Monthly Archives

March 2008

Audrey, pregnancy

Carry You

We had a really hard day on Tuesday. It started out by going to a funeral home and choosing a resting place for our little girl. No mother should ever have to walk around and stare at tombstones while her child hiccups and shifts within her. It was the most unnatural, horrible feeling I can think to describe. As we met with the director, we made our agenda clear. “We don’t have the final say on this baby. If God chooses to heal her, none of this will be necessary. We just want to have this taken care of in the event that…well, you know.” 
She nodded the nod that means that she didn’t really understand. She told me how difficult this must all be for me, and yes, I agreed that it was. For some reason, though, I was handling it better than I thought I would.  I had dreaded this moment so much, and now that I was in it, it wasn’t what I thought it would be.  
I think she wondered how someone could be going through all of this and not be hysterical. It’s not that I don’t cry…I cry several times a day. Sometimes to the point where I can’t breathe and I just feel like I am drowning.  But not here.  Not about this. 
She asked a few more emotional questions to lead me into the “deep place” where they must try and help people get to.  As we flipped through catalogs, it started to make sense in my mind..somewhere between the gravestones and the “cadillac of caskets,” I felt that voice rising up within me that doesn’t settle back down until it is heard.

I looked her right in the eye.  I needed her attention. I was kind, but determined.

“If you are wondering why we are approaching this the way that we are, please allow me to explain.  We are not emotionless.  This is the hardest season of our lives up until this point. But I need you to understand that we don’t believe that she will be in this box.  Because of Who we believe in, we know that what we are choosing here is somewhat irrelevant.  She will be in heaven with our Lord.  I hope this makes sense.” 
I think this kind of threw off her sales pitch. But I wanted her to know. I get the feeling they don’t see themselves as “Plan B” very often.
We went to the OB after that…it was, to put it mildly, completely shocking. After further discussing the delivery options, we have unanimously decided that a c-section is the best and safest way to deliver Audrey. Based on what I am physically feeling (and it’s not pleasant), she may have shifted herself a little…probably into a frank breech position, but possibly head down (which would be a MIRACLE and would change our approach to delivery dramatically). There were graphic details that neither of us were prepared to hear, and we are both still processing those. It seems like when we can’t take any more, God asks that we do. I am so down today…physically, mentally, spiritually.  We were supposed to meet with our pastor this afternoon, but we canceled because I feel like my body needs to be still.  He called me and we talked through some things.  He is the gentlest, kindest, humblest person you will ever meet, and he ministered to me by just being available and dedicated to listening.  Thank you, Pastor Scott.
I do want you all to know that we have set a date for Audrey’s birth.  She will be delivered on April 14th at 12 p.m.
There are many, many reasons for this decision.  We have prayed and prayed.  Because my body does not have a strong history of “doing pregnancy well,” we needed to make a decision based on when Todd was going to be home.  Neither of us would be able to live with him missing it.  I will be almost 34 weeks by then, and they are anticipating that she will be 2 pounds or less, which means that I will have to have a “classical c-section.”  Let’s just say that it isn’t optimal as far as future pregnancies, and it has certainly given us more to be considering.
I dropped a wooden puzzle on my foot today, and I screamed out in pain.  It wasn’t a scream equivalent to a bruised foot, but the scream of a woman who feels like she cannot take any more.  I fell on the floor, and Abby and Ellie jumped down from the table.  Abby patted my head while Ellie asked if she should get daddy.  Kate glanced down at me from her chair and then resumed trying to fit a triangle into a rectangle spot on her puzzle.  She gets really irritated when the shapes don’t self-adjust to her specific desires at that moment. I have no idea where she gets this temperament from…hmmmm…..
I laid there for a few minutes, talking to God.  Actually, I was throwing a temper tantrum in my head. 
Enough.  Enough.  It is ENOUGH, Lord.  I can’t do it anymore.  You chose the wrong servant. 

I finally did get up, and I continued my conversation with the Lord.  He lead me quietly back to a place where I feel a little more safe.  A little more alive.
I want to mention something else to you all that is incredibly emotional for me (in a good way). I have known for a couple days, but needed to pass it along to a few other people before I could share it publicly.  I thought it was really interesting that someone posted here and asked if I knew the song “Held” by Natalie Grant.  I do know (and love) this song.  I have also had the privilege of writing with the woman who wrote the song.  Her name is Christa Wells, and she is an angel of the rarest sort.  She was a kindred spirit to me the moment I met her, and I have treasured her gifting and her very presence in the times we have shared.  She lives out of town, and shortly after we found out about Audrey, she called to set up a songwriting appointment with Todd and me.  I explained the situation to her assistant, and when we met up in person, we cried and hugged and wrote.
What came out of the session is a song entitled “Carry You.”  It is deeply, profoundly meaningful to me.  I mentioned several postings back that we had recorded it with Allan playing piano, Amy and Todd singing, and Jason producing.  We planned to play it at Audrey’s worship service, and I wanted to post it here for others who have walked through losing a child. We begged God to use it for this purpose…to make it meaningful to people. We were not at all prepared for what He had in store…
Todd called me while he was on the road.  Amy and Allan had come to him with what had been an ongoing conversation that we knew nothing about.  They had decided that the song should be on the upcoming Selah record, and they explained that they wanted it to be more than that.  They want to have several pages in the CD booklet dedicated to her, have the girls come in and talk to her on microphone, to start considering bereavement conferences where they could sing and I could speak (Um, yeah, paralyzing stage fright…not quite here yet…).  It went on and on. 
I literally fell into a heap on my desk.  I couldn’t even talk to Todd, the words simply would not come.  There was a gratitude, a sense of joy that overwhelmed me.  It was so completely unexpected…it had literally never crossed my mind that they might want to do that.  All of a sudden, I saw it for what it was.
She is going to have a legacy.

