Saturday, May 21, 2016

33 Things

Today, 5 years ago, we said goodbye to Gideon for the last time on this earth.

We had his memorial service and spoke of all the beauty that came from his existence. We worshiped the Lord in thanksgiving and we wept bitterly. That day was one of the hardest days of my life.

Today 5 years from that day, it still takes my breath away to think of that day. How much despair and disbelief I felt. Who imagines they will lose their child? Who pictures their life and sees a funeral for their baby?  I remember so much from that day, from all of the hugs, to all of the tears. The words that our pastor and friends spoke, and the verses read from the bible. I can remember the songs and how each word was the cry of my heart, yet made it break a little more. I wrote all about that day here.

Since that day, a lot has changed. We have picked up the pieces and God has made a beautiful life from the ashes. BECAUSE of Gideon we have a beautiful life.

Today I am thinking of all the ways that Gideon has changed me. For the better.  So in honor of the 33 weeks that I got with him, I will share 33 different ways he has changed me. When he died, I knew there was a major shift in my life. I knew that I would never be able to go back to how I was before. I wondered if those changes would be permanent. Some of those feelings I had in the early days of grief have gone, but many of those changes have stayed. They are with me forever. 

These transformations within me are the beautiful scars that he left behind.

1) I appreciate things more and take less for granted.
2) Things that used to matter, no longer do. Things that used to not matter, now do.
3) I am a better wife. I love Todd with a deeper passion and honesty than before.
4) I am a better mommy. I would have been a wonderful mommy to Gideon because of everything we have been through before conceiving him, but I am a more compassionate and patient mom because of him. I truly never take them for granted. Every day I get with them, even the hard days, I'm grateful for because they are here with me.
5) I love more deeply. Gideon taught me that.
6) I am less judgmental,
7) I love Jesus more.
8) I am more patient.
9) I am more focused.
10) I really want to help others. I truly want to help other people because I genuinely love them.
11) I don't waste my time with those who are not to be supportive or loving. If you don't want to recognize him at all, then I don't need you in my life. And honestly, my life is richer for it. I refuse to let someone who wont remember the life of my son be a part of my own heart. If they don't want to see the blessings of him and the blessing that God will bring to them by allowing them to experience the pain and the joy, then they don't understand me at all. And those people are people who put negativity into my life. I don't waste my time on negativity.
12) I stop and appreciate beauty more. In every day moments, and in life changing moments, and in mundane moments.
13) I do not invest my heart into pointless things, and yet I dive heart first into things that I see as fruitful.
14) I complain less.
15) I worship more. Pain brings about the best worship
16) I am a better writer and artist.
17) I laugh even more than before.  I am a "throw your head back and loudly crack up" kind of person. I used to do that with ease and I had stopped for a long time. Now I do again, however it is different because I know what the other side feels like. I appreciate the laughter so much more. It is richer and more true.
18) I cry more easily. This may not be seen as a positive thing, but it is to me.
19) I love my family more deeply and I appreciate them more, my mom & dad, siblings, nieces, nephews and my extended family. My family has always meant a lot to me, but now I truly appreciate them. I'm glad for every day they are in my life.
20) My friendships are so much more true and real. My best friends are my MEND friends. We share everything, our whole lives (I think people assume we only talk about our dead children, we do talk about them, but we talk about everything!). My fellow infant loss friends just understand. I have these beautiful friends from before Gideon's death who are supportive and loving and I am so thankful for them. I am thankful for my friends from before and I am thankful for my newer friends, my friends since my loss.  I invest in all of my friends more than I ever did before. I take more time for them. I walk through the deepest lows and the highest highs with them.
21) I live with fervor. I want to experience all that life has for us  I want us to take adventures and experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of the world around us.
22) I have so much more grace with people.
23) I have embraced the geeky side of me and I love it.
24) I can sense the Holy Spirit more acutely when praying and in worship. I also feel connected to Gideon when I am worshiping God and in His presence, because I know that Gideon is standing in His presence too.
25) I'm so much more comfortable with pain and sitting with others in their pain. Our society likes to try to put a bandaid on our suffering to make it all better. But I know that doesn't help. Working through it helps. And I am always ready and willing to hold someone's hand as they walk through pain.
26) I have been more active in church. I love our church. It is so special and God works in the hearts of my church family. It is truly a place where I can call them my family. They have walked through the dark and the bright days.
27) I am even more self confident in every area of my life. I generally have always been very self assured, but one of the way he changed me is that I am even more so! Especially in the area of my looks. I have ever always thought I was beautiful and I've never really had body image issues, but I definitely don't now!!! I am beautiful!!!
28) I wear what I want and act how I want. I will not conform to how other people think I should be. I will be the person who God wants me to be. 
29) I look at Todd differently. I truly see him for the strong, loving, gentle man he is. He changed a lot when we lost Gideon and I can really see down into his soul now in a way that I thought I could before but I truly can see it now. But honestly I think going through tragedy is the only way to make you and your spouse connected in this way.
30) I see pregnancy differently. I see it more of a blessing than I ever did before. I see children as even more of a blessing, they are amazing gifts from God!!  I also see pregnancy with fear and anxiety. That is part of who I am now. But the flip side to that, is that I never take pregnancy for granted. I cherish it. I am truly in awe of the miracle of pregnancy.
31) I desire more for others to know Jesus truly and intimately.
32) I have wanderlust. I desire to travel and experience different, fun and new things. Maybe one day I will have the finances to do that more often.
33) I have strong desire for The New Earth when heaven and earth pass away and a new Earth is created!!! I love the life I live now and I work for the Kingdom with all my heart, but there will always be a part of me that is looking upward into the sky for the future when Jesus returns. I am not afraid of that anymore. 

There are so many more, I could easily list 33 more ways I have changed for the good for his 33 weeks. And then I could list 33 more, and then  do it again. I know as I live, and as the Lord continues to work, more and more of my heart will be transformed every day. Because God promised me that Gideon's life would make an impact on others. And one of the ways He is doing that, is through me.

I have changed. Forever. For good. 

"Who can say if I've been changed for the better, because I knew you, I have been changed for good..." -Changed For Good, Wicked
At Cocoa Beach on our vacation in April. Beaches always remind me of Gideon...always. 

No comments: