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Monday, July 30, 2012

My Tears


Many of our friends are spread out all over the world and even though many of them haven’t been able to give us physical hug it’s been so sweet to get emails or comments on this blog saying they are weeping with us.

I never knew how tears could comfort so much, and they flow pretty quickly these days.  We’ve just now entered into a culture where tears after death are not acceptable.  I haven’t had to face this one head on but I imagine it will be difficult because my tears are a way to release the pain, a tangible way to express the heaviness of my heart.

It’s comforting to know that my tears are being bottled up by the same God who holds my Seth today.  I’ve never really understood that verse but it is starting to become clear after losing Seth.  Each tear is a representative of the heaviness of my heart, the ache that I feel losing my sweet baby boy and you know that’s valuable to God.  He doesn’t wipe them away, and pretend they don’t exist, it says he stores them.  He values them enough to keep them.  That means so much to my heart.

I just started a new book given to me by my friend who lost their daughter Cora and it's been good so far.  Here are a few words by Nancy Guthrie in the book Holding onto Hope:
“….those who shed their tears with me show me we are not alone.  It often feels like we are carrying this enormous load of sorrow and when others shed their tears with me, it is as if they are taking a bucketful of sadness and carrying it for me.  It is perhaps the most meaningful thing anyone can do for me.”

So I’m thankful to those of you who have taken a bucketful of sadness for me for a while.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8 NLT

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Wave


With all three of my pregnancies, it has been fun to learn that many of our friends and family were also expecting babies about the same time as we were.  When we found out we were expecting Seth the month that followed was filled with others sharing their news that they too were expecting.

Now we are entering the wave of all of Seth’s buddies being welcomed into the world.

My newsfeed daily tells of a new birth and my heart longs to be happy for our friends and family but mostly it brings tears.

Tears that are mixed with happiness that these babies are safe in their mama’s and daddy’s arms, tears flow because they don’t have to feel the pain we are experiencing, tears come due to the beauty of God’s creation, but tears also flow because I miss Seth.  In each picture I see the joy radiating from their eyes, the pride swelling in their smile because of this beautiful little babe bundled in their arms.  Sometimes it’s too much because I look in the mirror and see eyes that are buried in dark circles and a smile that is marked by suffering, arms that only have memories of what used to be cradled in them.

Please know dear friends we love you and love the little baby in your arms.  I hope you understand our tears.  I long to rejoice with you.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ten


The day we found out about the fluid surrounding Seth’s lungs.  Marvin and I decided we needed a distraction, so we rented a movie on iTunes and decided to watch it in our room.  As we waited for it to download we had a chance to talk about our fears, many of them were unspoken in the form of my tears.  

Then there was a moment when we both looked at our wedding picture that is sitting on a shelf in our room.  We talked about those two people in that photo.  How young and na├»ve we were when we got married.  I never would I have imagined being the couple we are today, on the day we were married.  We’ve grown up and grown together so much in the last ten years.

We graduated from college, entered the working world, moved overseas, became parents to three precious boys, and most recently had to say goodbye to one of them.

I love this guy more than I ever thought I could.  I’m so thankful to have him right by my side for the past ten years.  He’s been a sweet gift during our loss of Seth. I’m looking forward to seeing where the Lord takes us.

What a blessing you are Mr. Steinfort.  So glad you asked me to marry you all those years ago.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Due Date


It was a day we were looking forward to since last November when two pink lines appeared on the pregnancy test I took on a whim.  I never anticipated we would be spending it next to our son’s grave.  July 22nd was my due date; it was also our last full day in America, so hard for two different reasons.  I had anticipated it being a difficult day but I’m never sure how things will go, this grief thing is pretty unpredictable.  But my gut was right this time. It was a hard day.
  
We planned on going to the cemetery one last time and have a family worship time there.  We found our usual shady tree, set out our blanket and enjoyed some sugary goodies.




We thought it would be fun for the boys to leave something for their brother before we left the country.  We brought some wooden stars to paint heaven blue and sunny yellow.  Both boys loved painting and since it’s been scorching hot they dried in minutes.


Then the boys ran around, found some rocks, and I broke out the water guns, which gave Marvin and I few moments of solitude.


We cleaned up Seth’s grave and added a few things we made for him.  It was good for my heart to know that as we were heading back home that he had a few things from us.  I love how the boy’s stars turned out.  The bunting makes me smile; it adds some happiness to a very sad place.  Of course there were tears, songs of worship, praying that my heart would believe because my heart only felt hurt at them time, praying that we would trust the Lord in a very hard place.



We gathered our stuff and sought shelter in the air conditioning of the car and reminded ourselves of his promises.

Then we drove off and left our son’s grave.  It was painful.

We grabbed lunch on our way back to Kansas City.  We missed the lunch crowd so the restaurant was pretty dead, but there was one family there with a baby about the age Seth would have been.  Every cry was torture, just a constant reminder that our baby was in a grave and not in our arms.  With each cry the tears grew stronger.  I’m sure our server wasn’t sure what to do with my tears, but how do you describe to a 20 something stranger the pain you are feeling with words, there truly were none at the moment.

Then we headed back to Kansas City to finish up packing.  Boxing up a few baby things we had for Seth was physically painful.  I held on tight to clothes Seth wore, and put them in a special place and the fact that they weren’t in our suitcases broke my heart a little more.

But the Lord carried us through a very difficult day and all day long I was repeating this verse......

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and inward troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we set our eyes on not what is seen, but on what is unseen.  Since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-19

His word is so sweet.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

his knees


Growing up my mom always visited the cemetery.  I always thought it was weird, sorry mom.

I always wondered what you did at a cemetery.

So I didn’t know what I would feel having to visit Seth’s grave.

But it’s been something I’ve really wanted to do.

I know he’s with Jesus now but that’s where his physical body is.

Again Angie Smith penned the words of my heart:

“I know Seth isn’t really in there;
It’s just that his knees are,
And I would have loved to kiss them after he fell. 
I need to mourn the loss of arms that cannot wrap around me here……
They are deep within the ground,
Never to be mine
And I need to feel that loss.”

I need to mourn the fact that I will never have the opportunity to cover his cheeks with kisses.
I will never have the opportunity to tickle his belly.
I will never have the opportunity to see him smile.
I will never know his eye color or be able to pick his laugh out in a crowd.

So being with his knees is incredibly comforting.

It will be hard having leaving the states on Monday for that reason.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Unmoved


I finished reading a great book recommended to me by a sweet friend who lost their baby, I Will Carry You, the Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy by Angie Smith.  It was excellent and hard to read at the same time.  Many times I felt as if she put my emotions to words.  Maybe that’s why I haven’t felt like writing recently.  I have been a jumbled mess of emotions that have been hard to describe.

One of the things that the author, Angie Smith dove into as she told her daughter’s story was the story of Lazarus.  It’s a story I’ve read and reread since losing Seth.  Throughout reading it, I’ve wondered why Jesus chooses to heal some.

From day one I envisioned that Seth was going to be healed.  After leaving our ultrasound appointment I even thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing to come back and tell them how big our God is and how he chooses to heal our little boy?  To show them our healthy baby.”  You know, bragging about how God is amazing and capable of doing only God sized things.  I know it may seem silly but I did.  As Angie touched on the story of Lazarus and how Jesus chose to move the stone away from his tomb and heal him, she so beautifully put to words my heart, although I inserted Seth’s.

So what are we to do when we feel the Lord has failed us? 

We have done every bit of what we felt we could. 
We trusted Him. 
We called on Him. 
We awaited His appearance and even fought doubt as the days passed
Because above all he is good right?

Then Seth arrived and there was hope.
Maybe we even got caught up in the fact that our hands were on the rock that God was going to use to show us his glory. 
I was there I believed.

And Seth remained in the tomb.

It’s tough stuff, being at the tomb that is still there. 
Watching your older boys run around a cemetery when they should be playing peek-a-boo with their baby brother. 
Having empty arms and a chubby belly.  

There are lots of questions and praying to trust the Lord in Seth’s death.

But there is one tomb that is empty and praying that he’d help me through those hard moments today.