Friday, 25 April 2014
Grief is messy Ive found. It seems that little choice bears upon what a day will hold in the land of grief, or how I will feel about it. I want to carry on as normal, only a trip to the supermarket and finding myself in line with a mother with a newborn baby, was probably not a good moment. She looked tired, he looked blissfully peaceful. I wondered to myself; does she get what a treasure she has strapped onto her front?!!! I stacked my groceries next to hers and found myself wistfully admiring her ready made meals and baby items..... nappies, oh sweet nappies... before slapping myself "Fleur, get a grip!". With military precision I stacked my items in order, packed up the car, and sat for a moment at the wheel, breathing.. wishing I could close my eyes and go to sleep and wake up to find my emotions were all in order as I liked them. Who knew shopping could do that to you??? And then there was the trip to the library, because heaven knows, I plan on being the worlds most amazing mum to the precious four bundles I have. Especially now. So we went in search of DVD's and books and stared widely away from anything to do with babies. I resisted the temptation to duck down the aisle of explanations for miscarriage.. Im sure there is a row of books for that stuff, written by people pre disposed, like myself, to research, answers and logic. Instead I found the Christian reading and hunted for something.. anything... eyes glued to titles... searching for THE book that would calm my heart. No one had written "Im Sorry You Lost Poppy", so I settled on "The Sacred Romance". Nate whispered to me "are you looking for a book to help you stop crying all the time?". Um. What do you say to that? On the drive home, the kids were fighting and I could feel my emotions starting to unravel. I hadnt told Nate or Ben yet, the reason for their mess of a mummy.. so I quietly said to them "hey guys, the reason mummy has been sad is that there was a tiny little poppy seed sized baby growing in my tummy... and (tears), where she grows, well (sniff), started bleeding, and she is now home with Jesus. SO PLEASE stop fighting okay (more tears)". I caught Nates reflection in the rear vision mirror, he was sitting up so he could see my face and said "are you crying mum?". I am, I responded, Im just so super sad son. Their little faces looked momentarily regretful and comprehending. And for a fraction of a second I breathed a sigh of relief that they got it... Only a moment later Ben said "what hapenned to the baby?". Nate went on to explain that "mum got a cut where the baby grows, so now she is bleeding, and the baby is lost". I pulled into the drive way and pulled on the break and then Amy says "its okay mummy, the baby is not lost, we will find her". I cracked up laughing through the tears and pain. The whole comical messy scenario reinforced the point: grief is messy. The next day I had an appointment and dropped off the kids to mum. About to go, Amy said "you are coming back aye mummy?". I reassured her, I wouldnt be long and would absolutely come back for her, somewhat bewildered by the comment... only she then turned to Nana and said "you wont lose me aye Nana?". I couldnt help but giggle as I figured out what was going on for her... I mean, just the day before we'd gone to the library and mummy had 'lost' the baby. What baby, Amy didnt know, and tears seemed a rather lackadaisical response to just 'losing' her... heck, I mean, if its so easy to lose someone, and not really make an effort to go searching to find them, then anything is possible, right?!. As far as Amy is concerned, mum is prone to losing things right now.. keys, coins, earing backs, socks, lists.. and sometimes the odd baby. So best to keep your bases covered and ensure Nana is looking out for you. Poor girl :D Then there is the somewhat more icky side of what people do, and dont say, or do, or think, or write. Where flowers and cards and meals and the like would be fitting for the loss of a child, miscarriage exists in the messy realm. The ugliest moment of my grief was cooking dinner on the night of losing the baby, with nothing around me that tangibly spoke "so sorry". I went to phone Sam and tell "sweetheart, please would you buy me a bunch of flowers".. I mean, everyone keeps asking "tell us if you need anything". And right at that moment, I needed flowers. But the strange part of grief is that its rather like romance, asking for it, nullifies the act of it. I hung up the phone after dialling 3 numbers, perplexed, again, at how messy my heart has felt. What about the time of grief? Everything in my life at this point, has had somewhat of a predictability. A beginning, a middle, an end. Grief, I realise, doesnt work like that. It seems its a bit like obtaining a tattoo while being pinned to the chair. The picture might make a bit more sense, once its completed, and the pain lessens, but what if you never wanted the tattoo in the first place? I mean, for some, for a few, miscarriage is a relief. But for me, it was a tragedy. Messy. How do you make sense of the mess of grief? I think the answer is not to look at the mess, but to look at Jesus. Spring cleaning is wonderful fun, but winter still has to be gone through. I happen to like winter, and Im learning to be okay with it in my soul too. Its not pleasant at times, but Ive come to know, that snow shows his foot steps the clearest and his breath is visible in the icy cold air. The beauty of the mess is that He is so very near.
