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Of all the things I miss…

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Did I Google search Are Blogs still revelvent in 2021?

Absolutely I did because who even knows anymore if people read blogs. I had to wonder if somewhere between Instagram stories, Tik-Toc , and Podcast was there still space for written thoughts. According to Google there is so here I am, so randomly on Easter Sunday morning of 2021 about to just pour out my thoughts after a year or more of silence.

In my late teens early 20’s I attended a church that did sunrise services on Easter Sunday. The church would find an outside venue that would allow them to set up and lead a service at Sunrise (hence the name) on that Sunday, and it was magical for me. Even now as I type this I can feel the emotion in my heart as the memory of those times play back within me. There was something about that time of worship in the morning. Standing outside surrounded by creation as the immenseness of the sun slowly rose into the endless sky. I felt a connection there with the Lord that wasn’t something I experienced every church service, as if the closeness of him was magnified in that outside space. And I miss it.

Easter changed for me after Katie Grace was born. My understanding of what actually went into the death and resurrection of Christ was completely rearranged.

We were six months into that first year of her life. We were slowly…oh so slowly….learning her and her needs. Issac randomly had a date with his Grammie that morning, and Katie Grace decided to take in impromptu morning nap. The demand of always having to have a watchful eye on her due to breathing complications while she was awake, made nap times pure gold in our home. Apparently a different part of her brain functioned in sleep and her breathing wasn’t nearly has high risk. It had been a few days since I had had a moment or a shower so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. It took five minutes of standing in that shower with the hot water descending over my exhausted body before the dam of emotion broke. With my eyes closed, letting the tears blend into the water, I simply said:

“I can’t do this Lord. How am I going to do this? Do you even understand how hard this is? That sweet baby is going to die so much earlier then I will ever be ready for. I am going to have to love her unto death! Do you even know how hard that is? How hard it is to stand here and watch her struggle? She is going to spend her life with pain I can not ease and then die….do you even understand how hard this is?”

It seemed a lot longer then it probably actually was before through my sobs and the water I heard a still and quiet “Yes, I do.” Jesus’s life then played out before me, every story I ever read about his life and death became a picture in my mind, every sermon I heard preached about his suffering and his strength became the soundtrack, and the last line being:  “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19.

And I understood in a way I had never understood before.

Easter has always been about Jesus, his suffering, his death, his resurrection yet in that moment… in that conversation I accepted a deeper understanding. It wasn’t only just about Jesus…. it was about the Father. Jesus’s path undo death, his journey with suffering and the faith in resurrection wasn’t paved by him, instead it was sacred ground that God the Father had laid way before Jesus was born and walked the earthly ground. I knew in that moment as I walked the suffering that was going to be my daughters life, there was no ground God the Father couldn’t meet me on. Yes he knew what it was like to suffer with your child, yes he knew what it was like to make hard choices that cost you everything, and yes he knew what walking them into death was going to be like. He knew because He already had done it.

I felt so little standing in that shower. The weight of the vastness of God was far beyond what my humanity could understand and I felt so little. My value for what Jesus did for us in joining with humanity grew because I understood what the Father did first. I wonder if the greatness of love isn’t connected deep into suffering. We can’t have one without the other. Maybe suffering is what give us the capacity to understand the depths to which love can go. I don’t know….I do know that God the Father suffered first in the all the things we thank Jesus for on Easter Sunday. And because of that, the wildness and hugeness of God’s love is beyond what we can understand.

That was the magic of Sunrise Service for me. We weren’t confined by the walls of a church or the rules of Christian etiquette. We were just a collection of people surrounded by the gigantic beauty of nature. We started singing in darkness and ended blinded by the sun, unable to deny the beauty of nature. Unable to deny how broad the shoulders of love God the Father has because we were standing on them, in that moment, in that sunrise. I didn’t know it then what it was. I didn’t understand how unbelievably deep, wide, and unrelenting love was. I had no idea in my youth where that love would go…how far it would take me… how trustworthy it was… how substantial and immense it was. I just knew standing there, arms raised high, it was magic.

This Easter, I don’t have a Sunrise Service but I have the vastness of love. I have the remembrance of what love does, what it gives. In our world today, with all the questioning, all the fighting, all the madness really… I have what I know to be the truest and most trustworthy guide. I have love and the suffering that it took to receive it.

