Tuesday, August 13, 2013

There is Beauty here...

Two years is weird...

It feels so very different from the first year. I feel that I have moved on but then I feel that I'm still standing in the same place I was a year ago. I feel so happy that she's not here but then so sad that we aren't walking hand in hand at the park. I feel like I know who I am again but then I look at myself sometimes wondering who on earth it is that's staring back at me in the mirror. I feel intense love here but sometimes the intense emptiness floods in. I feel fulfilled. I feel peace. I feel joy; honest and pure joy.

The biggest emotion that I have at this 2 year birthday/anniversary is intense gratitude over the beauty that has been found here. There is beauty here...lots and lots of beauty. The death of a child is devastating, heart-wrenching and just plain awful. These descriptions come to mind for people who just hear of another's loss; those words barely delve into the mess that it causes in the lives of those that are directly affected. 

Today, not only are we remembering the day that she came but we are remembering all the days directly following. We are remembering the emptiness; the huge hole that she left in our home and our hearts. We are remembering the groaning and the ache of dreams that were now lost, never to be returned. In the midst of that I have this gratitude and this huge smile on my face. She brought beauty, lots and lots of beauty. 

Isaiah 61:1-3 
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord's favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. 

I don't know about you but I think it's pretty incredible that this verse comes out of the book of Isaiah. :) What a great name! :) Two years later and we are seeing the beauty that Jesus promised. 

We have watched as Jesus took this blog and used it and our Ellersley to bring more glory to himself than we ever could have done without her story. 

We have seen Him bring more compassion toward others because of Elle.

We have seen friendships grow with people we never would have ever known before our daughter.

We have been a part of loving a group of teenagers; learning how to love like Jesus loved-with a lot of grace and loads of patience. 

We have endured the breaking down of our pride and control. 

We stood by and watched as God took the reigns of our adoption journey and he made it exactly what he wanted it to be.

We stood by as he intricately timed each event and brought us to Isaiah's NICU room on the most perfect day and at the most perfect time.

We stand by each day and smile and laugh at our sweet son and the awesomeness that is our life. 

There is beauty here. 

I hear this song often but I didn't really take in the words until recently. It gives me goosebumps and makes me cry every time I hear it now. 

We have a serious story to tell and we have a serious wound that, on some days, still needs some serious healing. I remember wanting to believe that there would be beauty here. I remember the nights crying and telling God that I knew there would be meaning here but it was so difficult for us to see. I remember this ache. 

Today, I want you all to know that there is beauty here and there is beauty in whatever the situation is for you. Jesus is watching and He is hoping that soon you will see the beauty and the meaning behind the ache that you have. I will be praying for you all today...there is beauty there and I will pray that today you will see it. 

Our Ellersley Grace, 

If you were here you would be two years old today. We would be making gluten-free pancakes and singing Happy Birthday to you over and over again today. We would be having a party tonight with our family and you would be the center of all the attention. You would be in a sparkly hot pink tutu and big bows in your pretty strawberry blonde hair. You would be beautiful. Today, we miss you so very much Elle. We love you and we are so very grateful for your big life. We cannot even begin to count all the good that you brought with you and two years later we are so very full of joy over that. We will celebrate you today with your baby brother. We will take him to your stone and we will leave a balloon for you and tonight we will send you two balloons and your princess lantern. We will read the story of you to him and tell him all about how stinkin' gorgeous and special you are, just like him. We wish you were here to celebrate with us but we know that this plan is the best plan. We are so overjoyed at the beauty that you brought and the beauty that Jesus has given in place of the ashes. We love you our sweet girl and Daddy and I are so happy that we are 2 years closer to seeing your beautiful face again... We love you to the moon and back always and forever...

Mama and Daddy

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My life flashed before my eyes...

Today a life flashed before my eyes. 

Visions of a dark-haired little 5 year old with his back pack on waiting for the bus. 

Visions of big 3 year old squeezes. 

