Monday, July 24, 2017

Four months.

March 23.  

It's really been four months.

Ever try so hard to savor something that you feel it just keeps slipping out of your grasp? 

Yeah. Me too.  

In a way, that's a good summary of the last four months.  Yet...I have savored every moment.  

This precious little bundle that...in many ways...saved me.  

Gave me a reason to keep eating.  To try to keep sleeping.  And then...one of the most surprising gifts was how getting up with her in the middle of the night to feed her...somehow kept me out of a deep REM sleep and the horrific nights ended. Abruptly.  That..was amazing. 

I went from shaking in the night, waking screaming...sweating...convulsing...to being woken by the sweetest newborn cry and dragging myself to the rocking chair to feed her. Where all I could see was a sky full of stars out our window. 

Who knew...that a nocturnal little tiny newborn could save me from the trauma I dreaded every single night as the sun set?  

There's so many times I catch Dean just smiling at me across the room...as I coo at this little face.  

He knows. I know.  We all know.  

The gift out of the ashes.  The gift we had no idea we needed.  The collateral beauty.

Oh Topaz Treasure.  I love her little face when she wakes from a nap (as her Mama does, by the way)...still kind of grouchy, puffy eyed but lights up into the most beautiful smile when her eyes catch mine.  I love how she talks and talks and talks to Tirzah. I love how she laughs every time Zion comes near.  I love how she watches as Nazara sings song after song to her all day long.  

If you have more than one child, you have likely wondered if you had the ability to love the second as much as the first. Remember those days? You smile at them now because...well...now you know.  You know that your heart somehow grows and is simply capable of more love than you ever dreamed. 

Well in this pregnancy, I honestly feared if my heart was capable.  I had been through so much pain. SO much loss. So much grief.  I was broken.  Could I feel all of those wonderful things again? What if I couldn't?

And then she arrived.  And every fear just melted in the first moment. I was going to say...at the moment I saw her. But I heard her so much early than I saw her. I couldn't even open my eyes for, what felt like, minutes. I was crying too hard. But I heard her and I was holding her.  And I felt like my heart doubled in size.  Again.

Topaz.  Since the day she was born, people have commented on our "little redhead". I would laugh it off but here we are...4 months later and she's definitely strawberry ish.  Bright blue eyes.  A smile that lights up her entire face.  And one look at her and I melt all over again.  

I am so thankful for this child.  This gift given...at the very hardest time of our lives.  And I...I will love her forever. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Will you speak up?

So this last week has left our community reeling.

Devastated. Shocked. Horrified. Stunned.

There was a huge child sex sting where 26 local men were arrested for child sex crimes.

The community, I suspect, is not so much reeling from the fact that it happens...we all know that. But who the perpetrators were.  Ouch.

People we know. Loved. Respected. People in positions of authority...even with at risk youth.

No...they don't fit the profile we had formed in our minds.

In all of this...I've heard little about the victims of sexual abuse.  Now in this case since it was all a set up by law enforcement, there were no actual victims. But ... we don't really need to fill in the gaps do we?  There were victims. The night before. The week before. The month before. The year before.  There were so many victims.  Thankfully, this night...there were not.

This left us reeling for a different reason.  We are the parents of children...who have been sexually abused.

We know first hand the long, grueling, horrific, hard, heart wrenching road that lies ahead for these children.  Only hoping they get the help they actually need.

Will they have a voice? Will they have people that love them stand up and speak? Will they have people who will fight for them with every breath? Will people hide the awkward news articles that come out about perpetrators? Will people deflect and talk about how sin is sin (as if consequences of our choices are equal not matter the severity of the offense...)? Or will people take the heat and speak? Will they speak up and give a voice to these children?

Because that...? That is what it takes.  And time doesn't heal with sexual abuse.  No...time frees their little spirits up to feel safe enough to talk. And talk. And talk. And talk some more.

Our journey has been hard.  So...very...hard.  And so very hard that we had to fight for them to heal. Fight for their safety. Fight for their protection.

Perhaps it was my own naiveté...but I thought the world was on their side.  People would rally around them and us to fight for them.

I saw, firsthand, differently.  The victim's voice is hushed.  Shushed, even.

In moments of despair...I have cried out to God saying this road was too hard.  That we weren't strong enough for this.  So very tired of having to fight for basic human rights.  And then...Dean would remind me that no one would fight harder to protect our children...than us. That we would do whatever it took.  And that small flicker of a flame would be fanned again with new resolve.

The hours we have spent and ... will spend...in therapy.  The falling on the floor at the end of the day in sobs for what these precious children have endured...only to be reminded that they survived.  They...survived.  The longing to see them overcome and thrive in their lives...knowing God gave them...and us...a microphone in this horror. So many are hurting. Hushed into silence.  No...it's time for us to rise up and speak.  Give them a voice. No more sweeping it under the carpet. No more putting 'shame' on those who have been victimized.  No. It's time to empower them to overcome. They are more...so much more. As our counsellor says..."they are not victims...they were victimized."

Not a statistic. Not a nameless number.  No. They are children.  With futures. With hearts...albeit broken ones.  They have families who love them.  They need a village to fight for them.






Thursday, July 6, 2017

Still standing.

Raw.

Tattered.

Weary.

Battle wounds.

Bruised.

Bleeding.

Weak.

Tired.

Still standing.

You?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The lifter of my head...

Anyone who knows...has asked us how in the world we have survived. How have you lived that...? I could never live that.  How do you get up each morning...? How...?

I was sitting on the deck a few mornings ago. I was reading my Bible. I have read Psalms HUNDREDS of times. I have never...ever...ever seen this.

I stopped and looked up. It was beautiful and it's mine.  It was for me. No doubt in my mind.

There's a lot of descriptives of God in the Bible.  I have never read this one. I've never heard of it...but make no mistake...I've known and experienced it.

It was just so beautiful to read it.

"But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head..." (ESV Psalm 3:3)

I don't have any other answer. I'm sorry if you don't get it. Think it's a fairy tale or just positive thinking.  Let me assure you positive thinking would not have saved me in the last year.  No..it would not.  There was something so much more.

I had a 'lifter of my head".  How beautiful is that?

Last week at the Oregon Coast, Dean snapped this picture of me and all I could think as I saw it was "ahhh...the lifter of my head".  I don't have a lot of natural reason to look up and smile right now.  I don't.  That's not me being negative...that's me being raw and real.


I love this picture.  Because he caught me in a moment. My happy place...the sun...the beautiful gift on my chest...and my head lifted.

Maybe the whole 'chin up' is actually Biblical...or let Him lift your head.  Look up.

The passage goes on to say this..."I lay down and slept; I woke again for the Lord sustained me".  And yes...that's my story too. There were many nights I thought I wouldn't wake.  And when I did, I wondered how I had.  Then I read this.  I woke for one reason...He sustained me.