to be opened for this. A lady at my church has a book published and she used a great company that only charges for each book sold. If you want I can get you the info. It might be a good place to start for what you are thinking, then possibly one day have it picked up by a larger publishing house.

You, my friend, are one awesome compassionate lady. To take your pain and use it to minister to others.

Open doors... God, bring 'em. :)

Renata said...

Oh Wendi - this is so beautifully written & describes your pain so vividly. Thanks for sharing a little of your journey
May God bless you

Rachel said...

Amazing. God will use this in amazing ways, Wendi. I have tears rolling down my face at this glimpse of what it is like to lose a child. I am so sorry you had to walk through this. What you are doing reminds me of that verse from 2 Corinthians 1 - where it says that the God of all comfort gives US comfort so that we can comfort others. Truly you are living that verse.

Katarina said...

Your words are deeply stirring. I will pray that God will continue to open doors for you as you work on the book, may He continue you to give you the words to express your struggles/turning points all to the glory of Him.
Hugs my blog friend, as this cannot be an easy journey for you.

Andrea said...

Hi Wendi, I've been popping by your blog since I found it through Leslie's, thought it was time to say 'thank you' as I can relate to what you write about JD.

Thank you for sharing what you felt, went through and still go through, I needed to know today that I am not alone.

Blessings on you, and thankful that God uses your story to touch so many people,
:) Andrea

Kristin said...

Absolutely beautiful. Definitely write a book. Thank you for posting such heartfelt words. You are being vulnerable and putting your heart on the line. May Jesus be redeeming your heart!

Stacey said...

Wow. I didn't have any idea. I am sorry. Thanks for sharing and keep writing your book! It will help lots of people!

The Sneaky Mommy said...

Wendi--this is a powerful testimony! Thank you for sharing this excerpt and your heart! I'm going to pray that God will open doors for your story to be used and your words of experience and encouragement to reach hearts.

I nominated you for an award at sweet Amanda's blog: There's a monetary award if you win--you deserve it! :)

Amy@My Front Porch said...

Wow. I couldn't read this without getting all teary eyed. You have my promise that I'll be praying for you. I know God's going to use you.

~beautyandjoy~ said...

I love your words!