Visions of he and daddy playing baseball together in our yard. 

Visions of him running to us for huge hugs after his first t-ball game. 

Visions of him growing up in church and worshiping Jesus with all his heart. 

Snapshots of moments that have not ever happened flashing so quickly through my mind. 

Today something happened that has not happened in Isaiah's 8.5 months of life. He stopped breathing and 911 was called. We are still not sure what exactly happened, we thought he was choking but now we aren't sure if it was maybe some type of seizure. He was turning red and not moving; eyes wide and his body complete dead weight in my arms. His lips eventually started turning purple and he was not responding to our cries and pleas. I was beating his back to try to get him to spit up whatever it was that he was choking on but nothing was coming up. After 45 seconds which seemed like 45 days he started making noises and moving his eyes and coughing and a tiny cry escaped. He came to and stared at us like he had no idea what had just happened but that we should definitely calm down! 

Once he came to he was very pale and almost blue around his lips but eventually with time that went away and his normal color returned. The paramedics checked him out and said he seemed fine with perfectly clear lungs. He had no other issues and they let us decide if a hospital visit was necessary which we very gingerly decided it was not needed. 

When you have a past that is riddled with death and fear and anxiety these moments are exceedingly above and beyond description. We panicked to say the least and it was not pretty. Our son was not breathing. The weight of him in my arms, not moving, was a bit too much to handle. 

People tell their near death experiences and they always say that their life flashed before their eyes. All that they have experienced in life came flooding back in tiny pictures and snapshots like a movie reel that was out of control and could not be stopped. When you have a baby that dies these snapshots are a bit different. When Wesley handed me our daughter that was not breathing in that hospital room my mind did not flash back to the time we had with her, it flashed forward to all of the time that we would not have with her. 

It flashed to our first Christmas with a baby girl with a beautiful dress and a huge headband and bow. 

It flashed to Disney Princess dresses all over our house. 

It flashed to her first Daddy/daughter date night. 

It flashed to painted tiny toe nails and tiny fingers. 

It flashed to sweet sixteen. 

It flashed to her wedding day. 

Today, when Isaiah stopped breathing all I could see was all the moments that we have been dreaming of for oh so long. I could not even see the past 8.5 months; I could only see those dreams that were way too close to being shattered. Everyone around after Isaiah's incident today kept asking if he was our first baby. I love and hate that question all in one. I wish they knew that he wasn't our first baby because there was an almost 2 year old running around our feet. We said, "No, he is not our first baby...our first daughter passed away at birth...so this was a rather scary event."

We are in Orlando. We are with a group of our students who are here competing in a Fine Arts competition. This has been an incredible trip; one full of joy and laughter and wonderful relationship building. We are so very blessed. Today, after Isaiah's incident we went into a room and sat and watched some dramas. One of them used this song and I almost broke down into a billion tears right there in front of a room full of people. Jesus is always watching and He is always listening...

There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well" 

He is my peace 

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise 

He is my strength 

There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes  

The shadows will disappear

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead 


I will rise. . . I will rise above the darkness, above the pain, above the ache, above the fear, above the worry, above the sorrow, above the shadows...We will rise. 

Jesus, thank you from the depths of our hearts for being in the middle of every situation that we find ourselves in. I wasn't really thinking we needed one but thank you for the reminder today of just how much we love Isaiah. Thank you for the intense gift you have given us in him. Thank you for the precious life that he is and the joy that he brings to our family every single second of every single day. Jesus, we would deeply appreciate it if that NEVER happened again. It just felt a little too close for comfort if you get our drift. Thank you for being there today and here right now. Calm us and help us to take the peace and the strength and the joy that you so freely offer with each new morning. Thank you for protecting our Bubby, we know that you only have the best plan for his sweet, big life. P.s. We sorta love him a lot so if he could stay around for well, a lifetime (meaning a whole bunch of years) that would be awesome... 

Elle and Saiah Sammy's mama and daddy