Friday, October 25, 2013

He is Just

This past month, my mind has been imposed upon by so many thoughts. Thoughts from the enemy, thoughts from man, and thoughts from the Lord.

For a few more days, it will still be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. I did some research on how it came to be and it astounded me. Did you know that Ronald Reagan was the man to proclaim this month as such?

October 25, 1988
 By the President of the United States of America: A Proclamation

      "Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.
       Health care professionals recognize that trends of recent years, such as smaller family size and the postponement of childbearing, adds another dimension of poignance to the grief of parents who have lost infants. More than 700 local, national, and international support groups are supplying programs and strategies designed to help parents cope with their loss. Parents who have suffered their own losses, health care professionals, and specially trained hospital staff members are helping newly bereaved parents deal constructively with loss.
       Compassionate Americans are also assisting women who suffer bereavement, guilt, and emotional and physical trauma that accompany post-abortion syndrome. We can and must do a much better job of encouraging adoption as an alternative to abortion; of helping the single parents who wish to raise their babies; and of offering friendship and temporal support to the courageous women and girls who give their children the gifts of life and loving adoptive parents. We can be truly grateful for the devotion and concern provided by all of these citizens, and we should offer them our cooperation and support as well.
       The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 314, has designated the month of October 1988 as ``Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.
      Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United Statesto observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
      In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth."
                                                              Ronald Reagan

I know that was long, and I apologize that I will even continue to write out my thoughts even more. I just was unsure that you would read that if I just posted a link to it and realize how much more respect he deserves...he got more from me! I digress. 

Something that I consistently struggle with is criticism. I am critical of others, of my husband, and of myself--hugely myself. This does not excuse the behavior.

I remember being critical of people that would let miscarriages ruin their marriage. I see myself being critical of those who have't had loss. I have been super critical of ones who never try to come alongside Sim and I to encourage us. unfortunately, the time I have been most critical of everyone, has been this month. 

I have felt like shouting at people, out of frustration, "Sharing this photo on Facebook (on your timeline and to no one in particular), and not trying to actually connect with the so called friends you know that have gone through this does not make you great! It doesn't make you  remember, it doesn't make you kind! It doesn't make you important for all to see, it doesn't make your friends that have experienced this loss feel loved on this day, in this month. This picture does nothing but show that you are pretending!" Aren't I just horrible? Although these frustrations stem from true emotions, and realization that the human race is just plain selfish, it still doesn't make it right. Do you want to know the worse best thing about being put through this hurt? You see how much others fail at what you would like and realize that you, yourself are no better. It kills. Your emotions are justified, they are fair, they make sense, but you are still being forced to mature, to change, to become more like Christ and less like others. It's so hard....not that many others would care to know. See, I am so selfish and mad, because others are selfish...if that isn't rough, I don't know what is.

What am I trying to say with this post? Essentially that our Father is Just. Who cares if someone doesn't ask me how I am doing? Who cares if they don't realize how ignorance hurts? Who cares, because ultimately, they will have Christ to answer to, just like I do. I will be held accountable for who I could have been helping when I wanted to be helped. I will be held accountable for my fleshly selfishness, I will be held accountable for my actions for not encouraging, for not loving, and for not meeting others the way Christ meets us.

I have also been thinking about how Christ is Just in pointing our our own lackluster areas. I remember, there was this one couple with a family, and they were separated. Through the grapevine, I heard that it was primarily because of a miscarriage. Of course this was when I went through the first one of ours (which I didn't even know I was pregnant for, until after the fact), and I thought how stupid and immature it was that this couple, older, and married longer, would just throw it away.  I was the walking epitome of 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me."  Looking back, I am appalled by my behaviors and judgement I had. Sadly, it isn't because I have just realized it, but because through these trials, there have been many temptations for divorce. I have seen and experienced first hand how easy it is to want a divorce because it feels like your spouse doesn't have the same emotional hurt that is life-altering and paralyzing at the same time. You feel so alone, and he doesn't get it, doesn't understand. He doesn't see the loneliness, he just sees the anger and he starts to despise you for it. You start resenting that he just doesn't understand--that you are daily, constantly in a whirlwind of pain, that every little thing is a reminder. I ache inside that I so quickly criticized, knowing next to nothing. On top of that, it was essentially gossip from where I got my information from. I judged and I regret. I walked in their shoes for a little bit--if those were even the shoes. I judged, and now, I bet, others are judging me--for how I react, what I write, what I say, my overbearing desire to let others know what this path is like to help help me. 