Fertility or more exact the lack thereof

This blog has been rumbling around in my head for pretty close to the last 6 months. I have written it and re-written yet never put a word on paper. Today the words urged themselves to be spoken, to taken from the rumbling whirlwind of my mind and laid out bare. In many ways, this is more of an update to where life has taken us, there might be something deep and profound in the storytelling, I honestly never know until the words place themselves outside of me.

Here we go.

When Charles and I moved to Charlotte, we decided to get serious about having more children. We have always wanted to have more, it was something we hadn’t been preventing since Katie Grace was about 3. It just never happened. It was easy to understand why…we were stressed, tired, grieving, life was handing us situations we had no idea how to handle. It was simple to just let the months go by and not question, why I wasn’t pregnant. So we did. We did until Charlotte until we realized those months have become years and 40 wasn’t that far away for me. We really had to start wondering. We needed to start processing and taking a more proactive stance if we were going to be serious about having another child.

We did. We did the whole medical route. We gave lots of blood, took lots of tests, and ran the gambit that the medical community has set up to hopefully give you answers. It gave us answers. At the end of the day, it’s me. It’s my body. At now 39 I am just on the lower end of normal fertility for women my age. It’s simple genetics. Charles and I without intervention have a 5% chance of getting pregnant on our own.

I can write that easily now but it hit us like a ton of bricks in the summer when we were getting all the answers. Oddly enough we were in Redding when we got the information, surrounded and wrapped up in that amazing blanket of the community who held us through all of our hard things. It was a God-send as we processed the information. As we let our hearts cry and grieve, and be irrational. We gave ourselves 48 hours to let it be the biggest deal it could be and then we breathed, we gathered ourselves and decided to move forward. To look into what fertility options were out there for us.

That has been our journey since the summer. There are so many steps involved in getting fertility treatments, and there were more options than I had realized. As we have walked this path, making conscious choices about what we doing and where we are going, I came to realize I was still holding onto Katie Grace, unable to let her go on a deeper level. If you know me at all, you would know letting go is not my strength. AT ALL! I just sit with something until it resolves in a way that works for me if I can’t find a resolve I just can’t release it. I have no idea why this is how I work, it has always been me though. I had to have a conversation with her about having another child. I wouldn’t say I was seeking her approval yet there is a level of it that I was. I needed to know in my heart that having another wasn’t betraying her, or leaving her behind. Although we have tucked her away into our hearts and carried on with life…there was something in my heart that told me having another child made moving on finite. It would be a monumental life move she wasn’t moving on with us in and my heart couldn’t take the thought of it.

I found her in that place that I go to in my mind when I need to see her cheeks and hear her heart and we had a chat. I can’t tell you all the things we talked about in that space but I can tell you as always she changed my perspective. She showed me how deeply I was still holding onto her, trying to preserve her in the world she has already left. It was my fleshes way of not letting her die, I wish there was better language to use to explain but there really isn’t. My literal flesh, the one that carried her in my womb, that gave her every ounce of goodness first while she grew inside me, the one that went with sleepless nights, that one that still carries parts of her DNA within me, that one was trying to keep her alive still. So I let my momma’s heart grieve again with her in that space. I let it cry out for the loss of everything it couldn’t do to save her. I let it weep over the choices it had to make that were contrary to the fibers of its core. I let myself connect and breathe deep with that momma’s heart that I had to put on hold in order to take care of Katie Grace. We grieved again and I let go on another level.

Do you know what I found?

Letting go is giving me the freedom to have more of her. She hasn’t fallen behind but she’s gone ahead. She is cheering us on and watching us as we run this race. The preservation of her in my heart keeps her locked in the past, yet releasing her, realizing that this next level of life and moving on is good, it frees her to come with us. I know now that if we have another child if these treatments work and the miraculous shows up, that child won’t be missing the love of a sister they never met. Instead, they will spend a lifetime being loved by her through the people she loved and changed the most. And that just seems right.

