Tuesday, August 30, 2011

35 Weeks is a Lifetime

To You Readers:

I was 35 weeks pregnant the day I delivered my son. Today is 35 weeks after his birth and death.

It is hard to imagine he has now been gone as long as he was here. Everyday from now on means he's been gone longer than he lived on earth. And yet look at what such a short life can do! The impact of my tiny boy amazes me and makes me sing for joy at times (literally, as Emma and Hazen can attest to)!

I hope that Jairus's life shows off the glory of God. I hope that his life is a testimony of God's grace and the sufficiency of the cross. Mark and I have often said, all we really want for our children is for them to worship God with their whole beings at every point of their life. And when we study the Bible, we see that because of what Jesus has done, Jairus is already fulfilling that hope. What an honor for a parent to have.

Oh how much I miss him and wish he was here. I'd give anything to get the last 35 weeks back if we could have Jairus with us again. I want to know him more and see his personality and uniqueness developing. I wish I could see him grow and impact those around him. But instead I see how he impacted people around him by leaving this place and going on to another, better life.

We have heard testimony of Jairus's impact on other people's lives. And it is a treasure I hold deep within me every time I hear them. I am so honored to be the mother of one of God's children.

That's what I want to focus on today.

To My Sweet Son:

We miss you. Everyday. Emma and Hazen will always miss out on growing up with you, laughing with you, fighting with you. They will be different people because of your absence. Your Daddy and I are different people because you are not here with us. We love you more than you could have known had we raised you.
But, I think, you know that. Because you are in the presence of more perfect and ultimate love at this very moment. And I am grateful for that.

I will always treasure you as my little boy. My 3rd child. My son. Part of my heart died when you did. And I'll never get that part of my heart back. I don't want it back. It belongs to you. I want you to keep it.

Jesus is teaching your Mommy wonderful things, things I never would have seen or learned had you not gone to Heaven. It is one of His many mercies to me. I know He is taking great care of you. I know that I have nothing to fear, and that my life here is temporal. One day I will get to live with Jesus, just like you. I am very excited for that day.

I really wanted to be your Mommy. I wanted to hug you and care for you. I wanted so much for your life. But you know what? The thing I wanted most, you already are. Just like your name-sake in the Bible, I see in your short life, great faith and testimony to the power of Jesus raising the dead to life. You are a minister of the Gospel. Just like I wanted you to be. I am proud of you.

Wait patiently for me, as I wait for our Lord to come back and restore His creation to perfection. In that day, even death will die. And we shall live. Forever.
I love you Jairus.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thy Will Be Done

On today, 8 months after I held Jairus in my arms for the first time, we sang the following hymn at church. Every time we sing it, I weep. It is so beautiful and SO difficult. It is a daily submission to lay my desires and my tears before the cross of Jesus, to release Jairus to HIM and admit that God's sovereign (all knowing) will is the best way. My own will is not ultimate. Only in Jesus is Hope for today as well as tomorrow. Healing for pain and freedom from bondage.

God is truly good. All loving. Father. He will not abandon you. His will is mysterious and scary and perfect and beautiful. It has been a hard year, yet in the middle of our sorrow we truly to rejoice for our son. He is in the presence of our LORD. His joy exceeds anything we could have hoped for him here. And it is good. So today Jesus, I ask, that Your will be done...

THY WILL BE DONE (My God and Father! While I Stray)
by Charlotte Elliot, 1834

My God and Father while I stray
Far from my home, in life's rough way,
O teach me from my heart to say,
Thy will be done!

Though dark my path, and sad my lot,
Let me be still and murmur not,
Or breathe the prayer divinely taught,
Thy will be done.

If thou shouldst call me to resign
What most I prize - it ne'er was mine;
I only yield thee what was thine;
Thy will be done.

Should pining sickness waste away
My life in premature decay,
My Father, still I strive to say,
Thy will be done.

If but my fainting heart be blest
With thy sweet Spirit for its guest,
My God, to thee I leave the rest;
Thy will be done.

