Monday, October 11, 2010

Where do we go from here?

There are so many unanswered questions that Joshua's death has left us with.

Before Joshua was born, I quit my job as we prepared for the responsibility of caring for a medically fragile child. We prepared to return to the hospital in February for the 2nd stage open heart surgery. We prepared to be in exile as we waited for the 2nd surgery to arrive. Keeping Joshua as healthy as possible between surgeries.

I prepared to be a stay at home mom for the first time in my life. I prepared for the many trips to Indianapolis for cardiology appointments. I prepared to take on the roll of heart mom. We prepared for Joshua to be our last child.

But now, where do we go from here?

There are so many questions. Do I start to look for a job? Do we pull the kids out of daycare? How much time should I allow myself to grieve? Do we want more children? Where is God taking us next?

One of the big things I have learned through all of this is that God's plan is NOT our own. If God's plan were mine, I would have Joshua resting in my arms right now, looking at me with those big beautiful eyes. I would be irriating him with my attacks of kisses to the forehead. He would be growling at me through his pacifier trying to get me to stop smothering him with kisses. His little body would NOT be lifeless, cold, and decaying.

While I don't understand God's plans right now, I continue to trust that He is in control. I have nothing left to hang onto except for that trust. No dreams, no hopes- those are all gone. I just simply trust that He will show us where to go from here. He will provide me with a job if that is what He has planned. He will provide us with another baby if that's what He desires for our lives.

I have no control over my life, no matter how much I had convinced myself that I did- none of us has any control over our lives. Unfortunatley, it has taken the death of my son to make me fully realize that. My life is not my own- it is God's. I've finally realized that giving God that control is a terrifying until He uses it for His glory- then it becomes a beautiful (although sometimes heartwrenching) thing. An yes, Joshua's life has been used for God's glory- from the very beginning to the very end.

I'm just trusting that God will show us where to go from here.


Anonymous said...

You say: "It's impossible" God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)
You say: "I'm too tired" God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: "Nobody really loves me" God says: I love you (John 3:1 6 & John3:34 )
You say: "I can't go on" God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say: "I can't figure things out" God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5- 6)
You say: "I can't do it" God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)
You say: "I'm not able" God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)
You say: "It's not worth it" God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )
You say: "I can't forgive myself" God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: "I can't manage" God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)
You say: "I'm afraid" God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)
You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated" God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)
You say: "I'm not smart enough" God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: "I feel all alone" God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

Kristine said...

I can relate to this much. I remember asking these questions in the days after Cora died. I became laid off while pregnant and decided to stay home with her and do some freelance and side work from home. It's been super frustrating. I'm so depressed and out of it, I can't imagine going to job interviews and fear I couldn't hold down a job. So, ten months later, and I'm still just doing a bit of this and that from home. Sorry, totally not inspirational. But, I feel for you. <3

Kathy L said...

I happened upon your blog through following Bowen's Heart. Our first-born son died just shortly after birth. We will never know why. He was not premature - had no health problems that we were aware of - but when I woke up from my c-section, I was handed a lifeless baby. I couldn't make my mind make any sense of it. I wanted to hold and love this child - but I was holding my dead son and it felt so wrong. When I walked away from the hospital my arms were SO empty and they felt like they weighed a ton. My heart had an ache that went to the pit of my stomach. No one could console me. Nothing made it okay. People said things that hurt so deeply even though they were trying to help. No one understood me completely - i didn't even understand myself. I remember thinking over and over "if I only knew why this had to happen. What is the greater purpose?" One day I came to the conclusion that it didn't even matter. No reason would be good enough for me. I could not except it any better if God came right down and explained the whole thing to me. Nothing was worth the life of my son. I began to understand God a little better. After all, He gave His only Son. He loved Him as much as I had loved mine. He watched him suffer and had the power to stop it all - but He chose the greater plan. I could not have done that. I would have done anything to save my son's life - to spare myself of this pain and agony. I understood that God had done something for me that I could have never done for myself or anyone else. However, I did not trust God. My husband was an elder. We were youth pastors. I knew all the right things people expected me to say... and I said them. But my heart grew cold and bitter. I did not trust God because He had failed me. He didn't answer my prayers OR the prayers of those that I considered in high favor with God. I could not see that God was working something out in me. How many times now have I comforted a parent who was grieving the loss of a child? How many times have I said "God you have to take this and fix it. I am powerless." It is such a hard thing to say - and mean. Especially when I am a strong person - never need anyones help. Always the one people call on. "you are so strong." "I admire you so much." "I don't know how you do it." These are the words I hear so often and it would be easy to slowly begin to believe it. Then i am reminded of my most powerless and helpless time and God gently reminds me that i am NOT doing it - He is. I am not strong - He is. The scripture that helps me is found in Phillipians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; We often want to experience all of the benefits of His resurrection and we want to know His power and might - but it is so hard to fellowship Him in our sufferings. My prayer for your family is that you will feel God's presence through your suffering. That you will find peace in the day's ahead. That when it is quiet and life is moving ahead too fast for your grief - when your friends have moved forward in life and you feel stuck and alone - that you will continue to move forward in your healing. It is truly a process and sometimes painfully slow. My husband and I grieved in entirely different ways but the experience strengthened our relationship and marriage. Be careful. The enemy would love to use this to destroy you and your family and your faith - and he is so subtle about it. Know that God is forever on your side - you are in His hands - and He loves you enough to allow you to suffer to bring about a greater purpose - just as He did so many years ago with His only Son.

