Becoming mom#2. No thanks!

Every year that passes since  becoming a mom I realize how important it is for a child to have a mother figure in their lives. I also have come to appreciate even more so, the incredible strength and courage it must have taken for my “second” mom to join our family.

I have heard countless times over the last twenty five years the wonderful stories about my “first” mom. With each accomplishment or hurdle I’ve overcome I have been encouraged by those who knew her, lovingly telling me that she would have been proud. With the birth of each of my boys I knew that she would have loved to have been there to hold them and love on them. I know that had she lived, she would have continued to be the loving mother that God created her to be. I know that she would have continued to teach me how to live a life for Christ. All of this I am certain of. I have never taken for granted the conversations and comments from those who knew her. I appreciate the words of affirmation that she would have been proud of who I am today.

Now, with that being said, I didn’t become who I am today with my “first” mom by my side. I’m not implying that I’m some high and mighty wonder woman but when I think of those comments it makes me realize that my “second” mom was who my “first” mom would have picked out, had she been given the choice. No one dreams of having their mom suddenly killed. I can’t imagine a situation where a ten year old would be able to hand pick a woman to replace the most important human role in a young girls life. We don’t live in a Mary Poppins fairy tale where some lady comes flying down from the sky holding an umbrella and each item on the “wish list” is checked off. In fact, most step moms are said to fly in on their broom sticks like the wicked witch of the west.

Without a doubt I have to say that the bravest woman that I know is my mom, from this point on the mom I refer to is “mom # 2”. Imagine taking on the role of a mother to two kids, one in their teens and one not far behind. To enter into the instant role of “mom” to kids, who less than a year before lost the only mom they ever knew. Stepping into the shoes of a woman who was so loving and well loved by all who met her. This would be enough to make me run in the opposite direction and say “thanks, but NO thanks!”. Imagine packing up your life in the city you grew up in, established your life in and move eight hours away where you didn’t know anyone. I guess in a SMALL sense I did the same thing by moving from Canada to the good ol’ US of A but I didn’t have to step into anyone else’s shoes once I got here.

Being a mother is no easy task. Stepping into that role once there was already a solid mother figure in place has to be one of the hardest thing for any woman to do. My mom though, she did it. She joined our family and didn’t run away. She uprooted her life to keep ours as stable as it could be given the circumstances. There was always a picture of my first mom up in the house. My mom never assumed the role as a “replacement” but rather came in with love and kindness during the worst time in the lives of my dad, my brother and myself. The memory of the mom we had was never taken away or pushed aside. I can only imagine that being mom#2 would come with a ton of emotional struggles from every angle. This was no easy journey to embark on, of that, I’m sure.

Who I am today, in large part is from the loving, caring and encouraging environment I grew up in. I have been blessed to have had ten years with a mom who loved me unconditionally and twenty five more with a mom who kept that love going. God takes away, this I am very much familiar with. God also gives. I don’t think I’m as strong or courageous as my mom is. It takes an extremely special woman to do what she did. She is not, and never has been a replacement. People cannot be replaced. She is simply, mom. Not the one that brought me into this world, but the one who has been by my side for the last twenty five years helping me navigate through it. With love, kindness and a heart for Christ, she has taught me how to be the best wife and mother that I can be.

This mother’s day I want to simply say thank you to the woman who heard God’s calling, and with a courageous heart, stepped up to the challenge. Without that leap of faith I know my life wouldn’t be same.  I love you, mom. 18447656_10155331856054772_5382076959760922186_n

God is Good. All the time.

Bridging the gap…

I’ve had the thirst to sit down and write for quite a while. I have lost count on the amount of blogs that I’ve started, only to delete.  A large part of my grief journey in the immediate and early stages of losing Nathaniel has been to write what I was experiencing. Having writing be my outlet played a huge part in my healing journey and in a sense has allowed me to feel at peace seeing my pain and hurt transform into words.

Today, at this moment, I am allowing myself to sit down and continue writing my life story. I do this with the hope that I will be able to bridge the gap between grief and joy.


Being pregnant with our newest blessing was an experience that compared to none other. The naïve outlook that I felt at the beginning of my other three pregnancies was nonexistent. The innocence that death could not touch my unborn child was replaced with the fear that death would absolutely be making its way back into our lives. I wished to have felt the unrealistic expectation that children will outlive their parents. Instead I felt that at any moment I would be faced with the heartache of another Miller baby waiting for me in heaven.

Each day I would take out my Doppler and find my babies heartbeat. In the early stages when finding the sound of his galloping heart was hit and miss, thoughts of how to face yet another devastating loss often filled my mind. Anxiety and fear would consume the rest of my day until I heard that sweet sound again. It was only then that I could exhale, it was only then that the uneasiness I felt in my gut let up a little bit and I could let myself feel joy.

No one could have prepared my heart for the emotions that took over as I was navigating my way through such unfamiliar territories. Without the innocence of not knowing the sting of losing a child I was stuck with figuring out how to allow myself to wholeheartedly love the new life while remaining loyal to the life that was lost.

10599286_10153880209114772_2717805825440428456_nThe struggle which remained up front and center was knowing that our fourth child would not have been able to exist had Nathaniel survived.  I still cannot allow myself to focus on that undeniable truth for too long. When we were mourning Nathaniel’s life on his actual due date back in June 2016, a new life was growing inside of me. Trying to allow myself to grieve while being joyful felt impossible. There were days that I felt such guilt for having too much of either of those emotions and not enough of the other. Had it not been for prayer and daily cries out to God, I don’t think I would have been able to find balance. I did not want myself to become numb and in turn not feel the joy of my fourth baby. I believe that God equips us with what we need to tackle life’s hardships. I believe that God knew that I needed to hold Nathaniel’s body in my hand in order to find peace. I believe that God has worked in my life and my families’ lives through the insurmountable loss.

Pregnancy after loss is undeniably hard. Emotionally and mentally it was unlike anything else I have ever felt. The constant fear that I could at any moment relive the same devastating incident shook me to the core. The innocent comments strangers would make referring to my pregnancy as my “third baby” was a hard thing to hear. Of course, it was absolutely right in assuming that “baby on the way” was number three, but the truth was not so. These innocent, non-malicious encounters that happened so often weighed huge in my grieving mom heart. The sorrow in knowing that an extremely small percentage of people will ever know of Nathaniel’s existence is a very hard reality that I still face to this day.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast

1 Peter 5:10

The strength that I found was knowing that God himself provides restoration. God carried me through the deepest valley after losing my baby. God held me close when I wept tears of guilt because of feeling blessed to have another life given to me. My strength through it all is in the Lord.

IMG_20170113_132000_242Jaxson Justin Miller was born on January 13th, 2017. Joy. Pure Joy. He has brought such joy to this house. His smile brings joy, his laugh brings joy, and his life brings us joy.

