When God Calls You to Sadness

Sadness.  It is something that most people try to run from.  It is something that has become my friend over the past three years. I have labeled this time in my life as a time of sadness. Now the Lord has called my husband and I to foster babies.  

Let me tell you, I am so fearful of this calling.  I wonder if I can be strong enough or if I can hold it together.  I think of a child whom I have loved reunifying with their parent or parents and I know that it is the way that it is supposed to be, but it terrifies me.  I have seen my friends do it.  Multiple times.  I understand the loss and the grief experienced. However, I worry that the loss will remind me of the two losses that I have experienced through miscarriage. I worry that I won’t be able to keep myself together and still parent my son after a baby gets reunified. I worry that I will be so broken that I can’t be fixed after a baby leaves our home.  

You hear preachers telling people that as a believer, you shouldn’t experience pain or hardship.  That you shouldn’t have financial struggles and should be blessed abundantly.  I don’t see this in scripture.  I see that those people who are firmly devoted to the Lord experience pain and trouble and many times death because they have chosen to follow the Lord. 

God isn’t calling us to be comfortable in our lives.  He certainly is calling believers to be faithful to Him.  In that faithfulness, believers should be called to uncomfortable places.  

For us, that place is destined to bring sadness. Any child that we have in our home will be coming to us because of some sort of trauma.  In their short life, they have experienced something so sad that it caused them to be removed from their parents.  They have already lost something that so many of us take for granted, a family. 

So, we are stepping into their sadness, which may also bring us into sadness, because we firmly believe that God is there in the sadness, that He mourns over the trauma this child has experienced. We also believe that in the sadness, God will bring joy.  He will allow us to see a person grow and learn and change in a way that would be impossible otherwise.  He will allow us to whisper to these children how incredibly loved they are by an infinite God who they can call Daddy. 

Our God is a redeemer.  He will redeem these situations and our part is to love on these special kids for as long as He wills us to. We need to be okay in the sadness, knowing that within sadness there can also be joy. 

The Delicate Art of Preparing to Be Licensed

We are now two weeks into our foster care classes.  We are starting to learn more of what we can expect.  We are also to be preparing our house to be licensed.  We first must be licensed and then we must do a bit more to be placement ready. 

For me, this has taken “nesting” to a whole new level.  When nesting while pregnant, you know what to expect.  You will have a brand new baby coming home and will need all the things that go along with a new baby.  There are things that you don’t worry about right away like baby proofing.  You know that you new baby won’t be able to move much, so you don’t worry about it.  You typically get stuff put up around 3 months after the baby comes home.  

With fostering, you never know exactly what age you are going to get, so while we are requesting 0-2 for our first placement, we could get an 18 month old or a newborn.  That means that we have to be ready before a baby even is in the picture.  Every plug must be plugged, every cord put away. Cabinets locked, all just to be prepared potentially months ahead of time. 

I have found this part of the planning to have a “hurry up and wait” feeling.  The truth is, we could get a placement days after our home is ready, or we could wait months to get a placement. 

The thing is, I want to nest.  I recently went to a huge baby store to look at things that I may need.  I initially went and looked for child proofing equipment but when I was there I started to think of the other things that I would need.  When I was pregnant, I would wander around those stores, so excited.  I loved registering for things and planning for my son.  With this, I am not sure who I am going to get or how old they may be. For a planner like myself, this makes life a bit difficult.  I want to buy things.  I want to make sure that I have diapers and formula.  (That caused a whole semi panic attack when I realized that I don’t know how formula works).  

There are so many unknowns in this.  I feel constantly uneasy throughout the day trying to figure out how to make things “perfect” around my house.  I am trying to figure out how to do all the right things and cross all the required T’s. 

It honestly makes me see how much I do that in my life.  The pressure to be perfect is overwhelming.  I confess that I don’t often look to the Lord in those moments of stress, but rather rely on my own strength. 

If there is anything that I am certain that I will learn from fostering children, it is that I cannot do this on my own strength.  I am not that good of a person.  I need to rely on the Lord to get me through this.  He is the one that is leading this decision and He should be the one that I am running to in the fear.  

