Since Joshua died, I have written many times about how his life and death have changed me.
After he died, I could not possibly force myself to go back to work. I wasn't emotionally or mentally ready for "the real world." I couldn't focus, didn't care, and could not separate myself from my husband and children. I struggled with friends who wanted me to get back to the old Jill- the Jill that enjoyed working outside of the home.
Since his death, I have been a stay at home mom. At first I was terrified of staying home. The thought of being home day in and day out overwhelmed me. I am a social person by nature and I was afraid that I would become lonely and withdrawn.
After a few months of adjusting to my new role, I began to LOVE staying home. I was able to keep up with the household duties, care for my children, and discover my love for cooking and laundry!! I began to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride at providing for my family in ways that I had never done before.
I sometimes refer to this change as "Joshua's Gift" to his brothers and sister.
Since Luke was born, my love for my children has deepened in ways that I never thought were possible. Something about this new baby boy brings me joy like I have never experienced before.
Every little smile, every coo, every cry reminds me of how lucky I am to be experiencing these things. It reminds me of the loss that we endured and how far we have come.
Luke is a reminder of the joy that came out of the darkness.
There are times that I look at my children and all I can do is thank God for His blessings. There are times that all I can do is sit quietly and take it all in, knowing that not another moment of their lives is ever promised to me. There are times that I look at Luke and weep with joy mixed in with sadness because I am reminded just how very precious he is and how deep the loss of Joshua was.
Unless God has other plans for us, Luke is our last child. His baby days are going by quickly and will be over before we know it. I have no desire to leave him to go to work. I simply want to soak him in, remembering every last detail of his sweet baby goodness.
Joshua's life and death have changed me forever. Some of those changes are hard- anxiety, loss of ignorance, fear- but some of them are gifts- deeper appreciation and love for my children, never taking anything for granted, trusting God for their future. And for that, I'm so thankful for the gifts that Joshua has given to me and my family.