An Open Letter to the Baby I was Scared to Love — December 6, 2015

An Open Letter to the Baby I was Scared to Love

Little One,

You’re not so little anymore. You’re finding your way around this house, running into everything, and filling the air with the funniest little growl sounds.

You’re constantly covered in bumps and bruises, smiles and kisses. You are so loved.

But, I’ll be honest, I was afraid to love you. When I learned of your presence in the womb that held your brother Ezra, I was flooded with conflicting emotions of joy, grief, and fear. We were moving on from our loss, accepting the void in our family but asking God to fill it with another pair of precious wrinkly feet.

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I never felt sure that you’d find your way into my arms. I took medicine, I rested, I prayed like I’ve never prayed before. And I trusted…with bated breath and a heart that could barely stand it…I trusted.

“God, make him kick.” I pleaded on many desperate nights after a day or two of you taking a vacation from assuring me of your thriving inside of me. And you would give the teensiest little punch and go back to your unsurpassed laziness lounging in the comfort of your mommy. Growing into a world-ready babe is hard work.

The doctor gave your big body the boot on December 5, 2014. I told your daddy he could go get some pizza while we waited for you to get ready. But you decided you were finally gonna get a move on, and I had to call him to come back before his first bite.

At 12:30 pm, I felt like I finally breathed as they put you in my arms and I heard the sweetest cry I’ve ever heard. As soon as they put you on my chest, you grabbed my finger. “Wow! Look how big his hands are,” Daddy and I exclaimed in near-perfect unison.

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Though you’re the tangible source of my healing, I can’t give you all the credit. Because the God who gives every perfect gift gave me you. And long before you were waking me up night after night, He had made room in my heart for the little guy with the giant hands which were used to play with my hair while taking his feeds.

You won’t reach for Christ with those hands, but I hope that you will embrace His when He reaches down for you. I want nothing more than for you to experience the love and kindness that I can’t give you this side of heaven. I will never be everything you need, but I will strive to point you to the One that is.

And when our family is whole again, we will sing His praises for all He has done for all eternity!

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Dream big, love big, little one. Thanks for filling my arms and mending my heart. I love chasing you around our home but am seriously considering making you wear a helmet from now on.

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With more love than you’ll ever know,
Mommy

 

 

 

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A Year in Pictures [2013] — January 11, 2014

A Year in Pictures [2013]

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Discovered a pregnancy [Jan. 11]

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Sent sweet friends to India [Jan. 15]

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Had a birthday party for a very special one year old [February 21]

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“Helped” friends pack for a move to Thailand [March ?]

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Celebrated 3 years of marriage [Apr. 10]Image

Got in a car accident [Apr. 11]

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Got family pictures taken [May 10]

ImageHelped host a baby shower [May 11]

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Experienced a loss [Ezra Coleman May 15]

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Held a memorial service [May 17]

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Went to India [June 10-21]

ImageWelcomed Jo’s cousin Atlas [June 22]

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Paul served as guest speaker at Salt Run Bible Camp [July 4-8]

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Decorated a headstone [August 15]

ImageHad another birthday party for this handsome man [Oct. 10]

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Celebrated Thanksgiving in Ohio, and this is the only documentation [Nov. 28]

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Jo got stitches [Dec. 6]

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Had a wonderful Christmas with the whole fam [Dec. 25]

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Went on a special Christmas date [Dec. 26]

It’s amazing to look back on the year and see all that the Lord has done in our lives. He has been good and giving through it all, and we praise Him for His blessings. We look forward to how He will work in our lives and provide for our needs as we seek to serve Him in the New Year.

God bless,

The Taubes

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The Face I Can’t Forget — November 8, 2013

The Face I Can’t Forget

I can still see his precious little face.
I see it at 5 a.m. before my eyes adjust to the darkness.
It’s been almost 6 months.
Seems like this shouldn’t happen anymore.
But how am I supposed to erase the memory of the perfect features that belonged to my sweet Ezra?

