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Remembering Beau

Beau’s memorial was held at Waveland Beach, Mississippi — a special place for our tribe. This is the picture we captured as the wind lifted his ashes over the water. He definitely went ahead of us to show us the way Home. #Beautywillrise

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For Love’s Sake — Beau’s Story

Today could have been the day. The day I snuggled at home with a newborn curled upon my chest. I’m addicted to that smell — the fragrance that only a mom can know. If you’ve smelled it, you know what I’m talking about. I live for it — that revelation that God has  made everything new all in one little dependent face fused between the likeness of yourself and the one that you love.

But today wasn’t that day.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Beau. I’ve constantly stifled the urge that builds within me to ask the question — the common cry of the suffering — the question I’m almost too afraid to ask at the risk of becoming that cliche — the question of “why?”. I have spent six weeks navigating this wild wilderness of loss — this broken merry-go-round of replaying every last waking moment I can remember from the last ten months. Most nights I am awake watching the dawn rise. Honestly, I’m a bit overwhelmed from the ride.

It’s been six weeks since I held my third baby in my arms — but he wasn’t there. Beau’s heart had stopped beating at 39 weeks, a few days before we welcomed him Home. For six weeks I have stumbled blindly between shock and a futile attempt at praying to wake up from this nightmare. So far, it hasn’t worked. Each day I attempt to find a way out — a road map — anything, to help me navigate out of this place, this feeling of emptiness. Some days I manage to trick myself into functioning. Some days.

But today something happened. Today I made a choice. It was a hard, gut wrenching realization. A decision to jump head first into the pit of brokenness after losing Beau. When the enemy steals your everything, you have two choices. You can choose to be hard and guarded or you can choose to be broken. There’s not much room left  in the in between. Today, I choose the latter.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

During my pregnancy with Beau, I would often dream of what he would look like. To me the name Beau denoted a southern and handsome man who was full of honor but also adventure. I would envision his wedding day often. I’m still not sure why, but that’s the day I dreamed of. After we found out we were having a boy — on a date on the gulf coast one night — I saw the name, Beau, on a sign. I fell in love with it instantly. It took some persuading of the Mr., but he eventually grew to love that name as much as I do.

Beau was born on a rainy Sunday morning in our home. He looked just like his daddy — 7 pounds, 10 ounces of a dream realized but quickly fading. Beau never took a breath. His little heart had stopped beating a few days before. The reason, like many stillbirths, was unknown.

This morning as I rushed through our morning routine, a picture of my two toddlers caught my eye. It was a glimpse of my little girl looking down at her brother when he was born. It’s only been two years since that day but I swear I blinked and here I am. Looking up from the picture I saw her running through the house pretending to be a cowgirl, and he following close behind mimicking her moves. And it hit me. I was missing out on the ones in front of me because I couldn’t see past my hurt from losing Beau. I had fallen asleep to the reality of my dreams being answered right in front of my face.

Don’t get me wrong, I ache for my baby each day. No one and nothing will ever replace that hole in my heart. When Beau died, I know a piece of myself died with him. But in these ashes that I find myself, God is resurrecting something else in me.

Beau has been my tribe’s greatest teacher. He taught us to love more deeply than we have ever before been capable of. This gift of being able to love so fiercely that it hurts — that’s what Beau gave me. Today I look up from my computer screen and I look around at a life I once dreamed of. My earliest memory of holding a diaper bag and pretending to be “Mommy” has come true — three times thus far — and my heart found the one it loves in a husband that has taught me to trust and hope again in his arms. I’m living my dream. But I had fallen asleep.

The world needs these sleepers like myself. Heaven is awakening us to love like we have never loved before. This never-giving-up, always-chasing love that isn’t afraid of finding His face in the suffering. This love that spills out of people brave enough to stay long enough in the dark places to see Light come through. That is the love He is gracing us with — Love Himself.

Today on my dresser laid a small plain sheet of paper. Nothing but two small footprints graced its cover. Those feet that kicked me for nearly a year. The feet that reminded me with each twirl inside my womb that Heaven was allowing me the privilege of having a front row seat to watching a miracle unfold in expectancy.  Those feet mean the world to me. Those feet are blessed. And they carried with them Good News. The news that God’s heart aches in the same way for us — that same ache I feel for mine — its the father and mother heart of God that roars in a war desperate for Heaven to invade.

