Now what?

Hello there friends! Long time, no write for me. I’m not sure exactly why, but I always seem to forget how much life changes when you bring a brand new baby into the mix of life. I mean, come on, it’s a tiny human that depends on you for every. little. thing…how hard can it be, right?  Almost 10 weeks later, here I am opening my computer to write for the first time. I’ve had so many thoughts and emotions swirling around in my head over the past few weeks, but they seem to leave as quickly as they come.  Every once in awhile I’ll catch one in time to jot a note down in my phone (because who has time to find a pen), but most of the time when I reread what I wrote I wonder what in the heck I meant. Sleep deprivation is king of zapping the creativity right out of your brain. Coffee only fixes the vital functions like keeping your eyes open to drive to get more coffee.  Perhaps in 4-6 months I’ll be functioning on at least 60% of my brain.  The other day my sister-in-law asked me “who are these people who’s children sleep through the night at 6 weeks old?”  To which I replied “They’re all liars!”  I refuse to believe there is some mom out there sleeping peacefully that soon after having a baby…and if she is I don’t want to know about it!

Another thing I realized quickly is that postpartum hormones and grief do not go well together. You know how medications sometimes have warning labels on them, like “do not drive or operate heavy machinery”, well I feel like there should be a warning label somewhere for what I experienced. There aren’t even words to describe it other than BLEH. I prefer to never (ever!) repeat that. So of course, when Easter rolled around last month I was already a hot mess of emotions. I knew it would be a difficult day for the entire family, but we all got up and dressed and made it to church bright and early. I was mentally prepared for a typically “Easter” sermon. You know…the resurrection and all that, but what I got was a big, huge sob-fest.

Leave it to our pastor to pull out something unexpected. It’s why we love our church so much. The message on Easter Sunday was about living a full life in Christ even when our big “Whys” go unanswered. Gut punch and cue all the tears. If you have 40 minutes and a box of tissues handy, I highly recommend you go to BentTree.org and watch it. I couldn’t even begin to do it justice here. Go ahead…I’ll wait.

Did you watch it? See what I mean? I don’t think there’s a person out there that hasn’t experienced some kind of “why?” moment in their lives. If we’re lucky, at some point we get the “Ah Ha!” moment that goes along with it. Like when your boyfriend dumps you and life is shattered…but a few years later you meet the man you’ll live happily ever after with. Or when you lose your job only to have an amazing opportunity offered to you. “Ah Ha!” moments are awesome. All is right with the world again, the birds are chirping and the sun is shining. Hooray!

Life sucks when you know that “Ah Ha!” moment isn’t coming in this lifetime. There may be some point in the future where I see all the amazing things that Layla’s legacy has left behind, but I don’t imagine there will be a time that I will think losing her was worth any of it. No amount of good can compare to having your child back. So what now?

I’ve pondered that question for weeks and the conclusion I’ve come to is not about figuring out the “why”, but the “who”. Who can benefit from what we’ve been through? How can we, and ultimately Layla, make an impact in the life we have left to live. It’s the driving force behind Layla’s Legacy and the reason I sat down to write my book, The Other F-Word. Our purpose as christians is to tell the story of Christ and his amazing love that is freely given for all of us. There is no better way to share His story than through our stories. The life we’ve lived and the battles we’ve fought are all for His glory. If not, then that’s the bigger “why”.

I will not have an answer this side of heaven about why we lost our sweet Layla to cancer, but I can proclaim His goodness through that journey over and over again. I can continue to share my faith and her story to anyone who will listen (or is too slow to run away). Our family will find ways to serve others that are battling that same disease and do it in His name. The answer to the question is always “for Him”.

It won’t always feel warm and fuzzy. In fact, it will almost always be difficult, but let’s not miss the opportunities to connect with those who share our unanswered questions and to represent what it looks like to have a life lived out in faith. Our unanswered questions will be the answer to someone else’s prayers.

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