"The experience of loss does not have to be the defining moment of our lives. Instead, the defining moment can be our response to the loss. It is not what happens to us that matters so much as what happens in us. It's about the grace that can transform us in the midst of sorrow. and joy not after the darkness, but even in the midst of it."
I read this late last night as i browsed some blogs and sites on mothers of infant loss. This was prob. on the book jacket of some grief book, forgive me for not knowing exactly which one. but this spoke directly to my heart and convicted me to the point that i felt i must post it. I had a friend tell me back in august that no one thing should define us, responding to me feeling like all i was in that moment was a mom of loss. That first year of loss was defining. It was/is a process and there were days i felt like i couldn't burden one more person with my grief. And then there were days where i felt a great witness, for His glory, as i celebrated the life God let me carry. Then i read this quote and it brought it all home for me....
The experience of the loss isn't what defined me/us. It happened to us..and it's the beginning of a new journey...but it's how I'm living her life and death now. And how I'm responding to it. That could mean that I live it with joy even in the darkness, or it's in the moments where we really struggle to see the light. Either way, if we LET Him, His grace WILL transform us. We have a free will in all of this. We have to decide to glorify God even in the darkness. We don't go to church for ourselves. We go to church to show our God how grateful we are that HE IS GOD. full stop. For me, it's about how grateful i am that i am NOT God. I am able to surrender this pain at the foot of His cross, knowing that i place it in very capable hands. God continues to show me over and over again that He's got my back. It may not be in my time line. And in certain situations where i long for answers, it may not even be in this LIFE time..but I will know as i am known. and that's enough for me.
About a week ago, we had a playdate at a friend's house. This friend brought me into their already existing circle of friends/playgroup of boys and they all welcomed me, warts and all i always say. With our first year of loss finally behind us, i felt more like my old self and more like the friend i wanted to be to others. (in that first year,i felt like i couldn't be anything but someone who sucked all the air out of a room when i was sad or needed to cry. I felt like i COULDN'T be a friend.) but they kept me around anyways. At the playdate, we took a picture of all the kiddos. and each one was with their little brother or sister (we've all since had 2 babies, which is totally awesome! and two of us are cooking our 3rd). When the picture was emailed around later that day, my first thought was how fun it was to see each of them growing into the little men (and woman) they will become. Then i saw that travis was sitting without his little sister. And just that fact that it wasn't my FIRST thought is progress in itself. As i let it sink it that it was ok to notice it, and that it was ok to mention it to close family, i really just asked God to bring His peace into my heart because He was going to fill that space of missing. He would have to be ENOUGH for me until i get to see her again.
The next morning, I received two gifts from Him, reminding me and in a way, rewarding me for trusting in Him and letting Him be enough. (it's something i've struggled with all my spiritual life) The first gift came from THIS BLOG, Jamie - mom to Asher and my boy Jude + #3. She took the time to recognize that travis is a big brother too, even tho Cana was not pictured. This small gift of remembering our girl was a HUGE offering to me. And in that moment, i saw God use her to remind me that what matters to me matters to Him. A few moments later, an email popped in from Patsi/Bethany and it said "So very cute of all the boys, but so sad that Cana is not there with Travis...." and again, God is telling me He will put it on the hearts of those who love me and He will use them to remind me over and over again that He is near. I am just so grateful to those who took me in, while in the midst of the grief, and have walked with me as i journey out of the darkness, learning to walk in the joy and celebration of life again.