God is the only one who is simultaneously just and loving. Most humans tend to lean one way or the other, never fully exhibiting those two traits of our Father in perfect synchronization. These days, I realize that when I criticizing others, I am ultimately, making it harder and harder for Christ's ultimate completion in my heart. I must always remember, that being righteous will always be more important than being right. 

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

To 4 Adventurous Years!

Dear Simeon, 

Today is our 4th year Anniversary! I was just thinking about all the adventures, good and bad we've had the last few years. For one, we got married...that was fun.  I think of Ruth 1:16 "... Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me" 
I think about our honeymoon, and the adventures that entailed--Duane, the ER in a different city, trying to ward off the Jamaicans to not keep asking us to buy stuff, the ridiculous rainfall, watching Mall Cop on the boat whilst sitting in the hot tub, Dunn's River Falls, the museum, the aquarium, and last but not least, the buffets! It was our first great learning adventure, and I treasure it because of that.I remember our first year anniversary--going to Colorado for a few days by our selves, shopping and relaxing. I remember in our second year, we went on a trip with our friends instead.  I remember having to put our arguments away for a change (at the time). I remember how much fun we had exploring together, Pike's Peak donuts, shopping, Jamba Juice, I remember our first vacation like adventure that we had planned.

I remember buying our first house and being able to celebrate our third anniversary in our house! I remember going to Beauty and the Beast, I remember you surprising me with Maximus (a legit surprise). Unfortunately, I still remember arguing with you all the time too. I was not a nice wife, that's for sure. Learning how to deal with each other is another we may never stop being on.

In the midst of this third year I remember being excited to announce this little joy. I remember taking the pictures, telling friends and family, I remember the happiness and completion we felt. And I remember it all crashing down in a day. I remember the hurt, the pain, the ache in our hearts that we had lost our little Nathaniel. I remember the utter despair I felt.  
 I remember acting on faith with the nursery, and the morning we found out that there was hope again. I remember the flood of emotions, fear at first, then the ultimate calming from our Lord. I remember dreaming, hoping, praying. I remember preparing, I remember being happy, I remember how much we clung to each other in love. Something that we did just a few short weeks later, when we learned that this child too, had found their home in heaven. I remember thinking that the despair I felt before was no comparison to having to decide to terminate the pregnancy. I remember the roller coasters of hope that it was a misdiagnosis,and the reality that it probably wasn't. I remember the world crashing down with it's weight on me, and me crushing it to you.

In between these two pregnancies, I remember going on a trip of a lifetime with your family. I remember the delicious salmon, the delectable food (right babe), I remember the jokes, and the laughter around the table every night for supper). I remember seeing whales for the first time in Seattle--orcas no less! I remember seeing so much wildlife, and going on so many adventures! The jeeps, the canoe, the shopping (because with me, that's always an adventure), the bears, the ocean, the hiccups, Chuck Swindoll, the entertainment. I remember so much. "Your people shall be my people". Your family is my family, and I am so blessed that you have brought me into it so willingly and lovingly. I remember your words of love to me on the trip, to encourage me, to strengthen me. I remember you gaining a lot of weight (sorry, too funny not to mention). I remember feeling relief from the weight of the world. 

 I remember after losing our last child, you surprised me with Maci. You don't particularly like dogs, but I remember you going out of your way to give me her, to help heal my broken heart. I am so thankful for her and Maximus. They have soothed me many times, when you don't even know. They have a sense of knowing when something is wrong. Thank you for her and Maximus. 

Our fourth year has brought even more adventures than I could ever imagine! The Color Run--something I thought I would never be able to do, either physically or just ever get you to do it! It was a blast doing it with you, and doing it with our friends. I was so thankful that you did it with me, even though you had been struggling with running. If you haven't got me figured out yet, anything that involves getting messy for fun is one of my favorite things! That's probably why you planned a water fight for my birthday this year. It was the most fun party I have ever had, and the fact that you planned it down to the last detail (getting me coconut milk ice cream) was so special to me. Thank you.

Over the last 4 years, I look at our adventures. Some in the valley's, some on the mountains (actually quite literally). I think of the vows we took, "For better or worse". Simeon, you have been my better. You have made me better. Ultimately, you have stuck with me through my worse yet, even when I was pushing you away. Our adventures may not always be grand. Our adventures may not always be pleasant. Our adventures may not always be so dismal. Our adventures will be just that--ours, no one else's. One thing I know, because of the love that Christ gives us to actually love each other, that we will be looking forward, with delight, and with readiness at whatever adventure comes next. I love you and words cannot describe how thankful and happy I am that I get to face our adventures to come, with you. I love you. Happy Anniversary.