Friday, September 24, 2010

Shape Changing.

Our lives as clay in the hands of a Potter means that our shape is in constant change. I have been thinking about this quite a bit as of late. I realized so fully how my shape had been changed after Gracie passed away. For the first time in my life, I realized I didn't know who I was. Things that would have normally 'rolled off my shoulders' would bear me down to the point of knocking me out! I remember going to a play-date at a park with a friend shortly after Gracie passed away. I didn't know many of the moms that would be there, but the 'Nelia pre-Gracie' had no troubles fitting in and making friends.

So off I went with Olivia and Isaiah. I was the first one there - so I started playing with my little ones on the swings. Then slowly the other moms and their healthy babies and toddlers arrived. I was watching them from the other side of the park and just felt as though I did not fit in. I could see them laughing and enjoying that lovely spring day - and I felt like hurling. Literally - I felt sick to my stomach...and experienced what I found out later was a panic attack. I scooped up my 4 and 2 & 1/2 year old and left. By the time I got them in their car seats, it was taking everything in me to keep the tears from raging and that lump in my throat from taking over my windpipe. Once home and the kids were safe with Drew I went up to my room and released all the pent up held back raw emotions. Who was I? Where do I fit? How do I continue life without my baby? How do I enter a conversation where moms are talking about late nights, or the constant diaper changes? Question after question after question.

Looking back now I can see this was the beginning of my greatest re-shaping. I had experienced the pain of the break - Lord only knows. But this was the kneading, the molding and it was so uncomfortable. The knowledge that I would never be the shape I was before brought a pain all of its own. Yet, as I leaned into the pain, leaned into the kneading, I started to realized this new shape was a better fit. I was softer, more patient, and this new shape has given me the gift of living a more missional life, a life that is more heaven minded.

I chose to name the blog "Beautifully Mended" for there came a beauty that was only born from the pain. But in order to be mended you must allow the pain, you must lean into it instead of running away from it. You must allow the Potter the freedom to do as He chooses. There were times when I thought...yep I'm feeling good I am on the verge of the final product here - my shape is looking good. Then out of the blue - whamo! The Potter started again. Yet each time He started again, the clay was softer, more palpable and was ready for the next stage. For this life is in constant motion, as will our shape continue to be.

I chose the word 'mended' carefully because I am not completely healed, nor anywhere near complete. My final shape will be completed the day I meet my Maker face to face. Once I see how perfectly I fit in the hands of the Potter - my final shape will be will have withstood the fires of hell, refining it to my finished state. Finally my shape will go from being beautifully mended to beautifully healed and perfected. My prayer is that the Potter will look at me His beloved creation and say - "Well done my good and faithful servant."

"So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him." Jer. 18:3-4

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Gift of Balance.

One of the lessons I have learned through my grief journey is learning how to be both happy and sad in the same moment and have both be true. Before Gracie, I don't think I could have believed such a statement as I thought you can not be fully and truly happy or have joy in your heart if you are just as equally sad. Yet, my lovely counsellor Margo helped me see that, yes in fact I could be both, at the same time and both be true.

In the early days of my grief, Olivia or Isaiah would inveitably do something or say something silly, or cute as little ones so often do and I would catch myself chuckling and immediately a wave of guilt would hit. 'How can you be laughing when you've just lost your sweet Gracie?' Then other times, I would be having a 'down' day, and those around me were laughing and enjoying life, and again, guilt would rush over me like a wave. 'Your family needs you to be 'up' and enjoy life...they don't deserve to lose you too.' So I was stuck in this dichotomy and feeling very tossed by the waves of guilt.

Then the thought of learning how to balance both opposing emotions was presented to me. At first I scoffed (because I like things to make sense) and goodness gracious, this did NOT make sense to me. Yet as I meditated on scriptures, journaled and prayed I realized that perhaps both emotions could be true. For when I was enjoying watching Olivia and Isaiah ride those crazy tea-cups at Disney and could see their bright shiny faces, free from the grief of their little lives, I could not help but feel happy. Yet there was a piece of me that missed Gracie and wished she was there with us. Happy AND sad...and finding that balance of allowing myself to be both of those emotions raised me up from the oceans depth and gave me a safe place to stand, and eventually learned to balance. Afterall, King David knew the balance. He would cry out to God in his angst and despair, yet he never stayed there too long. He wrote the Psalms in this way - the whole book is this delicate balance. Psalm 27 - is a Psalm that brought a great deal of peace to my soul in my days and nights despair. Verse 1 - the Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? Verse 3 - though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear. Last verse 13 - I am confident in this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. The balance...yes you may be afraid of what your circumstances may be, but learn from David and be confident that you will see the goodness of the Lord even in the midst of the turmoil.

Some days the balance comes easily, others days it still feels next to impossible. Yet, no matter how tall the wave, or how hard the crash, I know that God will always bring me back to a place of balance. One day though, I will not have to 'balance' anymore for everything will be perfected, for all eternity. Oh how I long for that day...but for now I am thankful for God's gift of balance.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rain, Rain You Know My Pain

There is something about the rain that actually soothes my soul. I know we get a lot of it here on the West Coast, and I do admit it can be a bit much after months and months of grey skies, yet I do enjoy the rain. When it is raining, I feel like the whole world is feeling my pain and loss. I feel like the whole world is crying along with me. After a long, hard, pounding rain the earth is cleansed, refreshed and fragrant. Similarly, I feel the same after a deep and painful cry, I feel refreshed and released of the pent up sadness and ready to go take that next step.

It has been two years this Sept. 11th that I was standing alone in the hospital hallway of Children's Hospital as the Pediatric Neurologist looked at me and said "I'm sorry but, there is nothing more we can may want to call your family in to say their good-byes." The world came to a complete halt as I tried to compute what she was saying to me. I cried out to God - "please Lord...not yet...I haven't held her enough" Later that evening we were in a hospital room surrounded by our family relaying the unfathomable news that the Drs. had done all that they could for our sweet Gracie. A room was booked for us at Canuck Place as they anticipated the end of life was near for our sweet one. But the Lord heard my gut-wrenched plea for more time to enjoy my baby - for more time to just be her mama and not her doctor or nurse, or pharmacist. More time to hold her more, kiss her more, study her every smile and twinkle of eye. Jesus heard my cries, turned His face to me and answered my most painful plea. I will forever be thankful for those extra months with Gracie. They were difficult, but each moment was a gift and I would continually hear Him whisper to my heart - remember...take the time just to love her and I did...I loved her knowing that one day I would miss her but I would know that I loved her with no regrets. I am forever thankful for the clarity given to me that day, and for Jesus meeting me in the valley and guiding me through the darkness.

So today as it rains, I too allow the tears to flow, knowing that with each tear that falls, some of the pain is released, cleansing my heart from the deep wounds that reside there. Knowing full well that one day when I stand before my Saviour, there will be a sweet fragrance borne only from allowing the pain of the rain.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A Return to a New Beginning...

After a LONG drought from blogging I have returned! I feel the need to write - not necessarily so that people will read my words and thoughts (but I am more than happy if they do) but the need stems from a longing to express the emotions and thoughts of a grieving mother who has learned to live in spite of the pain.

My heart has been broken. Into too many pieces to count. I thought I would never live to see the day where I could say it was mended. The process was painful, the result nothing short of miraculous. My broken heart is and forever will be beautifully mended. I hope to tell the story of my sweet baby and the lessons she has taught me through this venue and share with you the journey to a beautifully mended heart.