Eyes that never opened to see a sunny day.
Mouth that never smiled and cooed for parents’ joy.
Ears that never heard the words, “I love you” whispered from tickling teeth.
Nose that never inhaled the comforting aroma of mother’s embrace.
The cutest lil’ “Finney chin” he shares with his daddy’s family and his sister Jo.

I can’t forget it, but I don’t think I want to.

It’s hard to see his face sometimes, but most others it brings a smile to mine. Ezra Coleman was a precious gift from the hand of God. I would have preferred his life to linger on this earth, but my Jesus had other plans for my little guy. I can’t imagine the JOY on my baby boy’s face as he basks in Heaven’s glory…

As his eyes behold the indescribable glory of the Almighty God.
His mouth sings continuous praises to the King on the Throne.
His ears are filled with the sounds of a heavenly choir.
His nose is kissed by angels that keep him ’til Jesus calls his mommy home.
His chin rests on the breast of the Savior.

With the gift of motherhood came an innate desire for the absolute best for my babies. There’s nothing this mommy could give him that is better than what he is experiencing today. I never really appreciated being told that “he was in a better place,” because selfishly I wanted him here. But this heartbroken mommy knows there’s no better place to be than in the arms of Christ and I’m thankful that’s where I will find him someday. I will look into his precious face, and I will see Jesus, and the sorrow of my loss won’t even be a distant memory. Just the darkness of life vanished by the blazing light of eternal glory!

Due Date Disappointment — September 23, 2013

Due Date Disappointment

Well, it’s here: My due date. The day I would have said my first “hello” to my sweet little boy had I not said “goodbye” to him on May 15.

I shared with a sweet friend who implored about my feelings on the matter that I am surprised that the overriding emotion is not grief, sadness, or anger, but rather disappointment. I had expectations that were not and will not be met.

I expected to have a smooth, uneventful pregnancy but had a high-risk pregnancy that went undetected.
I expected to bond with my baby, feeling him wiggle and maneuver inside of me, but I felt a phantom kick just one time.
I expected to take beautiful maternity pictures around 30 weeks of pregnancy, but I had family pictures with a not-so-round belly home to a lifeless child.
I expected to celebrate a gender reveal with my family on May 14, but I called to share the news of the loss and we gathered instead to mourn.
I expected to have my family gathered together again at Northside Hospital to welcome our precious gift, but we are spending time together in Ohio unsure of how to pass the time without dwelling on the significance of the day.
I expected to give birth to a healthy, beautiful bundle of joy on September 23, but I’m holding just a memory of his tiny, frail body.
I expected to embrace my healthy baby with exhausted yet unadulterated joy, but instead I embrace family and friends who help us deal with the disappointment.

I never expected to bury a child before my 24th birthday, but that’s exactly what I did.

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Disappointed I am, but defeated I am not. I expect today to be a pleasant, meaningful day. because I am a child of the King who loves me and gave Himself for me. He has a plan in all that happens in my life, and I expect the end result to be wonderful even as there are disappointments along the way.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).

Mommy loves you, Ezra.

Babies, Babies everywhere! — August 28, 2013

Babies, Babies everywhere!

I love babies, I love friends having babies, and I love that Facebook has become, in recent years, what I have deemed “Baby Central.” But along with every uncontrollable smile, “eek!”, and cheek-squeeze in response to each swaddled burrito of cuteness comes a little twinge of hurt and a small but fleeting feeling of jealousy.

It’s ugly, I know. It’s discontent at it’s finest. Trust me, the Lord is dealing with me on all counts. I don’t feel as though I have been dealt a bad hand, and I wouldn’t say I am bitter (if you see this in me, please stage an intervention!) I would acknowledge, however, that I’m still grieving.

I listened to a podcast about grieving loss today while I was walking (an activity I have found to be very helpful when I’m feeling the blues). I was reminded by the speaker, who lost her daughter after 199 days of life, that contrary to popular belief, you can be sad and have joy at the same time. It might seem like an enigma to some, but it shouldn’t to Christians.

