Have you ever tried to be still. I mean honestly sat still, quiet, calm without sound or distraction. I notice that in my life being still is the furthest thing from my reality. I have been struggling the past several weeks trying so hard to find the path God wants me to go on. I have felt like I wasted so much time, energy, and money and I still do notn know what I want; or more importantly what God wants from me.
During this time I have felt stress, anxiety, fear, anger, frustration and resentment and mostly all towards myself. Is this what God wants for me? Is this how it should feel if God is leading me in the path he has for. While I do feel like there us a direction he is leading me towards I am not sure that the timing is right just yet. But I have fought with myself and God trying to figure it out.
During a sermon this past week a pastor quoted a scripture we all know but so often move over so quickly. “Be still and know that I am God”….let me write that again…”Be still and know that I am God”. What does that even mean? How do you be still in the midst of all the responsibilities. For me that means many different things and it will be different for each one of us.
For me in this moment is me in this moment it means stopping, stopping to breathe, examine, and reconnect. Be still means knowing that unless I stop I will never hear God’s voice or be able to feel the extent of the peace he wants for me to have. After the crazy that has been this year I think God is calling me to simply be still.
So as hard as that is for me to take a step back. I am going to, with God’s help learn to enjoy the phase I am in right now. Not trying to unravel what is in my future. I don’t know how long God wants me to be still but until I feel his nudge I am going to learn how to embrace those two simple yet so powerful words. BE STILL.
There was a scripture that struck home with me along with the one from Psalms. It is from Romans and says,
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
When we learn to be still I believe we can find our hope and peace.
The struggle I am facing in this new season of my life, in this new place is contentment. How many of you can identify with this? I am happy…but…, the place I live is great, but…., maybe I could find a different job that…, if only… I just wish I could… and the list goes on and on and on. While I am struggling during this time with missing Jubilee again I want to have contentment. This concept that is so foreign to our society, and is rarely supported or encouraged. We have this pressure to always go for whatever is bigger and better. To always have something greater than the next guy. My contentment lies in my need to rely on God, and trust in His plan. Over and over again I have seen his provision and blessing in my life as he has provided employment, financial need, and dear friends that could never be lost or forgotten. But even though this is something I remember I still fight with having the mindset of the Israelite in the Old Testament always loosing sight of all God had done for them. But how do you reach such contentment???? I am reading a book called “One Thousand Gifts” written by Ann Voskamp. I believe that her raw, and real writing describing her journey to this is going to give insight into the answer of being content right where God has placed me, not only being content but having a full and joy filled life. As I read this book ( I am only in the second chapter) I find an answer that is so simple (yet so challenging), Be Thankful, all the time and through all circumstances. So I send this question out, how do you find contentment in your life? I also challenge to you is to consider how has God shown himself even in the midst of suffering to have a plan? What is your reason for contentment and joy?
“One Thousand Gits” Written by Ann Voskamp
Wow, how life so quickly changes and how quickly time just seems to pass by. As we begin to enter this fall season it is hard not to think of all the differences that would be in my life if Jubilee were still here. I feel like my faith is again being challenged the last couple of weeks, as I look towards the holidays. Moving to San Antonio, Texas has helped in many ways but there will always be that ache in my heart for the place my daughter was born.
I do not know if it is the craziness of my schedule with this new job I am attempting to keep up with, the learning of a new town, or the friends and support we left behind but I have been desperately missing my little girl the last couple of weeks. I find myself wishing for the little girl who would be learning to roll of and hold up her head. I am trying to rest in the reassurance that she is living a life of perfection in the arms of Jesus.
I saw sitting at church this past week, listening to the Pastor but honestly being distracted by the face of a sweet little girl in her fathers arms in the row in front of us. She would look at me and smile. I would wave and her little hand would wave back. My mind drifted to that place again wondering how different my life would have been. I know God has a perfect plan, one that far exceeds my idea of how things should work.
So, I am sending these thoughts out onto the blog. I really am not sure if anyone reads it but I know that just the writing of these thoughts puts my mind at ease. If you are reading and have experienced something similar know that you are in my prayers and you are not alone. While the memories, and difficulty can creep up on me I have slowly found healing and I know that you will to.
I have not written in quite a while. I feel like life just took over and bombarded with all of its craziness. Coming on here to write is a way for me to set all of that aside. So big new we are moving to San Antonio, Texas. We are very excited but it is so bitter-sweet. I go back and forth over my emotions especially this week. This Thursday the 17th would have been Jubilee’s due date if she had not gone to be with the Lord. It is difficult to think about what would have been while I am packing boxes and looking towards a drastically different future than the one I thought I would be at during this time. Rather than putting together a nursery I am putting my things into boxes and leaving this place and starting fresh somewhere new. It is so bitter-sweet, and until the day we actually drive away I am unsure of how I will truly feel. But right now in this moment I feel sadness, loss, and a desire to hold my little girl in my arms just one more time. In my last blog I shared about the idea of putting a band aid on those areas of hurt when they pop up and blind side us. This is one of those moments, how do I move and leave this place where I last and only held her. But I know this is going to amazing opportunity and God is providing and blessing us through this and I am so thankful. To celebrate what would have been her birth we are going to go to Build A Bear and make a bear for her, something we were going to do right before she was born originally. It will be a peaceful way of remembering and acknowledging her on that day. I will post pictures of it after we have finished. Please keep Joe and I in your prayers as we take this new step in our lives, that God would have his hand on our travels as well as our hearts as we leave this place behind and start a new adventure.
