Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pray for Me, and I'll Pray for You

Being a Mama is hard work. We are all in unique situations that call upon everything we have to guide our children through life. We need our husbands, partners, and families with us, but there is no support like fellow Mama support. I have been blessed to be able help found a Moms group, and the women in it have been my life line. I am not sure that I would have survived the first month of Teddy's death if they hadn't of come over and sat by a smoky fire with me. We barely discussed his death, but they were there and that was enough. Too many Mamas feel alone and overwhelmed, and they don't have to. God has a special place in his heart for Mamas.  He is here to love us, support us, and uplift us. While I know this to be true, sometimes I just need to know someone else gets it.  Therefore I am asking all of you, my other Mamas, to pray for me and I will pray for you. I believe we can change not only our and our children's lives, but large groups of people praying has the power to change the world. Here is my prayer for all of you:

Dear Mama who is staying at home and putting her whole being into to her children. I pray that you have the patience and strength to get through the day. That the poop covered crying times are balanced out by the silly dancing laughing times. That God blesses your sacrifice and your children understand what you are doing for them. I pray that you are able to carve out time to replenish and renew and reconnect with your husband.

Dear Mama whose baby just flew the  nest, I pray that you have the faith and strength to fully trust God with the life of your child. I pray that as they discover themselves, you will discover more and more reasons to be proud. That new opportunities and joys will follow you into this new chapter and you will be blessed with the realization that all of those hard days shaped this amazing young man or woman you have now let go of.   That you and your husband rediscover how fun just two can be, and that you find joy in your new freedom.

Dear Mama with a young infant. I pray that you know this won't last forever. The sleepless nights, colicky days, and frustrating feedings will pass. You will find yourself again. I pray you know that it is normal to feel scared and mourn the pre-Mom you, and that you will find your footing and your joy and love for this precious gift will only grow. That you will know that you are good enough, and that your husband will be by your side changing and growing with you.

Dear Mama who works, I pray that you find the strength to manage the pressure of two full time jobs.  That you will learn to lean on your support system when it becomes too much, and feel pride at the fact that you are helping to support your family. I pray that you find peace in the hard choices and avoid the trap of trying to please everyone. That God will bless your hard work and sacrifice and your children will blossom and grow in their daycare. That you and your husband can prioritize together time and you have the energy to find fun in each day.

Dear Mama who is raising her kids alone, You are my hero. As a child of a single mother, I know your days are long, money is tight, and stress is high. I pray that you can lean on Jesus, that your family will be wrapped in love and support and that you will know that you have the strength to go on. That  with you and God, your babies will be fine, and that you will reap the rewards of this hard time. I pray for comfort for your pain, and that you feel peace for your future. You don't have to hang on so hard, let go, God has got your back.

Dear Mama who is raising her grandkids,  I pray that God provides guidance and healing as you maneuver the complicated situation that is your relationship with your child and your grandchildren.  I pray that God opens every ones eyes to the truth, and leads the powers that be to the best plan for those children. That you will be able to find peace in God's plan, and know that he will give you the physical, mental, and emotional strength to parent when you weren't expecting to. I pray for healing in  your family and for you to know that your very presence is demonstrating God's love in your grandchildren's lives.

Dear Mama who is still parenting her adult children, I pray that you know how thankful we are for you, and how much we still need you. That your wisdom and presence are often more important now than it was before. That you know that you gave us the tools to be successful, and the wisdom to ask for help. That  you find joy in your grandchildren and peace in your children's lives.

Dear Mama whose babies are in heaven. I pray that you find comfort in God's arms. That you find a way to move on with your day and keep breathing. That you and your husband turn towards one another for healing, and that bitterness and anger are banished from your heart. That you find peace in the pain, and are able to understand that every day is new day with different emotions. Most of all I pray that you are able to look forward to the day that you and your child are reunited in the halls of heaven.

Dear Mama who has children in her heart but hasn't been able to have them. I pray that God reaches out to comfort you, and that your are able to submit to his plan. That you and your husband are able to honestly discuss  your options and prayerfully choose the path that is best for you. That when your arms ache and your heart break that God provides a comforter to help you through this terrible journey, and that if it is God's plan for you to have a child that it all comes together in his time.

I pray for all the Mamas, that they have strength, patience, hope, perseverance, joy, love and faith. This isn't an easy job, but a little prayer can make all the difference. I will keep praying for you, please keep praying for me!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Life is random and unfair; Life is pandemonium

Someone I love dearly told me that they were having a rough time today. "I don't get why you didn't get to have your baby and other people, who won't or can't care for their children properly, do." It was hard for this person, because they love us. Faced with the reality not all children have a safe home, and not all parents are mentally or emotionally able to care for their children, it does seem very unfair that our baby died. I have played this game before, and the results are always bitterness and misery.

The plain and simple truth is isn't fair. My heart breaks every time I hear stories of abuse or neglect. I don't understand why it happens, or why  we aren't the parents of more than one child. I cry, but I hold on to God's promise. "And we know in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28. This verse doesn't say "in the easy or fair things" it says "in all things."

In ALL the horrible, painful, dirty, ugly, mind blowing, heart breaking, grief giving, pain inducing, anger creating, I am broken things, God is working towards our good.  We can't see it. At times it can feel the opposite. "God, I just started to feel better and now this." I don't understand how it will all work for my good. I can't see the big picture. I am not entitled to that knowledge.