Anonymous said...

Jill, I can so relate to this post. For a long time I always said "I want what is God's Will for my daughter" and truly felt like such a fraud when I said it. Honestly I did want God's Will for McKenzie but only if it was my will as well. It has taken me almost 2 years to work thru this. I finally had to just "let go" of even thinking I could control the situation. She was never mine to control. Her story is already written, and only God knows the outcome. I just have to trust, that in the end, I will understand why she has to go thru the medical issues she has. I have to believe. THAT is what I cling to when I want to try and wrestle the control back from God.

Someone once told me, in the midst of my grief over her heart issues, to not make any major decisions for at least 2 weeks (other than obviously medical decisions that needed to be made within moments). Not sure if this is applicable in your situation (not sure if your financial status will let you wait longer)....but it sure has helped me.

Shannon Egan

Nadine said...

You're so right, and I'm guilty of it too. It isn't our life, it belongs to GOD. You have such a great attitude about something so difficult and painful! Praying for GOD's guidance and healing power in your life! <3

Sara said...

I know what it is like having questions, and wanting them answered so badly and feeling like God has you on perma hold where this muzac is playing on the other end and all you really want is to hear from His voice. Feeling stuck,no not stuck, feeling unable to move; while the world continues on around you and you just need it to stop with you, not ready to get going just yet. Jill, I hope you know that there are people out here holding you tightly in their thoughts, and wishing deeply to give you comfort. I'm praying for you.

In this wonderful life... said...

God is so in control as I also learned more than ever having gone through everything with Cohen. He will lead you guys in the right path and he holds sweet Joshua!

Becca said...

You will be led in the direction that is right for you. Sometimes I wonder if the directions come when we least expect them, or from where we would least expect it. All things in due time. Follow your heart. You know that even though right now it is breaking, a heart is a very strong thing and will lead you where you need to be. All in good time. My thoughts and prayers remain with you..

Anonymous said...

stay home for a while, let the kids stay in day care while you all begin to heal.

so sorry he is beautiful

peds rn, ny

Sonya said...

I am so very very sorry for your loss. Trust in the Lord and he will lead you in the right direction. It may not be today or tomorrow but he will take you where you need to go.

Wyatt's Mommie said...

Wonderful post, you couldn't have put it any better. I never really understood the fact that God had an ultimate plan for me until I lost my son. I always thought "I knew what was best". Surely that isn't the case.

Much love to you, Megan

Anonymous said...

You do what you can, and don't worry about the rest. I can't sit here and say that I know what you're going through because I don't. I have lost parents, grandparents, and too many friends, but never a child. I have watched one of my very good friends deal with the loss of her adult child. It's bad at any age, but I'm sure the loss of a baby is the absolute most painful thing that anyone could ever have to go through. It will take time. Probably lots of it. You need to give yourself the time to grieve. I'm sure with your faith that you know this, but God will lead you where you need to go, when you need to go there. Until then, you do what you need to do for yourself and your family to get through and know that there are people out there that are praying for you and hurting for you.

Katie Smith

Shin Ae said...

I am sorry for these things you have to feel. For the pain, confusion, and this feeling of having the rug ripped from under you. I'm sorry you lost your little one. I will pray that God will lead you through these days of grieving and will give you peace with whichever path he wants you to follow.

Molly Alisa Photography said...

God will lead you, one step at a time, one day at a time, sometimes one breath at a time.

Praying for much peace and joy in your future, Jill. Praying this unspeakable pain is transformed in to unspeakable joy some day... some day...

For now, just be, and cling to Him.

It's more than okay to lie low for awhile. Just keep asking what He has for you, as I know you will. It will come.

Molly Alisa Photography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natalie said...

