Friday, July 30, 2010

He gives and takes away...

Yesterday had its ups and downs. We {me most of all} feeling that we had had enough of our share of hurt and just too many 'not fun moments' especially considering what we were remembering. The road of suffering is sometimes long and winding and as much as I like to look for the silver linings along the way, some days they just don't shine and sparkle as much as one would hope. The overwhelming feeling that hit me was just how much we "try" to rise above the stuff that threatens to drag us down over and over again... only to feel like it's not even worth the effort some days.
That's what poured out in the form of tears from me last night after our plans for a simple family dinner out turned into "drama", as we often call it, as Wyndham got sick all over her plate/table just as her meal was served. Chip and I mumbled and grumbled as we cleaned and quickly left the establishment and then sulked in some really great pity the whole ride home. That's the honest truth. I had reached the end of my "seeing the beauty through the ashes" rope by the time we got home, which is why I ended up shaking and letting tears pour as Chip just held me and didn't say a word. Because frankly, after 9 years of living with grief we have learned when to speak and when to be silent. I think it's been one of the gifts that God has given each of us and truly has helped hold us together, rather than tear us apart.
So the emotions were kicked into high as were the stress levels, and I imagine at this point in my pregnancy certain hormones are not helping the situation either. =)
The words and prayers and encouragement left by so many 'strangers' and friends through facebook and this blog and email were a comfort though. I wondered what our day would have looked like had you all not been praying and caring for all of us. It would have likely been much worse! We so appreciate that many of you reach out and are moved or touch in a way to look at your own life a bit differently, or look forward to Heaven a bit more knowing that God has His hand in all our lives.
Today marks the day we made the decision to gift some of Teagan's organs in hopes of helping someone else needing a little miracle in life this side of Heaven too, and it's also the day I held her hand and pinky promised to love her forever for the very last time. (Teagan was hooked up to life support for 36 hours after the incident.) I've never forgotten that promise. My love for her has never changed; in fact sometimes her death has inspired me to want to live life to the fullest. I never expected that to come from grief, but I think it's a gift as well.
We went to bed feeling pretty down and out about life and all that we went through and continue to go through. After last week's ER visit for Wyndham and then last night another round of sickness, not to mention that she just had a filling fall out, we just felt like she of all people deserved better than what life hands her. Our pity-party is often more directed at what we feel we can't give our kids more than it is what Chip and I have to endure. We wish we could shield them from the "drama" and hurt more than we can so many times and that just burdens our hearts. The fact that we can't change our circumstances, and even as much as we try there will always be issues in our lives.
When I wakened today I crossed my fingers that Wyndham's bedding would be dry when I checked in on her... and thankfully it was. It seemed a small thing to wish for, but it's always the little things that pile up and push us back one step at a time. The air felt a bit cooler and I just asked God to give me more peace and maybe a bit of joy too, if that wasn't asking too much for my day. So far it's been much better than yesterday.
We let Wyndham sleep in and after a long, leisure brunch she seemed to be perking up- back to her usual self. I had my camera handy and went to snap a few photos of her smiling with me. My thoughts as I looked at her were mixed- thinking back to the picture from yesterday's post and just what she's been through- to see her smile is exactly the kind of joy that God reminds me is a gift that only can be explained by the healing He has done in her life. Yes, she suffers and does so more than anyone else I know and love and care about so much. But she also has an inner spark that dissolves any pity I feel when her face lights up the way it does so many times around here.
I know I haven't written as much or as often the past several months, and I think sometimes I feel like it's because my "stories" always sound the same.
We have our ups and downs; our highs and lows; joys and sorrows. They come in waves and I guess today I am writing to remind myself that God is always faithful to us. He lifts us up when we are down, and even though our valleys don't always seem to have a purpose to us, HE can bring purpose to them if we let Him.
After Wyndham and I snapped a few pictures I looked at the photos and realized I have a big grin on my face that 9 years ago I never thought I would see again. It was sort of a light-bulb moment of reflection and one that led me to snap some more photos. Of me and the growing baby belly I am carrying around with me too. Nine years ago I never dreamed that I would be counting down the days to our 7th baby. I don't think I could have been convinced back then that I would ever have more kids again. With 3 weeks or less to go until we welcome another life into our hearts and homes I am blown away at how God has moved in our lives. His ways have not been our ways- that's for sure, but they have taught us many things and brought us to a place where we know God can be trusted no matter what. He is a God who gives and takes away. We don't know what His reasons may be, but we know that His love will never let us down.
The smiles that He sends to Wyndham's face and to our other kids faces despite all the stuff we do go through is a testament that God cares about the details of our lives. He knows what we need and His timing is spot on every time. Even when it doesn't feel like it.
I can't help but think that Wyndham getting sick at dinner and my tears that flowed openly last night were actually tools that allowed me to grow even moreso today. It hurt at the time, but it sure made our smiles that much sweeter today. Who am I to question the tough stuff- even though we do when we're in the midst of it! I just want to tell myself today to hang on- to keep seeking the Joy that's out there, and never quit trying- even when it feels like we've hit bottom for the hundredth time.
God is always deeper than the bottom of our pits anyway. And I'm so glad He's there too; to pick us up, shake us off and help us start anew. I know we have more struggles that lie ahead. But thankfully God already knows that future too and I am going to cling to Him to help lead us through the bumps along the way.
And speaking of bumps, if you want to see just how big my baby belly has grown the past several weeks, just click on the photos above to enlarge. =)
Thanks again for "listening" to me here as I pour out my thoughts and heart on this blog. Our family appreciates your thoughts and care for us so much. Whether joys or sorrows... you are gifts too!


danna said...