This has been particularly my experience. I DO have joy and carry on from day to day with a peace that only could come from the Lord. BUT… I’m still sad.

It’s only been 3 months. His headstone was just put into place. His due date hasn’t even come around yet. I don’t even think I’ve begun to deal with the full weight of what has happened to us.

But this woman who suffered such great, unfathomable loss reminded me that just as I expected those who love us to weep with me when we experienced our loss, I have the same responsibility to REJOICE with those who experience the wonderful things life has to offer (and there is nothing more wonderful than a newborn baby!).

Scripture is clear: Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15-16).

So, in the midst of my pain, when my sadness seems like it might win, I will choose to rejoice because that’s exactly what I’m commanded to do.

So bring on the babies, and bring on the JOY!

**This post is not written in response to any birth or birth announcement. There has been no perfect time to post this since this baby boom began!

The gift of a ministry — August 10, 2013

The gift of a ministry

I’ve always been a dreamer, and I’ve long dreamed of serving God in BIG ways. I’ve specifically asked that God would use my passion for writing in HIs kingdom work. The answer to that plea, however, was not even close to what I had envisioned or ever would have dreamt up myself.

Though I wouldn’t realize it until a few days later, the answer came on the morning of May 14, as I lay heartbroken in an ultrasound room having received the news that the precious boy I had been carrying for 21 weeks was no longer thriving inside me. We shared the news with family but didn’t let it go much further for a little under 24 hours. I wanted my secret pain to be just that- secret.

I posted a status update on Wednesday morning, 8 hours after Ezra had been delivered and about 5 since we said our final goodbyes: I delivered our precious baby BOY (approximately 17 weeks gestational age) at 12:35 this morning. Sweet Ezra Coleman weighed 5.8 oz and was 7 in. long. We thank God for the gift of life, no matter how short, and we rejoice knowing our son is safe and whole in the arms of Jesus.

It was short and to the point. It communicated my heart at that time, but it didn’t express how painful the experience was. I wasn’t ready to make that public knowledge. Maybe I was putting up a strong front as I had done for my family. I spent much of my time making sure no one was uncomfortable, which, of course,in hindsight, I know was pointless. We were all hurting.

The next morning, when I woke up, along with tears came an idea that seemed like it had been planted in my head: I couldn’t keep this story of grace to myself. I had to write the ways that God was working as He was doing it or else He would never receive the glory that He deserves for sustaining us the way He did during this excruciating time in our lives.

So I wrote. Through tears, through doubts, and devastating grief. I wrote with family next to me, trying to comfort me, but nothing was as therapeutic as putting it down. Writing has always been a release for me. It made me recognize His hand in it all, put into words those He spoke to me, and accept what He had allowed in our life.

But that was not all I hoped for it. I wanted it to, first, bless the name of the Lord, who gives and takes away. I also wanted it to speak to those who had suffered loss or who were experiencing difficulty in their lives. I wanted it to say, “God is good. He knows our pain, and He will carry us.” Finally, I wanted it to speak to those who grieve that have no hope, that I have it only because I have Jesus Christ.

It was hard to do, but I wrote. And people read. People from many cultural, family, and religious backgrounds. I heard from many people whom I had never met who wrote to tell me they were touched by Ezra’s three part story. When Ezra was born, my ministry was born. And though, like his life, it may have been short lived, I am thankful it had its moment.

I will likely never have as many readers as I had those first few days after his birthday. I will probably never have the opportunity to influence like I did during that time, but I do know that I can minister to the heart of each mommy that suffers this kind of loss one heartbreaking case at a time. While my ministry was once many words in the public sphere, the words that mean the most will be the ones silently uttered to my Heavenly Father. I can pray for these women in a way that most people can’t. It may sound strange, but my loss paved the way to a dream come true!

