Sharon McKeeman Blog » Blog

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When a babe is born, time alters.

We count it in days and then weeks instead of months and years.

There is eating and there is sleeping. Everything grows slow, as our family draws near to greet  our new little one.

At the same time, the clock begins to rush past quicker than ever before as each morning greets a new face, a new body. This newborn growing, is becoming something more every moment, and in that becoming a treasure is also lost. She will only lie a sleeping bundle on my chest for so long. Her arms will grow beyond this swaddling. She will walk and talk, Lord willing someday she will stand tall beside me. Those days will be joy and promise realized. But these hours when she lays all-trusting in my arms, these are fleeting and they are a thin place where God shines through newborn soul.

She is only a few days old when I begin to fear losing her. Not the fear of pregnancy that her body would be lost, but a new fear – of the inevitable. I’m afraid I will not be able to withstand this time coming to a close.

As I sit quiet, hours on the couch with books and tea and her wrapped tight within my arms, I realize I am in a rushing torrent.

I am caught up in the swift river of time, and always have been.

Time is the thief coming to steal and destroy all I know and love. It will take all I hold dear away, even my own body.

And time is the medium through which God births beauty, growing, and relationship. Without time there would been no wedding day, no struggle, no choosing love, no pain of loss leading to breathless anticipation, no birth, no watching this daughter grow.

Ah time you are cruel and you are magic. I can not escape your swift current no more than I can ask the oceans and rivers pulsing through this planet not to be. All I can do is learn the lessons you teach, accept the gifts you bring, and let moments slip through my hands like water. Marveling at the sparkle instead of trying hopeless to stem the flood.

Someday I will step beyond time’s bounds. I can not pretend to know how that will feel, but I trust that the One who created this river and everything it holds has good plans.

For now I embrace and let go. I stand present in these precious newborn days and am washed along by the current to new beauty.

photos taken November 16, 2016

Daughter,

I wait for the morning light to filter through the courtyard trees and into my room. At first just a glimmer and then sliding through the window, across his sleeping form and resting on your soft hair nestled against my chest – lighting up your beauty.

The nights are long. Three we will be here in this room of nurses and plastic beds, magic and new life. These nurses come to wake me every few hours, but I am only pretending to sleep. I am afraid to stop watching you, and my body is still racing from the surge of birth. You are nothing but sleep, and I am all wide eyes taking in every bit of you.

So I wait for the light to come because that means I can stop pretending. It means he will wake and we will smile and talk. Breakfast will come, and I will be able to see you lit by sunlight instead of the dim glow of the hallway’s fluorescent bulbs.

Once the sunshine has bathed him, I hand you off and walk haltingly to the restroom. These are gentle moments – gentle with my healing body and your tiny budding life. Gentle with each other. I return, ease myself into bed, and we gaze at you. We have created again. Our coming together has born fruit – again. We are not always this gentle with each other, but in this morning light I think maybe we can be. We have been used for miracle, haven’t we? We are the Nile and new moon. We are Adam and Eve finding our way. Maybe this birth will be the rebirth of us, or maybe you will be one more thread stitching us together.

If we are gentle maybe we will hear all that we are meant to be. Maybe if we are gentle we will forgive as we have been forgiven.

Either way, I wait for the morning light so he will wake and smile at me. Daughter what more can one hope for in love? A smile morning after morning all these long and beautiful years. I will pray you know this too one day.

 

When our school has “Fancy Snazzy Dress Up Day” most of the kids wear fancy dresses, suits and ties. Aaaannnd… this is what my boys wear. Head over to Childhood Unplugged to see more awesome unplugged moments.

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 place the bow gentle round her brow. Then it all comes 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.