Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Dimension

I feel something new coming; my desire is growing stronger. When I am wounded, I feel pain. It's good to feel pain because it means my heart can feel. If I feel-I can heal. A certain saying reads "No pain, no gain". When Jesus healed the lame man he rose up and walked, praising Jesus. Is that what healing is? Will I actually be able to praise God for this pain-for this healing? After Kira died and the grief came I had no idea what to expect. I felt so out of my comfort zone because life was unpredictable and my feelings were on a hypothetical rollercoaster. God ministered to me every day. I had no idea what the next day would be like. I soon learned that God does and He sent me people every day that ministered to me and were tangible pieces of God. He gave me thoughts through the Bible that helped me understand Him. He provided the correct circumstances for me to learn to rely on Him. He gave me the courage to allow myself to grieve and feel the pain. My trust in God has been gradually strengthened and has slowly become a vital part of my life again. Likewise I have no idea how healing will happen. I feel totally out of my comfort zone just as much as I did with the grief. Jesus calls me to live out of the new life in Him. A part of me would like to be stagnant and needy forever. It's not a God-inspired feeling. It's the feeling of Satan wanting to keep me in one place and in that way paralyze me. It's a battle, one that I refuse again to believe his lies and choose to continue to embrace the cross and it's healing power in my life. As for how the healing will happen...I decided I to stay along for the ride!

Kira and Marlea went through a stage where they were very bandaid-happy. We would go through boxes of bandaids; bandaids healed everything. Kira always has a scrape or a banged-up toe. When she was finished with hers she would stick them anywhere she found cenvenient. I found them on chairs, I scraped them off the floors, on her toys, dolls, or whatever she thought needed one. Bandaids made them so happy that I decided the fun was worth the several dollars' expense. Eventually bandaid use got to be ridiculous so we just didn't buy any more. Then the someone indeed started to bleed, alas - there was none to be had.

We greatly appreciate your continuing prayers!

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

God's Pleasure

God continues to remain a mystery to me. I like mysteries, so it works well for me. When Kira was in the hospital and also over the time of her funeral, my brother and his wife basically moved into our "house" and took over Anna's care. It was a gift to us that we appreciated immensely. Anna was doted on, and lavished with love and attention those days. She strongly attached herself to them and as the days went by would even choose my sister in law, Martha rather than me. I didn't mind because I was stressed and busy and it was so nice to watch Anna enjoying them and they her. John and Martha love children but never had any of their own. When the time came for me to reclaim Anna it was heart-wrenching for me to watch them encourage her to rebond to me. They did it so well and were willing to step back and be aunt and uncle again. Anna had mother confusion for a little while. Probably over the next three months every time we would see them she would look somewhat confused and react a bit although it soon became less and less. I knew I could never repay them but I pleaded with God to give them one of their own. Tuesday their wish was granted. They are now a family of three after having given birth to a little girl. Martha and Kira almost shared a birthday-one day apart. My due date was on Martha's birthday but Kira decided to be a day ahead of time. Tuesday was Merlin's birthday. To us it feels like a gift from God to them; one that God planned to be on Merlin's birthday just to give us an extra encouragement to celebrate new life and good things that happen to people we love. It feels like a mystery-one for which I have no explanation besides the boundless joy in my heart. My joy comes from their embracing Anna so selflessly and then giving her back again. I had always wanted them to experience parenting but my fervor and desire for them intensified so much after watching them with Anna. My joy also comes from the shared birthday! One that will always be a reminder to us of the mystery of God!

Kira was crazy and had great tactics of pestering. One of her favorite things to do while I "tried" to sew was to stand behind me on the chair. Any one that sews knows that doesn't work too well. I am constantly reminded of it when I wear some of my dresses. The topstitching seams on some of them are just simply crooked. She would always manage to give me a good bump right in the middle of the waist or somewhere very noticeable. I got tired of taking them out so they are just crooked. I kinda like them like that now.

