Brandon & Kristin

Brandon & Kristin

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Me again/Resources

I (Kristin) haven't written anything here in almost 2 months. And I'm going to try and not feel like I have to summarize 2 months worth of processing and grieving. Thank you to all who are still praying for us these past days, even though it's been almost 4 months since Addie died. What can I say? I miss her so much and I have to fight to remember truth about God more than ever, it feels. Adjusting to life after losing your baby is a little like a battle and a little like a long journey - in both there are stages, small victories/breakthroughs and blows/wrong turns. Each day is different and is affected by what I see, dwell on, and maybe just my emotional state.

I feel like I've had and still have MANY choices to make concerning who I am and will be because of Addie. A couple years ago, I realized that discontentment is a pattern in my life. And I asked God for help b/c I didn't want to be a bitter, joyless, discontent old woman someday. I think God is wanting to have some deeper discussions about who I am right now. And that scares me because I then feel like I have to figure everything out before He would give us more children. But I have to remember that God gives on the basis of grace; His economy is not based on effort. And so I wait and ask and try to listen and lean and let go. Most of the choices right now that I face concern my attitude about my time/responsibilities without Addie. I don't have her to care for and so I can either sit and pout and wish things were different and give in to bitter ways; or I can make the most of every day - spend quality time with God, love Brandon well, pursue college girls at UCR, keep our apartment nice... Contentment doesn't mean that I have to love my loss as a mother; it means that I accept life for what it is, what God has given and still live well.

I'm reading Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan. It's a Christian classic that is an allegory of a life lived for the King. The main character "Christian" is on a journey to the City of Celestial Lights and he encounters all kinds of people, trials and joys on his way. In the last few pages I read, he and his companion Hopeful go off the main road and end up trespassing on Giant Despair's property. They become his prisoners, are thrown into his dungeon in Doubting Castle and he beats on them day after day. They are downcast, hopeless and near death but Christian remembers (after days and days of hopelessness) that he carries a key called Promise that can unlock every door in Doubting Castle. And they escape with their lives.

I haven't had many days of feeling like I'm in the Giant Despair's dungeon. But there have been a few. And I am finding out on this road that God and His promises are indeed a key that unlocks each door. I am learning this and still need to learn more.

Well, this is getting long. Before I go, I've been meaning to write a few resources that have been helpful to us. All of them were gifts from some of you - books, songs and remembrance gifts. Thank you. I just want to write them here so others can be encouraged/helped by them.

  • A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser - not specific to infant loss but a great book
  • Holding On to Hope: A pathway through suffering to the heart of God - by Nancy Guthrie - a study of Job's life written through the personal suffering of losing 2 babies
  • Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur - answers theologically: do babies go to heaven?
  • Streams in the Desert - by L.B. Cowman - a Christian classic - another devotional. not specific to miscarriage/infant loss but wonderful
  • Mommy, Please Don't Cry... There Are No Tears in Heaven - by Linda DeYmaz - a precious illustrated book - the title explains it sufficiently
  • I'll Hold You in Heaven - by Debbie Heydrick
  • Grieving the Child I Never Knew - by Kathe Wunnenberg - a devotional book
  • An infant's funeral meditation by John Piper: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/2003/1687_Funeral_Meditation_for_Owen_Glenn_Shramek/
  • "Glory Baby" - a sweet song by Watermark
  • I've been listening a lot to the group: Enter the Worship Circle. their songs have helped me worship God in my grief.
  • remembrance gifts - jewelry, ornaments, etc. have been precious to us. thanks.

7 comments:

Sara J-S said...

kristin - thanks for sharing...for sharing the woman that you are - real and with daily struggles - and the woman you are becoming - through God's grace. discontentment is a stalker of us all...you are not alone in that. a great book i read this summer is "a severe mercy" by sheldon van auken... you should definitely find a copy. love to you.
-sara in mn

Grandma G said...

