Filling in the Cracks

A date night, a pedicure, and a new hairstyle
(all provided by sweet missionary friends). 

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Family time at home and friend-made meals/”fat week.”

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Boating in Tennessee, and now camp at Fort Bluff.

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ImageHealing looks a lot different than I thought it would.

While I am painfully aware that none of these things can bring back my boy, I am pleasantly surprised how they have helped bring ME back little by little (and trust me, there’s a long way to go!). I should also mention that this version of myself I sense rising to the surface is not the same as the girl that walked into the ultrasound room on May 14; it’s a different “me,” forever changed, but, thankfully, not a finished product.

The Lord has shown Himself to me in BIG, incredible ways through my time with Him, and I am not discrediting that in ANY way. I praise Him for His faithfulness to speak to me through His Word and the Holy Spirit; I guess I just kind of figured that would happen! 

But He has also whispered His love to me through fuzzy feelings, comforting conversations, and summer sunsets. Perhaps, I have just become more sensitive to His hand in my life, more aware of His constant, comforting presence, and more in awe of the beauty that He surrounds me with to the point that EVERYTHING seems like a hand-crafted gift of love from my Father. I feel like a dried up sponge soaking up every drop of His goodness, and though my arms are empty, my heart feels full. Naturally, it remains, for the moment, broken, but I trust Him to continue to fill all the space the cracks provide with MORE of His overwhelming, perfect love and MORE of His boundless, infinite goodness.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

 

Deep Love

I woke up thinking about Ezra this morning, as I have every morning since his “birthday.” I was recalling something I didn’t share much in previous posts: One thing that truly amazed me throughout the whole experience was the power of motherly instincts.

Even though I knew in my mind that my baby was dead and with Jesus, my heart could not handle the thought of my sweet boy suffering any pain or loneliness. I didn’t want him to be born in a toilet; I didn’t want him to lie in a morgue, cold and alone; I didn’t want him to be opened up for an autopsy. It all seemed cruel and uncaring, and it didn’t seem fair to my baby.

While I held his tiny, frail body, I made sure to support his head like I would with any newborn baby. My heart broke as his skin deteriorated, his shoulder came out of socket, and his little fingers and toes began to detach. I sent for the nurse to take him away because I could not handle it anymore. My heart couldn’t grasp what my mind knew: My baby was dead and could no longer feel anything.

Maybe it was best that way. Maybe it was best for my heart not to understand that my baby couldn’t feel me holding him, touching his tiny lips and face, fingers and toes. Maybe it was best to let my heart believe that Ezra could hear mommy and daddy assuring him that we loved him and would miss him every day but that we were happy he was with Jesus. Maybe it was God’s grace that let my heart be fooled. 

But as my heart has come around to what my mind knows, I have been comforted knowing that God’s love is far beyond any earthly love: including the seemingly boundless and powerful love of a mother for her son. I will never sing, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” without being reminded of this. For unbearable pain I sent my baby away, just as the song reminds us: “The Father turns His face away, as wounds which mar the chosen one bring many sons to glory!” He watched His Son die an undeserved death on the Cross of Calvary so that a sinful people could be saved; there was a greater purpose in his pain.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand (Isaiah 53:9-10).

God is not ignorant of the hurt that I have endured since the passing of my son. I believe He feels it just as I do, as my Father who deeply loves and cares for me. There are so many passages showing Christ’s compassion for His children. Isaiah 69:3 says, “In all their affliction, he was afflicted.” He feels the pain of His children!

As I cling to this belief, I must also grasp for the hope that there is`a greater purpose for my pain that my Father would look on as I suffer this loss on earth. He will show His power in my pain, and He will receive glory in this tragedy.

And if that is not comforting enough, I can rest knowing that, as a sweet friend reminded me, “Ezra will never suffer the pain of this life. All he knew of life on earth was the love and safety of being inside of you, and all he will know for eternity is the love and glory of Jesus.” There’s no risk that he won’t know Jesus, and there’s no chance of him ever feeling pain, heartache, or loneliness.

I can’t yet say that I am pleased the Lord would take my son. I’d give anything to have him in my arms now, and especially come September 23, but I have to believe it is far greater for him to be with Jesus, even if for reasons I won’t fully comprehend until I see HIM face-to-face.

Until then…

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me (Psalm 137:7-10).

Oh, how He loves me!

I’m going to India!

When we found out that I was pregnant with Ezra, we were a little disappointed by one thing alone: I wouldn’t be able to go on our survey trip to India. We came to this conclusion based on my last pregnancy in which I was sick 24/7 and had a hard time accomplishing even small tasks. We figured that a 17 hour flight and 9.5 hour time difference as well as temperatures above 100 degrees would do me in.

At orientation at the beginning of May, however, Bro. Austin Gardner encouraged me to go to India whether it be now or later…AND I decided NOW was best! My morning sickness was tolerable, and I had the second trimester energy I never seemed to find last time around. PLUS: I only needed to seek care for one child and did not currently have a nursing baby to provide sustenance for.

When we returned home from orientation, Paul began the process of applying for my visa. He had the paperwork completed and was going to send it out on Tuesday the 14th. However, that day was also our ultrasound appointment where we found out that our sweet baby was no longer living in the womb. The process was halted as I went into labor and was resumed a few days later.