We are in our second round of treatment. The first one didn’t work. It was okay, we were sad and we were okay. It’s going to be a process and a journey as life always is. It’s wild as I sit in waiting rooms to see the variety of people there waiting also. Our stories so different and still the same. In my short time on this journey, I can tell you this infertility knows no ethnicity, no financial status, no weight issues, no age. It is it’s own beast, demanding its own journey.

So here is to the journey, to the moving on so that we might have the more, of the good times and the rough times, for they are both essential to the fullness of life.

Days of Fall

I keep waiting for Fall.

The real Fall.

The 60 degree sunny days where the air blows cool but the sun speaks of heat. The days where sweaters and leggings are a requirement and not just a desire.

It has yet to fully arrive here in Charlotte.

So I chased Fall with Erin on Saturday. We hoped in her black car and headed to the mountains. In that hour and a half ride, we lost 20 degrees of heat. We found rolling hills of trees starting their color change, making the scenery look like a Bob Ross painting. We found misty roads and foggy towns, a need for jackets, scarfs and hot coffee.

We found Fall.

It was an amazing day. One with no agenda, no timeline. On our way home we found ourselves deep in this conversation about why people love Fall. If you think about it, its a bit wild. It’s the season right before a season of death, of lack, of going without. A time when the weather is gloomy, its hours of light are short, and the hours of darkness long. Yet still, Fall is anticipated. It is waited for and celebrated. It is sought out and relished in. It’s not looked upon with fear or trepidation because of what is to come. Few I know hate Fall because it tells of Winter’s arrival, they simply love Fall because it is what is it, in the present. So maybe if we follow nature’s path even the season’s tell us, death is nothing to fear, it is simply is a season, and that although it comes and can be bothersome, being in the present is always worth relishing in.

I didn’t get on here today to just talk about Fall.

Being true to the lack of consistency in which I write, it has been forever since I have sat and put my hands to words. Honestly, I have wondered if it is time to lay down the writing as a whole. When I first began this blog it was really to capture our life with Katie Grace. A way for me to not just share our journey but for me to wear my pain. To creatively express what life was teaching me. Even the years after Katie Grace’s death I had her teaching me, writing her story quite possibly taught me more than living it with her di. This place that I am in now, it’s different or maybe I am different. I have gone back and forth with keeping this little corner of creativity. For the present for the now, I am going to hold onto it. I am not sure what it will become, or what I will become within it but it didn’t seem like it was time just yet to let it go.

Maybe it’s just my Fall before Winter. Maybe I just need to sit and rest in the beauty of the season for what it is, with little concern for what it “needs” to be or “will” be.

Maybe I will just relish in being present in the moment and whatever that creates.

My Best Yes

Charles,

On Sunday it will be 12 years since we said our first “I do.” Do you remember that day? The one where we stood as two practical strangers next to each other, reciting vows we had not written or chosen, not touching because that would make me a Jezebel, not allowed to kiss. I was so scared that day. It wasn’t being married that was scary for me, it was the man who was marrying us I was afraid of. I was scared of not acting correctly. I was scared of getting into trouble. Of saying or doing something that would break some rule that I hadn’t learned yet. Or bring an offense I didn’t know could be an offense. That 26-year-old person pleasing pain-ridden girl just wanted to get through the day and not lose her call from the Lord or the family she believed he had given her.

Our marriage was not going to be our own. The foundation of that had already been put into motion. We were “called” to be something special….something different. It was not going to be typical because “God” was using us to show the world a different thing. At least that is what I was told, so I believed. Man, did I believe it so easily? I just ignored red signs and gut checks until my insides were no longer trustworthy. God hadn’t called us to anything special, we were purely pawns in another man’s broken game of life. Objects he used to control and manipulate to bring I don’t even know what to his life. The purpose of his deception to this day is beyond my understanding. I have thoughts and guesses but his dysfunction and brokenness are his, his why never shared.

You didn’t buy it. Although deeply entrenched into the deception, you couldn’t really believe what you were hearing. The rules that you had to walk in order to even be called husband were so outlandish, your heart couldn’t settle on it. Man, you battled. Struggled to get “on board” but in the end, you couldn’t. There was too much truth inside of you. Too much intuitive knowledge of who God was and the rules simply became too much….too far. So you fought. First, you fought yourself…finding the peace that what you were intuiting was right. Then you fought the Lord, imploring him for revelation and understanding, and when you had it….you fought the family. It wasn’t your heart to fight, you wanted them to see what you saw so that they might have the freedom you found. You actually fought for them. It was never painted that way. You were always the enemy. Your revelation demonic and your heart good but misguided.

