Saturday, August 25, 2012

He Can Handle It!

Today marks 3 months since Grayson's birth and I am only about a little over a month away from what my due date was.  And today, my facebook status says it all... more than anything, I just want to be pregnant again... I would LOVE to be pregnant with Grayson, but since that isn't a possibility, I want more than anything for that pregnancy test to be positive with another little baby.  I know this may seem crazy to some people, but we really want another baby as soon as we can.  My prayer was to get pregnant this month so that I could have another May baby and that God would redeem the month of May for me this next year.  Doesn't appear that is going to happen and it is definitely disheartening. 

I had a moment with God yesterday.  I yelled and told Him how angry I was.  I was angry because other people were having babies around me and announcing their pregnancies and I wanted that to be me.  I was angry because what I had planned and wanted so badly, isn't coming to fruition.  (Side note:  PLEASE don't tiptoe around me if you are pregnant... I LOVE to celebrate with you all and LOVE that God is blessing you with babies... I truly get excited, but some days, it is harder for me than others!).  I mean, we wanted our kids 20 months apart.  I wanted another baby before Collins turned two.  I had this all planned out in my head and Grayson fit perfectly into this plan.  And honestly, fear has set in.  What if I can't have more babies?  What if I lose another one?  What if something happens to the baby I have?  Just because I have lost one, doesn't mean that I am guaranteed the next.  It sometimes feels like I gave it all to Jesus and He came in and wrecked my plans.

But... and this is a big BUT... I KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT GOD IS GOOD.

He tells me in 1 Peter to "cast my anxieties on Him because He cares for me".  So He can handle my feelings of anger and frustration yesterday and today.  In fact, He desires for me to share those thoughts and fears with Him.  HE CAN HANDLE IT.  I can be totally honest with Him because He already knows.  And He has felt those same things watching His ONLY Son die on the cross for me.  HE CAN HANDLE IT!

And I do have hope.  He promises me that He will give me the desires of my heart... Now, I know this doesn't mean that I will get everything I have ever wanted.  What this means is that if I am truly following Jesus' plans for my life, my heart's desires will be God's desires.  These aren't selfish desires to get things of the world.  These are desires for eternity.  So, my prayer remains this.  I would love to have more babies and will pray endlessly for that to happen.  But (and this is really hard for me to say), more than that, I want Christ to be glorified in my life.  Whatever that may look like.  And I will look forward to eternity when I will see my sweet boy again and where God promises me in Revelation that "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

Amen and AMEN!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Questions and 18 months!

Damon and I both had our first encounters this week with people who didn't know we lost Grayson.  It definitely caught us both by surprise.  I mean, how do you answer someone who says "How is that little baby growing?" with genuine excitement?  Or someone who randomly asks about our tattoos?  I HATE making people feel bad.  I hate that people right away apologize for asking.  Please, if you are asking, that means that you care about us.  And I LOVE that!  And I LOVE talking about him!  And we wouldn't have tattoos if we didn't want to be reminded of Grayson and God's grace every day!! 

With those times though, I know there are times around the corner when people will ask, "How many kids do you have?" or "When are you thinking about #2?".  And I will have to answer... and I have been thinking about how to answer that without making it totally awkward... followed by silence.  Just what should my answer be?  I don't really know...  Anyone who has gone through something similar, I am open to suggestions.  For now, I have decided to say, "Well, I have 2 kids.  A little girl, Collins who is 18 months and a little boy, Grayson, who is in heaven."  Or something along those lines.  I love saying that Grayson is in heaven because, even though it may be followed by an awkward silence initially, it opens the door to sharing about Christ!  And for some reason, when people hear you have lost a child, hearts are softened (and so far in my experience) more receptive to hear what is to follow.  Which for me is a story about my GOOD God!  When people ask about when we are thinking about #2... I think about saying "Oh, we think about him all the time!" Hehe!  Not sure what people would think, but it is the honest truth!

