A year ago today I woke up still pregnant. But by the end of the day I was empty. Physically and emotionally empty.
It is extremely hard to fathom that it's been a year since our first loss. In some ways it feels like it only happened yesterday, and in others ways it's hard to remember what my life was like before my heart was broken.
I think today would feel different if I hadn't experienced a second miscarriage this past year. But after that second loss in September, I was numb for a month. However after my birthday in October I started to feel bits and pieces. Then as the clock ticked closer and closer to today, I feel like I slowly started to go crazy.
About a week and a half ago, on a Saturday, I woke up to a text from Michael telling me he had to go out of town for work November 14th, 15th, and 16th. He had told me he'd have to go out of town for work sometime before the end of the year, but I thought it was going to be in December. And I lost my mind. I think I had a little bit of a mini mental breakdown.
I had already been feeling like everything in my life wasn't working out. It seemed lately that every possible detail that could go wrong, had gone wrong. But this was the straw that broke the camels back. I was simultaneously so heartbroken and so mad and so hopeless.
I told Michael I felt abandoned by God. I had been in a bit of a desert and hadn't come across any streams for what felt like months. I felt blasphemous saying that but I was SO mad that I didn't even know what to do with myself. And I literally asked God to let me die.
But then that evening my friend Heather brought me broccoli cheddar soup, ice green tea, and a chocolate chip cookie from Panera and it made me feel slightly more alive and okay. The next day my friend Lauren offered to stay with me while Michael was out of town and I cried with gratitude.
Michael ended up asking his boss if I could tag along and he said that would be fine. They were going to Elkhart, IN and I had absolutely no desire to go but it seemed a little better than being left behind.
I wasn't looking forward to the trip at all. I was annoyed that it was my only option. Although slowly, as it got closer and closer I began to at least look forward to a few days off work.
We left bright and early Monday morning and met Michael's coworkers at their first stop (they're basically just going to a ton of different RV manufacturers and getting tours -- AKA: super boring). Then I was on my own. I wasn't too far from Shipshewana, IN so I plugged it into my GPS and was on my way.
If you know me at all you know that I LOVE the Amish. And I love driving on beautiful back country roads, which is exactly how my GPS took me to Shipshewana. Before I even parked I was getting excited because Amish people were everywhere and it looked like such a cute town.
I ventured into the first store and bought an Advent devotional that was on sale by Nancy Guthrie (I love her), a book called Prayers for an Anxious Heart, and a little mini doily because why not? Then I walked all over that adorable town, ate lunch at the Breadbox Bakery and Cafe (amazing), shopped a little more, and then headed to the hotel.
For the past few weeks I had been feeling so depressed, the lowest I've ever felt and just so, so overwhelmed. I cried and vented to Michael almost every night about how I felt so overwhelmed and defeated and just wished I would die. Which made him sad and upset.
But after only going into one store Michael asked me what I was up to. I was walk walking out of the store and heading down a cute sidewalk enjoying Christmas decorations and told him I was "LOVING life." The day before I felt like I would never enjoy life again. The Lord knew just what I'd need this week.
After a day full of shopping and eating I was exhausted so I started toward the hotel. My GPS took me on quaint country roads to get there and at a certain point I was just thinking about how perfect the day was. Not only was my time walking around Shipshewana wonderful, but now I was driving on a beautiful country road which is so rejuvenating to me, and the thought occurred to me: I just feel known by God. As I was driving along that curvy road I could feel His gaze on me and I haven't felt that for awhile.
After yesterday I wasn't even dreading today. One reason I was so upset that we were going to be out of town was because I was hoping to come up with a tradition we could carry out for years and include our future children as we honor their siblings. But I realized yesterday I want the tradition to be getting away; even if it's just for one night. I had no idea how badly I needed a vacation.
So I woke up this morning and ate a mini blackberry pie in bed while watching Kathy Lee and Hoda and drinking surprisingly good Keurig coffee. Then I got ready. At first I was a little annoyed because we had to check out of the hotel we stayed in last night and we had reservations at a new hotel closer to where Michael and his coworkers would be working today. The two hotels were only 25 minutes apart so it seemed pretty pointless to me. But I realized that there's no way I would've gotten ready for the day if I didn't have to. Even though I would've wanted to go out and do things I think I would've lacked the motivation to do so.
I feel like God was my travel agent for these three days and had every little detail worked out to ensure I had the best time possible.
So I got ready and checked out and headed to The Electric Cafe. I sat there sipping on my delicious latte and reading my Bible for well over an hour and it was the perfect start to my day. I listen to the Daily Audio Bible every morning (it gets you through the whole Bible in a year), that way when I sit down to read my Bible I can read what's on my heart or where the Lord leads me. So I began in Psalms because I read five Psalms a day. The Lord even orchestrated that I'd read Psalms 61-65 today. As soon as I started reading I felt like He started talking to my heart. Here's a picture of my notes in my Give Me Jesus Journal from Life Lived Beautifully:
Then I flipped open my new book of Prayers for an Anxious Heart and opened right to this:
After the perfect cafe experience, I left for Shipshewana again. A chicken salad sandwich was calling my name. After I ate I bought two mini pecan pies and ginger molasses cookies and headed to a Christian book store I had passed on my way into Shipshewana.
I've never been to a more perfect bookstore. It was small, but I looked through each section and settled on a book called Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow: Finding Light Beyond the Shadow of Miscarriage and Infant Loss by Teske Drake. Considering I have extensively researched Christian miscarriage resources I was surprised I hadn't heard of this book. I also bought two really pretty cards to save to send to someone who's going through a hard time. And lastly, a keychain with the word "Hope" on it. I wanted to buy something with that word on it today and I found the perfect thing because I can take it with me everywhere I go.
Then I drove the 40-minute drive to our new hotel. Michael left to go out to dinner with brand reps and I decided to go to a different location of the same cafe I'd been to this morning.
Which is where I am now as I type these words.
I have learned so much in this past year. I really wish I didn't have to endure these losses and suffering and that I just had a child in my arms. But even though I never would've chosen this path, I'd never trade it. It's been too rich. Some friendships have been deepened because those friends weren't afraid to step right into my grief and help carry my burden, while other friendships have faded a little because the awkwardness of my loss and grief created a barrier not all were willing to cross over. And that is more than fine, because I know the people who are in my life are the ones God intentionally placed to help me along this, sometimes tortuous, albeit blessed, path.
I love this quote by Rebekah Lyons because it has proven to be so true this past year. This entire website and "ministry" have been born out of my losses and it amazes me how the Lord can redeem the most hopeless of situations. There are definitely still days where someone or something barges into my life fanning up the ashes, causing me to momentarily lose sight of the beauty. And it's also easy for me to get caught up in all of that dust. But I know God has a pretty good track record of creating beautiful things out of dust. So I'm just trying to trust Him day by day.
This week I keep going back to Gods goodness. He is just good. And that is what I know to be true no matter what happens. Even at my lowest of lows during these past few weeks something deep down inside of me still knew He was good.
The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.