When Miscarriage Steals Your Faith

  

“I’m so sorry. Your hCG levels are decreasing.”

I already knew and yet it hit me like a landslide. Two weeks we had been doing tests and sonograms simply because I Refused to give up hope. We scheduled surgery to remove the baby the next day. As I thought about the past month and the emotional roller coaster we had been on, I could not help but question everything.

Why would God give us a child just to take her away? What had I done? Was it because I cried when I found out we were pregnant? Because I wasn’t ready for another baby? Adeline was only six months old. I couldn’t fathom it. And to be completely honest, I still don’t completely understand.

For the next few weeks all I could do was cry. I’d lie in bed at night wishing I had felt her kick just once. Wishing she were still there. Wishing someone, anyone, would understand. But they didn’t. How could they? They didn’t get to bond with the baby like I had. They didn’t carry her in their body. So they said whatever they could think of because they didn’t know what to say.

Meanwhile, I was drowning. Drowning in what I should have done. What GOD could have done, but didn’t. Didn’t he know I had faith? Didn’t he SEE me begging for her life? Didn’t he care? Did he even hear me?

So I did the only thing I knew to do when someone stops listening: I stopped talking to Him. I stopped praying. I didn’t even say a prayer before eating. Why should I thank Him? He took my baby…Didn’t He? I stopped going to church. How could I pretend to be okay and praise Him after this? And How could anyone love me when I cried over being pregnant with MY OWN CHILD?

What I didn’t see until much later was what He HAD given me before I even knew I’d need it: He gave me a husband who would be the only thing bringing me back toward God.

I didn’t pray and Will didn’t push me. I cried and Will held me. And all I could say was, “Why would God take her?” And Will’s response each time was, “I don’t understand, either. But what I do know is GOD didn’t do this and it wasn’t your fault. We will see our baby again and we can ask God all our questions.” He would repeatedly remind me that God loved me and a loving God would never purposely hurt His child. Would we hurt our kids? No. So how much more does our God love us? Will constantly showed me love. He didn’t get frustrated. He didn’t tell me to suck it up. He let me be angry. He let me cry. He let me scream. He let me curse God. And He let me know I was loved. Through the love that Will gave me when I felt so unlovable, He showed me how much God loved me.
HE SHOWED ME THE LOVE OF GOD.
When we need God the most is when He feels the farthest away. He feels out of reach. We feel like He doesn’t want us or hear us or care..but, friend, he wants you and I can prove it.

John 3:16 says HE SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE SENT HIS ONLY SON SO WE MIGHT NEVER DIE, BUT LIVE WITH HIM IN ETERNITY.

It took me a while to see it, but He took the most horrible time in my life and used it to build my faith. He used it for GOOD. He used it for HIS GLORY even though the Devil meant it to destroy me.

Our God is bigger. And through Christ, so are you.
We will see our babies again.

Love to my loves,
Cate

Ladies, God loves you more than you could ever fathom. If you’re going through the greatest trial of your life, let people love you. Let them show you the love of God. If you feel alone, reach out. Your pastor’s wife, your neighbor, your counselor, your sister, your aunt, your grandma. And if you have no one, There are women on the internet who have been there. Find an online group on Facebook, a blogger to whom you can relate, etc. There are people whose calling it is to help women through these difficult stages of their lives. If you’re reading this and screaming, “This is me!!” EMAIL ME! I will make time to listen to you and can help you connect with people locally. Don’t be alone. You don’t have to be.

Finding Beauty In the Unknown

  

When you look up at the sky, what do you see? What do you think? Do you think about the beauty of it? The expansiveness? Heaven? The stars?

The skies are so unknown to us as humans. We explore space in complete and total awe of the unknown as we try desperately to understand the vastness of it. Because that’s what we do.

We seek to know everything. We can’t stand to be ignorant of anything. We feel the need to know because if we know, we think we can figure out how to control.

But just as there is beauty in knowledge, there is more beauty in the unknown. Think about it. How amazing is it that there is someone out there holding on to something wonderful with which to bless you at JUST the moment you need it? Someone who sees and understands you in the moments you don’t even understand yourself.  Someone who created the stars we view from millions of miles away and who created you from the dust. The dust. And he breathed His Spirit into you.

And we have NO idea how any of it is possible, yet we believe. We believe in His goodness simply because He said, “I Am.” and he consistently proves to us that He Is.

 

Such Beauty.

Love to my loves,

Cate

 

I’m ReWriting My Wedding Vows

  
Superman and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary this past August. Five years have gone by so fast. And here we are: two kids and countless arguments later still chugging along like The Little Engine That Could.  “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.’ Except we know we can. We know we can make it to that finish line at which death does us part. (That’s not morbid at all.)

