Monday, December 21, 2009

Birthday Reflections

Dec. 21 already. Amazing! I'm reflecting on "birth" right now - the birth of the Son of God (that came at the cost of a Father's greatest grief), the birth of our first living miracle (10 years ago this morning I was just starting labor), and the births we never got to enjoy, our little ones awaiting us in Heaven.

Joel Samuel, who shared a due date (2 years later) with his big brother and would now be turning 8, has been especially on my heart these past couple of days. His name means "The Lord will repay the years the locusts have eaten," and we named our son in faith that after so much heartache (deep financial struggles, multiple failed adoptions, miscarriages...) God surely had something more in store for us than years of tears and loss that had marked our first decade of marriage.

We had no idea what form that "something more" would be, perhaps emotional, spiritual or even physical tangible blessings, but we clung to the hope that His "more" would be perfect in His right timing and that He would not leave us adrift in the despairing grief that threatened to sink us. My heart is full with all I want to write on the kindness and grace God has washed over us in the eight years since Joel left my womb for Heaven, including two more living miracle babies! Yes, there have been hard times too, like my recent diagnosis of a retrovius (XMRV is one of only 3 known human retroviruses, the most well-known being HIV), but God has been so gracious through it all.

It seemed for so long we were the ones grieving, in need of tangible financial or other help. This Christmas, when so many are struggling, we live in a warm home with bountiful food, God's blessings overflowing. My eyes tear as we hand warms socks and an energy bar to the man with the cardboard sign on the corner, as my husband quietly walks forward to pay for lunch for the man who digs through his pocket and turns to walk out of the fast food joint because he doesn't have the change to cover a value meal, as we place a few small gifts of love in a friend's arms to put under the empty tree in her tiny apartment. We do it for Jesus. We do it for Joel.

[Edited Dec. 26 to say, after dedicating this entire post to Joel, I realized belatedly that it was actually Hannah Rose who shared a due date with our oldest J. She is the one that would have been turning 8. Joel would have been due in September, as we had two back-to-back miscarriages.
There, Mommy-guilt for having mistaken dates surrounding the lives and deaths of my children, now somewhat relieved by this admission. As this is a mistake I still can't believe I would ever make "in my right mind," and especially one I'm still shocked that it took me nearly a week to even realize I had made, I'm chalking this one up to CFS/XMRV "brain fog". :( ]

Yesterday we enjoyed the blessing of a long, leasurly lunch with Rick's parents to celebrate Big. J's addition to our family 10 years ago - such a wonderful change of pace after 19 weeks of spending my Sunday afternoons hooked up to IVs! (On top of that, my hives are even starting to clear up. What a blessing!) We'll celebrate him again tomorrow (his actual birthday) with my side of the family.

My brother, sister(in-law) and nephews got in from Washington yesterday evening and spent the night with my parents. We will be seeing them in a couple of hours and spending the next 10 days together, so you might not hear from me much until the end of the year. As a "Christmas gift" I wanted to point you to a current blog give-away for Joy Dekok's wonderful book, Rain Dance. It takes on some heavy topics (infertility, post-abortion syndrome, grief - topics that scared me away from the book for far too long) but is an amazing read and will touch your heart. Enter to win your own copy at


Kendra said...

Has it really been that long?

Rejoicing with you!!

Lori said...

SO much hope here...I know exactly how you felt about finally feeling like you were getting the blessing your heart desired after so long...and to know that you are able to rejoice even though you lost your son--gives hope. I felt the same way about Matthew--and I try to remember, if I am really and truly honest--God WAS faithful and we WERE blessed with His "Gracious Gift"...
Have a blessed holiday!