About Me

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South Africa
My husband, Brett and I live in beautiful South Africa and have been blessed with the most precious family. We have 2 very beautiful and brave daughters, Tianna (15) and Angelee (12) and a very precious little boy called Zac who touched our hearts forever in his 1 day here on earth. We never would have imagined that we would have to live this side of Heaven without our sweet boy who was born with half a heart, but every day Jesus carries us through and is teaching us more than ever how to live, laugh and love fully. 3 years ago our faithful Great Restorer graciously blessed us once again with another son ... our beloved Gabriel ... a ray of sunshine in all our lives! "Love in Action" is our journey as a family to love the way Jesus is teaching us to love and live.

Blog Archive

21 January 2012

Wearing my Heart on my Sleeve

I haven't really been in a blogging head space lately. I have so many feelings, but few words to put it all into. There are no pictures today and quite honestly, I don't even know what is going to come out as I write. That's kind of how I write. I put my fingers to the keyboard and wait to see what comes out. I've come to accept that I am actually quite a "let's just jump into the deep end and I'm sure I'll figure out how to swim" kinda-gal - at least with writing that is. That's how I roll peeps, so if you are brave enough to read on, I'm impressed by your courage ;0)
On a whole, there a lot more really good days these days. That in itself seems like a huge miracle to me, because almost 4 months ago I never thought I would ever be able to feel anything but intense missing, longing and pain. Mixed into the good days are often moments though, that bring me back to the stark reminder of life in the here-and-now without my little boy in my arms. Those moments never cease to take me by surprise. It's like I never see them coming. They aren't necessarily big things. In fact, it's usually quite the opposite. For me, it is the small random things ... the look on one of my children's faces when we walk past a tiny baby. They go from totally happy to sad without a word needing to be said. I get how they feel, because I often feel the same way. This week, I had a few of those moments. A big one for me was having to fill out an information form for each of my girls for their class teachers. I have filled out this same form every year for the last 5 years, but this time it sucker-punched me. Each questionnaire had an ordinary question that completely stymied me. The question: "how many children do you have" and their placement "eldest, youngest or .....................".  I totally did not know what to write, without having to write an essay to explain. Do I write "2" simply because the school will only ever meet 2 of my children or do I write 3, because that is my reality, but then if I write 3 how do I place Angelee? She isn't my youngest anymore, yet in life here on earth she is. See what I mean!!! So complicated!!! It takes me back to the place of having to work through my feelings of loss over and over again. 
Walking through the shops this week a lady walked behind me and suddenly called out, "Zac". I froze and turned on instinct as if expecting to find my little boy, and then reality hit me as I watched this stranger reaching out to her little boy called Zac. It took all of me to not crumple to the floor and sob my eyes out, but I had my girls with me and thankfully they hadn't heard or seen the exchange. 
I am coming to accept that grief is complicated and tricky. It's unpredictable and not always within your control. How you  respond to it is, but it's one of those things that you can't always be prepared for how you are going to feel. You think you are in one place one day, and then you realise that you have so many more twists and turns in the road to negotiate. Quite frankly, it's a big stinker!!!!!!!! I may have found a quiet acceptance over Zac's story, but I will never like it as long as I live on this round, green little place called earth. Quite frankly, it just makes me determined to live my life more invested in making each of my days count for something bigger than the mundane, mingled together with a real longing for Heaven too. I could never understand Paul's statement that to live is Christ, but to die is gain. I always kind of felt a little scared of moving on from earth and all I know and love, but now I look at life here on earth with a much greater heavenly perspective. I want the way I live here to have lasting impact in my eternity with Christ, the way my little boy has. That pull within my heart urges me to grieve honestly, but not to be swallowed up in the pain. That, dear friends is a moment by moment choice because the temptation to stay overwhelmed by grief is so very strong some days. 
