Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Reflections

I never could have imagined what this year would hold for me. Last year as we brought in the New Year with our closest friends at a lake house in Pickwick, I could never have imagined the changes that would have taken place by the time December 31st came around again. I remember watching Marianna and her best friend Maggie dance the night away trying to play Dance Dance Revolution last New Year’s Eve. I remember some of the guys (my sane, responsible, and semi-chicken husband not included) jumping into the freezing lake to bring in 2007 with a bang. I remember one of our friends making a calendar of predictions regarding who would have babies this year. I was included on that list, and I looked forward hopefully to at least being pregnant by the time 2007 came to a close. What was absent from that night was any discussion about the possibility of suffering or loss the next year would bring. Not that there should have been-morbid is the word that comes to mind for anyone who does. But my point is that my outlook was full of hope and optimism, unmarred by the reality of the pain that comes with loss.

The first few months passed happily and uneventfully, and by the time April came around and I discovered I was pregnant, I was thrilled! Surprised, but definitely thrilled. As I gazed down at the two pink lines that indicated a baby was on the way, my first reaction was to laugh. I really did. I laughed out loud because I had announced to some friends just a few months before that I would NEVER have a baby in December. I had decided my life was simply too busy that month with birthdays and Christmas to make room for anything else. How far God has brought me since that moment.

From April to the end of June, we looked forward to the next baby, but honestly found ourselves so busy with Marianna, work, and everything else going on in our lives that we didn’t spend nearly as much time thinking and dreaming of this baby as we did with Marianna. In fact, before going in for the 20 week ultra sound I told Nathan I felt a little guilty that I hadn’t signed up for weekly “my pregnancy this week emails” or taken pictures of my stomach at regular monthly intervals. I didn’t want this baby to look back at her baby book and think “wow, mom really wasn’t as on top of it for me as she was for Marianna.” How could I have known?

As we drove in to the doctor’s office on July 25th, the greatest fear I had was that the ultrasound technician wouldn’t be able to discover the baby’s gender. As we drove out, I left with every dream about my second baby lying on the floor of the doctor’s office consultation room. Life for me had changed. From that point, I began writing on this blog, so I guess the rest is history.

I took several hours yesterday to sit and reflect over the year as a whole. I know that Poppy has transformed me in ways I understand and in ways I don't. God has made Himself present with an authenticity that's hard to explain or describe-like an awareness each day that my strength was literally not my own. He has been there for me in the midst of the pain, not to eliminate it, but to hold me and keep me from breaking while I'm experiencing it. Someone reminded me the other day that my grandfather often said that the eyes cleansed with tears often see the clearest. Ohh, how I relate! My eyes are opened in new ways as my old pre-conceptions, pride, and self-sufficiency have been peeled away, leaving them raw (painfully sometimes) but hopefully with the ability to see more accurately than ever before. As I sat yesterday, I realized that if I could boil everything down into one thing to take with me into this new year, it would be this: focus on what's important. Having Poppy helped me realize that much of what I have filled my life with simply doesn't matter. It's not that it is necessarily bad, but it just doesn't have a lot of meaning. What is important? People. I want to love people more genuinely. Not just those in my life, but also those around me. I want to point people to Jesus. I want to pray for people more faithfully. More than anything else, this is what Poppy has shown me. I'm looking forward to this coming year with a new kind of hope than what I've had before. Yes, I'm not as care-free as I was one year ago, but I don't regret it. I never want to be the same.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Angie. This was beautiful to read today.
connie

So Blessed said...

"I want to love people more genuinely. Not just those in my life, but also those around me. I want to point people to Jesus. I want to pray for people more faithfully."

What an amazing lesson you have learned in your journey. May God bless you abundantly as you continue on your way in your faithfulness to Him.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Praying for you as we begin this new year.

Barb said...

WOW Angie your words are so profound, and for sure God has a purpose for your *blog* to continue!

I have thought of you often and thank God for placing your *blog* and your words for the many of us that read with amazement! Your strength is so obvious and just when the question "why" enters our thoughts...you have shown us the reason! Thank you Angie and may God bless you and your beautiful family! Barb in PA

rebelmom4boys said...

Angie,

I am so thankful that you have made the choice to continue to share you heart with us. I can tell you, there are many people who look at your experience and how you have managed to hold strong and firm in your faith and your love for the Lord. Many, many times I come to your blog just to find that somehow you have managed to write the exact words I needed to get through my worries of the day.
I think God has chosen you to carry on his work in a very special way. I look forward each day to checking your blog to see what message I can take from you for that day and make my day better for having read it! Thank you.

My best wishes to you, Nathan and Marianna for a New Year full of happiness.

Emily said...

Me neither. Little girls sent from Heaven change everything, especially their Mamas. :)

Praying for you and anticipating miracles in 2008!

Proverbs 3:5-6

Alison said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You have an amazing way with words. I am still praying for you and your family.

Sincerely,
Alie

Laurie said...

