Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A journey...a race...a song

It's been such a journey of so many emotions. Today's post should be the happier of the two dates...but I feel so much joy right now that I feel like I should explain the steps and the process that has gotten me here. Bear with me and please try to understand my heart...this will be a mixed up post...I don't really have a nice neat order to my thoughts today...and I'm not sure that I will be able to put them in order...but I really want to post this....so here goes...

Three years ago today I was in labor...still...and delivered a precious bundle of joy. Addison Rose. So much has happened in the past three years. June 12, 2009 I felt like my heart was complete...my family was whole. I felt happier than I've ever felt before or since. She completed me. She put the last piece of the puzzle into my heart. Or so I thought.

The day we brought her home I remember feeling that I was so happy...that we didn't need to have anymore kids. She was such a sweet baby. Oddly enough...I cannot for the life of me remember her cry. Surely she cried some....right? I remember her first almost giggle was right before she died...just days. I guess I'd rather remember her laughter than her tears.

I think of Psalms 127:1 'Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.' At the point where Addy was born I hadn't given my family to the Lord. I hadn't thought about what he might want. After she passed I realized that I had to give my family planning to the Lord. When we first got married we wanted like 6 kids...a six pack of Bierman...ha ha....then the contentment of having Addy...one boy and one girl...set in and I was good. But after we lost her, we felt like we should have another....but then we had a miscarriage on Christmas Day 2009. At that point, knowing that I was at only a 33% 'success' rate I had to prove to myself and the world that I could have another baby and that I could be a good mom....so not exactly letting the Lord build the house....and God and I have struggled with this one. The fact that adding more children will not make me a better parent...but rather following God's will and growing my faith in front of my child is what will count in the parenting stats....

Anyway...God blessed us with little Lyla love. And I was shocked when my heart didn't feel complete. And I got to realizing that I felt guilty that she didn't just click that puzzle piece into place like Addy. I felt broken still. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE Lyla. She is so precious to me. And I realize fully that she probably wouldn't be here without Addy's death. Not on purpose anyway. So that makes me stand in awe at what the Lord will possibly do with her life. That she is part of the Lord's blue print...plus she proved that God really does answer prayer....I prayed for the opposite of Addy...I thought that I'd go crazy if I had a baby who slept as much as Addy and was as easy going. So I got "CryLa"....I just picture God up there chuckling as I'm trying to praise him for giving me a healthy baby girl and pray for strength to make it through her temper/fussiness. Lyla is such a loving little miss...sometimes she just comes to me and it's like she knows that I need to feel loved and snuggles. I rock her for a while before nap and there are times when I just feel God's love surrounding me as Ly snuggles.

You remember my post about 'The Armor of God'....well I've been fighting tooth and nail. I used to be a crier...just bawl at TV commercials or crazy little things...but after Addy I couldn't make myself cry...and I'd get waylayed by a 'Bad Addy Day' and just be crippled by the tears. It's bothered me that I didn't feel like I felt anything anymore. I actually prayed that God would restore my emotions...for a long time I've had two feelings...'even' (like not happy not sad nothing) and mad. Even when I laughed it sounded foreign like someone else was laughing. I look at pictures and I'd lost the spark in my eye. People would comment that I was so fake...'You look like you hate being there'...and it was probably true...I saw it too...looked like a mugshot instead of a happy mama relishing the joyous people in her life.  I have tried to figure it out...I was in fear that this was how my life was going to be. Autopilot for the next how ever many years. Not that I was suicidal...just not looking forward to living another 70 years in this mediocre never happy never sad shell. I finally broke down on Easter...thanks to a particularly touching service. I went to the altar and wept to the song, "Because He Lives I can face tomorrow; Because He lives all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, and Life is worth the Living Just because He lives."  That song chorus says it all....Life is worth the living JUST because he lives.  I don't need any other reason to live my life to the fullest. Just knowing that I serve a LIVING God is all that I need. The same God who saw it fit to take my baby girl is the same God who comforts me and holds me and gives me strength. But not through osmosis...when I reach out for it. Nehemiah 8:10 says 'Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.' I tell you...I've struggled with this one! (what haven't I struggled with right!?) I didn't know how to GET the joy of the Lord. I wanted it. I pretended it. Just didn't feel it. So what gives? Then that little chorus said it all....I CAN face tomorrow...no doubt. That's a statement. All fear is gone...get rid of the fear...fear of the future. fear of the repeat of loss...fear of someone finding out that I don't really have it together...that I'm a fraud (of sorts...don't stop trusting me!) He holds tomorrow...so stop trying to hold it and mold it. He's got it. Life is worth living....so live it...LIVE it! For no other reason than because HE LIVES! Stop making it complicated! You're 27 with so much hurt and baggage. So what? You're also 27 with 7 years being married to a wonderful man who was made for you...and you have 4 children in your 'quiver.' Doesn't matter when I die...I will meet at least two little ones in Heaven. So it's not perfect and it doesn't fit in the pretty little frame that I once thought my life would fit in. I have felt my emotions come alive....in part to some medical findings...but I really feel that in part that has been because I've learned that the joy of the Lord is my strength...not 'My strength will produce joy...in the Lord.' I've also tried to learn how to release the fear of losing Lyla. I find myself doing things 'so that when she dies this is what I'll remember of her' like videoing her crying, laughing, sleeping, etc. It's creepy I know....but I've just felt like she has an expiration date...that it's only a matter of time until she's gone. Strangely I feel like I've accepted her passing....I know this is not healthy...but it's been true in the past. I'm moving past that. I'm learning like that song says to just trust the future. I'm learning not be live in fear. Be a brave Mama....we're gonna have all of our kids until we don't have them anymore...and that's it. And my memories will of the times that I loved them...and made memories for them....not being afraid that today is the day that I lose another one. (I keep praying that if God sees fit to give us more kids that He'll release that completely...Merle's theory is to keep having kids and see how much joy we can cram in these walls....slowly I'm beginning to agree...if the pitter patter of two pairs of feet fill my heart...how much more would more. This is a work in progress for sure.)

