11/01/2016

Sharing my Journey


I had the privilege of sharing my testimony at Cedarville University back on the 18th of October. I shared about "Leaving a Wake of JOY" through the storms of life. I'm working on the possibility of posting the video here on my blog, but for now you can click here to go to the university's Chapel Archive. In the search bar type in my name "Kristin Koning" or search for Oct 18 and it should pop up. You can listen to the audio version or watch the video which includes my powerpoint pictures and scripture. I pray it will be an encouragement to you...






10/20/2014

A Walk to Remember

I got to be a part of this Remembrance Walk on Saturday - Honoring and Remembering our babies together. It was a sappy "sad/happy" day, but it is always a good thing for me to be able to create good memories alongside such painful ones.



I also wanted to spread the word about Dupont's new support group. I do actually look forward to going! This is a place where I "belong," where I feel like I can breathe deeply, share honestly, and I don't have to explain anything…the other moms just get it. We meet the first Thursday of each month at 7pm.



A Walk to Remember
By Kathie Mayo 

I walk to remember the steps you’ll never take.
I carry you with me as I firmly plant my feet.
Our trek started long ago, before my belly swelled.
You were a love that grew like butterfly wings that beat.
Your gentle flutters then become kicks upon which I would dwell.
And I would talk to you, sweet babe, about the world you soon would meet
the sun always shown upon us then - when you were in my womb.
And I was eager to show you the world that would have been your home.
How you’d have loved the sun shining - blue skies without a cloud.
The autumn leaves turning - the snow falling all around.
The flowers in the summer- would have filled your eyes with smiles.
And the rain that might have fallen would have caused you great surprise.
You would have traveled far with me holding me by the hand.
And I’d have shown you all I could more than I can imagine.
You hold my heart tightly now, as though we’re holding hands.
How far we’ve traveled, little one and my life with you has been sweet.
For I carry you in my heart as I firmly plant my feet.

10/15/2014

October 15th

And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do
Every beating of my heart says
"I Remember You"


For those of you who are wondering about all the candle pics popping up, today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day - No, we Don't need one day to Remember…we remember them EVERY day! But I am thankful this is becoming less taboo to talk about!

I'll be thinking about and praying for the moms tonight who, like me, have loved and lost. We all light candles tonight as we remember. We create a #waveoflight. It's nice to be able to feel we are NOT alone on this journey. We gather. We honor. We remember.

My heart aches for the day I get to see my children again. I saw a quote that went something like, "I miss you with all of the pieces of my heart." Yep, a heart once shattered has begun to heal.

I REMEMBER YOU
The world may never notice
If a rosebud doesn't bloom:
Or even pause to wonder if the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be
Touches the World in some small way
For all eternity.

The little ones we longed for
Were swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do

Every beating of my heart says
"I Remember You"

Author unknown

4/06/2014

Just be Held

Back in February I got to go to a Casting Crowns concert. It was a much needed girls night out with some friends I don't get to hang out with very often. We laughed and cried as we sang along. This song was a new one for me, but it struck a chord. God has been working in my heart in very specific ways these last 7 years…through much heartache and loss, and yes, moments of joy sprinkled in too.

So thankful that EACH day I've been HELD!

Just wanted to share this tonight as I reflect on Emilie's 3rd birthday in Heaven.

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you're tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when youre on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You'll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You'll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you'll understand
I'm painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you'll find Me
And where you are, I'll hold your heart
I'll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who wont let go

4/07/2013

another year...

Missing her today especially.

our Emilie Alyse.

Heard this song this morning at church...so good...i've listened to this album so many times...

healing.

-This is not how it should be, this is not how it could be, but God is in Control!-



Drew asked if we could go get balloons and sing happy birthday at the cemetery.

So we did.

The boys showed Anna her big brother and sister's stones.

Tears.

and

Laughter.

all

Together.
When we walked up I saw 3 big bunches of my favorite flowers...I was so surprised...yep, they WERE at my babies stones.

But Who? How? When?

My Stretcher Bearers!?!

Speechless.

Thanks, friends, for remembering with us today.

It means so much!

We know life goes on...dates just become days...so we are humbled and so grateful that you still show us you remember.

Thanks for loving our family and continuing to pray us through.

You blessed us so much today!

7/09/2012

One Month!

