Monday, February 16, 2009

Redemption

After saying goodbye to Isaac in 2005 we quickly became pregnant again with our sweet Benjamin. It was a little unexpected, but I must admit that I had high hopes that this new baby would somehow lessen and maybe even take away some of the intense pain I was feeling. I would lie awake at night, my arms physically aching to hold my son. I somehow thought that filling those aching arms would stop the ache. I thought that immersing myself into preparing for this new baby would block out the anguish I was feeling at the very core of my being. I never had the opportunity to really bond with Isaac. I was overcome with shock and grief and it all hit so quickly I barely had time to take a breath. I wanted that time back and somehow I thought that having a new baby to dote on would allow me the opportunity to hope and breathe again.

I threw myself into preparing for our new arrival...never really allowing myself the proper time to grieve my second sweet little boy. I was almost relieved to know that this new baby was also a boy. Somehow it seemed fitting. I was sure he would fill the void left by Isaac. It also seemed perfect that their due dates were just a week apart in consecutive years. I would be blessed again with a July baby (though due in August). The month that brought such sadness in 2005 would be "redeemed" in 2006 with the arrival of a wonderful Benjamin Bolte!

The thing is that Ben arrived on July 27, 2006 after a difficult, yet quick labor, that sweet boy was placed in my arms and I looked at him terribly confused. I handed him back to his dad unsure of what on earth was going on. Over the next few days I loved him and cared for him but that pain, that ache, that sadness never went away. It was always there. My arms were indeed full, yet still aching. I had never anticipated this. I was sure filling my empty arms would soothe my weary soul and yet I just became more weary. It took me a little longer to bond with Ben because I had to get past all of those feelings first. I had to take the time to grieve my second son before I could give myself fully to my third. I never expected that. I really thought that having this new baby would somehow make life happy again.

Don't get me wrong. Benjamin has brought more joy to our lives than we ever knew possible. That joy however does not make up for anything we have lost. They are separate. We were sorrowful yet rejoicing. The void Isaac left in our hearts is one ONLY he can fill. Having fifteen healthy babies will not heal the hurt of losing one. As I think back I feel so guilty for putting all of that on Benjamin. My hope was in him, my happiness somehow depended on having another healthy baby and then when I got what I wanted it didn't fix my brokenness. I had to learn to look for hope where the only source of true hope lies. I had to accept and embrace my brokenness and my God before I could fully appreciate the blessings I had been given in each of my sons. They each hold their own special place in this family and one cannot fill the void of another.

I never anticipated being asked to walk the road we walked in 2005 ever again so when we found out we were expecting Asher we were thrilled and never once gave a thought to the idea that he would be born anything but healthy. But in November we were told that Asher had multiple abnormalities and would likely not live long past birth. I remember feeling as if the world were spinning at light speed. How could the God that I had surrendered all to ask me to surrender yet another child to Him? I could not reconcile it no matter how hard I tried. I pleaded with God and again He reminded me that my help, my hope comes from Him...not another healthy baby. The year I carried Asher in my womb was one of the most beautiful years I could ever imagine. Though at times I felt abandoned, I experienced God on a level I never knew possible. I saw the body of Christ in action and felt His love pouring out all over my family. I am so grateful to each of the people who were His hands and feet to us. His birthdate, which is a mere six days away was the most amazing day I have ever experienced. I truly experienced our Lord on a tangible level and it takes my breath away just thinking about it.

Now, here I am carrying our FIFTH baby, our first daughter and I could not be more thrilled that the Lord has trusted me again with one of His children, because if I have learned anything it is that these children are HIS not mine. He chose us to be the parents of each of our children and I am so grateful to him. He has trusted us to raise them in His love and we will do that for as long as he allows.

I have heard many people speak of children who are born after a loss as "rainbow babies" I have heard talks of restoration and redemption when a healthy baby is born after a loss. Coming from where I have been I have learned that every baby is a beautiful gift, just as a rainbow is no matter what the circumstance, to remind us of God's love and goodness, but when it comes to restoration and redemption, I have to tell you that there is only one place that this can come from and that is our Heavenly Father. There is nothing that this sweet baby girl can do to restore what has been lost in this family, and that responsibility should not be hers to bear. As I have said before I know that God is doing a new thing here. She is her own person and I cannot wait to see who that is. She will not ease the pain felt because of the void of her second and fourth brothers, her birth will not restore or redeem our family.

The word redemption means "paid for" or "to buy out". The losses we have endured can not be redeemed by me, by you, or by a healthy baby. Our redemption comes through Jesus Christ. He paid the price for our sins so that one day our family will be whole and that is where my hope lies. Our family can not be restored this side of Heaven but I am overwhelmed with gratitude that because of what Jesus did for me, even though I do not deserve it, that my family WILL in fact be restored one day.

