Life After Loss

 

Today I ran across this picture on my Timehop:

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It’s not the type of picture that would normally elicit memories from the entire day because I probably posted a million similar pictures. This picture however brought with it an array of unexpected emotion.

2 years ago today I sat alone in my living room with my ridiculously pitiful pup and wrote the last blog post I have had any desire to write. I sat for hours with tear stained cheeks and typed my heart out in my Microsoft Word document. I hit saved, exited the program, and never posted it.

So here it is, the last blog post I wrote on January 13, 2015. Take heart half way through, it gets a little better toward the end

Dear 2015, 

I wish I had nice things to say to you, but I can’t think of any right now.
So far you have brought pain and bitter heartache.

I want this to be a letter about all about the positive things, the things you have in store, the secrets to come, the adventures to be had, no negative and no bad…

but it can’t be. 

Because with all of the things that are in store and all of the adventures to be had, there is still a bitter ache.

2015 will never be what I thought it should be.

Every happy thing that happens, the things I will want to shout from the rooftop,
the things that make me want to pick up the phone and call home,
will immediately remind me
that 2015 will never be what I thought it should be. 

And when the days get hard and I feel low,
when I am in the grocery store and I can’t find the right aisle,
when I have more kids in my house and need advice or just an understanding ear
I will again remember
that 2015 will never be what I thought it should be. 

No matter what else happens, 2015, when I look back at you it will sting.
Along with the good memories will come the heartache
Along with the adventures will come a sharp pain
2015 will never be what I thought it should be.

It’s 2015 and 10 days ago my mom died.

2015 will never be what I thought it should be.

Don’t stop reading yet though, because the good part is coming.

For me, 2015 has been heartache and pain beyond what I have known before
but 2015 is not what my mom thought it would be either.
You see, my mom was battling Leukemia, she had been battling it in one form or another for over 2 years. She had undergone extensive chemo, lost all of her hair, had a catheter in her chest, been through a bone marrow transplant, and lost her life as she had previously known it to be. She didn’t have the energy to work, or the immune system to spend time around many other people.
Her life had become something that she never thought it would be.

But she didn’t quit.
She persevered, she ran the race and she finished well.
She loved to the end.
She loved the people that others took for granted.
She loved the downcast and the overbearing.
She knew the love of Jesus and she gave love from Jesus.

Her life had become something that she never thought it would be,
but that didn’t matter,
because Jesus was still the same.
He was the same for her
and I know
that even though 2015 will never be what I thought should be
He will be the same for me too. 

and 2015, even though you bring me pain,
I know you brought my mom peace

I know that right now she is Singing With the Saints.
So even though I am angry enough to throw things at you, and I am extremely conflicted about my feelings on the next sentence… on behalf of my mom I will say,

And for one reason or another, I never wrote that last sentence. I have no idea or memory of what I was planning to put there. Today I sit in a different living room typing once again with tear stained cheeks while eating crackers to curb the nausea that has come with the pregnancy of my second child and trying to my keep my first child from chewing on my toes with his brand new, really sharp teeth (babies are gross).

In September 2015 I found out I was pregnant for the first time, and I realized in that moment that this letter was accurate. For the rest of my life it will never be what I thought it should be. There are still so many happy days, and the years have looked much brighter than the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 looked for my family, but the ache that comes with loss never really dulls or goes away, you just kind of learn to live differently.

I have also learned that while the first half of the letter is accurate mostly on the days when big things happen, the second half of the letter is even more accurate every single day. Jesus is still the same, and He is enough. He doesn’t take the pain away, because pain is part of life on this sin riddled Earth, but He holds us through it, He gives us the strength to continue, and He gives us joy even in the hard times.

