Thursday, September 27, 2012

In Heaven

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Why write about something that hurts?  Why write about pain, suffering, and heartache?  Because, when I remember those things, I remember HIS work in my life. 

I need to remember the strength and power of Christ.  I too easily forget.  It is not in my accomplishments, it is not in my dreams or goals, not in my "good" behavior, or in my completed tasks - at the end of the day, where Christ's power is, is in my weakness, in my suffering, in the things that hurt.

To share my weaknesses... why?

Because Christ did not die to create isolated worshipping individuals. He died to create Christ-exalting friendships. That is, he died and rose again to create the church. (taken from a sermon found here) We are not alone.  We are to love one another, build one another up, encourage one another, admonish one another in the truth.  Sharing my story, sharing HIS story in me, is all about bringing HIM glory.

April of 2008 Kenney and I decided to adopt from Russia.  Lest anyone think that what I wrote below fueled the decision to adopt, read this again.

About seven weeks later I was pregnant.

In September of 2008, I had a mis-carriage.

From the beginning of the pregnancy I knew something wasn't "normal".  There really was nothing different. I felt fine, looked fine, everything was ordinary.  About 8 weeks into the pregnancy I had some spotting.  I did the "google thing"  and spent an entire night I think, looking up what it could be. Everything seemed to point to this could just be again "normal".  Well, Kenney was so worried, which got me worried and we decided to have things checked out.  Again, everything  seemed fine.  The baby had a heartbeat, which was again "normal".

We went home still feeling uncomfortable.  We both knew something was wrong.  God was preparing our hearts for what he already knew.  I remember reading that almost all miscarriages happen in the first trimester.  We just kept counting the days down, hoping to get past the 12 week mark, and be in the clear.  Twelve weeks came and went, and the feeling still loomed.  We prayed all the time, prayed for the life that was inside me, prayed for a healthy baby, prayed for God to comfort us. We prayed for answers.

Somewhere around the 15-16 week mark it happened.  That morning my sister in law dropped off my niece Corrine as usual.  The day began as usual.  Me and the two kiddos were playing on the deck outside, and I remember looking out to the creek, and thinking the last summer flowers still looked so pretty.  Lunch time happened, nap time happened, and then somewhere after that I had these terrible gut wrenching pains.  No, they were NOT cramps.  Nothing like cramps, nothing to be mistaken for a pulled muscle or girl things. I knew exactly what it was.  It was labor.  It felt just like labor with Tommy.  I called Kenney and asked him to come home early.

He got home and took care of Tommy, somewhere during that time my sister in law picked up Corrine.  I hid in the bathroom and cried.  I can't even explain the feelings that washed over me.  I was in so much pain that I had no actual thoughts,  I just felt heartache.  I just cried.  Labor was nearly impossible.  With Tommy through the pain and contractions there was always joy.  I knew I'd be holding my newborn baby soon.  This time there would be no baby to hold.  Labor is difficult, but the end result makes it worth it.  I felt exhausted, spent, almost numb.  There was no end result I could look forward to.  Kenney would come in and try to comfort me, but Tommy wasn't even two yet, so most of Kenney's time was spent with him.  I remember crying out to God,  I so badly wanted the pain to go away.  I felt like I had come to terms with loosing a baby, but to still have to go through all this pain, it just seemed cruel and unfair.  I wanted everything to be over.  I wanted to go to sleep and wake up and forget everything that had just happened.

Hours passed, and finally Tommy was in bed.  Kenney came in to be with me.  He wanted me to go to the hospital.  There was no way I was leaving the safety of my bathroom. I needed the comfort of quiet.  I needed to be alone with only Kenney.  I wanted my comfy T-shirt and bed to collapse into after this was done.  I wanted the lights dim.  I didn't want a hospital gown or bright fluorescent lights in my face.  I didn't want anyone telling me it would all be okay, or it was for the better, or some other form of non-comforting words.  For once in my life I had no words, and didn't want to hear any.  I just cried.  I never have cried for so long.  Kenney cried with me.  I remember him watching me.  I remember there was nothing he could do.  Every hour or so Kenney would ask if I wanted to go to the hospital and I'd scream violently, no.  At one point I remember telling him he'd have to pick me up and carry me kicking and screaming.  I am not a force to be reckoned with when I am angry I guess, seeing as he didn't take me!