Renew my will from day to day,
Blend it with thine, and take away
All that now makes it hard to say,
Thy will be done.

Then when on earth I breathe no more
The prayer oft mixed with tears before,
I'll sing upon a happier shore,
Thy will be done.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The 28th Comes Around

Tomorrow is August 28th.

It will mark 8 months since Jairus was born still back in December.

Ohh how terribly we miss our sweet baby. All summer, when I go to a park or a store and kind people comment on how busy I must be with my 2 and 4 year old, I smile to hide my sadness...I'm not nearly as busy as I'd like...

I'd rather be losing sleep, and dealing with teething, and tantrums, and baby food. I'd rather be rinsing out poopy (cloth) diapers and searching for missing pacifiers and racing to keep the older kids from feeding toys into his mouth. I'd rather see him learning to sit, to scoot and to crawl.

I'm not so busy. My baby isn't here. My kiddos are growing up and are more independent everyday. I love everything they are doing and learning SO MUCH.

I just wish he was here to be a part of it.

Happy 8 Months my Sweet

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Open Hands

Something I struggle with is claiming God's blessings to me as a right that I am promised. I have the tendency to take a good thing, and make it into the most important thing, to claim it as my own, rather than seeing it as something belonging to God, which He has given me to be a willing and joyful caretaker of. I reach out and take His promises and blessings and clench them tightly in my fists, thinking to myself, that since the Bible calls these things 'good', than God obviously wants me to have them.

That's a little abstract, lets bring it down to practicality. I read in Scripture that children are a blessing from God, that the Kingdom of Heaven sees children as a treasure and a gift. Having children is a good thing, a blessed gift. So I took that piece of wisdom and focused on it more like this, "God loves children and I want children, therefore I will be given many children by God because I am desiring things He desires." When my own preference aligns with something that is "good" than I assume it will play out in my life just the way I think it should. I place my own opinions as equal with God's will.

This is subtle and remained hidden from sight until the thing I was clinging so tightly to was taken from me. My baby died. WHAT?! No, no, God wants me to have children and I want to have children so I need to have them. That's what I want, so God must give me what I want. Right? Wrong.

The truth is, God does love children and does desire for His people to have them and raise them up to seek and find His Son, Jesus. But it is simultaneously true that we live in a broken world, in which things go wrong and against the original plan of perfection and health and life God had. It is equally true that God remains in control and fully knows all things, even as the world He created struggles through the curse of sin.

God knew Jairus would die. And it pains His heart. He loves children and desires for them to live. But because of sin and death, He knew He would walk my family through this valley. And He has not abandoned us, but rather has carried us.

And gently, God has been showing me that I was treasuring the idea of a large family more than I was treasuring Him. I had the idea that with a large family I would be more complete, more worthwhile, more loveable, a better mother. But that's not true. I cannot be more loved than I already am by Him who died to save me while I was still in my rebellion against Him. My heart is only satisfied when I rest my identity and worth in Him, not in any earthly relationships or accomplishments.

I still do desire a large family, but I want Jesus more than I want children. And so if we have more children someday, Praise God. And if we don't, Praise God! I have Him. And that's all I really need.

These crowns I've clenched with fisted hands
I cast them down before the throne
Of Christ my God the worthy lamb
Christ crucified the Great I AM

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Waiting for Life

While out tending the garden one day, Emma and I found this little guy on the dill weed...

We called him Kitty. Yay! a Caterpillar! In my ignorance I saw his yellow and black stripes and thought it was a monarch caterpillar, so we walked up the street to get him some milkweed and we put him in a jar. He kept eating his dill and after doing some research we realized that he was a Black Swallowtail, who eats dill (duh) and the top plants of carrots. Great! I have lots of carrots this year so he got a steady diet of those and left my dill for pickles. 

After a couple days we noticed something on our milkweed...

And thus we ended up with a monarch caterpillar after all! 

