Wednesday, December 30, 2009


\sha-den-froi-de\n: taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others.

Why am I writing about a German word you ask... well I feel like I may be a victim. I was reading an article in January's issue of Marie Claire with this title. It's the opposite of envy, instead of feeling bad about a friend's successes we feel happy when she fails. When I read this I had an aha moment. There are a few people in my life who have responded to me in a certain tone or expression that translated to something I couldn't quite put my finger on but I knew they weren't exactly sincere. A lot of things trip me up about this. The article explained how celebrities are the most common victims of schadenfreude because when something bad happens to them, it brings them back down to earth and we can all feel better about ourselves. What about me would make these individuals view the loss of Audrey as "bringing me back down to earth?" I am not famous, boastful,extremely hot,rich or anywhere near the top of the ladder. In fact I am quite the ordinary girl who has - in my opinion - experienced her share of misfortunes! Maybe MORE than my share! Some people scoot through life with minor bumps and bruises while I've had internal bleeding!

It makes sense though - with these particular individuals and myself- there has been an underlying competition, over small things really, but it was there none the less. I guess what hurts the most is each of them know me well enough to have been through some of the hardest times in my life with me. I have also seen them through some of theirs.
Here's the thing though, I would NEVER wish this to happen to even my worst enemy(losing a child) but I do find myself waiting for bad things to happen to other people who seem to have it all together. I AM NO BETTER! In fact I believe we are all at our core capable of all kinds of evil. Boy, I could really get off track with that statement... like a good and evil debate but that was not my intention for this post. I'll get to the point. As I realized a few people are standing back - for whatever reason - and feeling a bit better about themselves because I am suffering, I also learned that this my time of opportunity. I have the opportunity to go on grieving as I need to and the opportunity to stop comparing my life with other's. So often now I find myself envying mothers, the mothers who have never lost a child. The one's who are getting irritated with their little boys being rambunctious in a store. The pregnant women who complain because they are 37 weeks pregnant and working full time.

My story is my own, I have had successes and failures and I own them fully. So I cannot focus on what others have or don't have. By God's grace I will not envy and I will not have schadenfreude toward another. I will not concern myself with those individuals I deeply care about who feel better about themselves while watching me suffer. Even though it makes it hard to be real with them, I will forgive and be honest about how I am doing. I will not allow the enemy to ruin my relationships. I will not dwell on what I did to cause schadenfreude toward me or how to fix it- that responsibility lies within those individuals. I will fix my eyes on the Lord and my heart for healing.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Poem For Audrey

one tiny miracle
touched so many hearts
taken too soon
one life lost
one child taken
millions of hearts stop
one never starts again
one tiny miracle
breathing after 25 weeks
one tiny angel
singing her lullaby
saying goodbye
one tiny miracle
one tiny touch
a kiss from mom and dad
a lifetime of love
held in their hearts
one tiny miracle
left before it got a start
the race ended before it could begin
one tiny miracle
one lost breath
two kisses left on her forehead
one last hug
one tiny miracle laid to rest

This is a poem your cousin Katina wrote. She's a very cool person, you would have loved her.
Thanks Katina White for remembering our sweet Audrey.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My letter to Audrey

My sweet Audrey,
All day I couldn't wait to come home and write you this letter. Although I doubt you would have arrived on this day, it was the first due date we were given, I always planned on you being here closer to the 24th as that was the 2nd date and the one that seemed more accurate to me. I wish more than anything in the world that you were here with me. I want to tell you how deeply you are loved and how much your daddy and I wanted you. I hope you felt that as I carried you. Sometimes I feel bad that I doubted myself - whether I was ready to be a mom, and I saw the sacrifices I would be making sometimes more than the joy you brought me. I'm sorry for the times you let me know you were there by reaching out your arm or kicking me and I didn't respond with a touch or a rub to my belly - I put my work before you. I'm sure that's not why you left us, but I have been over it in my mind time and time again...asking myself "what could I have done differently?" I would have done anything for you. I am so sorry I didn't talk to you while you were fighting to stay alive in the NICU. I never told you out loud how much I love you. I can only hope that you knew. You see I talked to God about you all the time. I asked him to help me be a good mommy for you. While we were in the hospital I begged him to keep you here with me, your life was so important to me. I don't know if you can see me or hear me now, in fact there is so little we know about heaven....I just want you to know I feel a huge part of me is missing and it went with you.
I try to see past this pain to the glory and splendor that belongs to you now. You will never know anything like the pain I am feeling and for that I am thankful. I try to focus more on the horrible things on this earth that you will never have to go through rather than the joyous moments you may have had. I never could have provided the things you have available to you in the big house of heaven. I miss you terribly, but like adoption I must give you up, it's better for you - only you were His before you were mine. Still, you will always be mine. I think about you all the time and it hurts when people avoid talking about you. I seek solace in the questions I will have answered one day when I experience the place where you are. Does God hold you to his breast and rock you to sleep? Will Jesus give you horsey rides on his back? Are you already a woman in spirit form (whatever that might mean)? One day I will have these answers but for now....
Heaven is your go and have the time of your eternal life!
Mommy will catch up with you later!
I love you more than words.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

