Monday, October 15, 2012

Not Forgotten

Matthew 5:4  "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

I am overwhelmed.... that is the best word I can think of right now.  Last week I was overwhelmed with panic and heartache and so much sadness I didn't think it was possible to stand under all of it.  The Lord truly heard our cries and through family, through friends, through our church family, through this little blog and through those who have found us through a site my friend put our story on ( When Lightning Strikes Twice ) I have felt the prayers and hugs from SO MANY.  And now I am overwhelmed with daily reminders of the Lord's care for us.  I am so thankful for those of you who have messaged me, left comments for me,  and emailed me so faithfully.  I will write you back!  Thank you for those of you who made meals for us and have given us gift cards and sent cards of encouragement.  What else can we be right now but thankful?

Thank you so much to each of you who has prayed for us, prayed for Josiah, remembered Owen, cried alongside us and shared in our grief.  Thank you so much for sharing our story with your friends and your families and pleading for prayer on our behalf.  And thank you for reminding me that we are not alone.  There are other families who have experienced similar heartache and I am thankful for your willingness to share that with me.

I wanted to share some of what I've been experiencing over the past couple of weeks as well.  I have gone from fear, to panic, to despair and have been in such depths of sadness  that I feared I might never pull out of it.  I have felt in ways I never have before that Christ was far from me, or more likely that I was far from Christ.  I  needed reassurance that my life was not spinning out of control and that hopelessness was not the appropriate response, but despair seemed to be my constant companion.  I found myself even unable to find solace in God's Word.  Each verse I had committed to memory in the days after Owen passed away were  of no comfort.  I felt myself repeating God's promises and immediately breaking down in tears saying, "but I did that!  Where are you now? What are you doing to us? I did pray, I did trust and what did it gain us?"

I think one of the hardest things for me to wrap my mind and heart around in those first horrible blur of days has been the fact that one of the ways I found myself reconciling the loss of Owen was in thinking that God's plan was to give us Josiah.  If we hadn't lost Owen, we wouldn't have Josiah.  I was sure of it.  I just knew that that was God's plan.  Even with all the fear in the beginning of this pregnancy I felt He was just reminding me that I needed to trust in Him, but everything would be fine.  After all, who loses two babies?  Especially 2 late term losses?

And that brings me to Josiah.  In the midst of all my heartache I was forgetting about him.  At first I wanted to forget.  I didn't want to think of myself in terms of being pregnant.  I got rid of any of the pregnancy books I had in my house because it was too painful to read about "normal" pregnancies and the happy endings that awaited them.  I would take my prenatal vitamins each night and think "what's the point."  Gone was the stroller and infant carrier .....which, by the way, will now make 2 strollers and infant carriers that I have bought and gotten rid of because they were for babies I will never bring home and I can't stand to have the reminders here.
 It's ironic, about this last stroller too... as a side note....  I was determined in the beginning of this pregnancy to not replace the stroller I had purchased (at a garage sale of course!) for Owen and sold this past summer until we were literally in the hospital having this baby.  I had friends with infant carriers and wasn't worried about getting something to get us home from the hospital.  I told myself I didn't want to have to sell another stroller for the worst of reasons so I wasn't going to mess with it.  At some point over this past summer I found myself looking on craigslist and came across a super nice stroller for a great price and I took the dive and bought it.  I told myself how ridiculous and fatalistic I was being by not getting at least some things taken care of.  I had no intentions of setting up the pack n play or the crib, since I had a bassinet that could easily be brought over when we left the hospital, but surely a stroller and carrier were practical things to have ready to go...right? I can't even tell you how much it hurt to pull into the garage after our ultrasounds and the devastating news we received at them to see that stroller and carrier sitting in there.  I hadn't even taken it in the house yet.  I don't know what the future holds, but I just needed it gone.