Thursday, 24 April 2014
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Today 'that' is late by about 4 days, maybe more. Each day that passes, each tiny twinge, and niggle whispers to me, the promise of you. Daddy and I havent tested yet. We will. Your dear Dad knows his wife all too well, and though Im itching to know, days of waiting, patience, quietness do me well. They teach my soul to be still. Having you there, my dear love, is above and beyond my dreams. Gods always known about you, but at 4, I thought we were done.... still my heart has dared to dream, to grow, to extend.. and we are blessed with you. I never dreamed I would get to see another positive pregnancy test, hear another beating heart, feel another wriggle under my ribs or know the blessed uncomfortableness of a large belly. But it seems, I will. And I will treasure it! This here is a diary, all about you. What each week brings and teaches me. Right now I am eating a lunch of tuna salad. All those nutrients I pray, will make you grow stronger. And healthier. And into the amazing person Jesus Christ is making you. My sweet one, we love you. Your siblings dont know about you yet, but wait till they find out. They have been asking God for you, and I worked out that you are due, right on Christmas Day! Undoubtedly the best present we all could ever ask for. May God BLESS you as you grow today. From your most honoured mumma. xxx 19th April. Today we tested and found out you are growing. For real. What a dream!! The excitement has bubbled inside me all day... though woah, do I feel tired. I forgot how tired one can feel. Im making a roast dinner in celebration of you tonight. I also realised that I would get to wear the t shirt I designed for Egg Maternity, back 4 years ago. It was brought out on the shelf after Amy was born.. but I bought it to tuck away... cant believe I will get to wear it. So stoked. I was thinking today, we will be asked a ton of questions the next 9 months.. I will write here the answers. #1. Were you planned? Yes. Wholeheartedly yes. You my dear, have been wept over, prayed for, believed for.. the testimony of the desire for you is a story I cant wait to tell you. Suffice to say, that God uses all things for good. Even pain. I wonder what your name is and I pray we can find a name that matches that meaning! #2. When did I know I was pregnant with you? Well, two things hapenned this past month. Your Nanny Parnell told me the Lord said to her that I was pregnant. I wasnt (yet) but it made me think that perhaps you were already conceived in His eyes. And secondly, the little twinges in my side, that I only get when Im pregnant. Like wee elastic band pings inside. Ive loved feeling those.. secretely Ive rubbed my belly and longed to feel you there. I cant wait to feel you wriggle. #3. Do we want a boy or girl? Either tickle me to bits. I have no leaning either way in preference, I have bought you already, boys stuff, and girl stuff.. mainly boy stuff. Yet, I feel like you are a girl. Either way, our hearts are hugely welcome of you for who you are. You will bring much joy to our family. Love you poppet. God bless. Your honoured hotel. 20th. Woke up this morning my dear, gagging, and fretting about how our test wasnt as dark as I would have expected it to be. And how Ive heard lots of bad things about that. And how scared I am to lose you. Going on the internet only made that fear worse. I grabbed my Bible and went back up to my bed, to lie quietly beside Daddy, who is still sleeping. His presence makes me calmer, even when he says nothing. As I opened up the Word, it fell to Ecclesiastes 11 "Cast your bread upon the waters...".. for a moment my thoughts were lost in what that verse means. I have visions of bobbing loaves of bread, and finding them days later, washed back up, allbeit soggy and inedible. Clearly need to study that verse! But... as I read down I smiled when I read this verse: "As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body if formed in a mothers womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things". There, right there, God speeaking to me "FLEUR, DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU KNOW HOW I FORM THAT WEE BODY INSIDE OF YOU?". Oh rebuked. Who am I to know or guess what my