Of course, I didn’t know any of that because we weren’t really allowed to talk. The private conversation of a husband and wife were not a luxury we had. Connecting at the end of the day about the day’s happening, not an experience allowed us. I was allowed to wash your clothes, serve the family, and at some point bear your children. Those were my allowances within the realm of our “called” relationship, our “set apart” marriage.

It took you a year and a half after the day we said “I do” to get me away. You stayed and fought harder then anyone has ever fought for me. You took a heavy a burden until I was ready to leave and even then the leaving was a hot frickin mess. I technically never left the family, I left you. Funny thing though, they never pursued me. They hide me from you. They supported my leaving you. They used me as a way to get to you. But the minute they knew you were not going back to them all of sudden I was wrong. Wrong for leaving, wrong for staying away, and they could no longer support me. You pursed me though. You stayed in contact. Trusting when you shouldn’t have been. Giving when you didn’t have it to give.

I can’t believe that was 12 years ago. It’s wild to me how much we both honored that yes. That yes in the mess that we were living. How easily we could have chalked it up to a mistake and walked away from each other. Yet we stayed together. Was it because we had Isaac? Or because we had an insane story? I don’t know. It wasn’t like our marriage after we left was a cake walk.

Now no longer afraid of someone outside of the marriage, I realized how afraid of marriage I was. I went into like a cat goes into a bath. Claws out ready to fight all the time. Every wound of every man that I had not healed from or released became a wall between you and me. Every fight I would unload the pain of their choices upon you. One of your greatest fears, to be punished for something you didn’t do.

It was a vice-a-versa, you would sling at me the wounds of your youth. The wounds of others that had been etched on your heart were arrows used to shoot at me, creating this space in which I would never be enough. One of my greatest fears.

Funny how an intimate relationship does that.

We made it though. We fought with each other and at some point, we started to fight for each other. We stepped into marriage counseling for 2 years, learning how to listen to each other, coming to peace with our individual pain and how it shows up in our relationship. I will forever say, even when you roll your eyes, that is the only threesome I will ever do or encourage someone to do. Husband, wife, marriage counselor.

Marriage counseling didn’t save us, it just gave us tools. You see babe, as I look back on it. We were always for each other. It’s like in that crazy mess that was the beginning of us, we were each other’s best allies, although that is not what it looked like on the outside. Or what that man wanted us to be. He actually fought hard for us to never be in each other corners. Yet, here we are 12 years later, and I have never been more committed to someone’s corner then yours. I have never loved another soul the way I love you. I haven’t understood love from another the way I understand love from you. There are parts of my heart and soul that I was sure I would never share because it was too tender, yet they lay before you on a continual basis.

And you with me. There are places you let me that I know none have gone before me. There are entrusted stories, dreams, desires, thoughts, that are shared only with me. You have embraced your emotions, you let them out and you let me in. You model them for our son. We were a team forged in the fire of pain, deception, and manipulation. Instead of fighting the fire, we leaned into it. We let the flames burn away the imperfections, we let the heat melt us down to a liquid, and as we were poured into the mold of life, we became one.

Not the one of sameness, where we think the same, believe the same, or would even do life the same. Not that becoming one but the becoming one where we have respect, grace, and understanding for the differences. Where we give space for our individual journeys, where we give room for pain to breathe, where we give time all that the minutes it demands.

This weekend we are stealing away to have all the private conversations that husbands and wives have. To have unadulterated adult time, doing whatever it is our heart’s desire to do. There is no plan, no daily agenda. Just you and me.

You were my best yes 12 years ago when I had no idea who you were.

You are my best yes today when I have a well-rounded clear picture of who you.

You will be my best yes always.

Love you babe,

Katie

P.S. I would change one thing about our wedding day. The date. Mother’s Day weekend is simply not the best weekend to get married. Hotel prices go up, restaurants are busy. It’s a whole thing. We should just let mother’s have those weekends. 😉

Somewhere between Traditional and Progressive

Hi!