Teaching middle school means dealing with the concept of "fair" a lot. It is an age where "fair" means something, and students are attempting to put order to the grown up world.  Daily I find myself saying "same doesn't equal fair" and "my job is to help everyone learn in their way. Their way may not be your way." Students don't see the big picture. They don't know that their classmate witnessed the death of their Grandmother and needs to be excused from the work they missed, or that this other student reads at a second grade level and is mortified. Each child has individual  needs and stories and I can't treat them the same. I have to push the TAG kid to exceed while praising another student for persevering to a Nearly Meets.

When this happens, I feel the same amount of pride. When students persevere and keep working and learning, I know that they are working towards a bright future. For some that may mean the Ivy League and for others it may mean that they are able to overcome the developmental or emotional issues they are carrying and live a happy life. It is my job to challenge each of them to grow towards their personal best.

I believe this is how God looks at us. He knows our hearts. He knows  how I long for my child, and how my heart will never quite heal. He hears me crying and is pushing me to persevere towards his plan. Fair doesn't equal the same. I may never have more children, and other children will be hurt. I may never know why this is, and I don't need to. What I need to know is that all things, no matter what they are, work together for the good of those who love him. It is not easy. This is hard, but by the grace of God I will find a way to keep repeating it, embracing it, and believing it. His plan, not mine. His glory, not mine. His life, not mine.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


We aren't entitled to happiness. God doesn't owe us that. I am not entitled to a happy family life, a good job and all I planned for myself. There are no promises. The Bible doesn't say "what you want will be yours". However, I tend to think this way. I tend to look at God as a genie. If I do this, then you owe me this.

What a foolish and selfish person I am. This attitude has led to countless hours of heartache. Feeling entitled has enabled me to feel jealous, bitter, depressed and angry. It has allowed me to pour hours of my time into uplifting myself and focusing on me. Entitlement is all about me. What I deserve and how I will be happy.

Embracing entitlement enforces the idea that my husband "owes" me, because of all I did for him. It makes it ok for me to check out on my son. I don't have to take the time to check on my friend because I am too tired and "deserve" alone time. I am an ugly person when I go down this road.

I am called to be a servant.  Galatians 5:13 says that we are called to love one another through service. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to show his love. Jesus never embraced entitlement. He could have, but instead he became humble. As I have struggled with my grief, I have felt God pushing this idea of entitlement to the forefront.

I am working on changing my perspective. On be thankful for what have, willing to serve anyone who comes across my path, and understanding that I am entitled to nothing. God owes me nothing, but I owe Him everything. I am slowly moving into a new head space. He is holding me accountable, and helping me notice and rid myself of this poisonous idea.

I have been put on this earth to serve, and when I embrace the idea that my life isn't about me, but about what I can do for God's glory, my sense of entitlement vanishes. I love my job and my family, but I need to be aware that I am called to serve God even if all of those things disappear. That is terrifying, but it also requires me to learn to be fully dependent on God and his plan. It is rough, but I am slowly getting there.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


The weight of my grief has been pressing down on me this week. It is pushing in, boxing me up, and demanding attention. After the whirlwind of transitioning back to work, I am settling back into an all too familiar routine. I am doing a job I know and love, in a classroom I have occupied for five years, in a building I have been in for eight. It is almost as if nothing happened. Life is speeding up and moving on, and I am not quite prepared for it.

It is easy to slip back into routine. To go about my business and manage my life, until something causes the grief to come crashing in. A students autobiographical sketch about being born on Halloween, my due date, or a parent questioning how my baby is, meaning Harry, Daniel Tiger becoming a big brother and Harrison asking to play with babies. In these moments, I am drowning. Desperately trying to get my head above water and keep going.

It is strange, because for me there are constant reminders of the fact that my son is gone, but when I am with other people it feels as if it never happened. I feel like I am supposed to have moved on, or be getting better or be someone who isn't still reeling. Several people have asked, or implied, if another baby is coming soon. I know they are just trying to give us hope, but another baby won't be Teddy. Another baby won't replace him, and the thought of being pregnant again and the fear and anxiety of what could happen is too much to take at the moment. I know we will want other children in the future, but my heart isn't there yet.

My heart still hurts, and my anxiety is still there, so today I had a heart to heart with God on the drive home. I asked Him to be my strength, for Him to be my peace and for Him to be my faith. I am doing a study of Esther, and the constant theme has been that God's plan is hard to see, but it is working towards your good. As October nears, and I compare what am I doing to what I should be doing, I find myself constantly reaching out to God and asking him to remind me that He is there. That even if I don't understand his plan, it is working towards my good, and to carry me for awhile.

God knows that grief has ups and downs. He knows my heart. He put me in this place with the solid routine, so I would have a safe place to heal. Every day I go to work with people who care about me. Family and friends check in on me. This is a safety net that God has provided me, but only He can offer me true comfort. I don't understand why this happened, and I am faced with the reality that my son died before he had the chance to live, but I know that I am surrounded by the ultimate Comforter and He feels all of my pain. Time and prayer will make my grief manageable, but I don't think the missing what might of been will ever leave me.  I will keep praying, keep believing, and keep working towards the goal.