2 Milestones

Through the job I dreaded returning to I reached 2 milestones this week. On Tuesday I met with one of my employees. I thought she was disgruntled with the company, her position or maybe even me. She seemed aloof, avoiding me and tasks I put her up to. This called for a conversation in my office. As I was expressing my concern for her behavior she teared up and said "I have nothing but your heart in mind. I didn't want to tell you this because I don't want to hurt you."
I was getting really nervous that she was gonna drop the "I'm leaving" bomb on me when she said, "I'm pregnant."
That was a whole other bomb I did not see coming!
"Wow, that makes sense." I said to her with tears in my eyes.
All the while my mind and heart competed for a true response - one that surpassed the professional-I'm-the-boss-don't-let-them-see-you-sweat response. The - how do I really process this- response. Much to my surprise I had to be honest with her and say how happy I truly was for her and I sincerely felt some joy! I also expressed my gratitude for her care and concern for my feelings. I felt so overwhelmed by the whole staff's sensitivity to the grief that is mine. I was the only one who did not know and everyone left it up to her to tell me. That just does not happen in every work setting especially when they are all women. Soon after our meeting I left to run an errand and checked my heart again, I did shed a few tears for Audrey. But I did not feel angry or jealous as I have in previous announcements of other's happy healthy births or pregnancy's. This was a milestone in my grief journey, the first of the week and the dearest to my heart.

The next came yesterday. My staff and I made our 2 millionth dollar in sales for this year. We worked hard to meet this goal and despite all that life dealt us in our personal lives and a huge heap that it dealt us professionally- WE DID IT!!

This accomplishment is something I really needed. For any of you who have lost a child you know what I am talking about when I say how lost and out of control the pain of grief has made me feel. At times I have questioned who I am, what I am good at, what is important or not and what I enjoy. Through my absence my staff has a new appreciation for my management style and I have heard compliments stating so. I learned the thing I am best at is hiring the right people - THAT is how we succeeded, I found the right people and we did it together.

Thank you Lord for the wonderful gift of unity that has been our store team. I give you the glory for the healing that is taking place in my heart. I honor you for giving me (ever so gently) the nudging to go back to a job I have lost my passion for, without it I would not have received this gift you had waiting there for me. Your nudge was so gentle I nearly missed it and I thank you for helping me recognize it. I love the way you love me Lord! Thank you for the gift that is Audrey, without her I would not know just how deeply I am loved by you, my husband and my family, or how caring and understanding those I work with are. Every time someone says how their heart aches for me I feel a piece of the puzzle that is me, get put into place. Your word in James 1:17 says, "Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows." Lord, I recieve all the gifts you have for me. I believe in your promises and I will wait on you Lord... I will wait.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No sign of Christmas here

With Audrey's original due date approaching I have no desire to celebrate Christmas in a way that most do, with all the decorations and trees and shopping. Jamie asked me if I want anything for Christmas, I said no. I was supposed to be in labor for Christmas, what gift can possibly satisfy when I was under the impression that God would give me the best gift ever imaginable. That is all I was able to do - imagine it, because it won't be happening. I'm too preoccupied with all that I can't have. Nothing appeals to me. I want to just get through each day without blowing up at someone or falling in a ball on the floor crying. Maybe this serves to remind me that Christmas isn't about us anyway. Why do we give each other gifts for our savior's birthday? Our attention tends to be in the wrong place. Maybe I won't ever go back to celebrating the way I used to. Last year I was quite depressed Christmas morning because I was not pregnant, this year it is the same except I had a baby then lost her. I have learned that I will no longer put expectations on the holidays.

I know someone who decided to end a pregnancy years ago at a very young age. She had a broken past that caused her to live with shame. She later became a Christian and a close family friend, she believed with all her heart that the baby she aborted was a girl. One year as she was putting up her Christmas tree God spoke to her and said He would give her a daughter and next year at this time she would be holding her. And He did. She was born at the end of October that following year. I was in high school at the time. I had not been pregnant until this year but I made my share of poor choices and also had a lot of shame. Her testimony helped free me of some of that shame. It helped me realize so much about God's love, forgiveness and desire to bless us.

I was told years ago that I may not be able to have children on my own. The first time was because I did not have regular periods. The second time was because I was diagnosed with PCOS. The third was the same...PCOS. Evidently because I lost 50 lbs. I only had symptoms of PCOS due to being overweight....and at the time I was not trying to become pregnant(I grieved the loss of being a mother while I was single). I also believed the lie that I wasn't worthy to be a parent, coming from a broken home and surviving abuse made me textbook bad parent material. With prayer and counseling I have healed from the ugly past. My paradigm has been changed. I am a child of God, my sins are washed away. Christ did the work for me on the cross, because of Him I am worthy of everything good.

