Friday, April 21, 2017

Sex and Loss

In the MEND Newsletter I wrote an article about sex and intimacy with your spouse after losing a baby. I hope that it really helps others and that someone can relate.

The MEND Newsletter is mailed out bi-monthly at no cost. If you want to subscribe to get it, go to: https://www.mend.org/newsletters-subscriptions/

Friday, March 31, 2017

Landslide

"Can the child in my heart rise above? Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?

The song Landslide by Fleetwood Mac has always been one that I have loved. But lately, these lyrics have touched something deeper in me than I can't exactly explain. (I actually prefer the Smashing Pumpkins version of this song, probably because I'm a huge 90 alternative music fan, check out their version here and also another version I love is by Bush is right here)

There are a lot of changes that are happening to me, to my family. I have been tight-lipped about a lot of them for many different reasons. I wanted to share those changes and my reasons for keeping silent about them.

To me, this song is about loving deeply and vulnerably, knowing that at any moment anything could be taken from you. It is about climbing the mountain despite knowing you could fail. Its about the drive to make changes and go for your dreams, but it is also about the fear that you could be crushed by the mounds of snow.

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'Til the landslide brought it down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin' ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older, too

Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older, too
Oh, I'm getting older, too

I took my love, I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills

Well the landslide will bring it down
Oh, the landslide will bring it down

I am struck by many of these lyrics, and I won't go into each line and what it means to me, though I could. But as I share my heart, I hope that you can see how these words in this song strike deep into my soul.
 I want to first say, I am not quitting the ministry of MEND, I am not having another baby, Todd and I are doing wonderfully, my children are amazing, I still love the Lord, I am not leaving my church and we aren't moving. So what changes could be happening?

God has been telling me for years that at some point, he wants me to go back to work. So I knew that would be something that I would do when the kids got a lot older. I had no idea what my actual career would be. I have an Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Theatre. I thought perhaps I would maybe go back to the theatre once my kids were a little older. But no, God has closed that door for me, at least for now (which is another post all together). I thought perhaps I would go back and get a Masters degree in Psychology since that is totally logical. Or maybe a Masters in Social Work, also logical. I knew in my heart that God was calling me into helping the bereaved. Helping those who have lost someone they love. I looked into what it would take to be a hospital social worker. That way I could work with families who have lost babies, and possibly even be in charge of that in the hospital. I also had another idea, but I put that idea off as it made the least sense. So I thought about going back to get a Masters in Social Work after the kids got older.

That makes sense, right?

God sometimes doesn't make sense though.

One night at a MEND meeting at the end of last year, one of my friends said something and I KNEW what I was supposed to do. I was as certain as I could be that God was speaking this into my heart. I started researching what I would need to do to be able to do this thing. And it grew in my heart. The dream, the passion, the excitement.  But so did fear.

I am actually nervous just writing this.

Every time I would tell someone my plan, I would say "So I am going to try this and it may not work out, but I have to go for it."

See the fear there? I always would say "It may not work out" or "It might not ultimately not happen" because I was scared to put it all out there. I usually am not someone rooted in fear. If I want something, I go and get it. I will do it until I succeed, or until God leads me to do something else. I have a high need for achievement with a low fear of failure. Generally there is very little fear of failing, as I believe I can do it. I can do whatever I set my mind to. Especially since Gideon died, I have less fear overall. I know life can change in a second and so it makes me live life fuller and with more gusto.

But with this, I was afraid the landslide would bring me down.

I was scared. So much would change. So much that I love. I wouldn't be able to homeschool the kids any more. I would have less time for church. I would have less time with Todd. I would have less time to dedicate to MEND. I would have less time to dedicate to my family. To my friends. "I've been afraid of changin' cause I built my life around you." So much change for the people and things I love the most.

