Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nothing is Impossible for You...except that.

It seems as though I have multiple friends who have recently been dealt a hand of grief lately. A couple of sweet friends from years past have both lost their mother. A friend I have never met in person, but feel close to in so many ways, lost her son to a Congenital Heart Defect. I say lost, because I just don't have another word for it, even though I know where they all are.  Death is such a big elephant in the room type thing and it is feels good to talk about it here and there without tip toeing around the whole subject to not offend or draw attention. This little blog started a little over a year ago. It has been a release for me. That is exactly what it is being used for in this post. Release. Maybe you'll benefit from it, maybe not, but here it is.
 I remember the day we found out about Noah's heart condition. I am quite certain that I grieved his death in that moment and the evening to follow. Without knowing he would die for sure(so soon anyway) the pain I felt was like no other.  I remember curling up in a ball and weeping. All the whys, what ifs and if onlys went through my heart and mind. I bucked up the next morning, got into the Word and found some scriptures that sustained me as I had to continue to carry Noah, then deliver Noah and go through what I truly thought would be the rest of a long life. I turned my doubts into faith driven prayers and went forward. Forward. Every single day of 9 longs months. This past Friday Noah would have  been 8 months old. I'm sure Ava would be teaching him all sorts of fun things, words and songs about now.

Death. Death can ravage a person's faith. There are days that it still takes its toll on me. A few weeks ago our associate pastor preached a word that completely wrecked me and interrupted what I thought was a "plateau" in my grieving process (or whatever they call it). His sermon was an incredible one, powerful and straight forward about not limiting God, about praying audacious prayers of bold faith, not for our glory but for Christ's glory. That God is the God of the impossible. ALL things are possible with him.
See, at the very start of this grieving process I was very forward and open about how "good" this was and how "healing" this was for Noah. (please know that I am not going back and changing my mind or my heart towards this) Noah was completely healed, ultimately and forever. Here is where I'm going with this. I was so sure and knew that if I could keep "making it ok"  in my mind that if I just went on adrenaline and even relief I could get through the shock of it all and the weirdness of it. Every story of grief is different and for me, there were a few moments of relief in it all. Sometimes there still are. To be completely honest. So, I was going along, full of faith and thankfulness amongst the tears, amongst the grief and deep pain I was dealing with daily. I jumped back on worship team, I jumped back into stay at home wife and mom mode, I jumped back into daily life. The further away from Noah's death I get, the harder it gets to hold on to the "healing" and "he's not suffering anymore" junk. I mean come on. My child died. He's not here. He will never be here again. He died. I held him as he took his last breath. Why is this ok? And Lord, WHY DID YOU NOT HEAL HIM? Thousands of people were asking in FAITH, FOR HIS NAME AND FOR GOD'S GLORY. This apparently was impossible for you. This was too much for you to handle God. Thanks. You can raise Lazarus from the dead, but can't fix my child's heart. ok. That's cool. I guess I'll just go ahead and worship, praise and love you still. (yes, with that attitude) Go back to that solid sermon I heard. It seemed perfect for someone who just got a raise, or had a new healthy baby, or who went and the cancer test was negative. Awesome wonderful sermon for people who don't ask big prayers, who don't think he can do big things for them. Way to pump people up for BIG prayers and huge movements of God for his fame........

Then there's ol me, sitting in the back, weeping because my God didn't come through. He didn't do the impossible. He let the expected thing happen. He let my son die. Having to get up with the worship team and help lead them in the chorus "nothing is impossible for you, nothing is impossible. Nothing is impossible for you. You hold my world in your hands" was a turning moment for me. Ok Lord. Sure. No problem. Let me just set all of my attitude, cynicism, frustration and HURT aside and "worship"... What heart ache and pain it was for me to sing out "nothing is impossible for you" when just a few months before he let my son die. Deep deep pain wanted to bellow out. I wanted to go hide in a hole and not pretend that I actually believed that chorus.  (oh ya, it was Mother's day) The rest of the day through that Wednesday, I just ached, didn't want to feel better, be better or "get over it". I decided I needed to talk to someone. See, Nicholas is my person and he gets through every hard moment with me. All of them. Always. But, I needed some extra help. My sweet friend and worship pastor Debbie sat with me and let me be mad, let me get out some frustrations and questions. Let me tell her all I was dealing with and yet at the same time how I still trusted the Lord through every question, oddly enough. How was it that I could be so angry with him and yet still only want Him? He's truly more than enough. So we prayed. I left with such a burden lifted.

