Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Seasons


This is a season. 

I heard the words quietly whispered to my heart. I was unsure where they came from, but as they washed over my soul in the way only words from the Holy Spirit can, I knew. With a heavy heart and no words to pray, I was wandering through my neighborhood with my poodle as my companion. Tears were in my eyes as I asked Jesus to intercede for me, as I was out of prayers.


It was the end of October, and I had not yet discovered the fall palette with which our Creator had begun to experiment on the trees. Coming around the corner toward our house, I saw it. I saw the colors, one yellow tree in particular. This season is striking - the golds and reds, just beginning to be brushed onto some trees, other trees already surrendering. It was then that I heard the hushed voice.

This is a season.

My heart became full as I began meditating on the seasons in that moment and in the days that followed. The leaves, the trees, the wind, the cold, the new growth. There are some trees that change at the first blast of cold air. They don't hesitate - they are happy to give a burst of color at the first sign of a new season, and the leaves are equally prepared to leap from the branches and fall to the ground in a swirl of color. These trees are proud to be the first- the first to change, the first to empty, the first to be ready for winter and new buds.

But there are some trees that are in no hurry. Stubborn trees. Only a few leaves change for what seems like forever. These trees are still a deep spring emerald with just the edges giving in to the change of fall. These trees compete to be the last - the last to change, the last to empty, the last to be ready for winter and new buds.


We sit and anticipate as the days go by. We expectantly keep a watchful eye, waiting to see the brilliant display of change and the new season. Sometimes it is weeks after the first trees have long been emptied before the reluctant trees surrender. The colors take our breath away. The wind conquers the last few leaves that were holding on to the nearly bare branches and they finally fall.

This is a season.

This simple phrase has been a balm to my heart. There are some trees in my life that are so stubborn. The leaves are hanging on with everything they can muster, not ready to change or let go. I sit while prayerfully and expectantly looking for signs of change. I know that even though they are determined, the season will change. The cold air will force the leaves to color, and they will not be able to withstand the wind.



Seasons in life do not adhere to the same time table as the trees. Life seasons can last months or years instead of days or weeks. But I am encouraged and confident to know that the seasons will change.

This fall, the trees seem to be putting on an exceptionally rich display. I am grateful that the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and for a moment lifted the veil, pointing out the beauty and mercy that is found in the seasons. It has been said that this year the trees are extra beautiful, and I know that part of the reason for this is because God is choosing to pour out his love into my life through His creation. Every day when I see the leaves and their various personalities, I am reminded of that whisper and thankful for a God that loves me so intimately. When you see those trees as I do, beloved, be reminded and encouraged in knowing that God cares about every detail in our lives, and this season will not hang around forever.


The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.  ~Psalm 145:9


~Kathryn

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Remembering

You may or may not know that yesterday, October 15th, was National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. I had been looking forward to this day for a couple of months - since I found out that my support group (www.mend.org) would be doing a balloon release in memory of our babies on that day. Karlie came down from Shawnee with her boyfriend to participate in the event, and it was really beautiful.

They had lots of balloons ready to go when we got there!



We were given balloons so that we could write messages to send up to our babies. It was very sweet, and also very emotional. Mark started tearing up as soon as he started writing on the balloon.





After we finished writing on our balloons we took a couple pictures before going outside to release them.



When everyone had finished their balloons, we all went outside on the porch and got in a circle. The leader said a prayer of thanksgiving for our babies and then after the prayer ended we all released them. We watched them go up into the sky until we couldn't see them anymore. It was beautiful.



After the release we had our regular meeting, and it was nice to have so many couples with so many different stories. The cool thing about MEND is that it's remarkable to hear how people work through their grief in so many ways. You can see the healing, the redemption, and Jesus all in the midst of the pain. It's really incredible. You are also surrounded by people who understand how it feels to experience a pregnancy loss, and people are open in sharing. It's people loving other people who are experiencing the same walk in life. I can't say enough good things about it! (-:

After our meeting, we went around and looked at the tables. People brought memorabilia for their babies and it was really special to see what everyone brought. I chose one of my ultrasound pictures, a little lamb, and a card saying that a Bible was donated in memory of our baby.


All in all, it was a perfect evening. (-:




~Kathryn

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spring

My therapist shoved a box of tissues at me and encouraged me to cry it out as I confided, "I know in the grand scheme of things that these things are not that big of a deal, but for my life it's a lot."

That particular session I was telling her about a ten day span during which I caused a car wreck ($800), contracted food poisoning, mourned the passing of my aunt (while attempting to comfort my grieving mother), and received a surprise bill in the mail for my D&C to the tune of $1000.

I accepted the kleenexes.

Truth be told, earlier this year I was just coming out of a challenging season for me with some non-family relationships. That, in addition to the everyday challenge of full-time work, full-time grad school, and full-time life, and I was ready for change. I was looking forward to a new chapter in my life when we found out that we were expecting Baby Johnson. All that to say, I was just finishing up licking my wounds when April happened and we lost the baby. It was just too much. Sure, I functioned - I continued with work and school, but I was not doing well at life in general.

I would be a liar if I said everything that has happened over the last seven months has been no big deal. It has been a big deal. Emotionally, I have been wrecked. In May, my anxiety began to spiral. Maybe you have experienced a similar spiral - I think it's somewhat common - and this has been a problem for me throughout my life. Anyway, I knew I needed help. So, I contacted a counselor that I found who specialized in pregnancy loss and seemed to be great fit for me. The weekend after I contacted her, we were robbed. Because, of course. Icing on the cake.

And so for the past few months, I have been sitting on a couch, nervous because of the unfortunate stigma of counseling, but leaving each session feeling empowered because I am dealing with my "stuff" and confident that things can and will change.

I have been learning to validate my feelings. It's normal that I have feelings of sadness when I see babies. It's normal to be frustrated each month when there is only one line on the stick. It's okay that when I hear a strange noise in the dark that my initial reaction is to want to start sobbing and running away. I don't have to have it all together all the time.

I don't have to have it all together all the time.

And you know what? It's so freeing. It is so freeing to know what when I have a less than stellar internal response to yet another pregnancy announcement, I can validate my own loss and why I am feeling that way, and work on being happy and joyful with that person. It's freeing that if I need a minute to be sad and re-goup, I can do that. It's freeing to know that my exaggerated responses of fear when I am around a person or situation that makes me uneasy are completely normal for someone who has been a victim of an armed robbery. I don't have to pretend like I have it together all the time.

I am also learning to take a step back and see this season of my life as a book on my shelf. That way, I see it for what it is. I can take the story of this last season down off the shelf temporarily and look at it, but then I can put it back. It's still there, but I'm not in it. The next book in our shelf may not be a light read, but I pray that is is.

Melodrama is not my goal here. Please don't misunderstand me. I appreciate that horrible things happen every day, and I am so beyond blessed. I don't want to lose that perspective. But I want to be honest -and writing this out is healing for me. And honestly, the fact that I'm to the point of writing about all this is really encouraging to me.

So, what now? Well, I certainly don't plan on wallowing in my circumstances. Do I still grieve for our baby? Absolutely. Am I still nervous to go to a gas station? You betcha. Do I still battle fear and anxiety? Certainly.

However, I am feeling the winds of change. No, I don't know the future, but I know that within my own atmosphere, I am on the cusp. I can feel new life budding. I feel tentative hopefulness. I feel renewed excitement for what is next. I feel like I am being healed. And I feel nervous.

I am wrapping up graduate school this week. I am closing that chapter of our book. Mark received a financial blessing at work this week that covers my hospital bill. The season is changing; I feel as though the fog is lifting. And for that I am so very, very thankful.

I think if I had to pick one particular song that summed up this season, it would be this one. I have sang this song countless times in my car. I have cried tears with this song. It has been a balm to my soul in the midst of my pain and uncertainty to know that God is constant. None of my circumstances change the fact that God is good - I can only control my response.  I have learned that my responses need work, which is very humbling.



And now, I just blogged. I can't promise that I'm completely back yet, but I felt like writing. And that's a good thing.

~Kathryn

Monday, September 2, 2013

Well, Hello September!

This month is significant for a couple of reasons. I can now officially say that NEXT MONTH I will be done with grad school. Um, wow. That is incredible. I can also say that I have less than 40 days until I am done (38 actually, but who's counting?). I have really been thinking about what I want to do when I am done with school, and what I don't want to. I am keenly aware of the amount of time I will have when I am finished, and I want to be intentional with it. I've been working on a list, and I think I may start blogging about my list, as a sort of countdown to the end. (-:

Also, on September 5, there will be a hearing regarding our robbery. I believe this will help determine whether or not the criminals will take a plea deal or if it will go to a jury. Eek! And, potentially, we can get back some of what we lost - it's all the hands of a judge. I had to write a letter about what happened to us because of the crime, and I think I pulled at some heartstrings, but we'll see.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about graduating. It's like surreal. I can't even believe it's happening. I'm starting to have a hint of excitement but I don't want to get too excited in case I fail my last two classes. But you better believe that I'm starting to freak out.

That's about all I have to say for now.

~Kathryn


Thursday, August 1, 2013

One Last Post about Hannah's Hope

I know it's probably getting obnoxious, but I want to share our article that was placed in our church newsletter regarding Hannah's Hope. From now on, I may talk about it a bit, but my blog isn't going to be solely devoted to it. However, you can bet there will still be talk about pregnancy loss.

First of all, I got this pendant that I love and I want to share. I wear it with my opal (October birthstone) charm that I have.


Now on to the main production. Check out our article in the August issue of Insight!

http://www.tulsafbc.org/may2013/august2013/index.html

Enjoy! (-:

~Kathryn

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hannah's Hope

We have our Hannah's Hope website up and running. Check it out here.

I am including some additional information about it for you guys to read as well. (-:


Name: In 1 Samuel, Hannah prayed and hoped for a baby. Many women who have lost babies did the same, and continue to do so after a loss. Women who lose babies are not only grieving the life lost, but they are grieving the loss of hope and plans. Through Hannah’s Hope, we want to help grieving women by taking some of the burden of their grief and replacing it with the hope of Christ. 

Ministry Need: While statistics vary, approximately 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. In 2012, FBC had 44 new babies, which would mean there were likely 10-15 miscarried babies as well. We would like to provide 20 Hope Boxes a year.

Purpose: To give families who have experienced pregnancy loss a place to find comfort, prayer, support, and community. To validate the lives of lost babies by affirming to their families that they are valuable and meaningful.

Check out the website and let me know your thoughts! (-:



Thursday, July 18, 2013

I Need Your Opinion!!!

Okay, everyone! Previously I mentioned the ministry I am starting at my church for women who have experienced pregnancy loss. We have a graphic going for the ministry, and I want your honest opinion. If you love it and cried tears of joy when you saw it,  tell me! If you thought it was heinous, tell me! (Okay actually don't, because this style is what we are going with - we are talking about making changes to this basic idea.) If something is distracted or off, let me know! Please! Thank you so much. I am so excited to finally get this piece of the ministry, and I can't wait to reveal more of it soon.

And here it is with a border for something more specific we are going to do:



~Kathryn
 
Blog Design by Sweet Simplicity