Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Thing Worse Than Death?

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
I've had a stumbling block in my faith journey lately. I've really wanted to embrace with my heart and not just my mind that God is a loving God who has a good plan for me.

But I keep coming back to "You allowed my children to die."

I believe the truth of the Bible. I have seen redemption and provision and lovingkindness in my life. I have seen God move powerfully in myself and the people around me. I do not doubt that God exists and that He is active and sovereign in our world. I believe He is a good God who does not change and works miracles even today.

But He let my children die.

So I've been struggling with how to reconcile these things. To me, they are mutually exclusive. I've been going round and round in circles on this and then lay it aside for a while, trusting there's a good answer somewhere.

And then during worship at church last night, we sang the wonderful old hymn "How Great Thou Art." When we got to the verse I quoted above, my question was answered. Not with the answer I wanted, but an answer nonetheless: I let my Son die too.

Yes, I've heard it before, and read it before, but it never sank in until last night. I was raised in Christianity and the idea of Jesus going to the cross to die has been a concept that I have really taken for granted up until now. After all, He was God, right? It somehow didn't seem to me that it would be that hard because He was divine, the Son of God. Then I read The Shack recently and the concept of Jesus being fully human and fully divine was blown wide open for me. He was fully human, just as we are and beloved by God because of the perfect, intimate, nature of their relationship.

And He let Him die, too. I can relate to that.

Maybe I need a new concept of what death means. As a human, just before His execution, Jesus agonized over the death He was going to face. Not because of the torturous way he was going to die, but because of the separation from His Father He would have to endure. Maybe there is a thing worse than death. Maybe it's living separate from God.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Something to Think About

I discovered up this wonderful story at Georgia's Journey, a blog dedicated to a sweet little girl who is missed very much.

The Brave Little Soul
By: John Alessi

Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?" God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts." The little soul was confused. "What do you mean," he asked. God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone." The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this - it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer - to unlock this love - to create this miracle for the good of all humanity."

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied. "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!" God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you". God and the brave soul shared a smile, and then embraced.In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed."

Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys, some regained lost faith - many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased.

Monday, July 20, 2009

From Gramma Ella:

Dear Nicholas & Olivia,

The joy I felt the first time I saw you and held you for the first time, cannot be put into words. Those months I spent taking care of you both were happy and hectic times. I will always treasure that time in my heart because I got to know two beautiful little lives in a way that most grandparents don't. You also changed my life forever. Nicholas, you will always be, 'my little Puddin' and Olivia, 'my little Peach'. I remember you every day. Even though this is a little late, I remembered you and wished you a "Happy Birthday" and blew you each a kiss. You are my little angels in heaven.

Love always, Gramma of 3

July 20, 2009 11:29 AM

Sunday, July 19, 2009

**update 07/22/09 - apparently this email address has started to be spammed so I am removing the option to post by email. Thanks so much to those who took the time to honor Nicholas and Olivia in this way**

I just wanted to let you know, if you were still interested, that I will leave the option open for a while to send a post to this blog by email to the address

A big thank you for those who have posted and commented! It really means a lot to me.

(For those of you who are not sure what it means to send an email post, if you send an email to the above address, the email you send becomes a post on the blog, with the title of the email becoming the title of the post, and whatever you write in the body shows as the blog post. Your email address does not get displayed anywhere.)

From Gramma Lesley:

2Years have passed and still the Joy of your arrival is so alive in my heart .. i could hardly wait to meet you , hold you, and kiss your little faces and hold your little hands. i remember going shopping and everywhere i went i thought "i have to get that for the babies" i remember thinking how it would look .. you running on the beach .. full of sand .laughing and playing in the water.. i remember thinking how i could read you stories and let you Jump on my bed .. how i could make funny faces and make up funny words and listen to you giggle .. i remember thinking how i could sneek in atnight and just sit by the beds and watch you sleep and sing to you ..Yes my heart is hurting and Yes i Miss you more than i have ever missed anything in my life, but im so THANKFUL that you came to us even for a shorttime . My precios ones you gave us so much , and left us with so much , that my Heart can only be filled with Joy today as i celebrate your birthday today.I know that you are beeing cellebrated in Heaven with the Love of Jesus today and i can only imagine what a party that is.So today i have a big smile on my face and a heart full of love ,and that is my gift to you . Love Always Gramma and your aunte Muggiexxxxooo♥♥♥♥♥
July 18, 2009 6:29 PM

Happy Birthday

It amazes me to think about how much you have both impacted my life.  Nicholas I never met you and Olivia we only met once.  I remember your Mom and I had such great plans for visits and having an extra set of arms to hold a baby.  That never really happened and I miss that...  odd to think you can miss something that never actually happened.
I know that I have found a depth of faith and courage that I never had before.  I have learned I can do things and face things I never thought I could.  I know it is not my strength that moved me but God strength moving so many people around your parents to make sure they were supported while they cared for you here and when you went to heaven.
I think about you often and sometimes I don't understand what God's plan was.  Even all of the good I saw doesn't seem to make up for what you, your parents, and your sister went through.  Yet nothing makes sense if I don't believe that God works in everything for the good.  And I take comfort in the fact that from where you both are right now, all those questions must seem irrelevant.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dear Nicholas and Olivia,

Your 2nd birthday has been a good day. I love to think about what life would have been like if you were here. I see overalls and sundresses, little feet in sandals, blond and brown heads bent over toys. I see Sabrina holding each one of you by the hand as we go places together. I see round cheeks and bright blue eyes. I see sisters that are the spitting image of each other, and a little boy who looks just like his dad. I see bouncing on the trampoline, sharing popsicles on a hot day, and playing at the park.

I believe those dreams are not dead. I believe that God has started a good work in our family and He will complete it, whatever it looks like.