Just as labor progresses with a full term pregnancy, so did mine.  My water broke, I started bleeding.  I remember reading that many women don't even recognize they are having a miscarriage because the baby can look like a large blood clot.  Kenney kept asking if that was "it"?  If it was over yet? And then the pain stopped, stuff poured from my body, and the pain was over.  I knew the baby had been delivered.

I was shaking so hard.  I stood up and there was a baby amidst the pool of blood.  A little, perfectly formed baby. We imagined the baby to be a girl.  She was so tiny, and fit in the palm of my hand, but fully formed.  There were ten fingers and toes.  Finger and toes with fingernails and toenails.  Her skin was nearly translucent and we could see her heart, her bones, her organs, her spinal column.  It was NOT a clot, a mass of stuff, it was a BABY. At that moment my heart broke.  I mourned.  I felt more grief than I had ever experienced.  I felt the loss of our baby, but even more I felt the loss of every child never born.  I saw a real baby.  Things connected for me and became very real.  I was nearly sickened at the thought of how many babies were never born because their mother actually chose to end their life. 

I don't remember how long we just sat in silence.  We just sat quietly, starring.  We had no idea what to do next.  I picked up the baby who fit inside the palm of my hand and carried her outside.  Throwing her away seemed so inappropriate to us. It was chilly outside and I still was shaking so hard. It was dark and quiet. We decided to bury her with the wild flowers near the creek.  I sat outside for along time, shivering in the dark.  I prayed over and over again for wisdom.  We lost our sweet baby, and time still went on.  While I sat crying and feeling like the world had stopped, in reality moment after moment still continued to exist.

Yet, in that moment of pain and sorrow, of feeling so small and lost, I felt most loved.  I thought about all the plans God had for us.  I thought about a little boy a half a world away that wasn't dead, that still needed a mommy and daddy.  I thought about people, people who lost their babies and weren't able to sit on their porch and cry and know their Father in heaven loves them deeply,  The people who don't know Christ, and therefore don't know of His unending love. We went to sleep that night.  And life continued on.

Today, I sit at this computer while five babies sleep under our roof.  I sleep under a different roof, than I did in 2008.  I have nieces and nephews.  I have new friends and new ministries.  I have new challenges and new struggles.  My life has continued on, according to His purpose for my good. (Romans 8:28)  To know, that when I seemingly had so much pain, so little hope, He was there, giving me grace and His power.  His power to wake up again.  His power to rejoice in the suffering. 

Today, it is only four years later, but I think of the impact that one experience, one day in a lifetime of days, has had on me. Today, on my walk with the kiddos, we saw the dried wilted wildflowers of a summer past, and I thought about our little baby in heaven, and I smiled.  I have no idea exactly how this experience will continue to shape me.  I have no idea what His plans are for me, but my Heavenly Father deeply loves me, and He will continue to use each and every moment of my life for my good, to bring Himself glory! AMEN! I am thankful of His power in my weaknesses.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I don't say it hardly enough.  I suck at it.  I mean really, really suck at it. 

Spend a day with me, and I'll chitter chatter on and on about artificial sweeteners (YUCK!), gardening, chickens, zillions of books I am trying to read, school, education, the kids, doctor appointments, church, friends... almost everything.

Except my husband.

Oh yes, "daddy" is always talked about and mentioned, and we pray for daddy, and love daddy, and I mention "Kenney" his work, and his schedule, and his sometimes maybe annoying habits (phone in the bathroom... seriously????)

But I love him.


Like, really, really love him.

And I am blessed.

Like, really, really blessed to have him.

And once I realized he IS the man God gave me, and he isn't my brothers, or my friends, or uncles, or even my dad.  He is Kenney, a man that God deeply loves, loves so much, that Jesus, His own son, died for MY husband... and I married him!  That is exciting.  It is easy to compare him to others, and see what he isn't, it is easy to find fault.  Too easy.  I fail.  I find too much fault, and do too much comparing, too much of the time!

Then, something like this last weekend happens, and I have to remember.  I need to put it forever in my memory.  I need to be reminded.  I need to keep the thoughts, the feelings, the words near to my heart daily.