I told God how scared I was. I didn't want to start something and not finish it. I was afraid of how that would look. Of how I would waste time. Of how I would waste money. I was afraid that others would look at me and see me as a failure (which is also weird because normally I don't care at all what other people think). I recognized what this was. An attack from the enemy to keep me from doing what God wanted me to do. So much that I delayed everything for about 6 months. But no more! I would not let that fear control me.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you." Psalm 56:3

"But time makes you bolder...even children get older...and I'm getting older too." So I step out in boldness. I am getting older (my 35th birthday is in just a few days) and though I am not old by any means, But I am much older than I was when I got both my other degrees. I spoke with a friend last weekend who told me that when she finished her degree, it was after her kids were older and she said that being an older student helped her have so much more focus than she did when she originally went to school. Talking to her made me realize that I have so much more at stake now, so I will have more focus and more drive, simply because I am older. And I will not let anything stand in my way. Yes, I am much older now. If I am not able to do this, it won't be because I didn't try, it will be because God has led me somewhere else. But I see this happening. I see the Lord working in this and through it.

So, here it is:

I am going to go to school to become an RN.

My ultimate goal would be to do Labor and Delivery, to work with the moms who have lost or will lose their baby. (Yes, I know I will have to work in other departments first, I am excited to do that, too. I just want to help others).
I want to be there in those moments the way my nurses were with me. They made a very traumatic situation less difficult because of their love and their care. They impacted me beyond words. They fought for me, they cried with me, they treated me and Gideon with love and respect. To give them the gift of respect, the gift of someone else who can relate to their pain. Through Gideon's life God has given me a softer heart, a heart more like His. A heart that wants to help others the way He comforted me. To be there in the raw moments. To be able to pray over them, to speak words to them, words that let them know they will survive even though they do not feel like they can. And to give them the same quality care I had. To give them handprints, pictures, mementos...memories.  To give them a birth experience, that even though it will not go as they wanted, that is beautiful. I also know delivering subsequent babies, those born after their older sibling has died, will be something that will be extra special, extra joy, and even sorrow. I have been there, I want to be there for others.

So, I start my first pre-requisite science class this summer in June (this is my first science class since I was in college! Yikes!). I am hoping to take 2 science classes in the fall, then one more in the spring. If all goes according to plan, I will apply to nursing school for the fall of 2018. Then it will take me 2 years from there to finish. Please pray for me as I navigate school with 2 small children at home.

This isn't the only change in our lives. I will be putting Silas in public school in the fall. I always dreamed of homeschooling my children and I have been doing so with Silas. But with me being so busy, I had to decide between being his mom or his teacher. And I wanted to be able to be his mom when I am with him. (I am not giving up on the idea of homeschool for the future, but for now it is being tabled). We are still not sure where Justus will go when I am in nursing school, who will take care of him while I am there. Right now, I should be able to take classes in the evening and possibly on the weekend so Todd can just spend the evenings with them. I will be stepping back from certain things at church. And for MEND, I will be calling on my assistants to help me more often.

 Also, I will likely not have another baby. This is the hardest one for me. I am not saying that I won't for sure. I might once I am done with school. But I will be 38 at that point, and with my infertility, it doesn't seem like it is something that will happen. (But that is for another blog post, too).  I also have to let go of my dream of being a Stay At Home Mom. I always wanted to do that. But I feel strongly that God is calling me into something else. Not something bigger or better, because being with my children is one of the greatest gifts I have. I love being a SAHM. I truly, deeply love it. So I will eventually have to let that go, too, when I start working. I think this was part of my fear, feeling like I would fail my children if I didn't homeschool them or wasn't home with them. But God very clearly told me "I am their Father, I will care for them greater than you are able. Because I am able."

Lots of changes for our family!

Life is about to get even more CRAZY! I am excited though! I am excited to see what God is going to do! I can see that this will be another way that God will bring glory to Himself through the life of Gideon. Without him, I wouldn't be doing this. He has given me a desire to help others, and to serve others, and to walk with bereaved parents. I hope that this is just another way I am able to do that. I will start to climb this mountain and hope that I am able to reach the peak.

"I took my love, I took it down. Climbed a mountain and I turned around..."