Brandon & Kristin

Brandon & Kristin

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Human Kindness - God's Healing

"It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them." Hosea 11:3,4

I "found" this verse during a study of God's love a few years ago. I saw how God's love for me is real and true; that He is the one who teaches, feeds, heals and lifts burdens- like a father with his little child. But this verse also shows that He often shows His love "with cords of human kindness." He demonstrates His love for me through the people around me.

I/we have been so well loved by God through all of you. It seems that many people who experience losing a baby feel isolated and forgotten. You - our families and friends - have loved us and taken care of us. Many of your cards and emails have made me cry - each day it seems like there's at least one that just touches my heart in a new way. It's not a bad cry - but a healing cry. Thank you for writing your own stories, words of encouragement, favorite Bible verses and just for remembering us. Thanks for sending books and flowers. Your kindness has helped carry our sorrow. Thank you, too, for praying for us. We know we walk through this time being lifted up to God in prayer. His grace is enough for each day.

Days are getting easier. Life, strangely, feels normal and very abnormal. We miss Addie and miss being her mom and dad. But we are doing well in living each day for what it is. Thank you for your works of kindness to us.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

But Those Who Hope In The Lord

I am so thankful to have a relationship with God through the blood of His Son. Over the past month I have been especially thankful. He offers hope to me even in rough times. He has made clear that I do not need to despair over the lose of my daughter. I am sad that I do not have her now and I am sad that I will not get to see her grow up. I am sad that I will not get to know what makes her laugh. Sad that I will not get to take her camping or fishing. I am sad for many reasons, but my soul needs not despair.

Even in sadness I know my God. I have walked with Him and I know who He is. He is a good God who loves His children. He made Addie and loved her. He made and loves me and Kristin. He is a God of wonder. Who can make things as beautiful as my God? I have prayed many times that the Lord would use Addie's life to draw people closer to Him. I know that there are people out there who will hear of her life who do not have this kind of relationship with Him. I pray that the Lord would use her life to draw those people into His kingdom to live and walk with Him forever. What more could a daddy want than for his child's life to expand God's great kingdom and bring glory to our great God?

It may sound strange, but I am more convinced of God's goodness right now than I was a few months ago. I cannot imagine trying to walk through something like this without God. He truly is my strength.

"He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isiaih 40:29-31

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

4 1/2 Years Ago

Four and a half years ago I proposed to Kristin. It was just after her birthday and she thought that she was I was simply taking her out to celebrate but I had different plans. I had found a nice little piece of beach that was at the base of some small cliffs. It would disappear during high tide and was not easily accessible even during low tide.

This can be a very long story, but I will spare you all the details. Eventually we made it to this secluded little beach and Kristin still had no idea what I had in mind. After a little time passed, I asked her to marry me and she said yes.

Just two days ago Kristin and I headed back to that little beach only this time it was under much different circumstances. This time we carried the ashes of our little girl who had been born exactly 4 weeks earlier. We prayed on the way there, as we walked down to the beach, and when we finally got there. It was a sad time for Addie's mom and dad and we know that our Father's heart hurt with us.

I am so thankful to have a wife like Kristin in these times. Four and a half years ago I had only seen a small piece of who Kristin was. I had no idea the quality or depth of character. All I knew was that I liked what I had seen and that I felt God's hand on our relationship. There is no one else that I would rather be with in these days.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dear Addie

Dear Addie,
I cried today like I have every day for the past 24 days. I miss you. Today, I just cried when I talked to my friend, Amy, and when I wrote in my journal about our last hour together in the hospital. But today was a good day. I felt happy, too. I laughed and even enjoyed washing the kitchen floor. Yesterday was hard. I felt like my time carrying you and giving you birth was a dream. But it wasn't. It was as real as anything I've lived through. But I wanted to pretend that your death hadn't happened. It was hard to face it again, deeper.

Your daddy and I are doing well. We're thankful that God has given us a good relationship, in the midst of losing you. And we feel like He has protected us from lies and division. We have a lot of fun together - your daddy makes my life fun. I'm kind of boring sometimes without him.

Lots of people have told me that they look forward to seeing you in heaven. Some have even said that they look forward to dancing with you. Those words always made me cry with joy but I didn't know exactly how everyone could say that. Were people just saying nice things for me? But now, Addie, I have done more reading and thinking and studying and I know why all those people have said that. And I believe, too, that you are enjoying God's presence and worshiping Him now and forever. You are safe in the arms of God. And it makes me so happy, too. I know that I, too, will one day see God face to face because of Jesus' death and life.