So I stole his best man speech (see point #3 - it really is mine anyway) that he gave at his brother's wedding this last weekend.

I didn't edit, or change anything... I want to remember, just the way it was, well, maybe minus the five kids at my table begging for dinner to start. 

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen- My name is Ken Kolanowski, brother of the groom and I have the privilege and honor of serving as the Best Man.

To your parents; thank you for this enchanted evening in addition to raising two fine individuals. To each an every one of you, thank you for your attendance in celebrating this marriage as close family and friends of Joanna and Andy.

Let me first say that the bridesmaids look absolutely lovely today, and only rightly outshone by our bride, Joanna. And, I'm sure you'll agree with me gentlemen, today is a sad day for single men, as another beautiful women leaves the available list. And ladies, I'm sure you'll agree that today is passing by without much of a ripple, just kidding Andy.....

Growing up in Dolton, Andy and I shared our childhood together in the same room for more than 16 years. I look back at those 16 years of my life and while I didn't share the special bond he and Gina share as twins, we were brothers. I look back and I see things we have done together. Boy Scouts, Church Camps, High School Drama, amongst many memories. I thought long and hard about what embarrassing story or detail to share with everyone here tonight; and I decided that I didn't want to do that.

Your little brother wants to charge you in your marriage instead.
In life as the big brother, you have been first to do many things, however I have spent nearly the last 7 years married to my blushing bride and want to share with you what has been so precious to me so that you and Joanna do not miss out on what marriage really is.

-Love each other more than yourself. Give 100% - as giving 50% and expecting the other person to give 50% is just two people giving it their half, not their all.  

-Your spouse comes first. Before family, before children, before all others - always.

-Always be prepared to put aside personal feelings of discomfort or injustice to keep communication lines open. There is not one square inch of you that does not belong to the other so share and discuss and grow. Never be afraid of, and always appreciate the truth in both giving and receiving.

-You may not always remember verbatim what you say, but they remember for years how you made them feel. Every time you make each other feel better about themselves, in their eyes you seem better.

-Let each other be emotional and pick your battles.

-Do not speak in absolutes, yet specific examples; not to defame, yet to build.

Those are all nice post-it sayings butt there is one key to a successful marriage.....
Ensure Christ is the center of your marriage....let me repeat that; ensure CHRIST is the center of your marriage. In the scriptures the word Love is the 6th most used word.  God states several things about marriage and love that I wanted to point out.....
 Proverbs 18: 22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
 Proverbs 31:10  A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

1Corinthians 13:6-8 NIVLove does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails.
Genuine love is focused on another human being. It ... brings a deep desire to make that person happy…to meet their needs and satisfy their desires and protect their interests. Real love is best described as being unselfish in all aspects, even if a personal sacrifice is required in the relationship.
So with that we toast to Andy and Joanna, may your love be as deep as the ocean, an example to others, and a lifetime of blessings to one another.

L'Chaim - to life!

"If you want to change the world, pick up your pen."

It was Martin Luther who said it, and I pulled the phrase from a book I am reading.  And it rings true in a million tones for me.  Writing things down....there is something special, unique, almost magical in putting words on a piece of paper, especially our own words, thoughts and feelings.  Even my dad said it "if it ain't written it ain't real."

To put the words I feel on paper, almost breathes them to life.  Forever I can re-read them.  I can re-feel them.  The memory is not lost.  Each day that passes, I look at my house, my children, my life and I don't want to forget.  I don't want the moments to be wasted.  I don't want to grow up and not remember, not be able to share with others that I struggled too.  I want to remember the pain in labor.  I want to remember the sleepless nights, the fights with my husband, the days that hurt, the sunshine, the garden, my friends that come and go for different seasons, Audrey's silly words, and Caleb's sweet hugs. I want to be able to forever share those moments, all of them. They are all grace moments.  Divine blessings, because I believe God is all good, all the time,  These moments, all of them, are all grace.  Because my life is His, my story is really His too.

In one year, my words, far and few between as they may be, they are there for me to look at and remember.  And in one year, my world is changed. And His story written for me, is slowly put on paper.  I am thankful I picked up my pen.