Saturday, February 28, 2015

Liebster Award: Bloggers Recognizing Bloggers

I feel honored to be nominated by Tobi Sauers from Simply Jesus Ministries for the Liebster Award which is where one blogger recognizes five bloggers.  In simplest terms, it gives bloggers an opportunity just to say "Hey, I like what you do."  And in my opinion, if even one person likes what I do, that's important to me.  So thank you, Tobi!
I met Tobi through our 31 Day Writing Challenge in October and have stayed in contact with her ever since through a facebook group she started for those who survived the 31 Day Challenge.  This group has been instrumental in motivating me to publish my 31 day writing series into a book:  In His Light:  Facing Fear with Faith as well as inspiring me to do more with the words that God has given me to write.  
Thank you, Tobi for thinking of me and for including me with four other women who I look up to greatly and honestly was a little surprised...ok, a little even be on the same list as them!  You ladies are truly an inspiration--

And I'd also like to thank my mom and dad for giving me so many funny things to write about, and I'd like to thank my dog...
I'm just kidding!  Ok, my little acceptance speech is done.  Here is what I have to do next to complete my duties for the Liebster Award!

  1. Thank and link back to the person who nominates you--CHECK
  2. Answer the questions given by the person who nominates you--CHECK
  3. Nominate 5 other bloggers, big or small--CHECK
  4. Create 5 new questions for the nominees to answer--CHECK
  5. Let the nominees know they’ve been nominated--CHECK

1. What are you reading right now, and why should we all read it? (if you aren't a book reader, what is your favorite blog?)

Power of the Praying Parent by Stormie O'Martian
I'm a busy, working mom, so this book is perfect.  It has short chapters and powerful prayers to pray over my children.  I want my children covered in prayer!

2. What is your favorite drink from Starbucks, or your favorite coffee shop?

I don't drink coffee.  When I was a teacher, my students were always surprised when they learned that I didn't drink coffee because I was a very energetic teacher--especially when we learned about the periodic table of elements.  For the record, yes, I really was that excited about the periodic table! 

3. What is your favorite Bible story and why?

I have to pick just one?  I love the one when Jesus walks on water from Matthew 14:22-33.  So often I find myself living in fear and doubt God and this is such a great example of Jesus calling us...asking us to step out in faith...and being there to catch us when we lose faith.

Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

4. If you had a day all to yourself what would you do?

If money were no object here, I would fly anywhere with a quiet beach and bring a whole stack of books to read all by myself! 

5. What are your 2 favorite songs? (Bonus points for sharing a YouTube, okaaaayy, so there aren't any points, but it would still be fun. )
"The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra--that was my wedding song
"I Will Follow You" by Chris Tomlin--I love being reminded that life is about following God no matter what!



I am honored to know such amazing women in this blogging world.  The 5 bloggers that I would like to recognize with whom I've really enjoyed connecting through the 4Real Moms Monthly Newsletter as well as guest blogging.  These are women with a heart to serve others through their writing. 

Karrilee Aggett:  Abiding Love, Abounding Grace
Natalie Busch:  The Messy Mom
Melissa Mulvaney:  Meaning, Joy, Purpose
Sandra Black:  Sandra's Ark
Asheritah Ciuciu:  One Thing Alone

It's a privilege to have had the opportunity to get to know you ladies.  Here are your 5 questions so I can get to know you more:

1.  What is your favorite bible verse and why?

2.  What is your biggest fear and how do you overcome it?

3.  What is your most embarrassing moment?

4.  What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?

5.  What is your favorite movie and why?

I understand that you are busy moms and writers.  Take your time!  It has taken me about two weeks to finally get all this done!  No pressure at all. 

May God bless you all--especially all the women, moms, and writers out there!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

To My Child Whose Name Will No Longer Be Miscarriage

Dear Reader-
I found four pregnancy tests in my bathroom cabinet last week and I felt great joy and great sadness.  Joy that three of those pregnancies resulted in three amazing and healthy children and sadness that one didn't.  Recently, as I approach what would have been my due date, I realized how much shame and sadness and confusion I still felt about having a miscarriage, and I have learned over this past week just how much God wants to shine His light into this area of my life...and if you've experienced a miscarriage too, just know that God wants to shine His light into your life too.  May you be as open to His Healing Light as I was. 

Yes, I know it's weird to have saved all four pregnancy tests for all these years,
but if you have experienced infertility, I know you understand!


And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness--secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. 
Isaiah 45:3

I call you miscarriage when I talk about you, but why?  You had a heartbeat.  You lived inside of me for 42 days.  We celebrated and jumped for joy the day we found out about you!  It was a miracle.  After nearly 4 years of negative pregnancy tests, you were the first positive pregnancy test I had ever seen!  It was such a beautiful moment in my life, and yet, I ignored the fact that you were my first baby.  Instead I label you as a painful miscarriage. 
You were a living being...a being who was stolen from my womb by death.  I knew instantly.  The minute I saw spotting, I knew you were gone.  I was devastated.  I cried all day.  Tears that no one saw.  Tears that only occurred between the fake smile I put on for my students.  Tears that streamed down my face in the storage room during my four minute break between classes.  Tears that I choked back into my throat until it hurt while I pretended to be excited about launching rockets that my students had built.  Throughout the day, the tears only got harder to hold in and the bleeding only got heavier. 