hormone levels and test results should look like at this point in time? Sweetheart. I achingly give you back to Him. I love you, but you are safest with Him. Your mummy. xxx 22nd. I have had a small amount of bleeding today. I have bled with all my pregnancies at some point, so it doesnt surprise me, yet nor does my heart ever get used to it. The knowing that I can do nothing to ensure you will grow.. you are hidden away in a secret place, being knit together by the hand of God. Dear precious one, I love you. I pray God makes you grow big and healthy and strong. You have already changed my heart completely, even in the few days old you are... my life will never be the same sweetheart, I thank God for the gift of you. Daddy loves you and thanks God for you too and we cant wait to tell your siblings all about you. xx 22nd EveningTonight my bleeding has got heavier, and it looks like we are losing you. I have named you Poppy. I will ask God if that is your name, but for now, you are my flower, my red bloom of love and the means for which God has enlarged my heart. Right now my heart doesnt feel enlarged, it feels raw and empty, a huge hole there that I never imagined could exist. My motherly arms feel emptied, of the chance to hold you, know you, smell you, see you. Its comforting to me that you are in heaven, that you are with Jesus.. but sweet baby, I weep for you. Within my tears and grieving is a hope that Gods ways are so much higher. His purposes are bigger than ours. His understanding greater. I pray for the grace to make you proud my love, to highlight in my loss, the richness of who Jesus is. That this hole of grief thats been carved into my heart, will become filled with an ability to more deeply love as He loves. I told Tim about you this evening. He was praying for a miracle while tears streamed down my face. I was able to tell him that God holds you. Always. Your daddy has been lovely tonight. He has held me while Ive cried. His sadness is different from mine.. he hates seeing me cry.. and I cant explain in words how tangibly real that void is, now in my life. That when I look at our family photo, I see 5 kids, the precious lil one that wasnt on that log, but in my heart. Oh baby, I love you. I love you. I give you to Jesus. I give you to the One who loves you more. Love your heartbroken mummy. xxx 23rd I cant decide if its the pain in my heart, the cramping or the hunger that has woken me. Maybe all of them. I realised I have barely eaten today, and the cramping is hitting me worst in my susceptible sciatic nerve.. insult to injury. But my heart... As Daddy was holding me tonight while I cried, he soothed me "you are one big heart". I sobbed back "indeed, and that heart has had one big hole carved in it". There is a peace too, that exists there in my sorrow. I never knew it could be there. I never realised how tangible it could be, as the tears fall down my cheeks. I realise now the depth of that scripture in 1 Thess. 4.. "so you will not grieve like people who have no hope". Poppy, I have a hope that death itself cant strip from me: Oneday we will be together with the Lord. His Word says "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". Matt 6:21. Heaven holds a treasure for me, and that is you... it is fair to say, you have taken a huge chunk of my heart heavenward, and eternity holds a deeper anticipation for me. As I reflect upon this past week, some things stand out about you. I have dreamed of all our children, my dream of you was different. I didnt dream I was pregnant with you, as I did with the others, I dreamed of you before you were here. In my dream, you were sweet, innocent, gentle, untouched. Your heart was like mine, without the weariness of this world and its struggles. You had a tender impish face like your brother Ben, delicate and refined. Gender didnt define you, what marked you, was that you were gracious and pure to behold, and your smile beamed feminine back at me. And now you sit on your Makers knee, no sadness, sorrow or sickness to know. Youre beautiful there. Darling, can I express to you honestly my deepest fears? Daddy and I talked tonight about praying for another child. For another tender cherub to hold, for milky cheeks to kiss, and chubby thighs to squeeze. I laughed as