I thank God for the 2 years (plus 39 weeks) that you have been in my life. Whether you're here physically or not, you have both given me so much! You have brought me joy. You have set me free. You have changed my heart forever.

Happy birthday little ones! I can only imagine what a birthday party in Heaven would look like.

Love and kisses,

From Aunty Tricia:

I can't beleive that they would be 2 tomorrow, as happy as I am to remember that day and all the wonderful things we did with them in the short time we had to spend with them, this day also makes me sad. I as well as uncle Jeff like to think of all the fun things we could be doing with Sabrina, Nicholas and Olivia. The summer time when Sabrina spends time in Neepawa how crazy fun that would be with 2 year old twins chasing around Jake and keeping Uncle Jeff from sitting down.
Not a day goes by without thinking about them, how much we miss and love them. They changed all of our lives and made us all better people in there short life. We miss them so much and I hope by making our monthly donation to the Childrens Hospital and our annual family christmas and birthday gifts that also go the the childrens hospital we keep there memory alive.
We will celebrate in our heart all day tomorrow. We Love and Miss you both so much Baby Nicholas and Little Livvie.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Birthday Wishes

I think of you and the twins often and am sending warm wishes to you on thier birthday.  I'm sure they are going to have a little party in the clouds, perhaps that is why the sun is finally going to shine again!


I'm so sorry you're hurting so much.  I wish there was some way I could help ease your pain.  Just want to let you know that I'm thinking of you.  You are the strongest person I have ever met. 

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Birthday Greetings

Ok. In my discomfort with grieving and the grieving process and what to do to celebrate a birthday of twins who are no longer with us, I didn't really leave room for friends and family to do anything to remember Nicholas & Olivia's birthday either.

So, I am opening up my blog to allow posts from emails, meaning that if you email a note or picture to it will be posted here. I would like to encourage anyone who would like to remember Nicholas & Olivia on their 2nd birthday or who have any kind of message for them or our family to email a post anytime now until Sunday night.

Because I know very few people who have been in the same situation, I let the loneliness take over sometimes and forget that Nicholas & Olivia are remembered by many. But each time I look at the memorial stone that was given to us on their 1st birthday, I am comforted by the reminder that we are not alone:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A New Blog?

I think I've launched a new blog. It's been forming for a while, created a few months ago but not worked on much, and today, I think it's finally ready to go. Or, I'm finally ready to get going on it.

It's not meant to replace this blog. Nicholas' Gift, Olivia's Hope has its own unique place and purpose in my life, and I've tried to say that it is done, but it just isn't done yet. (Misty, that one's for you...)

What I've needed is a place to sort out all the new things I've been learning about around homemaking, cooking, parenting, and living a healthy lifestyle. I believe that these changes in me and the way I want to life my life are a direct result of the journey I have gone through with Nicholas & Olivia and I need to share them in the same way I needed to share my grief journey.

I'll leave the exploring up to you. For those of you who know me, you won't be surprised. For those of you who don't know me, consider it a way to get to know me better. Enjoy! It's called mom_of_3 at home and the link is in my blog list below.

A Most Blessed Day

My twins would have turned two this Saturday. It's already been about a year and a half since they passed away. I'm finding that the farther out on this grief journey I go, the more acceptance I live in for the way things are now.

This birthday is awkward for me. As their mother, I want to remember them on their special day, the day they share with their dad. I want to celebrate their entrance into the world.

But a birthday party just doesn't feel right this year. And I've decided that's OK. What we are doing, is buying them some birthday presents and bringing them to our friends at the Children's Hospital. This is a comforting ritual we started with their first birthday. And we're asking Sabrina what else we should do. As their big sister, I'm sure she'll come up with some good ideas.

So, for those of you who have been wondering, we are going to be celebrating a most blessed day. It may just not be in the way that you expect.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


A piece of my heart was healed yesterday. I know this to be true. I've been seeking God in prayer for a while, sometimes from a dark place, sometimes from a gray place, sometimes from a bright place. Maybe more shades of gray than anything, lately. I don't know what He's been working out in me, but I do know from experience that if I go along with it and try not to perfect it myself that I will emerge changed yet again.

This time, as I was doing something mundane like brushing my teeth, my mind was wandering to places of anxiety and uncertainty, doing the "what if's", and a small Voice broke through my thoughts. There was someone who could help me.

My mother-in-law. I could let her help me this time. And a piece of my heart was healed of an unexplainable anxiety I have carried for a long time. You see, Corrie's mom and I have always gotten along well, mostly because of her big heart. She and I are opposites in so many ways. She's generous, free-spirited, open, and FUN! She will drop everything to play with a child, will always be having someone in the neighborhood over for dinner or coffee, and would give the last of anything she had to help someone in need. She will usually know the life story of anyone she meets, because she cares to hear it.

I think on some level I have been uncomfortably aware of my own emotional poverty when I have been around her, and I have been afraid to learn from her or receive from her because it would have exposed all the things I'm not. Or all the things I wasn't before Nicholas and Olivia came along. When we had the twins, I asked my mom to help because she was my safe place. She knew me, really knew what I could be like, and still loved me. I wasn't in a place where I could have received help from Corrie's mom, and I didn't know why at the time, but I know now that it was linked to a place in my heart I didn't even recognize needed to be healed.

I'm grieved as I write this that I did not provide the opportunities to open up her grandkid's lives to her in the way I should have. And as my mind was wandering to a "what if we were ever to have twins again..." scenario (just because that's where my mind wandered), the Spirit touched that broken place in my heart and filled me with joy at the thought that if I needed anything she would be there for me. That I no longer was under the bondage of not being found worthy. She has never held that over me. I held it over myself.