He already knows.  He knows the children who will live with us.  He knows who we will get the privilege to adopt and who we will help reunify with their parents.  He knows. He knows the heartbreak that we will face. He will be using it to bring us to him. He is leading.  God is going to use this tornado to mold us into the people that He wants us to be. It will be my job to rest in that. 

Cooking for a Crowd: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

This is cheesy, delicious, macaroni and cheese. It tastes so good and everyone that I made it for loved it.

Your Ingredients: Cornstarch, Macaroni, Evaporated Milk, Butter, Monterey Jack Cheese, Cheddar Cheese and Salt and Pepper.  Easy ingredients with delicious results. 

Macaroni and Cheese

Step One: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (you can do this later after the pasta is cooked if you want).

Step Two: Cook the macaroni. Put it into a metal serving tray.  You will want to make it a bit al dente because it will get softer when you bake it.  Sometimes I make the pasta beforehand and will heat it up before adding the cheesy goodness by pouring boiling water over it and draining in quickly.  

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Step Three: Combine the cornstarch, salt and pepper in a large pot. Then add evaporated milk water and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. If you don’t stir it will burn, which is gross. Don’t burn it. Wait until the mixture boils. Boil it for one minute. Remove the pot from the stove.  

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This is what I used to stir so that it didn’t burn.  

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Stir in the cheese until melted.  

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Pour cheese sauce over macaroni; stir to coat. 

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Cook it for 25-30 minutes. Serve the deliciousness.  This is creamy, and so good.  I would recommend pairing it with some salad and some bread. 

Macaroni and Cheese for a Crowd
Serves 30
A delicious, cheesy and easy macaroni and cheese recipe for a crowd.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 boxes (16 oz.) dry, small elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  2. 3/4 cup cornstarch
  3. 2 TBSP salt
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  5. 5 cans (12 fl. oz. each) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  6. 6 cups water
  7. 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  8. 6 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  9. 3 cup shredded Monterey Jack
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine cornstarch, salt and pepper in large saucepan.
  3. Stir in evaporated milk, water and butter.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly (really make sure to get the bottom of the pan so that it doesn't burn), until mixture comes to a boil.
  5. Boil for 1 minute.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Stir in cheeses until melted.
  8. Place macaroni into prepared dish.
  9. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni; stir to coat.
  10. Pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
Notes
  1. Keep the cornstarch/milk mixture moving in the pot so that it doesn't burn. Burnt mac and cheese is gross.
Adapted from Nestle
Adapted from Nestle
The Insignificant Details http://theinsignificantdetails.com/

Mac and Cheese

Willingly Walking Into a Tornado

Many people look to the new year with excitement and hope for what the year may bring.  I have that.  I am excited for what God has been calling my family to.  I am excited to be surprised by my God and all that He has for us.  He surprised us big in 2015 (with the purchase of our house).  

However, I know that in 2016, I am willingly walking into a tornado.  This tornado is going to cause me and my family to be picked up and mixed around in ways that we can’t predict.  We will experience the depth of pain, joy, heartache, loss, love and fear.  We are not sure of where we are going, but we are called to walk straight into the tornado.  We are starting the foster care process.  Tornadophoto source

We have seen so many friends go into this process.  We have seen them come out of it battered, bruised, joyful, fulfilled, stressed and loved.  We have seen them live the gospel in their home.  This is not an easy path, all of them would agree, however, it is a path that is walked because our love for God is greater than our personal comfort. 

So, we are willingly walking into the tornado.  I may share about our journey here (in very vague detail).  Know this, we are scared, excited, terrified and called to this. We know what we are getting into and we have no clue what we are walking into.  But the one thing that we do know is this: our God is good, He has led us here, He will never leave us nor forsake us, He is the one that will be holding us up and allowing us to do this.  To God be the Glory. 

To my Turkey Baby

Hello My Turkey Baby,

When I found out I was pregnant and you were due today, I was joking with your dad and told him that we would have our own Turkey Baby for Thanksgiving, an 8 lb turkey of our own.  When family asked what we were doing for Thanksgiving this year, we had just barely found out that we were pregnant and we told them that we weren’t sure yet. The truth was, that we thought that we would be having a baby right before Thanksgiving and we were probably going to be home for it. 