Can't believe it's been a month already! Time has flown and we are trying to take in every minute. We really understand the value of time after the last 6 or so years and 3 losses and I'm trying not to be too sad as we begin hitting new milestones.  We just love this girl to pieces. We are excited she is growing and thriving...just know this newborn phase is so short!

Emotionally we are doing well. Annalise is healing the hole in my heart that I never thought possible this side of heaven.  She will never replace Noah, Joanna, or Emilie. However, she has brought us some pure joy...you know that comes naturally without effort (the can't wipe the smile off my face kind), not the kind you have to choose and work at through the grief (cause that is real too)! I know the emotions will come as we hit milestones with Anna we missed out on with the other 3...but I know His grace will continue to meet us in those moments. We've actually caught ourselves more than once calling Anna, Emilie. This can throw me for a crazy, sad, teary loop...but in some ways I'm grateful for the tangible reminder and opportunity to choose to give Thanks in every circumstance! I'm working on it...

I took some pics outside yesterday :) It wasn't so hot and the natural light was nice. Although it was a bit tricky holding up the big golf umbrella (to avoid the shadows) and snapping the shutter at the same time!

So here are a few attempts from yesterday along with some photoshop fun today:)




5/23/2012

Overdue...

Can you believe I have been "silent" since February?

It's been hard to put everything out there...post all the dr visit updates...my feelings...

I've been doing some paper and pen journaling to record my thoughts this time instead.

Feeling a little more guarded.  Working on trusting the only One who is in Control...protecting myself, and you, from being so invested with all the details.

I know many of you have checked in several times over the last few months... and have found no new posts.

So today, I thought I'd share some of the pictures my friend, Kayte, from Legacy Portraits took a couple weeks ago.

It was one -on a short list- of baby steps I've been taking to "get excited" about nearing the end of my pregnancy and meeting this precious girl!!  I'm thankful for some sweet memories on a very sunny morning :)

Ok, just to clarify, I'm 35 weeks today.  The negotiating of Baby K's birthday has begun with my doc.  I know he will continue to gently push me to make it to 37+ weeks.  He'd like her to be about 6 lbs.  He said at my last appointment that waiting is like shuffleboard...we want to get as close to the edge without going over.  Of course, I've looked at the calendar - full of black ink and orange and yellow highlights- that show all the boy's baseball games, end of school, start of basketball camp, grad parties, family traveling in and available to take care of T & D etc... I think I know when would be ideal...we'll just have to see if baby and my doc and I can be patient enough to continue waiting for the best timing both physically and emotionally.

Meditating on some of these truths lately...

"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name." -Ps 33:20

"As for God, His way is blameless...He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock except our God." - Ps 18:30-31 

 "Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord."  -Ps 31:24

"This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it."  -Ps 118:24

 "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb...And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."  -Ps 139:13-16
 {This is the little bear hat I made for Baby Koning...still working on the blanket to match.}

"Now 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."  -Rom 15:13

1/10/2012

Noah's Hope


This is what we include inside the photo book, so moms have an idea of how and why this ministry was started.

"Noah's Hope is a special ministry born out of heartbreaking loss.  Expecting their third son, in August 2006, Kristin and Mike went in for a routine doctor visit at 15 weeks.  What an ultrasound that day revealed would change their lives forever. The doctor told them that their baby, Noah, had a genetic syndrome incompatible with life.  The Konings were heartbroken, but trusted in the One who holds the future.  Their Wallen Baptist Church family rallied around them, supporting them in prayer. Noah defied the odds and the doctor's predictions and was born alive at 34 weeks. Mike and Kristin cherish the two hours they had to hold and love Noah here on earth.

In honor of what would have been Noah's first birthday some friends from church helped Kristin put together some special gifts to give to the hospital for other families experiencing the loss of a baby. This project in memory of Noah continued each year, and as the Wallen family embraced this ourtreach of love it grew into the ministry of Noah's Hope. The women of Wallen now meet several times each year to assemble hand-made photo memory goods. Each book is pieced, each page is glued, and each ribbon chosen with prayers for comfort and healing.

Witnessing the gift of time and creativity devoted to Noah's Hope from the Wallen family has been an encouragement to Mike and Kristin in their grief. It is their prayer that through Wallen, Noah's Hope can continue to offer comfort to families in our community experiencing the loss of a baby.  This small gift we give to affirm that each life is special, no matter how small. Our Wallen family cares for you in your loss too.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." -2 Corinthians 1:3-4

12/14/2011

F-I-V-E

I think about what might have been...