After my last class, I raced out of the building.  I couldn't hold back the tears any longer.  I had to let them go, but not until I got into my car and slammed the door closed.  I was angry.  How could God do this to me?  After all that I had been through waiting to get pregnant, how could He take this baby from me?  It wasn't fair!  I screamed.  I cried.  Once I allowed the tears to flow, they wouldn't stop.  I began to sob uncontrollably.  I cried so hard that I couldn't see the road but somehow the car drove closer and closer to the doctor's office. It was a pointless appointment.  I knew in my heart that you were gone, but yet strangely I hoped that I would be the rare case of bleeding heavy during pregnancy with nothing being wrong.  I guess that's just what comes from years of negative pregnancy tests where I would constantly make excuses..."But maybe it's just too early."  "But maybe the pregnancy test is defective."  "But maybe this spotting isn't my period but just the result of implantation."  "But maybe if I take it again in a couple of days it will be positive." 

But still I foolishly hoped.

I cried in the waiting room.  I cried in my appointment room sitting naked and cold in that horrid hospital gown.  I cried in the ultrasound room as the doctor searched only to find that nothing was there.  No heartbeat. 

"Maybe it's just too early." she says.  "Go home.  Get rest and if the bleeding and the cramping gets worse, go to the emergency room." 

Is it actually possible?  Could I still be pregnant?  Please, God, please!  Even though I pleaded and I prayed, I knew deep down you were gone, and yet I let myself hope...just a little.   

Sure enough the bleeding got heavier.  The cramping was excruciating.  I never knew I had so many tears.  I never knew that my heart could hurt so deeply.  Huge clots came out and fell into the toilet.  This can't be happening.  My husband raced me to the ER just for them to tell me something I already knew.  You were gone. 

Hunched over in pain and in shame, I walked out of the ER with my husband by my side with nothing more than a "See ya!" from the ER staff.  I was expecting something...anything.  "So sorry for your loss."  "Praying for you!"  Anything.  I'm sure they see this every day, but I had never had a miscarriage before.  I had never experienced so much pain in my body or in my heart.  Having a miscarriage doesn't happen to me everyday.  But there was no sympathy.

It was after midnight before we got home.  I couldn't sleep.  I didn't want to sleep.  I didn't want to sleep because I didn't want to wake up and be hit with the reality of losing you.  When my eyes opened in the morning, they were sore.  I was sore.  My heart sank.  It wasn't a dream.  I didn't want to get up.  I didn't want to get out of bed...ever!  I wanted to put my covers over my head and never see or talk to or be around anyone ever again. 

Like a zombie, I got up, got dressed, drove to school, greeted each student, took attendance, and went about my day, launching rockets.  It was like nothing ever happened.  For everyone else, it was just another day.  But for me, it was the day that I lost you.  It was the day that I failed you.  It was the day that I reached a new level of failure.  I was no longer the woman who couldn't get pregnant, now I was a woman who couldn't take care of her baby well enough to stay pregnant.  I was the woman whose womb was unfit for a child to grow in.  I hated myself even more than I already did.  I fell deep into a depression like I've never known.  I felt helpless and completely hopeless. 
I felt guilty.  I felt full of shame.  I felt that God hated me.  What could I have done differently to care for you?  How could I have protected you better?  I'm so sorry.  I'm sorry that I didn't name you.  I'm sorry that I flushed you down the toilet.  Was I supposed to do something else with you?  I'm sorry I didn't know what to do. I'm sorry that I let the enemy make me feel ashamed of you.  I'm sorry that the enemy made me look at you and the miscarriage as the same thing, but that's not right.  You were just as much as a victim as I was.  You were part of the enemy's plans to steal, kill, and destroy.  He killed you.  He stole my joy.  He destroyed my hope...or at least I thought he did.

Over this past week as I stared at that fourth pregnancy test and as I've questioned God about the miscarriage again, He has shown me just how important you were in my journey.  He showed me what a gift you were to me without me ever realizing it because you were a symbol of hope.  In the midst of all of my disappointments...all of my negative pregnancy tests...all of my sadness, you were the glimpse of hope.  You showed me that I could get pregnant.  After thinking that I was never going to be a mom, you came.  Thank you for allowing me to see that my body could do it!  Thank you for giving me hope.
I thank God for allowing me to see you differently today.  You are not just a miscarriage.  You are not just a tragedy, a sadness, or an awful thing that happened to me once.  You are a miracle.  You are the bearer of hope.  You are my first baby.  You are my daughter. (I just know it!)

Now, instead of crying tears of sadness over you, I can cry tears of joy.  It's been nearly seven years since I lost you and God has finally healed my heart.  He has also shown me that now that I've acknowledged you, my family can be complete which is something I've really been wrestling with lately.  I am blessed to have two boys and not just one, but two girls! 

Today, as I dance with my daughter, your little sister, here on earth, I know that you are dancing in Heaven with Jesus.  Thank you for allowing me to be your mom.  I can't wait to meet you some day...Marion Hope Leeb. 
Father-thank You for finally shining Your Light into this area of my life...this dark corner of my soul...this pain that I have suppressed for so long.  Thank You for continuing to reveal places in my heart that need Your light and Your love.  Thank You for redeeming this sadness.  Thank You for showing me the treasures in this darkness by revealing the hope that I was given through this child.  Thank You for bringing me joy over the daughter that I never had an opportunity to meet.  Thank You for taking something that the enemy meant to rob from me and breathing new life into the purpose of this pain. 
Be near all my fellow sisters who have experienced the agony of a miscarriage.  Bring healing to their hearts.  Embrace them in Your loving and comforting Arms.  Free all of us from any feelings of guilt or shame or blame.  Allow us to feel Your presence and bring us all peace knowing that You are with each and every child that has been lost through miscarriage hugging them, holding them, and dancing with them in Heaven.   Bring hope to all!  In Jesus' precious name.  Amen!