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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Joy in Life

 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                               John 16:21

     This morning I was filled with joy as I read this Bible verse in my devotions. Any mother who has gone through the intense pains of labor can relate. There is nothing great about those painful contractions! However, once the baby makes a grand entrance (and I do mean grand!) into the world, there is no memory of the pain, only the joy! Once that baby is gently placed into your arms, and you see the evidence of a brand new life, the pain is replaced by love, pure love. We can truly thank God for the beautiful miracle of birth!
     It struck me this morning about the amazing beauty of life. In just 9 short months, God creates a new life. Even the smallest details, such as the fingernails, eyelids, eyebrows, and lips are so perfectly formed. As I look at the pictures of my daughter, I cannot help but be amazed at what a great God we serve! Although Caroline was born at 35 weeks, everything about her tiny body was so intricately created. She was so beautiful!
     Everyday I stand humbled at the gift that God chose to give to Josh and I.  As I walk around our house gazing at her pictures, I am reminded over and over again of  our blessings. Not only were we given 35 beautiful weeks to cherish the life of our daughter, but we were also given 19 minutes to hold and love on her while she was with us on this earth. We can also look forward to the day when we will once again hold her in our arms forever. It is such a beautiful promise that we will one day be reunited again with Caroline in heaven!
    On my way into work this morning, I struggled to see through the heavy fog. It surrounded my entire car, and I was thankful for the headlights on the cars driving around me.  Without those lights, I would have been helpless to drive safely through the darkness and the fog. As I was scanning the road ahead of me, I was hit with a thought. At this time, my life seems to be stuck in a fog. There is no consistency in my life right now. I cannot tell you from one moment to the next how I am going to feel. Often the tears hit without any warning. The shadows of grief can creep into my heart when I least expect them. I do not anticipate tomorrow, because sometimes it is hard enough to get through today. There are so many moments of sorrow and of grief, where the pain consumes my whole being. But I find that there are other moments when I feel such incredible joy, and my heart feels full from the strength of God, and the love of others. Being in a fog is not easy, in fact, I have found it impossible to plan my life while I am in the midst of it.
     I have noticed that often I feel like my life is just stuck. I am stuck between remembering the past, and embracing the future. It is an extremely difficult place to stand, and I do not  necessarily know where to go from here. But even though I am stuck in a fog right now, I know that eventually God will break through the fog of my life, and he will provide the light to shine through. This morning as I watched the sunlight break through the density of the fog, I was reminded that I will not be stuck in this fog forever. One day I will be able to see the light break through my pain and suffering. Even now when I can only see a very dim and foggy picture of my life, I will continue to look forward to the moments when I will see clearly once again.
     During the past week I struggled with so many overwhelming and powerful emotions. It was not easy to get up in the morning, and often I would go to bed feeling even worse. This whole journey of grief is so new and foreign to me, and I never know what to expect from one day to the next. But I do know that last week was one of the hardest weeks I have experienced since we lost Caroline three months ago. I can say with all honesty that God has been carrying me throughout this past week, because I did not know where to put my foot down next. There were many days when I just did not think that life could get any worse. But despite the awful fog that consumed my heart for so long, God was able to clear the fog to let me once again see the sunshine. Today as I write these words, I feel happiness inside my heart. Even though I have faced the indescribable pain of losing a baby, and even though I know it will not necessarily get easier any time soon, I can say without a doubt that I am still so incredibly blessed!
     God has given me so many amazing things for which to be thankful. I have an amazing family who loves and supports me unconditionally. They are there for me in the good times and in the bad times. I could not have ever walked this journey without the blessing of family.
     God has given me wonderful friends who have chosen to stand by my side. Even though it is not easy to know what to say and what to do in this type of situation, my friends have gone above and beyond to bless my life in so many ways.
     I have found comfort in the hugs of others. It means the world to me when I receive a simple hug from someone who just wants to show that they care. I have found that it is so true when they say that actions speak louder than words. One of my greatest blessings is hugs from others!
     God has blessed me with those who take the time to send me encouraging messages. I have been so overwhelmed by the love I have felt through all of the cards, texts, phone calls, and messages that I have received from so many wonderful people. It is such a blessing just to know that you care, and that you are still thinking and praying for Josh and I. We thank God each night for all of the amazing people he has placed in our lives.
     Each time I come on my blog site I feel so blessed! It never ceases to amaze me at how many people continue to read my blog posts. Thank you to each and every person who takes the time to read about our journey. It is such an inspiration to me, and it motivates me to continue writing and sharing Caroline's story.
      One of my greatest blessings is the lesson I have learned about never taking the little things for granted. Before, I went about my life with eyes closed to the miracles that take place around us every day. Now I have been given another chance to see the world through open eyes. Never again will I look at a butterfly the same way. Never again will I just walk past the delicate petals of an newly opened rose bud. Never again will I forget to savor the sounds of laughter, and the innocence of a baby's cry. Never again will I turn my head away from the flutters of a hummingbird, or close my eyes on a blue sky filled with puffy white clouds. Never again will I gaze without wonder at a brightly lit star in the night sky. Never again will I miss out on an opportunity to hug a friend, or make someone else smile. Never again will I forget to cherish the warmth of a soft blanket, or the peace that comes after a good hard cry. Never again will I forget the miracle of birth, and the unspeakable joy that comes from the pain.  

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
                                                                                                                                 James 1:17

1 comment:

  1. You and Josh continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. May you bask in God's love today! Blessings, Joanne