Posts tagged ‘Life without Hailey’

A lesson in contentment

“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” Philippians 4:1

Are you content with the circumstances of your life?

Being content when things are going your way is easy, but being content in the midst of hardship or suffering is beyond difficult as I have learned. Thankfully, I have also learned that a relationship with Christ which allows for the right perspective makes it possible to be content in all things, even after losing your child, your father, and discovering a new life and purpose in the aftermath.

I’ve mentioned it before that I have learned to be content with what happened to Hailey and my family. This post is more about me learning to be content with how I am using my time and understanding who I am now and what my purpose is.

It’s about answering those questions that have been haunting me; the ones I hated people asking me only days after losing Hailey… you know the ones: what are you going to do now? are you going to teach again? and so on. I almost have let those questions eat away at me. As if what I was doing wasn’t good enough. They made me feel guilty at times for not running out and finding a job right away after my hopes of being a stay at home mom were taken from me and I buried my daughter.

I know some of those questions and related comments came out of genuine concern for me as some people didn’t want me just sitting at home all day being lonely and depressed, but not all of them came from that type of heart. Unfortunately I know too many people, family and friends, who frown upon stay at home moms and housewives in general. If you don’t have a full time career, they see you as less then them or something. They won’t admit openly that they think those things, but they do. I know it from their gossip and side comments about others.

Not only did the idea of what others thought of me for not working bother me, but so did several other related things. For instance, adjusting to a new way of life where I had more time than I knew what to do with was strange and hard. It was something that was foreign to me, and sometimes I let it bother me that I had nothing to do. At times I felt like I was living the life that I only thought possible when I’d be retired – doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted – and that made me feel guilty. As mentioned in earlier posts, I have been so used to being busy every second of the day and involved in too many things that suddenly I found myself not busy and not involved in much of anything. Even I defined who I was by my job title. Two years ago I was a teacher. A year ago I was going to be a stay at home mom. What was I now then? A housewife? Was that enough?

But yes it is enough. If that’s what God wants. And so I learned to be content being a housewife and taking care of our dog. But only because that’s what God wanted. My struggle in ‘doing nothing’ in the eyes of some isn’t because I’m disobeying or going against God’s plans for my life, it’s because I more with what others thought and not being good enough in there eyes. Too often I have based my contentment on what others think, not what God thinks.

My prayer since Hailey died has always been for God to use me according to His purposes for my life. If he wanted me to become a full time teacher again, I would. If he wanted me to find a part time job somewhere, I would. If he wanted me to volunteer somewhere, I would. But if God was telling me he wanted me to relax and enjoy life, for some reason I wouldn’t because society tells me that’s wrong. But it’s not and I’m finally realizing that God wanted me to do ‘nothing’ essentially for these past few months.

I needed the time for healing and to make it to the place where I am today – and God knew it. So I have learned to be content in taking time to heal instead of working. Those first few months were almost like a sabbatical for me that I’m only now realizing I took. It was a time of rest, healing, recovery… a time of drawing close to God, doing some soul searching, etc.

Then came the day in April when God put something new on my heart. When He told me it was time for something special for me to get involved in. When He put it on my heart to start a local project in memory of Hailey through Project Sweet Peas. I prayed for God to use my life according to His purposes, and this was the answer. He knew I was ready, and I needed it.

I’ve taken on Hailey’s Hope almost like it’s a full time job from home. But still, even after God continues to answer my prayers and use me, I battle with being discontent with my circumstances. Here I am, using my time wisely, serving others, doing something I really enjoy, yet I’m still discontent. Why? Because my mind constantly goes to my career path: teaching English full time.  And I think to myself, “What does donating gift bags have to do with teaching? shouldn’t I only be doing things that I can put on my resume for when I apply for a teaching position?” And here comes the struggle with trying to define myself and my life.

But couldn’t it be that God has plans other than teaching for me? And what about my ‘resume’ for God? After all, with Hailey’s Hope I’m still using my time, my skills, and my resources to serve Him and His kingdom. God  has blessed me with more than the ability to teach, so isn’t it possible that just maybe God doesn’t want me to teach right now?  That He has given me this new ‘task’ and opportunity for me to shine and serve? After all, my goal behind teaching is the same as my goal behind becoming involved with Project Sweet Peas: to use my time and talents to serve God and others. So isn’t it just possible that God has this in mind for me right now? Why is that so hard for me to accept?

I don’t have it on my heart to teach or sub or tutor. But I do have it on my heart to devote everything I have to Hailey’s Hope and helping others find hope during an experience that I have been through. With all of that said, I think I am finally learning to be content with what I’m doing with my life. For now this is where God wants me, and this is what I’m going to do.

So what am I doing now? Am I going back to teaching? I can comfortably and confidently answer those types of questions now:

I am a project leader for Hailey’s Hope with Project Sweet Peas. I am organizing the donation of over 20 bags to be delivered in June to over 20 families who have babies in NICUs so that they can be provided with a touch of comfort and hope during a difficult time. And I will continue to be organizing fundraisers, gathering donations, and delivering donated gift bags to families with babies in the NICUs. I am also happy to be extending my involvement with Project Sweet Peas by managing their blog. And now I do not plan on going back to teaching full time any time soon.

As for where I will be in a few more months, we’ll just have to wait and see where God takes me…could be the same thing, could be working as a part time substitute teacher, could be working on continuing our family… only God knows. And I am okay with that.

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May 30, 2010 at 5:17 PM Leave a comment

Trying something new, for a change

Well it’s been a few days since I last wrote. I’ll blame it on my 3 day long dull headache and keeping busy. But I’m back and have some fun things to share in this post.