So, is nothing impossible for him? Yes. It is true. I do not have all the correct theological answers for you. I do not have lots of scriptures to give you in this moment. I know he stopped the sun once. I know he did, in fact, raise Lazarus from the dead. I know He kept his faithful safe in an ark as he flooded the entire earth. I know that he protected and provided for a couple of teenagers as they delivered the savior, His son, into the world. I just know that even though my son died, God is still God. He is still in control. He is still loving. He is still the same God who saved me, saved you. Why does God choose to not answer the way we beg, wish and plead for? Why does my baby die, but that baby live? I do not understand God's ways and the ONLY answer that I have truly come to cling to lately is that, God is God. His ways are not my ways. This KEEPS HIM GOD. This keeps him from being "swayed" one way or the other, like shifting sands. Like us. It keeps him from being like us. I suppose, that is enough. Through all the deep grief, questions and emotional turmoil, if I continue to trust him, seek him and long for him through it all, the reward is Him, himself. God himself becomes my reward, my answer. Whether in life and all its hardships, in death and all its pain, in sickness and its terror, in health and its joy. The covenant between God and myself will never be broken by him. Even when I disagree with his ways. God is God. As flakey as some may think that is, it is the only real answer I have for my struggles as of late. It's enough for me. In fact, as I let my anger and questioning go, placed trust before me, asked for someone to hold me up for awhile and then leaned into him, even though I am fragile, He never fails. He is always there to hold me, hear me yell, accuse and question him. He takes the junk I spit at him and wipes my eyes to clear my blindness to his grace. As the same pastor preached today, He sets The Spirit as a seal upon me, that I. AM. HIS. Noah is his. God didn't betray me, ignore me or turn his back on me. Even though it feels like it sometimes. The truth is, that God is God. There is no other. If I trust him I have to trust him with EVERYTHING. I don't get to pick and choose what I trust Him in or what I don't trust Him in. It is all or nothing, hot or cold. If I trust him with the easy stuff, that is just it. Easy. He never promised it would be easy. He promised He would never leave. He promised He would never forsake. THAT IS A PROMISE. He will never forsake. When it feels like He does forsake. Hold on to that promise. More than that, hold on to the one who promises.
I am at another level place right now. Another plateau on this journey. Finding out about another "sweetheart" passing away has been hard today. Seeing all the sweet new babies in church is hard every single weekend. Seeing all the babies on FB, all the friends with babies....they are everywhere. It's like when you want to be pregnant and struggle to (as we did with ava) everyone seems pregnant....it's that same concept. God is gracious though. I do not desire a baby right now in this place in life. I desire to have my Noah in my arms, not another. God is so gentle and gracious with me, through Nick, through family and friends. He is healing. He is loving. He is so gracious.
Just a little update on life in general. Ava turns two in 2 weeks. AMAZING! We are SO excited about her party and celebrating that milestone. She is so very smart. She can sing her ABC's, count to 10, she is saying tons of sentences, she asks questions, is a great eater, she is so funny and goofy (imagine that), she is just the light of our life. Other than that, life is pretty normal. We prayed for that. I am thankful and remembering that we asked, for many months, to be together again, to have a normal pace of life again, to live under the same roof again, to not be strung out and in pain all the time. God is faithful. He truly is. We are thankful. We are so grateful for the continued prayers, support and love that are constantly poured over us, still. We are thankful for those who remind us that Noah is not just a fleeting memory or even forgotten. I am especially grateful for those who tell me, still, what they love about Noah, what God did through him, etc.

Thank you. Much love and many blessings to all.
Please lift up little Kimble's family as they learn to do life without their little man here on earth.

Noah's mommy



Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Nurses Week






It feels like years have gone by since Noah passed away. It really feels like forever. Being back in Ft. Worth reminded me that we really did have a son, I really did live in Ft Worth for 5 months, Noah really did live his entire life in a hospital and finally it reminded me that God has blessed me beyond measure with some amazing friends because of it all. God placed some awesome people in our life through Cook Children's Medical Center and I am forever thankful. Being back in FW didn't make me feel sad or weird, but it did sting a bit. Mainly because I didn't have this overwhelming burden upon me. Noah was not ever a burden to me, just the heaviness of a severely sick child was burdening on my heart and mind. Every time someone would try to take us to dinner or we would go out and try to relax or take our minds off things, I couldn't ever get my mind off of it all and I would feel so guilty for leaving the hospital. I remember the sad Sunday afternoons of saying goodbye to Nick and Ava. There were so many things that were different this trip. Going to the hospital was so great and we were able to say hi to some staff and thank them again.  At the same time, I was able to walk out without leaving my baby boy in there. I know he's perfect and whole now. We have been so incredibly blessed by the grace and friendship of our sweet nurses and doctors. God truly has used them to help me in this process since we said "see ya later" to Noah. The care and concern they show me is irreplaceable and they are some of the ones that actually understand parts of the journey in ways no one else does. There are so many doubts and questions that continue to run through my mind here and there. Sometimes I wonder if we did everything we could, if we made the right decisions, if we pushed things or didn't push things enough. I know the enemy wants me to sit and doubt and question because it makes God seem incapable, uncaring and distant. I know that is not the truth. I know that the doctors we had there treated Noah as if he were their own child and I cannot imagine it any other way. I'm thankful. I suppose that going back to Ft Worth might have been the reason I had such a rough day yesterday, but I also know that the bad days just show up sometimes without a reason at all. When I get to missing Noah more I get unfocused, selfish and whiny. I know some people would say I get a free pass on those days, and maybe that's true, but I don't think it is a good habit to get in and I have to truly look at my faith, my heart and my application of the Word in my life when the bad days come. The bad days will not stop coming, for the rest of my life I will have bad days of missing my son. They will get further between, but they will not go away. I have to ask God now to help train me to use those bad days for His good and not wallow in a hole of self pity and dispair. Don't get me wrong, I let it out and cry and be sad. I don't need to be reminded that I need to not bottle it all in. haha. I really do get my emotion and sadness out. I just realized yesterday that being rude to my husband, snapping at my daughter and telling myself I am worthless and lazy doesn't bring glory to God nor does it bring Noah back. None of my pity parties will ever bring him back, but when I find ways to serve the Lord, I do feel closer to him.