My faith has not wavered...which is weird to me....I've always trusted that this was God's will and I've accepted that this had to happen. I've prayed that it wouldn't be in vain. That some kind of good would come of this. I may never know the full extent of the good that came...but there's got to be some good some where. My faith is the one thing that I could count on. Just like Hebrews 11:1 says "Faith is being sure of what we know and certain of what we do not see'....I'm sure that God is still on His throne and that He loves me and that the gospels are true. I'm certain that, while I cannot see God or Addy, she's in Heaven with Him. And He's with me. I just opened the Bible and it opened to Isaiah 7:19...'If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.' I feel like that's a promise that I will stand again. STAND. Tall. Firm. Be at the top of my game again, if you will. And when I say it's weird it's just because I didn't think the faith part would be the easy part...and maybe it's because I'm just holding on to that as a cop out...(I'd like to think not....so we'll think of it my way...my blog my way...you know the rules!)

I've realized that what my family needs is not me to be strong. They need to see my faith in action. They need to see me grow in the Lord and heal. They don't need me to put a BandAid on it and wait for awhile and remove the BandAid and oh wow Mom's better. They need to know that it's ok to hurt and be torn apart....and that it's way ok to cry...they need to watch me lean on the joy of the Lord. Joy will return to our house. We're happy...we're healthy and we love each other. But what I want is that fountain of Joy...bubbling in every area of our lives. We're getting there. I think it starts a little bit with me....well no with me getting it from God...like a relay.

I feel that I want to weigh in on another subject...this one may be more sensitive to some of the dear mom friends that I have out there...I am not trying to lay guilt or make you feel bad..ok? About the time that Addy was born there were SEVERAL other little girls born within just months. Sometimes it hurts... a lot. Sometimes I just want to scoop their Addy-aged girls into my arms and play with their hair and do all the things I wish I could do with my three year old. Like her first dance recital...or whatever. I think about all the girls who are probably potty training...and talking and being sweet little three year olds. I want to play 'Babies' with them...I feel like a stalker typing this...I don't mean to. I am mostly blessed when I see these BEAUTIFUL girls...and in a way I live through watching them. I put myself in the place of their moms...just for a moment....to think, 'Wow this is what it would be like if Addy were here.' Yes it hurts...yes I get jealous...but mostly I just love them almost like an extended version of my love for Addy. I don't expect anyone to understand...just accept. Gosh I really feel like a creeper! I'm not I promise. I get to live vicariously through those girls. I won't forget or have to do the math in my head of what milestone Miss A would be at. I just look and see oh yes...PreSchool...Swimming Lessons...Kindergarten...4H...High School...Prom...Wedding...Etc etc. I am blessed when I see them growing and growing and getting more beautiful each day.

Back to the crying issue....I used to bawl at the beginning of a race. Well the past few races I haven't done that...and it bothered me. Most people would probably be glad to not blubber all the time...I missed it. I missed having that feeling in my chest. So anyways...Merle...aka Shrek....was putting in our ceiling fan in our room and all was going well and I was cheering and clapping and exclaiming...until he just broke the globe while screwing it on. Broke! I immediately burst into tears and left the room. This highly concerned Paxton. He comes in to where I was and asked why I was crying. I told him and asked him to just give me a minute. He goes and asks Dad why Mom is crying (which Daddy doesn't know coz it's been a while). He comes back and I've gotten it together...and he sits on the bathtub edge with me and says, "Wow mom...you cry A LOT quieter than me. A LOT. I cry really LOUD!" (For some reason I thought that was so cute!) Anyways...Merle and I just looked at each other...we realized how nice it was for me to be crying again. Is that weird? That a new found joy can be causing happiness over tears?

