Friday, March 28, 2014

11 weeks or 39 weeks or a Lifetime?

She pauses, tears glistening in her eyes.  She looks at the calendar and the tears become streams.  This was it--this weekend was supposed to be the triumph, the culmination of all those weeks of laying around, of waiting and wondering; hoping and praying.  Instead? Her heart is heavy with a grief greater than anything she has ever known.  10 weeks 4 days since she held her precious daughter in her arms and realized with a mind-numbing certainty that she would never watch her child grow up--never know the joy of the first smile, the first words, the first steps, the first everything.  Instead she got to lay her first daughter in a cold, dark grave, see the first flowers placed on that grave, see the first flowers eaten by the ravenous deer, survive the first church service, the first month, and on and on and on it goes.

This week-it's been so hard.  She has fought the tears.  Life feels so empty; her job has no meaning.  She is only putting in time.  She sits down and looks at the pictures and her heart breaks some more.  How could God ask this of her? How can she go on?  Life was supposed to get easier--the grief less poignant and piercing.  But this emptiness, this aching, it's very real.  She focuses her attention on the scrapbook because it feels good to be this close to her daughter--it's the little she has left, and yet it produces a searing pain that feels like it could potentially heal.

She talks to another mother who has gone through something similar and is left with a greater grief--a grief for the other mother and her lack of memories.  She walks away grateful for all the memories she has of her little girl and grieves for the lack of memories for the other mother. She longs for the personal connection she was expecting--the sharing of griefs and fears, but it remains that-only a longing; another longing unfulfilled.

People say it's too bad--someone who has helped with so many babies being born--as though it would somehow insulate her from any losses.  If only.

That's a little of how it feels--this weekend was supposed to be a triumph--it was what I was living for that morning of January 13, 2014.  If only I could make it to this weekend, how much better of a chance would Nicole have had.  But that was not God's will.  My sister shared the following verse with me this week from Isaiah 35:  The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom, it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy" The desert and the wilderness are parched,dry places, but somehow there is joy there yet.  That describes it--except I think my desert and wilderness should have lots of flowers by now for all the watering it has gotten over the last 2 months.  Maybe 6 months or a year or three, I will look back and recognize the pain as a quiet ache in the Nicole shaped part of my heart.  I will never regret having grieved Nicole,  I will never regret having loved Nicole and so I will continue to grapple my way through this unknown maze that lies ahead of me.  




Friday, March 14, 2014

At Peace in the Storm by Ken Gire

This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reading and writing a review.

This was an amazing book--partly because it was so timely for this place in my life right now.  When I requested this book from Bethany House as the one I wanted to review, I thought it might be applicable and it certainly was.

He has 13 chapter dealing with different places to find peace:
Peace through Perspective
Peace through Prayer
Peace in the Hospitable Art of Listening
Peace through Friends and Strangers
Peace from God's Word
Peace in and through Music
Peace through Deep Rest
Peace through the Body of Christ
Peace from a Balanced Brain
Peace from Insightful Books and Movies
Peace Through Serving Others
Peace in God's Creation
Peace through Recreation

Some of the places to find peace seem obvious and some might raise the question of Really?  I can find peace there?  Strangers--how can I find peace when I am surrounded by people I don't know? But I think I can say that I have witnessed this in my own life.  Surrounded by caring hospital staff, there is a peace that knows you are in good hands even if the hands are unfamiliar ones.

Peace has also come through prayer--not even prayers I have prayed, but prayers that have been and continue to be prayed for me by others.

Peace, of course, through God's Word.  Just a simple one-liner can stick with you and bring great comfort. One of those one-liners for me lately has been from Isaiah.  This isn't verbatim, but goes like this:  He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart"  This verse blessed me so much.  Now, it's verses about God holding me in his arms and being my refuge.

Peace through a Balanced Brain was a new one for me, but Ken explained the theory of ADD or depression, etc where the brain is not working properly and how it can be very upsetting to the rest of life.  That really makes a lot of sense.

So many of the things Ken talked about made so much sense and I can really relate to and yet so often we would discount them as being Un-Christian to find peace in those places.  Peace through recreation?  Really?Absolutely!!!  I can feel rested and at peace when I take the time to sit down and do something I enjoy or after going on a walk.  Is it an "I'm saved and I'm a Christian because of this" kind of peace? Not necessarily, but neither do I think it should be discounted as an invalid way of maintaining peace.  If your mind and soul is not at peace, you will not be able to function in a profitable and fitting manner.

What I am trying to say is that you should be very slow to discredit this book by looking at the chapters and thinking that he is off on his teachings.  I would highly recommend this book--it blessed me in so many ways and there was so much truth to the things he had to share.

These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart

Set in Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains during the time of the Frontier Nursing Service and the end of World War II comes a story tha...