Month: February 2016

Broken Legos

Every single day I go to visit Enoch’s grave.  I need to.  And for whatever reason, every single day I take a picture.  I don’t know why.  I just do.

I know the quickest, easiest way to get to the back of the cemetery where the little black converse and legos mark his grave.  
Everyday is pretty much the same.  I go, brush off any debris on those few items marking his gravesite, chat with him for a bit, and then leave.  It’s what I do.  Every day.
On days that the shoes and legos are buried in snow, I find myself crying more.  Although several people have suggested putting them in a clear plastic box, I can’t.  I need those items to not feel distant.  He’s already so distant.  Plus it’s the only thing I have to care for of Enoch’s.  I am never going to bathe, feed or clothe my son, but at least I can care for the little black converse on his grave.  
One day recently as I drove around the bend and to his grave, I noticed things were out of place.  As I got closer, I saw that the legos were broken and upside down.  His shoes were dirty, and the ground beneath him had obviously been disturbed.  I fell apart.  What happened?  Who messed with his gravesite?  Why would they do that?  
I quickly text Tim a picture and asked most of the questions I stated above.  He called immediately and then came to comfort me.  As Tim investigated, he realized the cemetery needed to add additional dirt because the ground was sinking some.  That is what they did, but apparently not taking into account the impact their carelessness would have on this mom’s heart.  

Converse

For those of you who don’t know, I love converse shoes.  I have several pairs in different colors, I wear them almost every single day and I have full intentions of wearing them until I’m 80.  I love them.  I also knew our kid was going to love them… or at least wear them because I choose such things.  Since friends and family knew of my love for converse we received several pairs as gifts.  I even created a converse shelf to put them on in the nursery.

The other day my mother in law sent me pictures from my family shower.  I smiled and cried as I looked through them, especially these few below.  You see years ago I inadvertently would dress like my friend, Alicia’s, son.  He often wore converse and shirts with superhero and so did I.  I’m ok admitting I dressed like a two year old.  Then her second son, who is my buddy, continued the pattern of dressing the same.  She would buy matching Akron shirts and I would buy converse or visa versa.

So at the shower she gave me all the old pairs of converse, along with the matching Akron shirts.  As I opened the gift I was overcome with emotion.  I could feel the tears welling up and my face getting red telling the women in the room about how I dressed like Isaiah and Xavier.  It wasn’t that I used to dress like them that created this emotion deep within, it was the anticipation of her having a similar relationship with my son.  I couldn’t wait for her to meet him.  I couldn’t wait to make them dress alike.  And I couldn’t wait for all of us to wear converse.

Not only did she give us the old converse and shirts, she also gave me brand new little black converse as well.  

I’m so grateful for those moments… for opening those converse with such joy and anticipation.  For creating a converse shelf and putting them on it.

After Enoch was buried it was hard for me to go to the gravesite because there was no gravestone nor any other marker.  Just an outline of dirt where they replaced a layer of grass.  I knew Enoch was there, but it seemed so sad with nothing else.

So one day as were headed to the grave I told Tim we had to take something… a toy, a truck, anything!  I asked him if we could stop at the store so his grave wasn’t so empty and sad.  Then he suggested a pair of converse.  What a great idea! I immediately went into the nursery, one of few times I’ve been in, and grabbed a small pair of brand new black converse and with a sharpie wrote   Enoch’s name and birthdate and placed them at the gravesite.  It wasn’t until later that I realized they were the converse Alicia gave me.  Which really was perfect.

Enoch’s shoes with the legos Isaiah made him

When at the shower little did I know that we would use those same shoes as a marker for his grave.  I’m glad I didn’t know it then.  I’m glad that there was joy associated with those little converse that I love so much.  I’m glad for not knowing then, what I know now.  Because my heart couldn’t have handled realizing he would never get to wear those little shoes.

