Now I see


I've experienced such a "light bulb moment!"  

In response to a question I posed to a friend (from the Anchored by Hope online Bible study I joined last fall) regarding what to do about grief-strained relationships, she related to me a situation of her own lost friendship.  Her friend had been by her side, very literally, through the loss of her daughter.  Because of that, so much of her daughter was tied into that friendship.  Consequently, when the friendship ended, she felt that she had lost a piece of her daughter's memory.

For the last couple of months, I've been thinking (and re-thinking) about the hurt I experienced when I felt that two of my closest friends had forgotten my awful week of anniversaries in August.  My feelings about the situation have run the gamut, from sorrow to anger and just about everything in between.  I won't go into further detail about the situation, but suffice it to say that one side of it has gotten increasingly more complicated.

I've wondered if I was being unreasonable in feeling hurt that these individuals did nothing to acknowledge that week in August.  Anything would have been gratefully accepted...something as simple as a short e-mail, a text message, a facebook comment.  But there was only silence, a silence that spoke volumes to me.  

I've bounced back and forth from thinking that I must be a complete heel for having such expectations to feeling very justified in my disappointment.  I've been others and at myself.  I've held my tongue when I really wanted to lash out.  I've had stomach aches over the repercussions of it all, lost sleep and shed tears of frustration.  It was only after my Bible study friend put words to the anguish in my heart that I realized WHY this whole situation was so deeply troubling.

In different ways, both of these friends were very much tied to Kristen...through my pregnancy, Kristen's birth, her surgery, her death and the aftermath I faced as my world seemed to crumble around me.  These people are a part of her story, and their silence felt like part of that story had been ripped away.  As I was remembering the loss of my daughter, I seemed to be losing (two different) parts of my connection to her.

I fully believe God brought these friends into my life years ago.  Is He now guiding the paths that once moved in tandem to places that are no longer meant to be together?  Or is He simply using the situation as it's come to be to show me what I need to work on in my own life?  I honestly don't have an answer right now.  But I'm still listening, still seeking.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
   a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
   for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
-Psalm 9:9-10



There are changes we just expect.  They come around again and again, signalling to us new growth, a new season.

Changes you don't anticipate, however, can certainly throw you a curve ball.  Three years ago (nearly to the day), my life began to fill with changes I never finding out I was expecting baby #3.  That news was completely unexpected, but such a beautiful, beautiful blessing.  It set in motion many changes around our house...preparing our hearts to be a family of five...remodeling to make the best use of the space in our home.  The anticipation, excitement and joy in the conversations with our older daughters was absolutely magical.

Unfortunately, unexpected changes aren't always happy ones.

Hearing the news from my doctor that there was something wrong with my unborn child's right lung was one of those changes. Visits to out-of-town specialists...weekly sonograms to measure the mass on her lung...conflicting reports about those measurements...such a roller coaster ride of a pregnancy.

Believing that the mass was gone after her birth, only to find that it wasn't, was not what we had expected or hoped for.  Being thrust into a world of scheduling CT scans and surgeries was a change for which I was not prepared.

When I handed my 3-month old daughter in her tiny Looney Tunes hospital gown off to a nurse in the hallway that Friday, I had no idea that it would be the last time I would experience Kristen's beautiful eyes looking back at me.  That change was unexpected.  Unwanted.  Un-everything.

Even today, the changes continue.  Kristen's room has changed.  The look of much of the house has changed (we've been doing some much-needed painting).  Even the side of the bed I sleep on has changed.  I knew that our schedule and routines around here would change with the addition of a baby to our family.  I knew that a 4-month old was going to change the way we home schooled.  Sadly, the changes to our school schedule were not even close to what I had envisioned.  Instead of working out how to teach my older girls while caring for an infant, I found myself working out how to teach while grieving not only the loss of my daughter, but of my mother as well.  Thankfully, a dear friend very graciously opened her homeschool to my girls for 2 months.  It kept us from having to school through the following summer and allowed me some time alone to begin to process the many unexpected changes that I faced.

My world has not stopped since my daughter died.  It certainly headed in a different direction than I anticipated, but it hasn't stopped.  Changes.  They're all around.  Some are happy; others are heart-breaking.   Thankfully, I have an unchangeable God.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Even when I don't understand the changes in my life, I know He is constant.

Most of the time, that's a comfort.  In all honesty, however, there are times that knowing that just doesn't cut it for me.  They don't happen all the time, but they are there...the occasional moments that are just utterly and overwhelmingly sad.  More head and heart stuff.  The knowing and the feeling just don't always mesh.  Even so, He's still there, extending to me the grace to grow through the changes that continue to come.  Thank you, unchangeable Father.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. -James 1:17