Today, I read about Jesus in the book of John. It says that he laid down his life, of his own accord. Jesus laid down His life, gave it up, for us. Imagine choosing to die on a cross. And I definitely don't have the power to come back to life. But Jesus did that. It struck me today because I also wouldn't be able to lay down your life - I wouldn't have chosen this path of losing you. But God has decided in His Sovereign Goodness, to take you. I couldn't and can't control God. But Jesus, in His power, gave His own life. It hit me again today.

I love you, Addie. Sing loud for me.
Your mommy

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

His grace

I used to hold my finger at the place in my textbook to know how many pages I had left to read (while in college). And during an action movie, I often want to check the time to see how much longer until the end, the conclusion. If I'm going on a run in a new area, I quickly lose motivation to keep running when I don't know how much farther I have to go until I'm home. And in the middle of this grieving process of losing Addie, I wish I could know what the future holds for us. I think it's related to my desire to have control. But losing Addie was/is completely out of my control. Her death has felt very humbling. I would like to know the future so I can pace myself now in knowing what amounts of joy and grief I will face in the coming years. But God doesn't allow me to see that. And if He did, I wouldn't need Him. I wouldn't need to trust Him and I wouldn't have a relationship with Him. But He doesn't give us foreknowledge and I do definitely need Him. Also, my desire to know the future and pace myself shows that I would rather depend on myself than on His future kindness and grace toward me. His knowledge and joy in me means that He gives me enough for each day, protecting me and enjoying me. I'm thankful for His wisdom and sovereignty even when I want to fight it. (Kristin)

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Coffee Shop

This morning Kristin and I went over to the coffee shop again for a couple of hours. We usually split an iced Americano with a bit of white chocolate in it... sounds good huh? We have done this many times over the past few weeks and I think it has been very healthy for us... not the Americano, but the time spent processing.

I usually spend some time reading my Bible, praying, memorizing scripture, thinking, and journaling. So far we have written 15 pages each in our journals and I feel like I have many more thoughts in my head that I need to put on paper. These times have helped me process through my thoughts with God. The word is so rich and has so much guidance and help to offer. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to sit before God and soak up His word. I have written down about 10 verses that have been particularly meaningful to me in the past month and I plan on memorizing them over the next month or so.

Today I spent some time meditating on Psalm 73:25

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides
This does not mean that I am supposed to snuff out all desires in life other than God. I have plenty of desires and many of them are good. However, God deserves and is meant to be my number one desire. He belongs in this spot and I want Him to be there. It has been good reflecting on this verse in these times. I can easily let created things become my primary desire above the creator... even good things like having a daughter. But this is a time of letting that desire rest with God. I can trust that He is not out to punish me or that He is looking to withhold His goodness from me. I can trust God even with my desire to have and hold a baby girl of my own. He has said not yet and I dont' know what the future holds, but I can trust Him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Being A Father

Kristin and I are doing really well right now. But if you were to ask us again later this afternoon, we may give you a very different answer. The grieving process is not as steady as we might like. One moment we are laughing and joking and the next we are hit with a memory and crying. These ups and downs are slowly becoming less extreme, but I am not sure that they will ever totally level off.

One of the best questions that we have been asked is, "what have you learned about God through this?" I say it is one of the best, because it is one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves. I have learned many new things about God and I am still deep in the learning process. Here are a few of the thoughts running through my head...

  • I understand more of what it means to be a father. One of God's names is Father or Daddy. My heart and mind changed with the birth of Addie and I became a father. I became a protector. I would have done anything for that little girl. Why? Because I was her daddy.

  • I also know what it means to lose my baby. God sent His Son to earth to live and die. He lived a sinless life and was killed by men. He knows my feelings and understands them beyond my comprehention.

  • God is as good today as he was a month ago as he was 1000 years ago. His goodness does not depend on my opinion or the circumstances I find myself in.

  • God is the refuge to which I was meant to run. He is my strength and the rock on which I stand. Without Him there is no hope and life is meaningless.

Monday, July 09, 2007

2 weeks

It's been 2 weeks since Addie was born. The past week, Brandon and I have been getting used to life without our baby daughter and without our families here. It's strange since we have no memories of Addie here in our apartment (except inside me). But we grieve what we were looking forward to, what we were expecting and awaiting. Some days have felt harder than others. We've spent a good amount of time journalling, reading, praying together and talking. I am so thankful for our marriage, for Brandon. He is both strong and gentle.

I also have learned more of how I see God, in positive and negative ways. I am so thankful that I knew before Addie's death that God is the worthy One to whom I will run. That He is the Source of what I need. And I have seen that grief is humbling, that I cannot control God or tell Him what to do or explain. I am so thankful that with Him is hope. But it is hard to hope in God and not in other things. It seems to take much diligence and training; and I feel like I am in the midst of it.