My favorite room in the whole world

Since Enoch has died it’s been a rough road of figuring out what the new normal is. Quite honestly I don’t have the same emotional or physical energy as I once had.  In addition it’s hard to care much about things that don’t really matter.  In light of life and death, in light of little energy, it’s hard to give much time to anything that doesn’t have meaning and purpose.  
The good news is that I love my job.  I love it because it has purpose.  No matter what has happened to me in my personal life, I still love these students so much I have to tell them about the hope and love of Jesus.  In a world that is hopeless, I know and understand hope, which is the only thing I have to hold onto myself.  And it’s the only thing I can offer to these teens and young adults.  
As I come back to work, I’m so thankful for a couple things in particular.
I get to come back to this room, the prayer room.  It literally is my favorite room in the whole world. I have come back several times since Enoch died, but now I get to come back everyday.   We created this prayer room years ago at First Glance in order for the staff to spend time in each day.  We realized that God could do more through prayer than we can do through just working in our office. 
I love it because the only thing I ever do in this room is interact with God.  I also love it because we have pictures of our students and pray for each of them by name.  I continue to wonder what happens to this community in 10 years if we pray for each of these teens and young adults by name?  

I’m also so grateful for the first major project to work on after coming back from my leave is our prayer event for First Glance.  I genuinely believe prayer changes things.  I genuinely believe that God can do amazing things in Kenmore through prayer.  So although I have little energy, I’m thankful I get to spend it planning this event I love and believe in so much.  

I’ll be honest, in coming back to work some days are good, some days are hard, and some days it takes every ounce of energy to get out of bed.  On the really hard days I remind myself of the hope I have and want to offer.  And I love these students too much not to get out of bed and tell them of it.  
If any one of you has any interest in being part of the week long prayer event, please come be part!  Everyone is welcome to any of these.
  • Sunday, March 13th 7:00-8:30 worship service at FG
  • Every hour throughout the week our prayer rooms will be open to sign up for a prayer slot. Click here to sign up.  
  • Sunday, March 20th 7:00-8:30 worship service at FG 

Walking along the beach

Road trip!  This is a good plan, right?  A handful of my close friends decided to take a little road trip to Myrtle Beach for a long weekend.  Let’s face the realities, this isn’t what we were hoping to be doing in February this year.  We were hoping that I wouldn’t be able to go because I would have a baby.  But since Enoch died, it seemed like the right thing to do.  We can’t escape grief, but we can at least change scenery.   A free condo, let’s go.

Unfortunately at 3:00 am the first night, I woke up very ill.  Note to self, when you’re eating something and think “I don’t think this is right.  Maybe I should stop eating it,” listen!  Needless to say, I was up vominting most of the night and the next day.  My friends were kind and cared for me well, but I tried to stay away from them, as I wasn’t sure whether it was the food or the flu.

Day two I woke up feeling much better.  I started the day the way I anticipated starting day one.  I drank coffee, journaled, and read.  But it didn’t take long before I needed out of there.  I had been in that condo for so many hours straight.  I had to get out!

Despite it being 35 degrees and raining, I opted for a walk on the beach.  It was not surprising when nobody wanted to join me in those conditions.  But I had to go.  I had to get out energy.  I had to get out of that room.  I had to!

So I made it the 12 floors down and journeyed along the shore.  It was cold, the rain pelted my face, there were large unavoidable puddles, and the more I walked the more my glasses became hard to see out of.  In all honesty it was a pretty miserable morning for a walk.  As I walked the beach I was fairly discouraged: sad that Enoch had died, mad that this trip was supposed to be a break, and yet I had missed a third of it to illness.  It was a frustrating moment in a hard season.

As I continued on, I realized the parallel of this grief season with this walk along the beach.  It’s cold, it’s lonely, and it’s hard to see or know what’s next.  What I do know is to just keep walking. One step at a time.  One breath at a time. One minute at a time.  I can’t see where I’m going exactly.  I can’t see what the new normal of life is going to look like.  It feels sad and cold and miserable at times, but I just have to keep walking and trusting God in it.

When I got back from my walk, unknown to me one of my friends took this picture from the balcony.  It demonstrated perfectly what I had felt walking along the beach.  Feeling small and a little lost in the dreariness, but knowing God is big and near and I to just keep taking one step at a time.

my darkest day

One year ago today was the darkest day of my whole life.  In all honesty I never expected to write this post.  I figured tomorrow I would take a screen shot of the app that shows the one year anniversary of when God healed my mind and post it.

