The idea of daily habits keeps creeping into my thoughts. Its showing up everywhere I look. As I’ve been writing lately, I’m finding myself creating a habit that I honestly don’t want to skip or live without. It has been so helpful in finding those deep layers of emotion as I process all of George Mason’s story. I’m not a very emotional person, in the sense of being “in touch” with how or what I’m feeling. So often in my life I just bottle up whatever hurts, or is too complicated, and don’t deal with it or place an imaginary “to do” sticker on it for another time. I learned after my mom died that grief doesn’t allow that to happen. And on the rare occasion that you are able to stuff it away, you end up being so much worse off when it finally comes to the surface. 

This loss, this horrible loss of my infant son, is so much harder than 2 years ago with my mom. Not that grieving my mom wasn’t hard (or grieving any loved one for that matter), but I had memories, wonderful memories to dive into on the days that it was just so hard. Somehow, that made the process of my grief over her a little easier to manage. It felt like on the worst days, where I just wanted so badly to sit in her house and chat, or to have her be present for some milestone of mine or Audrey’s, I could dig through all of the memories of her life and find something that comforted me on that day. I was so very grateful for the 28 years that I spent with her, and in those moments of intense pain, I was thankful for the memories of those 28 years. On the worst days with this grief, I don’t have very many memories and those I do have are riddled with stress, anxiety, and worry. I carried a miracle little boy for 38 weeks and 18 of those were spent wondering if he would still be alive tomorrow. I delivered him and had 16 hours, out of which we spent about 4 with him. There just aren’t many memories but there are SO many things I thought I would have and now don’t. 

At church yesterday, the children did our call to worship and they memorized and presented the first few verses from Psalm 100. 

"Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." v 1-3

Those words are wonderful. They are comforting in knowing that just like a good shepherd will take care of his flock, God is doing that for us. He is taking care of my every need, on a daily basis. I’ve been harping on the idea of joy lately (thankful for a God who sends not so subtle hints). I want so badly for my life to be filled with joy even though there’s this heavy thing weighing on my heart; on all of our hearts. As I think about daily habits and how beneficial they can be, I want to make a habit out of joy. I want to make a joyful noise in everything I do. Whether I’m full of sad tears, anger and frustration with this outcome, or happily baking “happy cake” with Audrey Nole, I want to serve the Lord with gladness. I understand that right now, this particular moment in my life, joy and gladness are going to have to be intentional parts of my day but I also know that this too shall pass. That this season of my life is serving a purpose for the kingdom of God and is shaping me and my relationship with Him. Perhaps as I examine my daily habits, I will find that there are ones I can change or throw out that aren’t beneficial, and that others, like the daily act of clinging to Jesus as the source of my joy, will grow ever stronger. 

I’m missing my son today, and every day, but I’m also missing all of the things that could have been. As I’m planning Audrey’s birthday party, I’m sad that I won’t have one to plan for him next year. As I box up out of season clothes to save for any future little girls, I’m reminded of the clothes he never wore. As I work on organizing Adam’s office, I wish that it was still a nursery. I’m going to miss a lot of things over the course of what would have been his life but I’m thankful for a God who calls us his own and who cares for us. Because if He really does care for me like a sheep in his flock, I’m going to be ok. I’m going to be given all the things that I need to be able to flourish in the place that He’s put me. I don’t understand all of the reasons why I’m in this place, but I am glad to know without a doubt that He’s here with me, guiding me, comforting me, and ultimately, delivering me from the sting of death. 

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” - Psalm 100:4-5