On another note:  I CANNOT believe that my precious baby girl just turned 18 months!!  We are officially closer to 2 than 1 now... and that is UNREAL!!!  She is such a ham and I just love her to pieces.  I swear, losing Grayson has definitely made me a better mom to Collins.  I am better learning how to cherish every moment I have with her and not let the dishes (or an unmade bed) get in the way!  And who wouldn't want to miss out on the laughs this little girl brings!! She really is a funny girl! :) My current favorite photo:

Some of her favorites right now:
  • Food- Anything... though the last couple of days she has been asking for hotdogs... :)  She loves her snacks and knows where they are in the cabinet.  She runs over and points and says "snaack snaaack"!
  • Words- Animal noises mostly... she knows puppy, kitty, rabbit, lion, octopus, rooster, monkey, birdie... and grandpa.  See the video! :)

 My dad clears his throat all the time, so she started copying him! :)  We think it's pretty funny!!
  • She loves to give hugs and kisses... and she usually says "awww" when she hugs you!
  • She loves her books!  She has an animal one that she loves (cause she knows all the sounds) and she also loves "A Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Clifford"!
  • She loves her friend Henry who comes to play with her a couple days a week.

  • She LOVES her Grandpa (my dad) whom she has taken on calling "Papa".  She seriously knows when we are coming around the corner to their house and starts yelling "Papa, Papa!!"
  • We had to turn her carseat around... you are supposed to wait until after they turn 2, but she is seriously so long that her legs were all scrunched up... I waited as long as I could, but she just looked pitiful back there!!  She loves being able to see everything and face forward now.
  • Even though she doesn't completely understand what happened with Grayson, I think she totally grasps the things that were his and represent him in our house. For example, the monkey below is one of the things that we had brought to the hospital with us.  We have several of them, but every time that Collins sees it, she says "Baby" and hugs it and says "Aww"... And she does the same with my tattoo-- though she doesn't hug it! :)   Also, whenever I play the song "Glory Baby" by Watermark, she looks at me with really wide eyes and starts crying.  No other song does that.  Just that one.  It's like she knows that something is sad about that song.  I love that her sweet heart is sensitive to losing Grayson, but also glad that she will never "really" know what happened.

  • She doesn't really love her toys... I mean, she gets more joy out of pulling the off (help my OCD heart) the shelf than actually playing with them.
  • She LOVES being outside! She says "side, side" all the time and cries when we have to bring her back in.
  • She absolutely adores her daddy!  He makes her laugh more than anyone and seeing the two of them together just melts my heart to pieces.  She hears the garage door open about 5:30ish and says "Dadadadada" and starts running for the door and literally, jumps into his arms!  It is the sweetest thing ever!
  • She is stubborn... and determined... She may or may not get this from me! ;)  She will literally sit with the buckle of a seatbelt, grocery cart, life jacket or whatever and work to get it fastened.  As soon as she gets it fastened she says "Huh-pooh" which means "Help, please" for us to undo it so she can start again.  Comes in very handy while shopping-- entertains her for a good half hour!!!
  • She has good manners... She says "Thank you" and "pooh" (please) all the time!
  • She is good at using the two signs that we have taught her, more and all done. :)
  • She loves going to bed and never cries when we lay her down.  When we say "Let's go nu-night", she repeats, "Nu-night, Nu-night", picks up Elly (her elephant) and Manny (one of Grayson's monkey's that she inherited) and heads that way.  She usually puts Manny and Elly in the crib and then tries to climb in herself!!  It is pretty cute!
  • And last, I can already see her working out what is right and wrong.  I know that Jesus is already working on molding her heart.  I can only pray that Damon and I help point her in the right direction.
Collins Reese, you are complete blessing to your mommy and daddy and so many other people!  I thank Jesus every day for you and for letting me be your mommy while you are here on earth and for letting me take care of the most precious gift!  I love you sweet girl!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Memorial Service

I realize that I talk a lot about Grayson on this blog right now, but I don't want to forget anything... So, I haven't told you guys about his memorial service.  It was so incredibly special.  I still can't believe that I had to plan a funeral for my baby boy, but God definitely gave me the strength to do it and even make it more special than I thought possible.  Let me preface this post by saying this:  I know that not all of my friends were invited.  I wish you all could have been there, but honestly, at this point, I wasn't ready to face everyone.  I just couldn't handle too many people.  It was very small- only about 50 people total.