...about what might not have been...

...if YOU had never been...

...and today, we choose to celebrate this day that you were born...

...thankful to have had 1 hour and 42 minutes...

...especially, knowing now what it's like not to have that precious time...

...grateful for that answer to prayer...

...thankful for lessons learned...

...full of hope that YOU, Noah, were made not just for this earthly life, but for eternity, and we'll get to see you again...

...in disbelief that 5 years have passed...

...heartwarming to know T & D look forward to sending you balloons...and made sure we knew this morning before they left for school that it was important to them...

...amazed at the special group of friends that share in our sorrow -still- and lift us up in prayer continually, what a treasure...

...thankful for His Provision and Goodness through it all...

...but still missing you, Noah...

8/30/2011

And...2 years later...

I've finished Joanna Claire's story book.  If you'd like to look through the pictures or read some of my thoughts click here.  It will direct you to Picaboo's webiste.  Just a helpful tip: Click on the page you want to see/read and it will zoom in. Click again on the zoomed page to go back.

And...I promise more posts to come...we've had a busy, busy summer!

7/07/2011

Everthing I Need...

and other random thoughts on grief.

3 months

Hard to swallow today.

Haven’t written in a while…

No words

Thoughts I’d rather keep secret…shame

Tired of the tears
…of questions to which I have no answers

Incomplete thoughts…mental blanks…no insight…so inadequate
GRIEF
Exhausted
Feeling lost

Missing her
Missing what should have/could have been
Where is my joy in the morning?
Missing her smiles, her blue eyes, her chubby thighs
Wanting to comb hair, place bows, pick out dresses

Constant reminders

Daily reminders here, there, and everywhere
Seeing the same dresses my Emilie was supposed to look so cute in on other babies
Why don’t I get the “happy ending too?”

Frustrated: trying to “suck in” my still swollen belly

Sick of my heart not surrendering to the truths I’m forced to keep telling myself
Feeling beaten up, wounded, bloodied…tired of the constant battle

Wishing my house was not so quiet
My Heart leaps, I Look around and past the hall to “her” room when I hear an infant’s cry only to realize my stupidity when I hear that it’s just coming from the tv commercial for NBC’s new show ‘Up All Night”

Hating the unknown…the triggers…wondering when I’ll get blind sighted with grief, her absence, tears pouring out – recalling only the brief memory of her. Did this really happen to me?

Awkward pause, lump in my throat, when I try to figure out what I should now call “her room” – it’s not just an office anymore. No, “computer room” or “boy’s game room” isn’t fitting either. I want it to be HER room. I want her to be here!

Wondering what the future holds

Trying not to feel defeated or slapped in the face while I reason with myself that His plans are perfect, it’s for my good…for the third time.

Grappling with the fact that His ways are not my ways…knowing my place (on my knees) before my Creator…not wanting to put Him in a place of submission to me and what I think He should do.

Wanting clarity
Wanting to see the big picture
Asking myself what I still need to learn…that I didn’t get the first 2 times.

Constant cycle:
Anger
Disappointment
More questions
Heart ACHE
Tears
Submission
More tears

Injustice of uncaring, irresponsible girls/women having babies
Why not me?

Reconciling the “knowing” and “feeling
Faith? Hope? Love? Really?
Yes,
Faith! Hope! Love! Really!
How will You use this hurt, Lord?
Will You redeem it? …soon? …Please!
How could You use me?
How will You use my husband, Trent & Drew, Noah, Joanna, and Emilie?
I want to SEE, I want to trust, but I feel like a failure.
Keep me tender toward Your Spirit, give me strength to persevere, and to be faithful when it’s REALLY hard.

Give me a heart and mind focused on eternal things.

I’m praying others SEE YOU through me, even though I struggle…even though I question.
Redeem it, Lord, the sadness, the pain, the tears, the questions, the dirt and the ashes,
ALL of it.

And since I TRUST You WILL…

Help me as I wait for Your time!

