Thursday, August 13, 2015

30 months-Pondering "The Savior of the World" has been a long time since I posted on this blog.  I can honestly say that life moves forward with our new normal.  Sometimes, when I think about it, it is absolutely crazy that my "life before Joshua" (as I like to call it) was just  2 1/2 years ago.  In many ways, it seems like it was forever has been forever since I held him and it seems like so much has happened.  But 2 1/2 years doesn't sound like a very long time when you say it! The way we experience time is a strange thing and something I continue to be baffled by. But, here we are!  2 1/2 years has come and gone!

Anyway, this past week, I had the marvelous opportunity to view a production of the show, "Savior of the World" from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  What a glorious depiction of the events proceeding Christs birth and those that followed the Resurrection!  I got to see this show the Christmas after Joshua passed away and it will forever hold a special place in my heart. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to see it again so close to another milestone.  You see, the truths described in the show are, in fact, the truths that give me hope: that our Savior was born, that He died, and that He rose again from the grave!  That through Him, we can be together as a family forever!  That because of Him, I will hold my baby again!  Honestly, there is no better way to spend two hours of your time*!

This time seemed extra special to me because I met a new angel mom friend.  My parents and a couple of my siblings were in the show, so I had the opportunity to meet more of the cast members.  Turns out that the wonderful woman playing the part of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a new angel mom.  She lost her sweet baby after he was born extremely early, right before the auditions for the show were to take place. When we met for the first time, all we did was give each other a hug and a bond was born.  No words needed to be said....we were special to each other because we knew the pain.  So, to hear her speak the truths in the show and to watch her hold that baby Jesus, it just made them all the more real and brought back very special feelings of my own.

A few parts in the show that were especially touchings:

1)  The main song in the whole show has different verses for different scenes.  During the scene of the tomb right after Christ is buried, the chorus sings these words:

"Come Lord Jesus, Great Redeemer,
Light of Morning from the East!  

We will be Thy children ever, 

Dry our tears, all weeping cease!" 

Oh, to know that our Savior truly has the power to dry our tears!  Even after 2 1/2 years, the tears still come, but someday, we won't need to have tears, but we will have JOY!!  Come, Lord Jesus!

2)  After Christ is resurrected, He visits with some of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  After their experience, they are talking with each other about the joy they feel to have their Lord back with them again.  One of them asks something along the lines of, "How could we have been so sad?"  My thoughts with that line were that I can not wait to put the sadness behind me.  There will be a time when I ask myself how I could have been so sad because the joy will be so great! It will be a glorious time.

3) Along those same lines, the women that loved Jesus are talking together after their own visit with the Savior.  One says, "Our grief is gone!"  Another responds with, "No, changed.  Our grief has transformed into joy." You guys...when the Savior comes, our grief will transform into Joy!  I know it will!  What a blessed day it will be!

4) Finally, another theme that is presented throughout the show is the idea that the Lord has a plan for all of us.  Every time something seems to be going wrong (like, having to move to Bethlehem, not being able to find a proper place to stay, or even having to tell her beloved Joseph that she is expecting), Mary says one phrase over and over again.  It is "All flesh is in His hands." I loved this thought!  The thought that our Heavenly Father is holding onto us, that He is helping us have the experiences we are suppose to have.  Never would I have hoped or wished for Joshua to have passed away, but never would I give up the experience now that it has happened.  Joshua brings me closer to God every day and the more I look to God and Christ, the more I realize that we are learning what we need to learn in order to become who we are meant to become.  "All flesh is in His hands."

Honestly, I could go on and on about the wonderful messages in this show!  But, needless to say, there is so much power that comes when truth is testified.

How grateful I am for this glorious gospel!  What peace it brings to my soul to contemplate the great Plan of Salvation!  No words can express how I feel about my Savior and what He has done for me and my entire family.  I am working each day to live my life in accordance with His commandments because I love Him and want to live with Him someday.  It is because of Him, I will have all my children around me someday.

Today, I will be taking some time to read some scriptures regarding the promises of the resurrection.  I hope each of you will take a few minutes to read and ponder some of you favorite scriptures about the Savior in honor of my little Joshua.  May you find peace and hope in those words like I do.

*For more information about the production of "Savior of the World", visit here.
**For more information about our Savior, Jesus Christ, visit here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Our Rainbow Baby

Wow...I didn't realize how much time has passed since posting on this blog.  I am beginning to understand the phrase that time can heal.  Tonight, as I write, the ache of missing Joshua is close to the surface, but I am realizing that it is not nearly as debilitating as it used to be.  I know that it is through my Savior's atonement that I can feel peace.  I still think about Joshua everyday, but how wonderful to feel the Lord present as well.

I think part of the reason my heart has healed some is because of our sweet new addition to our family.  I am pleased to introduce:

Savannah Hope

Did you know that when a person has another child after losing one, that child is called a "Rainbow Baby"?  This title makes reference to the beautiful rainbow that comes after the storm.  The rainbow is a symbol of hope.  For us, little Savannah is a reminder of our Savior's love for us and the "hope" of His gospel, especially after this raging storm we have been on.  So, her middle name will always be a reminder to us of that...Hope in our Savior, Hope in his gospel, Hope in His plan, Hope that we will see Joshua again. 

