When the phrase “Jesus holds my babies in His loving arms” finally brings comfort

The grieving process is so multi-faceted!

Grief,

if not walked through to the other side can cause a person to shut down all emotions completely thus causing a person to become calloused, cold, and numb to not only the emotions that cause the pain but also the emotions that cause good feelings to bloom as well. I have struggled with this for many years. I have in the past year or so really released my grieve to God through several different ways.

I went to a class a couple of years back called Forgiven and Set Free led by my sweet loving friend Jodi Handran where she helped me through the process of my miscarriage and loss. I have also gone to a Grief Share group for the past year and I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life to walk me through this season. Without them I would have stayed stuck in my hurt.

I am learning that grief can come to call even when we think that we are past all the pain and that this is normal and ok. It is a reminder that we have loved deeply, even when we never saw a face to go with the names we so lovingly picked out.

Dates can still cause a pain in our hearts months and even many years after.

God is so lovingly showing me that it is ok.

That I am safe in His arms to wade through the pain.

Growing up in a Christian home Easter has always been a happy celebration.

It was a time to get a pretty new dress and celebrate our savior not only dying on the cross…

But

Conquering death and sin on our behalf by rising again.

So when my world stopped 8 years ago on the blackest of Black Fridays when I miscarried my twin babies, part of me never wanted to celebrate another Easter again.

In this process of healing though,

Jesus has reminded me some very amazing things and I hope they will touch someone helping them to enter into their own understanding and rejoicing.

I am entering a new season that part of me has yearned for and part of me has feared. It’s a season of new love, new beginnings, new promises and hope.

Yet these past couple days I have felt so torn.

I can envision part of me reaching back to the memory of my babies while my other hand reaches out to the man who is winning my heart each and every day.

10492494_10152698164972791_298828570445292136_n

My mind wars with the thought that if I truly live I am in some way forgetting the memories of my babies, yet I know that life is made to live and love.

My heart kept beating on this earth even when theirs stopped.

I couldn’t help but think back in the bible times where this internal war could have been waging in those amazing people that we have come to know through His word.

I thought of the Israelite’s as they were entering the promise land without Moses their beloved leader that put up with their moaning, rebellion and fear for 40 years! I could feel the mixed emotions they must have felt as a whole generation of their loved ones perished because of their disobedience yet the longing for the land and life that had been promised to them. I totally get it now!

Then God brought to mind the often misquoted verse in Isaiah…

Isaiah 29 is a Letter to those in Exile.

People want to jump to the verse that says..

For I know the plans I have for you, saith the Lord,

Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.”

29:11

People want to pull that verse out of context and offer it up to someone during a trying time in their lives, during a time of grief or loss.

In studying this chapter I have learned some very interesting things and they have offered me hope in this process and start to a new season in my life.

1) These words were spoken in the BEGINNING of the 70 years of exile! That used to bring dread to my heart because I looked at that as an un-fulfillment of the promise from verse 11 for those people who had to endure the exile. Yet God gave them hope even in the exile! I have found that true in my life as well!

2)  Even though God promised them a hope and a future I am sure that in the eyes of the Israelite’s it wasn’t what they imagined. Anyone that knows about the Israelites and their ways knows that they were called to separate living. Yet in verses 5-9 the prophet was saying that God was telling them to build houses and settle, to make gardens which would have taken time to produce crops, to marry and have sons and daughters, to increase and seek peace, prosperity to the enemies that carried them far from their home! The hearts of those being told this must have been so troubled and torn by this!

3) The last thing that really hit me was that God was not taking away the pain or “punishment” but offering them hope and a new life, not necessarily where the Israelites wanted or planned but a life none the less. Also a promise for abundant life if they would learn to be content in their circumstances, if they would seek the Maker with all their hearts. He promised them that He would be found and He promised restoration.

So in this process of grieving the loss of my babies I am learning that it is ok to have moments or days of struggle but when I do I have to look to God’s word and have him speak truth to my heart so that healing can continue. I have to seek Him with all my heart and know that He promises that He will be found.

On this Easter I am finally ready to be ok and even mournfully, reverently joyful in the phrase that He holds my babies in His loving embrace.

I have to remind my vacant arms that long to be the one to hold them that His promise and sacrifice this Easter is just as real as it was 2000 years ago.

3ac99ca90f447688b4d44b87eec5f7bb

He died for me.

For my sins.

Past, Present and Future.

He died for my doubt, for my fear and for my insecurities,

He didn’t stay in the grave though!

He rose again defeating death and sin!

So that now I can stand up tall, royalty in His loving gaze.

He can take my imperfections and short comings,

Not to leave me there but by His work,

not my own so that I may not boast,

He lovingly heals.

He lovingly reminds me that it’s not forgetting to move on,

It’s not irreverence to look to this new love in my life.