Everything I Need
 

5/20/2011

How to Pray for Grieving Parents

Many of you have asked specifically how you can pray for us...so I put a list together.  I hope this gives you some ideas.  We are so THANKFUL for your prayers!!  We know that God is pouring out His grace on our family.  He is kind and generous to meet our every need - and then some!  Thank you for helping to carry our burdens, and sit and get dirty with us in these ashes!
A friend shared a list of what she is praying for us…
 Pray…
  • That God would be our refuge. (unshakable trust) Ps 11:1
  • That God’s love and presence surround us day and night. Rom 8:38-39
  • That God’s strength would help us through the grieving process. Ps 27:13-14, 29:11
  • That we will accept God’s wisdom, knowledge, judgments (decisions), and ways rather than ask “why.” Rom 11:33, Prov. 3:5-6, Is. 55:8-9 (That I wouldn’t obsess with the “what if’s.” The doctors could find NO medical reason as to why Emilie died; she was perfect in every way. This is hard to understand, but I must accept the mystery and trust that God knew the exact number of her days, that He is still on “plan A”, and no matter what I think I could have done to change the outcome – this was no mistake.)
  • That we will not doubt God’s goodness or faithfulness. Rom. 8:28-29
  • That guilt and depression will not overtake us. Phil 4:8
  • That our marriage will be strengthened as we grieve uniquely. That we’d give each other the freedom to grieve differently. That communication will remain open and honest.
  • That they will balance grief with their responsibilities as parents. (purposeful and consistent in love and discipline)
  • For mom’s physical health - recovery from giving birth and restful sleep.
  • That our boys would be protected during this confusing time as mom and dad grieve, and that they might have a sense of normalcy and security.
  • That, in time, relationships with other moms (especially those who have daughters) be restored.
Some other things I thought of to pray for…


• That we would not feel alone, but sense God’s presence, and lean on the Holy Spirit as our Helper and Comforter and Truth.


• That we would experience His peace like never before, and grace sufficient for each day/minute.


• That the Lord would guard our hearts from words that hurt instead of comfort.

 
• For wisdom to discern “what to do next” and know “where to go from here.”

• That we could begin to see His plan…a mere glimpse of the purpose of our pain…for the third time.

• That we choose to be gracious and kind to each other instead of justifying criticism and frustration when we are hurting and sad.

• That we’ll be honest with our emotions and won’t be afraid to cry. (I wish I could just jump to the other side of the grief – been there done that, after all – but we must go THROUGH it. The process can be daunting.)


• That we would not waiver in our trust, hope, or joy in our sovereign Heavenly Father, nor would we lose our praise even through the tears.


• Even though life goes on (much more quickly for everyone else) that we know/trust God is with us right where we are. Remembering that He hears our cry and sees our tears.


• That we’d always be mindful of the hope of heaven. That we’d be eternally focused and not be comfortable to get caught up in the “stuff” of this world.


• That our family will overcome the spiritual battles; that Satan would fail in his plans to harm us because we continue (through His strength) to cling to Christ.


• That through our loss, because of our children Noah, Joanna, and Emilie, people will see the need for a personal relationship with God.


• That in time we can comfort others with the comfort that we received.


• That we would not hold tight fisted “our” children or “our” things. That we see them as gifts entrusted to our care for the time being.

5/05/2011

Where I'm at...What I'm LEARNING...Lament

Did I mention that I was reading A Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card?! It has been so helpful for me to think through, process, and reconcile my emotions of grief with my faith.


I want to share some of his thoughts on Job. He addresses the questions about how Job is able to maintain his sanity and his faith through all the trials. Card says,

