I'm sure many are familiar with "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns, and if you are not, it essentially is the heart's cry of many—
"And though my heart is torn...I will praise You in this storm."
Lots of people who have lost children and then gone on to have subsequent children call those children "Rainbow" babies because they are like the rainbow of Promise and Healing and Redemption after a turbulent storm.
Without question, Luke is all of those things in the aftermath of losing our Matthew.
And, I did go right back to church after Matthew died. Less than two weeks after he died, I sat in Sunday School and participated in the current study we were doing: Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People? I tried to keep it together while the room was really, really heavy with grief and awkward glances at us; people wondering how in the world we were even functioning, much less able to talk about how bad things could happen to 'good' people. Answering questions like, "Has anything ever happened that you begged God could be different?"
But I should be honest. I don't think I was doing much praising. I was sure as heck in a storm; of that, there was no doubt. And, I went to church. I smiled when people told me they could see God working in us and through us, and I listened to NOTHING but Christian music around the clock.
I didn't praise, though.
I mean, I praised God for Matthew. For a perfect process from IVF consultation to the last minute before John told me he'd gone. I'd spent nearly ten months of bliss and I was finally a mother, and my son was beautiful and I *did* praise God for that. I praised Him for the support we had. I praised Him for the medical care I had. I praised Him for those things.
I didn't praise for the situation, though. I did not praise Him for Matthew's death. I did not praise for a lot of things, and I vowed I never, ever would.
This mother's heart could not possibly be expected to praise God for a coffin.
I don't know that I will ever be able to do that. If I do, I can guarantee, it will not be of my own doing. My heart is a very different heart, but it is still the heart of a Mama.
How abundantly blessed I am has been so much at the forefront of every thought I've had lately. I'm doing a new Bible study by Jen Hatmaker (Interrupted) and I love it. Did you know that if you make $50k or more a year, you are in the top ONE PERCENT of the WORLD's wealthiest people????
Truly, I am so blessed. If you are reading this, using Internet, my guess is that you are so blessed too.
I used to hope my gravestone said, "She had impeccable manners and adored good grammar!" and now? Just one word.
"She was so grateful."
These last few months have been crazy. We've had a HORRIBLE experience with tenants that has been a major stress on our finances, but more on my heart. To be taken advantage of—and I'm talking REALLY taken advantage of—hurts, and in lots of ways. Me, John, Luke....our family. It's been awful.
My sinus surgery recovery didn't go so fabulously. In the healing, I ended up with a sinus infection, double-ear infection AND walking pneumonia!!! For the last month, I've really just felt MISERABLE. (Which is par for the course in March, because I can't think of a birthday in the last few years that hasn't been riddled with some sort of icky.)
We are looking at a move in a little over two months and there is no forwarding address yet, and that is driving.me.nuts!!!!! The rental area in West Palm Beach is hot, and we won't get anything until right before we head down in June. Not to mention people are more concerned about John having a pick-up truck than they are dogs! Crazy, right?
My appointment at Duke earlier this month really didn't give me anything new but perspective. They agreed with all that's been done before, but before they recommended mastectomy, they felt I should do some more genetic testing and have an MRI. That's scheduled for tomorrow.
Unless the genetic testing comes up with something new, I've pretty much decided that I'm going to just continue to be really watchful in the next few months and year. It's very easy to say I'd "get rid of them" before faced with the reality of doing just that...and as much as well-intentioned people say "Hey, now you can get a perfect set!" it's just not that easy.
Reconstructive surgery is a lot, lot, lot more than I thought it was. And, very different than augmentation.
In any event, what I've prayed for in all of this was peace. A clear, decisive answer of what I should do. No doctor has given me that yet, but still—I have peace. I feel 100% comfortable with waiting and watching some. I'm not ruling out a mastectomy if things change or come up, but for now? I'm completely, completely confident in that decision and so is the specialist I am seeing at Duke. In her words, "You've had a lot of things happen in your life that would make you expect the worst because the worst happens. I understand if you feel you need to do this. But, I want you to feel secure in knowing that it's not always the worst, either."
I believe that. It's not always the worst.
So, people have been so kind—emails and texts and messages and calls—just checking in and telling me, "Man, you totally need a break!"
I want to say, "Right????? I mean, seriously! I'm getting a bit tired of all of this!"
But I can't. Because as tired as I am....I am just grateful There are so many things for which I am grateful.
While I definitely feel like it's been somewhat storming for a while lately—there is gratitude.
And gratitude makes an amazing, amazing umbrella.