That when I stumble and fall,

His grace is sufficient!

And finally…

I am content that my babies are safe in His loving embrace!

I am holding to the promise that they know how much I love them,

And I look to this Easter with a new perspective!

Will next Easter be hard?

Maybe

But with each passing year and each thing I lay into God’s patient hands for healing, the aching pain and searing loss grows less and less intense, making room for love in my heart.

I am so ready for this new season!

To unfold like the strong leaves of a

vibrant yellow daffodil,

struggling through the hard frozen ground,

waiting for that moment it breaks through the unyielding soil,

to the wonderous light of sun streaking down,

nourishing it to life,

bending its face to the sweet gentle spring rain,

knowing that this new season will be glorious!

Nature Photography

What is Justice and how is it really “served”?

images (1)

I have been pretty silent on my blog the last couple months.

A lot has been going on but putting it in to words has been beyond my ability. They say grief is a cycle and that you don’t just grieve one thing.

Its called secondary grief.

It’s grieving the loss of the dreams you may have carried for years of a reconciliation some day, its grieving the fact that you will never see that person again here on earth, it’s processing through the guilt of things said or left unsaid.

On Dec. 23rd, the man who helped kill my husband Phillip was sentenced.

22 years in prison…

I can’t help but feel a heaviness and deep sadness,

however it is not over what most people would assume to be normal.

My heaviness is the thought that the two men that did this will be in prison for the majority of their lives. Most would say that this is justice.

To some it is and that is all.

Having been behind bars and facing 25 years myself,

I can tell you that justice is SO much more.

I remember visiting Phillip in prison at one point and I remember the “boy” that sat beside me trying so hard to be a man. He was so young when he went in and he had to become this tough, bad ass person that talked all mean and rough. Yet I remember the love he had for his mother, the tenderness he always showed to her. Prison didn’t make him better, it didn’t teach a young boy how to live a better life or rehabilitate him to understand how to be sorry for the actions that got him there or how to help others.

Instead it taught Phillip a code that was unattainable in real life.

It taught him hate for others that didn’t agree with him, his lifestyle or his choices. It taught him that if you disagreed with his actions you were a betrayer.

I believe that Phillip had a heart and desire to help others. I just know from experience that until you let God in to heal the broken pieces of your heart the pain of the past and things “instilled” in you continually play out in your life.

The prison system, typically, is not a place where people actually see what they have done, identify that it was wrong and strive to become a better person.

So is it really justice?

The life that those young men knew was over the night that they chose to kill Phillip. It makes me sad that there is yet another set of families that will have to spend the next 20 some years going to visit their loved ones… if the family lasts that long.

And I know there will be those who may read this and

say at least their family still gets to see them.

I get that… I really do. More than you will ever know.

This Christmas I can’t help but think of the pastor that talked to Phillip the day before he was killed. I can’t help but think of the change that went on in Phillips heart for him to have even set foot in the church. And I can’t help but think of what Phillip would say when it came to yet another person going to prison.

I know that in this world if a life is taken that there is a system in place that decides what will happen to the person that took that life.

I just wish that in this process of justice that these men’s hearts would be softened to the reality of it all.

I pray that prison would not harden them.

I wish that they would take the time given to them and seek to become better not bitter.

I pray that they would know that no matter what they did they are loved by the God that created them.

I wish that they would take that knowledge and change the world that they are finding themselves in for the next 20 years.

I believe that Phillip would want them to know grace, love and mercy even if it was while they served their time.

That would be the best justice that I could ever imagine.

The definition of Justice according to Dictionary.com had two very good interpretations:

  1. judgment of persons or causes by judicial process

    or

  2. the quality of being just; righteousness,

    equitableness, or moral rightness:

I know that the men have to go before the first definition of justice and they have.

My hope, prayers and desire is that through their time that was given to them that they would truly learn, live out and strive for the second definition!

This Christmas Eve I wish I could tell both men about the reason for the season. I wish I could share 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 with them and have it sink deep down in their hearts creating a change that no prison system could take away.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

I don’t have this down in my life. I make mistakes, I lash out at the ones I love, I forget or wish that I didn’t have to communicate my thoughts, feelings and hurts in a healthy way. Yet through it all I wish I could continually grasp how much Christ loves me, how gracious God is when I stumble and fall, and how the Holy Spirit in me renews me into His righteousness when I fail.

I want the grieving to be over because it is exhausting. Yet I know it is better to work out the process than to just tell myself time will heal it and attempt to move on. I know that I have to work through all these emotions so that I am not stuck in my own prison while these men serve their time.

God wants that for us all and I know that Phillip is up in Heaven wanting the best justice of all.

Hearts who turn to Jesus.

Minds that seek heavenly good instead of our own ways.

And Souls that trust God to work all things for good.