I ran a half marathon as most of you know from Facebook. And it was miserable. Reba pointed out that the last one I ran was in 2008 when I was pregnant with Addy. And this one was an attempt to get back out there and get in shape and get healthier. And to gain strength....so the half on Sunday was like coming full circle. I really felt some sort of closure. It was awful! I'm not sure I need to run a half marathon again. Oh I'll keep running but I think I'll take a break from those big distances....I have a marathon of my own to work out with grief. I can't really explain it but I feel at peace. Like of all that I've been through in 3 years its gonna be ok. Why? Maybe because I pushed through....found the breaking point....physically, emotionally, mentally...that I don't have to win or even be good at something to be worthy of completing it. Like the half marathon. I was like 4th from last with a time that was double that of the winner. 3 hours 39 minutes and 7ish seconds. I finished....I had a decent (fun for the first 10 miles!) time with someone who supports me and loves me for me....not because I'm fastest or best at dealing with pain or grief...but because she sees the strength in me and has faith that I can finish. And then when my mom came to join me on the course....it's strange because I thought I was gonna keel over, I don't know how I had any room for abstract thought....I realized that we're headed in the same direction...she and I have both lost daughters. That we are both strong women. Plus just jogging with my mom at my side helping me make it to the end was huge. I was crying as I crossed the finish line...and I think I was more impressed at my ability to let the tears fall than I was of finishing. It was an awesome finish....

Acts 20:24 says: I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.

I want these to be said of me when it's all said and done....

I don't want to live life just aiming to get to Heaven. I want to run the race...I want to live the 'life that's worth the living'...

So today, I realize that the journey is far from over but 'The Joy of the Lord is my strength...oh the joy of the Lord is my Strength.'

Happy Birthday Addy baby....we'll make you a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday to You...and remember the joy that you filled our hearts with for 78 days. Your mama loves you so much. Kiss Jesus for me.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing in my journey of joy and faith...I value each of you and your support....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Update: One more step closer!

I'm pleased to announce.....we have texture AND a working closet!!!! Yes, at this point I'm squeezing all of the excitement out of this long drawn out process!

In case you can't tell...that's the texture. Funny story here....so Merle says, "Babe, can you come hold the cardboard while I texture around the windows and doors?" Me: "Sure! Should I change my clothes?" (My enthusiasm is because up until this point he has flat out refused ANY help with the mudding. I really wanted to help. But amateurs are NOT welcome to help with mudding...til now.) He replied, 'No they'll wash.'
(Ladies, at this point always get more clarification of that....I realize now that I should have asked a question requiring a more specific answer...)
So I hold the cardboard just so to keep our window, closet, etc from becoming covered in a 'heavy orange peel' texture. I positioned it...and I should have looked at my husband because I'm POSITIVE he'd have had a Texas sized grin on his face as he BLASTED me with texture! No joke I felt a little like the girl in Jurassic Park who pets the big brachiosauraus who lets out a big dino-sized sneeze and covers her in snot! I mean I might as well have just used my body to block the window! But of course I'm thinking this is probably very enjoyable for him...so did I complain? ZERO! I just stood there as he sprampted me with dry wall mud! I keep trying to think if there was a better way to hold it...or if it's just like a initiation into the 'secret circle of mudding experts.' I'll never know if he saw that coming or not...and there are no pictures of this because that would have outed my feigned 'aloofness' at the opportunity to be helping with the mud job. I took my glasses off and it was just like the cartoons....a perfect outline!

I hauled the dresser into the closet today so I can actually start putting laundry away as I get it done...because, thanks to unforeseen circumstances (ahem sanding!), most of our clean laundry that was folded neatly thrown in a heap outside the bedroom door now has a nice layer of dust and dry wall mud on it (ahem texturing with no door....awesome) so I'm very anxious to be able to PUT CLOTHES AWAY!!! I am aware that I still need to paint but I'm 1000% sure that I can paint without affecting the cleanliness of our clothing! I'm so happy to see that pile outside of our bedroom door slowly shrinking! And shoes have a home! Yeah...it's the small things for sure!

We are scheduled to paint tomorrow! Aka laugh, giggle, and pee our pants....and by WE, I in no way mean Merle and I...he hasn't been inducted into the 'secret circle of painting experts.' (so there!) I have a dear friend who most definitely owes me a painting favor....(you know who you are, Mrs. Owner of DownHome Emporium!)  I'd be tackling the paint job tonight but I've got a baby shower to host....and no way am I going to that all hyped up on paint fumes and with paint in my hair! One shower in a day is good enough for me!

So hear are the latest closet photos:
(Probably should have painted the dresser...another YEAR another furniture upgrade!) 

Today I also sorted out our hangers. My husband and I have severely different opinions of hangers. I will only use the plastic ones with the notch in them for shirts....he however refuses to use them! I have finally gotten him to convert a tiny bit to plastic hangers without the notches. I'm married to Shrek...no joke. He is so strong without even realizing it. I have seen him break a hanger and rip a shirt taking it off the notchy hanger. So I sorted them out. Mine on the right (same side of the bed I sleep on); his on the left. And yes our drawers are labeled...it's not really necessary...I just had a hay day with the labeler one day.
  I'm also realizing that the Hubbs made the closet considerably bigger...so thanks dear!

Bag #1 of sheets and linens...not organized mind you...but up and out of the way! Yahoo!

This little guy was absolutely necessary for getting said bag into closet! It's gonna be handy!

Mama's shoe hanger hung...now to find all of my shoes! This makes me more excited that I can tell you!  Can I get a Ka-Chi-ga?!

So thanks for stopping by today! I'd love to hear about your closet wars...my husband and I can't be the only kooks out there!