So yes, our new baby girl will bring joy to our family. We are so excited that God has chosen us to be her parents and we cannot wait to see who God made her and what he has in store for her, but she will not fill the places in our hearts and lives made void by Isaac and Asher. We will always be sorrowful yet rejoicing. Our hope and our help come from the Lord and we are so grateful that even when it doesn't feel like He is here, we know that He is. He is always here. He has paid the ultimate price. Redemption is ours because of Him and Him alone. Because of his sacrifice, our goodbyes, though sorrowful are not permanent, now that is HOPE!

19 comments:

Corie said...

Thank Kristy...your words are so true and honest. I have travelled this road and here about all the "rainbow babies" it sometimes is hard to understand since it seems we will not be having that. But over time God has really shown me that each child is a gift and each family has a different PERFECT story. I Totally agree with you. This baby is not a rainbow baby...for Gods promise has always remained the same. The promise in eternal life in Christ. You are doing this so well and so honest. You haveloved each of your children SOO well and are not looking for healing through another child...but through Christ. I love you friend. Someday I hope to meet in person!

Christa @ Quintooples said...

Wow. A year? I guess so. I just can't believe how fast it's gone. Happy Almost Birthday Asher, and (((Hugs))) Kristy. I will be saying prayers for you on your special day of birth, growth, and loss.

Asher has touched so many of us.

I have never heard the term "rainbow babies" but I have heard the term "angel babies" applied to my miscarried babies.

You are correct though, God's promise is always the same and Asher and Isaac are not angel babies (nor are any of mine!), and this sweet little girl is not a rainbow baby! They are each the same....individual gifts from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessings.

Laurie in Ca. said...

I love you Kristy and your post is so honest and straight from your heart. I am so thankful that the price has been paid once and for all by Jesus. Each baby is free to enter it's life with no expectations on it. Your baby girl is already her own person and she shows it in her ultrasounds. She will always know that she has four big brothers and will come with her own supply of new joy for you. I am getting excited to meet her. Would you please email me your address? I have found a few really cute things. I love you girl.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

connie said...

The only thing I can think of to say today, is "Me, too," to what Corie said. I hope I meet you one day.

siscaboo said...

I have never heard of that before. Very interesting. I was afraid to have another baby because I was afraid of always comparing this one to JT. I think weird sometimes. I was afraid if I was having a boy I would always say well, JT looked like this or oh he has JT's cheeks, or something like that.

I know that whatever God blessed me with though I would love whole heartedly and with all my might. When they said Girl last friday, it was like a weight had been lifted off of me. Like I didn't have to have those worries anymore. This may sound terrible, but, that is how I was thinking. I can't wait though to see her and just love her and let her know how much she is loved and wanted just because she is who she is, not because of who she followed in the birth order.
Thanks for this post it spoke volumes to me.

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Kristy...So much of what you say reminds me of things I have felt and expressed on my own journey. After we lost our Faith and Grace, I felt the same way about our next pregnancy. The longing to fill the ache of my empty arms was so powerful, I couldn't get pregnant soon enough. Then, we found out that our son Thomas had abnormalities that were "incompatible with life" and that our arms were to remain empty. The grief...the feelings of abandonment were excrutiating, devestating. And then, we were so carried through that pregnancy...so met at the end with God's sufficient grace as He showed us that He had never left us and would never leave us nor forsake us. He truly taught us the blessing of "believing without seeing", which is how our Thomas got his name. Then, as we carried our fifth child, we knew how each life was to be valued and that nothing was certain. God had already taught us to hope in Him and Him alone and we were no longer counting on our baby to restore our joy, although we still longed for our child. When James was finally born and I heard his healthy cry, I remember actually saying, "I thought it would all be gone...the sorrow. I thought I'd be able to finally feel complete." Some part of me still thought that holding my baby would redeem what we had lost. Eventually the joy did come...it was incredible...almost euphoric joy that we had as we celebrated bringing our precious baby home. But in those initial moments, I was surprised that the sorrow from missing the other children was not erased. God has been faithful to carry our family and to restore and increase our joy over the years, but I can relate in many ways to the thoughts you express. Thank you for sharing your heart...I am certain that it is a great encouragement to many.

Becky said...

I just recently heard the term 'rainbow baby'. Your beliefs are so like mine - I remember when you shared your feelings about calling your lost children 'angels'. What a burden, what expectations a baby would have if they were expected to replace one that had been lost. What an insult to God who creates us so unique. We have a lady at church who experiences a vanishing twin with her last child, her 7th. She feels that this pregnancy, her 8th, also has a vanishing twin. That will be confirmed today. She shared how she mourns those little lives. We talked about the fact that they will never have to choose between Heaven and Hell - God made that choice for them. That is a blessing. She talked about the fact that people cannot fathom her being just as excited for the 8th as she was for the first. This is a precious family. Wonderful kids. Again, I am so excited for you. A daughter is such a wonderful gift - especially when they outgrow all the hormones, become adults, and become your FRIEND! I love it! Your daughter is blessed to be born into your family.