There have been times already that having little Savannah around has brought back some memories of Joshua.  First, it is sometimes a little scary how much they look alike.  Sometimes, especially when she is sleeping, I have done a double take thinking it was Joshua in the crib!  Also, the more Savannah grows and develops, I can't help but think of all the stuff Joshua was never able to do because of his sickness.  For example, Savannah was holding her head up so incredibly fast!  She was starting to lift it before we even left the hospital!!  Joshua was never strong enough to do that.  I am so grateful that Savannah is healthy and strong.

I feel so blessed to be the mother of these three amazing children!  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

She is coming, ready or not!

Baby #3 is going to be making her appearance very soon.  I will be considered "full term" in just a few short days. Joshua was born at 37 1/2 weeks!  Gosh, she could be here anytime, really. 

The past few weeks have been a little crazy for me.  We just passed the 11 month anniversary of Joshua's passing, which was a little more emotional than the last few have been. I think part of it is that I keep thinking about how this time last year, we were in the hospital with him. I keep thinking about how this time last year, we had him here and we had no idea just how little time we had left with him. I think January will aways have a soft place in my heart for that reason...such a difficult, but precious time we had with our boy on this earth. 

Now, with all that in mind, I am trying to prepare myself to bring another child into the world.  While all the tests and doctors continue to tell me that everything looks great, I can't help but feel anxiety. Honestly, even if this baby IS healthy, I am still nervous.  It has been a long time since I have had a newborn that I didn't have a nurse or a bunch of doctors there to help me with.  As I try to prepare for this baby, I feel like I am forgetting something.  With my first, we were getting all the "big items"-you know, the crib, car seat, bouncer, rocker, stroller...the works.  With Joshua, we were preparing significally for hospital life and life at home with a very sick kid.  The truth is, there is not much more to do for this 3rd little one because we already have most of it other than clothes (which is definitely being taken care of). I just feel like I am forgetting something.  

I keep wondering how I am going to handle all of this.  Will some of the post-trumatic stress come back full force when I am, once again, responsible for a baby?  How will I be able to let her sleep knowing it was when Joshua was sleeping that he slipped away?  Will I be able to determine if something is wrong and be able to take the steps I need to make sure she is ok?  I'm sure the mother instincts will kick in (as they always do), but I can't help but feel that this is going to be completely different than anything I have ever done before. 

I am a different person than I was when either of my other children were born. It will be very interesting to see how I am able to do things with a new baby as the person I have become.  I guess all I can do now is pray that The Lord will qualify me to do the work He has entrusted me.  This baby girl is meant to be coming to our family at this time, that I know for a fact.  Heavenly Father sent her long before I thought I was ready.  He obviously thought we were, and I know if I lean on Him, He will give me the strength and ability to handle it.  

Bring on this next great adventure....
Thursday, December 19, 2013

Another lesson on "time"

I have met a number of angel moms over the past year.  Actually, many of them I already knew, but I see them in a much different light now.  There is a very special, unexplainable bond between two moms who have both lost a child.  We don't have to say a word to each other or even meet in person.  We just get each other...we can love each other in a way that no one else can.

Many of these angel moms have gone a very long time without their child.  10 years, 20 years....some even 30 years since the passing of their children.  Honestly, when I think that in 30 years that will be me saying that, I get tired.  It just seems so much time has to pass before I see my little boy again.  Sometimes, I just take a deep breath and much time.

But my perspective has changed a bit.  My mother was talking with a good friend of hers who lost her daughter over 30 years ago.  This wonderful woman is done raising the rest of her kids and is retired.  She is at the end of her life, not really expecting to die any time soon, but knowing that it is coming sooner rather than later.  It was interesting to hear her perspective.  When she thinks about seeing her daughter again, she gets an excited jump in her heart thinking about it.  She described it as the feeling you get when you are anticipating a trip to Europe that you have been planning for years and it is now only a year away.  There is light at the end of this tunnel and she can see that light much more clearly than she has before.

Oh, time can seem like such a burden.  Sometimes, it can seem like it is working against you.  But, when I heard about this woman's perspective, I couldn't help but get excited.  She has lived a very full life with so much for her to be proud of, and the Lord to be proud of.  Now, as she waits the last little bit of time before seeing her daughter again, she can do so with excited anticipation, knowing that she will indeed see her soon.

I want to spend my 20, 30, 40 years (however long the Lord needs) living my life so I can feel that same anticipation.  While it is still overwhelming to think of that much time needing to pass, I know that it is time I am suppose to have.  Time that I can use to do a lot of good in the world.  Time that the Lord has given me that I need to take advantage of.  I hope the Lord can help me know how best to use my time...and that I will be worthy to live with all my family, including Joshua, someday.
Sunday, December 15, 2013

Promised Savior, Promised King

I know I have lots to write up from the past month.  Joshua turned one year old two weeks ago. We passed the 10 month mark of his passing.  We have begun the time of year that we remember having him here.  The Christmas celebrations have begun.  Yes...lots of things to write about.

