**Disclaimer: this post is honest, emotional and lengthy. But my hope is that you will choose to read it at a time you feel is best for you and that hopefully it may help you find hope and joy in whatever circumstances you may be facing**
Today, January 13, 2014, is exactly 3 years since our sweet Bo was stillborn. This day that should have been one of the happiest days of my life, instantly turned into the most tragic and heart shattering. Here we were….hearts broken, empty and even a little scared. Unsure of the future, unsure of what to feel, think, do, or say…..what do we do now?? All I can say is that over these 3 years, God has been healing our hearts, giving us peace and joy that is beyond what we can fully comprehend.
I will begin by saying that these truths/lessons are not always “easy” to learn or accept. So today, I just want to be transparent and share some things that have been on my heart…..it may be a little scattered because there are so MANY things I could say, but hopefully you will find encouragement and hope.
One of the very first things that I began to see differently was my belief and reality of heaven. I remember the Holy Spirit speaking very clearly to me one day when I was pouring my heart out to my mom. I remember telling her that I felt like the loss of Bo and the way we chose to respond was a “where the rubber meets the road” situation when it comes to our faith. All of our lives, we have verbally said that we believe in God, Jesus, Heaven, the Bible…….etc. So if we TRULY believed, TRULY trusted Him…..then at the end of the day, I can have peace and even JOY that my son is in heaven. AND, my son is not “gone” or “lost”…..I know exactly where he is, WHO he is with, he is ALIVE and even more…… I will see him again one day. So let’s sum that up……Bo is in the most perfect place that could ever exist, in the arms of Jesus, enduring no pain, no bad decisions, no hurt, no sickness……only perfect peace, perfect love, perfect hope. Wow. I will admit that it’s hard to wrap my mind around this truth, but oh what peace and comfort this gives my soul and my heart as his mother. And I can’t wait to be there with him one day!!
So now you might be thinking…..whoa….she must not really grieve anymore, she must never question God, etc. Let me just say…..that is the furthest thing from the truth. I still have times that I break down and cry/sob and my heart feels so hurt and broken because I MISS MY SON. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him multiple times. Not just once a day, but MULTIPLE times a day. Some days I smile and find joy in those moments…….some days are just hard and my heart longs to hold him and kiss him. We have found that there are certain things that “trigger” these emotions….some of these triggers we can see coming; others are completely out of the blue. We have realized though that this is our life, this is our journey and reality. But at the end of the day we have a choice……which brings me to my next truth/lesson…….
I feel like that how we respond overall to the bad/tragic/terrible/heartbreaking (and the list goes on) things that happen in our lives eventually comes down to a choice. Now don’t get me wrong….there are going to be those initial moments and periods of time (which differ for everyone) that things bring us to our breaking point and we totally lose it. Especially things/events that happen out of the blue. I was not immune to that….when we were told that Bo’s heart had stopped beating, I began to literally cry and scream out that this couldn’t be happening. I was very angry, hurt, confused, broken, etc. I had so many thoughts and questions racing through my head…..”how do I face another day?”, “how do we tell our daughter who had waited so long for a sibling?”, “why would God allow this to happen to ME?”, “what did I do wrong?”, “how do I face going home to the nursery and all of the things we had ready for him?”, “how do I face another person?”, “why is the sun still shining?”, “if someone says (insert unhelpful and insensitive statement) again, I’m going to SCREAM”. Yes, these were some of my initial thoughts and feelings and I had a difficult time showing grace to people who I felt like they just didn’t understand. But very quickly I started praying and just being totally honest with God about all of these thoughts and feelings. I can’t begin to explain the glimpses of peace that God allowed me to experience, even just hours after giving birth to Bo. I was so desperate and broken that the only thing I knew to do was to cry out to Him and choose to believe that He could restore my joy. So fast forward over these past few years and I can tell you that God has definitely been healing my heart and has restored my joy, my peace and my hope. After some time had passed, I decided that I wanted to choose to find JOY and BLESSINGS rather than bitterness and anger.
I want to take the opportunity at this point to say that Travis and I are blessed beyond measure with the most supportive friends, family and church. Maybe one day I will try to put into words in another blog post about how incredible it is to be surrounded by such people. The love and support that was poured out on us just blew us away. I still have friends that ask me how I’m doing (especially around this time of year) and I have friends that are not afraid to mention Bo or include him when speaking about our family. Wow…..what a treasure we have in these relationships!!!
Ok, back to lessons/truths……one thing have I learned recently through a discipleship group I’m in is that we all find our identity in something(s). Food, money, alcohol, appearance, social status, people’s opinions…..and the list goes on and on. But as a Christ follower, I know that my identity should be found in Christ and nothing else. I am a daughter of the one true King, the Maker of the universe. My identity is not defined by others or my circumstances……it is found in Christ and His unconditional love for me. I simply LOVE the phrase from Song of Solomon…..”I am yours, and you are mine.” Some versions say, “I am my beloveds and he is mine.” This verse is referenced a lot at weddings and I love the symbolism. It describes the unfailing, matchless love of a husband and wife and also the relationship of Christ and His church/followers. I know that when I hurt, my God hurts with me….when I rejoice, He rejoices with me because I am His and He is mine. So right now I am in the process of learning to find my identity in Christ, not in my circumstances and not in others’ opinions of me. Of course, our tragedies are and always will be a part of our journey, but they do not have to define us.
Lastly, I want to share one more truth that God has shown me. I believe that God has used Bo Braswell and Brooklyn Kane for an incredible purpose and plan and I am honored that He chose me to be Bo’s mom. Lisa and I do not take credit at all for Covered In Love and the blessings that have come from this ministry. Before having Bo, I would have never chosen this path because my human mind would not have been able to see the beauty that would come from ashes. But now I can see where God has “turned my mourning to dancing” (Psalm 30:11) He has shown me that there “may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5) and that He has a plan, “plans to prosper (me) and not to harm (me), plans to give (me) a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). And on the days when I am hurting and don’t have the strength to put one foot in front of the other, He says to me, His child, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).