Sunday, July 20, 2008

3 Month Anniversary

It doesn't seem possible that it has been 3 months since we held Chloe for the first and last time. It feels like so much longer in some ways. Like a distant dream. Until I start to think about it. Then the tears come and the pain cuts through my heart and my entire body aches with grief and loss. It is still too much for my mind to comprehend at times. That this is our reality. That we actually held our stillborn baby girl in our arms 3 months ago and we won't see her again on Earth. She won't magically be born healthy on her due date, September 4. She won't be wrapped in the beautiful pink blanket that was hand quilted with love by a ministry at Saddleback Church that made one for each baby in Heaven for the parents in our Empty Arms Support Group.

Today I'm angry. I'm tired. I'm sad. I'm heart broken. I wish it didn't have to be this way.

I'm thankful for the time we had with Chloe and the for the way she impacted our lives and the lives of people who loved her and heard her story. But I also wish we could still have her here. That we could have been changed without losing her. That growth didn't require so much pain. That life could be easy instead of so hard.

The last few days have been hard. I've been anxious, frazzled, and tense. I knew it was because Saturday was approaching and it was the 3 month anniversary of Chloe's delivery. I didn't know what to expect. I assumed it would be easier than the 1st or 2nd month anniversary, but it was still an unknown.

I woke up at 5:30am and couldn't go back to bed. I got busy right away. I was so tense that I felt compelled to let out some of the tension by exterting some energy. That doesn't really work for me - instead I end up trying to do 3 things at once and end up more stressed out. I baked a cake, made breakfast and made lunch - simultaneously. It was insanity.

In hindsight, I think I was trying to be productive because then I could feel like I achieved something. Maybe I needed something tangible, because with grief - it isn't concrete. It is so grey and uncertain. Looking at breakfast, lunch, and dessert showed a result from my effort. I know there is a result from the effort I put into grieving. But for some reason having something tangible helped me to feel better. Plus it was food - which always makes me smile.

When Jose' came down for breakfast I let him know I was fragile and to please not push my buttons or joke around with me. Then I let him know we had a yummy breakfast to celebrate Chloe's 3 month Heaven homecoming. He smiled.

She is in a better place - I know that and believe that with every cell of my body. And yet, I wish she could be here with us. I wish she was here with us to love her, touch her, hear her baby sounds, smell that heavenly baby scent, and just enjoy her. My heart breaks that we didn't have more time with her. I realize there wouldn't have ever been "enough time." No matter how much we had, I would have wanted more. But just one minute to see her take a breath. To see her look into my eyes. To see her hands or feet move. To hear her make a sound. What I would give to experience that with her. My heart aches because I missed out on all those "little things."

I know that I am different because of her. She touched my life in a way that nothing else and no one else could. She has brought me closer to Jose' and closer to God. For that I am deeply grateful. I'm reminded of her impact on our lives daily. In relationships that didn't exist 4 months ago that now touch my heart in deep places. In my willingness to be vulnerable in a way that I never was before. In my desire to talk about how God has been faithful and present in our lives over the last 4 months in ways I never imagined. We are forever changed because of a little girl that never said a word. Never breathed a breath. The weight and impact on our lives is greater than any other experience - and yet she only weighed 7.6 ounces. How is that possible? She was a miracle. And her legacy lives on.

It is good to be here, sharing about Chloe. It makes my heart full. It helps me feel connected to her. I treasure everything that reminds me of her and helps me to feel close to her. There is so much more to share. But...another day. For a little while longer, I just want to "be" with my memories of Chloe.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Angie Smith introduced me to and now I'm hooked!!! Their free daily devotional has really ministered to me. Two days ago - fear. Today - faith. As I read about faith, I kept thinking, "Yes, that is just how it was with us." Every thing in front of us was new, different, and scary when we heard the news about Chloe. All we did was step out in faith and God did the rest. His grace is sufficient.

Each time I read the word faith in the devotional it reminded me why we named our daughter Chloe Faith. Each day God is showing me the truth of these words. I keep taking one step at a time and God does the rest. One of the many incredible "ah-ha's" as I learn about faith is that I have more peace than ever.

I hope this is an encouragement to take whatever step of faith is before you. He is bigger than any challenge we face. Keep your eyes on Him.

