rambling thoughts on grief and joy and beauty

Just a few random thoughts on my mind today...

Life has slowly but surely been getting back to normal over here. This is the first week that has felt like a typical one since the miscarriage- no one visiting, no one moving (one of my best friends moved away last week), lots of normal things to do like laundry and making dinner and taking care of my kids. It feels really good to be doing normal things. But it also feels strange. The way life is just moving on while my heart is still stuck in one place.

Daytime is pretty easy. I keep busy with Audrey and Elliot, and busy with the endless to-list around the house. It is nighttime that is hard. Really hard. Ever since that first week, I have had trouble at night. When the house is quiet and still, my thoughts go crazy. Seemingly little things always set me off. Last night it was seeing a friend from highschool's ultrasound picture on facebook; a couple of nights ago it was flipping to the month of August in my planner and seeing every Thursday of the month with bold numbers on it- 10, 11, 12, 13. Each number signifying how many weeks pregnant I would be that particular week. Thankfully (I am so so thankful) I had only marked August, not the rest of the year!

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I am a night owl, through and through. I might be sleepy all day, but when the evening comes, I wake up. It is always my most productive time of day. But the last couple of weeks, once the kids are in bed and the sun goes down, I have gotten so mopey and depressed. Usually I read a lot at night, or work on my photography + editing, but I have had no motivation. I have been weepy and emotional. Tired, yet not tired enough to sleep. And I have been doing the silliest things to deal with it. Instead of being productive (cleaning, organizing, homeschool planning, editing photos) or at least doing something fun + happy (blogging, reading good books, spending time with the Lord or Erik), I have been watching ridiculous cheesy movies (I am embarrassed to admit that last night it was High School Musical 2...what?) and feeling sorry for myself. And while I know that this is just part of the process- I am grieving and it is alright to feel sad- I am starting to feel really worn out by all the sadness.

This morning the Lord reminded me of something. On January 1st of this year, I chose a little word to focus on in 2011: JOY. It was the first time I have ever felt like picking a word of the year and making it mine. I felt so strongly in my heart that this was going to be the year that I really learned what joy is and how to make it real in my life.

I haven't really kept up with blogging my journey with joy this year and I'm not sure why because God has taught me so much. And I see more clearly every day His amazing sovereignty in teaching me everything He did in the months leading up to this summer and the past few weeks. Everything He taught me about His love and His goodness and what joy truly is have been such a gift and given me so much hope as I have walked through this hard season. And I feel really strongly that I need to share more of my story, more of this journey I have been on this year to find joy. It is going to take some time- to sort out all of my thoughts and write it all out- but I promise to do it soon. The beginning of the story starts here.

That little reminder this morning, of how I asked God to teach me joy this year, has been on my mind and heart all day. I feel loved by the Lord and He has given me so much grace during this time. But I also feel really convicted- to take what I have learned and really allow the God to fill me with joy, even now while I am still grieving. But how?

I know a huge part of it will come by spending time with God, pouring out my heart to Him and reading His Word. I need time with Him more than ever right now, to keep my heart in the right perspective on His love and His plan for my life. Not to mention, I truly believe that He has so much He wants to teach me right now if I will only let Him. And I know so well that He is the one and only source of true joy.

But what else can I do? Especially during the evenings when I am hit with the grief the hardest?

I need to find beauty. I need to create beauty. My dear friend Rebekah wrote the most amazing, beautiful guest post today over on our friend Annalea's blog. I felt so inspired and challenged when I read about how she has used finding and creating beauty to bring joy to her days. It is such a simple truth- I mean finding beauty (especially through photography) is already a huge part of my life. My blog is named Beautiful Ordinary Day for that very reason! But I think sometimes I get so caught up in finding beauty and less focused on actually creating beauty. Being a stay-at-home mama and a wife gives me so many wonderful opportunities to create beauty in my home and for those I love. I have a feeling that if I focus on that a little more, I will find even more joy.

I'll let you know how it goes...


  1. Love your heart, friend. Praying for you. I know what you mean about nighttime being hardest when there's grief/anxiety/worry in your heart...it is also the most difficult time for me when I'm coping with grief or overwhelming anxiety. I'm looking forward to seeing how Jesus meets your every need during this season. xo

  2. Oh my sweet Andi! How I wish I could make you a cup of tea, and just sit next to you with my arms around you.

    Your words sound as though I wrote it. So much the same journey. I am a night owl, chose joy as my by-word for the year, which I have never done, and realized how much I had missed creating beauty.

