By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Pursuing God, Sawyer's Story, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Ever feel like things are out of control? I hate that feeling. Then I realize how stupid it is that I even think that because that means I think that I am in control and isn’t that an arrogant thought! There are indeed parts of my life that I currently have direct influence over but that is about the extent of it.
This week a good friend of mine has been helping me put American Clay on the walls of our kitchen and dinning room. It is a truly unique product that creates a really authentic feel. My friend has done this clay process many times before and graciously volunteered to help me. In simple terms the process involves taking a glue/sand primer mixture and painting it on the walls then taking mud, rubbing it on the walls, letting it dry and doing it again. If there was ever something that I never expected to do in my life it was rubbing mud on my walls! The process is messy and lengthy but the end result is truly beautiful. After two days of application the job still isn’t done. Now we need to moisten the walls and compact the clay against the wall. After that we are going to apply a tea colored pigment to add a little extra depth.
Above: mixing the moss colored pigment into the clay.
While the process progresses we have drop cloths, painters tape and plastic adorning our kitchen and dining room in an attempt to keep the clay on the walls and not the rest of the house. Our fridge is in the middle of the kitchen floor and ladders scale the walls. As excited as I am to be doing this project, the inability to really clean up the house creates within me an unsettling feeling–like an itch that can’t be scratched. I am an organizer, a cleaner. When my home is clean and organized I feel like I can relax, I feel in control of things on the home front.
As I put our evening dishes in the dishwasher tonight I fought the urge creeping up inside of me to rip down the plastic draping the cabinets above my head. As I drifted into my daydream of crazy drop cloth purging God gently reminded me that I am being a brat. He reminded me that I have a HOME when more people that I can even wrap my mind around have nothing to call their own right now in Haiti. I have a FAMILY when so many more can no longer hang on to that truth. I have CLEAN CLOTHES and will crawl into a WARM BED tonight. I HAVE WAY MORE TO BE THANKFUL FOR than I can even list. How dare I be irritated at the mess in my kitchen?!
And as I start to be overwhelmed at the thoughts surrounding those in Haiti I am also reminded of the bigger picture that although I am not, God IS in control. He has a plan. He begins it in Genesis “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” and he will be the one to see it through to the end by saying “Yes I am coming soon” in the last verse of the bible in Revelation 22:20. Stupid sin has tangled up a huge mess that has complicated everything but it is nothing that won’t be corrected by our Savior. If we have placed our trust in Him, we are given a glimpse of our future in heaven by reading Revelation 22:1-3a “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse.” I love that image! It shows us many things but tonight it reminds me that God has a plan and it includes life, endless fruit and divine healing. Forget my kitchen, God’s spread is way more enticing!
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Sawyer's Story, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2009
October has been designated as "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month", with October 15 as "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day".
I got an email today from a mom named Emily from Stepping Stones Blog that also knows this lost first hand. She put to words so well my own thoughts. She said:
How many people go about with no awareness of this topic at all?
I know that until it happened to me I had no idea that babies sometimes died. With modern medicine and all the prenatal testing available how on earth can something like this occur? Sure, it happened back in the pioneer days and maybe still in third world countries. But here in the US? In 2009? How can it be that nobody talks about this?
And I ask you. How many newspaper articles have you seen this month? How many news features? Magazine articles? Billboards? Emails? Facebook updates? Ah. Well, there you go. Little by little, one by one, we add our voice to those that talk about it.
Those who have never had to deal with this sad topic prefer to go about naively. And I don't blame them. I wish I could. It is a sad subject. But once it happens to you, once you have lost a child, you know there is something sadder still. That your baby will be forgotten. Ignored. That people will pretend that they never existed. And that, for me, is what awareness is about.
Spreading awareness to me is sharing my child. Saying his name. Educating folks that instead of being silent, all they need to say is "I'm so sorry". Awareness month to me is knowing that I am not alone in remembering my boy. Through memory walks, balloon releases, kindness projects and lighting candles others remember him with me.
I invite you to participate tomorrow in a 'Wave of Light'. At 7pm your local time light a candle and place it outside for an hour. And know that you are not alone in remembering your child.
I also invite you to stop by Stepping Stones Blog tomorrow and add your baby's name to our list of children we are missing. Together we can help each other not to feel so alone.
I also invite you to leave a note here with your baby's name and anything else you might like to share to help us remember them with you.
Sending out ((hugs)) to those of you who are missing the hug of a very important child–yours.
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Sawyer's Story, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Monday, October 5, 2009
Today I turn 31. I have been thinking a lot about the past year and am filled to overflowing with gratefulness at this last year. What an amazing blessing it is to look back and have a year full of GOOD, HAPPY, JOY FILLED moments to remember! It seems like it could be considered my first full year of joy since we mourned the loss of our sweet Sawyer. God is so good and His faithfulness continues through all generations! (Psalm 119:90)
A few of my favorite highlights from the last year:
I don't know what the future holds, but I DO know who holds the future and that will continue to give me joy. Thank you God for this last year, I trust you with whatever time is left to come.
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Pursuing God, Sawyer's Story, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Sunday, September 20, 2009
One month ago tomorrow marked our 10th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we renewed our vows in the company of friends and a sea of kids (amazing how many more kids were around at this vow renewal as compared to our 5th anniversary:). For those of you who weighed in on which dress I should wear, I did go with "Option A", thanks for your input;)! To view more photos of our day, click here.
In addition to our vow renewal, we planned a getaway together (for the first time in a very long time). We dropped off Hunter and Ashlyn at Grandma and Grandpa's house and with Quinten sleeping soundly in the backseat, drove to Seattle. Seattle holds a special place in our hearts. It was where we first officially declared our "like" for each other during the summer between our Sophomore and Junior year of college. Previous to this trip we had been communicating via email, many long distance phone calls and letters (complete with mix-tapes and cleverly packaged in home-made envelopes such as paper plates and cereal box covers). During that time we had communicated openly on virtually every topic, except how we felt about each other. At the end of the summer Trent flew out to visit and I picked him up at the Seattle airport. He came off the plane holding a shoe box which creatively contained a bouquet of wild flowers. He had hand picked the flowers for me out of a neighbor's yard (the back story to the flowers is really fun but I will stay focused here). Since it was not only his first time on an airplane, but his first time near the ocean (he was a mid-West boy thru and thru), I decided a walk on the piers along Puget Sound was in order. Trent came up with the idea (which likely was his clever excuse to hold my hand) for me to close my eyes while he led me and described our surroundings. I remember the fun of that simple game. To have an 'excuse' to hold on tightly to his arm, straining to pick up all the auditory clues around me but having one strong voice to focus on right beside me. That "blind walk of trust" was not only unique but a great chance to get a deeper glimpse into his playful personality. Later that evening with the romantic glow of the street light bouncing off the pavement, we stood together and confessed that we liked each other. When I admitted that I had been unsure of his feelings toward me, I remember him raising his eyebrows, clutching his heart and falling backward onto the quiet street to display his disbelif. In retrospect, it seems silly that I questioned it, but I hadn't wanted
to assume that he saw me as more than a friend. Had I assumed and been
wrong, I would have been crushed.
Now after ten years of marriage, we found ourselves once again re-walking that same path by the pier together, still arm in arm, but this time adorned with Quinten and a decade of time shared between us. As our feet strolled along, my mind seemed to skip and fumble back over the years, recalling in a few moments the monumental milestones that we have journeyed through together. And as if my memory were a cul-de-sac, it easily routed itself back to thoughts of Sawyer. Although time has stretched the frequency of my thoughts toward him, he is never far from my heart.
At the end of the weekend, on our return trip home, we stopped to refuel the car and feed Quinten. As I sat in the front seat of the van at the gas station parking lot, I took note of my surroundings. It didn't take me long to decide that this hot, barren town was not a place where I wanted linger long. No sooner had I written this spot-on-the-map town off in my mind, than a sign in the adjacent vacant lot caught my eye. "Future Site of 102 RM Luxury Hotel" it declared boldly. Had I been taking a drink of water, I would have likely caught myself choking as I scoffed in disbelief. "Are you kidding me?" I thought. "A LUXURY hotel right here? Who would plan such a site?" There were other areas, some not too far away, that seemed much more appropriate for such grand plans, why here on this barren, desolate land tucked behind a dirty gas station? Then, as if God himself were speaking to my mind (and I believe that he was) came the answer: Because someone sees value and hope in what I see as void and lifeless.