“By what means is he able to hold on to his hope, to his God, while the first notes of the song of this impossible completed equation begin to resonate? The answer: by means of the counterpoint of another song, the song of lament. Lament keeps the door open, keeps Job on the dance floor with God till the music is over, until the two tunes are resolved.”
The dissonance of the two converging “songs” comes from the contradiction between two different ways of thinking. Israel had this equation about how the world worked. If they kept the Torah then God would bless them, and conversely, if they broke His laws then God must punish them. Yet, at some point in history, questions arose in which this formula had no answers…i.e. Job. Even though he had been “righteous” he still suffered loss and illness. There is no simple equation like this to live by. If anybody should prosper from this equation, after all, it should be Job! Michael Card poses that idea that
“God was preparing His people for a deeper understanding of Himself and His hesed. (lovingkindness) Though they had consistently broken the covenant, God nonetheless remained faithful and loving…The reason to love [God] is not found on the other side of the equal sign of the equation. It is found in the inequitable, untranslatable hesed. Without the pain, Job might have never realized either the depth nor the dimension of this kind of relationship with God.”
Job’s “frustrated outpouring allows him to stay in the ring while everyone on the sidelines shouts at him to throw in the towel. By the end of the book, I always imagine Job and God standing with their arms around each other like a couple of weary boxers. Job’s jaw is swollen. One of his eyes is black. He must keep one arm around his Opponent in order to remain upright. But he has a grin on his bloody face that comes from the knowledge that it was never about winning the fight. It had absolutely nothing to do with being right. It was always, only about being faithful. Job has survived the prescribed number of bouts. He has finished his race. His reward? Does he get his children back? No, he gets God back.”
Card then shares about Job’s response to each of his losses. He points out verse 20 of chapter 1. Job physically made the motions of mourning, tearing his rob and shaving his head. But...
“what he does next, however, is totally unexpected, even unimaginable. What he does…seems unthinkable, almost impossible.

‘Then he fell to the ground in worship.’

Job is the sort of man who will simply not let go of God. To him, this is what worship means. He will stubbornly cry out in the groaning of this lament, which is worship, until God answers…Job stubbornly insists on maintaining the dialogue with the God who, for a while longer, remains infuriatingly silent. He continues to offer up to Him all his suffering, his suicidal groaning, his confusion and hurt, even his own deep disappointment with God. He has come to the desperate understanding that there is no other place to take them but to God.”
STAY WITH ME…I know this post is long, but THERE’S MORE GOOD STUFF…

“Today we would ask Job to leave all these negative emotions at the church door. They are not appropriate to nor do they fit inside the narrow confines of our definition of worship. And so, likewise, those of us who have nothing else to offer but our laments find the door effectively closed in our faces. It cost Job everything to teach us this lesson. It is time we learned it.

Worship is not only about good feelings, joy, and prosperity, though they are at the heart of it. While Jesus would pronounce a blessing on those who mourn we pronounce this curse. Those who ‘labor and are heavy laden’ can find no place in our comfortable churches to lay their burdens. We reason, ‘Who could possibly conceive of a God who would want to receive such worthless empty offerings?’ But Job desperately clings to such a God, one who encourages us to offer everything to Him, every joy and every sorrow. All our broken hearts. All our contrite spirits. Because He is worth it.”
I guess what I’m realizing is that what I thought was a lack of faith and trust in God (my emotions of disappointment, betrayal, and anger directed at God, who chose not to ACT when he could have saved my babies) really isn't.  It is more like a boxing match. I can duke it out, while leaning on Him to keep from falling, and when I’m weary and exhausted from the fight…I’m still standing before the prize. So, I go back to Card’s earlier point… “God was preparing His people [You and Me] for a deeper understanding of Himself and His hesed. (lovingkindness) Though they [You and Me] had consistently broken the covenant, God nonetheless remained faithful and loving…The reason to love [God] is not found on the other side of the equal sign of the equation. It is found in the inequitable, untranslatable hesed. Without the pain, Job [You and Me] might have never realized either the depth nor the dimension of this kind of relationship with God.”

So, I'm Learning...

to pour out my hurts,

my frustrations,

my brokenness,

and my disappointments before God as an offering...

He is the God who can and will...

make all things new, (Rev. 21:5)

give me a new song to sing, (Ps 40:3)

and who will give joy in the morning. (Ps 30:5b)

5/01/2011

Beautiful Riddle

Matthew 13: 34-35


Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables,

I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”


Beautiful Riddle


Emilie Alyse, what a mystery,
You, dear child, are a beautiful riddle.


You've left us here, left us with questions,
For you, sweet girl, are a beautiful riddle.


Even your name, Industrious and Noble,
Emilie Alyse, is a beautiful riddle.


Just like the disciples, we don’t understand this parable,
We need Jesus, little one, to explain this beautiful riddle.


We miss you so dearly, while we await the final answer,
To you, Precious Babe, and your beautiful riddle.


We love you, Emilie Alyse.
We love you, Beautiful Riddle. 

~Written by Uncle Kevin ~ April 2011

4/29/2011

A Grief Moment

So today I'm having a Psalm 13:1-2 kind of day.