Satan has come to steal that healing from me. A few weeks ago I wanted to die. All I could hear was "I'm ineligible." I was tempted to believe that I could not have the common joys of this world, that so many others are bestowed. "My lot in life must be suffering," I thought. What really makes me angry is that I accepted I may not have children, planned to possibly adopt, found a wonderful man who accepted my reality, then to our surprise we got pregnant twice! I remembered our friend's story of redemption when ever I would discuss my Christmas due date. I told God how thankful I was that I would have my baby at Christmas time. I thought that because I was so sad in 08 (after my health practioner said there is no reason I should not be able to get pregnant), God was blessing me in 09. I even got pregnant so soon after our miscarriage, which really was a miracle! When one gets pregnant and is due at Christmas time one would expect that God will surely protect that baby because He wouldn't want to ruin one's Christmas. Don't get me wrong, he does love me but he really isn't concerned with me enjoying my Christmas. His kingdom must be advanced.
Our hopes were dashed! I walked by faith during this pregnancy only to have my face slammed into the pavement. Again, I must remember it is not all about me - or it is but in a different way. It's all about what He and His son did for me, the gift of salvation that he gave me. This Christmas it's about the gifts of the spirit he gave me.When I come out on the other side of this grief I hope this scripture resonates with me.

"I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens." Phillipians 4:11

"Test this question: What if God's only gift to you were his grace to save you. Would you be content? You beg him to save the life of your child. You plead with him to keep your business afloat. You implore him to remove the cancer from your body. What if his answer is, "My grace is enough." Would you be content? You see from heaven's perspective grace is enough. If God did nothing more than save us from hell, could anyone complain?.....Having been given eternal life, dare we grumble at an aching body? Having been given heavenly riches, dare we bemoan earthly poverty?...
If you have eyes to read these words, hands to hold this book, the means to own this volume, he has already given you grace upon grace." In the Grip of Grace, Max Lucado

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I made it.

Well, Thanksgiving was the first holiday to get through and although I got my period, exchanged a few angry words with my husband and cried all the way to my mom's house, (half hour drive) and started bawling the second my brother opened his mouth to ask me how I was when I arrived to our first gathering...I lived through it. Not only that but I even enjoyed parts of it. Then I cried all the way home too. If I could do it over again, I would not have made the last visit where two newborn girls were. What was I thinking?! I certainly wasn't very good to myself, I went out of guilt. Never again.

Yesterday I went back to work. I'm a manager with responsibilities I really do not care to have anymore. Despite that, I made it through the first few days with God's grace. Within the first 30 minutes my worst fear arose. A customer who comes into our store every few days came in. I had a basket over my arm walking past her and down an isle as she called out, "How are you feeling?" Let me stop a second and say, I have been gone for 3 months, my staff told all the customers who asked about me, AND we have an outside sales force who goes into our customers salons (we are a wholesale co. in the salon industry), they all "broke the news" to their salons for me. Anyway, as I was thinking she knew I say "okay, thanks for asking." She says, Aren't you due, wait when, did you already" as I am turning around the corner and she looks at my stomach continues, " oh, I thought you were due around Christmas!" So, I say " Yeah, I already had her early and she is in heaven now." She was mortified, crying, she apologized, and said " How did I NOT know this!" She grabbed me and hugged me so tight and asked me a few more questions and I found myself consoling her. She slipped through the cracks and I'm sure she won't be the only one I will have to tell. It was so hard not to fall apart in the front of my busy store, but I didn't. I made it through my first two days at work.

I don't wanna be strong anymore. I don't want to be in charge of a store and a staff. I want to do something I LOVE. I am different. So, now what?

I just bought a book called Drops Like Stars by Rob Bell. It rocked my world in a way that I haven't fully realized yet. This book is about creativity and suffering. In one part of the book he gives a few of his sculptor friends a bar of plain white soap and asks them to carve something, one carves a bird, another carves a face another, chain links - these are pictured along with the shavings. He writes, "Stunning isn't it? And yet these sculptures were in those bars the whole time. All these sculptors really did was remove. Sculptors shape and form and rearrange, but at the most basic level they take away. And there is an extraordinary, beautiful art to knowing what to take away."

This stopped me in my tracks. God is my sculptor. He knows what to take away from me to make me into a beautiful creation, something that has been inside of me all along is about to be made evident. What? I don't know yet, but as I sat in that hospital before I had Audrey I told God that I trust him with my life and my baby's. I may not like it, it breaks my heart, sometimes I am so mad I could spit fire but God is my sculptor. I gave him my life to shape and rearrange.