IMAG0546When he was born he cried only for a short time and then got very quiet. I remember being somewhat in a panic asking Justin if he was OK, I did not expect the fears of losing a baby in the womb to transfer to fears of losing a newborn. This was again a new set of feelings that I did not face with my older two boys. I held Jaxson for quite a while after he was born, I didn’t want to let him go. I wanted to hold on to him as long as I could and feel the warmth of his body next to mine.

IMG_20170330_044316_543Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions regarding a family who welcomes a new baby after the loss of another is that things get easier. It would be a lie for me to deny that I, myself, have often thought the exact same thing. Surely grief must slowly slip away as excitement surrounding the new baby takes over. This for me, couldn’t be further from the truth. Walking out of the hospital with little Jaxson was empowering and scary both at the same time. I was now walking a path that was unfamiliar, parenting a child after a loss. Almost everything was a learning curve, as if I had never done this before. Laying Jaxson down to sleep at night opened the door to nervousness. What if he stopped breathing while I was sleeping? What if he rolled over and suffocated? These thoughts were pretty distant in my mind for both Ethan and Konnor but with Jaxson…they were at the head of the line. Justin put a camera in his room and I had the tablet on right by my bed so that I could see him, so that I could see his stomach go up and down as he breathed. I still have the camera up beside me at night but now as time has gone on, I am able to sleep better. He is old enough now to roll over, crawl, pull himself up….I still fear the unthinkable but my nerves are far more at ease now than they were just a few short months ago.

20170327_161608For the first couple of months when I would be feeding Jaxson (which felt like a continual thing), I would often go up to my room, make myself comfortable on my bed and soak up the one on one time I had with him. During this time, I would be looking down at my new baby boy alive and well and then as I looked up slightly I would see Nathaniel’s urn sitting on the shelf right beside me. Every moment spent with Jaxson reminds me of Nathaniel. At first, it was hard. Hard to separate the two, hard to wrap my head around loving both of them so much but knowing they could not exist together. I had to shut down those feelings repeatedly in order to keep my sanity.

As hard as it has been and as unprepared I was to be in the situation I am in, I am extremely thankful that not once did I feel any resentment. Not once did I feel distant from my baby boy. I have always wanted Nathaniel and Jaxson to be two separate people in our family, which we have be successful in doing both in how we talk about them and the order in which” the brothers” line up…Ethan first, Konnor second, Nathaniel third and Jaxson fourth. Every time Jaxson reaches a millstone I think of Nathaniel, I wonder at what age he would have been doing the same thing. I think this is normal. I never want to get to a place where I don’t associate Nathaniel as part of my “boy team”. He definitely holds a unique and special place in our family.

Needless to say, life after a loss is hard. No it didn’t get better, no it didn’t get worse. Healing for Nathaniel has come with God helping me see the good in a tragic situation. Healing did not come with a new baby. I know that God made me to be the mother of all four of my boys, each one chiseled exactly how He needs them to be. God has equipped me with the mom tools I need to love and raise up His arrows. Truth is, one of His arrows was shot directly back to Him. Every day that I have with my boys is such a gift. Every smile, hug, slobbery open mouthed kiss (if you can call it that) which Jaxson gives me is a wonderful blessing. I am deeply in love with baby Miller #4, he has brought an abundance of joy to our family.







Jesus wept…

large_jesus-weptIn Sunday school it was often asked “what is the shortest verse in the bible?” To which nearly everyone knew, “Jesus wept”. I have to be honest that this verse never really held much meaning to me throughout the years. Not to say that I dismissed it but I used it as just one of those bible trivia facts that I could confidently answer when asked, not a life altering passage.

This year has opened my eyes to many things. Lately that little verse found in John 11:35 has gripped my heart like none other. Those words are being played over and over again in my mind both during the day and in the night when I am desperately trying to get some sleep. Why would these words all of a sudden hit me like a ton of bricks? Why does God desire my heart and soul to dig deeper into that two word sentence?

My heart has been deeply troubled now for a few weeks. Our lives are being turned upside-down once again and our healing hearts concerning the death of our son has had its scars painfully ripped away.

We are leading up to the anniversary of the day the medical experts deemed most likely possible that our sons heart beat for the last time, we are reminded of what this season looked like in our minds one year ago. This should have been Nathaniel’s first Christmas. I would have already picked out his baby’s first Christmas ornament and hang on the tree. The boys would have paced excitedly up and down the aisles at the toy store, picking out what they thought their little 7 month old brother would enjoy playing with. Life looked the polar opposite of what the reality is right now.

The circumstances of the loss of our baby is not something that we have been overly vocal about. We do believe there is medical reason as to why his heart stopped beating. There was a cause and effect that did bring us some comfort especially when we were faced with the pregnancy of our little Jaxson. The only thing that I can hold on to is that when I get to Heaven I will spend eternity with my third boy.

And yet my mind replays these words…Jesus wept.

Attachment-1.jpegWhen I was in the labor and delivery room, hooked up to IV’s, pumped with drugs and listening to babies being born in rooms around me, I was comforted and reminded that God is faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us. Those were the words that brought me comfort. Never once during my minutes to sometimes hours of tears as I anxiously waited to meet and say goodbye to my child did I think “Jesus wept.” So why now?

As I dig deeper into the facts that lead up to the famous shortest verse in the bible it made me realize what God has been trying so desperately to tell my aching heart. Most of us view God as a God of love and grace. Which is true. He created us, created this world and loved us so much that He died for our sins. But what if we go a little bit deeper than that. There is nothing written in the bible that isn’t intentionally put there by the hand of God. The two simple words of John 11:35 carry a world of significance. I understand now as to why it is the shortest verse in the bible. It isn’t hidden in a longer passage, it was meant to stand out as a powerful statement that although Jesus is part of the holy trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit…He lowered Himself to the position of human. With this, He allowed Himself to feel all emotions that we feel. He didn’t walk on this earth and “do His time”. God took on our humanity when He became Jesus. With that transformation He did not omit any of the mighty emotions that we as humans are capable of.

As Jesus was taking his earthly journey which ended at the cross of Calvary, He was faced with the real truth on what the raw, deep and painful emotions the death of a loved one brings to a humans heart and soul.  He spoke words of truth and comfort to Lazarus’s sister Martha when he approached the place where He would see his dear friends’ lifeless body. However it was when He approached Mary that His human emotions took over and…Jesus wept. He wept over the loss of His friend. The part that I find the most amazing and comforting is that although this event ends by Jesus raising Lazarus up from the dead, He still felt that painful, gut wrenching, powerful, mighty and heartbreaking feeling that comes when someone we love dies. Wow. Why would a God who in every right could have avoided such a feeling allow Himself to sink to the bottom of sorrow? This is a love like none other.

