A Year of Broken Hearts

“You stole our hearts with the thought of who you would be, all the while God was holding yours. Can’t wait to meet you this side of heaven where I can hold you in my arms, snuggle you closely and sing to you sweetly while Jesus mends your broken heart…Lord, if you will you can heal broken hearts.

“He’s got the world in His hands. He has you in His hands.

“But if I can’t meet you this side of heaven. If I can’t hold you in my arms. He will snuggle me closely, sing to me sweetly while He mends my broken heart. Lord if you will, you can heal broken hearts.”

Last year at our family Christmas Eve, my little sister and little brother gifted us the most touching song, serenading us with the lyrics of my letter to Annie put to music they’d written. The room was full of hope and expectation and also worry and despair. We wondered if our growing Annie would be with us next year, this year, snuggled in candy cane striped fleece footed pjs, cozied around the piano, singing praises to the baby who makes hoping possible.  We listened, we cried, we hoped in the one who heals and cried again when my sister gave me this painting she had made for Annie’s room.

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This weekend we gathered again to welcome my little brothers home from college with our Christmas tradition of festive cookie making and decorating. Annie wasn’t too into the cookies, but the one place she didn’t want to leave was underneath the same piano bench where Uncle Jake sat playing Christmas hymns, giving honor to the baby who makes healing a reality. Because of that baby coming at Christmas to whisper a thrill of hope, to live a perfect life of love, to give His life as a ransom for sinners,to defeat death on the third day, we’ve had hope during every dark day we’ve faced. The best is yet to come.

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Trying to Fit

Into old jeans. Into old friendships. Into old thinking. Into old pretending. Into old Me.

It’s not working.

I don’t fit in the places that I used to anymore. Lately, I don’t even fit into some of the new places I’d like to. And that feels uncomfortable. weird. awkward. alone.

I’m a “stay-at-home” mom on Mondays and Tuesdays so I get to wrestle my kids through preschool story time, wondering when Audrey will sing along and how many germs Annie is catching. On Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays I’m a frazzled working mom trying to get bottles mixed, syringes filled, crock pots heated, and hair in place all while keeping my work outfit slobber, spit up, and snot free in time for me to grace my cubicle chair by 8am. Full time office moms pine over my two “off”days (that I actually work from home) and stay-at-home moms equally judge my priority-less life and dream of the chance to drink an uninterrupted cup of coffee while answering important emails.

I’m a heart mom who has encountered untold horrors and fought bedside for my child’s life for 53 days. But thankfully at this point my heart baby is thriving and we are living a normal, expected life with two beautiful daughters snuggled in matching Christmas pajamas.

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Other heart families face many more challenges that we might face at any time too, but for now I’m a “regular” mom who struggles with PTSD worry episodes while chatting at the local playground swings.

“I don’t fit. There’s no right place for me,” I lamented to my sister. Then God used a friend to open my eyes.

I had an inspiring encounter with a fellow special needs mom. Her son is early twenties and both physically and mentally disabled. So to claim similarities with this brave, heroic mother who has selflessly loved her family for 22 years almost feels out of place, again. But in telling her horrific story of pain and heartache, holding her son’s feeding tube in the air so that gravity could push his nutrition into a manmade hole in his stomach, she also told me that she thinks every day is a beautiful gift. She’s right! What a place she’s found to fit.

I’ve been looking for somewhere to fit that feels comfortable, popular, cute, fun even. But that’s not really what God is asking. My place to fit each day is into whatever opportunities He has for me to share Him with those I encounter. There are so many chances for me to fit, so many perfectly chiseled out spots that only my story, my heart, God’s miracles in my life can fill in.

I’m learning that maybe I have a place to belong after all. And as uncomfortable as it might be, I’m not really awkward or alone. I’m living with purpose and in partnership with a very big God who is always by my side.