Happy 1 Year Birthday, My Darling Wynter

Happy 1 Year Birthday in Heaven my little Wynter Monet Celisa!!! You are loved every minute and we prayed last night that Jesus would give you a big party with a cake to dig into. 😊 Mommy made an attempt at a cake down here and it turned out pretty decent actually! Daddy and our foster girls approved.

When you were born a year ago, you were as sweet as could be, looking so much like daddy with all this black hair right out of the womb! I miss your smell, your baby soft skin, that baby dino cry and your tiny hand that gripped my finger so tightly. Even though our time with you was so short, there are a lot of things I’m forever grateful for. I’m so glad you were incredibly alert and looked right at me and reached for me within minutes of entering the world! I was amazed to look into your eyes and so touched that you wanted me. I’m so glad I got to nurse you for a short while and experience that sweet gift of bonding. You were a natural and made latching seem so easy. You also looked right at Daddy and Aunt Becky was able to capture that on camera. That’s one of our favorite photos of your sweet face and Daddy’s loving expression right back at you.

Today I bought you some balloons and Daddy and I both bought each other flowers, unknowingly, for your birthday! All the beauty reminds us of your beauty. We also snuck out to Asian food in the evening, to have some alone time to talk about you, then we came back and did cake and released a Chinese lantern into the sky for you to catch. Did you see it? It was a big one, like the light of your spirit! I can imagine you’re spirit is glowing even more now, if that’s possible! Oh how I wonder what you did today up in Heaven. I often imagine you running through the wildflowers and the lush green grass with all my other friend’s babies who also went onto Heaven early. I bet you have so many friends! I wish I could be there with you, but I know that isn’t up to me. Only the Lord knows my number of days. And he knew yours too. I can’t understand his plan and why your life here was only 7 days, but I know that He is in control of it all and He is good, so I must trust Him. He is giving us the strength to carry on without you, though it is the absolute hardest thing we’ve ever done. We want to make you proud Wynter! And one day when this old world is over and gone, we will all look back at the stories of our lives here and remember all that the Lord has brought us through and done in our lifespan. This is just the beginning my sweet girl. There is so much of life to be lived for us here and beyond. And your purpose isn’t over. I can only imagine what God has in mind for you up in Heaven. I bet He’s got some cool, creative tasks for you to do. I bet you’re an amazing artist like Daddy and maybe a singer like Mommy. You’re probably a writer like Mommy and Daddy. Please write down all that you’re doing there, so I can one day read your journals and catch up on the full life you’ve been living there.

You’re never far from my mind, my daughter. We will celebrate you always my Asian doll! So grateful you made us parents and taught us how to love better. 😘💕Until we meet again my little Wynnie Pooh! Love you with my whole heart!

The Illusion of Fairness

For all you mamas who’ve lost a child, I see you. I am you. 💙

I sit here in the gym parking lot, bawling my eyes out. Missing my only child whose 1 year birthday and death date are both almost here. Also my period just came again when I’ve been hoping and trying to conceive another baby for 9 months at 41 years old. To top it off, my sister’s stage 4 cancer is worsening and I very likely could lose her from this earth as well. She’s my closest biological family member and her family was a second family to me in my high school and college years.

Life isn’t fair and it never was. I must let go of that illusion and trust that God has something good for me, regardless of what that looks like. I must fight to believe this and dare to have hope or I know I will waste away inside from the pain.

This is my verse I am clinging to today. I will say it until my broken heart can take it in. I am not alone. God will again bring goodness and joy into my life. He will. Sorrow may last for the night (a very long night), but joy will come in the morning. Oh please come soon. 🙏🏻

Psalm 27:13

“I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

#missingwynter #grief #pregnancyandinfantlossawarenessmonth

Declaring and Manifesting Doesn't Work

Never in my life have I been more annoyed by the word of faith theology that I grew up with. If all we had to do to get what we wanted in life was declare something to be and believe in the power of Christ then my daughter would be alive!! This theology is NOT Biblical and it’s honestly offensive to anyone who has prayed gut wrenching prayers of faith and yet still suffered incredible loss and pain. Christians, please stop spreading these false messages. Jesus said following him would include suffering. All the apostles died horrible deaths they couldn’t escape. Do you think THEY didn’t have enough faith? Suffering is a part of the Christian life and the human experience. No one is immune to it. Let go of the illusion of control and instead learn to pray like Jesus taught us “not my will, but yours be done”.

Longing For Home

How has it already been a year since I was about to welcome my first child into the world? My due date was October 1st but Wynter wanted some extra time with me so she didn’t come out until October 17th. I could never have imagined that my absolute joy and excitement upon meeting her would so quickly be turned into devastation at having to let her go 7 days later. So as I ponder where this year has flown off to and if I even did anything with my life, part of me is hopeful that maybe each year will continue to fly by in this alternate reality without my daughter. Some days I still feel like I’m living in a dream. A lesser life that I will one day wake up from. And technically I am. Can’t wait to one day wake up in the presence of Jesus and my daughter, and finally feel home. My true home. The home I’ve always longed for but didn’t know it. 🙏🏻

When You Wanna Punch Something

I’ve been angry. Really really angry lately. I can’t exactly find the true source of the anger, but I suspect it’s connected to my grief. Shutting myself in my room is the best thing I can come up with to deal with it as of now. Protect others from myself. My very angry, cranky self. The problem is that isolation hurts too… being alone in my anger. But I’m not asking for anyone to reach out. Several friends have and I’ve shared with them what’s going on. And God is with me I know, but sometimes I’m just so angry at him too. Glad he can take it. I’ve tried prayer, worship music, exercise, watching inspirational videos on YouTube. They’ve all given a bit of relief and comfort, but that anger keeps coming back lately. I can push it aside long enough to teach students and smile and laugh, but then it returns at night or as body tension in the morning, when I’m hoping for a new day. Maybe it’s hormones I keep wondering? It could very well be that. Or maybe there is some legitimate reason inside for being so angry… uh, duh, my daughter died. My highly analytical nature has come up with some possible, deeper reasons for this, which I won’t go into in this blog.

What I really want to talk about is what do you do when you’re so angry you want to punch something or someone??! Anger is often the emotion we fear most. We fear what it will do to us if we give in to it or what we are capable of doing to others if we give into it. It can be an extremely intense emotion that many of us don’t know how to express. Especially women. And in our various social circles, especially Christian circles, the message can easily be given that women should NOT be angry. We should be soft spoken, non opinionated, passive and subservient. Umm, really? But what if we have good reason to feel angry? Even Jesus was enraged at injustice in the world. Abuse, deceit, death. All are reasons to feel anger. And what if this anger goes unexpressed? What will it do inside our hearts and bodies? What if not expressing anger is actually more detrimental than the feared anger itself?

I found this article on The Effects of Anger - 5 Ways It Affects You, Even if You Don’t Think It Does and it shows that unexpressed anger definitely has detrimental affects on your health, relationships and emotions.

Freud apparently is the one credited with the saying “depression is anger turned inwards”. Anxiety is closely related to depression and according to several polls, about 1 in 5 Americans are taking anti-anxiety meds. For teens, this number is 1 in 4. This is really high people!

So back to the question… how the heck do we get this anger out of our bodies so we don’t end up with worse problems??! What do we do when we just wanna punch something?! Well I say, go punch something! Maybe there’s really something to that instinct. Some knowing that your body is trying to tell you. I’ve been thinking of getting a punching bag myself. But please find something that won’t hurt anyone or any important items, and go knock the crap out of it. Or maybe you need to go for a run, do some yoga or scream in your car until the windows almost shatter. Any kind of physical activity can tremendously help release that awful energy that feels trapped. I think I need more of this. For me, I’ve been putting off writing this blog, even though I had a feeling that writing about it would help me. And it strangely has. But now, I’m gonna go search YouTube for “angry yoga” and see what I can find to further help it release from my body.

Try whatever you can friends, but don’t hold onto that anger for too long or you’ll pay the price. Go have some fun screaming in your pillow and ripping it to shreds! Maybe as you’re surrounded in the mess, it’ll even give you a good laugh afterwards!!