63f0b833cf10016306672a4d2605dc27.jpgI know why this verse is my strong tower at this moment in my life. I am not a widow, I am not an orphan, but I am a parent who has lost a child. That statement is not one that I can imagine any parent would want to make. The most painful life event that we have experienced has left us wondering why some of the people we needed the most decided to stand aloof during our debilitating time of need. Why do people considered the loss of a child who goes from womb to glory any less worthy of remembrance than those who breathe in the air of this world before taking that journey to  heaven? The pain of losing a child numbs every part of you, the sorrow of seeing your child seen as a little less than human cripples every ounce of one’s being.  As we try to work through the grief and pure heartache of these circumstances and decisions that were made I am left with the words of John 11:35.

I am gripped by the fact that Jesus knows my pain, not because He is God and He knows all. But because He is God, who became man…and by becoming man He felt the very pain I am feeling. He knows my heart and He knows the heart of my grieving husband. He is holding us close right now and I believe He is telling me “I have seen the face of death, I have felt your pain and it is valid…I wept.”

There is no ideal time for someone to die. The ground below us was ripped away on January 4th. His memory was honored on the day he was supposed to be joining our family if he would have survived. On that day we were able to honor him in a way that we knew needed to be done to attempt some kind of closure since we did not want to bury his ashes. On that day we essentially planned and endured an event no parent wants to attend, the funeral of their child.  We loved our boy. We still love our boy. We will always love our boy. No one will ever take the place of Nathaniel in our hearts or in our family. We have been blessed by the existence of Nathaniel.

Although it has become painfully clear that not everyone views my sweet tiny boy as a valid member of our family the reality is that I have four children. I do not love one more than the other. I love them all. They are all an important part of my life and they were given to me by the God who took one of them away. That same God knew exactly how I would feel and has been here for me, for us…as we grieve and accept what has happened.

Today I draw a little bit closer to the God that is not merely my doorway to heaven, but a God who transformed Himself and allowed Himself to feel exactly what I am feeling right now. How amazing is it that the God I love and serve can relate first hand to the joys and pain that I feel.

jesus-wept.jpgAs we journey through this Christmas season we will be faced with memories of what transpired exactly a year ago. On Christmas Eve and Christmas day I know that there will be moments of time that I will vividly remember the pains I felt as I was unknowingly experiencing the first signs of the loss of my precious baby. However I will also be wholeheartedly celebrating the birth of Jesus, that moment He opened himself up to experience the vast amount of human emotions so that He could, without a shadow of doubt, relate to any trials we may face while here on this earth. The simplest of verse now holds a world of meaning to me. Jesus wept.

pink or blue? … who cares!

boygirlThis week marks 22 weeks of being pregnant. It is surreal that we are over half way through the growing stage of our newest addition. This pregnancy has had an incredible amount of emotions weaved through it as the weeks progressed; feelings of joy, sadness from loss, anxiety, excitement and helplessness to name a few. Each week that passes allows the four of us to continually grow in hope that we wont be faced with another loss in our small family.

In just a few days our family will head to the 22 week ultrasound scan and as that day approaches I am not thinking much about finding out the babies gender. At least not as much as I was when I was pregnant with Ethan and Konnor. Gender has never been something that has mattered to me. It has been a topic of discussion with multiple people around me for each pregnancy, I guess to some it really does impact their lives on the gender of my child. I was thrilled to find out I was having a boy six and a half years ago. I was just as thrilled to hear that our second baby was going to be a little boy. Not once did I harbor any bad feelings that neither of them were girls. In the same way, if they would have been girls I would have been just as excited.

Over the years I have seen hundreds and worked with multiple individuals that have mild to severe mental and physical disabilities. I have spent my days spoon feeding the elderly and changing their diapers. I have worked with men that were a good foot taller than me but developmentally were stuck at the age of my toddler. I have watched and assisted with care of individuals as they suffer from seizures, dementia and other disabilities that can take hold of ones body and render that person completely incapable of caring for themselves.

To find out the gender of my babies has been something Justin and I decided to do with each pregnancy. For the first two boys it was an exciting time, a day we looked forward to from the moment we found out I was expecting. For Nathaniel it was a different experience as we weren’t able to know gender until we held him in our hands. I have had many moments of sadness thinking about the moments I missed with him even before birth. My last ultrasound moment with him was seeing his lifeless body inside me. I am mainly haunted with the image of not seeing his flickering beating heart.

When we go into this ultrasound we am not focused on gender. We are excited to find out and we will be incredibly thrilled whether we hear “it’s a boy”! or “it’s a girl!”. More importantly we want to know if his/her brain is forming correctly, are there any medical issues concerning the face, how is my babies spine, stomach and kidneys? Is our babies heart ok? does it have four chambers is it pumping correctly and how is the heart rate? These are the things that are important. This is what matters to any human life. With going through a deep loss and with years of working with those who’s quality of life was far less than the majority of us I am praying hard and only asking God for the health of our baby. I am not praying for genitalia, other than the fact that whatever he/she may have is healthy.

Do I think my life would be complete if I had a room in my house with a closet full of little girl dresses and bows? Am I hoping and praying that this time God will bless me with a human that isn’t a boy? The answer is no. I am at a complete loss why so many people seem to care that we are, as of now a three boy family. I wouldn’t change a single thing that I have been blessed with. My boys are my life but instead of putting it that way I will say that my children are my life. Boy, girl…doesn’t matter. My heart as a mother has desired only one thing for my children, that they are healthy. I know that we may find out that this child has something wrong medically, I know that down the line we may be faced with horrible news about the health of my two oldest. There are no guarantees in life…especially where health is concerned. We will be faced with whatever comes our way and with God’s help we will get through it. He has proven Himself time and time again and we have felt His love and hand on us more than ever this past year. We hope and pray for health and a safe delivery for baby Miller #4.

Hearings others guesses on what this baby will be is fun. It’s when those comments become more negative and insinuate that another boy would be a disappointment to our family that really rub us the wrong way. We aren’t playing the “let’s make a girl” lottery and crossing our fingers and toes that we win big this time. The only reason I bring this up and perhaps the main purpose for this post is because we have received these comments so many times that I think people need to realize what they really sound like. With pregnancy #1 there were no such words spoken, they started trickling in with pregnancy #2 and to much of my surprise I actually received comments after losing our third boy. One can only imagine that by pregnancy #4 the comments are flowing in even more.

On Friday, we will see our little peanut. We will fall deeper in love with our little one and we will be overjoyed to hear the gender. We each already have our predictions, it will be a fun and unforgettable experience for our family since this is the first second trimester ultrasound that we have brought any child to. Anxiety and excitement are the feelings that are gripping me as the final days before this scan approaches. Not for news on blue or pink, but for results from the much bigger picture, the health and growth of our baby.