I haven't lost a child, but I've lost babies. I've questioned "where do we go from here?" "What is your plan?" And the biggest lesson I learned from those questions is the very lesson you talk about... realizing that our lives are not our own. My days are not my own. My plan is nothing compared to the plan the Lord has set before me. I would NEVER have chosen the path He ordained for me or my family. It's been too hard, too emotional, too much of a struggle. I couldn't do it on my own. It was only when I learned to rely solely on Him that I began to have hope again. I'm praying for you, Sister. I'm praying for Joshua's sweet brother and sister. And his daddy. I'm praying for your arms that ache to hold him (oh, how my arms could feel my babies!!!) and your heart that aches to love him on this earth just one more time.

In Him...

danielle said...

A quote I have to tell myself all the time is "God I don't understand it, but I trust you." Still praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Jill - wendy and I have been following your blog since Jordan's HLHS was diagnosed on June 2nd. Every night I would come home from work and ask her - "what did Jill have to say today?" If you blogged about something besides Joshua, she would be so disappointed. We have laughed and cried with you and you inspired us to dream for our son and gave us hope and advice that helped us get through many rough days. Every day since wednesday we have wanted to post a comment but couldn't find the words. There are none.

If there is anything we can do please let us know. We keep believing that there is a reason that God connected us all to help each other through this. thank you again for all of your help and friendship.

rhonda, wendy and jordan!

Annie said...

be still and wait for the spirit to speak to you.

Anonymous said...

I can related to this. I worked hard for 5 years (started working the moment I was out of high school). Got married, had our first child. 3 days after her first birthday, I found out my place of employment had been shut down, I was now unemployed. The next day? I found out I was pregnant again. (Which we had been trying for #2 and we were going to be done). That was OUR plan. God...had other plans.

I found out a month later...that "2nd" child...was actually our 2nd and 3rd child! Right before Christmas we learned it was twin boys!

I was considered high risk and was not allowed to work the entire pregnancy. After the twins were born, things went crazier. We found out that "baby b" Keegan, had cancer. I was horrified. I cried, I begged for this not to be true. I realized, I had absolutely zero power as to what happened in my life, or my children's. Why, how could such a sweet new innocent child have such a horrible disease, that could kill him.

I've learned a LOT in the past year! God is TOTALLY in control of every aspect of my life. I used to be a big neat freak, who had to be in "control" of everything. How quickly my world was turned upside down with all of the "unexpected" factors. But God was in control, God was there for us and saw us through.

I say, stay home as long as you need too. Stay home until you feel you need to go back to work again, take that as a sign from God that it is time. If the kids are happy in Day Care, leave them. They need normalcy during this time too. There is no "correct" amount of time to grieve. Take all you need.

Just know, that you are not alone. There are many who are thinking about you and praying for your family.

Stephanie, Daughter of the Risen King said...

I have been catching up on blogs since I came back from Joshua's funeral. I can only do so in small doses because it is so painful. So, I can't imagine what it is like for you. Can't pretend. It is so amazing to see how many have told their blog friends about Joshua and asked for prayer for your family. Way too cool. What a caring community of people.

Jill, I can only say do what works for you and what brings peace. Pray. Blogging seems to work for you. Pray. It seems that spending time with your children would be healthy so you might consider that in time.
Pray about it a lot. Pray some more. Talk. Tell stories. It seems to help healing.

I would love to hear more about Joshua's grumpy growl and anything else that you want to tell us about him, Hannah, and Caleb.

Tell us about what you are going through, what you went through, what you miss, love, dread, milestones, miracles. Talk, talk, and talk.

When you feel a little better, do a little more. I think I have learned that life is His will. All things are from Him, everything belongs to God. Not that I did not know it, maybe I didn't. I have some confusion there. Maybe I said it, thought it, where now I know it.

Take the time to walk it out and learn what you can. Let Him continue to lead you.

Please allow me to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Joshua's life meant so much to me and has taught me so much. I thank you immensely, and your family, for sharing him with me through this blog.
I am still thanking God for him every hour, every minute. What a blessing. What a special little life. Aren't they all? Everything has changed.
I am so blessed.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it crazy how much sweet Joshie is loved by everyone? And how loved YOU are by everyone? I'm just another one of the many Jill followers who feel like your story is a part of my own life. I grieve with you, I rejoice with you, and you don't even know my name. It seems so silly, and I understand if you need to lay low and take some time off, but I've read your story since before your baby boy, and I'm sticking with you now. I hope you realize you have so many ears to listen, so many people lifting you up.

Simply said, you are awesome.

SUEB0B said...

I have suffered loss, but never one like yours. My advice is, though - give yourself time. You don't have to make any big decisions soon, and if my experiences were any indication, your brains may be fairly scrambled for some time to come (I went to BlogHer 2 months after my sister's death and do not remember much of the event. I know I was there...that's about it).

So be easy on yourself, please. Rest, let people love on you.

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