The Place where lost things go

Wynter & Mommy.png

Gone but not forgotten…

Song from Mary Poppins Returns

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” (https://youtu.be/ESsjRYWtSjM)

Over this past weekend, I watched Mary Poppins Returns with our twelve year old foster daughter. I was a bit in and out because of tasks, but I caught a scene with the precious song “The Place Where Lost Things Go”. It’s a song sung to children who are dealing with the loss of their mother and I so related to the feelings that loss brings. My own broken heart listened like I was one of those children, being sung to by the Lord instead of Mary Poppins. I snuck away to the other room shortly afterwards, to listen to it again on my phone and cry to myself. There is such a simple childlike sadness to it that has made me feel reminiscent and hopeful, imagining my baby in a wondrous place that I will get to see one day too.

The lines “So when you need her touch and loving gaze, gone but not forgotten is the perfect phrase”, keep coming in my mind as I hum the sweet little melody. Last night I was in my closet, thinking about how only recently I’ve begun to wear the clothes that I last held Wynter in. They’ve been in the back of my closet for nine and a half months, unsure if they’d ever be worn again. But something in me shifted at the nine month mark. The time she’s been gone is almost longer than the time I carried her and had her here on Earth. And I’m starting to think I may never get pregnant again, which terrifies me, but I’m feeling that maybe I have to accept that. It’s a truth my heart doesn’t even want to conceive of, but it could be what God has for me. I have no way of knowing. Wearing those clothes was some small bit of moving forward in the uncertainty of life, while trying to trust God even in the pain of not knowing.

As I hummed those words, I also saw Wynter’s crib folded up and tucked behind my hanging blouses. I pictured where her tiny clothes used to hang next to mine. One in particular said “pretty like mommy” and I often say it under my breath when going to my closet. I wondered when the day would come that I would feel ready to sell her crib, or her changing pad that was up on my closet shelf, along with her other things. I can’t see that day coming anytime soon. She is sadly gone but not forgotten and I’m not ready to give away her things. I can’t imagine that now. They are the only physical remnants I have left of my only forever girl.

Oh Wynter, you will never be forgotten my daughter. No matter what new roles, events or people come into our lives. No matter how much life brings new love and new losses. No matter how many years pass before we see you again. Mommy and Daddy will never forget that precious moment we first laid eyes on you or even that special Valentines Day when we first confirmed we were parents with a child of our own coming into existence. Your little life matters so much now and it always will. I hold onto your memory so closely in my heart and the hope and knowing that I WILL be with you again one day in the place where the lost things go. You are never truly lost. The Lord knows exactly where you are. And on that much awaited day when I get to see you again, we will cry with joy together and the Lord will wipe away every one of our tears because all things will be made new. ALL things. I can hardly wait my Wynnie Pooh! You are gone from me now, but never forgotten.

#WynterMonetCelisa #neverforgotten 💙🦋#9monthsinheaven #theplacewherethelostthingsgo #missyoudaily #Lordgivemestrengthtoendure #loss #infantloss

for THOSE struggling to HEAR GOD

I shared with a friend recently who is struggling to trust that she can hear from God, even through the Bible. I pray it can benefit someone else too.

“It sounds like you definitely have a heart to know and hear God but you don’t trust that you can.

I felt that same thing pretty strongly right after losing Wynter and I’m still on the road to healing in this area. I had been doing this journaling process I learned from Dr. Caroline Leaf to detox my brain and I kept up that format for about a year. In that process, she has you write daily about the toxic thought coming to you, but then she also has you listen for how God would like to respond to it. Through that process, I really started to believe that I DID know how to hear from God in my heart. I was always so afraid that I didn't know how because of my dad. He made us feel unspiritual because of his supposed daily revelations  in which he'd write down pages of stuff that "God was telling him". I never wanted to be a false prophet like him or a kook with outlandish revelations, so I always questioned things I felt God telling me.

But over that year of journaling, I finally felt I had broken through that fear and COULD hear him. It was amazing! I felt so much more peace in my heart and I could feel his love for me so much more.

Then after losing Wynter, I doubted it all. None of it contradicted scripture and it so often spoke exactly to my deepest need, even when I didn’t know what that was, and still I wondered if I made it all up in my head, wishful thinking. What if God was just my imaginary friend I created to feel less alone in life??

This thought broke my heart. God was all I truly had throughout my life. I couldn't bear it if he wasn't real. And in my mind I knew of all the proof of the Bible’s authenticity and the resurrection. I mean, I had been to Israel and seen the original manuscripts of Isaiah, where Christ was prophesied about hundreds of years before he was even born. But the horrible sadness of losing my only child covered all of that.

