We are a big loud family! My husband Kevin and I have 5 living daughters, aged 7, 6, 3, 3 and 1. Clearly, we are due for another family photo since our youngest is just a newborn in this picture. Oops! Family photos are always a bittersweet thing for us. Although we are incredibly blessed to have these amazing children, our family photos never quite show the whole gang. Through miscarriages and the loss of our third daughter, Cara, in childbirth - there's always a part of our family missing. There's a phenomenon called 'phantom limbs', experienced by many people who have suffered an amputation. Though they are missing a part of their body, these people still experience the sensation and presence, including the pain, of the limb they have lost. Losing a child is a bit like that. They are no longer visible, but their existence never goes unnoticed. The pain of loss never really goes away either. Though we carry on in life with a part of our family missing, we know what it means to be held by the God who hung each start in the sky. And - most importantly - we have our hope anchored in the promises of God; we will be reunited with all our children one day!
When people see a family like ours, infertility is not a word that would come to most people's minds. But, believe it or not, there was a time where we weren't sure if we'd ever have any children. Although our nest is now full, I can never quite call our season of longing 'a distant memory'. There's something about the experience of infertility that changes a mother's heart forever. There is also a powerful sisterhood that comes with this shared experience; an unspoken understanding of a common heartache. While there exists this unspokenness about infertility - I believe there ought to be open speaking about this experience too. So I do that.
Same goes for miscarriage. We've walked through this painful journey as well. This blog is a place where the realities of loss are dealt with openly.
Same goes for stillbirth.
Part of what we've learned over the years, through the highs and lows of creating a family - is that these painful parts are often the bits and pieces that pull us closer God. There's an inexplicable paradox that comes through seasons in the wilderness - times of thirsting and longing for children - as well as through seasons of loss. There's an intermingling of grief and joy. It's like how a torch does little to nothing to spread light in times of sunshine, yet in darkness the exact same light-source is unmistakable.
"We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
~C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
We have known God's closeness, heard His voice and even seen His miraculous provision in so many ways as we've walked with Him. As we've allowed Him to carry us during our lowest times, we've come to know Him more. This blog will be a place where I will share some of the ways He's held us, and how time and time again He's shown what it means for Him to 'go before us'. We truly have some incredible stories!
Perhaps my favourite story is the gift of our twins! On the day that we thought our daughter Cara would be born - instead, she died. I told Kevin that night that I didn't want to try having any more children. We had lost another baby the year before, and my heart was shattered. As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I wished I could have taken them back. Our desire was to have a big family. The pain of loss made it almost unthinkable to believe that we could ever see that hope turn into reality.
On October 5th, 2013 we gathered with family and friends on a Saturday morning to bury our precious and beautiful Cara. On October 5th, 2014 - exactly one year later - we gathered again. This time, we were in church on a Sunday morning, standing before our congregation and loved ones, dedicating our newborn twins to God. These twins even shared the same due date that Cara had (although they did arrive early!). The behind-the-scenes of the story of our twins is a beautiful, inspirational story of hope.
It's a story about God lifting our own hearts to hope again.
It's a story about our family of faith, praying for us through some very tough times. And, about God answering!
It's a story about wrestling with God for a deeper understanding of who He is, and what it means to be His child.
It's the kind of story that makes it hard not to believe in God. Not only that there is a God - but that He knows us intimately and loves us relentlessly.
So, this blog won't just be about longing, pain and loss. A lot of it is about the ways God speaks to me in my everyday life. I'll write about how I pray, and how He answers. I'll write about the things that amaze me, and some of the specific things He teaches me. I'll talk about the Bible - not some dusty, stuffy, outdated book - but the life-giving 'daily bread' for our souls.
As you explore the posts on this page, if you find yourself with questions about anything you read, or wanting to know more about something in particular, please drop me a line! I'd love to hear from you.
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