Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In the Eleventh Hour

I have a blog friend named Tara. We only know each other through Blogger, and without this web-based connection, there is a very strong possibility our paths would have never, ever crossed. I love reading her blog and her comments here on my blog. She's a dear, sweet woman. It turns out, though, that her Daddy is very, very ill. He's been diagnosed with cancer and needs a miracle from God. Please pray for them as you call them to mind. Because she is so kind and thoughtful, Tara, while updating me, asked how I was doing. I guess it is about time for an update of my own. I am exactly the same, and of late, I'm struggling to forget (as in to neglect willfully; disregard or slight). This is the season of the downhill slide.

One year ago, I was closely monitoring my blood sugar to protect my baby. One year ago, I was taking long, slow shots in my hipbone to protect my baby. One year ago, I was commuting long distances and paying through the nose to see a perinatologist who would help me protect my baby. One year ago, I was planning a trip to bond more deeply with my family before I had to lay down for three months in an effort to protect my baby. One year ago at Easter, I came down with that cough -- that cough that helped kill my baby. This season is full of things I find myself struggling to forget. This whole season is full of things I can't help remembering.

Forty-five days from now, the anniversaries really kick in. In forty-five days, we'll mark the day I gave birth to my sweet Zachary James. In forty-six days, we'll remember that he died. In forty-seven days, we'll recall that he was cremated. In forty-eight days, it will be difficult to not to recall the shock I felt when I saw just how tiny his urn was. In forty-nine days, we'll remember the force in which our friends and family came to honor Zachary and to support us in our time of utter anguish and pain. And that will be that.

What I can say about this year is that it has been the most trying, as well as the most refining, year of my life. I won't rehash the entire course of my journey as much of it can be read in older posts. I will say that through this process of grief, I have grown to know God far more intimately than I ever knew I could. I've really learned that He can be counted on, even if I just need Him to remind me to breathe.

In my comments today, Tara posted a quote I believed she pulled from Navel Gazing at Its Finest regarding a community of bloggers:

Maybe we gravitate to the blogsphere because most of the time we assume people in our "neighborhoods" are too busy to care about our struggles, and so we find safety in sticking with "weather" small talk while we keep our perfect little masks on. We are afraid to be real and vulnerable, and we miss out on fellowship as God intended. Oh, that we would apply to the rest of life these principles we learn through our blogs.

Personally, I think the inception of this blog is something great that has come out of working through these losses. I may be the only one who thinks my blogging is great, but it really is. (The activity, I mean. The product, probably not so much.) Being able to put my feelings down somewhere has served to remind me just how far I've come already, a Shechem of sorts, and that gives me hope for the future.

Also, by blogging, I've been given a community of support that I never expected. Thanks to each of you for sticking with me as I've cried and prayed and pleaded and reasoned, and thank you for celebrating each and every time I overcame whatever grief-stricken funk I was drowning in at the time. Your presence means so much.

This blog has also been a means whereby I've been able to bond closer to real-life friends. I'm not generally very open in person. I mean, I can be vulnerable, but I usually don't start out that way. If you ask me in person how I am, I will very likely say that I'm fine, even though I may not have eaten for a week-and-a-half and just had to use every last ounce of willpower to drag myself out the door for our meeting, doing so only to fulfill that which is in my planner, and not so much for you. Now when I see many of my real-life companions and am asked how I am, they know if I'm truly fine or if I'm lying. Furthermore, because of blog-stalking, those I would have previously called acquaintances have now become friends. Just today, I lunched, laughed, and lamented with just such a sister. These are some of the good things that have come out of this experience and process, and I'm incredibly blessed by them.

So, while I'm really dreading the next forty-five days, and the anniversary at the end, I'm already able to see God in all of His faithfulness. I know just as I've been cared for and carried through these last ten-and-a-half months, He'll be present with me at the year, and in all the years to come.

"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.
And God is faithful.
He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.
When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure."
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

"I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God."
Psalm 31:5 NLT

"He will send help from heaven to rescue me...
My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness."
Psalm 57:3 NLT

"Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His faithful love endures forever."
Psalm 136:26 NLT


  • The Dukes Family

    I love your line about being able to count on God, even if it's just Him telling you to breathe. I do that with my own child, and I have an awesome mental picture of your Heavenly Father standing over you, holding you, reminding you to breathe the air that will bring life. I can hardly believe it's been almost a year since Zachary died. There are certain things in my own life that were altered forever as I watched you grieve that child. I'll be praying for you in the days ahead.

  • Someone Being Me

    I am so sorry, hon. I can't imagine the pain of your past year's journey. I will pray for God to bring you peace in the coming days. You are incredibly strong even if somedays you don't feel that way.

  • Amy

    As always... Wow! You are an amazing gal! I am honored to have spent many of the last 320 days with you - in spirit if not in person.

  • Julie

    Although you don't know me very well, please know that I will be lifting you up in prayer tonight and through the upcoming days.
    Your blog made me cry....

  • taralynn819

    Death at any time of the year is hard, but definitely much more difficult near a holiday. Yet it is kind of neat that all of the remembering, all of the tears, and all of the struggles are actually little celebrations, and that through them the picture of the Gospel becomes to us a little less fuzzy. Zachary's Easter is coming.

    1 Corinthians 15:16-20 ESV
    For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep

    Romans 8:11 ESV
    If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

  • Playful Professional

    I'm so sorry. My prayers are with you as you go through these hard anniversaries.

  • Sue

    Hi Amanda... What a wonderful post. I wish I'd written the quote you referenced, but I'm afraid it wasn't me. I'm far too shallow to have come up with it ;>

    God bless.

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