Hi Angie,

"I'm not as care-free as I was one year ago, but I don't regret it. I never want to be the same." I don't believe anyone can truly claim these words unless they have been tried and purified in the fire that only Jesus can bring us through. Loss does bring with it so much pain, but how we choose to go through it can bring us through without being consumed. The wisdom you have earned in this journey is a blessing that you share here with so many who need to know Gods grace and mercy. Walking in His strength is not easy to explain. I am thankful that you are continuing to write here until the Lord leads you elsewhere. You are a blessing and your honesty is so sweet. I think there are many who need to hear what you have to say, and I know I always learn from you here too. Love you Angie and I hope this year is your best ever as you seek the best from the Lord. Poppy Joy will always be one of many who dance on my heart.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Mandy said...

Amen! Thinking of you on this New Year's Day.

Mandy
GA
www.madelinegracehopkins.blogspot.com

Rebecca said...

Happy New Year, Angie.

Kenzie Stanfield said...

Perfect reflections on a year with ultimate joy and ultimate pain! Praying for 2008!

Love,
Kenzie

Brandi said...

None of us will be the same, Angie. Everyone who has encountered you during this past year has been changed by Poppy's life and Nathan's and your faith.

Devin said...

Happy New Year Angie and family. May this year be less painful but just as love-filled and inspiring as the last.

Shane and Devin said...

Angie,

I just finished leaving a comment on Kenzie's blog. She is, in my mind, a new 'friend', even though I don't even know her. I hope you don't mind if I consider you the same.

Exactly as I told her, it is amazing what you can find in a virtual world. While blog jumping one day, (with the Lord truly guiding me, I know) I was brought to Copeland Farley's blog...then jumped to Mary Grace's blog...then to Poppy Joy's (among several others). I have spent hours reading your experiences, and hours crying along with all of you. I am a 28 year old mother of three healty boys, ages 4, 2, and almost 1, but I just recently lost my 4th child to miscarriage. With three healthy pregnancies under my belt, the loss was, to say the least, completely unexpected.

I have had trouble coping with our loss on many days....but have been doing so much better since I came to find you and these other families. As I told Kenzie, your stories have truly touched and encouraged me beyond anything I have ever witnessed in person, even though I have never met any of you. The strength you have shown in the face of this earthly trial is very convicting. You all have truly encouraged and touched our family in a very unique way. With your help, the Lord has been revealing to me just how blessed I truly am.

The thing is, I didn't know that I was so oblivious to that until this miscarriage, when all I could think of was something you just said in your second to last post: "Lord, why?" Instead of focusing on the blessings that were right in front of me, I was focusing on what had been taken away from me. I have had to realize that my tiny little brain will never be able to fully understand God's grand plan. You all have helped the Lord reveal that to me, and I just wanted to personally say thank you to you. Even though I will never meet my fourth baby this side of heaven, I am so glad that I will some day know him. He will be whole, and complete, and it will be wonderful. Until then, he will ALWAYS be a huge part of me that I will never forget, but I will remember him with JOY, not tears.

I am glad you have decided to keep posting. I just wanted to let you know that I am linking your blog (and several t-18 others) on my own, and will soon be posting about how I have found you all, and asking my own readers to be faithfully praying for your family, and theirs. I hope that is okay. I will continue to watch for updates, and will be fervently and daily praying for you, Nathan, and Marianna.

In Christ's Love,
Devin

jennyb said...

May God continue to bless your precious family in 2008! You words continue to bless those who "stop by" your blog. I can only imagine how therapeutic it must be for you to write. Please continue your blog, you have such a gift for writing. I come by to see how you are doing, and in turn your words have inspired me to focus on what's important. Thank you for that!
Jenny B.

Just Me said...

With tears in my eyes, I say "thank you" again. Beautiful words, wonderful message. Praying for you and your family.

Karen said...

Angie, I read both these posts for the first time today. You are sharing for lots of reasons. It's probably a little therapeutic for you, and I know a lot therapeutic for us! I do want to share with you that I have been deceived many times to not write on my daughter's blog, because I thought people didn't care, that they didn't STILL want to hear about it. But the TRUTH is, God has allowed you (and you have been open) to be enlightened, more than most of us ever will. You have learned eternal lessons about life and living that unenlightened people are blind to. We get so caught up in absolute foolish things in this world, so PLEASE enlighten us. Show us how to appreciate our lives. Tell us we have so much to be thankful for. Teach us that this world and all its problems are so little compared to eternity. It is all so easy to forget in the darkness of foolishness. You are in the clarity of light right now. Don't slip out of it. Part of being able to stay is continuing to share. It keeps you fresh in that space.

Still praying...

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Sweet Angie,
What a beautiful reflection of 2007 and hope for 2008. It's truly amazing how things can change in less than one year. I agree to the fact that I want to be changed and I do not want to be the same. Not sure what that holds for me but we will keep on praying! I continue to pray for you and Nathan and Marianna and hope that you can find joy in 2008! You have been such a blessing to me!
With love,
Kim

pipsylou said...

"Your courage asks me what I am afraid of."
-Sara Groves

pipsylou said...

p.s. That is why I read. ;)

Anonymous said...

Angie,

You are an inspiration to many and God is using you to help and comfort others. You have a gift with words and I am so blessed to read your blog. Thank you for sharing this to bring God's peace to all.