Erika said...

What a beautiful post. I am sitting here in tears. While I have never experienced anything near the extent of your pain, I had a miscarriage back in September and we were blessed quickly with a new baby, a healthy baby boy that I am now 22 weeks along with. I have had several people try to tell me that this new little boy will replace that angel baby, or that our little angel's soul is now with our new baby. But no, that is NOT the case and will never be. I will never forget our angel baby and that baby is in heaven sitting with our Lord and one day we will be reunited.
Thank you for such a beautiful honest post.

Jacqueline said...

Thanks for opening your heart and pain for the benefit of others. I am a Mum who has never known the heartbreak of loss, and can only imagine the devastation you have encountered on your earthly journey. I admire the fact that you have found the answers for yourself whilst experiencing unbearable pain. A mistake many of us make is to repress our pain and attempt to cover it with materialism, alcohol, drugs, or just more, more, more of anything. Through your pain you have seen the need to be present and fully experience your emotions in order to make room for the next experience, whether it be joy, love or loss. My heart goes out to you and your family. I would describe your family as whole, as you always include your heavenly children. Yes, you will all be reunited, but try to make the most of every day here. Your future children deserve a beautiful life full of the gratitude you will teach them. Your heavenly children would also wish their siblings not be made too conscious of their loss. They are lucky to have you for a Mum! I wish you and your whole family a Happy Life.

Emily said...

I'm hanging on your every word... and amen'ing a few, too. Not rainbows, not redemptions, not restorations, just baby girls. And I can't wait until they are in our arms. :)

Erin said...

I competely agree with you! Thank you for sharing this and putting it so eloquently. I am to happy to hear that all looks well with this precious little GIRL! Can you believe it? You will be a wonderful mom to her despite your concerns! I will continue to keep you all in my prayers especially as you approach Asher's birthday.

Rachel said...

Wow! You gave me a better perspective as I am carrying a "rainbow baby" after the stillbirth of my daughter. I don't want this new baby to be burdened with the need to redeem our family. Our joy should come from Christ, and Him alone. Thank you Kristy for writing this. I want to love each of my children as gifts from God, unique and special, formed by one who knows them far better than I ever could.

Nieman Family said...

What an amazing post. I loved it. You are a true-inspiring Christian. God is with you, that is obvious!

Sarah said...

Incredible. Your words are beautiful.

Vanessa and John said...

i completely agree. My daughter is severely disalbed and i thought the day I found out I was pregnant it would all be ok, but it's not. The ache is still there, but I do think that they bring a sense of "normal" again. Congrat on your baby girl!! I too am having a girl, i'm due in July! God bless you! (i found you thru Joshua's page).

Chelsea Pang said...

I have just briefly read over your blog. I just as for God's continued grace and presence in your life and over your pregnancy.

Amelia said...

This seems like it is in response to a mother's post from the blog Homesick, specific post titled "I don't Belong"

You may not have meant it in a negative way but she is now closing her blog to the public.
It may have nothing to do with this but I feel that it does.

It's easy for you to say these things now that you are pregnant with a healthy baby. But I don't ever remember reading these things when you were asking,praying, wondering if you were going to get to have more children.

I hope it's all a misunderstanding and you did not mean to offend anyone and I hope all of this can be worked out.

While a new baby does not make the pain of losing one child go away it does bring comfort and gives you something to look forward to.

boltefamily said...

Amelia,

I just went and read the post you were referring to and I can see how you thought that perhaps this was a response to her, I do however assure you it was not. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that she feels as I have never been in her shoes.

My post was simply in response to my own feelings and the many people who have approached me about how our family is being redeemed. It just didn't set well with me. This blog is about my journey and my feelings. I was just being authentic about my own feelings and journey. It was never meant to be directed at anyone. Just dealing with the struggles of today.

Yes I know what it is to hope for a new baby, yet I have learned in my own journey that I cannot put my hope in that alone. My hope and trust has to remain in God. But again, this is my perspective from where I have been after losing my second and fourth children. We all come from different places and God teaches us different things through them. I would never discourage anyone from praying and hoping for chilren. They are a gift!

Amelia said...

Thank you for clearing that up Kristy. I wasn't trying to start any problems, I just saw she closing her blog and came to the conclusion it was because of that post.

I have had miscarriages but I have never walked in either of your shoes.

She is hurting so very much and remains on my heart and in my prayers every day, just as you do.

I know today is a hard day for you and your family and I should have waited to post about this. Sometimes I react without thinking things through.

Praying for strength for you today.