We praise the Lord that even though this process was started late and halted for a bit, we were able to buy a ticket for the same flight that Paul had booked for himself, and I just heard yesterday that my visa was approved by the consulate and is on its way to our house! Pray with us that it’s not “too much too soon” and that my physical recovery will be entirely complete when we leave June 10th.

It really is a dream come true to go to India with my husband, to finally see the country the Lord has put on our hearts, and to see my sweet friend Autumn who, I’m sure, has very much to teach me from her first few months on the field!

New Delhi, here we come!

Ezra Coleman

I wanted to share a little bit of how our sweet boy’s name came to be.

Ezra: Nothing particularly special about this name, although it is a good Bible name. Kind of ashamed to say this, but It actually was brought to my attention on two shows I was simultaneously hooked on when Jolynn was still a tiny bit. I thought it was a cute name that you don’t hear too much, and I stored it in my mental “baby name bank” for future reference. After getting pregnant, I didn’t think of names too much. It always stressed me out last time, so I thought I would wait until we knew what we were having to really start the great debate! However, when our ultrasound appointment came, and our precious tiny baby no longer showed us a heartbeat, we decided we wanted to name our lost baby (at this time we did not know the gender). Since the whole hospital process was a whirlwind, we didn’t have much time to ponder. However, moments after seeing our sweet baby’s face, I recalled the name “Ezra.” The next day, after he was officially named, I looked it up, and Ezra means, “God helps!” How perfect is that!?

Coleman: The middle name, “Coleman” immediately followed which was kind of strange because that name had never been on any list or in aforementioned mental “baby name bank.” Coleman is my grandfather’s name (my dad’s dad, a great man who loves the Lord), and when it popped in my head, I knew it was right! I kept these thoughts to myself (as I did most thoughts during these days) until Paul asked me what I wanted to name our little boy. I said, “I’m thinking ‘Ezra Coleman.'” He said, “I love it. It’s perfect.” I think so, too!

Ezra’s Story: Part Three

“Thank you” to all who have read the previous two parts of Ezra’s story. We have been so encouraged to hear from all of those praying for our family from all around the world! We have also heard from families whose lives have been touched by his story, and we pray that this trend will continue. This will be the last part of the chronological story of Ezra’s short life, but I will continue to share about our sweet boy and how his little life has affected ours in such significant, lasting ways!

While the labor and delivery of our sweet baby boy was painful and exhausting, perhaps the most trying part of the entire experience for me were the next few hours.

Paul called our families to tell them of the news of Ezra’s birth. We hesitated, at first, to share the news because we knew that they were exhausted from travel and would have just returned to their hotels to finally rest. However, our nurses warned us that Ezra’s body was deteriorating quickly and that by the time our families arrived, they likely would not be allowed to hold him.

They were happy to return to the hospital to comfort us and to hold their new grandson. We all wept together over the loss but marveled again at God’s handiwork evidently seen in the tiny details of our little boy. We shared the name we had chosen: Ezra Coleman. We all agreed it was the perfect name for our handsome boy (I have a post written about his name to be shared later).

Our families returned to their hotels to rest and give me time to recover. I still had to pass the placenta, and we dreaded the possibility of a D&C. Though I was physically and emotionally exhausted, I worked along with my midwife and doctor to avoid  this possible surgery. After two tiring hours, it was able to removed! We praised the Lord for a quick delivery- just 15 hours of the projected 1-3 days! My doctor shared with us that this was the fastest still birth delivery she had ever witnessed! We were so relieved and so incredibly thankful the Lord had answered our prayers!

Ezra had been taken away to have his newborn pictures taken by a professional photographer on staff at the hospital. The deterioration along with the manipulation of his body for pictures made it difficult for us to continue to have him with us in the room. His unsettling smell, cold skin, and deteriorating limbs and appendages were too much for this mommy’s heart to handle. We spent a few more minutes saying goodbye to our sweet boy and thanking the Lord for the few hours we were able to spend with him.

We called our nurse to take him from our room, and we wept at the thought of not seeing him again. Paul reminded me, however, that this would not be the last time; we would see our Ezra walking on streets of gold! What a comfort Heaven is!

I would rest as much as I could until I was released from the hospital on Wednesday evening.  My doctor wanted to keep me for monitoring, but we were anxious to get home, to see our daughter, and to prepare for Ezra’s memorial service. We promised my doctor that I would remain on strict bed rest until we held his service, and he was understanding enough to let us go!

While I was relieved to go, the full weight of the past two days’ events hit me as I sat in the wheelchair to be taken out of the hospital. That room, the only place where I knew my son, would soon hold someone else happily embracing their bundle of joy. We would soon be home, where we would try to live life as normally as possible while hurting inside from the crippling loss of our child.

The nurse sent Paul ahead to get the car, and for the first time I felt alone. The teddy bear given to me to avoid leaving the hospital with empty arms was not enough to comfort me. I tried my best to hold my emotions intact as we passed hopeful, waiting families. I felt their stares and saw the pity in their eyes, so I stared at my hands where I held my precious boy’s tiny knit hat.

I waited for what felt like hours for my husband to arrive in the circle with our car. I’ve never been so happy to see him! He held my hand the whole way home as I stared in silence at the long road ahead. 

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18).