So I want to encourage you this year, if you are or find yourself in a place of loss, depression, shame, guilt, fill in the blank, look to Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith, He is there in every season, and as I have seen over and over again the past 2 years

HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW

*Sorry my first post in 2 years was sappy and full of tears, hopefully in the years to come I will fill these pages with much more upbeat words.*

Oh The Feels

I could write about so many different things right now. My life has had a lot of twists and turns lately and the emotions have all kind of jumbled up inside of me. Which means that at just about any moment in time I am likely to have a complete emotional breakdown (which is super neat, because if you know me, or anyone else in my immediate family, you know that we just don’t cry like normal humans…). Crying at the drop of a hat and random moments in my life, ya know, the moments in which tears don’t even make sense and I cannot explain why they are there, has been a pretty major life change in and of itself (for me and my sweet husband who has no idea each time why I have just totally lost it in the car while we were singing and dancing to fun songs just 30 seconds earlier. I am sure he is rethinking our marriage or at least looking up mental hospitals….. Jk. He loves me and has handled this so well.) But here is the really crazy part, when I am not having an odd emotional moment I am simply a 5’2″ 100lb picture of complete apathy. And it is the worst. I know there are real emotions inside of me that care about things but they are all so tangled up that it seems the only thing that can come out is apathy. Am I alone here? When all the other feelings are just too much or too tangled, or buried too deep….

I probably have you all very confused right now, because if I don’t see you daily or you’re not in my immediate family I have done a terrible job of keeping you informed and I really am sorry. So let’s do a quick recap:

January: I’m not explaining this one, you can read some previous posts here If you want to know more about what life was like in January. Along with the hard stuff though we also received a foster placement of a 3 and 4 year old which was mostly fun (except the potty training) but there will be a later post about all of that.

February: the company that Clint works for made some huge cutbacks and laid off over 300 people including like 40% (maybe 30? Math is not my strong suit) of his division including him.

March: other things…

April: clint got a job, this is good news but it meant uprooting our lives and moving to Dallas where we know a grand total of 2 people. We are starting over again (more on this later too). Also the day after we moved here the kids went back to their biological family (again, more later), it was not planned out like the last placement but it wasn’t really a surprise either. It was a loss all the same. We miss them, but we are trusting that God loves them more than we do and that He will take care of them when we cannot.

All of these things by themselves Are hard, but by themselves I think I probably would have handled them better. All together it is just a lot. I miss my Lufkin people. It’s so cool how God created a family for us all over the world and we were privileged to spend three years with our family in Lufkin. I know God has planted family here as well, but seeking them out is a long and vulnerable process.

I did not write all of this so that you will pity me. People have had harder times and there will always be someone who is going through something. Writing helps me understand what is going on inside of me.

Currently I am taking delight in a passage of scripture I read a couple days ago via She Reads Truth.

“and there I will give her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” Hosea 2:15

Achor translates to trouble. We all will go through times of trouble. I will hold on to the promise that God will turn my valley of trouble into a door of hope.

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The current place that we are calling home. 🙂

-Kels

5 Common Question Answered =).

For those of you out there who have seen Clint and I recently with two small children and are confused about our situation I will give you a basic run down:

We are foster parents. Right now we have 2 awesome little girls. They are not ours forever. 

Questions we get all the time that I will attempt to answer gracefully:

1) How long do you have them?

Well, we have had them since February and if everything goes as anticipated they will be with us for less than a month more. Yes that is hard, yes we will probably cry after they leave, and yes if we had known how hard it was before hand we still would have done it because it was totally worth it. 

2) Will you do it again?

 We have every intention of taking another placement. That is what we signed up for, and the best part about our first placement is that we got to do more than just love on some kids for awhile. We got to love on an entire family and ultimately see a family restored. As christians, seeing lives restored is kind of what we are all about right? Our prayer as we continue in this process is that we can continue to show the love of Jesus to this family as well as the families to come. 

3) Will you take a break?

Yes. I don’t know for how long, but we are going to take a break. We think it will be healthy for us to take a little bit of time to recuperate emotionally and spiritually. 

4) Doesn’t their situation just make you mad at the parents?