So a month after Wynter died, we went to stay at our friend's vacation house in Destin, FL for a week. It was Thanksgiving and we were so out of it. I had brought my laptop with the intention of finally facing God and re-reading all the journal entries I had done over the year before Wynter's birth.

I was avoiding it. Avoiding Him.

But when I reread it all, I realized that God didn't deceive me like I’d thought.

There were so many little messages in the parts where I typed out what I felt Him saying to me. He had told me to hold her tightly but hold her loosely. Wow.

I mean, did I think He was he supposed to warn me? If He had, I wouldn't have enjoyed my pregnancy and felt joy and peace. That would've sucked.

As I kept re-reading through the perspective of her passing, I could see that nothing truly contradicted what He had told me. The only thing that I still don't understand and still hurts me is that He said I was coming into a season of joy. But then as I read my favorite authors, they always talk about suffering preceding a deeper joy. I am hoping and waiting for that.

I also noticed how much I prayed for my marriage to improve and for greater purpose in life to minister to people. Something shifted in our marriage big time after Wynter died. We came together more. We still argue sometimes, but we are much more united since having and losing Wynter, and even more since fostering together. So I'm seeing this as an answer to other prayers. And now the book idea too. This could be an answer to my ever longing desires for greater purpose in life.

I'm trying so hard to think from God's long term perspective, not my immediate perspective. I have to believe that He's going to make it up to me with Wynter. That I'll either get to raise her there in Heaven or watch some interactive video replay of her life and not feel I missed out. I think of that often, even as I miss her daily.

For some reason, God has me here on Earth still, with this hole in my heart. I have to believe that even with that hole, He can make something good of my messy life. He did it for those who trusted Him all throughout the Bible, He has to do it for us.

So I am saying "I trust you Lord", even when I'm really scared to trust Him because I don't know if that means more suffering. No one knows.

But I do know that I couldn't bear the thought of Him not even being real and being all alone in life, with no purpose in our sufferings. I'm trying to remind myself of all the times I have known He was with me, whether a sense of His presence, something He showed me in His word that was timely, or through a person reaching out to me at the exact moment I needed them. I am not alone and neither are you, my friend. He is here and we are all doing our best to hear and follow Him. I am sure I've gotten it wrong several times. But somehow He picks up my mess and points me back on the right path. You are not forgotten.”

Much love.

#hearingGod #youarenotforgotten #drcarolineleaf #lovedbyJesus

"Just Believe!"…ugh

It happened again. Another talk about how I need to just fully believe that I'll have another baby and it will happen. I appreciate the well meaning intentions, I do, but I must say, I absolutely disagree with this theology of manifesting whatever we want in life. I agree that sometimes we do attract positive or negative things and people into our lives because of our attitudes and beliefs, but this is definitely not true for everything. It isn't a one size fits all solution to all the world's pain. That is BS. Look around people! This world is full of a bunch of tragedy that faithful, praying people prayed, begged, and believed wouldn't happen, and yet it still did.

God didn't answer the way we wanted. Telling us to simply have faith and it will happen, only adds a subtle shame to our already wounded and heavy heart. I prayed and cried my guts out in the hospital for my daughter to be healed and to live, but she didn't. My faith was strong, believing and knowing God can and does miracles. And yet, God chose not to heal Wynter for some reason that I cannot see and probably won't fully see in this lifetime. I'm choosing to trust Him with my pain and my disappointment because He has been my greatest friend and parent throughout my life. He has proven Himself to be good and kind and present to me, so I am choosing to remember all of those times in this dark night. I have to believe that there's a good ending to my story, though it has been marred with much sorrow.

I absolutely believe that He can gift me with another baby, but it's not my place to demand that He do that and He doesn't owe me anything. He is the giver of all life and I'm not His boss, I'm His servant put on this earth for a reason. Do I pray for another child every single night? Of course I do... with faith that He hears me and will answer me according to His purposes for my life. Is it hard to pray with this unknowing? Of course. But I have too much respect for God to try and be His boss.

So please, friends, think through what you say to someone who is in deep grief, and recognize this subtle judgement of a lack of faith. It is the last thing a person in agony needs to hear.

#endrant #grief101 #Godistheboss #faithandtrustinGodswill #notours#trueChristianity