But, the thing was, and the thing IS.... Josiah isn't gone. I have slowly, achingly and lovingly been reminded of that over the past couple of weeks as well.  The Lord has been patient with my lack of faith and He has been hearing my cries and pleadings and  my rantings and ravings and He has not left me without hope.  Slowly, ever so slowly, He has guided me back under His wings where I have found rest and solace so many times in the past year.  One of my favorite verses during my worst times missing Owen has been:

Psalm 57:1.  Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.  

I find myself once again finding comfort and rest in this verse.  Additionally, the Lord has been showing me that He is the source of my hope reminding me in Psalm 119:114 that He is my hiding place and my shield and that my hope is found in His Word." 

 I will confess, that has been hard for me lately.  To find HOPE.  To do as Romans 12 says and even REJOICE in HOPE.  But, back in June I DID rejoice in HOPE.  I was so happy to find out we were expecting again.  We waited so long...we waited and waited for Owen.  We waited and we lost.  We grieved.  We dared to hope again.  We waited and waited and then we had hope.  And we rejoiced!  

And that is the thing that the Lord has been teaching me most this past week.  That we do have reason to hope.  Josiah is here.  All is not lost. We have him right now in this moment.  Every night between 8 and 10 oclock-ish I am reminded that he is here and he will be heard!  He is alive...very much alive.  He is growing.  His kicks are getting stronger and he wakes up and wants to dance and wants to remind me that I am not to give him up so easily.  In the midst of all the shock and heartache I wasn't thinking of him.  I wasn't thinking of what a gift he truly is.  

The verse that the Lord has most used to remind me of His love for me has suprised me.  It's not one I would have normally turned to for comfort in such times as these.  As usual, my 2 amazing friends, Melissa and Darby (seriously...what would I do without you girls?  The Lord knows I need you....) have been so constant in their care for me and at some point very soon after our ultrasound they made a book of verses for me.  At first I had a hard time spending time in God's word because I felt such despair and even flipping through the verses they had written out for me was hard.  I saw so many of the verses I had leaned on through Owen and in the beginning of this pregnancy and felt lost and hollow reading them;  believing in His Sovereignty and yet having such a hard time accepting what He is doing with Josiah.  For some reason one in particular in that book,  Psalm 139:13-15,  struck a chord with me. 

 "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  I will praise thee: for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knows right well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth."  

Josiah's life has from the beginning been in His Hands.  We are in His Hands.  He cares for us, he knows our hurts and our heart's desires and He wants us to trust in Him.  I'm not saying it's easy or that I am doing it perfectly but I am not despairing like I felt I was in those first few days.  What a blessing that be reminded that  Josiah is His workmanship.  He formed him exactly how he is for a purpose.  I don't know what that is right now and confess that I have a hard time understanding why, but I can rest in the truth of His Word.  And there is comfort in that even in the midst of heartache.  

I know this is a super long post, but in closing I want to thank you all again for your continued prayers. We surely are feeling the love of God through them!  On Friday we have another appointment with the fetal cardiologist at Akron Children's so please be in prayer for Josiah and for us as we have another echocardiogram done of his heart.  

Thank you all for your messages and comments and emails and the like.  We have been greatly encouraged through each of you!



  1. Praising the Lord for His grace so evident upon you now, Cat. May He continue to bless as He accomplishes His perfect will for you and your family. In sincere love...

  2. I came upon your blog and my heart aches for you....Praying that you will have strength from the Lord moment by moment as you lean on Him...

  3. Hello..I do not know you but found a post on a friends facebook and was led to read your story. I want to write this as an encouragement to you. I don't know if you know this but Josiah means "God has healed". I know this because I also have a son named Josiah who is now 7. When I was pregnant w/ him they discovered cysts on his umbilical cord and he also tested high for Trisomy (sp?). I had a tear in my placenta and lots of bleeding as well. I prayed verses over him and believed in his healing. He was born full term and completely healthy. I am believing and lifting your family up in prayer now and will continue to do so...In Christ's love, a fellow believer and mom, Kristy McCandless