Sorry, it’s been awhile. Life has been full of transitions and new. I am sure an update as to how our move to Charlotte has gone is more than due. To be honest, there isn’t very much to write about it. It went as well as a move could go. What is it like being in Charlotte? It’s different. It’s new. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, overall it’s just good. Isaac is thriving in his new school. Thriving in a way I hadn’t yet experienced with him and school. He is embracing this drive to do well in his academics, that’s kind of a first and amazing to see. Charles and I are doing well. Actually, we are kind of killing that married life as we lean into the ebb and flow of this new life. Generally, overall, we are just good.

Now that we are caught up, I have to admit I find myself a bit grumbly this morning. Not really irritated and kind of a little bit irritated. Irritated seems like such a strong word for what I am feeling….maybe I am more discontented. I don’t even know if that word works. Maybe…maybe I am just…..

Struggling.

That’s the best word. We are in search of a church once again. Weekly I find myself scrolling through the internet, finding churches, reading reviews, looking at locations, scanning websites trying to catch the heart of a place within the black words written across their white and colorful sites. Each week, I find myself more disenchanted then the week before. Less than excited to get up on a Sunday, get everybody ready and once again walk through the doors to be the new people. New to their systems, new to their culture, new to their atmosphere. Always wondering how Isaac is doing being the new kid in class, again. Even though he has got it kind of down to an art form, I hear questions/comments from him that he too is struggling. Can we come back to this church? What did you think of that one? Do we have to go to a new church? I liked that church.

Struggling.

I used to think it was that kind of simple. You know that I just liked it so I attend kind of simple. However, I don’t believe it works that way anymore. Atlanta woke me up. God reached into my boxed world, erased some stark, harshly drawn lines that constructed this “simple” Christianity and I know more now than ever, I see that it isn’t that simple. It’s like deciding to cut your hair, you know you think it will grow back, it’s easy. That is until you are growing it back and it hits all kind of various short and medium stages that remind you why you don’t ever cut your hair. You have that stage where it’s too short to put up and too long to not stay in your face. If you wear it up, you have to use copious amounts of bobby pins to keep all the stray pieces of hair from falling. If you keep it down it falls in your face, consistently demanding your attention. The evolution of growth is not as simple as we like to think it is. It isn’t boxed, there aren’t harshly drawn lines that clearly show the path. It’s messy, with lots of questions, and lack of understanding. To be honest, lots of time it leaves you standing somewhere struggling to put bobby pins into your life to hold the pieces of it together wondering what I am going to do with this in this stage.

Struggling.

I don’t know if I fit into a traditional church anymore. I know too much. I see too much. I question too much. I mean could I sit, listen and quietly agree to disagree every Sunday. I could. I also don’t know that I fit in a progressive church either. I am still walking my path, coming into my own beliefs and understandings. I mean could I sit, listen and quietly agree to disagree every Sunday. I could. It just seems as I face the week searching, I am faced with these two choices only. Maybe in the most childish places of my heart, I want to find a church that is evolving. That is walking the same path I am. That is full of people who are discovering their own trail. I want to find a place that isn’t as full of answers as they are full of questions. People who are open to understanding that the evolution of growth isn’t simple. It’s not drawn with harsh, clear lines that define your pathway. It’s lineless, open to letting your feet wonder out to touch others path’s who are near you but not yours. It allows you to pull from others journey, to see another way, examining where that way fits in the journey you are on. The journey, you are the Lord are consistently in connection about. It kind of demands for individuality, humility, the art of learning, and discovering. It requires bravery and the freedom to let go. In the childish places of my heart, I want to find a place that can hold tradition and embrace evolution.

Maybe I am asking for a utopia.

I don’t know.

I just realized this post won’t end with a resolve. There will be no nice wrap up to this struggle. I will question putting it out there, sharing with the world, letting them into my grumble. Then again, maybe I wrote this for those who are in the same place I am. For those who are looking for a utopia, who are evolving and longing for tradition all at the same time. If that is you, you aren’t alone. We are out here. Finding our path. Making peace with the evolution of growth.

Struggling.

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