Today I'm holding you up to the father... believing that he holds you in his arms as you remember.
Today and always may his goodness shine upon you.

Karalyn & Jason said...

Thank you for posting. I truly find you and your family inspiring. We have been having a few hard nights this past week with our little one and sleeping. Last night she screamed for a total of probably an hour and a half, with an hour and a half of my dh holding her...don't know what's going on, but I know it will get better.

I just need to remember that she is still in our lives, and something must have scared her to make her scream. It is hard, but we need to have faith! I also need to remember that the screaming is nothing compared to what other families have been through!!

patricia e said...

Jody ~ there's something amazing about blogging ~ it brings a group of people together that wouldn't have normally had an opportunity to do so ~ and through your blog you give us each a glimpse of you ~ I personally am learning so much about a forgiving and tender heart ~ thank you for taking the time to open your heart and display it here ~ I can't wait for the newest family member to make his appearance ~ spreading some love your way from Burlington, Ontario, Canada

patricia e said...

ps Meant to comment on your pics ~ I love the shots of you and your growing t u m m y ~ also love the big huge smiles on you and Wyndham ~ precious

Jennifer said...

{Big cyber hugs} with your family.

Anonymous said...

Jody ~~~ thank you for taking time from your VERY busy life to inspire us in cyberspace. You are in my google reader and i always read when you have a post. i dont think i have commented because i usually read at work (sssshhh....). But thank you for sharing your story with us - your example of faith, forgiveness, and hope is so inspirational. Your family is so beautiful - thank you for the glimpse into the journey you are all on. Wyndham is just a ray of sunshine, she just glows - her spark is evident even on my laptop! Hope all goes well with your delivery - and please keep writing - you are a wonderful writer, please know your inspiration and appreciation are a gift - and I for one love opening a little Nitty Gritty gift every once in awhile. God Bless you all.
-karin in chicago

babyrndeb said...

can't wait to meet your new little one ...via cyberspace. And that Wyndham's smile is so precious!

corinne delis said...

A. I love the photo's
B. I love what you wrote
C. I love you


Charlene said...

Thank you again, Jody...for sharing. Your faith, dependance on God, and total acceptance of what life brings to you is truly inspirational...I know that I'm not the Christian that I could be everytime I read your faith is so weak...evidence of that is the sorrow and deep grief that continues to overwhelm me...Im unable to experience any joy or peace...I just want him back or to be with him where ever he is. It does not comfort me to believe that we will be together most likely will not be the same...I know that we are to believe that however it will be, it will be better...but all I really know is that our 60 years of life together, our deep love, the very best part of ME is gone...and I'm left empty. I refuse to accept this as a "poor, pitiful me" situation...and anyone out there who has lived 75 years, and 60 of those years was spent loving and being loved by one man knows exactly how I feel.
Please don't take this as a negative comment toward you ....I'm just venting...
In Christ

Anonymous said...

Jody, once again your words speak such truth. I thank you for allowing us, your blog friends to have the joy of knowing Teagan. She is all of the good and wonderful things we each seek to be or to direct our children to become.
I did not know you are on FB...I tried to find you and couldn't...please could you let me know the name you use on FB...
Wishing you are short, safe delivery of your new baby boy. Are you keeping his name a secret? Blessings from a mama in illinois

pakosta said...

Jody, your post broke my heart, but by the end made me smile, at your good heart, your faith in God and your faith in life . I just love your good heart! you are such an inspiratioN! THANK YOU! love the pictures too! can't wait to "meet
your 7th baby! I am the youngest of 7!!!

Anonymous said...

God Bless your family!

Lauren said...

“Who am I to question the tough stuff?”….. that is profound! Because it’s in the tough times where we’re supposed to do the exact opposite and cling on to faith, and sometimes faith is all we have!!!

Chatty Chappy said...

Thank you for posting and being so "raw" with us...everyone who reads your blog is praying and fighting to stay positive with you and your family. I have no doubt that Teagan will be helping you bring in another life into this world in a few weeks! You truly are an inspiration!

Hopesrising said...

“Who am I to question the tough stuff?” Your so right and when we do question things, we really don't have an answer. We and I so agree cling more to our faith. Which is when we stumble in to grace.
Your writing is so profound.My heart breaks for so many ways. Then I am so touched by the things God gives you on a day to day basis.
Wishing you and yours many blessings. Love the photos!

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Your heart shines through every word of this post, and I thank you for baring your soul with such unabashed honesty and beauty. The path you have walked and continue to walk each day is something most of us cannot conceive of...and, yet God's peace is evident in your words...whether it has been one of the up days or one that is more on the down side. Your capacity to cling to joy, hope, and perseverance is evidence of God's love and grace shining in and through your life. You never fail to encourage me. And although I only stop by every once in awhile, I just wanted you to know that I am grateful for your blog, for your heart, and for your faith.

Love and continued prayers for you,
Kelly Gerken