Today, however, I wanted to account my experience from church today.  I have had the pleasure of being the director of our church choir and today was our Christmas program.  We only sang one song as a choir and it is a song that we picked out 2 months ago.  Today, during the performance, did I really start to understand the words and they sunk in.

The song in "Promise Savior, Promised King" by Sally Deford. The first two verses remind us of the many prophecies of the coming of the Savior and set the stage of the Christmas scene. 

Promised Savior, promised King,
Come down to earth from heaven
Child of whom the angels sing
Their song of adoration
Behold the star above Him rise,
‘Tis heaven’s brightest gem
A beacon to our longing eyes
When the light of day grows dim

Shepherds watching in the fields,
Now hasten to the stable
There to honor Him, there to kneel
And worship at His cradle
While in the east the wise men greet
The light that o’er them shines
And goes before to guide their feet
As they seek the Child divine

With the beautiful scene set in our minds, the poem continues to explain the very impact of the message...what this humble birth really means to our life:

The Holy Infant long foretold,
In lowly manger sleeping
Is comfort to the sorrowing soul,
He is solace to the weeping
He is hope, He is love sent from afar,
God’s Lamb and offering
He is Lord, He is sovereign of my heart
Promised Savior, promised King

I think Christmas will always be a time when my grief is a little closer to the surface.  It is a time when family gathers...and I will always have in the back of my mind that my whole family is not together right now.  Oh, but how blessed I am to know that the Promised Savior has come.  His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection truly does bring solace to the weeping and comfort to a sorrowing soul. 

How blessed I am to know that He is Lord and sovereign of my heart. During this tender time of year, this is the message I want to remember and hold close.  I will see my little Joshua boy again...and it is all because a little baby was born many years ago in Bethlehem.  The promised Savior has come and He will come again.

Listen to this beautiful song here.
Thursday, November 21, 2013

More members of this group...

Man...another family lost a heart baby this week.  This time, it was actually someone I knew before.  The night this little baby passed away, I couldn't help but think of those dear parents...trying so hard to comprehend what had just happened, but unable to.  Trying to sleep, but being woken up by dreams of those final moments.  Feeling the weight on their chest from the grief...the tangible, cut-it-with a knife grief.  (*sigh*).  It was heartbreaking for me to think of another week couple having to go through that. 

It is strange how quickly you can feel connected to a person.  This mother is someone I have only officially met once in my life.  She has followed my journey off loss and we have stayed loosely in touch through social media.  However, this week, we have become more than that.  Our mortal experiences have linked us together eternally.  Loosing a child is one if those experiences that no one can really understand unless you have been through it.  Once it happens to you, you are forever a member of a group you never really understood. A group that really gets it. Really, all I really want to do is give her a big hug. 

Chances are, there is a family in the world going through this type of heart ache and you probably don't even know it.  Just say a little extra prayer for those who are suffering tonight.  Say a prayer that they will feel some sort of peace, even if it is just a hint of it right now.  The truth is, there is no point praying for the pain to go away...grief is a testimony of the love that mother has for her lost child...and you just can't take that away.  What you can pray for is that they feel the peace the atonement of Jesus Christ can bring.  Among the pain of grief, there will be an undertone of peace  in knowing God loves them and their family.  Pray for that peace for them.  
Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween, little Joshua

Dear Joshua-
Happy Halloween, sweet boy.  I wanted to let you know today that I am thinking a lot about you.  I was at the store yesterday and saw so many costumes that I know would have looked so darling on you.  I wondered what we would have dressed you up as...maybe a monster or super hero.  Maybe we would have coordinated your costume with your older brother. Whatever we would have done, it would have been so much fun to dress you up.

Last night, our family went to our ward Halloween party.  As I laid in bed that night, I wondered if you would have been able to go with us or not.  Cold and flu season is hitting full force and we always had to be so careful when it came to germs.  I realized that now, you can come to those events with us without concern.  I know you were there celebrating with us, even if we couldn't see you. 

Joshua, we are coming up on the season of the year that I remember having you with me.  You were born at the beginning of December, but November was the month we were anticipating your birth.  I feel like a lot of grieving feelings are starting to resurface a little bit.  I am missing you.  I so wish that I could actually dress you up instead of just dream of it.  I so wish I could hear all the comments from people about how cute you look in your costume. I wish we could take you trick or treating, even if it was only a few houses. I wish you were going to be here for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I wish I didn't have to wish all these things. 

Yes, I am taking a few minutes to be selfish today.  I know that you are in a better place and that you are no longer suffering.  I know that the Lord has so much in store for you. You have a mission, Joshua.  That mission is what keeps me from being mad or extremely upset on most days.  However, today, I wish I could just give you one more hug and kiss and then send you on your way. 

Joshua, please be with me today.  Let me know that you are ok and help me feel your presence.  You are always in my thoughts and I love you for eternity.

Your mother

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Joshua Kent Ipson was born December 1, 2012 with a very complicated combination of congenital heart defects. After 2 1/2 months of fighting for his life, he passed away on February 13, 2013. We invite you to share our experiences as we grieve his loss, rejoice in God's plan, & keep Joshua's message of hope alive.
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