I told daddy I will in fact be the most useless housewife ever, when it comes to having more, as I wont be able to steal myself away from enjoying that..... but I am afraid of this: that the next little person, somehow lessens the reality of you. Not that you will ever be anything but real to us, to me.. But to this world, there is nothing to show for your brief blink of existence inside my womb. Nothing to put into the ground that says "here lies Poppy". You have no gravestone, no birth or death certificate. The only proof I have that you were here, is two pink lines on a stick. And tears that fall relentlessly down my cheeks, because my arms will never hold you. Even writing that, I think upon Jesus at the cross when He looked at Mary and the disciple he loved and said "woman, behold your son". I bet all of Mary wanted to scream out "You Jesus, are my son, you are the one I bore and have known", yet Jesus' words comforted her, because He knew that a mothers heart. To love, beyond its brokenness. To heal and flourish in giving out. Poppy, loving you has multiplied my capacity to love others, to embrace others. You really have been the instrument by which Jesus has enlarged my heart. I can just see your impish wee grin respectfully telling me "you got it mum". I do get it. I love you. And Jesus, I Love you. Thank you for carrying Poppy. For carrying me. For knitting Sam and I closer than ever before. For working in me a purpose that tastes of eternity. You are ever worthy of my trust and adoration. Your emptied vessel, Fleur, alias, Mummy.
Sunday, 20 April 2014
Its not the verse people tend to refer to at a time of Easter. Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene, Resurrected, and then to the disciples. There is a miraculous catching a fish followed by eating together... and then Jesus asks Simon Peter a question, first time, second time.. "do you love me?"...
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time.
It wasnt for Jesus benefit that He asked these questions. He already knew the answers. But He asked them for Simon Peters sake. As Oswald Chambers writes; 'The Lord’s questions always reveal me to myself.'
What did Peter reply? “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Peter sees that there is no hiding anything from the Lord. That Jesus sees to the very depths of his heart.
Its been my experience that what hurts most, is not in fact, what others think of me, but what God reveals to me about myself.
But my experience has also been, that its also the most freeing.
Failure, fear, denial, eloquence, pride, comparison, self righteousness. Im sure all of Simons Peters actions the past few days reeled through his mind with agonizing light, as Jesus probed him once more "do you love me?"... but Simon Peter, identifies with all his guilt and sees that even in the measure of his fickleness, is a love of His Saviour that is stronger still.
Can you identify?
Do your past failures and mistakes reel across your life in a flash, as Jesus probes to the depths of your hearts "(insert own name), do you love me?"
Your hall of shame is jam packed with files and evidence for which you know yourself, your life has not proven your love of Him... but there is one file. Right at the back. Its empty. There are no qualifications or accolades of evidential proof. There is no speech to eloquently deliver on all the reasons as to why. You are standing there with nothing to reach for and no need to, because He has seen right to the VERY HEART of you and shown there, something you barely knew of yourself....
That moment, when you see that from childhood, He always had His hand on you. That that little book, that Bible that landed itself in your hand, that praying neighbour, that caring friend, Christian camp, message from Bible in Schools, the voice that gently called you, the quickening of your heart....that indescribable and undeniable certainty in your heart that HE LOVES ME AND I LOVE HIM. And nothing. NOTHING. Can take that away from you.
Its not based upon anything you have done, but everything He has done for you. Love will overcome everything.
That is the power of the resurrection
Oh what a moment, Oh what joy, freedom, tears, love and wonder beholds you there.
"If ever I love thee, my Jesus tis now".