Long beyond what I can give her, what I can speak on her behalf, she will live in the notes of a song that was written in the purest form of love possible.
Amy, Allan, Jason, Shawn…thank you for loving her (and us).  What you do in the name of Christ is far-reaching and true.  He has heard the praise of many who came to His feet because of your dedication to serve.  We are honored to be a part of the family.
Christa, thank you for your heart, your tears, and your “mother’s love.”  We are so blessed to have been able to share this hurt with you…you have helped to make it beautiful.
This is longer than I meant for it to be.  I am a bundle of emotions today…thank you for standing alongside me, and for listening.  May God return the love you have shown our family tenfold in the days to come.
Angie
  
Family, Kate

A Lot to Say

Kate does not like the idea of someone else having the spotlight…she would rather just keep going (and going and going…). I hope you giggle your way through this…I just figured out my camera can do video and I captured this yesterday. Abby is on the left, Ellie in the middle, and Kate, well, you will know which one Kate is.
I have many other things to post.  I had a very eventful day on Tuesday…we are still processing. When I can find the words, I would love to post about the day and ask for your prayer.  I will try to do it later this evening.
For now, enjoy:)  You might want to pause the music so you can hear it…but don’t expect to understand too much of it….
Ang

Audrey, devotional, pregnancy

How Deep…

Several people have asked me what a typical day is for me right now. Aside from a great day with my family (ever celebrated a holiday with Italians? Mangia!), there were a few moments that stood out, and I think they answer that question pretty well.

I took a shower and only remembered to shave one leg. I tried to look up the weather for the middle of April, hoping that Audrey would have a beautiful birthday. I answered a bunch of email, and realized that my inbox was eating them up without warning. I spent a few hours trying to send them to a place where they wouldn’t be deleted; there are about 350 that I haven’t gotten to yet.

I lined up my perfumes and tried to decide which one I wanted Audrey to smell when she comes. I held my nephew. I watched the girls hunt for eggs in our backyard (1/2 acre with no trees and a flat lot. When I say “search,” what I mean is “pick up”) I read. I cried. I didn’t make it to church because I was so upset that I couldn’t get out of bed. I prayed. I read all the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. I cried. I prayed.

The image of Jesus being mocked while he bled and suffered was unbearable today. More so than any other time I have read the story. His words, His shame, His pain. The fact that as I read those words, I am reminded that He knew my Audrey while He hung. He knew how many breaths she would have, how many tears I would cry for her, how I will run to her in heaven and rejoice that she doesn’t need her lungs there anyway because she is perfect. He knew these words before I typed them. His love is deeper than I can fathom. If you want to feel the Holy Spirit fill you, try something one day. Maybe today if you can make the time. Start by praying for God to reveal Himself in a new way to you, and then read through these words of agony and death, and imagine your face as what He saw. You were worth it. He still believes that. I hope you do too. When God turned away from His Son, and darkness crept across Calvary, He knew your face, your heart, your hurts. They are forever hidden within His wounds.

It always makes me laugh when Abby and Ellie watch Sleeping Beauty. They have seen it no less than 20 times, and yet, when it is time for Aurora’s finger to touch the spinning wheel, they cover their eyes and ask over and over, “What is going to happen to her?” The truth is that they know what is going to happen, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch. There is time between her bleeding and her waking up. The in-between is where the doubt creeps in. Where you think that evil might just win, and that the great rescue will be stifled.

I know that He will raise up, He will conquer, but when I read about the cross I want to close my eyes until the in-between is over. Today, as I read each scripture, I was struck by something I have never put too much emphasis on before. Jesus did not return to His followers as a healed man. He had scars that told the story, that brought Thomas to belief. He was alive, fully alive, and yet, not unscathed. God chose to use these wounds to remind the world what He had overcome. It seems like if I were the writer of the story, I would heal them completely. Really show people what kind of power I had. Just make it look like it never happened…complete restotation. This isn’t what God chose for Christ, and it isn’t what He chooses for any one of us.

If we are called to suffer in the name of Jesus, we bear scars as well. He doesn’t hide them when trouble has passed, but rather He allows our paths to cross with those who want to touch them, to believe in them, to fall into the arms of the one who allowed them to be inflicted.

This is why I write to you all.

I have prayed many, many times that the eyes that read these words will run their fingers along the wounded hands of Christ, letting His suffering tell you the depth of love He has for you.

This life is not about being healed.

It’s about bearing wounds for the sake of the One who bore them for us. For you.

As a psychologist, I want to help people face these hard things. To turn them into beautiful gifts to be given back to the Lord.

It is as simple as recognizing that God has chosen your suffering for a purpose, and the splendor of His plan begins to be revealed as we trust Him to do that. Tonight, as I write, I am praying that whoever reads this will pray about what their scars tell about themselves, and what they could tell about Christ. If you want to share with me, please email me personally. I would love to hear all about how God redeemed/is redeeming your wounds. I have been so blessed to have others write and invite me to praise God through their stories…it makes me want to keep learning and listening.

I could go on and on, to try and make this sound as clear and meaningful as it does in my spirit, but someone has already done it much better than I ever will. These are the lyrics for the song “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” written by Stuart Townend. It will be on the new Selah CD, and I have been listening to it over and over again this Easter season. Be blessed, and be encouraged. Today is the day of new life and resurrection…oh, and of the love that NEVER lets go.

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
(REPEAT)

Easter blessings,
Angie