I don’t want to admit it.  I don’t want to admit as a faithful Christ follower, as the director of First Glance, as someone who encourages teenagers to not harm themselves, that I was so close to doing so.  I’ve been fairly honest in the past year that I struggled with suicidal thoughts.  It’s easy to talk about it now that I’ve been healed.  It’s easy to talk about it all now that it’s past.  It’s easy to talk about in generalities.

Part of me feels like I need to tell this story, even though I don’t want to.  I don’t want to because it shows weakness.  I don’t want to tell it because I worry about who will read it… mainly my mom.  But the truth is one year ago today I felt more hopeless and darkness than I ever felt.  As I  have explained before I didn’t hate my life or have a desire to leave it, in fact I loved it, but somehow in my mind I genuinely believed the world would be better without me.  I believed that the lives who I was closest to would be better without me in them.  And on Friday, February 13th I couldn’t help but feel so overwhelmed with the idea that it would best if I no longer lived.  And because this idea was so strong in my heart and mind I put items in my car with intentions of committing suicide.

I had a couple obligations that afternoon and so I still went to them, in some ways hoping to distract my mind.  One was helping a friend paint, I thought it might be good to be around her, to tell her I wasn’t doing well.  But within minutes of arriving she needed to leave, and therefore I was by myself.  I finished the project in an hour and realized another friend might be across the street.  I went, but she was talking to someone else.  I was hoping in each of these situations I would be strong enough to say, I wasn’t doing well and had a items in my car a plan to harm myself.  I didn’t.  Although both of these women would have dropped anything for me, in my distorted state of mind, I didn’t want to bother them.

Onto my next meeting with a friend to work on a project.  If I’m honest I drove past her road and headed toward the place I always anticipated killing myself.  I drove quickly and determined.  I no longer cared that I hadn’t written a note to explain to Tim.  I wasn’t concerned about the loose ends I always figured my type A personality would want to tie up.  I had a way to kill myself.  I had an email written to someone I figured could handle finding my body.  That’s all I needed. I started driving there.  I’ve actually never told anyone this detail until right now, even Tim is learning about it for the first time while editing this blog.

As I headed there I text my friend I may not come, and she responded with a phrase she always says and quite honestly I hate when she does, “Thats’ your choice.”  I wrestled back and forth.  The text made me realize that it was my choice… a choice not to let the darkness win.  Eventually I turned around and went to her house.  Later she realized I was not doing well and called Tim.

Then the next day women prayed and my mind was healed.  (I tell more of that story in this blog)

Again, I don’t want to tell or even remember the events of one year ago.  But I need to tell this story today, because it’s easy to remember the good, the healing, the victory.  But to truly rejoice in the healing and victory, you need to also remember the journey and the depth of darkness.

And that is one year ago today.

I just need jeans!

“Would you like to buy a second pair of jeans for 50% off?”

“No, thank you.”
“How about a shirt or other clothes?”
“No, just these please”
“Are you sure? This sale is just this weekend.”
“Yes, I’m sure.  Thank you”
I refrained…  I refrained from saying this.  No!  No, I don’t want a second pair of jeans because I just need a pair to get me through until I lose the baby weight.  You see, I was pregnant, and I went full-term allowing me to gain all of the weight and then my baby died.  And now I just need a pair of jeans so I don’t have to wear these freaking maternity pants that remind me every single day that I had a baby and he died.  
I refrained.  
“Would you like to sign up for the rewards card?”
“No, thank you.”
“But it’s easy, and you could save 15% on your birthday.”
“No, thank you.”
I refrained…  I don’t care about saving money or my birthday.  None of it matters right now.  My baby died!  Don’t you understand?  I just need to pay for these jeans so I can take the maternity pants I am currently wearing and hate so much and put them in the room with all the baby things and close the door.  
I refrained.
Maybe this is why I don’t go shopping alone… nobody to field the day to day chit chat that clearly I can’t handle.