Victories, Losses, and Next Week #GideonBlue

Its needless to say that I am, not at all, a morning person.  I am a spoiled rotten Mommy who sleeps until 8 most days (mostly because my husband is amazing and partly because he is afraid of me before that hour).  But next week?  On Tuesday…I need to see the sunrise.  I need to be awake at 7:46, the time Gideon was born.  I feel the need to honor Gideon’s only 90 minutes with tears, and at the very least, my awakeness!  So here’s to setting my alarm clock for 5:30 am.  Is that even when the sunrises?  Remind me to Google that.

These days are surely interesting ones.  With one foot in joy at the news of a completely healthy baby boy growing inside my belly and the other still firmly planted in grief, missing and loving my one true Gideon that can never be replaced.  Yes these days are complicated ones, but then God is constantly teaching me through them.  Always teaching.

This morning I had to accept the fact that I am pretty sure Gideon’s tree, gifted to us by our precious friends, is sitting dead in my front yard.  I have been denying it for awhile.  I kept waiting for the first signs of life to show on its limbs, “Come on…just give me one bud…just one leaf!  The tree can’t die too!  I can’t take the tree dying too!”  But alas, spring has sprung and nothing.  Just dead tree limbs reminding me of how awful I am at gardening and how real and close death remains.

I frantically call my Dad to ask him to help me get a new one, I text the friends who gifted us the tree and confess that we’ve killed it, and then I cry…cry because how emotionally attached I was to the idea that at least the tree will remind us of his life.  Then comes the whisper, the gentle sweet whisper of my God who always shows up when I need Him to…”Maria, you must hold loosely to it all.  All of it.”  All of it?

What about my kids?  What about my husband?  What about my house?  What about our comfort?  What about our never can be replaced ever in the whole entire span of a lifetime hand and footprints of Gideon?  What about the also never can ever be replaced platter that has Gideon’s feet along with my other three kids?  What about our security?  What about our health?  What about, what about what about what about…

All of it, hold loosely to it.  Hold firmly only to one thing…ME.  The rest will then be okay too.”

Fact is, I’m pretty sure I convinced myself that Gideon’s last traces of being were represented in that tree.  I think I needed to lose it for reality to jolt me into place…Gideon’s last traces of being can never die.  He is in me.  He is in my children.  He is forever in the hearts of all those whose lives he touched, and no lack of watering can ever take that away.  Not only that, sweet Gideon goes where we go.  Its like my daughter said, “Every time I see a beautiful sky it makes me think of Gideon.  Like he is right here with us.”  To God’s provision, whether it be in skies, or friends, or miracles or mail…to that I will firmly hold.

And then comes God’s provision in all of the above…through my miracle mail today from a friend.  Like I said, today was an emotional day.  Its funny to me how God notices what I need before I even realize I need it.  After driving around to carpools and pickups for what seemed like hours, I went to grab the mail.  Out came a mysterious package from a name I did not recognize, what I thought was a medical bill, and another random seemingly junk mail item.

Seriously, no really...I stared at this thing for 40 minutes before opening it.  I wanted to soak up its blueness, its mystery, and its perfect timedness.  Lovely in every way.

Seriously, no really…I stared at this thing for 40 minutes before opening it. I wanted to soak up its blueness, its mystery, and its perfect timedness. Lovely in every way.

I stared at the package for, what was probably, an awkwardly long amount of time.  Again with my crazy brain, I think I really believe God sends me mail.  I open it up.  Its a beautiful GideonBlue wrapped package with a note, “Dear Maria, Hi!  I follow your blog and have been praying for you for the last year…My heart feels with you since I’m a believer, Mom of four, and lover of babies.  I know this anniversary of Gideon is HARD.  I’ve sent along a little something from the store I work at for baby Samuel’s arrival.”

Sweet Jane, words cannot express how perfectly needed and timely your gift of encouragement and love arrived.  So perfect!  And in fact, little Samuel’s first precious gift.  The first sign in our home that a baby is actually coming, that it just might be happening.  Jane, you are simply the bestest!

Jane at http://learningjane.blogspot.com you are an angel sent from God.  Your gift is perfect and has helped this Momma heal just a little bit more.

Jane at See Jane Learn you are an angel sent from God. Your gift is perfect and has helped this Momma heal just a little bit more.  P.S.  I hope you don’t mind me plastering it all over my blog, I felt it deserved ample plastering.  You can find gifts like these at her children’s gift boutique – Charlie Barnes Kids

The other two pieces of mail?  Well the “medical bill” was actually a small check from the doctor reimbursing us for an over payment (say what??? that happens?) and the “junk mail” was a rewards card from Dave’s work from a job well done.  Now God is just showing off.  I love when God sends mail.