You know, it may not feel like it to you (especially some days), but you are making good progress in your healing journey. You're taking very healthy steps, and that's just what you need to keep doing... step by step... one foot in front of the other, even if at times you don't feel like it at all. Reading good stuff, talking it all over with God, and sharing your thoughts and feelings with others... all steps in the direction of healing. I admire you both so much for how you're dealing with your loss and pain.

Don't think you have to figure everything out before you have another child. If God required that of us, there'd be no children in the world! I'm still trying to figure things out... and I have a long way to go! But yes, God is so gracious, all along the way... and we never deserve His grace, yet He continues to give and give... exactly what we need and when He knows we need it... though often we don't understand.

I was given an example one time that life is like a journey up a mountain. We climb along this narrow path, and because the path goes around and around the mountain on its way up, we can only see what's behind and below us and a very short way ahead of us. But God is at the top, and He can see all the way down to the bottom, on all sides, and He knows exactly what's going on, and why things need to happen as they do. Someday when we're with Him, we'll understand... but for now, we just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Love and continued prayers,
Grandma G., a.k.a. Candy, a.k.a. Jess' mom

Molly said...

thank you, kristin and brandon, for your card this week. thank you for sharing the link to this blog and your journey. i have wept--hard. there is so much to say and yet i fumble for the words to type. so i'll just say thank you again. we have been without felicity for almost six weeks now, and i related so closely to the things you've written.

by the way, i was very involved with navs when i was in college at penn state, and my life and walk with God were changed dramatically. you are doing good work.

i hope we meet someday. as soon as i saw the pictures of addie (she is so beautiful and precious) i just exploded into tears and all i could say to abraham was, "i just want to give her a hug." someday, Lord willing.

Molly Piper

Anonymous said...

Kristin,

I am Josh White's sister in Ohio. Our mom died on February 28, 2007.
I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts, and insights regarding your loss of Addie, such a major, major loss. I have been comforted and inspired your sharing. You seem like such a great couple.

Pilgrim's Progress inspired me about my mom's death, too. It was so good reading your words, and seeing a young couple endure life's hardships and traumas, still staying faithful to God.

I will remember you in prayer, that God will continue to strengthen your ministry, and fill you with joy and comfort your hearts, as this fallen world is filled with so much heartbreak - but I am so thankful that we have hope through Jesus Christ of your seeing Addie and me seeing my mom, again.

Just wanted to let you know that my heart has gone out to you, and you are important and worthwhile, and I somehow wanted to give you some comfort, but maybe my words are failing you.......God bless you, both.

Sarah Hartley, Frericktown, OH.

Deb said...

Hi Kristen and Brandon,
You don't know me, but I want you to know that I'm tuning in. Your blog is like a TV show that I want to catch up on. My twin sister and I just lost our first children five months apart. She lost Collin Curtis Smith on August 28th, 2007; and I lost Grace Elizabeth Demarest on January 20th, 2008. We are hurting, trying to find comfort in our Lord, each other, scripture, friends, family, writings on Job, and many other places. Many times we succeed in finding momentary encouragements and comfort. But, it's like a hour-by-hour need. Everything is still very fresh for me--Grace passed away less than two weeks ago. So, I'm processing, big time. Both of us were 21 weeks along and went into preterm labor. So much pain...so much to try to understand and figure out. The hard truth is that we may never understand, we may never know. God doesn't owe us an explanation either.
Anyway, thank you for writing down your experiences and things that have been helpful for you. I will keep "tuning in".

Deb from Iowa.
P.S. My husband and I met at a college in Iowa and were both really involved with the Navigators. We will pray for your ministry in CA.

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V.A.T.F. said...

I have not experienced losing a child however I feel the same feelings you have and something that really helped me was a verse Paul said, "this is what I do, forget the past and strive toward what lies ahead"

When that really sunk in my head I truly was able to let go of my past and embrace, literally grab on, God's promises to me and the future He has for me.

You seem to have a great deal of support so for that God has blessed because many many people do not have that luxury. They are fighting their battles alone. Praise God for your support and you are right not to stay in bitter. For each new day comes joy and each new day we are able to experience more of God and ask Him to reveal more of Himself to us.

Be greatly encouraged.