After I dropped Hackett off at school this morning I headed to a mom's group meeting at church. While driving there my mind was wandering, once again I was replaying the special moments of Tobin's dedication. Tears rolled quickly down my cheeks as I remembered, surprised to not have made the connection earlier. God never ceases to amaze me.
Our church typically does their dedications in front of the congregation, in a group setting a few times a year. I knew this would be an emotional day for us and preferred to do it in a more intimate way. I corresponded with our pastor, he agreed, and we chose a date. This day happened to coincided with a church wide potluck. It is a large church and after the service the halls were filled with people and food. Our pastor had anticipated this so he brought us to the one place in church that was far from the action, the entryway to the pastoral offices. A large enough space for our family to gather and a few couches to sit. Not a traditional place for a dedication, but we weren't following the standard protocol.
Kevin and I sat on those couches, in that entryway on May 28, 2013. Less than 24 hours after I gave birth to Koen. We sat, in utter shock, waiting to ask a pastor to preside over our son's funeral. That very spot where we felt so much despair last May is the exact place we stood with our miracle on Sunday when we dedicated him to The Lord. In that enormous church, of all the places, God chose that exact same place for us. My Jesus continues to move mountains to help heal my heart and show Himself to me. He never ceases to amaze me.
Tears flowed from my eyes this morning as I got ready for church. We publicly handed Hackett over to the Lord just days before he turned three months. We committed Koen to the Lord's care four days after his birth at his funeral. Today we said to Jesus, Tobin is Yours. It struck me that all three of my boys have now been entrusted to God. Kevin and I have pledged to raise our boys to have faith in the loving God we serve. A God who can hold us when we are at the very bottom, feeling only hurt and pain. A God who is faithful. A God who can work miracles. A God who is unwavering. A God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. A mighty God, who we may not always understand, but find comfort in knowing that He always understands us. A God who watches over two of my boys on this earth and holds one in His arms in heaven. They are His. All three of them. He has given them to me as gifts, and what amazing gifts they are. Gifts that I treasure and love more than my own life. I have the honor of being their mother.
Today, in an intimate setting following the service, the exact same pastor and family members (minus our beloved Great Papa who was sick), who gathered around us in love at Koen's graveside, encircled us as we thanked God for our miracle, Tobin. Today as we followed Mary and Joseph's example (Luke 2:27), we presented our baby to the the Lord. Our pastor, family, dear friends, Kevin, and I, all took turns praying over Tobin. It was moving. It was powerful. It was healing. The spirit of the Lord was with us in those tender moments. I am so grateful to serve a God whose presence I feel and know. Our boys are Yours, Jesus.
Today is Babyloss Remembrance Day (Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day). One in four pregnancies result in loss. That statistic is staggering. It impacts so many. Loss is loss, whether it is experience at 6 weeks, 27 weeks, or after you already have your precious baby in your home. I believe the the best way for me to honor the parents who have endured loss is to speak about it and help others understand the impact of the loss. To learn more about how you can help those who have experienced loss read my blog written last year: How to help those who are grieving
I discovered Angie Smith a few months after I started my blog. Her story and journey have helped to heal my heart as I shed tears with each page. It has been a necessary part of my healing. I found the song she wrote with her husband just days after we lost Koen, and every time I listen to it my innermost heart is touched. I encourage you to watch their story, listen to their song, and if you (or someone you love) have experienced loss - read her book.
Click here to read more about "I Will Carry You" by Angie Smith.
My prayers have been answered. Cancer is not the cause of elevated liver enzymes. The cause is fatty liver disease. I wish I was perfectly healthy, but given the situation, I find myself rejoicing with this news. A nurse called today to give me my results and schedule an appointment for next month where I will talk more with my doctor. I didn't want to wait a month to banish any lingering fear, so I confirmed my knowledge of fatty liver disease with her and then said, "so I have been freaked out about cancer, and there was no sign of that - right?". I needed to hear the NO.
My doctor had eluded to this being the cause. Said it was very common, but often undetected because there are no symptoms. He also felt that my bed rest was to blame, that it and the multiple pregnancies, combined with my complications, were just so hard on my body. So I battle on. The amazing news is that it is reversible and isn't causing my body any harm (just the potential for harm in the future). I am sure the recommendation will be diet and exercise. It is a good motivator for me.
It has been a roller coaster of emotions for me the past few weeks. I have had periods of peace and times of fear. Fear that after battling so hard for Tobin, that I would be taken from all my boys. As I drove to my ultrasound last week my thoughts were focused on how I would leave this world (irrational, I know, but fear can do that). When I met Kevin at the hospital I informed him that I had decided that I didn't want him to remarry until the boys were out of the house. That I didn't want him to be alone, but I didn't want another woman to raise my two treasures. Crazy and selfish, but that is where I was at in that moment. Darkness seems to swirl about and suck you in.
This weekend as I prayed and found some peace, God showed me why I was so scared. I no longer trust my body. It has betrayed me. I feel damaged. Previously, I had skated through life taking my body for granted, trusting that it would do its job. I am no longer ignorant. Our bodies are created in His image, but are not perfect. Our bodies will fail us, throughout our lives at certain times, and at the end of our life. I need to focus now on not taking my body and health for granted.
Last night on Dancing with the Stars the theme for the night and song selection was determined by choosing the most memorable year of your life. I am a reality show junkie. No better way, for me, to turn off my brain and relax. TV was so hard for months, it seemed that I couldn't escape reminders or triggers. Wildlife shows are the worst, those poor animal parents are always losing their young. So reality TV is where it is at, but sometimes it still sneaks up and gets me. While watching last night their story lines didn't necessarily move me to tears, but I was crying. I was thinking about what my most memorable year was. If I had to chose one year, just one, it would be 2013.
The tests continue. Tomorrow I go for an ultrasound. My enzyme level for my liver is elevated. We have ruled out some potential causes with bloodwork and now my doctor wants to get a better look. My fear is cancer, which has no symptoms until it is advanced. I have no symptoms, yet I have a problem and that is scary. I am actually praying for fatty liver disease (also symptom-free). That gives me an answer, causes no potential issue until later in life, and is reversible. It's causes can be blood pressure, weight, diabetes, and even muscle damage. In the last six months I can check all those boxes. My leg and foot are still numb, muscles still tight. My diabetes is now gone, although I will be tested again for that soon. My blood pressure is under control with the help of medication. My weight is not new news to me. My doctor assures me that my body has been put through the ringer and bedrest is most likely to blame. I haven't moved in so long, still my ability to exercise is limited because of my leg and limp.
So I must remind myself that it is far easier to fight these medical battles, then it would have been to watch Tobin endure fighting for his life. I must continue to trust. Even after this year, where my ability to trust God was put to the test, it doesn't get easier. I am human and I fear the unknown. I have two precious boys who need their mom to be healthy. Please pray for a favorable outcome tomorrow, for peace, and the strength to continue to trust. Thank you.
I am Jackie.