Let me explain.

This was part of the passage that our pastor shared at Emilie's Memorial Service. When we talked with him earlier in the week, he asked what verses had been a comfort to me. I shared that I could relate well to Psalm 13 and Psalm 40:1-4. So, he expounded on these passages and I wanted to share a little bit.

“ 1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will you hide you face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, And my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

The first two verses David (who, by the way, experienced the loss of his baby boy) cries out in PROTEST. It just seems like God is absent, like He was not there on Wednesday when Emilie all but stopped moving. My faith, like David’s, expected God to not just be aware of what was going on, but to DO something about it. And because He didn’t, I/We ask “WHY?” I cry out, “You could have fixed this, God! We planned for her to come home…I was going to watch her grow up, watch her giggle with her brothers, smile when I saw her snuggle up in her daddy’s lap, bake cookies and snitch the dough, go shopping… this was my little GIRL, my beauty for ashes…WHY, GOD?”

I was encouraged as I reflected on David’s complaints…this was THE man after God’s own heart, after all. He had Faith! He expected God to be ACTIVE, and when it felt as though God was absent, he questioned. This was not a complaint out of faithlessness BUT because faith existed. David, Job, and even Jesus show us by example that prayers of complaint can also be prayers of faith. I’ve been reading A Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card, and he says, “…Lament expresses one of the most intimate moments of faith – not a denial of it. It is supreme honesty before a God whom my faith tells me I can trust…Jesus understood that lament was the only true response of faith to the brokenness and fallenness of the world.”

In verses 3 & 4, David’s protest melts into PRAYER. David decides instead of continuing his complaint, He would as God for help. See, his faith never left, it just questioned, and that’s ok. God’s big enough for our questions! He realizes that God is our only resource, our hope. Despite his emptiness and confusion, David doesn’t stop pursuing God. He prays, “Consider me…Look at me…Be active in my heart.”

In verses 5 & 6, Prayer transitions to PRAISE. David remembers that God is Trustworthy. He has trusted in the past and knows/experienced God’s lovingkindness. It has been his rock in the past and so his heart will rejoice that this remains true - now and in the future. Like David and Job, we have wounds, marks, cuts, bruises, pains, and hemorrhages all over our soul, but it is not dead. We are broken but not destroyed. We plead for Him to show us His lovingkindness, and because we know He is faithful, we will sing again.


You know, I wish this process was quick, I wish it was a once-and-done kind of a thing, BUT IT’S NOT. Every day is different. I can be at the Praise phase and dissolve back to the Protest phase in mere seconds. I never know what will trigger the “Why’s” or the burning tears. So, I sit in a heap of ashes again and find myself fighting my way back through the Psalm 13 process…How long God?

Several things around the house have triggered tears lately…her room - the door closed; scratching some paint splatters off of the sink from when we cleaned out the brushes and roller; finding some plastic cups we bought months ago for grandmas house – a red, a blue, and…a pink one. There are constant reminders of having planned her into our family, into our future,

and we miss her...

...Terribly...

...and that's just how grief is...

...it rears it's ugly head at any time...

...it's unpredictable, and let me just vent a bit...I HATE HAVING TO GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN! It's a road I'm intimately acquainted with, unfortunately, and I just wish I could jump to the other side where things are a bit more tidy, the tears are fewer, I see things more clearly, I can finish my sentences, and I can see a glimpse of some purpose in the pain.

But they don't call it the grief JOURNEY for nothing...and today,

I just don't like it!

4/13/2011

Memorial Service

Memorial Service

for

Emilie Alyse Koning

Saturday, April 16
2:00 pm
Wallen Baptist Church

1001 W. Wallen Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46825



What happened?

Our hearts ache tonight.  For those of you who don't know or were confused by my last post...

Emilie Alyse Koning was stillborn.

We don't know why or what happened.

Wednesday afternoon/evening I was getting uneasy as I hadn't felt her move much.  She has been very active, so it was a bit troubling to this momma.  I mentioned it to Mike and I drank some pop with dinner.  It had been a busy day, so I keep talking myself down that I really wasn't paying that good of attention, I just needed to put my feet up or lay down because everything was going to be fine.  I debated back and forth whether I should call the doctor on call, or even pay the stinking co-pay and just go to the hospital to get checked out...KNOWING that the next morning I had a scheduled doctors appointment WITH an ultrasound.  I didn't want to be the paranoid mom.