Beau's footprints

Today I made a choice. Love until it hurts. Then love some more.

And Beau’s life is leading that charge — for Love’s sake. 

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From These Ashes Beauty Will Rise…

My eyelids slowly open from sunlight filling the cracks in my room. I pull a pillow close to shield myself from the morning’s harsh awakening.  I hear the sounds of little bare feet running through the hall — sounds which should make me grin with happiness — instead they remind me of a dream lost.  I dig deeper into my sheets in an attempt to hide from the morning but it’s no use. I’m found.

There’s always this split second moment found in the in-between. That land between your dreams and reality where twilight mixes with the dawn. A place where dreams seem as if they are real until you fully awaken to another truth. Each morning I am lured by that place to linger — remain. I wish I could live there but I can’t.

Time to wake up and remember.

Since the day my world fell apart, kind friends have reminded me that “joy comes in the morning”. Sadly Joy didn’t show up today. At least not in the form I expected her.

Something’s missing. Someone. It’s been a month since our little boy, Beau was born sleeping and the ache seems to be getting stronger — it refuses to fade. I finally brought myself to look at his pictures. 7 pounds 10 ounces of perfection — perfection I can’t reach out and touch any longer. A dream that in an instant was over. And in its wake I’m left dazed and confused. His feet look just like my three year old’s. It was shocking when I saw them last night. Those pictures took my breath away.

And I’m waking up morning after morning attempting to pick up the pieces from this disaster and still I can only pray I wake up –truly wake up from this nightmare. But I don’t.

In the beginning of our story,  I was standing in the rich red dirt of the third world in a flowing white gown. All I could think about was the future, my dreams and soon to be our dreams. Our wedding day was magical – supernatural really. Surrounded by African children and the thick presence of Heaven in our midst there we were — hopeful and there it was, JOY.

Our dreams were coming true. The day I married Josh I never in my wildest dreams thought about what the hard times would become. When words of suffering were prophesied over us, we gladly and naively accepted them. When you’re young and full of hope, suffering seems romantic. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

Now, I sit here and ashes are all I see around me. How do I find beauty here?

Still, this deep ache that will not fade within me beats with a knowing — a knowing that Heaven is much more real than I can grasp. It’s a cadence that is one of war– a strong and violent rhythm that shakes the earth with power. I know that power–the One who can change everything. The power that can raise the dead, and make blind eyes suddenly see. I’ve seen it. I’ve been there sitting in the dust under the African moon as a man–blind–sees for the first time in his life. I’ve been there as I’ve watched a one pound baby — my first born — born much too soon, defy every odd put in her path and rise with audacious beauty that made doctors shake their heads with wonder. I’ve seen His face in those moments of chaos and have watched Him turn them holy.

But here I sit wounded — surrounded by this drum beating of war– a battle between life and death that finds its genesis from the foundation of time.  A war that has raged since before I was ever thought of. I can’t see beyond the smoke that billows around me. All I can do is feel that heartbeat that still pulsates deep within me…

Where is He?

There is always beauty in this place because He’s here. This good news — that our King finds His place on the battlefield — and doesn’t hide in the shadows afar. He joins us in our suffering and in those ruins, Joy shows her face. She becomes our strength as the ashes lay around us. And the suffering Lamb — Jesus — leads the way.

He finds us in our suffering and He makes everything new. That’s the difference. That’s the key that holds my head up when I can’t see from the smoke rising around me. I get to see Him face to face once more. And beauty rises.

Today as I awoke to what remains, it was raining. Rainy days always remind me of Beau. During my pregnancy I prayed that God would have him born on a rainy night — and he was. In our ruins, my two toddlers danced in the rain. Their childlike wonder displayed for all to see. They were born with this ability to dance in the storm — to see beauty in the midst of a war that is more real than what they can now imagine. Their spirits know it even when their minds may not.

And I need that gift. Maybe one day I will have it again. For today I live vicariously through their little eyes as their little hands reach for mine and  pull me out into the rain — and somehow, and if only for a moment –I feel it… joy.

I know Beau’s life will never be known to anyone as much as it is to me. For ten months he kicked me, flipped inside me — gave me excuses to send Josh off for Creole cream cheese ice cream on hot summer nights. For nearly a year I had him to myself and suddenly and without warning he was gone.

Somewhere in the midst of my broken dreams, I find Him. Somehow and some way from these ashes, beauty will rise.

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