Pick Up Your Umbrella!
by Mary Southerland
from the Girlfriends in God Daily Devotional

Today's Truth

Matthew 21:21-22 I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.

Friend to Friend

We all have faith! We go to a doctor we hardly know. He hands us a prescription we cannot read. We take that prescription to a pharmacist we have never met. He gives us a medication we do not recognize or understand -- and we take it...all in faith! Faith in God does not come all at once. Faith is a step-by-step process that begins with one small step and increases as we go. An Old Testament story found in Joshua 3 illustrates this truth. Here's the picture!

The Israelites are camped on the bank of the Jordan River . Forty years earlier, they had escaped from Egypt and have been wandering around in the wilderness ever since. All of their needs have been met by God. They have seen miracle after miracle and now they can see Canaan , the Promised Land. However, there is a problem.

A huge river stands between them and the Promised Land and there is no way around it. To make things worse, it is flood season and the usual places to cross are covered with deep, rushing water. The Israelites knew God could stop the river right before their eyes or He could throw a bridge across it - but He doesn't. Instead, He gives Joshua some strange orders.

· First order

The people are to keep an eye on the Ark of the Covenant.

· Second order

As soon as they see the priests carrying the Ark , they are to fall in behind them.

· Third order

Joshua tells the people to expect amazing things to happen.

· Fourth order

Joshua commands the priests to pick up the Ark and stand in the river.

God told His people that He would make a dry path through the river but the priests had never seen that happen. In fact, they hadn't even been born when the Red Sea was parted and there were no reruns of the Ten Commandments at the local Wilderness Theatre. The Israelites had spent their entire adult lives in the wilderness and finally, could see a way out. Oh, and one more problem - the priests couldn't swim! This was probably the first river they have ever been close to. I can imagine their fear and questions. God was asking them to step out in faith as never before.

I don't imagine the Israelites had a great deal of faith in God at that moment, but they had just enough faith to take that first step!

Joshua 3:15-17 During harvest the Jordan overflows its banks. When the priests carrying the Ark came to the edge of the river and stepped into the water, the water upstream stopped flowing. It stood up in a heap. So the people crossed over. (NCV)

Notice that God did nothing until those toes touched the water! That first step was all God needed to see! Many times, we won't take the first step because we're afraid we won't be able to make the whole journey.

Don't wait until you believe it all!
Don't wait until you can see it all!
Don't wait until you understand it all!

Just step out in childlike faith, knowing that every step deposits faith into your spiritual account and strengthens your trust in God. Got doubts? Don't we all? One way to weaken your doubts is by strengthening your faith in God. Some people say it doesn't really matter where we place our faith, as long as our faith is real. I could not disagree more!

A United Press release told of a mid-western hospital where officials discovered that the firefighting equipment had never been connected. For 35 years, the medical staff and the patients had believed in this system, but it had never been attached to the city's water main. The pipe that led from the building extended 4 feet underground -- and then stopped. The expensive equipment was adequate for the building but it lacked the most important thing -- water! Yes, their faith was real but it was dangerously misplaced! We can play the religious games, say the right words and do good things, but if we do not place our faith in God, we are on dangerous ground.

A small country town was in desperate need of rain. One Sunday morning, the pastor of the church called for a special prayer meeting that night. The people gathered and when the pastor stood to lead the prayer time, his words stunned the crowd. "Only one of you came in faith." He looked down at the first row where a little girl sat - her umbrella in her hand. We can pray for rain, but we have faith when we pick up the umbrella!

Let's pray

Father God, I seem to have so little faith so much of the time. The mountains before me seem so tall and the raging rivers seem so deep. Help me take that first, tiny step of faith -- through my fear, through my doubts -- and even if it seems illogical. I want to live by faith, not by sight, Lord. Please help my faith grow with each step I take.
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen

Now it's Your Turn

How would you define faith?

How strong is your faith -- on a scale of 1 to 10, using one as the weakest level.

