Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Loss

Psalms 40:1-2

I waited patiently for God to help me; then He listened and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God.

There are things in life that we just don’t understand. This past month has been undoubtedly one of the hardest, most heartbreaking times of our lives. Great joy turns to great sorrow. Dreams are lost and confusion sets in. I feel like after a month I am finally in a place where we can share it.

 

On November 14th we had great joy. We were only a few days away from carrying a beautiful much wanted new child into my second trimester. We were in great health, the baby was in great health, strong and moving with a strong heartbeat and I felt all the nerves start to fall away that come with the first trimester. Paul and I were just headed out on a much anticipated, long saved for and sorely needed vacation time away for the two of us. The 15th of November that all ended, in a hotel room in Toronto where we had a layover between flights, when we lost our baby. One day short of making it to the second trimester and he was gone.

 

We flew back to Alberta and a few days later we held, loved, and buried a perfect and tiny little boy. We named him David, meaning Beloved. We will never know the man he would have grown to be, but he will always be love to us. I prayed every single day, many times a day even, for this child while I was pregnant. I am unsure what went wrong and it hurts that so much prayer seems to have gone unanswered. But yet I know that is only my tiny little viewpoint in the much larger picture of my life. I try to step back from the emotion and remember that. Maybe my son Bennett’s birth was much more of a miracle than we knew, and the adoption of our daughter Arielle so much more a perfect blessing than we knew at the time. Our family is forever changed and I am so thankful for both of them in a new way this month.

 

This is not my first miscarriage. In fact, it is my fourth. The other three were before I had my son Bennett. With those I always still had time to keep trying. For this child, we had this one window of perfect opportunity back in Canada before returning to Niger next summer. For those of you who may say just quit- We are not considering leaving our work in Niger. This is the ministry God has prepared for us and we love it there, we love the people and the work. It is not a job, but a calling and a passion. We have looked at and thought about all the different options, and none of them are good. I feel left with only choices that suck to be honest. It’s hard to understand.

 

My mom said how common miscarriages are-that 1 in 4 pregnancies end of miscarriage apparently- 25%. But this is my 5th pregnancy, and my fourth miscarriage. So I am batting 80%. 3 of them I lost just days or a week before making it to the second trimester. It is emotionally brutal. But God is walking with us and does not leave us in the challenges. Do we believe he is good no matter what? Paul said he received a word from God that this is not the end of the story. We don’t know what this story is, or what the purpose is in it, but we are comforted that no matter what direction or outcome, we don’t walk alone.

 

In some of our speaking engagements we have been challenging people to build their prayer support base and never underestimate the power of praying people to work in tough situations. We never underestimate the strength and value in being real and transparent with people. In fact, Paul and I always believe it is better to be open and honest and real before people. I am hearing my own words reverberate in my head and I ask...why would we suffer alone? There is no shame in pain, in confusion, in hurt, in miscarriage. It would be my own pride that would keep me to hide it, to not seem weak, but in reality, I am weak. Losing a life, a child, hurts everyone. We share because we want to be real and we are grieving and I just can’t be fake about that. It makes me sad and cry to see babies right now or to think about this child we lost, still everyday it wells up inside me. And that’s ok I think. Tears are ok. I grieve the marriage retreat trip Paul and I were supposed to take that is lost to us as well now. I know how badly we were looking forward to that time and saving for it and had planned it for several years. I don’t know why things happen the way they do.

 

Friends of mine often said- remember that God is good ALL THE TIME. In their own pain and stresses I saw a common theme in remembering God’s goodness and I cling to that in my own pain. There is no in-between. People with good intentions may say it’s for the better, or something must have been wrong with the child, or to just be thankful I have other children. Well meaning words, but empty. I don’t believe anything was wrong with the child as we saw him strong and moving just hours before another scan saw he had then died in the 8 hours after that first scan. I believe it is my own body that let go of his support system. I don’t think it is for the better. While I am grateful for my children to hold, it does not stop the grief of burying my tiny little boy who we desired to hold and have for life. My kids ask often about the baby. Bennett often goes out to his grave and even lays on the ground next to it, talking to his “little brother”. He pulls down branches and finds little berries and leaves flowers on top of the snow. They don’t understand any more than we do.