Recently I have heard different ideas about band aides and the purpose they have in our life. This may seem like an odd thing to write about on this blog but band aides have a unique way of healing. They are the protective layer that we need while a wound is fresh and is not ready to be out in the open, exposed to all the elements. At my SHARE support group we discussed paper cuts, the little things that happen over time and cause us pain. They may not be big enough to need a band aid but over time without attention all these little hurts become a big obstacle in our lives. The secret to using a band aid is leaving it on long enough that the body does what it was designed to do, create its own protective layer. Then we slowly take the band aid off, which can be painful during the process, to allow it to continue to heal. I don’t know if this makes any sense at all but it has been on my mind lately. Some of the hurts heal quickly and other will eventually leave a scar. They all have one thing in common, they need to heal…some will take longer than others and sometimes we pick at the situation causing it to be more painful. The important thing to remember both as the individual in pain, and more importantly for an outside looking in, is that we all heal differently. Each of us handle the loss (regardless of when), in a different way, and there is nothing wrong with that. You are free to be you, as God designed you to be, the way you or I may handle the loss of a child may be drastically different from the next person. We all have a band aid, different sizes and shapes that cover the wounds on our hearts until we are ready to remove them and take the next step of healing. The scar that remains will always be there as a reminder of the strength, faith, and love that occurred through that horrific experience. Something that Satan intended to destroy us, will instead with God’s help, strengthen us. And we will be forever changed, we will love with a new fierceness, and never take for granted each new day; but most importantly we will always love and remember that child that we only had for a short time on this earth. Healing takes time, it takes band aides, and each individual faces that differently. Prayer, and hope are the key elements in my healing, and I pray for anyone and everyone who has ever faced this loss that they would know the strength and beauty they posses and the beautiful plan that God will create out of this sorrow-filled mess.
I am all about music, I have a playlist on my Spotify (listen below) account that I love to listen to especially when I am in this place of sadness. There is a song by Laura Story called “I can just be me”. I love this song not because it speaks to my specific loss but rather to the fact that I don’t have to be anyone other than myself and that includes my journey of healing.
Healing Playlist (Spotify)
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It may sound funny but this blog has become a source of comfort for me, at times when I feel like I miss her so much I come on here and read my past posts, and look at pictures. It just feels like I am with her for a short while, then I hold her tiny little blanket or the bear they gave us at the hospital. Time has gone by so fast, in the short time that we have lived here in the Midwest, just a little over a year now, so much has happened. The highs and desperate lows we have faced are indescribable. Now looking ahead towards the future we feel pulled in a new direction to new places, and it is so bittersweet. Every new avenue that God calls us causes my heart to both feel hope and heart ache. Sometimes I just want to stay right here in this place, always near her, never moving further away from when we last held her in our arms. But each day takes us one step further from that day, and I am just praying and trying to trust in the verse where God promises to give us a hope and a future. Or like the Josh Wilson song that say, I am praying, God just give me faith to make it through one more day”. I no longer cry every day, and sometimes I feel like everything is going to be okay. Each day is progress, the grief becomes a little easier to bear. The missing her will never go away, and honestly I don’t want it to go away. This is what I want, I want Jubilee Grace Merlitz to have a legacy, I want her to touch lives I never even could imagine, I want her short life of 20 weeks and 6 days to be a testimony bigger than my wildest dreams. Most of all I always want to remember her, I want her to be apart of hearts, and our family. I may not have the gift of raising my daughter, but I have the gift of knowing she is glorifying God as I imagine her dancing, singing, and playing on streets of gold with all the other baby angels that are there with her waiting for their families to arrive. I love you baby girl, and I cannot wait until the day that we get to hold and kiss you again, and see all the lives that you have touched. You will forever be my daughter, and I know one day you will run up to me and I will catch you with arms open wide as you tell me all about your adventures in heaven. No matter where this life may take Joe and I, new locations to call home, new churches, and jobs, my heart will always be with you, my dear precious Jubilee Grace.
I just want to start again. Can I back track to a time before now, a time before there was this fog. I would never want to not have my Jubilee, but this constant fog is so overwhelming sometimes. Can I just say, I believe that God has a plan, I know that he loves me, and that he will bring my peace and healing. But during these this time I am still walking through this valley, and the hope that one day it will be at least a little easier is the only thing that gets me through it. Honestly I just want to move away, and maybe we will, I don’t know where or when but I need a fresh start. New place, new experiences, new opportunities, a new sense of purpose. I have felt unsettled here long before the loss of our beautiful daughter but now it seems more and more like a good idea. But where do we go, where does God want us? Is this just me, trying to escape everything???? probably…..There are to many reminders, to many good intentions that often do more harm than good. I want to clarify for anyone reading this, you are so appreciated, your prayers and support have been such a blessing to my husband and I. I just have this feeling deep inside of me that I need to get up and go, anywhere, somewhere…But where????