when the hard gets harder

I've been missing Owen so much more than usual lately. I always miss him, but lately it's been more intensified. Maybe it's because Mother's Day was recently here and Father's Day is approaching. Maybe it's because one of my very best friends just had her first child, and Owen isn't here to grow up with her. It just isn't fair. I keep searching through my phone and computer for new pictures of Owen. Ones I didn't know I had or haven't seen before. But there aren't any, and that makes me sad and angry.

I did find this one though. When I look at this picture I see a body weary from childbirth, a face swollen from tears, eyes gazing at the precious child that was knit in her womb for nine months. I see so much love. I love how Owen's little hand wrapped around my finger. I miss this so much. I wish I could have dreams about him and remember them. I haven't had a single one. It would be like a little piece of heaven if I did.
I've been missing Egleston a lot lately and all of the people there. It's probably a strange thing to miss, but those are the people that knew Owen with us, and that was the place that he lived. If we still lived in Atlanta, I can promise you I would be a frequent visitor in the CICU to drop off goodies for the staff and gifts for the families. 

Life isn't all sadness. We have so much to be thankful for. We love, love, love living in Charlotte and our home here. This is the most "at home" I've felt in years. I have enjoyed planning and hosting a baby shower here in my home last month and using my creative energy again, I especially love decorating my home little by little and making it our own. We have enjoyed exploring Charlotte, trying new restaurants, and establishing roots here. We both love the people we work with and are so thankful for our jobs. 

It's nice having life come back to normal. We're adjusting to what this new normal is with our baby boy in heaven. I think one of the the hardest things for me is figuring out how to balance joy and sorrow. From the outside people might think that things have gotten easier for us as time has passed. That's certainly what I used to think about people before I experienced this form of loss. But it hasn't gotten easier, we've just better adjusted to the pain in our hearts and have learned (and continue to learn) how to carry it through each day. We know we don't carry it alone. 

I recently started reading Kara Tippetts' book The Hardest Peace, and I have already learned so much from it. If you're not familiar with Kara, she recently lost her battle to cancer and knows what it truly is to suffer. In the introduction of the book she writes, "This is not a book about trying to win at having the hardest story. This book is about a broken woman on a journey to know the hardest peace. Peace in the midst of hard. I speak both generally and specifically of hard, because hard is often the vehicle Jesus uses to meet us, point us to that peace, and teach us grace." 

I feel that I am in the middle of this journey of hard. Instead of rushing the hard away, my prayer is that my heart and mind will be open and that I will grow and minister to others who are also experiencing hard. That I will draw closer to Jesus in this journey and keep a soft heart in the process. And on the days when the hard gets harder, that I will find comfort in the great comforter who can provide peace like no other.