Thursday, March 10, 2011

Joy Despite the Sadness...Joy in the Lord...Joy in the Ella.....Joy in the Lucy....Joy in the Nathan...Joy in the Banana?

Today is March 10, 2011.

I have had today on my mind for a long time.
I planned for today.
I had hopes for today.

I was never promised that today would come, but I was pretty sure it would.

Almost 6 months ago, my view of today went from hopeful to mourning. Because almost 6 months ago, the life I had growing within me ceased. And it has forever changed my life.

Today was the day I was supposed to meet my Elijah Michael. Today, instead of being held by his father, he is being held by his Heavenly Father. He won't hear our family's lullaby from my lips, but he will hear the music of the mouths of the angels who surround him.

I don't want to spend today in sadness despite my sadness and grief. I want to spend today thankful that I had 16 weeks of life with my son. I want my thankfulness to be abundant for the faithfulness that God has shown my family through this tragedy.

But I am sad. Selfishly sad. I want him here. With me. In my arms. I want to change his diapers, I want to be awake with him in the middle of the night, I want him to seek me for comfort when he hurts himself. I want to buy him a backpack for his first day of school. I want to see the goodness he draws out of his brother and sisters who would have loved him to the point of smothering.

Instead, Eli gets to be with Jesus! In the very presence of God!
The place that I feel my heart longing for with an intensity that I cannot explain.
He will never know pain. Never know sadness. He will never feel the pain of a friend breaking his trust. The stark, sobering pain of a world covered in sin, famine, injustice, evil and hate will never be known by him. Think about the heartbreak you have for your child when they first learn about how people can betray their friendship or be mean and hurt their feelings. My boy will never know that. I am thankful for that. Thankful his heart will be spared.

So, I wasn't sure what kind of morning it would be today........
I didn't sleep well or long enough so I am tired.
And then Lucy talked to me about something she wanted to do the same night my sister and her hubby would be coming over. She came up with some sort of (impossible) creative solution so she could do BOTH things. And I-stupidly-told her that we are trying to spend as much time as we can with Aunt TeeTee and Uncle Kris because they will be moving sometime soon.

I want to go back in time and slap myself.

Lu started crying of course.
But then we had a long talk about how since no one knows the when or where, we will just do our best to make as many fun memories as we can while they are here. After a few more snuggles, we talked about deciding to be joyful and happy and we hopped in the car to go to school.

In the car, of course, my mind started wandering about the day today and I got a little "misty" around the eyes. It was-as my friend Melodie called it-the "should have beens." I should not be here, I should be in the hospital having my baby. Or, I should have 4 kids in my car right now, not 3. I could feel that I was losing control of my thoughts....they were off and running.

All of a sudden, Lu starts singing.....
"I've got the JOY JOY JOY JOY down in my heart. Down in my heart, down in my heart! I've got the JOY JOY JOY JOY down in my heart! Down in my heart to stay!"

Nathan joins in and they sing for awhile. And then they change the words to "Joy up in my head" which has them giggling like crazy. Ella was laughing too because she really hates to feel left out of things.

I asked Lucy what made her think to sing that song. It honestly isn't one we sing very often. Hardly at all, really.
She said she thought of TeeTee and how they have the same middle name of Joy and we are supposed to choose joy.

It was exactly what I needed to hear. And I was thankful right there on the spot for that little gift from God and how he was using my sweet Lucy to bless me all while helping me teach her something so important. We prayed on the way to school as we always do but asked God for help to CHOOSE JOY in our day even if we were sad. My big kids got out and I had a smile on my face. And of course cried a little because I was so thankful for the JOY.

Before making a Starbucks run, I needed to run to the grocery store. And on the way and in the store and on the way OUT of the store, Ella was singing the funniest songs. Songs about what she was doing, where we were driving and, my personal favorite, she sang about how she's a princess with a bloody nose and bloody hands. She had a BIG fall 2 days ago and does have a bloody face and hands. I am thankful she can still recognize her princess status despite the scabs.

And I was carrying her into the store she was being so cute and hilarious and it hit me like a ton of bricks:

God KNEW Eli would not make it past 16 weeks of gestation. He's known from the beginning of time.
And He gave us Ella. Ella who can "turn the world on with her smile."

He gave her to us for the very hard times we got through when she was born and He gave her to us for TODAY!
He KNEW I would need her JOY today.
He KNEW!!!

Today can be filled with joy and mourning.
And it is okay to cry and still be joyful.

Today stinks. But it is still the Day the Lord Has Made.
I WILL rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

I was telling my sister all of this (to warn her that Lucy might suddenly be a little weepy around her) and I looked at the time and said, "He is so faithful to me....and it's only 9:30!! What ELSE does He have for me today??"

She replied,
"Many many good things!!!"


One of those things happened while typing this blog......Yo Gabba Gabba was on for Ella and this song came on and the Princess with the Bloody Face and Hands who is fully outfitted in princess gown and crown insisted that I dance. And we danced. Over and over again while I tried to write this post. Joy is all around us, my friends. Even in a weird kids' show that you once really couldn't handle but has slowly grown on you and might or might not be your favorite.

Choose Joy today....


  1. Huge Hugs... I so understand... and I so admire your optimism and self discipline to choose joy.

  2. I admire the optimism the Lord has given you, and I pray that JOY will fill your day. I love you my dear friend and sister. Thinking of you and praying for you.

  3. I knew that there was a reason I thought of you today friend. Love you. And now, will probably never eat a banana without thinking of this and you.

  4. Friend, I have this sign hanging on my wall ("Choose joy") (etsy) and it is a constant reminder to me as I walk by it numerous times a day. Joy can be a choice we make in our attitude, but it is also a fruit of the Spirit- as evidenced by your beautiful children's singing and actions today. God is so so very good, and He is most definitely working out those very small details that we may not recognize and appreciate if we our hearts weren't tender to Him using our kids to remind us.

    Love you, girl. My heart is heavy for your loss and joyful for your ability to recognize all good things for His glory. You will be singing along side Elijah one day, no doubt.