Thursday, October 28, 2010

Remembering Samuel's birth - October 21

Desiree, Samuel and Dawna
Our midwives cared for Samuel in life and in death


The little birds trust God, for they go singing
From northern woods where autumn winds have blown,
With joyous faith their trackless pathway winging
To summer-lands of song, afar, unknown.

Let us go singing, then, and not go sighing;
Since we are sure our times are in His hand,
Why should we weep, and fear, and call it dying?
'Tis only flitting to a Summer-land.




He flew away to a summer-land. I like that. It feels so much nicer than thinking about how someone you love died.

He was our little bird, the Lord called him and he had to fly.

Hmm.

I get stuck on the dying part. It's hard to keep your mind straight. You know, focused on what is real, not what feels real here and now, but what is eternally real.

I had been thinking about Samuel's birthday approaching and felt, well, sad. I wanted to do something, to mark it. I didn't want it to just pass without doing 'something' special. One day, my friend Renee called and I just happened to be crying about it (literally) and happened to answer the phone and actually tell her the truth. Later, she surprised me by planning to have Desiree, Dawna and her come over for the day. Desiree has been our midwife with both Isabel and Samuel. Dawna was her assistant. They were all there that night Samuel was born so it seemed appropriate to have them come to remember.



So they came on a crisp, windy fall day. In anticipating his birthday I had this desire to make a chocolate cake with fluffy, light blue frosting. I had to do it and I loved making it. It was a so much fun to frost with. It felt like an art project.


Just look at it. Doesn't it look fun?


FLUFFY WHITE FROSTING
This frosting tastes like marshmallows, has a beautiful shine, and holds its shape well.

1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.

In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes. Frost the cake of your choice.

This is a perfect frosting for cupcakes-you can color it any color, then just dip the cupcakes in the bowl to frost them (you don't even need a knife!) Since it contains egg whites, it will dry out and become meringue-like if left uncovered. Keep the cake or cupcakes tightly covered and they should stay moist.


So they came for an afternoon, to remember, to discuss, to acknowledge...what happened, how it happened. To sit and talk about things often not talked about, things people are afraid to bring up. We talked about how we still can't believe it happened.


Here is the Baby Surprise Sweater that I (and my friend) knit for Samuel.
I learned to spin yarn for this little jacket.
We talked about the ultrasound, when we found out, how we found out, how Desiree stood in her bedroom on the phone and felt like she was in a dream. She couldn't believe she was going to have to tell us this news about another baby.

We talked about the night he was born. How afraid and alone I felt. How I dreaded doing it all again.

How Renee came and sat up all night long in the waiting room knitting and knitting, sometimes falling asleep knitting on this beautiful jacket (Baby Surprise Jacket) so that it would be finished by morning when Samuel was born.


How after seeing Samuel's lifeless body, Renee had gone home and laid on her bathroom floor and sobbed realizing how powerless we are, there is nothing we can do. We are the Lord's. He reigns in heaven and earth and does as He pleases.

All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" Daniel 4:35

If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, 'What are you doing?' Job 9:12

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" Romans 9:20

"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2

But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Psalm 33:11

The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. Psalm 135:6


What did we learn and how has his life affected ours?

We talked about what I could have done differently? Is there anything that we can think of that may have caused this? Of course, you just rack your brain to try to come up with solid answers or reasons...something you can know for sure, but these are exercises in futility. The Lord reigns. He does as He pleases to accomplish His purposes.

Something that dawned on me the other day was that the Lord could have taken our first two babies. It could have been something that happened before we had any other children, then this would all just be a distant story to them. But He waited until they were involved. He is actively training them too. He is taking an interest in my children, He wants to teach them through this. He didn't want them to miss out on the jewels of suffering and loss. It's not just about my husband and I.


I love Dawna. Here she is pictured at the hospital a year ago. She played her guitar and sang worship songs before, during and after Samuel was born...

...and again on his birthday in our living room.



Dawna sat and held Samuel so tenderly. I remember her holding him, she had her forehead to his forehead and she was talking to him. I wonder what she said?

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Psalm 116:15






I wanted to share a little bit of the blessing that Dawna has brought with her music to this whole experience. She was there before, during and after Samuel's birth. Her worship was so sweet during such a hard time. I filmed a bit of her playing the other day on Samuel's birthday.


We had an apologetics meeting to go to that night. I had to bring something in honor of Samuel's birthday.

It wasn't spoken or announced and most people didn't know but I knew, and my kids knew...those little cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles were a small offering in remembrance of our son's birthday. To acknowledge the silent yet gigantic, gaping, bloody hole that exists in our family.

People are missing.

Happy Birthday our Sweet Samuel. How I wish you could be sitting in a high chair, with light blue, fluffy frosting smeared all over your face and us smiling at you while taking a million pictures, but that was not to be.

It never was.

It was never the plan.

We just thought it was the plan. We assumed. We expected things would go as we planned but God had a different and better plan. It doesn't feel better to me now, but in 100 years I will know how much better it was. And it will have been soooo much better.

So anyway, I made these cupcakes for you.




During the last year the biggest thing that I feel is the need to just be quiet. To sit, to consider, to get through, to survive...again.


This verse in Job has brought me great comfort amidst great sorrow. This is why I feel so quiet.


He knoweth the way that I take.

What else can be said? What can be done? He knows how devastated I am, how dashed my hopes, all that has happened, heard all the careless words spoken...he knows it all and that brings me comfort because I know this is His earth and his world and although things would seem to the contrary, I believe I can trust Him. Read and be comforted yourself...

Streams in the Desert - April 22

He knoweth the way that I take.
Job 23:10

Believer! What glorious assurance! This way of thine-this, it may be, a crooked, mysterious, tangled way - this way of trial and tears. "He knoweth it." The furnace seven times heated - He lighted it. There is an Almighty Guide knowing and directing our footsteps, whether it be to the bitter Marah pool, or to the joy and refreshment of Elim.

That way, dark to the Egyptians, has its pillar of cloud and fire for His own Israel. The furnace is hot; but not only can we trust the hand that kindles it, but we have the assurance that the fires are lighted not to consume, but to refine; and that when the refining process is completed (no sooner - no later) He brings His people forth as gold.

When they think Him least near, He is often nearest. "When my spirit was overwhelmed, then thou knewest my path."

Do we know of One brighter than the brightest radiance of the visible sun, visiting our chamber with the first waking beam of the morning; an eye of infinite tenderness and compassion following us throughout the day, knowing the way that we take?

The world, in its cold vocabulary in the hour of adversity, speaks of "Providence" - "the will of Providence" - "the strokes of Providence." PROVIDENCE! What is that?

Why dethrone a living, directing God from the sovereignty of His own earth? Why substitute an inanimate, death-like abstraction, in place of an acting, controlling, personal Jehovah?

How it would take the sting from many a goading trial, to see what Job saw (in his hour of aggravated woe, when every earthly hope lay prostrate at his feet) - no hand but the Divine. He saw that hand behind the gleaming swords of the Sabeans - he saw it behind the lightning flash - he saw it giving wings to the careening tempest - he saw it in the awful silence of his rifled home.

"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Thus seeing God in everything, his faith reached its climax when this once powerful prince of the desert, seated on his bed of ashes, could say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him."

- Macduff