Harvey needed skulls

After struggling with infertility and the loss of a baby you start to become aware of what you can and cannot engage when it comes to other babies.  For instance, I don’t do baby showers or kid birthday parties. I rarely go see a new mom and her baby, and I NEVER go to the hospital where Enoch was born. For the most part, these rules have served me well. But, every once in a while, I have to break them. I never want the rule to be more important than the relationship.

I break my birthday party rule with Xavier who asks every year to have his birthday at my house with a bon fire.  I’ve gone to the same hospital when Brea, our daughter, had surgery.  And when my dear friend Hannah became pregnant I knew several of my rules would have to go.

Hannah and I managed to navigate pregnancy well, she and I had a couple awkward and emotional conversations on how to love and support each other during this season.  I told her the same thing over and over, I never want her to go through what I did, so it’s never a matter of jealousy!  I was thrilled for her to get to be pregnant and become a mom.

Soon, Harvey arrived!  And I found myself needing to go see these two.  Again so excited, but also very aware that this little guy would most likely stir the grief in me.

The morning I was headed their way I realized I needed to bring Harvey something, not because he needed something else.  I know the Nitz’s are very loved and probably swimming in baby stuff.  But, I also knew that Harvey would need someone to toughen him up a bit, the boy needed some skulls!  And so I walked into Enoch’s room, which is still the way we set it up for him to come home.  I went into the dresser and grabbed a small newborn onesie that had a skull on it. This wasn’t just a random onesie with a skull, but the one I had picked out specifically for our little guy.  Not knowing if our baby was a boy or girl I went out just weeks before he was born and bought an outfit for each gender specifically for when he/she was born.  This was the onesie I needed Harvey to have.

As I roamed through his room and his clothes it was the harsh reality that it’s been 2.5 years and I’m most likely not getting pregnant again.  I’m coming to grips with the fact that we probably won’t use this room for a new born.  BUT, it also was the joy of giving this gift, this very specific onesie to my dear friend!  This friendship means so much to me! And there was nobody else I would rather have this onesie than Harvey.  Plus his parents are never going to put him in skulls.

A couple days later I received a text from Hannah with this picture.

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In the text she told me how she told him all about Enoch and myself.  Which made my heart happy, and my eyes weep, because while we were holding Enoch in the hospital we stayed up all night telling him all about our friends, including Hannah.

It always comes back to the joy and the sorrow.  The loss of Enoch continues to create sorrow in these moments, but equally, we find the joy of new babies and new life of our friends.

Don’t worry, Harvey, I’ll make sure you love skulls, jeeps, converse and mountain biking adventures… Just wait!

Summer Sabbath

Right before Akron Women on Purpose I hit a wall.  I assumed it was because of the preparation of the conference along with First Glance and life in general.  No biggy, I just needed to get through the conference.  And I did.  Then came the realization that I had 8  major events in a row that I was planning for each week following.  Ok, so I just needed to get to vacation, which I intentionally scheduled right after all of those events.   I got to vacation and realize that I needed more than a week of relaxation, and for the first time in a long time I had hit burn out.  Upon returning I engaged in more conversions that I want to admit of disappointing people in relationships.  This is when I realized I had gone too far, I was spread too thin, and I needed to retreat a little.  Essentially, I needed to fast from extra ministry opportunities and reprioritize relationships.  So that’s what I did.  I stepped back from most extra ministry roles, even one’s I was so excited about, and I pulled back on mass relationships to disturibute the little amount of emotional energy I have appropriately.

So here I am on a Summer Sabbath, trying to learn these words God keeps bringing me back to over and over in this picture.  IMG_7525

The funny part is on my last retreat day, which is a day First Glance gives each staff member once a month to spend with Jesus!  I knew I was in this season.  I knew I needed rest, so I planned to spend the whole day studying rest, and instead I was just so tired I kept sleeping.  And I sensed a gentle reminder from God to just be, to rest in him, and to stop trying to learn and earn and grow.  Oh man, the resting and being is so against my personality… but I think God is teaching me these words as part of a pruning process that will allow for more intimacy and maybe even fruit later on.  Here’s to my Summer Sabbath!

 

Mother’s Day… I don’t deserve

This week I wrestled with grief.  Especially Tuesday, May 8th, a day that marked exactly 172 weeks (or 29 months) since Enoch was born.  The 8th coming on a Tuesday and in the same week of Mother’s Day was especially hard.  I canceled all my meetings, laid in bed and did very little besides eating my feelings.  

I’m hiding away on this Mother’s day, my third since he was born and 4th since finding out I was pregnant.  I needed a vacation. Plus it’s Tim and I’s 18th anniversary.  So we are away, and I’m reflecting on this day that celebrates being a mom.  

Believe me when I say there is still plenty of eating my feelings and a heavy heart as being a mom looks different than I anticipated.  Especially today as I am remembering how it was exactly three years ago when Tim and I just found out we were pregnant and were picking names for this little baby to come.  We decided on the name Trinity if it were a girl, and the boys name was still up for debate, despite Tim’s vote being “Tim Beck Two.”  