Now remember, each visit the doctor/midwife would reassure me that everything was going perfectly.  I heard things like, "you've got a HAPPY baby", "you're doing so well!", "you know you really have to believe that everything is going to be fine this time!"  I had questions, and I'd share concerns, and time after time the doctor/midwife would tell me not to listen to any other voices than theirs...and EVERYTHING LOOKED FINE!

I didn't even call the office at 8 or 9 to see if I could get in earlier (my appointment was at 10:45), I just prayed everything would be alright and trusted that it WOULD be...everything is fine, I'm just over sensitive, right!

So, I left Mike at home to finish painting the last coat in the baby's room.  "After all, everything would be fine! I've done this lots of times!" I kept telling myself.  Mike had taken Trent and Drew to Grandma's house in MI Tuesday night for part of their Spring Break so we could have a few days to just relax before Emilie was to arrive.  (We were pretty set to induce the next weekend...like maybe the 15th)

When I got to the doctors office and told them I was a little concerned because Miss Emilie wasn't moving as much as normal, they were just as shocked as I was when they waved the u/s wand over my belly.  Our hopes and dreams for this baby were shattered...AGAIN!  I looked at the screen and knew right away my worst fear was now a reality...there was no sound and no heart PUMPING, no movement, NOTHING.  I said, "It's not beating!?!" The doctor whispered with a heavy sigh, "I'm sorry."  The rest is a bit of a blur.  I raised my hands up to my head and just cried, "No, no, no!"  The doctor grabbed the wand again and took another look...his words will haunt me..."there is no edema, it's probably only been a couple of hours."  That stung more deeply..."No, don't tell me that!" I said through my sobs.  "I can't believe this is happening...WHAT HAPPENED?"

The midwife came in and hugged me for a little while.  Then she moved me into another room...in the back of the office, brought me a box of tissue and a glass of water and left so I could call Mike.  The only words I could hold it together to say, "Mike, you need to come!"  I sat there in the dark room in unbelief, shocked, hardly able to catch my breath, scorching hot tears running down my cheeks.

Mike arrived and the doctor came in to make plans for the next step.  We agreed that we'd go home get some things packed and head back up to the hospital.  I wanted to see her as soon as possible, while she still looked as alive normal as possible.

She was born breech (so her head was perfectly round) after only about 4 pushes.  No problems with the cord or placenta...she looked perfect - inside and out.  Lots of dark hair, a cute little nose like Trent, long skinny legs, and a pinky toe that curls under just like mine.  She was beautiful!  I looked at her eyes later too...and was surprised not to see black, but the brightest blue.  Reminded me of the clearest bluest ocean.  So pretty!   No explanations, no obvious problems, no answers.  They'll do some blood work and test the placenta, but I don't think we'll ever really now what or why...and that's so hard to swallow!

I'll close for now...many more emotions and details are running through my head - some I may share farther down the road.

Know that we have not lost faith...we continue to cling to the HOPE that we have in the TRUTH that we believe!  We have not LOST her... we do know she is in the arms of Jesus.  The reality is that our hearts are broken, no, more like shattered...I really want her in MY arms...we're sitting in a heap of ashes and it's not pretty... it's really hard to see any beauty from here.  BUT we do believe in THE God that sustains, draws near, is acquainted with grief - a man of sorrows- and who is moved by our tears!

You have no idea how sorry we are to take you on yet another grief journey.  We are not naive to think we travel alone.  Your friendship, love, and prayer have meant SO much more than we could ever express!  You have been a true example, especially to our boys, of Galatians 6:2.  "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ."

Thank you for loving Him enough to sit in Our ashes!!
Kristin

4/12/2011

Behind the Name

Those of you who where curious…who asked…know that Mike and I had a hard time finding a name we both really liked. Even at the hospital I found myself looking at him and saying, “I think we’re going to go with…” When Emilie was born Mike said whatever you want…you decide. He favored her middle name more for the first name, but I couldn’t come up with a middle name I really liked. So for lack of time and any other options, really, Emilie Alyse stuck. I want to share with you about her name. I’ve always enjoyed researching the meanings and I wanted her name to “mean” something too. Although I wasn’t thrilled with the meaning of Emilie (industrious) it was the one name Mike and I agreed on. Alyse (noble) was a little better and when I put together and heard it flow, I just liked it. We talked with the boys about what her nickname could be and they both approved calling her Emi for short.

