Joy and Pain

“There’s only one address anyone lives at and it’s always a duplex: Joy and pain always co-habit every season of life. Accept them both and keep company with the joy while the pain does its necessary renovations.” Ann Voskamp

Thank goodness somebody said it. And in her New Year’s post, no less! With all the joyous optimism surrounding this new year, I can’t help but feel even more isolated in the singular thought that’s been hounding me since midnight on Sunday: 2012 will be the year that I likely have to bury a child. All the good feelings and hopeful resolutions that usually accompany the ringing in of a new year have been overshadowed by this reality, especially since it’s fast approaching. In the four months since we’ve received Elizabeth’s diagnosis, I’ve been telling myself that we’d deal with all of that “sad stuff” after the holidays. I just wanted to get through a normal, happy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years before having to really think about such things as picking out a newborn casket, locating a cemetery, planning a memorial service.

I knew that when I got out a new calendar, I’d have to mark January 28th as my due date, schedule in each of my now weekly OB visits and have a constant, visual reminder that this is the month. One of my mom’s token Christmas presents is always a big, pretty brand new calendar. The one she gave me this year has scripture at the top of each page. The verse for this month that I have opened on my fridge displaying my due date and all those OB appointments? “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.'” Isaiah 41:13. He always provides the grace. The grace that leads to joy, even in the midst of pain. For they can exist together. So, I go boldly into 2012, into the “sad stuff” that awaits. He’s holding my hand.

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  1. I know this month will not be easy for you in any means. I am praying for you and Onan. I was re-reading chapter 5 in One Thousand Gifts and came upon this verse this morning : “Should I accept good from you, and not trouble?” Job 2:10. Hang in there girl. Remember — all is from Him. She reminds us that in the emptiness we have the opportunity to turn to God, the only begetter of grace, and there we find all the fullness of joy. Can’t wait to see what’s ahead for you and your family. I know there are dark days, but the grace you’ll receive. Oh, how sweet. xo

  2. Oh Leah. What is there to say, except that I am praying and praying faithfully. Daily, you and your sweet babe are on my heart and in my mind and in my prayers. I am depending upon our Father to sustain you, strengthen you, bless you on this road. Sweet Elizabeth! Blessed baby girl! She will see God and be held face-to-face, whilst you will be held in Spirit, and comforted in time. I do not know how your days will be, but I do know that you will not be far from my spirit and my prayers! I cannot tell you how much I love sweet Elizabeth, or how I wish I could hold her and kiss her sweet cheeks when you see her that first moment! I am excited for you two to meet! Please know that we will be praying, rejoicing and mourning with you! And also, praising God beside you… Though miles away 🙂 xoxoxoxo

  3. Leah – amazing wife to my #1 nephew! I’m praying for you and Oni, for grace to accept that which we can not change (only our Lord can do that, yet He may have more special plans for baby Elizabeth) and for strength and comfort during that time. In the mean time my most fervent prayer is that He wraps you in His loving embrace and that you continue to enjoy each and every day you have with Elizabeth and don’t let the future overshadow that joy – tomorrow will come regardless, so live in today. I love you Leah, and my #1 nephew and your babies!!! God bless you.

  4. you are amazing… GOD is amazing. he is giving you so much grace and strength. honored to be your friend. praying you through the hard stuff, every day.

  5. Praying daily for you! When I read this, I thought of the hymn “Day by Day”. Praying the Lord would continue to pour grace on your life especially during this difficult month. We know His grace is sufficient and He has our good and His glory in mind. Know you are greatly loved here in Indiana!!!!

  6. Oh my, this is so true, isn’t it? Thanks for the reminder. This horrible balance act is so where we all live. It makes me glad this world is not my home!!! Your sweet Elizabeth won’t ever have to know about all the heart ache here.
    It makes me think of an epitaph I saw in in old, old cemetary years ago. The dates on the grave were just one day, and it read “Budded on earth to bloom in Heaven.”
    I will be praying for you, Leah. Praying for grace and strength, as I’m sure each hour of this month will be a struggle. May you see God’s richest blessings and provision every moment.

  7. Betsy Langmade

    I am praying for you fiercely in the days ahead, Leah. Our God will hold your right hand and His presence will be known by you in a way you never thought possible. Rest in His love, just as you have been. He will carry you through.

  8. Ah Leah. I have been thinking about you every day for the past week or two. Please know you always have a safe haven in our group. Love you so much. Callie

  9. Erika Hartzell

    Leah, you are such an inspiration. Oh my goodness. It is my earnest prayer that you know how closely each of us holds you and Onan right now. It is so hard to know how to encourage or comfort but knowing you are resting in Him, you will find daily strength and grace that only He can provide. I only pray my walk with the Lord would be so close and steadfast as yours has been through this sweet blessing of Elizabeth yet great trial you have been entrusted with. I love you, Leah.

  10. Anonymous

    Hi Leah…I suppose you were still a teenager the last time I saw you or spoke with you. I was able to read your blog today as a result of noticing a post that your mom placed on FB, so I don’t know any of your circumstances…but as a mom who unexpectantly said goodbye on this earth to her 16 year old daughter involved in a car accident this past summer…I share your heart!
    There are a couple of things that I can share with you as you and your family embark on this never ending journey (until we get to Heaven, that is…) is that you have never experienced the grace and strength of God like you will at the time He pours it out! He is faithful….in the days when there is not another tear in your body to shed…He is faithful…when your strength is drained and you cannot put one foot in front of the other…He is faithful…when your heart physically hurts to the point that you are not sure you will be able to take your next breath…..He is faithful! His presence will be something that I can assure you you’ve never experienced before!
    God bless and comfort you and your family! You will be in my continued prayers!
    Marsha Key

  11. Kim K.

    I started reading your blog when a friend mentioned it on Facebook. I have prayed for you and have been inspired by your trust in God and your love for this child. Through your writing you have given Elizabth a life that others can know about and care for. Only God knows the far reaching outreach of her short life because of your blog. Thank you for sharing so much of your joy and pain. Many will be praying for you on your sad days ahead. God will be very close.

  12. Anonymous

    I love you so much…..But I know God loves you even more. I don’t know what you need at this time but He does. I’m so glad that you know Him who does all things well.We are praying…….love Gramma

  13. Anonymous

    Leah, I am praying for you. We have a mutual friend, Nathan Roberts, who was telling us on facebook about your family. I am hurting for you, yet, so blessed with your blog. Please know, my sister in Christ, that I am praying for you continuously today and for that sweet, sweet, baby Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Baby Elizabeth is already touching many hearts. …In Him, Marliesa

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