So here I sit, thinking about the vows I made to my husband five years and some odd days ago when I was younger, thinner, and had no idea what marriage was really like. Who started this practice of vowing to do things that we knew nothing about. Making promises we didn’t know if we could keep because we didn’t know JUST how many times that man facing us with a grin on his face was actually going to pass gas and fan the covers.

Most wedding vows read something like, “I promise to love, honor, obey, and cherish you through sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death do us part.” That sounds so nice, doesn’t it?

Fast forward: The honeymoon is over. He just left his wet towel on the freshly made bed again. And she didn’t wash clothes yesterday, so you’re out of clean drawers. Better yet, he just pooped in the only bathroom and you have to put your makeup on in the stank. And she taped over that (insert football game here) with When Harry Met Sally. Don’t worry, I’ll wait to see how this unfolds. Where’s the popcorn?

 

Here’s my rendition of what wedding vows should ACTUALLY read. Because marriage.

His:       My darling wife,  I promise to try my best not to gag and yell when your two-foot-long hair clogs the drain and I have to clean it out. Again. I vow to keep my mouth shut and buy new underwear on my way to work because you forgot to wash that load yesterday. I vow to eat the dinner you made and do my best not to make the “sour lemon” face because your cooking is NOTHING like mama’s. I vow to roll the window down in the car when I fart so you don’t have to wallow in the same funk that arguably caused the Black Plague. I vow to keep you warm at night when you shove your ice cold feet between my thighs with no warning whatsoever and give you my jacket when you’re cold and didn’t wear yours because it “didn’t match your outfit.’ I promise to protect you from all threats, whether foreign, domestic, eight-legged, or winged. I love you forever.

 

Hers: My sweet, sweet husband, I’ll forever be yours. I promise to not force you to watch EVERY chick flick on opening night. I promise to shave my legs at least once a month during the winter to make you feel special. I promise to never wear granny panties or put in my retainer early in an effort to get you to let me sleep. I vow to not roll my eyes EVERY time you yell at the television as if the quarterback can ACTUALLY hear you. I will not tell you to tuck-and-roll out of the moving vehicle when you complain about my driving. I promise to give the stink-eye to any girl who might possibly be looking your way in order to protect you from her scheming ways and I will always let your ex-girlfriends know just how taken you really are with a nice butt-smack. You’re welcome. I can’t wait to start this journey with you.

 

And this, my friends, is married life.

 

Love to my loves,

Cate

 

 

 

 

Parenting the Strong-willed Child with LOVE

My two girls have vastly different personalities.
   

Abbie, who is 18 months old, is very much a mama’s girl. She wants to be near me at all times, preferably riding on my hip. She is very sweet and very shy, but can pitch the fit of a lifetime at the drop of a hat. She’s very smart and you can see the wheels turning in her head, but she has no interest in using actual words.
  
Addie Grace, who is four, is the complete opposite. She’s silly and fiercely independent. She talks to everyone (actually, she talks CONSTANTLY) and never meets a stranger. She spoke in complete sentences at 18 months. She is one of the smartest kids I’ve ever met and I swear she is four going on fourty.

As many differences as these sweet girls have, they have one glaringly obvious commonality: they are RIDICULOUSLY strong-willed. Frustratingly so. See some of the crazy things I’ve said to them

For the first three years of Adeline’s life, she was so easy to handle. She rarely pitched a fit, she just went with the flow, and life was good. Then, BAM. Three hit. And life as I knew it disappeared. She became belligerent, unyielding, and pretty much did the EXACT opposite of what she was told while she pitched a screaming fit. There has been foot-stomping, door slamming, and heaven knows what else.  (At the time, we had had a new baby, moved cross-country and were staying with family, and lost our grandfather in a two month span.)

Abigail, on the other hand, has been a spitfire since birth. When she doesn’t get her way, she likes to kick, scream, stomp, hit, bite, and has been known to hit her head on the floor or walls just to get her point across. Yeah….

After many tears (mine) and not having a clue what to do, we have finally settled on something that has worked incredibly for the past 5 months.

Turns out, consistency is key.

In case you’re in the same boat as we are with sweet, but strong-willed kids, here is what we have found works with our girls (at least with Adeline since Abs isn’t old enough to really “get” it.)

 

The Lord revealed something to me in writing this post, so I thought I’d share it first:

The attributes that make parenting a strong-willed child are the same attributes that will make them a successful adult: dedication, focus, leadership, strong will. The goal is not to BREAK their will, but to DIRECT it and teach them how to direct it.

Ok… here it is. We have five rules. That’s it. I’ve found they pretty much encompass what I want to teach them. Each one has an accompanying Bible verse and  its own specific consequence. When the rule is broken, We get out the Bible, read and discuss the verse, and enforce the consequence.

Rule 1: Love God and Each Other.  Bible Verse: John 13:34-35, Consequence: Do one act of kindness.