Friday, 18 April 2014
The Oliver + S School Bus t pattern is just beyond versatile! I brought size 5-12 yrs. Amy is 4, but I wanted the pattern to be able to do my other 3 boys.. and at $8.95, that is value for money. I cut size 5 which worked out perfect for this slightly more tunic style top. I wanted to make Amy a pretty white top like a Monsoon one she had.. that now barely fits. So I used the School Bus Pattern as a base and tweaked it to add some details.. here's how I did it. Firstly, in cutting the pattern pieces out: I cut the back normally and the neck piece. For the front, where the top half of the bodice pattern joins the lower, I left these apart.. making two front pattern pieces, not one. On the lower half of the pattern top, I cut the side seam to size 12, instead of the size 5, so it was wider. Then I sewed the front. I stitched a gathering line as per below, and gently gathered up the top till it fit into the bodice. I stitched the pieces together and finished the seam on the serger. It wasnt necessary, but I wanted to stitch the seam flat so it wouldnt be scratchy on her skin, so I used a daisy cotton ribbon across the gathered seam, and stitched this down twice, holding both the serger seam, and the ribbon, in place. I love this detail! I then followed the instructions normally for stitching the shoulder and neck pieces, using the thin neck hand option. I love how that thin neck band is feminine! I then sewed another gathering line on the sleeve top, about 1/4 inch from the top and pulled this. I did the same to the other sleeve and matched them. I then eased the sleeves into place, matching the centre top, sides and gently easing the bits in between. It fit perfectly and with no trouble! I stitched the sleeves into place and overlocked the seams. I sewed up the sides and completed the sleeve doing one line of a shirring stitch on the wrist, about 1 inch from the bottom of the lettuce hem. Shirring is amazingly easy to do on the sewing machine, as simple as winding some thin white elastic thread onto a bobbin, with tension, and inserting it into the bobbin holder. Sew as per normal. To finish the top, I used leftover daisy ribbon and cut off flowers, stitching them into place and used my trusty embellesher to add on some diamantes.
Monday, 14 April 2014
So in turns out, in town, at Tilly and Tiffen, they are stocking a supply of Belle & Boo. And we just happen to be a family of
almost bunny fans. Excluding Husband. He is allergic. To anything with fur. (Which is probably a good thing, cause lets face it, keeping 4 kids alive is hard enough, heh).
With a belle and boo cookie cutter in hand. We began an easter fun adventure. I mean, isnt this cute??. I couldnt think of a person who'd mind to be reminded that they are precious to Him. (And to us).
We also punched out some pink glitter cardstock from Spotlight ($3.80 a sheet, I used 2) and made ourselves a garland, using this tutorial: http://youtu.be/B3DSAnsKq_Y
Cutest tutorial, and make sure you check out her others.. the arrows, the baby announcement.. melt.
We strung our pink garland over the doorway in our kitchen. Its pretty and sparkly and festive!
Then we went to town making some batik pictures, which was a fantastic way of incorporating a lesson on types of lines, colour mixing and what eggs represent. We used crayons and food colouring, and had a ball.
Friday, 11 April 2014
Sam. I am the woman, blessed to sit inside our walls and see the 'real' you. The joy. Spontaneity. Love. Laughter. Teasing. Tickles. Instruction. Correction. Leadership. Comraderie. Affection. Patience. Perseverance and tenderness. But mostly the responsibility. To lead your family closer to Jesus by example. To lay down your life for us. Daily. I have never doubted that to be your wife was the greatest honour. I thank god for His faithfulness to you and I and the richness we have with him at the centre. 11 amazing years!!!! I love you, Your flower.