Yesterday Josh and I drove to the middle of nowhere in Alabama to visit this ‘zoo’ we had been hearing all about. You see, if you’ve ever been to Ft. Rucker, you are aware that there is not much to do in the actual town we live in outside of the post – the surrounding areas are wonderful if you can manage driving a couple of hours – shopping, beaches, museums, etc. But in our town, not much goes on. So we decided to get out of the house, get out of the town, and take a little adventure to McCelland’s Zoo aka “Mike’s Zoo Critters.” First, let me just say that I can’t believe that it took us a year of living here to finally hear about this ‘zoo.’ But I’m so glad we did. We had a blast!  I’m not going to chronicle our trip or describe this place in detail, so if you want to find out more you can visit their website. What I will do is give you some of the highlights of our trip.

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May 23, 2010 at 2:41 PM 1 comment

Investing for the Better

Lately I’ve been thinking about this whole thing of “bitter or better.” Will the experience of burying my baby leave me bitter? Will it make me put up walls, close my heart, not want to feel, not want to live, be angry, be miserable, and so on? Or will the experience of giving birth to Hailey and saying goodbye to her 36 days later leave me better because of it? Will I keep her in my heart and go on to live my life to the fullest, seek joy over my sorrow, strive to be the best person I can be while on this earth, make the lives of others better, have a light in my eyes and a smile on my face?

I am determined to be better.

It’s easier to be bitter and all the other things that come along with it, as I’ve mentioned before. Being better takes effort, but don’t most things that are worthwhile take effort? Not only does being better take effort, sometimes it is just plain hard, especially because grief has a tendency to suck all of the life and energy out of you.

Grieving is, amongst other things, exhausting. There are many times since Hailey has passed that I have just simply not had anything left to give to anyone. I have felt everything stripped away…like I’ve given everything I could and it was taken away… my grief was sucking all of the energy out of me. My mind, my heart, couldn’t deal with anything else. The grief consumed me. And part of it is also that fact that it’s scary to give of yourself again when you’ve given and had it taken from you. I think the exhaustion that results from grief is one of the reasons why it is also so common for grieving people to isolate themselves.

Thankfully I didn’t isolate myself after losing Hailey and my dad. Even though I was geographically isolated from family and many friends, I still went out into the world, to church, Bible study, the gym, etc. and interacted with people.  But I’ve realized lately that I haven’t given much of myself to anyone. I haven’t made any effort to invest in someone and be their friend. Investing in people takes energy and effort that I simply just did not have. (more…)

May 20, 2010 at 3:35 PM 1 comment

Another cleaning of sorts…

Well this weekend Josh and I went through Hailey’s room… it took several hours Friday and several hours Saturday. I handled it pretty well. It was hard and sad of course, but I didn’t cry or feel like I needed to. I wanted to stay strong and positive because if I didn’t that could have been the most gut-wrenching, heart-wrenching, grief-stricken experience since coming home to our empty house.

For me personally I needed to go through Hailey’s room for some closure. Her room has been left a mess all these months since she’s passed. All of her belongings that were scattered about the house while she was with us had been hastily, but lovingly all placed into piles in her room. All of the cards and gifts and other things that were leftover from her memorial service added to the disarray in her room. (more…)

May 17, 2010 at 9:23 PM 1 comment

Difficult days lay ahead…

As I wrote down an appointment on my monthly planner for May, I looked at what events would be coming up… And then I saw that the first week of May, piled full with events that are going to make it a difficult one.

Here is a picture from my planner:

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April 22, 2010 at 12:06 PM 1 comment

Hailey’s 3 Month Heavenly Birthday, Finding Healing In the Midst of Grief

Three months ago today was probably the most devastating day of my entire life. Before it felt like time was speeding by and it didn’t feel real when 1 month passed, then 2 months… but now at 3 months… I really feel like it’s been a very long time since I last held Hailey in my arms… It feels so long ago. I feel like I’ve literally been to the end of the world and back. This journey has taken its toll on me. I feel aged beyond my 25 years. I once referenced someone referring to their journey through grief as a journey of expansion…an expansion of the soul…and boy do I feel that now. But it’s a good expansion.

I wrote one post about the day Hailey passed away and that is probably all I will ever write about it. I can remember the day, but I don’t like spending much time in that memory and dwelling on the details and feelings. Today is not a day of remembering what it was like the day she passed away.

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April 6, 2010 at 1:48 PM 2 comments

Hailey’s 4 Month Birthday, Let the Light Shine

Today, April 1, 2010 is not remembered for being April Fool’s Day. To me, April 1st is the day that would have been Hailey’s 4 month birthday. I really can’t believe she would have been that old!

As I mentioned in last month’s post. Today I am choosing not to be full of sadness that Hailey is not here to celebrate being 4 months old. Instead, I am choosing to celebrate her life. From the moment God started knitting her together in my womb (which was a little over a year ago) to the moment I last held her and kissed her goodnight. She was with me for 9 months (in my belly) and 36 days (in my arms). Today I thank God for her life. Her short but amazing life. I know that I say that a lot, but I can’t say it enough.

Who would have thought such a tiny 5lb fragile baby girl who only lived a little over a month on this earth could have made such an impact – on my life, mine and my husband’s lives, and the lives of some of my family and friends…

Of course I miss her today, I do everyday. But the joy and love I have in remembering her and remembering the times we shared together as mother and daughter fills any empty place in my heart today. What an amazing feeling of being a parent. I love it and thank God for it. Today I focus on the gifts God has given me which include the list above, which includes the short life of my daughter. (more…)

April 1, 2010 at 12:57 PM Leave a comment

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Dedication

"God gives, God takes. God's name be ever blessed." ~Job 1:21

In Loving Memory of Hailey Marie

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