Short answer: No. Every situation is different and this specific situation gave no reason for me to be mad at or upset with the parents. The fact is that these kids have a mom who loves them so so much and overcame a lot of obstacles to get her family back. We rejoice in that. We are thrilled that they have such an amazing mom who loves them so much. 

5) Well, it takes a special person

*I know that wasn’t a question, but it’s a phrase we hear a lot* 
Please read this in a gentle loving tone. 
Thank you for thinking that we are special but kindly hear me when I say that we are not. The only thing we have that makes us special is Jesus. The fact of the matter is without Him we couldn’t do it either. We as christians are called to care for the widowed and fatherless. There are many ways to do this; Compassion, Fostering, Adoption, Respite Care, Big Brothers Big Sisters, PRAYER etc.. Each one comes with challenges and will be hard at times if your heart is in it, but ultimately as christians we are not called to love just when it is easy. We are called to love when it is hard and rips our hearts out because we have The One who can put it all back together again. When you let those hard moments and challenges come in between you and the God-given calling to care for these individuals you are robbing yourself of a more intimate relationship with Christ, and these kids of a loving home, or money for and education, or someone to look up to in their lives. 
If you haven’t found a way to love on or care for the widowed and fatherless please pray about how God would have you to do that today. Again, there are many many possibilities but please don’t choose one just because it looks like the easiest. Please choose on that God has placed on your heart. 

Thank you for reading and please understand that everything I write I write in love. 
Please be in prayer for our family as we get ready to transition in to a new phase. 

Thank you again

Kels

A phone call to remember

I remember thinking it was a really strange phone call.
My dad said, 
“Kels, we are taking your mom to the Doctor, she has been really tired for weeks now and we want to see what is going on.”

I didn’t think much of it except that it was weird that my dad was calling to explain that he was taking my mom to a doctor’s appointment, but then he called again a little later,

“mom was really low on blood” 

I don’t remember the specifics (because I am not a detail oriented person), but I remember the amount of blood they had to give my mom was crazy. I remember the Doctor told her that it was amazing she was even up and walking around. I remember that in the weeks to follow my mom had more appointments and things were very up in the air. I remember that I knew was that this was a lot more serious than that initial phone call left me feeling. 

And I remember the day they gave my mom the diagnosis. Myelodysplastic Syndrome. 
We learned that she would need a bone marrow transplant which would require chemo. Basically the disease was treated the same as cancer.
And Clint was in Canada
And we had not lived in Texas very long
And I could not think of where to go or who to call

 

I finally called Rachel. She was the first friend I made in Lufkin, she was the first real conversation I had after moving to Lufkin. And she is wonderful. She sat with me and she cried with me and she prayed with me. I am so very thankful for the people God placed in my life here. 

I remember talking to my sister a lot more often than I normally do, we were both researching the disease looking at the numbers, comparing statistics. They didn’t look good. The only person in our family that could even possibly be a match was my Uncle and we eventually found out that he was not. After that discovery my mom’s information went into an international database where we waited for a match. 

I remember losing it on a regular basis. I remember my brother being the rock out of the three of us. He was so peaceful, like he just knew it was all going to work out. His faith was unwavering. 
Another side note, my siblings are incredible. I couldn’t have asked for better.

Then the call came, they found a donor and mom started the whole big long process where she spent a large majority of her year in Houston. We were all there off an on to keep her company, my grandparents stayed with her the whole time and so did my dad. It was a hard few months for my mom as you could imagine but I think we all grew through the process.

One thing I can look back and say for sure is that God was glorified through the situation. The amount of people my parents came in contact with that they were able to share the love of Christ with was amazing. The amount of faith stretching and relationship building that happened for us spiritually and as a family was incalculable. 

It is nice to be at a point in my life that I can look back on certain events and see how God used it for His good. Romans 8:28 brings on a whole new meaning. 

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This was my instagram post one year ago yesterday. =)

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME

 

Love you mom! So so so so thankful to be able to call you on the days when I don’t know what to do and need the advice that only a mom like you can give. 

Happy Friday Everyone!