Sharon McKeeman Blog » Blog

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When you have lost, and lost, and lost again – you can’t do normal things that others do without a thought.

Take photos of your bare and swelling belly above a perfectly arranged, but still empty, infant outfit? No.

Share ultrasound photos with friends and family on social media, knowing that for some of your children these became the only images you would ever know of them? Of course not.

Allow a baby shower to be planned and thrown for you? Impossible.

Purchase a thoughtful layette for your little one? Beyond the realm of what can be done.

When you have lost, pregnancy is more about breathing through each day than eager anticipation.

And then one day when I was shopping for toothpaste and socks, I turned the aisle and there were a small pack of bows.

One day I saw the bows and had just enough courage to put them in my shopping basket and walk to the cash register as if I just might be tempting fate.

One day I came home from the store and tucked three small bows into the top drawer of a dresser that had stood empty for almost two years. Hoping. Waiting. Giving up.

And yet here it was still empty – my refusal to fill it with odds and ends and outgrown little boy clothes was in itself a rebellion against loss, against hopelessness. These empty spaces had been my hidden banner, whispering that just maybe they might be filled one day with newborn swaddles. That day, I nestled those bows in the corner with a prayer that maybe this might be. And if it was not, if she too flew away, could I again be covered in the grace to not crumble?

I kept breathing each day. I kept praying each night – keep her safe, let her heart beat steady and help mine breathe calm.

I breathed while they cut me right in half and pulled miracle from within. And then she lay in my arms as natural as a sunrise. We fell into each other, learning all the commonplace of feeding and changing, growing and healing – all over again for me, brand new for her.

The rhythm felt so natural that it was hard to remember the divide, the time just months and days and hours before where hope often felt just out of my reach.

Until I placed the bow gentle round her brow. Then it all came back to me. How can this be?

I don’t know, but I am grateful that brokenness grants eyes to see. The Maker is, and now she is.

 

(scroll down to see that moment I put the bow on after her first bath)

11-11-2016 . the day we went home from the hospital with Joy . photos by Jesse

There are many reasons for the silence. Many reasons not to open my mouth.

Noise, noise, noise all day long, but I fall quiet where it counts.

Shame. Fear. Confusion. I have allowed these to silence me.

Because how can I share my grief, healing, hope, and joy as a mother when I’m still the mom who is losing her patience and speaking angry words I wish I could quiet?

Because how can I write of love and redemption when I often fail in the place most intimate to me – my marriage? And how do I write of walking broken with my mate, when I have found that admitting weakness in marriage is often taken advantage of by others?

Because how can I say that after all the healing and miracle and everything God has done, I’m still having trouble finding my way?

Because how do I write of joy when I know the pain of many, and how do I write of grief when I have been given so much healing?

Because what good is one more voice in all the noise?

I tried to tell my counselor that even though blessing has been poured out, I am still hurting, and I don’t know why. I threw blame as a shield. There were no answers, and I felt I should have fallen silent. As always, I am too much. Too much mess, too many confused words and emotions.

I want life more abundant. I believe it has been promised to me.

But I am still walking wounded, exhausted from trying so hard to live the faith I believe. Trying to be the woman Sunday school lessons applauded, and I have longed for and rebelled against my entire life. The woman with the gentle and quiet spirit. 

And now time is running out. I am holding a daughter, who I am to show the way, but I have no idea how to help her walk into the womanhood Christ has for her.

I have sat so many hours with her in my arms already, and still the clock and calendar keep rushing by. I am practicing presence, and I have heard the restless ache of my heart.

It is time.

It is time to grow silent down deep where the how-to manuals don’t reach.

It is time to speak what I am learning even though I cry out like Isaiah, “My lips, they are so unclean.”

Though no one may hear or care. Though what I write may only speak to my hungry heart, and hers one day. It is time.

I began this blog because it was the only way I knew to fill the void left between my Joshua and I. For some reason it was the only form of prayer that worked in that deep grief after losing a child stillborn. Words typed tangible and set free for others to see was my offering.

So over the next few months of summer, while I have a bit more time as we break from homeschooling til the fall… I am going to share daily or close to it. The images will mostly be in chronological order, giving an account of the beauty that has unfolded as my new daughter has grown. And the words will be what I am learning, a new birth that is as old as anything. A truth that is sweeping me up and rescuing me as I come to the end of myself. A truth so simple and deep that I feel I am probably the last to understand, but I wonder if there are other sisters still longing…

The Truth that is the only Word worth forming. The Word that is gentle and quiet, and filled with power beyond my understanding or imagining.

The Word Who I have loved since childhood, and still do not understand. Who I long to please and am afraid to speak for fear of diminishing through my own brokenness – Jesus.

For every woman with empty arms and an aching heart in this season, I pray that she will feel a weeping Jesus near and comforting her. I pray that a miraculous joy will well up within, defy earthly pain, and speak heaven straight to her soul…

Mother’s Day can be so very hard, and I’m over on my friend Christie Purifoy’s blog today sharing my story and my heart for everyone whose arms ache to hold a little one in this season. Click here to read the full post, and if you haven’t yet read Christie’s book, Roots and Sky, it’s a truly beautiful read.

  • Danielle - My favorite line: He held me and didn’t let go. Thank you for sharing your hard and beautiful story.ReplyCancel

Daughter,

The moon travelled close to meet your arrival.

It loomed larger in the sky than any time in the past eighty years. A sparkling lunar greeting. I cannot help but think that even the moon was tempted to swing near to glimpse your fresh-faced miracle.

You are tucked into our lives, new and at home, and a glowing orb hangs out our front door, keeping watch.

This moon whispers, “Wake up wake up, a soul is born!”

An ordinary miracle played out a billion times more. Body meets body, love binds, God breathes, and in the depths a spark is lit. Along with lungs and eyes, tiny kicking feet and sucking lips, comes a fresh soul, a seed. Never known and discovering. The moon stands sentry to remind us with its tremendous face what we are witnessing, what we are cradling.

Then day peeks through the windows. I hold you and eat oatmeal and fruit, scrambled eggs. Drink a cup of tea, grateful. I keep you in my arms and fall into a most beautiful book, all the stars in the universe connecting a story at a time. Gilead sits on the coffee table and finds its way into my hands as you sleep on my chest.

I read, feed you, and nourish myself. Amazed at this moment—you and I, this couch, the book, food, and the sun risen after the moon slipped back on its path to further space.

“Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life.”  I read Marilynne Robinson’s words.

You wake and your dainty feet kick, toes poised, flexing in an unsung dance. We are in the garden, we are speaking to the moon. We are ordinary, and the fact that you and I are here, eating eggs and nursing quiet is a miracle sure.

November 13, 2016 – 4 days old

  • Katie - Oh Sharon, what a preciousness!
    These images of your daughter are SO beautiful. I could not get over how tiny she was in that pretty bassinet and how darling the blue gingham sleeping gown with the pink bow and sweet cap:)And her peaceful face.
    Thank you for sharing these and your heart here.
    What beauty and love!!
    Gratefully,
    KatieReplyCancel

    • sharon - Thank you so much for your sweet words Katie! She is truly a treasure and we are so thankful xoxoReplyCancel

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”

– Hebrews 12:1

Sometimes I get a glimpse of the finish line, I’m flying and the wind is in my hair.

And then I trip and fall, face down in the sand. Too tired, too discouraged to get back up.

For all you homeschooling mamas out there, give yourself grace. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and you are surrounded by sisters. No matter how this school year feels, you have given your heart and your time. And there’s just a few more months til summer!

For more unplugged images and inspiration head over to www.childhoodunplugged.com