 

We can never escape pain in this life. We can never be promised a perfect, pain free life. I don’t think it is healthy to hide or try to be perfect and to have it all together. I don’t have it all together, that’s for certain. I miss my child deeply and think of him everyday. That’s just the way it is right now. But I cling to God as my refuge and am thankful for all your prayers.

 

Matthew 11:25-30
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

David’s grave

IMG_9820

IMG_9824

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Enjoying seasons

One of the big things I miss in Niger is the changing seasons. Niger is basically always really warm, hot or super crazy hot. There aren’t a lot of trees and seeing real grass is a treat and hard to find in Niger. So while I don’t miss the freezing cold of winter, I do miss seasons like leaves changing, gentle rain and crisp air. So this fall our family has really been enjoying the beautiful colors of fall and riding our bikes and going for long walks.
So here, in photos, is what we have been enjoying in God’s beautiful creation this fall! (Oh, by the way- when i go bike riding I only bring my phone for a camera- so some photos look a little grainy! sorry!)

My Uncle passed away while we were in Niger and there is a memorial bench for him alongside a favourite walking path. IMG-20120909-00410
IMG-20120909-00416
IMG-20120909-00421

A old train bridge out in the countryIMG-20120916-00429
IMG-20120916-00430

Red Deer has amazing bike paths and we have been enjoying them a lot as a family!IMG-20120921-00446
IMG-20120921-00452

Paddleboats on the pondIMG-20120921-00455
IMG-20120921-00457
IMG-20120921-00465

Long bike rides with my best friend!
_MG_9172
_MG_9221
_MG_9235
IMG_9190

Amazing sunsetsIMG_9542

Enjoying harvest with a friendIMG_8747
_MG_8714
IMG_8755

First snow fall! Thankfully it didn’t last long!IMG_9571

Enjoying several weeks of puppy sitting the best dog in the World means lots of time on the parks!IMG_9631
IMG_9637

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hawaii

Well our last month has been crazy busy so I have not had time to blog! I have a few things to catch you up on, and the photos are finally getting culled and edited too!
So without further waiting, here are some photos from our awesome trip to Hawaii in August!
Last year we heard Paul’s family wanted to go to Hawaii and we were able to use our air miles and join them for 10 days. It was so peaceful and relaxing and our family all love the water, so it was the perfect place to be!

First of all. THE POOL FUN

Hawaii-119

Hawaii-121 - Copy

Hawaii-332

Hawaii-126

Hawaii-469

 

Next- THE BEACH FUN.

We mostly stayed at our resort totally quiet beach, but we did go to busy Waikiki one day too.

Hawaii-138 - Copy

Hawaii-324

Hawaii-166

Hawaii-325

Hawaii-461

Hawaii-326

Hawaii-328

Hawaii-222

Hawaii-240

Then one day came the PEARL HARBOUR VISIT

Hawaii-354

Hawaii-359

Hawaii-368

Hawaii-376This is the spot where the ceasefire and surrender papers were signed that ended World War 2.

Hawaii-364

Hawaii-379

Arielle was pretty tuckered out and needed a napHawaii-380

Hawaii-394

Hawaii-402

Hawaii-403

Then of course everyday I was in heaven with all the TURTLE FUN (with a cameo by a sea lion)

Hawaii-247

Hawaii-255

Hawaii-258

Hawaii-263

Hawaii-269

Hawaii-433This final photo here isn’t mine since I don’t have a digital underwater camera, but everyday we were on the beach I would head out with my snorkel gear and get the amazing experience of swimming with the sea turtles. I love animals and this was a real highlight for me each day.KamIII0001

And of course- the FUN FAMILY!!

Hawaii2012-1

Hawaii-179

Hawaii-182

Hawaii-214

Hawaii-334

Hawaii-343

Hawaii-398

Hawaii-415

Hawaii-503

Hawaii-504

Hawaii-454

Hawaii-506

Hawaii-500

I leave you with two last photos. We had a blast. This blog doesn’t even represent 10% of the photos I took!

Hawaii-197

Hawaii-204