Suddenly my mind started to see connections that had been invisible before.
Going back to that first late-night walk in Seattle: had any other person in the city of Seattle asked me to walk blindly by their side, I would have quickly fled. However, because Trent wanted to lead me and because I trusted him, I was willing to walk forward–eyes closed–toward an unknown destination in faith.
I believe that we are all being led, by our beliefs, our opinions, our prejudices. The question is, do the things that we hold onto deserve our trust? Trent is indeed trustworthy but more than that and at a much deeper level, God is asking each of us to reach out and grab a hold of Him.
And just as I hadn't been sure of Trent's affection toward me after all the time we had shared together, I think we are often guilty of either misunderstanding God's intentions toward us or clearly missing His attempts to show us how deeply He loves us. He has revealed Himself to us in more ways than we recognize and reached out to us in ways we have not credited Him with.
God, like the builder planning the luxury hotel, sees something valuable in us that we may not even know is there, waiting to be built.
I believe that for myself, God wants me to step out in faith and write a book about my journey of loss and healing. I see myself represented in the photo below after losing Sawyer, a barren, dry plot of land with a sign promising great things to come. I believe that God was faithful to build upon that empty land and construct something within me that could serve to point others to his faithfulness. My hearts' desire is to offer my story of His faithfulness to others who feel barren and full of grief. It is my hope that they will in turn, reach out and grab a hold in faith, allowing God to lead them and discover something new being built within their desolate place.
I humbly ask for your prayers of wisdom, guidance and direction as I begin this process.
(The photo above is the "Future Site of 102 RM Luxury Hotel". I knew I needed to take a picture of it to help me remember the lesson I had just learned.)
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Pursuing God, Sawyer's Story, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Thursday, June 25, 2009
"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy." Psalm 30:11
I am now a woman with full arms. My heart sings again. My eyes have now cried for JOY. My eyes gaze upon a new miracle and don’t fear that it will be the last time.
It is one thing to try to explain your birth story in a way that depicts the thoughts and feelings and emotions under normal circumstances. It is difficult, if not impossible to attempt to describe the intangible details that comprised Quinten's birthday on June 16th.
- What stands out most deeply in my memory was the surreal feeling of knowing that “today is the day—there is no more waiting”. Even as we drove into town early that morning I remember telling Trent that it was still hard to believe that we would be holding a baby, our baby, in a matter of hours, the countdown was finally ending.
- I will never forget the beautiful serenade of Quinten’s heartbeat over the monitor that we got to hear all day long. It was an amazing comfort to hear that repetitive sound, strong and constant.
- It felt like a party! I was wearing a “princess delivery gown” as Ashlyn would call it and had my best friend (Trent) by my side and hundreds of facebook comments to encourage me as we updated my status as the day progressed. I felt like I had an overflow of support and prayers, even as midnight approached, many were still up checking and praying, it was amazing.
- And then, the “moment” when Quinten was born and he let out a cry, strong and clear. That was the breath that allowed me to stop holding mine. The longing, the hoping, the praying, the dreaming, the wishing, all joined hands and danced around in the room together as my eyes welled up with tears and overflowed in thankful gratitude.
Quinten James Ledeboer
Loved and cherished more than he may ever know
We chose the name Quinten primarily because we loved the uniqueness of it. It means "fifth" and although he is not our fifth child, I am reminded that it was on 5/5/08 that we found out Sawyer had died and it was in the labor and delivery room #5 that Quinten was born.
We chose the middle name "James" for its meaning "come after, succeed, follow — be the successor of" in honor of Sawyer knowing that it is because of Sawyer's short life that we have been blessed with the life of Quinten.
I don't think it is possible for me to properly convey how much your support, prayers and consistent encouragement has meant to me as we have traveled along our journey this past year. I have been challenged, encouraged, blessed and humbled by your kindness. I pray that God will in turn richly bless you. From this Mom 4 Life to you: ((hugs))