His memorial service was Tuesday, May 29 at 1:00 in the afternoon.  Before getting there, I was actually in pretty good spirits.  I was able to calmly get ready for this event.  I was excited to be able to celebrate Grayson's life.  I think that God's grace and peace covered me that morning.

Damon's dad and some of our dear friends, Keith and Shannon and their daughter, Brooklyn were all here with us and prayed over us before we left the house.  When we arrived, my family was already there.  As soon as I saw his little casket, I started bawling... It just isn't natural seeing this little tiny casket.  As people arrived, I felt so much love and support.  I would cry with every hug... it meant so much to have all the people care so much about me and my family.  John O'Leary, who leads a men's Bible study for Damon and several other guys did the service.  He did an amazing job.  We had talked with him the night before and told him that we really wanted for people to hear the hope we have.  Yes, it is a tragedy, but I didn't want it to be all sad.  Actually, we even told everyone not to wear black.  We had everyone wear light colors, white, khaki, etc.  It seemed fitting for an innocent life.

John shared some words about how we were feeling and doing and focused on several verses that we had picked out for him.

Shortly after Grayson died, Stacey Hammons wrote a poem for him.  It is so sweet.  It is called "For Grayson" and was in the program I made for him.

A life so small, so brief, yet a life
First learning of you, we were elated
But hesitant to tell, so we waited
Our time alone with you a gift to treasure
Sharing with others brought such pleasure
A life so small, so brief, yet a life of memories
On a rare sunny day this winter
You gave us a picture to remember
A strong and beautiful beating heart
You lit up our world from the very start
A life so small so brief, yet a life complete
Another secret we had to tell
With blue balloons at the big reveal
A son, a grandson, nephew, little brother
All you would be to so many others
Dreams of your bright eyes and big smile
Collins leading you around - at least for awhile
A life so small so brief, yet a life that blessed
Sorrow now for the memories we will not have
Seeing your talents and hearing your laugh
We will miss out, but not knowing this life so brief
Would leave us as less than we were meant to be
Because of Grayson we will remember 
That pain and joy often come together
That each moment is precious and sweet 
And that all our lives are small and brief 
Because of you we know what it means 
To love so deeply that nothing seems  
To be left, we are poured out 
As God has loved us without a doubt 
No love is greater than parent to child 
We are thankful for this short while 
The gift of you we will not forget 
We wish we still had you yet 
Now you are safe in the arms of our Lord 
The only One who could love you more 
Our sorrow is such sweet pain
 We know our loss is heaven's gain

My dad spoke too.  It was the sweetest thing you have ever heard.  He talked about how he couldn't wait for a grandson and how he would have dreams about him calling him "Papa" and playing with him.  I still can't believe that he held it together!

We finished by releasing baby blue balloons and listening to "Glory Baby" by Watermark.  It is a moment that I will never forget.  After the service was finished we brought in an ice cream truck come.  I mean, what better way to celebrate a little boy's birthday than with ice cream?!  Not to mention, it was SOOOO hot!! I was seriously drenched with sweat!!

It really is a sweet memory.  Man do I miss this little boy, but today, I am cherishing the sweet times I had with him.  I sure love him with every piece of my heart.  The hole doesn't ever go away, but God is filling in where only He can.  I have faith that God is using Grayson and loving him in heaven!

I will leave you with some of my favorite pictures from the service.

 Our last picture as a family of 4.

Collins kept pointing and saying "Baby, Baby".  It was really sweet!

 My family at the ice cream truck.  Such a sweet memory.  
I think we are going to have to do this every year on his birthday.