On Monday October 29th I was talking to my good friend Katie. I was sharing with her my struggles of being a mom of 2 kids. It's a lot of work. I wasn't liking how I was responding to my kids and how I really wanted to change that. She had to go, but said she would call back so we could chat some more. My kiddos were still napping, so I took that moment. I took out my Bible, a book I had just finished reading, Taking Care of the Me in Mommy, and some note cards and started writing down Bible verses that I thought would encourage me to be a better mom. I also found a blog and read this post about not feeling like a failure as a mom. I sat there and cried. What she wrote spoke to my heart. I looked around her blog a bit more, bookmarked it. Finished up my chat with Katie and went on with the rest of my day. Little did I know just 3 days later I'd put my sweet healthy 8 month old baby boy to bed for the last time and my whole life would be changed forever....
I hope I will never forget that last night with him, it was Halloween, my least favorite holiday. But I dressed our kids up for our churches harvest festival anyway. Nate was a tiger and Ella a kitty princess. Nate was so cute and super snuggley that night. Phil and I passed him back and forth as we played games with Ella. We then came home and had our small group study. I nursed him, changed his diaper and kept his cute outfit on him. (We did the same with Ella when she was little, it was so cute to have them wake up as a cute tiger in the morning) I then hugged and kissed him and laid him in his crib. He was tired and went right down. I let Ella stay up a bit later then usual. When I was in their dark room putting her in bed Nate popped his head up and I quickly put his pacifier back in his mouth and patted his head and he laid right back down. Little did I know that would be the last time I would feel his warm head and see his beautiful bright eyes and hear his voice.
The next morning I remember laying in bed, kinda awake, we were going to be leaving for a marriage conference that day, thinking about how I should get up to finish packing, but my eyes were still closed and I was waiting to hear the sounds of my kids waking up, beckoning me to come get them. When Ella came in the room saying she heard thunder (of which there wasn't any) I looked at my clock and thought, 'wow, it's 8:40am, They really slept in late!' I got up and went to hear the thunder with Ella. We didn't hear anymore, so I went to go get Nate. I expected him to be sitting in his crib quietly playing. Instead I found him face down in the crib. I touched his back and it was cold. My heart stopped. I will never be the same. I do remember thinking, this is a nightmare. I will wake up. This is not happening to me!!!
In the days after, as family and friend come in from out of town and those that live close visit, help out. cry with us, help make memorial plans I walked around seeing these verses that I had written and posted just days earlier for a whole different reason, now felt like God had directed me to write them to help in this new season I am in. One I don't want be in, but don't have a choice.
These 3 were in my kitchen:
Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
A joyful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22
Also the daily verse in my pantry calendar for oct 31st was:
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Ecclesiastes 7:14
And the one I put on the door to my children's room:
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. James 1:19-20
I also saw things, like I had skyped with my mom and sister-in-law on the 31st, even though we were planning on seeing them the next day. I had pictures taken of Nate in a little turtle outfit, because I called him my little turtle. How easy would it have been for me to put that off? Many many people were able to meet Nate in his few short months.
It's hard to believe that he is gone. That I will battle fear, which I've really never had , in a whole new way for the rest of my life. Every morning I try not to worry. But is going to be incredibly hard to put any future children to bed in their room and sleep through the night. I know that God does not want me to live in fear. He will help me. But it will be a struggle.
Most of my friend's would probably say I'm a pretty easy going parent as far as stressing or worrying about my kids. This is a whole new battle I'll be fighting. I'm scared. Really scared.
I can only hold onto the truths and comforts that I have learned from the Bible. I am so thankful for that. I'm thankful for a strong supportive husband. A sweet, happy, silly, almost 3 year old to keep me smiling every day. Loving and supportive family and friends. I have truly been blessed.
I am thankful for the friends that rallied around me. Some that traveled many miles to be with me and some in town. They took me out, laughed, talked, cried and painted nails with me. It reminded me of the book 'Bloom' that I had read earlier this year.
It is like God has been preparing me for 'such a time as this' (Esther 4:14b) and is walking right along side me, holding me up, wiping my tears, carrying me and giving me strength for each new day.
I have seen this so clearly in daily devotions that I have read. Songs that I have listened to. And solid Christian friends I have talked to.
This journey will be long. It will be hard. Some days will not be fun, they will suck. But I am determined to honor God, to love Him more, to bring Him glory, and praise Him every day. Not because that's the right thing to do, but because that is who He created me to be.
I have continued to be amazed at encouraging things I have read, the night before we would have celebrated Nate's 9 month birth date, instead we were remembering it had been 4 long weeks since we put him to bed for the last time I read this:
You have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith... may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7
the devotional went on to say that, 'Your crisis may seem long, but compared to eternity, you know it has a limit. It will not last forever. Every crisis has a beginning and an end.'
-Faith for a Lifetime, Women of Faith Daily Inspiration.
I love and miss my little guy. I miss his smile, cuddles, nursing him, watching him and Ella play together. and many many other things. But there is hope. I will find it.