…after the storm

There is a term used to describe a baby which is born after the immediate loss of another baby, they are referred to as “rainbow babies”. I had never heard that until after reading blogs following the loss of Nathaniel. I have nothing against anyone who wants to refer to their blessing as a rainbow baby but the more I thought about it the more distant I became from ever deciding to use that terminology if we would become pregnant again.

The simple explanation is this…The term comes from the idea that you went though a terrible “storm” in life, a horrific loss. Some feel more pain than others, some are able to distance themselves from personalizing their babies life especially if they weren’t able to meet them. Every emotion and heartache after losing a baby can absolutely be deemed as a storm… this much is true. To have hopes and dreams of a full life with the baby growing inside of you can be such a joyful experience, only to have the joy overshadowed by deep sadness when that life has abruptly ended. Storm…yes, without a doubt…a storm.

IMAG0191What comes after a storm? well if the sun is shining just right in the sky as the rain still falls, its beams of light enter each raindrop and we are able to see colors that are always there but can not see. Without the rain, the sun shines down and the only color visible to our naked eye is white. Isn’t that amazing how after a storm… if we are lucky, we are able to see something as beautiful as a rainbow? God is AMAZING!

Rainbow babies are the ones that are brought to us after a terrible loss…the storm. This is what the name alludes to. If I hadn’t been impacted so deeply by our personal loss, by the life taken from us way too soon, then I wouldn’t think twice about how beautiful that name is. However; the more I thought about it, I came to realize that “my storm” IS “my rainbow”. Nathaniel started off as an answer to prayer, his life was celebrated and his future began to be mapped out in our minds. When his heart stopped, we were faced with “the storm”. His future on earth was over, our lives were changed forever and we got hit hard with a torrential downpour of emotions that crushed our hearts. This was our storm. However during our pain and suffering, we had the Son with us. What happens when there’s a storm and the sun? a rainbow. Colors that we cannot see without the beam of sunlight  mixed with the rain. Our Son wasn’t the physical beam that shines down from the sky. We had the Son of God carrying us. Although we cannot see Nathaniel right now here on earth, just like at this moment in time I cannot look out the window and see all the colors of the sky, I know that they are there. I know that Nathaniel is there. He was my storm and he is my rainbow. I know that when I see the Son face to face I will see my Nathaniel. His life was not just a storm in our family. His life brings hope and joy because we know that when the conditions are just right, when we are no longer needed on this earth, we will see him. How amazing!

IMG_5348With all that being said. Justin and I are so pleased to announce that we are expecting again. This baby will not be our rainbow. This baby will be refereed to the same way as our other three…a tremendous blessing! As you can imagine this pregnancy has been much different than the previous three. Anxiety mixed with joy and topped with feelings of uncertainty have been consuming us. We are faced with the truth more so than before, that we are not guaranteed to parent our new little one here on earth. Our hope and prayer each day is that we can separate Nathaniel’s life and death from our fourth baby.

We have seen the baby three times, and each time that I am blessed to listen to the sound of his/her heart I am brought back to the reality that nothing is certain. We are very blessed and excited for this pregnancy. We are trying to overcome human emotions of fear and doubt and are desperately focusing on trusting God and His will.

If all goes well we will welcome baby Miller #4 in January. He/she is due just around the time that Nathaniel was born. Such a bittersweet time it will be. Children are a blessing from the Lord… we have been blessed beyond measure!



the official good-bye…


June 17th, 2016. This is a date that has been etched in our minds and hearts since last September610_4114BW (1). The date that we expected to deliver our third baby. There is a very small percentage of woman who deliver on their actual due date and both of my older boys came earlier than expected but non the less this is the date that we held onto as the time that we would be welcoming our newest blessing into our family.

Well June 17th came and instead of cuddling our new son we spent the day grieving what should have been.

10599286_10153880209114772_2717805825440428456_nJanuary 6th we officially met and said goodbye to our son face to face. That day will always hold a special place in our hearts and it is a time that we will never forget. We were offered a free funeral service by one of the local funeral homes after Nathaniel was born. however we decided that we weren’t ready for that. Instead we decided that we needed to bring him home…but not the way we imagined. I am able to look up at his urn every day and know that his sweet perfect body is cremated inside along with his blankey. This brings comfort to me. Justin and I knew that we wanted to honor and remember Nathaniel in a proper memorial and decided that there would be no other day more appropriate than the day that he was due to arrive. June 17th wasn’t a date that we picked out of thin air, this was a date that has been on our minds every day since September and it is a date that will always remain a happy one when thinking of our sweet boy.

0EFCEB69-7103-486C-B154-A5149C356447It is hard to explain how it feels to lose a baby so young and have to continue life for months knowing that he should have still been growing inside of you. Not only was June 17th a date to spend in memory of our boy but it was a date that we were able to face head on and go through  new feelings of grief and realize that we can now  “let him go”. When the sunset last Friday and the day was coming to a close I had an overwhelming sense of “it’s over”. I know that right now, in this moment, I would have not still been pregnant with Nathaniel. This was a moment that I had been both dreading and needing since January.


Throughout the years I have had the privilege of throwing 8 birthday parties for my older boys. I have been able to plan, organize and enjoy picking out decorations activities and treats that I know they would enjoy. I do all of this because I love to see that smile on their faces knowing that we are celebrating them on their special day. I do not do these things for any other reason than for the sole purpose of showing my babies they are loved. I do not believe that love is shown by gifts, I am not trying to allude to that. I am simply stating that one of the parenting blessings that I have enjoyed every year is spending time on creating special memories for my boys when they celebrate another year that has passed.

C7E44CC3-738E-40FD-A462-AACF14D22E12For Nathaniel, having a memorial was the one “parenting” thing Justin and I could do for him. It was the ONE thing that we could plan in honor of him. There are no words that can express how important this day was for our family. Many tears were shed leading up to the day. We had planned a couple months ago from the suggestion of my mom to release butterflies in memory of him. Although I knew for months that we were going to do this, it wasn’t until one week before June 17th that I was finally able to place the order. Well to be honest Justin had to place the order. I couldn’t bring myself to click on the options, to know that once it was placed it was official that these beautiful butterflies would arrive at my doorstep one day before Nathaniel’s due date. To know that the following day I would hold that envelop in my hand and release the beautiful creature knowing that it was representing our boy who has been released from us here on earth.

E3CA1EFC-3937-46F7-AA92-DB5719D22A43June 16th I had to run out to get a couple last minute things for the meal we were going to have in honor of Nathaniel and as I was walking in a daze through the store I knew that I wanted to make a place setting that represented Nathaniel, the way that we will always think of him, white and pure…taken to heaven before he could sin. I decided to keep it simple. Getting ready for a birthday party or other events  was always about the colors, the decorations, the balloons, the DIY wall art and projects that I’d spend hours on. This memorial was in essence a “party” for Nathaniel but it was something more meaningful than that. It was and is THE ONLY “party” that we will or can have for our boy.