We found out that we were pregnant on March 21. We were scared after our first miscarriage, but so excited.  We had just moved to our new home, I showed up in the garage and told your dad, “We have one other big thing that we brought from the Bancock House that we are going to have to find a place for.” I had your big brother dressed in his Big Brother shirt. Your dad teared up when I told him.  We were so hopeful that you would make it to your birth day.  We lost you a month after we found out that we were pregnant. 

Oh, my glory baby, I wish that you were here.  I so desperately wish that I was holding you in my arms, or almost holding you in my arms.  I wish that your big brother could wear his big brother shirt that is is almost too big for. He loves babies right now, and he would be so excited about you.  I can imagine him smothering you with kisses. 

I find some peace in knowing that you are in Heaven with your brother or sister.  I love that I will get to meet you both someday.  I may never know why the Lord chose to take you before you were born, but I trust that His plan is best for us all.  

On the way to the ultrasound, where we ultimately found out that you had already been lost, the Lord was faithful to give me a verse to calm my nerves.  It was Isaiah 40:1-3. 

Isaiah 4110

That verse gave me so much hope and peace before and after I found out that I would be miscarrying you.  My little turkey baby, I wish so much that you were here.  I want to be kissing your head. You will always be missed by me.  You are not forgotten by your mama. 

I love you so much!

Love, Your Mama

Glory baby, you slipped away
As fast as we could say baby, baby
You were growing, what happened dear
You disappeared on us baby, baby

Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe
Until we’re home with you
Until we’re home with you

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Before we do

Sweet little baby, it’s hard to understand it
‘Cause we are hurting, we are hurting
But there is healing, and we know we’re stronger people
Through the growing, and in knowing

All things work together for our good
And God works his purposes
Just like he said he would
Just like he said he would

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do

I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
Heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know
All you’ll ever know

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Yeah, you’ll just have heaven before we do
Before we do

Glory Baby by Watermark

How to Help a Friend Through a Miscarriage

Helping a Friend

 

I have now had two miscarriages.  I am by no means an expert on grief, miscarriage or how to help people, but I felt like it was important to write down ways in which you can help someone through a miscarriage whether or not you have had one. All people are different and something that helped me may not work for them, but hopefully you can find one thing that you can do to minister to their grieving heart. 

I think that is important to note that miscarriage is death.  Thinking through the words that you say to someone who is having a miscarriage should be just as delicate as what you say to someone who has just had a death of a close member of the family.  I have included a brief section below on what not to say to someone who has had a miscarriage, and the best thing to say. 

Here is my list of practical ways you can help a friend through a miscarriage.

1.  Prayer.  Pray for them.  Don’t just say that you are praying for them.  Set a reminder, put it in your calendar, download echo prayer for your phone to get daily reminders.  Your friend is going through something in which the only thing guaranteed to help them is prayer.  Be faithful to pray.  Also, don’t just pray the week that you find out.  Continue praying, miscarriage is a difficult thing because you never know when the grief and sorrow will hit you. 

2. Offer to bring a meal, then offer again.  When I was going through my first miscarriage it felt weird to me to have someone bring a meal over.  A friend was persistent and she brought us a delicious meal.  It felt amazing to not have to think of dinner for one night.  There is so much that goes through your brain when you are miscarrying, and thinking through what to make for dinner is sometimes paralyzing.  If you don’t cook, get them a gift card for a meal out.  During both my miscarriages we spent more money that we should have on eating out, but I just couldn’t pull myself together enough to make something.  Gift cards are always appreciated. 

3.  Send Flowers.  I received flowers both times that I miscarried and it was so nice to have something beautiful to look at during such a dark time. It was nice to get a little card from the person each time.  I actually cherish those little cards.  They are a reminder that someone noticed and cared for the little one that I lost. When you are having a miscarriage you want other people to care for the little one that you lost. 

4.  Keep texting and calling, even if you don’t get a response. I had a few friends during my first miscarriage that constantly were texting me and calling me to let me know that they were thinking of me and available to me if I wanted to talk.  I never called or texted back but each message was an encouragement and a help to me.  Have extra amounts of grace with the person if they don’t respond.  Don’t take it personally.  Just continue to love them and care for them without strings attached.  That is authentic love and you can model it here.  

5.  Send a note.  It doesn’t have to be long, but getting a note where someone acknowledges your pain and that you lost a member of your family is really nice. Notes are becoming archaic, but this is a really great way to show your care and concern. 

There are more things that I could mention, but these are my top five ideas for how to help someone through a miscarriage.  Just have a ton of grace, the person will not know how they feel from one minute to the next.  Also, this isn’t a wound that heals quickly.  The person was pregnant and now they are not.  That isn’t something that someone gets over quickly.  

With that said, there are some things that you shouldn’t say when talking to a person who has had a miscarriage.  Do not give false hope to them.  Biblical hope is fine, but false hope is not helpful.  Some examples false hope are: “Don’t worry, you are young, you will be able to have a child.” or “My cousin’s friend also had a miscarriage and then went on to have four babies.” Now is not the time for that, it is not helpful. False hope gives hope in circumstances and not God.  Remind them of who God is.  That is what they need to hear, over and over again.  God is good.  He is loving.  He hasn’t forgotten you.   

With that said, the absolute best thing to say to someone who tells you that they had a miscarriage is, “I’m Sorry.” Followed by a hug.  You can add that you will be praying and that you love them, but you don’t need to say much more than that. They want to know that people love them and care about what happened to them. 

Humanizing Miscarriage

 Miscarriage is lonely.  You often blame yourself (which is not the truth) and you feel like no one would understand.  Recently, people in the media have been talking more about miscarriage and I believe humanizing miscarriage.  One that I saw that touched me was from Mark Zuckerberg.  I felt like he perfectly explained how I felt too as a mom to two miscarried babies. 

You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience. Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.

In today’s open and connected world, discussing these issues doesn’t distance us; it brings us together. It creates understanding and tolerance, and it gives us hope.

When we started talking to our friends, we realized how frequently this happened — that many people we knew had similar issues and that nearly all had healthy children after all.

We hope that sharing our experience will give more people the same hope we felt and will help more people feel comfortable sharing their stories as well.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder, July 31st

I truly hope that miscarriage does become something that people speak about more, not just over social media/blogs but in person.  When you start sharing it, you are able to help others as so many people are affected.  The biggest lie that we can experience is when we think that no one would understand what we are going through.  There are so many others that can understand it. We just have to be open enough to share our pain. 

When Your Body Fails You

This past weekend at church, I was praying and singing to the Lord and I just couldn’t just shake the thought that my body has failed me.  As a woman, I should be able to carry a child and grow one.  With each cramp or twitch that I feel as the days progress, I feel failed.  I have always been in tune with my body and have always understood what was going on.  Since the first miscarriage, I have no clue what is going on.

On Sunday, that led me to the thought: My body should not be my hope.  I don’t hope in my body for a pregnancy, for a baby to grow and to be able to deliver a baby.  My hope should be in the Lord.  He is the one who grows babies.  He is the one who creates the life.  Not my body.  

However, the human side of me worries, what if I trust God for this and still don’t get pregnant or do and then miscarry again?

God has felt so quiet in my life over the past couple of years.  I know that He is there and He has been faithful, however, it has been hard to trust His goodness.  God doesn’t change in the midst of our circumstances.  He remains the same.  It has been my attitude towards Him that has changed.  I am afraid to trust him with my deepest desires.  

So, all of this is what I have been processing since then.  I don’t have the answers or the next steps, but I am working to put my trust in the Lord. 

What Grey’s Anatomy Taught Me About Grieving My Miscarriages

Grey's Anatomy Blog

Almost two weeks into my second miscarriage I was at a work event and a coworker kindly asked how I was doing.  She then followed up with “I know you probably have to compartmentalize everything in order to be here, so you don’t have to talk about it now, we can talk about it later.” When she said it, my initial thought to myself was “I haven’t compartmentalized, I am open and processing through what is happening to me.” As I went about the day I thought about what she said.  I realized I was stuffing the emotion of it all, mostly because the emotion would be too overwhelming, too hard to deal with. 

A couple days later, I sat down to watch Grey’s Anatomy.  I won’t spoil much but I will say that a big character had died.  (If you are around the internet at all, you have probably seen who it is, even if you don’t watch the show).  The characters are grieving in their own way (most of them aren’t grieving at all). Months after the death, Dr. Owen Hunt was talking to Dr. Amelia Shepherd, who wasn’t dealing well with the death.  In a touching scene, written by Stacy McKee, he said the following (some portions removed): 

“All the stuff that you are managing, you are not supposed to be managing it, you are supposed to be feeling it: grief, loss, pain, it is normal…Instead of feeling the grief and pain, you shove it all down…instead of moving through the pain, you run from it…We do these things, we do whatever it takes to cover it up and dull the sensation, but it is not normal, we are supposed to feel, we are supposed to love and hate and hurt and grieve and break and be destroyed and rebuild ourselves and be destroyed again, that is human, that is humanity, that is being alive…Don’t avoid it, don’t extinguish it…(Dr. Shepherd breaks down)…You are going to be okay, you are going to survive this, everybody does. It is perfectly normal, it is boring even. It is so normal.”

Dr Owen Hunt, Grey’s Anatomy

The scene was beautiful, and Dr. Hunt’s words penetrated my heart.  With both of my miscarriages I stuffed the emotion, mostly because I was afraid to feel the pain, afraid that it would lead my depression prone self down a rabbit hole of pain that I didn’t know how I would get out of.  I cried, I suffered, I ate, and ate some more but I don’t know that I truly grieved or allowed myself to feel everything that I needed to feel. 

I think that a miscarriage (or two) is so lonely.  You feel alone as you see your body rejecting the pregnancy.  You don’t know if anyone else will understand or know what you are feeling, however, like Dr. Hunt said, “It is perfectly normal.” Statistics say that 1 in 4 women will miscarry in their lives, 2 out of every 10 pregnancies will end in miscarriage.  I AM NOT ALONE.  As unfortunate as it is, this is normal and women all over, right this very second, are experiencing the exact sadness that I have experienced two times now.  

So, I decided to try not to manage or compartmentalize.  I want to grieve and cry and let myself feel the sorrow that I have. I am embracing the emotions and allowing myself to cry, In the end, I will never regret grieving the two little ones that I lost. 

(Originally written on May 5, 2015, but not posted until now as I was busy processing the emotions and not making them public quite yet). 

A Year Later: Looking Back on my Miscarriage

Exactly one year ago, my body started the process of my first miscarriage.  It is such a unique memory and anniversary if you will, but because of when it happened (the Monday before Orientation for EBC), I will always remember this anniversary and all the emotions that went along with it.  

This time last year I was quickly getting together everything for orientation.  I had found out the Friday before that I was growing only a gestational sac and not growing a baby.  I had heard that I would probably be miscarrying.  I had never had a miscarriage before and didn’t know if I would need surgery or to be hospitalized, so I wanted to get orientation ready just in case.

I quickly worked most of the day on Monday to get everything ready.  Only one coworker knew what was happening and he was prepared to take over for me.  My other coworkers had no clue why I was preparing a bit early, but it wasn’t too unreasonable for me to be there. 

I went home that evening, started bleeding and the process of miscarrying my second child.  It is the first time that I remember feeling betrayed by my body.  First, it didn’t grow a baby and second, it miscarried.  

The emotion of it all was overwhelming, each trip to the bathroom heartbreaking, and I knew that I would never be the same again.  

So, now a year later, I look back and I still wish that I was holding my March baby.  I still miss my little one and wonder what our family would have looked like as four people rather than three people.  I wonder how our son would have been as a older brother, I love watching how he enjoys babies now and it breaks my heart that he should have a brother or sister to play with. 

However, in the midst of this year, I still know that God is good.  He has a plan.  I am seeking him and desperately trying to trust him with my desires for another baby.  I had my second miscarriage this past April, about a month after our March baby’s due date.  The due date was originally softened by the fact that I was pregnant again, and I felt my body betrayed me again.  I had another blighted ovum (they aren’t caused by anything that I did, but it still felt that way).  So I have another round of firsts to come with the loss of my second pregnancy and third baby through this next year. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Psalm 13 as a model to pray when things are bad.  David was so honest with God and yet, he trusted him.  I have held onto that in the last year, letting God know how I felt through the miscarriages, but still making the difficult choice to trust Him and believe that He is good. 

Psalm 13-5-6