Psalm 23: 4,6 - "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;... surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Where Else Would I Go?

It was only two weeks ago that Kristin was experiencing her first real contractions. It is hard to believe all that has happened since then. We are different people in many ways. We have grieved hard and cried many tears, but the days are getting easier. We have gotten to know each other in new ways and our relationship has never been sweeter. We have also gotten to know God in deeper and more intimate ways. He is really the only source of comfort for us. Even though it is scary to trust Him at times, we would have it no other way. I think of Peter's response when Jesus asked if he wanted to leave Him too... Peter said "where else would I go? Who else has the words of life?" That is my own little paraphrase, but you get the point. It is difficult to follow and trust God with something as precious as our daughters life... but who else can we trust? Certainly we cannot even trust ourselves.

We would still love to wake up in the morning and hear little Addie in the other room. We would still love to hold her close. We would still love to get to know all of her little sounds. There are so many things that we would love if Addie were still around, but God had different plans. And again we hold to the fact that those plans are good. We are confused at times and sad at times, but we hold no anger toward our good God.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Things that we are thankful for...
  • A healthy and easy pregnancy
  • 1 beautiful day with Addie
  • A sovereign God
  • A good God
  • That we were able to hold our little girl close
  • Our God hears our prayers
  • Our God understands our pain (He lost His Son)
  • Going through labor/delivery as a team
  • Our relationship with each other has deepened
  • Our amazing family
  • Our wonderful friends
  • All the prayers that have been said on our behalf
  • A beautiful daughter
  • A surprisingly fast recovery for Kristin
  • The time we spent in our room as a family
  • The word of God
  • That we had such good times with our family (they love each other!)
  • That we're learning what it means to grieve and be comforted
  • We are parents
  • We belong to Christ and heaven is our home
  • The sweet pictures of Addie to remember
  • Our times together as husband and wife - in prayer, tears and joys
  • The wonderful care Addie & Kristin received in the hospital
  • People who grieve with us
  • The Navigators' love shown toward us
  • The kindness of God through His people - phone calls, hugs, flowers, tears, prayers
  • We know God in new and deeper ways
  • God's Presence that never leaves us
  • Students who love us and came to be with us
  • The hope that is found in Christ alone
  • That Addie is with Jesus

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My Portion Forever

Our hearts are heavy and the tears still flow. Life is strange to us right now. We have become parents, but the people around us can't tell. We feel that we should have a little one filling our home with sweet noises and little cries. Instead, it is still just the two of us in a strangely quiet home. It is filled with some pictures and many flowers, but no Addie.

But we serve a God that can be trusted. We serve a God that is infinitely good. We will praise God in this time of sorrow. We will praise Him for His goodness and we will not question or curse Him.

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

"But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds." Psalm 73:28

Monday, July 02, 2007

Labor & Delivery

After having strong contractions for hours, we headed to the birthing center in Redlands at 5am on Monday morning. I was 5 cm dilated and happy that I was so far along. My labor was long but normal and without complications. Addie’s heart rate was always good whenever the midwife would check it. Brandon was with me the entire time: coaching, cheering, helping, holding me and loving me. We were both exhausted by the time Addie arrived at 4:50 pm.
I had been waiting and waiting for the moment she would appear and be placed upon my chest - to have my little baby close and near me right away. But our little Addie was born without the oxygen she needed. Something had happened in the last minutes of labor that kept her from being born full of life and breath. She received good care from the minute she arrived and through her entire time at the hospital. But there was too much damage to her little organs.
We had been able to see and hold and touch and kiss Addie in the NICU but for the last hour of her life, she was brought to our room and we were allowed to be together as a family. This was a precious gift from God. I was able to hold her close and we were able to hug and be with her in the way we had been waiting – just our little girl in our arms. Her daddy committed her to her Heavenly Father and Jesus took her home. We are so thankful to God for what He did by giving us a beautiful daughter. Addie’s enjoying His Presence and Glory forever. He is so good to us.

We wanted to give you a little more of the story. Thank you all for your deep love and prayers on our behalf. We feel so upheld, and carried by God. And we rest not in our strength but in Him, knowing that your prayers for us in the midst of grief have been deeply answered. We enjoyed a sweet service on Saturday in memory of Addie and in honor of God. He has been gracious in His provision and love to us. Tomorrow, all of our family will be back in their respective homes. But we have great support and friends here in CA that will take over as our family. God's kindness is indeed shown through His people. Please pray for us as we face the coming days and weeks without our little girl. We love you and are so grateful for you. This last week has been so, so hard and sad but also so deep and such sweet days with each other, our family, friends and others. We will continue to record some thoughts and more pictures in the coming weeks. Thank you.