Today I’ve gone through a lot of emotions and a lot of heaviness, but I have also tried to realize the gifts in it all too.   I have learned that at times I want to sit and say things like “I deserve.”  “I deserve to be a mom.” “I deserve to have a 2 year old.”  “I deserve to have a good Mother’s Day.”  Amongst others.  

Sometimes I forget to say “I don’t deserve…”

I got a text from my friend Jenna who reminded me of the impact Enoch had on so many people’s lives.   I have gotten countless texts and messages over the years from people who’s lives were impacted by my son, who never even breathed a breath on Earth.  I prayed so much, every night in fact, while pregnant that God would use his life for God’s glory, and he did!  I remember after he was born thinking he’s had a larger impact in Akron for Jesus that I had in 15 years.  I didn’t deserve a son with such impact. God didn’t owe me that.

And I for sure didn’t deserve to meet our son and hold him for 11 hours.  And I didn’t deserve a husband who let me hold him the majority of those hours.  

In addition I have had the privilege and opportunity to mom so many who I didn’t give birth to.

Joe who was the first to live with us, over 10 years ago. I’m still so grateful to have relationship with his wife and three kids.

Brea who lived with us almost a year and I still get to mom!

Davi who lives with us during the week now, and I get the joy of small things like driving her to school.

Also I mom many students at First Glance, whether they want me to or not 😉. And other students do call me mom like Dee & TiTi.

One of my most unconventional opportunities is My dearest friend Alicia, although she’s only 6 years younger and typically we bike and have crazy adventures together.  Other times I function as her mom, I care for her when she’s sick, drive her to doctor appointments and buy her socks… because that’s what I think moms do, buy socks.  

I don’t deserve to get to mom all these individuals.  I really don’t, and yet on a day like today I’m more apt to say “I do deserve…”, instead of “I don’t deserve…”

God is good and gracious. And as much as I want to say I deserve so many things, honestly God owes me nothing.  I don’t deserve a son at all. Let alone one who impacts the kingdom still!  I don’t deserve the way God reminds me of Enoch’s impact through those around me, and I don’t deserve the many creative ways God lets me love and mom so many!!    

I don’t deserve, and tonight I’m very aware of that truth. 

Monday Momentumn – Podcasts

For your Monday Momentum, I wanted to share the podcast that Women on Purpose has been hosting. We’ve recorded several, I wanted to highlight the last two as these two women are those who walk in the room and sense the Spirit and their life of faith before they even say any words.

The first one is Gail Benn, someone who has been an encourager and friend for almost 20 years.

The other one is Liz Miller, who I literally just met and this was our first official conversation.

Such wisdom and faith coming from each.

Space but not power

Grief continues to be a journey, a journey I’m probably less patient with than most of those watching me go through it.

I have been thinking a lot about grief in the sense of giving it space, but not giving it power.

Recently several friends from church have had babies. Every Sunday morning there are so many of these itty bitty new born babies all around. I have to admit the maternal part of me wants to hold all of them. For the last two years, I haven’t held new born babies. It’s not been out of a lack of desire. In fact, it’s the opposite. Everything in my being wants to hold, cuddle, and care for a little baby. My body and mind got ready for 40 weeks to do just that, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. But that desire never changed. It’s why I would lay on the grave, or sleep with his blanket. I so desperately desire to love, care, and be close to my son who was so far away. And two years later the desire remains almost as strong.

What kept me from holding the babies the past two years is that I gave grief power. Mainly it came in the form of fear: fear that holding a baby would trigger my memories of Enoch, fear that it would be too sad, fear that the baby I was holding would die, and fear that I would make Tim and friends sad by seeing me hold a little baby. There are a lot these thoughts and honestly they continue to role around in my head.

But several weeks ago on a Sunday morning I decided I didn’t want grief to have power. I didn’t want it to keep me from holding babies or engaging my friends who were pregnant. So I didn’t let it. I turned around to the little baby sitting behind me in church and held him this whole time! He was cute and sweet, and it was healing. Healing for me, and also his mom, who happens to call me mom. She was so excited I held him, that she posted on FB how “Grandma” was holding the little guy.

I didn’t give grief power.

But there still has to be space for grief. I didn’t know the next week would be hard with different kinds of loss (not death), but it felt like grief and triggered memories of Enoch so intensely. The exact following Sunday, Easter, was too much for me to bear. Between my week of the grief trigger, all the cute plaid shirts on the kids running around church, and the countless Easter photos, I hit a grief wall I haven’t hit since his birthday in December.

It resulted in an unsuspecting friend getting a decent dose of crying as she was in my path coming back from the restroom during church. It caused us to leave Easter dinner a little earlier than we normally would have. And the rest of the day ended with me in my bed and the phone off. I gave grief space, and I had to. I had to give myself some time to process my grief and miss Enoch.

Grief needs space, but it doesn’t need power. And this is me trying to figure out the two.

Here is my Easter picture with the little baby, his mom, and his sisters that I held the week before.