In many areas I can sense that I have navigated another bend in the journey and the road is a little lighter in some ways. I can finally read articles about working through grief with kids without falling to pieces emotionally. It still breaks my heart that my darling girls have had to walk this road. I can only handle reading books and articles lightly at my own pace (with the help and insight of an amazing child psychologist - you know who you are and you know how much I love you - hugs xoxox). Having to read everything that different people suggest to me is just too overwhelming. God knows what I can absorb as I work through all of this. I do sense His amazing healing and comfort all the time. There is not a day that goes by where I do not feel Him present and attending the hearts of my family. I finally 'get' / understand the blessing in mourning when Jesus says "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted". The blessing is that God Himself comforts us in a way that no book, words etc ever could. He is so sensitive and tender with our hearts and always intentional in showing His comfort so personally to each person as an individual. I find it quite interesting to see how each of us grieve differently and at different stages as a family and yet His comfort meets each of us where we are at. Only the Lord could have revealed the "blessing" within mourning to me. If anybody else had of quoted me that verse in the first stages of grief, I would not have been able to grasp it yet and it would have just added to the hurt. I was too raw and the pain too intense to accept that there could be any kind of blessing at all in the pain of loosing a child. All I wanted was my little boy. Not any promise like "God works all things for the good. This was obviously for the best, somehow. Just wait and see." Both Brett and I have both had many conversations with people along those lines and it took a lot to graciously hold back and see it from the heart that it was intended which was to comfort. We get that it is really awkward to know what to say to grieving parents, but a gentle insight here is that truths like these can only be revealed from the Lord, for only He can see the heart of a hurting parent and knows when ones heart can actually bare those promises without the searing pain. I am slowly beginning to glimpse some of those truths, but it is still bittersweet. As a mother it will never "feel" like all things have worked together for my good in this regard, but my heart trusts my Father with this journey we are walking. Faith isn't about how we "feel". I've come to see that Jesus can handle my outbursts as I negotiate my feelings. These outbursts don't push Him away from  me. In fact, as I tackle them with Him, He is drawing me closer and closer because He knows my heart and trust in Him. To any hurting person reading this, know that you can be completely real with your emotions with God as you work through your pain. I have come to see that the cost has been very great, but His grace is still greater and that is what I open my heart to every single day. His grace is what carries me. 
Ok, for a post that began with I only have "few words", ummmm, I think maybe I just found about a thousand or so more to express my heart ;0) Seriously, if you have read all this without skim reading you deserve a medal!!!!! hee hee
Oohh, and I just found a picture for this post from Google images.
I guess it's destined to be called "wearing my heart on my sleeve". My hubby can never get why I live so openly through this blog. I guess it's because I'd rather be honest than live life wearing a mask. I'm a work in progress in the Potters hands. By living in the truth, flaws and all - it's a slap in the devils face to remind him that he has no claim on me or the pain I have encountered. The Potter is patiently working out my flaws! One day He alone will get all the victory! Yay Jesus!!! My heart is so much for us daughters of God to lower our masks and show the beauty of being molded more and more into His image. Another post for another time. 
To those of you who actually read this stuff (it seriously amazes me that anyone would want to read any of this stuff I write) thank you for sticking with me through this journey. I have had the precious opportunity of meeting some of you, and so many of you have been such a great encouragement to me. To those of you that I have never met and yet you write and share your heart with me ... you will never know how much it has meant to me.
Today, as always, I am sending you all my love!!!!!
Janine xxx


Amy Durrant said...

Your words speak exquisitely to my heart, and as if from my own mind. Oh Janine, the emotions and the experiences you share are mine, have been mine. Not that telling you is mean't to be comforting, it's just an amazing thing, to see how us mothers SHARE so much. What a most beautiful precious thing it is to be a mother. How excruciating beautiful, if that makes sense. I love you. Thank you for sharing. It does comfort me to feel I have a sister in this.

Loulita Gill said...

Jan I love reading your blog. I find great encouragement from it. I often check to see if you have posted anything new and look forward to reading all that you have to say.I know I'm not the only one who is blessed by it. You have such a beautiful way of expressing your heart. Keep writing my friend, you never know, one day these posts could end up being your book! Love Louli xxx

Anonymous said...

"Here's to you Mrs Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know"...this popped into my head thinking of you the other day and when your mom sang it to you at your bridal shower. I love reading your blogs, can't quite describe them but they just amazing!

All my love
Candice Bowes

Carol F said...

My Janni,my Queen - I Love you...more!
Always X

Kathleen Packer (nee Wocke) said...

Precious Jan...just keep wearing that heart on your sleeve my love...keep sharing..it brings healing wherever those words land...in many hearts and lives...thank you for sharing...you pour out blessing in your journey..lol,kxx