Sunday, 6 April 2014
In my early twenties, while most were off at University, or working, or travelling, or getting on with their lives.. I was at home, working in a cafe, making sandwhiches. Up at 5:45am, home somewhere around 3pm.. and I cant begin to tell you how many times I asked God; WHAT are you doing with my life?? Yet, one of the most memorable times there, was working next to a beautiful young girl who was carefree, spunky and fun. Over time she got into a relationship, eventually moved out of home, and into a campervan with this young guy. She was out of relationship with her parents, and started turning up with bruises on her. One day, I remember her turning up with some obvious signs of a fight, and I started asking questions. It was quick to ascertain, she didnt feel safe. She went home and I couldnt shake it. To this day, I cant describe the courage of my actions. I got in my car, drove over to the campsite, found her campervan with her and him inside it. I walked in, said hi, told her to grab her stuff, said goodbye to him, and drove her home to her parents house. Walked in and said "here is your daughter, she needs you". They thanked me, and I drove home. I reflect back with a mortified sense at my naivety. Yet, it was more than that. The truth is, I was more than assured that should this guy try and beat me also, that I could cry out to a heavenly Father who could save me. The word would better be "audacity". I could audaciously dare to venture into danger, to right an injustice, because I knew who was with me. As I have been praying and working through some things, this past little while, I have found my heart beating with that same desire to walk into realms where the enemy has been wreaking havoc, and as Eric ludy says, "ask audaciously" (Wrestling Prayer) for heaven to come. And alongside that desire for spiritual audacity, has also been the reckoning of self. Id like to think that was easier. The truth is, thats the hardest part. Self always gets in the way of spiritual audacity. Self preservation is proud, short sighted and fearful. God has given me a calling since I was a tiny little girl, Ive known since I was about 8 years old for what purpose He has called me. Do you know, here I am at 36, and I have yet to see that come to fruition. Do I think God has given up? Of course He hasnt. But I do know this: He is setting me free from Fear of Man. Why? Because rescuing the lost takes audacity, it takes a God sized courage to stand before Kings and Authorities and say "GIVE ME THAT WHICH BELONGS TO MY LORD", and being fearful of how man can hurt me, will stand in my way. When David fought Goliath, he first trained in the fields on bears and lions. My campervan experience, that was just a bear to whats to come. And the same with you! You are in training, there is still a Goliath to fight. Today I went to the park, it was a spare of the moment decision after taking the kids swimming. In fact, I drove past and last minute thought "do it" before reversing my car backwards and pulling in. It was for me, out of character. I had a dinner to put on, wet hair, kids who needed showers and had no shoes.. but something in me prompted to do so, and so I did. We were there only a few minutes when a car sped in, dropped off a young mum with her son, naked and grubby faced, swore abuse at her, and sped off. I stood frozen. I threw up a prayer and that same voice was there again, just like it was all those years ago at the campervan "Love her Fleur". I walked up to her, hugged her and asked her if she was okay, and that God sized courage came over me again. I asked her, "do you believe in God".. she kinda did.. so I prayed, and you know, I dont remember what I prayed but I knew God had shown up and that was all that mattered. We played, and we laughed together at her sweet baby boy, and I watched over a matter of minutes the pain lift off her face. He came back a little while later, and sat and watched us. I threw over to him the comment "He's a cute boy dad".. he glared at me and lowered his face a little. But then I noticed his expression change and a few minutes later he came and stood with us and he softened a little. A left them to it a short while later, I just had that sense that Jesus was there, and that He was working in the hearts of that couple today. As Id drove off, I felt a little nudge in me.. that sense of asking audaciously.. I told him my dream and I was sure I heard Him say "come with me, Im so glad you asked!" :) Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we askor think, according to the power that worketh in us . . .Ephesians 3:20
Thursday, 3 April 2014
In 1 Kings 19 we read how God said to Elijah "what are you doing here?" Elijah gives his answer. And then the Lord says this "go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by". This is the part of the story where we all rub our hands together in anticipation. God is about to pass by. Its got to be good right?! Ive found myself there in my own walk of faith many times. "Fleur, what are you doing here?" "ummm... well... Im standing on You, but it looks like its going to cost me". and then I sense in my spirit a quickening, an anticipation "I see God about to move". I cant define how I know it. I just have that inner knowing that something is hapenning, something we cant see. And here is where I relate to Elijah most. Because inevitably, my world starts looking rather messy. The wind blows in.. usually full of fear.. 'you think that mountain your standing on is strong, think again'. And the things in which I had placed my security come apart. Nope, God wasnt in that. The ground is shaken up and my circumstances start looking crazy. Nope, God wasnt in that. Then the fire goes through, the testing of my faith. But the Lord wasnt in that either. And after all that, there is a whisper. Gods voice. There! There I hear it, the Lord is in this. Do I really get what God was allowing when the winds tore the mountain apart, and the earthquake shook whatever left standing, and then the fire came in, just to be sure the messy job was done well? Not at all. It reminds me of a scene out of the Christchurch earthquake.