If little isn’t showing love, she must do one act of kindness. It shows them HOW to love instead of them having to figure it out on their own.

Rule 2: Listen and obey the first time. Bible verse: Collossians 3:20 Consequence: spanking.

Perhaps the most important rule, this rule has the most severe consequence. It is imperative that our little mind us. If they don’t mind, there are many situations in which their safety is at stake. Think if you yell “STOP!” in a parking lot and they keep walking. We explain to Addie Grace that God asks us to obey our parents because he is teaching us to obey Him. And that it is dangerous when she doesn’t listen and obey THE FIRST TIME.

DISCLAIMER: Yes, we spank our children. No, they’re not abused. They’re well-adjusted and happy and love Jesus. Don’t like it? Fine. Don’t spank your kid. Come up with a consequence that works for your family. 🙂

Rule 3: Use nice words in a nice voice. Bible Verse: Ephesians 4:32 Consequence: Say three nice things to/about the person to whom you weren’t nice.

Again, this teaches her to be kind and watch the way she says things. I struggle with the way I say things. I’m AWFUL at vocal tones. I often mean something one way and say it another way and don’t even realize it. Yikes.

Rule 4: Always be honest. Bible Verse: Proverbs 12:22 Consequence: Think in your room for 5 minutes.

This is a glorified time-out. We do not tolerate lying. We are always trying to teach her how to be honest, but kind. If she continues and doesn’t tell the truth when we ask her to, we revert back to rule 2.

Rule 5: Clean up after yourself.  Bible Verse: Psalm 51:10 Consequence: Mommy takes your toy. Short version: I’m not the maid. If you don’t clean it up, it’s mine. Now, at four, when the room is a disaster zone, I don’t expect her to spend 30 minutes in there alone and not get distracted. So we leave the door open and each time I walk by, I give her another task: “Put the clothes in the laundry.” “Put the shoes on the shelf.” “Put the toys in the toy box.” “Make your bed.”

 

Consistency is the most important thing here. When we started implementing this, it took about a week and I saw a big difference in her behavior. We are still just as strong-willed as ever, but I definitely feel like that is a POSITIVE thing that can be trained now and I NEVER want to break it. Just redirect it.

 

Love to my loves,

 

Cate

 

 

 

When Marriage Isn’t A Fairy Tale

From the time we are little girls, we dream of the dream come true. The handsome prince that will sweep us off our feet and carry us off into a life of bliss. The guy who will make us forget there was ever anything before him. And for the first little while, that seems to be exactly what we have.

Fast forward to real life. The honeymoon phase is over. You have kids and jobs and a mortgage. You annoy each other. You want to be alone instead of together 24/7. You’re burnt out. Finally, you realize everything society has fed you your entire life is a lie.

He’s a good man. He’s a hard worker. He loves you and he loves your babies. So why aren’t you happy? You, my dear, have been fed a big hunk of crap your entire life. You’ve been told that “The right one will ALWAYS make you happy.” Well, guess what? He won’t. He will hurt your feelings and will say some of the dumbest things you ever thought possible. He will be late. He will do a million things that make you want to throat punch him. And guess what? You married him.

You know who you didn’t marry? Prince Charming. Derek Morgan. Mr. Darcy. McDreamy. Edward Cullen (Yes, I did say that.), Rhett Butler. These guys are all fictional. That means fake. Real guys don’t always call you “Baby Girl.” or  tell you you deserve to be kissed often… and by someone who knows how. They’re not going to take you to the ball or always profess their undying love in song. They won’t dance with you or plan your dates. (I’m not saying none of them do, I’m just saying it’s never like what you see in movies.)

It’s messy. It’s frustrating. It’s confusing. It’s hard. It’s going to take every bit of self-control and will power you have. But you’ve made covenant with your husband before God. You’ve promised to love him through sickness and health. Wealth and poverty. Under any and all circumstances. And this is where you realize that love is not a feeling- it’s a choice. You choose whether you’re going to honor the man you’ve chosen to live life with or whether you’re going to falter under your feelings. You choose to be in love. You don’t fall. And you told Him at the alter before God that you’d choose him EVERY DAY.

And you know what? It’s not always easy. Sometimes, you’d rather choose to throat punch him and walk out. Sometimes, you’d rather choose to flirt with danger. But, you have to resist. You have to know that the reason it’s greener on the other side is that it’s fertilized with manure. (Are you catching what I’m saying?)

When you finally realize that this is real life and not a fairy tale, it hits you like a ton of bricks. But, friend, you need to know that it doesn’t mean it isn’t a love story. Love stories are real, fairy tales are not. And there will be a time when you look back at these hardest days and say, “We made it through.” But the only way to make it is to look to God and ask Him to show you how to choose to love.

 

Love to my loves,

Cate