If I had known that being used in a BIG way would mean MAJOR loss in my life, would I dare to dream? I’m afraid I would not. I’m just glad that God is the author of my story, and all He asks of me is to tell it!

 

Still Yet Songs to Sing — July 31, 2013

Still Yet Songs to Sing

My dad has often blessed me with his gift of poetry, but never more than He did with this which he wrote soon after the loss of our precious son, Ezra Coleman.

Sitting close in my truck beside me
My angel would sing her tune.
The joy that came from those little lips,
Was larger than sun or moon.
My princess there beside me,
My world was so complete.
The songs that flowed from her heart
The melody so sweet.

Adult-life brought some shadows
Temporarily throwing you off key
But I view your strength and faith
It is an awesome sight to me.
This mournful moment slammed you.
Others are silenced by such a thing
But I know my Precious Princess-
There are songs yet for you to sing.

The loss of your son wounds us all.
But no one more than you.
Though I trust in God- I often think,
I would have loved to hear his song, too.
And we will some day- I know it.
Beside him, we will bow
Singing praise to He who will open our eyes
To what He has allowed.
For then we will understand
And see that it was right
But it’s okay, you’re not weak
If tears haunt you at night.

So sit here close beside me
I want to hear your voice
No other spot under heaven-
No- beside you would be my choice.
Bellow both your joy and pain-
Just let your lovely tune ring.
And know, my Precious Princess,
There are still yet songs to sing.

I love you,
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Ordering a Headstone — July 5, 2013

Ordering a Headstone

After Ezra’s birth, we took some time to rest but have since hit the road and have been as busy as ever. It has been surprisingly easy to get back into our routine and live life as normally as possible. While there are still those moments where I ache for my little one, I have been busy enough to distract myself from the hole that remains in my heart.  However, one little detail, one little decision totally threw off that routine for me and has sent me back into the pit of emotions I found myself in the week following Ezra’s birth.

After putting off the decision for a few weeks, it was time to order a headstone. There is nothing at his gravesite to show he is there. Not even his name…I feel like somebody dropped the ball on that one! Thankfully, I know he is right next to sweet baby Wesley Tolson.

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Picking out the actual stone was not the hard part. That was easy because, well, there wasn’t much to pick from, and we had a few non-negotiable things that we were looking for. But when it came down to picking a “phrase of endearment” for Ezra’s headstone, I was at a loss. How do you honor a precious little life, acknowledge a deep sense of loss, and praise the Savior who got you through it all in four words or less? If you’ve ever read my blog you, of course, know that I am a wildly wordy woman! I can take the simplest sentence and stretch it into a vividly descriptive paragraph fit for a fantasy novel. So, naturally, this was difficult for me.

I put undue pressure on myself to come up with this perfect phrase, although my husband who knows me so well it scares me, reminded me that nothing we picked would be good enough for me. I was afraid he was right!

After much googling, debate, and discussion, as well as a tearful visit to our precious boy’s gravesite, Paul basically forced me to make a decision. In fact, he threatened to smack me if I came home from the cemetery without my mind made up. Of course, he was kidding!

I feared that I would feel like it was all over. This seemed like the last step and the last thing we would ever be able to do for our baby. I know, it’s kind of silly; he doesn’t know and doesn’t care. And as my sweet friend, Stephanie Cornwell reminded me during a particularly stressed-out moment, he is too busy worshipping at the feet of Jesus to care what his headstone says! I knew she was right, and thankfully, after the decision was made, I didn’t feel the way I feared I would at all. I felt as though I let out a big, satisfying sigh. 

It’s not over, but one of the hardest parts is.

The phrase we chose for our sweet baby’s grave is the phrase that my precious friend, Holly Pearson had engraved on the beautiful necklace she had made for me and gave me on the day of Ezra’s memorial: “May God Be Glorified.”

For these grieving parents, those four little words just say it all.

Filling in the Cracks — May 28, 2013

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 — May 24, 2013

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!

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