    When your heart grieves, everything looks and feels so vast and looming. Tears exhaust, and don't always make you feel better. But you my dear, are on the right pathway, you are sharing your heart, not closing your self off. Grief is a process, hard and often lonely, but know the joy will come, beauty will abound, and the hurt will heal. You have a wonderful husband and great kids. Your Heavenly Father loves you, is holding you, and is creating you into a beautiful work of art. Hold tight, and know that I am praying for you.

  3. I've not been reading here long and I was unable to comment before when I read of your loss. It was just a few weeks ago that marked the third year since losing our son at 18 weeks.
    It's been a long three years with a lot of ups and downs through it all. Some days the grief hits as if it was just yesterday.
    In the weeks that followed I tried to keep myself so busy so as to not have to think about it all. In the long run, I wish I had done things differently. But at the time I was so busy with my sixth month old and two year old.
    It's all so complicated and hard, is it not? I believe now, that we each may mourn in different ways and at different times, but we must mourn. There is no right, or wrong way, or timeline to follow.
    It was so hard that life went on without my boy. So hard. Some days, I wonder how I can. But go on we must.

  4. Andi, you are so smart to give yourself a chance to grieve in the way that feels best for you. I know God will heal you and bring peace, rest, and beauty. And I totally hear you on getting hurt by seeing friends' photos and stories on facebook. Sometimes I wish facebook didn't exist. Love you!

  5. Oh sweet Friend, every time I read your blog and hear your heart in the beautiful words you write as you share your thoughts with us, I am so moved & challenged to draw nearer to God. I love you and think of you all the time. Praying you are able to draw near to Him and feel His closeness, especially during the night & harder parts of the day when the grieving comes in those full waves. Thanks, too, for sharing the link to the guest post on your friend's blog. My biggest hugs and love your way today, Friend...

  6. Oh, sweet Ann I'm so sorry. Know that my heart breaks with yours and I will be praying for healing. You are so gifted with words and capturing stories with your photos. You are an inspiration dear friend. I know that you will be successful in your quest for more joy. You made me cry not just for your great loss, but also because of your honest heart and desire to persevere through the hardest of circumstances in order to do His will and bless others.
    I can’t know exactly what you are going through. I can, however, relate. Micah and I lost three sweet little ones in a span of less than a year before getting pregnant with our little Luke and it nearly killed me. If it weren’t for God’s grace I think I may have died from a broken heart. You aren’t alone Ann. I can’t tell you how many stupid movies I watched in the night during that time. Sleep just doesn’t come easy sometimes. I’m here for you and will be lifting you and Erik up to our Lord. So thankful that we have Him. Love you.

  7. Grief is such a personal thing, and I don't think there is a right or wrong way to grieve...just follow your heart, hang on to Jesus (which I know you are), let those who love you minister to you. This post made me think of the scripture, "The JOY of the Lord is my STRENGTH"....be encouraged, my sweet daughter.
    Love you, MOM

  8. So sorry to hear about your miscarriage, praying for heaps of comfort and peace for your heart. xox

  9. Thank you for this post and your honesty. After my miscarriage in Febraury, after a few months, I came to a place of peace and a surreal season when it felt like it never happened. Now, only 4 weeks from what would have been my due date, I'm right back to being very emotional, sad and questioning. Thank you for reminding me to cling to God, spend time with Him, read His word, and ask Him for joy.

  10. Oh, sweet friend. I stopped by to whisper that I've been praying for you... your name is written across the top page of my journal for Thursdays.

    I know. Oh, how I know.

    Miscarriage is not natural, it is not right. It is most certainly not something we can embrace and move on quickly from, yet why do we feel that pressure? Curl into the pain, hold it, encircle it, and friend? Keep inviting the Lord and Erik into the midst of it, too. Company on the pathway of pain eases the loneliness.

    Your sisters walk it with you, too. We're here.

    I'm so thankful to hear your thoughts on joy and beauty- something that really helped me was creating beauty for others- stepping outside of myself with a Daily Joy; purposing to find a way to be a blessing to someone else, even if it was just my children or husband.

    Handwork is especially soothing for me- I made so many of these little bunting babies during that time and gave them away and now, when I see a little one clutching one of those sweet baby dolls, I'm reminded of that time but it doesn't hurt as much- it's a sweet ache!

    Blessings to you, friend. You are beautiful, and the Lord is not finished with you yet- keep walking with Him!

    Love you.