Please pray that we will know how to embrace healing and God's ways.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Day of Remembrance

Last Saturday we attended a ceremony at Hershey for children that have passed away in the last year or more. Everything about me rebelled against the pain of going. To begin with - it was just extremely difficult to drive there. Marlea even put on the cd that we had in the van that week, which added to my misery. I could feel my muscles stiffening, my heart bleeding, and my eyes starting to tear. Then it was seeing people again that I haven't seen for six months to a year; important people who were part of my journey to God. Merlin and I took the workshops offered on grief while the children were entertained or played with - whatever happened. My fist one was on "self-Care strategies." It overwhelmed me; I was so tense just from coming there that to try to relax and enjoy the music and wisdom on journaling etc. just brought the tears. Strangely enough though, I look around and everyone else is struggling too. Oh, that's right I remember, they are in the same situation as me. I divided the feeling of common ground into three categories: a third felt good to be with people that understood without words, a third of me felt angry that we have to know how this feels, and a third of me felt totally overwhelmed by all the pain. My heart felt so ripped open again. My eyes refused to stop shedding tears. The one eye cried the whole time, the other eye only some of the time. That made me feel even more confused - that just my one eye wouldn't listen when I told it to stop. I felt so out of control. Maybe that is how God will tell me to heal by letting my one eye cry and not the other? The second session I took was "grief spiral" and the speaker talked about different age groups and how each one deals with grief. In the afternoon we had a ceremony and a slide show of children that have died. Kira was almost the last one because it was in alphabetical order. It was just tough to see her picture with others that have died. It was like admitting again that it happened to see her picture up there. I am getting used to it but it was so real that she is not here; she is in heaven and we can't enjoy her here anymore. That was the end and we came home again to a house with only pictures and memories of her. I am still unwinding.

Before Kira had enough hair to comb, every morning she would get so mad at Marlea because Marlea had hair. She would try to push Marlea off the hair-combing stool and would scream and holler. The day finally came when I could comb her hair without it hurting her and she was so happy. Now Anna does it to Marlea and I smile knowing Anna's day will come too.

Thanks for praying!

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Take Me by the Hand

The Bible says "A little child shall lead them." As adults, we tend to make life quite complicated. I love to remember that following Jesus is simple; and that all we need to have is the faith of a little child to comprehend what He has done for us. Marlea took me by the hand today again. Well, maybe I should say - took my heart by the hand. She is in kindergarten at school and has struggled immensely adjusting to the school idea. Ever since last August, she has had a health problem of some kind. First she had poison oak, then hives, and then poison again. In the midst of it she mysteriously started throwing up at unpredictable times. We struggled to figure it out. Finally late last fall after another round of systemic poison, we did numerous tests. As a result, she is on digestive enzymes for her stomach. We had a beautiful reward of a happy little girl again but still there seemed to be shadows. We could make her stomach behave, but we couldn't take away the grief she was experiencing. All along she refused to play at recess with her classmates. She would not be convinced, bribed, or forced. She didn't want to play. Once last summer she told me "I don't want to play with children that are happy". End of discussion. There was no other explanation. A few weeks ago she had a nagging cough and ended up with walking pneumonia. I became quite anxious. What next was going to plague her? It had been one thing after the other for eight months. It was hard enough for me to relax and not try to predict what she would get next. Still, she wouldn't play at recess. A few more weeks have gone by; the sun is out again and it has been a year since her playmate left her. The last few times she was at school seemed much easier for her. We gave her a challenge. Get up ten school mornings in a row without being dragged out of bed and you will get a pink alarm clock (it's always better with "pink" in front of it.) Now she is jumping out of bed. The last few times her dresses were a bit more dirty and I was suspicious she is playing games with the other children. Today was the ultimate. She was so excited. They played kickball and she was playing! She was right out with it. I looked at her in astonishment and said "You mean you were playing a game?" She freely admitted to it. I shed a tear and thanked God for the gift of healing. And so I feel led by the hand. If it's okay for Marlea to play games feels like God is calling me too to be okay with healing. I've tried to stuff it because it makes it seem so long ago that I held Kira, touched her, cared for her. To heal means to move on. It means time has taken place and life is beginning to feel okay again. It means emerging from feeling needy and being able to give again. Healing means embracing the Cross and the joy that takes place in our lives when we surrender our will to God's.

Anna is hitting the two year old realm. Somehow our girls have all had a terrible habit of talking out loud in church. Anna is a pro at it her speech is very well refined for a two year old. On Sunday at church I was busy. It felt good again. I will never forget the embarrassment and humbling Kira put me through in church. We sit segregated and I could hear exactly what she was saying from wherever she sat with Merlin. If she couldn't say it she just settled it with a loud scream that made lots of heads turn. The feeling of "wow, who's child it that?" type of thing. I can't say I care to repeat those scenarios but I am thankful for the humility it brought to my life!

Pray that we would have the courage to embrace the healing God is bringing us.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna