Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Four Years Gone By

Four years ago I sat in a hospital bed making some of the most monumental decisions I will likely ever make.  We prepared to meet our sweet fourth born son under circumstances no one would ever wish for.  I think back on that day and sometimes find myself wishing I could freeze time right then...February 22, 2008 right around 2:30 pm.  Asher entered this broken world and brought a deep joy and happiness I had never known.  Through Asher the Lord showed me His presence.  Never have I ever felt Him more tangibly than that day as some of the dearest people gathered around us and sat Shiva. It was the most sacred day I have known.

Here I sit, February 22, 2012 and I want to say that it is all okay, that I am at peace and that it truly is well with my soul.  By and large, those things are true.  I have accepted that this is the journey the Lord has called me on.  He has been long preparing my heart for something I couldn't even fathom, and as we stand on the cusp of that something, my heart still aches to hold that tiny 4.1 pound miracle just once more.  It IS well with my soul, but it still hurts like crazy.  I sit here tonight, three children sleeping soundly in their beds and two in the arms of their Heavenly Father.  I am grateful, but it still stings.  I long for the day "He makes all sad things come untrue".  I am sorrowful, yet rejoicing because though the loss is agony, the gain is far more.

I think the thing that stings most is as I walk about my day today, there wont be a four year old ginger haired little boy bounding after me with dreams of cake and balloons and presents.  To anyone looking in from the outside it will look like a day just like the visible reminder to the world that Asher was here, and that crushes me.  It is so hard to learn how to celebrate a birthday like this...without the birthday boy.  We celebrate him every day, but our children here in our home, look forward to their Heavenly brothers' birthdates because they know they mean celebration, I love that.  If you are reading this, could you do me a favor and celebrate him too?  He has changed me forever and shown me depths of heart that I never knew existed.  He brought a deep joy and gladness into our lives, our Happy.  Would you celebrating him by bringing joy into the life of someone else today this week, his month, in his honor?  It would do this mama's heart good to know my sweet babe has not been forgotten and that he lives on.

And, if you know someone who is walking this earth without someone they hold dear, would you sit Shiva with that friend, and be His hands and feet to them?  A grieving heart needs to be acknowledged, don't be afraid to speak the name of the one who is missed.  It might bring tears, but they are likely tears of gratitude, I will never tire of hearing the names of any of my children spoken aloud and for Isaac and Asher it doesn't happen as often as my heart longs for and I cherish it when it does.  Don't be afraid, enter into their pain and just be with them there.  This, is what Jesus would do.

Happy Fourth Birthday my sweet Asher Joseph.  You are forever missed and loved.  Your life has been an immeasurable gift and we are SO grateful we were chosen to receive it.  May we never forget all you have taught us in your 35 minutes on this earth. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Getting to the Heart of Prayer

In the past few weeks we have dealt with several bouts of sicknesses in our household. It has been exhausting, but I continually remind myself to thank God aloud for the fact that I get to care for these sweet babes. I thank Him for blessing us so much and am just overwhelmed with gratitude that I GET to be here with them, every moment, wiping a feverish forehead or cleaning up vomit. Because of Isaac and Asher I am keenly aware of the fact that just the fact that I get to take care of them here and now is a gift.

A week or so ago we had some dear friends over and while they were here, Ben broke out in hives. It was strange. He had seemed better and we hadn't tried any new soaps or foods or anything. I had heard other friends say that after their child beat the virus they were fighting that the hives came next. In many ways since having Isaac and Asher, I have chilled out...I don't worry about as much because I know there is much I don't I do the best with what control I really do have and give the rest to Him. When my kids get sick though, I sometimes obsess and is almost like a Post Traumatic Stress reaction. I envision hospitals and doctors and IVs. Anxiety grabs hold and I fret...I pace, I don't sleep and I fret.

So, as Ben itched and sobbed I gave him a dose of antihistamine and my friend asked if she could pray with him right then and there. Of course we said yes, and in the back of my mind, I am wondering why this isn't my own response. She and her own sweet 4 year old prayed for my Ben in a simple and beautiful way. We all knelt around him and gave thanks for him and spoke of God's love for him. Suddenly I felt at peace. By the time our friends left Ben was up and running around and after his evening bath the hives were gone and did not reappear even after the antihistamine wore off.

A few nights later Hope came down with a fever. She was cranky and clingy and I wasn't sure exactly what was wrong. She woke up in the night and I remembered the peace I felt after praying aloud for I climbed into her bed, snuggled her and prayed. I gave thanks for the amazing gift God gave us in Hope and spoke of His love for her and how it is even greater than my love for her. Shortly after we both fell asleep and when we woke up in he morning, everyone was well!

I have struggled with prayer for a very long time. We prayed so hard for Isaac and Asher, we trusted and prayed and praised Him. And both our boys died. I have struggled with what prayer should look like because I do believe God answered MANY of our prayers in those situations, but in the end His plan looked different than what we'd hoped for. I can accept that. I don't always like it, but I can accept it...I do know that He has our best interests at heart even if that doesn't make rational sense to me.

I am learning that prayer is often maybe isn't so much about asking God for things (at least for me) but about giving Him the control I try so hard to keep for myself and thanking Him for ALL. For me, it is a matter of heart. Thanking Him aloud and reminding myself that no matter the outcome, He loves me more than I can even fathom and He will take care of me puts my heart at ease, it takes away the worry and the fret. It is a powerful tool.

I wonder what the world would look like if instead of just telling people "You'll be in my prayers", we sat down and just prayed right then and there. I think we are missing out. "I'll pray for you" for many has just become a conditioned response, myself included. It is my goal to be more intentional with the gift of prayer we have been given. Every time I am inclined to worry, I will pray, and if a friend asks for prayer, instead of saying "I will pray for you" it is my resolve to pray with them...then and there. God doesn't need fancy words...he just wants our hearts. Maybe our prayers should be less about trying to make His plan look like the one we envision, and more about making our hearts more like His.