And while gathering food for Kitty in the carrot bed, we found him a friend. 
Bringing us to 2 Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and 1 Monarch. 
I put them into 2 large canning jars with holes drilled into the lids, a couple of sticks to climb on and plenty of fresh food. (most of my raising caterpillar information is from this website: http://www.joyfulbutterfly.com/)

The kids have enjoyed getting new food for their pets, helping clean out the jars and watching them grow every single day! Though I think their favorite part is the amount of pooping that their pets do, which entertains them to giggles throughout the day...

One day Kitty (the only named caterpillar) climbed on a stick in his jar home and spun himself into a cocoon...within 2 days his friend joined him.

This weekend Monarch crawled to the top of the jar, clung to a stick and spun her GORGEOUS green and gold chrysalis

Which I hung on the chandelier just to get the old leaves out of her jar (and give away another baby monarch we accidentally brought home when getting food for this one :) ) But she's now hanging in her jar again because we're afraid the cocoon would fall or get too hot from the light.

Our big surprise this morning was that Kitty had reawakened!!

So we brought him outside to say goodbye

 And she took his first flight from my finger tips

To our tree where he hung out a couple more hours, gaining strength and perfecting his wings. He's BEAUTIFUL! 

 We are hoping the next 2 will awaken while we are awake so the kids can watch them emerge from their cocoons and have them stand on their fingers. While showing Emma her butterfly, we got to explain why Mommy has been so jazzed about having caterpillars in the first place...

The Bible says when we die and raise to new life in Heaven (first our soul, and then reunited later with our physical body also after Jesus' 2nd coming) we will be given new bodies, permanent, beautiful, untarnished bodies that last forever. Our new life in Heaven will be more glorious than anything we can imagine now. Just as a wormy caterpillar would never understand the beautiful butterfly he would become. I'm not a scholar or theologian, I have no idea how its going to work. But its going to be amazing!!

When I think of Jairus living such a short time, it makes me sad. But when I remember that he is enjoying New Life in Heaven, in a more beautiful and perfect way than he would have ever imagined here, I rejoice in my sorrow. 

Sometimes it's hard to wait for what is to come. Our kids could not figure out where the caterpillars went and what we meant by their changing into butterflies. But now they see more clearly that it was worth the wait to see the beauty that became of our little Kitty. I have a hard time waiting to be with Jesus, but He has much for us to do while we are here. And when we are reunited with Him, it will be worth all the waiting, all the years, all the tears. He is the New Life we are waiting to treasure, to hold in our arms. Now we see a little, we live for Him and love Him each day of our earthly lives. One day we will see Him in Glory and be united with Him forever. And then we too will see clearly. 

And I think about our butterflies. This is what they were created to do. It's their good news message of hope and life to the world. Death is not the end. Its just a pathway to true life. 

What an incredible picture of New Life! Of Resurrection! Of coming into Glory!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Catching Up

Here I am! Its been awhile, but now I'm back. Trying desperately to restore some order to the chaos that is my life. But I have a few posts I've been meditating on as our family enjoys this beautiful summer weather, so stay tuned!

Here's a quick gist of what Summer has been like for us lately, in pictures :)

Mark trimmed trees....
2 stories off the ground, hanging on by a bungee chord....
I expanded my garden
I'm making lots of pickles with our cucumbers!
Hazen and Emma enjoy chilling in the pool
Playing at one of the Minneapolis beach fronts
working on our t-ball skills

The kids' first "pet"
We ended up with 3 caterpillars.
2 black swallowtail
1 monarch
S'Mores galore in the backyard
Dreams come true.
Hazen got to see Cars 2 twice in the theater
Having fun watching Daddy play softball 
Emma's a born fisher!
Hazen and my Dad (Opa) wait for a catch
We picked strawberries.
Polar was there to help, of course!
Lazy Saturday mornings with Daddy 
Hot summer months + No Air conditioning =
Sweaty heads and lots of smiles :)

My brother-in-law Alex surprised my sister (Shelby)
by flying me and my brother out to Maryland for a visit!

In MD I got to hang out with my beautiful niece, Olivia!

My brother Patrick, Olivia and I
visiting east coast caves
Jairus would now be 7 1/2 months old.
Our minds and hearts continue to be with him.
We miss our little guy everyday.