And of course I went back and forth (usually while lying in bed, wishing my mind would stop going, and I would just fall asleep) about how to spell her name. I wanted it to be unique – I liked Emilie with and –ie, because when I look at it, it reminds me of “Smile” and I thought that would always be a good reminder for me. I chose Alyse (common spelling = Elise) with an “A” more because I didn’t want her initials to spell “Eek!” I know, right, I spent way too much time obsessing about the possibilities!

I really wanted to tie a spiritual meaning into her name since we didn’t choose a “biblical” name. I began thinking about what my prayer for our daughter would be. I thought industrious/noble…and thought humble servant, servant of Christ…that’s what I want my daughter to be! When I was clearing out the office room to make room for all the baby stuff, I picked up this big oversized pillow/bean bag my very first class of 4th graders made for me. Each student put there handprint on it and on the back one of the moms wrote out Ecc. 9:10 – which was the verse from the bulletin board I made for the beginning of the year. It says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Solomon reminds us here that we must grasp life’s opportunities and use them to the fullest in serving God. It was an “Ah, ha” moment – Yes, that’s it, that’s her name.

And I prayed…

“Lord,

Whatever Emilie’s hand finds to do, help her to do it with all her might – for YOU!”

“EMILIE ALYSE KONING”
  Born still
April 7, 2011
4:40pm
4lbs 6oz, 19 1/2in

4/03/2011

A Gift, A Thank You

At the end of February, on a Wednesday evening...after coming home from church, Mike and I noticed a gift bag on the side of our driveway by the flowerbed.  Mike parked the van and I ran back outside to see what was there.  I picked up the bag and it was surprisingly heavy!  As I looked inside I saw 3 copies of A Gift of Time.  (I wrote a post about it here.)  I mentioned earlier this was the book for which I submitted Noah's Story.  I also mentioned that I wanted to donate a few copies to my perinatologists office.  Not only did I think it would be insightful for the staff, but more importantly they have a lending library for moms/families to utilize.
I searched in the bag for a card or note or something...NOTHING.  An anonymous gift?!  I was SOOO excited to be able to deliver these to the doctors office in memory of Noah and Joanna.  So, whoever you are...THANK YOU FOR BLESSING ME, and many other families who will read Noah's story as well as those of many other families who have walked this difficult road of loss!

2/01/2011

A Milestone

This last week I made it to 27 weeks.  Lots of emotions as I thought about/compared my pregnancy now with Joanna's - the last week I carried her.  So many memories...

I'm thoroughly enjoying feeling Baby K move and kick, not so much the heartburn, but I'll take it.  Can't wait to see what SHE will look like.  Trent and Drew have indulged me by walking throughout the baby sections of whatever store we happen to be in.  I got a 10 dollar reward from JCPenny and I thought it would be fun to see if we could find a good deal...preferably free.  I haven't allowed myself to buy anything for her yet!  When I commented to Drew that there were just too many outfits to choose from...he gladly took over and picked out a cute outfit set for his sister and it only cost $2!!

I also received my copy of the book A Gift of Time.  Not quite a year after Noah was born I saw on the Perinatal Hospice website that two ladies were asking for submissions to help write this book.  I sent in Noah's story, answering various questions they supplied on a questionnaire.  So, Tuesday I sat on the couch - 3 years later - and just cried as I read several of my very own quotes...bringing me back to those very moments...emotions so raw.  So thankful that Noah's legacy will continue to touch the lives of families that are going through similar situations even now.  I trust this will be a great resource for families to read when given their own devastating diagnosis.  I'll be saving up to get a few copies to give to my doctors office!!  You can read a few excerpts on amazon.com, just click on the book cover.

After the boy's b-ball games, Mike helped me clear out our catch all/office/craft/computer room.  We set up the crib our friend gave us (thanks Ian for moving to your big boy bed!).  One of about the only things that didn't sell at our garage sale was the baby bedding.  So, I just got that out too.  The other half of the room will continue to house my office and the boy's desk/computer.  I organized the closet floor to ceiling with all my craft stuff.  So, needless to say, I'm glad to get this part done while I'm still feeling good.  Want a peek of the work in progress?