Sunday, September 6, 2015

When the Remembering Approaches

In just nine days, my Amara might have been turning 6. She might have learned to ride a bike, maybe she'd be starting first grade. Maybe she would have a gap-toothed smile in her school pictures. Maybe she'd love to read or play soccer or paint. Maybe she'd be the best big sister to her little brothers.

I'll never know.

I don't think about her as often as I used to. After all, when you've waited and dreamed for six years and then find yourself more than full of diapers and formula and laughs and tantrums and sleep deprivation, you think about what you have, not what you don't have.

Just two years ago, this week was profoundly difficult for me. Navigating the anniversaries of heartache in our life can be tricky. Nate hadn't yet been born, we were still waiting, living in a new place, looking for a church and friends, wondering what life might have been like with our daughter turning 4.

But this week, I might see a pregnant woman and not feel jealous. I might see a baby being pushed around in a stroller, giggling and grabbing at a hanging toy and not feel weepy.

Or this week, the grief of losing her might hit me in unexpected ways even as my arms and life are full. You never know when grief might descend. All I know is that I feel that, even as life is chaotic, I see God's work of healing in action. I remember the deep pain but, at the moment, it doesn't own me.

And each year, as I get further out from my own deep grief, I can see more of who God has been forming me to be since it all happened. I can see the ways I see others better. The way I am slower to make assumptions about others' choices or family life. I can see how he has helped me be a better listener, a deeper question-asker. And I can feel the ways my heart has begun to heal.

My youngest son's name means "healer." Did you know that? His birth mother chose it for him, having no idea how profound that might be. And this little boy has brought so much calm and peace and joy into our home. Even as I snuggled him close this morning while he cooed and laughed and nuzzled his little head in, pulling on my hair, I thought about how he won't know his big sister this side of heaven. And I thought about how a year ago or two years ago, that thought would've made me stop breathing for a few moments.

But today? Today I thought that some day in the future, my boys will be old enough to hear about her. To hear about the years we mourned her while we waited and yearned for them. To hear about the ways God changed us as we moved from a family of 3 to a family of five in just 18 months time.

It's not time yet to tell them. But some day we will speak of her. And remember together.

So this week, as we approach the anniversary of her due date, I am committing to remembering my friends who are still waiting on a dream. Who are on wait-lists or experiencing infertility treatments or even still waiting for the right spouse to come along with whom to start that journey of parenting. Those who yearn to be first-time or second-time parents. Those who are hoping for a clean bill of health or a job. Those who have also experienced loss - loss of a child, of a marriage, of a parent, of a dream, of hope.

Dear friends who are still waiting, take hope. On those days that you can no longer even tell God what you want or how hurt you are, please know that I am praying for you. That I understand. Maybe not your exact story, but I understand longing for something you have zero control over and asking God all the whys and why nots there are to ask. About wrestling with injustice and frustration and anger and despair.

This week, I choose to hold your weary, aching hands up in my own still healing ones. If there are ways I can specifically do that, I welcome your comments or messages. Keep on, friends. Keep on. You are not alone.


  1. Thank you for this post. Thank you so much. I am still waiting on a dream to be fulfilled. There are lessons in the waiting. It is a good reminder to pay attention to those. Bless you, my friend. :-)

  2. I know you are. I am praying for you in your waiting, friend!

  3. Beautifully said. I pray you'll continue to sense the Father holding your heart in His hands.