Sunday, March 26, 2017

Collateral Beauty.

About a week ago, late one night when the kids were in bed, we rented the movie.

It's a very interesting story. And has all sorts of twists and turns. I'm not here to promote it or say you will love it. I'm in a place of deep pain and so watching a story about someone else's deep pain...often has very applicable moments.

This one was no exception.

When the movie was over, I went immediately to bed and sobbed my eyes out.

How in the world could my story have collateral beauty...? How could anything good come from this nightmare?

I blogged months ago, right at the beginning of this story unfolding...about the complete stranger that told me to look for the gifts along the way. And we did. And we saw them. Many.

That's really what collateral beauty is.  The beauty that comes from the pain.  In the movie, the lady who lost her young child was told the same thing also by a complete stranger.  "Be sure to look for the collateral beauty..."

Then there was this moment.

This moment in time when our world changed. For the better.  It was the strangest moment for me because 2 minutes before her entrance into the world...I looked at Dean and said "I'm still prepared for the worst...I can't even imagine hearing a cry...or seeing a baby..."  Yes. What an awful way to go all the way up to the delivery of your child. Our world has been ravaged by pain and loss and horror in the last ten months. I was just terrified of getting my hopes up that something beautiful could really be my heart blocked it out.

And then there she was.  Actually...for many reasons one I will never forget. My doctor (whom I adore) said "Janice, reach down and help deliver your baby..." and I couldn't even open my eyes. I couldn't see...I just did it.  I grabbed her shoulders and pulled her to me.

I've cried at the birth of all my children. You know...those happy tears. But not these.  This was at least 10 minutes of sobs.  I...sobbed.  I said nothing. I just cried.  The room was full of joy and laughter and she was crying and I had never even entered into that being a possibility.  I was...sobbing.

Dean asked if I was ok and all I could say was "I never believed she'd really be here...that this would really happen..."

I heard my doctor tell everyone that our family has suffered unimaginable trauma and that this was deeply emotional for us.  There was this moment...where the baby is laying on my chest under the blanket and my doctor leaned forward. It was a moment I'm so thankful to have captured. There's a lot of feeling in this picture. Not just the normal feels...the happiness of an amazing entrance into the world. goes further than that.  It was that moment of us both knowing without saying a word...we were looking at collateral beauty.

How could something so very perfect and pure coming from our ashes? How could this story possibly have any positive twist?

Everyone in the room waited with baited breath to hear her name.  My nurse (whom I adored and will love forever) was wiping the tears telling me she had goosebumps.  Her name forever marks the time in our lives she entered the world. The fact that she is indeed our...collateral beauty.

Topaz Treasure.

Topaz is a precious gemstone. A birth stone. Tirzah's, in fact.  A fun way of naming our last after our first.

But it's more.

Topaz is named after an island in the Red Sea called Topazios. An island surrounded in thick fog. It was so difficult to see that only the most skilled of sailors could find it. Once they did...? They were rewarded with the find of this beautiful stone...since named Topaz.  It means "To seek".

Treasure.  A few weeks before our nightmare revealed itself...I woke in the night several times with one line from one of my favorite songs. Diamonds by Hawk Nelson. The line was "Here in the ashes...I'm finding treasure..."


In the ashes of the last 10's hard to imagine anything beautiful being born. But...she's here.

Topaz Treasure.

Our most searched for treasure. Out of the ashes.

Collateral Beauty.

Then the next day...Dean gave me this gift.  Oh...he not only knows me and gets me...he loves me. Deeply.  And this was just one way of him showing me.  This ring.  It's hard to see it...but here's what it says:
"My story isn't over yet; Topaz Treasure 3/23/2017"

I'm crying just writing that.  I have felt like my story was over.  Not in a pitiful, all-about-me way. In a  'where do we go from here...?' way.  In a 'nothing good come every come out of this nightmare'...way.

I love every part of this ring.  That he thought of this. That it was all his idea. His wording.  And that he got right to the heart of the matter. He knows how I feel.  He knows my deepest pain.  He knows I've struggled to find hope.  And yes...he said it so well. She's the proof that our story isn't over.  She's the collateral beauty.


  1. She is a treasure indeed! I obviously don't know what your horrible time is about specifically but I will continue to pray for you and your family, Janice. I know, whatever it is, you will be given the strength to rise above it; He will lift you up so that you may use this for His glory! Love and hugs--and congrats to all on your beautiful Topaz Treasure!

  2. Congrats sweet Momma!!!
    She is sooooo adorable!!!
    Hugs to you all

  3. Congrats on your Topaz! She is beautiful. Yes it's hard to believe anything good will come from the's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am at that place myself right now..ridden in a sort of holy anger and sadness that we are where we are at in our lives...about how can we move forward and yet still hold on that our story isn't over yet either. Trying to be optimistic and happy in such a time of uncertainty, a time where life will change yet a where do we go from here time? So praying for your family too..we will make it Janice, one day at a time.

  4. After the darkness, dawn always comes. Blessings on your new daughter and on a new day.