Funerals and memorials are for the living. I wholeheartedly agree with that. I do however believe that Nathaniel knows what we did for him. I do believe that it was not gone unnoticed but I also know that it was something that Justin and I, as his parents, needed to do in order to have closure. We have been hurt deeply by the response to needing June 17th. Our son’s memorial was not something trivial or meaningless to us. In fact it was the most meaningful even that we have had for any of our boys. It was a “funeral”. The simple fact that we did not bury his urn at the end of the day does not make it any less significant.

A5FA3FF0-1DB1-4E9A-801C-75510B1C956EWe have been faced with an extremely unspoken life experience that others simply do not understand. This is why I have tried to be as vocal and honest as I can be while going through it all. I pray that if I am ever in a situation where someone I love is dealing with something that I cannot relate to first hand, that I can put their emotional needs above my own idea on what those hurting should be doing. I pray that I do not choose self over family. To turn a blind eye to the raw emotions and needs of someone you care for causes a pain that cannot be erased.  Justin and I had a very dark and painful conversation during the planning of the memorial. We wondering if it would have been better if Nathaniel made his way into this world full term. If he would have taken a breath or two, if others would have seen him as a person in “real life” if then he would have been acknowledged as someone worth taking time away from everyday life to mourn. If the loss would have seemed more real and more “appropriate” to memorialize. Please do not assume that a loss any earlier than “viable” brings any less pain. Every loss is personal. To some, they may not be as grief stricken by it as we have been…but I do not think we are alone in knowing that a life that once had a beating heart which was later silenced, is a life worth cherishing and remembering.


1F89D059-876D-447D-9331-9FF2D3E758C6On June 17th, we were able to go buy a tree and plant it in Nathaniel’s honor. We picked out flowers the night before and last weekend we finished a garden area for him that we are able to see from multiple windows in our home. When we sit outside we are faced with a beautiful reminder of our boy that was lost. We are not faced with a fetus that didn’t make it. We are not faced with an imaginary life that had no meaning. We are faced with the reminder of that tiny face that we were able to kiss and love on, if only for a short while.

E905F119-550E-47A5-9E6C-CDF0B6D377EAJustin and I are so thankful that my parents made the trip here on Friday to be with us and help us morn our son. There are no words that can express our sincere appreciation that they not only drove 5 hours to get here but also helped us with the tree and were able to say some words about Nathaniel as they each released a butterfly.

To those who sent us messages, phone-calls, cards and just let us know that you were thinking of us last weekend, we thank you. To those who have shown support to us through words of encouragement as we planned Nathaniel’s memorial, we thank you. To those who have reached out to us and let us know that we are not alone over these last few months, we thank you.  The simplest acknowledgment that what we have been faced with is worthy of being mourned has not gone unnoticed and has made our journey much easier.  All we ever hoped for and can ask for is that Nathaniel not be forgotten. That is all any parent in our situation can pray and hope for.

A686E178-8993-4134-B936-BFAE12F94F02The first butterfly that we released immediately went to one of the flowers in “Nathaniel’s Garden” and stayed there for a while. I was able to capture a picture which will hold such dear memories for the rest of my years here on earth. When it was Ethan’s turn to release a butterfly he said “Nathaniel, I wish that I could go to heaven now and give you a hug and a kiss, I miss you”. I had no words that I could say, the emotional toll it took on me at that moment was too much. The butterfly that I released flew and hit me in the face and then took off to the sky. I like the idea that my mom suggested “it’s like Nathaniel gave you a kiss and then flew off”. The moment cannot be re-lived. I pray that I never have to go through anything like June 17th ever again. Although the day was extremely emotional and hard from sun-up to sun-down I have no regrets on taking the time and energy to proA6D0BD4B-F00C-4EA8-91BC-93ED61FE0CF3perly say “goodbye” to my baby. We “buried” our son on June 17th. June 18th marked a new sta493EA78A-DC59-41D6-903F-8CB664399FA7rt in our lives as a family. One that we wholeheartedly did not want to have to take but we are thankful for the sweet boy that God blessed us with for a short time. It will be such an amazing day when I get to see him again, hug him again and tell him again how much he is loved.


3E746976-E272-4735-8640-EF3922B19EA5Until we meet again, my sweet boy.


…excuse me while I read a chapter from my hate speech


Where did everything go so wrong? I see multiple people posting such a question on social media. This world is becoming so unraveled and it leaves those of us that are watching tragedies unfold wondering why?

Why does God allow this to happen? Why does God sit back and just watch humanity destroy each other? Why would God put the lives of little Children in the grasps of dangerous animals? Why?

When everything dies down and the media consumes itself with another “breaking news story” these questions dwindle away. Everyone seems to forget about God until the next tragedy occurs and then He is questioned again. Does this                                                                                seem at all backwards to you?

It does not surprise me to hear people openly dismiss that there is a God and live a life that goes to support that, only to turn around and blame Him when somethings goes wrong.

Everything that is going on in this world is not surprising or new. It is extremely horrific to know that there are individuals and groups of people that believe it’s OK to commit mass murders. It is terrible that there is so much hate in this world that provokes such crimes, but it isn’t new.

I think it is extremely naive to think that we have become a generation that has evolved into something so wonderful and different than the generations that came before us. We are not living in a time that is something “new” to God. Sure…if you believe that we all came from a gigantic freak accident, some random explosion in the air that sparked a living organism that eventually turned nothing into a world populated with humans then yes, yes we have evolved. We are no longer a big ball of nothing floating in space, we are humans that cohabit the earth with other living things. However such a thought is absolutely ridiculous to me. To think that humans derived from a mistake means that we have absolutely no meaning at all.

I believe that we were created from the hands of the most loving Father. As such a belief, I then know that the Bible was written by inspiration and direct instructions from God.  If you go back in history at all you will see that what is happening right now happened before. God destroyed the world with a flood when his creation turned so wicked and would not repent or change their ways that He had no other choice but to cleanse it of such evil.  When reading through the bible you cannot choose one instruction from God and dismiss another because the “world has evolved”. I do not believe Hebrews 13:8 was given to us by coincidence.

“Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever”.

The one thing that most people seem to agree on is that God IS love. After that, you are able to see a clear division in those who actually believes in God, and those who want the best of both worlds. Yes, God IS love. However before He is love, He is holy. This is something that I believe is gravely overlooked. As a holy God he cannot accept sin. It’s that simple.

No one is sinless. No one. I thank God daily that He did something for us that allows a sinful person such as myself a way to get to heaven. Without Him there is no salvation. I do not want to believe that this world is all we have to look forward to. We live in a world that is constantly changing what is socially and politically correct.

It’s really not that complicated if you take the word of God as THE way THE truth and THE light. God not once, but twice, gave his creation a list of commandments. Instructions to follow and live by. These however have become more of a “suggestion” now.

No matter what situation you see happening today you can bet that you will find something about it in the bible. Is this a coincidence? Obviously not. God knows all things and He has given us instructions in His word that was written thousands of years ago. This alone should be proof enough that what we are seeing and going though right now isn’t new.


I am saddened that to open up my bible is almost getting to the point (by world views) that I am basically just opening up a giant book with chapter after chapter of hate speeches. If you take what the bible says and hold it against what is politically correct now then yes, one could conclude that the bible does not conform to what the world is changing into.  However, what would you rather choose? A society that is constantly changing, a world that believes one thing one day and then “evolves” to another belief the next? Or something that has stood the test of time from the beginning?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2


There has been nothing that has happened in my life that I wasn’t able to find complete comfort in from something God has given us in His word. Nothing.

I am thankful that my God is a compassionate one, He doesn’t take joy in any pain. He hates wickedness and is not at all pleased with the way things are changing here on earth. This isn’t my opinion, this is the truth. He destroyed the world once because of it. Like long ago, he offered those on this earth a way to save themselves. Back then it was a physical structure, an ark. How sad is it that after all the years it took and all the years of those around listening to Noah that not one person felt the need to listen to God. Noah and his family were the only ones that trusted God and took things seriously enough to obey Him. Today we do not have a physical place to go to be saved, but God provided His son as a sacrifice on the cross. How easy is it to just believe, but how sad is it that few will enter heavens gates because pride, selfishness and egos will get in the way of choosing to put your faith in someone you cannot see.

Living life today in a way that is pleasing to you and ignoring the truths and instructions God has given us (not to control us but to let us know what it takes to be holy so we can be with Him) will only result in eternal death. The sad truth is that we can never on our own become holy enough to see heaven. Thank God He gave us his son’s body as a bridge which allows us a way to cross the gap from sinful humans to the splendors of heaven.

It’s not that crazy of a concept to think that “our Father” set out rules for us so that we could have the best life possible. Any parent can relate to this. Do we just allow our kids to go and do whatever they want? Would we not try to protect them and give them guidance throughout their lives because we are so in love with them? Same thing. Just as kids’ rebel and do things that break parents hearts, it is the same case with God’s creation.

Let’s choose compassion and not hate. Let’s choose to love one another. But let’s not forget that there is a book that was written for us. That gives us clear instructions and that gives us hope. In a world that is once again spiraling down the path of evil and terror, there is salvation for us all.


the good…

What good could come of something that shatters your whole world. This was the question that I asked God on January 4th of this year. While curled up in bed with tears flowing, I was asking God straight up “how can this be Your will?”.

It has been almost four months now since our loss. Four months of flashbacks to that terrible week where we found out the loss, held our loss and signed papers to cremate our baby. Four months of flash-forwards to what should be happening now, how we were planning on finishing school early to get the nursery ready. Plans of picking out a “coming home” outfit for our little guy. The lack of plans for summer vacations because our lives would be consumed with adjusting to life with three littles.

What good could come of God giving a life, and then God taking it away? I still long for Nathaniel’s life to  be developing in me. I wish that I was at the uncomfortable stage of pregnancy right now, counting down the days to where I would be able to sleep all night again, have energy to finish my daily activities without needing a break and longing for another cup of delicious coffee. Instead, I sit here with a giant cup of coffee, planning my day with no limitations of my physical ability and I realize that I am blessed even through the loss.

More so than ever, these past few months have brought me closer to the cross. I do not hold an ounce of hatred or doubt in the reasons why God “let this” occur. I have found myself looking for reasons during this season of life that answer the question “what good could come of this?” and every time I talk to God about it He points me back to the cross. Where would I be without the cross? what life would I have without the blood shed? how different would my world be if I did not believe in Jesus, if I did not accept His gift of salvation and if I did not see the whole picture of what it means to die in this world.

If I did not know the Truth, I would not have a reason for why we lost our baby. If this life was all that there was…then there would be absolutely no way I could attempt to come to peace with the deep, indescribable feelings of sorrow that I experienced as they placed my little guys lifeless body in my hands. This life is so short, this life is but a blink in the greater picture of why we were created. I see this more than ever and I know that God opened my eyes to that when I asked him…”what good could come of this?”.

For most of my life I have known that without a doubt I am going to Heaven. I accepted Christ as my Savior at a young age. I am now, however realizing that it is not about me. I have always had peace and faith but it’s not about me. God did not create me to only care about my own life, He created me to be a disciple for Him.

When I think about our loss, I think about the life Jesus had on this earth. He came down here, a place that He created years ago. A place that was free from corruption, free from pain and free from sin. His creation was perfect until Satan’s deception brought the black cloud of death over it. I lost my son, I had no part of the loss. I did not decide that I would take the life of my baby, that thought is absolutely unimaginable for me. God however, He sent his Son with the purpose of having his life taken. Knowing His Son would be hated, mocked and ultimately brutally killed. He did this for me. He did this for everyone. This reality takes a hold of me in a deeper way now.

If I was asked to give up my child’s life to save someone else I would grab hold of that beating heart within my baby and hold on to it so tight. I would turn my head away from the other life and let it die before I would willingly let my baby go. I cannot imagine the kind of love God had for me, for the world.  He created a Son for that very purpose. How can I ever turn my back on a love like that.

Stepping out and consciously deciding to live a life that sees God in everything, and attempts to glorify God in everything is what Nathaniel’s life has brought to me. I no longer as God “what good can come of this?” because I know the answer. God can be glorified and lifted up, that is the good. I know that my baby is in heaven. I know that he is with Jesus. I know that his life is not lost. I hold onto that truth through the bad times and I rejoice in that through the good times.

Our pain is not gone. We still grieve. I still cry and I don’t imagine that will go away anytime soon. Looking at babies brings both joy and pain. Seeing the precious eyes of a baby has brought back the memory of the dead eyes we gazed upon at the hospital a few short months ago. However, we are still here. We are alive and we will take the life lost and glorify God with it. To those who don’t believe in God, this will likely sound ridiculous. To those people I just have to say… I would rather live my life here on earth, believing that my God exists and dying to find out that he doesn’t. Rather than purposefully denying Him only to die and find out that He does. I have NO doubt that God created us, created this world and sent his Son to die for us. If I didn’t have Him…this life would be pointless…everything I did would have no real meaning and I know that I would always have an empty feeling deep within me.

Thank you Jesus, thank YOhqdefaultU for what you’ve done. For me….for everyone.

learning to love the loss…

Yesterday was March 1st. Up until the age of ten I didn’t have any particular feeling or thought of the month of March,  aside from the exciting fact that there would be a week long break from school. Now, when February slowly comes to a close and March starts to creep in, I am still to this day left with flashbacks, memories both good and bad, and a real feeling of how mortal I really am.

IMG_4313Turn the clock back to March 15th, 1993. It was a beautiful wintry Monday, the first day of “March Break”. My mom was babysitting our neighbors, one of which happened to be my best friend. I was ten, life was great and I had nothing but hopes for an amazing week off of school. That day was as I recall a pretty terrific day. Memories of playing in the snow, sliding down “hospital hill” , games, hot chocolate and movies all flood my mind as I look back. I’m assuming that some not so great things happened that day, but my mind has no recollection of that, it is to this day a 100% fun filled loving perfect day.

That night the four of us were sitting on my parents bed I remember getting hungry and wanting a nice big helping of “moms special” (my mom was resourceful and invented that dish one day when she threw together what was left in the pantry and fridge and served it up to my brother and I in hopes that it would be edible. It still remains my most favorite meal ever!). My hopes for a taste of delicious pasta in tomato soup/cheese sauce came to a crashing halt when I was informed that we didn’t have any pasta noodles. I refused to take this let down as a defeat and decided to look around the pantry to figure out a solution. I decided that Ramen noodles should work, so I cooked those…added the tomato soup and cheese and hoped for the best. Needless to say, FAIL! To say it was gross would be a huge understatement. I left the bowl on the kitchen table with a note that read “eat this and you will die!”. Deciding it wouldn’t be worth the effort to try something different I cleaned up and went to bed. My mom ended up eating it, since she didn’t like to waste food. The note I left haunted me for years to come.

March 16th, 1993. Day two of March Break. I wake up, walk out of my room and the first thing I noticed was my mom  wasn’t home. This was odd. I asked my older brother where she was and he said she drove my dad to work that morning so that we could have the vehicle for the day. She would have normally been home by the time I woke up but it was winter and roads aren’t always the greatest so we waited. After about thirty minutes we decided to call my dad at work to see if he knew where she was. I remember him telling me that maybe she decided to stop off at the grocery store on the way home to pick up some food. More time passed and my mom was still not home.

Everyday that we weren’t at school and were able to watch Mr.Dress-up my mom would give us kids a piece of gum. I looked at the clock and saw that the show was about to come on so I walked into the kitchen, grabbed the gum, took a piece and passed one to my brother. Then it dawned on me that it was getting pretty late in the morning for my mom to not be there. Again, we called my dad who at this point sounded a bit worried.

At that moment in time for all I knew, she was at the store and running late. At that moment in time for all I knew she would have been walking in the front door at any moment with bags of groceries (hoping for pasta so that I didn’t have to relive the terrible “moms special Ramen style” meal all over again). Looking back, at that moment in time I was still a pretty ordinary, nothing different about me kind of kid.

While sitting in the living room, by our big front window, I saw a vehicle pull into the driveway. I looked out and saw a woman driving, my dad was opening the passenger side door. I ran to the top of the stairs looking down at the entrance, waiting for him to come in.

The front door opens, the image of that is still with me after all these years. I see my dad walk into the house, he looks up the stairs at my brother and I, his eyes were red and I can still hear his voice shaking as he says “she’s gone, mom is gone”. My brother immediately started to break down, I stood there not fully knowing what he meant until I saw both of their reactions and then it hit….my mom was gone, from this world.


My dad walked up the stairs and told us that she was in a car accident. She dropped him off at work and shortly after getting back onto the highway she hit a patch of black ice and lost control of the vehicle, hit a crane and died on impact.



I was in shock. I did not know how to react so I took cue from how my dad and brother were reacting and I forced myself to cry. That’s not to say I wasn’t sad, I was just in a giant pile of disbelief and I wasn’t really sure how this could all be happening.

I remember my dad picking up the phone as he made the call to my grandparents (my moms parents). I remember the conversation being very brief, it’s hard to put the reality into words and function normally. I’m sure it was extremely painful for my dad to have to face his two young kids and tell them that they would never see their mom again only to follow by calling her parents to relay the same information about their daughter.

IMG_4314My dad, brother and I headed to the hospital where we were needing to identify the body. I had NEVER wanted to identify my mothers body, I was terrified and told my dad that I did not want to go down to the morgue. He said that I may regret it, but I knew that seeing my mom, right after being killed in an accident that required the jaws of life to get her out was not something I wanted to see. I stayed in the hospital chapel/waiting area with a family friend while he and my brother made their way to give a positive identification that the body they had laying lifeless was indeed, my mom, Marlene Scott.


It was not the brIMG_4275eak from school that I was planning on. I was not hoping to spend the last days of that week going to funeral homes, picking out caskets and eventually walking up to my moms body laying there, still, cold and completely empty knowing that this would be the last time I would ever see her on this earth again.

I remember the smell of all the flowers, I remember the floods of people that walked up to me and embraced me. I remember some people not knowing what to say and others trying hard to comfort me by saying “she’s in a better place”. Although this was, and is a true statement, from a ten year old’s perspective the best place my mom could have been was at home, with me.

1622024_10152322391814772_1791412566_n (1)I suffered a huge loss. My mom was amazing. She never failed to tell me how much she loved me, on a daily,  sometimes hourly or even minutely basis. I would hear the words “I love you, Steph” so many times a day that sometimes I would tell her “I know!”. My mom taught me all that she could during my ten years with her. She cared for me in a way that I can only hope to do for my boys. My mom was selfless, I saw her serving other often. It didn’t seem like there was a week that went by where she wasn’t baking bread or cinnamon buns and passing them out to the neighbors. She was kind, gentle and not quick to anger. My mom did not miss any school concerts, field trips or sporting events that my brother or I were in.

Every Sunday morning until we started to attend church regularly, she would have Sunday School for us in the living room. We were taught about God’s love from a very young age and from what I remember and knew of her, she seemed pretty close to a proverbs 31 woman.

IMG_4309Life after my mom was hard. Being so close to someone and then not having them there was extremely difficult. I hated being “Steph, the one who’s mom died”. Whenever I could I wouldn’t mention it to anyone that didn’t already know. It hurt to see others around me with their moms. Going to school concerts and not seeing her there again. Having field trip parent sign up forms to bring home knowing that she wouldn’t be able to attend. It was all of the little things that stung the most.

IMG_4307Still to this day, March is hard. I usually spend most of the days reminded of how it felt, nearly twenty-three years ago, to lose her.

It took me up until I was twenty years old to say “good-bye” to my mom. I was finally able to deal with, and accept the loss in my life. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of peace over the situation. I remember praying to God and thanking him that it happened. This may sound a bit twisted but if my mom had not been killed in that car accident I wouldn’t have met,  been cared for, and loved by my “second mom”. When I was twenty I realized this fact. My mom was called home to be with her savior, but God didn’t take her and leave my dad, brother and I alone. He sent my “second mom” into our lives a very short time after the accident. That in and of itself is a whole other world of emotions but I can say that I see that everything happens for a reason. God is merciful and he does not take pleasure in seeing his children in pain. He comforts those who grieve. He makes all things new, He surrounds those who call on Him with a peace that cannot be described by words.

I chose to run away from God after my mom died. I’d fake the emotions that I was fine. I went to church, I acted like I was OK with God and what had happened, when in reality I was so far away from Him and so angry with Him. I was seeking joy and the sense of belonging in places I shouldn’t have been. Life was not kind to me and I swam in that pool of self pity and despair for years.

When I was twenty I gave everything back to God. I spoke to him, I poured my heart out to him and just like that I remember feeling a complete sense of healing. I took that new found peace that I never thought I would experience and I drove myself two hours to my mothers grave. I didn’t tell anyone I was going there. I just knew I needed to go alone and say good-bye. I walked back through the wet grass, my shoes and feet soaked, my body shivering as chills set in. I saw the heart shaped tomb stone just ahead of me and I slowed down a bit. Tears started to flow from my eyes as I read “beloved wife and mother” written across it. I looked down at the ground, smiled and said “thank you for being my mom, I love you and I always will. Good-bye Mom”. Just like that it was done. A heavy load was lifted off of my shoulders and I turned around and did not look back. I felt peace.


Still, this doesn’t mean I do not still get sad. Especially when March hits. I more or less feel the pull come over me that brings me back to when I was ten. I relive the “last day of fun” and the “day of death” a few times over before the months end. I am however, constantly reminded that I am BLESSED to have had Marlene as my mom for my first ten years and I am continuing to be BLESSED to have Lena as my mom for the past twenty two years.

1929859_16448169771_9777_n (1)All things in life have a purpose, everyone who enters my life has a purpose. To think that my mom was only thirty-seven when she passed constantly reminds me that we are all terminally ill and we are all at deaths door. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. We may have plans, but until we are faced with the morning sun again there is zero reason to believe that we have the right or will be able to carry out those plans.

I am thirty-three, in my thirty-fourth year. My mom’s life was taken from her just three years older than I am now. No warning, no reason to think that this could possibly happen to her, to us. We are all terminally ill, our disease? sin. We are born and we will die. Some are fortunate enough to grow old, other’s aren’t given that opportunity. My my was only blessed with thirty-seven years, my sweet Nathaniel was only given sixteen weeks of life in utero.

I will confess that I thought that I wouldn’t be faced with such a painful death again like my moms. I thought that I was exempt from that kind of pain since I was already dealt the death card at the young age of ten. Nathaniel’s death reminds me that you cannot count on past experiences to determine what you will be faced with tomorrow. I am not exempt from pain, from failure or from loss. I am however learning to be more equipped with the tools I need to go through those situations with peace and 10491996_10152623507099772_2529248844343968375_n (1)understanding. I am choosing to fill my mind, heart and soul with the word of God and his promises that no matter what circumstance, no matter what “life throws at me”, if I put my faith in Him, He will see me though the storm. He has done that and He is continuing to do that even to this day.



let’s choose love…

Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine,[1] is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14. It originated as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honoring one or more early saints namedValentinus, and is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country.

The fact that I had to google “the meaning of Valentine’s Day” got me thinking about all of the holidays we celebrate throughout the year and why this specific one is often hated upon.

If we look at Easter we see a bunny who apparently owns a chocolate factory and then hides it’s product for little kids to find. For Christmas we are met with a magical man in red who has the power to squeeze his fairly large self down chimneys or mysteriously walk through walls to deliver presents and Thanksgiving over the years has turned into a holiday where we gorge ourselves with food to ensure we are fueled up to spend the night shopping for “amazing deals”.

When it comes to all these truths I will not lie, I do and have participated in them. I loved receiving my chocolate Easter bunny, Santa was the coolest and who doesn’t like a good deal? I however never had these things define the true meaning of the holiday. I was taught first and foremost that Jesus was born, we celebrate his birth. It wasn’t about the chocolate, it is about the cross and the blood shed for my sins. Finally, being a fairly new “alien resident” to the United States I can honestly say that Thanksgiving (the American one) is starting to hold more meaning to me now that I have my boys since both them and I are learning about the real meaning of the holiday and why we celebrate it.

Then we come to Valentine’s Day and people either love it or hate it. I personally love it. I love that it is a holiday that celebrates love and does not purposely throw chocolate into the mix to provide an alternative route of celebration. By this I mean simple, anyone can celebrate Christmas and Easter because we as a culture have turned it into a giant bunny and Santa thing. Society has made it into a commercialized “what can I get out of it” holiday.  It honestly boogles my mind how someone who does not believe in God can celebrate Christmas. To them it’s just a stat holiday where they are still being paid but instead of showing up for work they are able to be at home with their families eating, drinking and giving/receiving gifts. I see this as a slap in the face of Jesus, the one who was born to save all of humanity by being the perfect spotless sacrifice. The same thing goes for Easter. A whole weekend where we are reminded of the Crucifixion, burial and then resurrection of our Savior should not be taken lightly or made into just yet another opportunity for someone to cook a delicious ham and gather family together to eat it with a side of chocolate Easter eggs.

Again, I will say it. I do enjoy adding the “extras” if you can call them that, into the seasons of celebration.  My boys do wake up to gifts under the tree, they participate in a mini Easter egg hunt and they benefit  from the “deals” we sometimes pick up after eating thanksgiving turkey. However, they know the real reasons why we pause on those days to celebrate.

Today we celebrate love. Today is a day that we can choose to participate in or not. I do not think that this holiday should be looked down upon nor do I think we should put so much effort into it that we end up stressed out. It’s not about material things. Sure it’s nice to receive a gift (chocolate etc.), it’s fun for kids to make their valentines cards and give them to the people they care about but there’s no reason why those things can’t be done any other time of the year. Today is simply a day that we can pause and look around at those we are choosing to love.

Love is often described as a feeling but in reality isn’t is just a choice? We, as humans, were given the gift of free will. This means that at any time we can change our mind on who we are with, who we plan to be with and who we love. You do not have to be married or with someone to have love in your life, today could be about simply calling a friend or parent and telling them that they are loved. It is not about the gifts, no holiday is, but lets not brush off this day as a “commercial holiday”. Instead let’s view it as a day to remember, to reflect on who we choose. Let’s make it known to them that we will always continue to do so and maybe reach out to those around who may not feel loved but are… by you.

Valentine’s Day is meaningful if you make it that way. Love is a powerful thing. Without it, the world would be filled with only hate. As it stands now it seems like most days it is. Anyone who says that they do not need love is not being honest to you or themselves, everyone needs love and compassion.

Today and everyday I choose to love. It’s as simple as that!