In this life, in my life, there holds a series of victories and a series of losses.  None really outweighs the other and many of them seem equally as important.  Some lay me out and threaten despair and hopelessness.  Others perk me up and give me small things to get me through the next moment or day.  Through all of it is my Maker, weaving His perfect story through both the heartache and the rejoicing and its because He is fully trustworthy that even the losses will not remain.

Next Tuesday, March 31st is Gideon’s birthday.  Have I mentioned that I cannot wait??  Okay, yes, I think I have mentioned it plenty.  And don’t forget to #GideonBlue your Gideon Blue wearing!  Yes Nana, you can email me the picture too to mariafurlough@gmail.com.

In the awesome name of Jesus, who loves you and me enough to die and live again…may both your losses and victories be divinely woven because you’ve gripped tightly most fervently onto Him.

 

My Death Perspective

I remember counting down the days to Gideon’s arrival like it was yesterday.  I remember constantly going back and forth, “Was it a count down to bringing in a life or a count down to saying goodbye to one?”  It was both…but where was my countdown?  Where was my focus?

Even today I have a countdown still, and big on my calendar it says “Gideon’s Birthday.”  March 31st, his birthday, his last day, his only day.  I’ll never forget a story from a friend that never really made much sense to me until these days.  As one mom held her dying newborn baby, her friend having lost her own child at 3 whispered, “Oh sweet Mommy…I wish you had more time…”  The mom holding her baby looked up at her friend, in shock and said, “More time?  But doesn’t that make it all the more painful?”  “Oh,” the other woman said, “I couldn’t be more thankful for every waking moment I had with my child.  I’ll savor each day forever.”

Shoot!  Leave it to me to want to show you my calendar (cause I love it that much), only to realize the day after Gideon's birthday embarrassingly holds my visit to court. Blast.  Well before you probably didn't even notice and I'm sure you did now,  But that's life right?  Don't we all forget to register our vehicles for 6 months after they are expired???

Shoot! Leave it to me to want to show you my calendar (cause I love it that much), only to realize the day after Gideon’s birthday embarrassingly holds my visit to court. Blast. Well before you probably didn’t even notice and I’m sure you did now, But that’s life right? Don’t we all forget to register our vehicles for 7 months after they are expired???

My husband and I often debated, if God offered us more time with Gideon would we have taken it.  My answer was always resoundingly yes and since then my death perspective has never been the same.  I used to spend a lot of my minutes fearing death.  Fearing loss, fearing sickness, fearing the ultimate pain of losing a child.  I would run away from sad stories and stand virtually unable to handle stories about death.  I would run, afraid and weary.  And afraid and weary I lived, wondering when the hammer would fall, when tragedy would strike.  Oh the minutes I wasted.

I often think of that Mom and what she said about the days she had with her three year old and I want to live in those days too.  I want to capture all the happy and healthy days.  I want to soak them in and seep them up and not waste a single second of them on worry.  Our minutes of life are the only ones we get to count, for in life eternal there is no quantifying.

Gideon had 90 minutes, so far I’ve had 17,154,587…but in the end when its all over, that number will all be a wash and forever will simply be forever.  I have 5 children, 1 husband and I have no idea how many minutes they will have, but my heart focus will be on their lives not waiting on death and because my God is my God I can rest assured that Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

I cannot tell you the joy that fills my heart.  It is such a freeing and precious way to live.  I think for me it is even more magnifying because there is a distinct before and after.  B.G. and A.G. (if you will) Before Gideon and After Gideon.  I excitedly put his birthday up on that calendar.  I bought a star cake pan just for him and we have a whole day of family festivities planned.  Already I filled with excitement about YOUR GIDEON BLUE…so many people are planning outfits and I simply cannot wait.  (don’t forget to #GideonBlue your picture or email it to me @ mariafurlough@gmail.com  I want to see them all!!)  It is such a gift to live this way, such a constant pathway of peace.

Yes, its true, the tears will always come in their time and when death does knock on our door again I will be none the happy person to open it.  Yet the joy remains still and in this moment, we will keep death in perspective.

Samuel 22 weeks verse

My sweet three year old son Aaron said to me the other day, “Mommy, is Gideon the same as Samuel?”  Surely being 6 months pregnant with a baby boy has got to be confusing for him and I loved that he asked me.  “Aaron,” I said, “Both Gideon and Samuel are your little baby brothers, but no they are not the same.  Gideon was born last year and he got to be with us for a short time before he when to Heaven to live with Jesus.  Samuel has not been born yet, you will get to meet him soon.”  Two little baby boy lives, closely linked in time, family, and age…but thank you God that each so uniquely special and different and each will be savored during each moment on this earth, with humble excitement towards the limitless minutes in the next.  And thank you God that those minutes are without limit.