Create an acrostic using the word "faith" to illustrate your thoughts on faith:

F _______________________________

A _______________________________

I _______________________________

T ________________________________

H ________________________________

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Often I long to post something on the blog. To connect. To reach out. To get the thoughts out of my head. I feel like my brain is a pin ball machine. The thoughts move so quickly from one idea, question, or concern to the next. Boing. Boing. They move so fast that I can barely keep up with them. Sometimes it feels like there are two balls bouncing around at once. I don’t feel relief until the ball stops – when I shoot the words out of my head.

I heard someone say they have a Ferrari mind in a Saturn body – that is how I feel most of the time. The truth is, my mind worked this way before Chloe was born, but now there is another layer of emotions and thoughts that bounce around inside my head. I have to remind myself to stop the madness and be still, pray, and step back to get perspective so I can redirect my thinking. It is a lot of work these days to take every thought captive and try to live in the moment. Trusting that God will take care of our future and that I don't need to know everything in advance.

My weekend was amazing. Alpha Delta Pi Leadership Seminar was in Atlanta from Wednesday through Sunday. It is always wonderful to spend time with my ADPi sisters from around the country and Canada, to get fired up, and gather tons of new ideas. It was that and more.

The more is the part I’d like to share. Eight moms who have shared their stories of loss through their blogs met in Atlanta, GA for the Beth Moore conference. Part of the reason why this is all such a miracle is because I live in CA and they are from TX, PA, TN, NY, etc. They are women I had never met face to face, never heard their voices before, or even knew they existed 3 months ago. Just being with them for an hour was balm to my grieving heart.

Their gathering marked the 1 year anniversary of Miller Grace’s death and was a special time to honor the lives of their sons and daughters who are in Heaven dancing with Jesus. It was beautiful to see them together. It was a miracle to be able to join them and a gracious gift that they were willing to welcome me. I was honored to be with these women who have been an inspiration during my journey. There are no words to describe how meaningful it was to be with them. It was like allowing a visitor into a Ya-Ya Sisterhood secret meeting. Their time was sacred and precious and they allowed me to be part of it. Thank you Kenzie, Emily, Kim, Kristy, Angie, Yvette, Chrissy and Karen. I could never adequately describe how much it meant to be with you.

I couldn’t stop smiling when I was with them. I felt so happy and at peace just being in their presence. If I started to cry I knew I would break down in tears, have blurred vision, and then I couldn’t capture every second in my mind to recall later. So I waited until they left and then it hit me. It was such a precious meeting, but too brief.

The rest of the weekend was filled with seeing friends who knew about Chloe and some who hadn’t even heard I was pregnant. It was a strange balancing act. I wish I could say that I wasn’t trying to balance all of it and that I was able to be “real” all the time, but that wouldn’t be true. I realized quickly that I couldn’t continue to tell the story over and over all weekend. It was too difficult. I love Chloe’s story and I love to talk about her. But recalling and retelling everything over and over so soon after her passing was more than I could handle. There were times when I wanted to talk about her and people may have been afraid to ask or there wasn’t time to adequately share how special and important Chloe’s life was even though it was so short.

There were many times that I felt like if I wasn’t “on” that I would break down in a puddle of tears and not be able to stop crying. And then I might miss something good. I didn’t want to miss a minute. I knew I could break down at home when everything started to sink in. So, here I am, tears flowing. Feeling like an emotional wreck, yet knowing that the tears need to flow in order to heal. And that most of the tears are tears of love, joy, gratitude and praise.

Part of what made the weekend difficult is that when I saw my friends who knew about Chloe their love and support was overwhelming. The way they looked at me, asked how I was doing, and really cared. They were comforting, consoling and loving – just what I needed, but also what overwhelms me. I’m so blessed to have so many beautiful heart friends.

In my mind, there are acquaintances, friends, and heart friends. Heart friends are treasures. The relationship transcends most other friendships and you know when you have a heart friend in an instant. Your heart tells you. There is a feeling that you have experienced something incredible just by connecting with them. You feel it so deeply that you know your friendship will never be the same and that this person will have a special place in your heart forever. Your friendship is special. It is different. It is more.

I’m blessed to have so many heart friends. I’m thankful that because of Chloe, I have friends that have been upgraded to heart friends. Thank you to all my heart friends who reached out with hugs, offers to pray together, looks of confidence and encouragement this weekend. My heart is full because of you.