A month or so before we found out we were pregnant, our worship leader, Debbie, had me learn a song called, "You Are Faithful". Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in DFW was going through a severe illness and his wife Lauren wrote this worship song during their trials. It spoke to me heavily as I learned it, not even realizing just how big of an impact that song would have down the road. I've blogged about it before. The song is powerful and has a huge message, in such a simple format. I love it. The song became Noah and I's lullaby of sorts. I always hummed it or sang it to him to help calm him down, or just as we snuggled in the chair. The day we gave Noah back to the Lord, we held him and held him. I'll never forget that room, the way the chair was set up next to all the machines and stuff. The chaplain, one of the most honest and trustworthy doctors I've ever met, Nick, myself and Noah were all in the room, waiting. I don't think any of us really felt that it would be a long process for Noah to go home, yet we waited and waited. I decided I would hum our song. I hummed and sort of sang, through a broken and crackly voice as he calmly laid in my lap. Nick and I would take turns holding him and loving on him. No breathing machine, no noise, just us. I suppose that was one of the most holy times of worship for us. There is nothing like being in a room where Jesus is present. I remember when my Mimi passed away, I physically felt Jesus in the room. You could cut the peace and assurance with a knife. It was much the same way with Noah. The song You Are Faithful came on my ipod last night while I was cooking dinner. Nick and Ava were at the store and so it was just me. I had one of those moments because I have purposely not played that song for over 2 months now. I have not heard that song, since I heard it play in noah's room that day. It came on and after the last line was sung, it was like a newness came over me, after a day of complete frustration and emotion, I just had this moment where God said, "I am faithful, I am gracious, I alone am God". (such a beautiful and simple chorus)
I suppose I could have slept at the hospital every night, never left his room, never go outside, etc etc. I could have neglected all others to be with him every second, but I realize now that God has always had him in his hands and that every time I was away from him, he was taken care of by some of the most precious people I've ever known. There was a nurse I could get mad with. She let me complain, be mad, cuss when needed (yes i know). I could hate and question, lay it out plainly and she would encourage me and remind me that I was doing the best I could and was the best mom for Noah. Thank you. There were times, sometimes late in the night, when a few of the nurses and I would visit about their kids, they helped take my mind off of things. They would share their lives with me. There was a goofball nurse who would always make me laugh. He and Noah were quite the pair. Such buds. There were nurses who called on their day off, to check on Noah, especially near the end. Even the respiratory people and child life staff would treat me like one of the family.  There were even times when I would realize that I had an entire conversation about the Lord, his sovereignty, plan and care for Noah, the gospel, medicine/faith issues, with one of his physicians. There were moments when I was told, by a physician that Noah was being prayed for at the kitchen table, that he was being talked about to their kids, that a spouse was praying as well. When I tell you Noah had special care, I  mean it. I will never be able to thank those special people enough. Remembering those things helps mend my heart.

I can't live in guilt, I can't live in the past. As I learn how life looks after Noah, part of it looks very bright because the people who knew him like I did, are still in my life. There are many things ahead that will be wonderful even though Noah isn't here with us. There are opportunities to share Christ, make Him known, change lives, touch lives, and help other families who's little heart babies are here on earth and need care. The more I live in the what ifs and whys I cannot make a difference in the now and future.
I guess the trip to FW was bittersweet, but mostly it was another stitch in the mending process. I know not everyone is as blessed as us to have such amazing people and relationships as we have had. I also know that not everyone has the support system we do.
So, if I seem just a bit obsessed with "noah's staff" it's because knowing them and getting to love on them, keeps me serving, loving, hopeful and moving forward, not stuck in the past or in a pit. I look forward to seeing all that God does in the future, especially at Cook Children's Medical Center and how we will be involved.

So, today has been a new day. Productive, happy, blessed and calm. New mercies are available. His grace is sufficient. Thanks to God's faithfulness, graciousness and sovereignty, Noah is whole and home, and I am not lacking in anything.

Psalm 63:3 - Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

Thanks and love,
shaina

So, happy nurses week to my friends, now family. love to y'all, always.