I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know where babies came from. My mom is a labor and delivery nurse and I am one of nine children, so that should not come as a surprise. In the same way, I don’t remember not knowing who Christ was. My parents are both devout Catholics and raised all of us to trust in the divine will of the Creator.
In 2004, I married Patrick and five years later, we welcomed a healthy baby boy named Bo into the family. Two years later, we added a gorgeous little girl named Maggie Jake to our clan. She is named after my brother who died suddenly of a heart attack in my home in 2010. In the summer of 2012, we found out we were pregnant a third time. At our 20 week ultrasound, they saw some “alarming things” and this led us down the path to a Turner Syndrome diagnosis.
Six weeks after we found out about this, we went in for an ultrasound and discovered our Luna’s heart had stopped beating. We delivered her the day after Thanksgiving in 2012. I was privileged to have my oldest sister by my side at her funeral because the following March (less than six months later), my sister Jen lost her battle against leukemia and passed away with most of her family camping out on the floor of her hospital room.
In the month after her death, we found out we were pregnant again and delivered a healthy baby boy Joseph less than a year after we delivered Luna in November of 2013. He’s our little blondie with blue eyes and gorgeous dimples and a scream that could curdle milk.
Most recently my father, Jim, died suddenly from a heart attack in April 2014. Reading back at this, it makes it seem like I am defined by my losses. I am not defined by my losses but instead I am defined by what I have been taught by those losses. I am certain that I would have nothing to mourn if I had not been blessed so much in the first place. Each of these losses (my brother, my baby, my sister, my father) has taught me quite a bit about myself and those around me. I am not defined by loss, but rather by growth brought on by loss. By sanctification that occurs as a result of loss.
If you’re curious about the name, my favorite Bible passage is Job 10:10-12. Part of the reason I like this is because it makes me laugh to think of myself as cheese. Have you ever made cheese? The process is so delicate – mess one little thing up and you will not have good cheese. But what really stands out to me about this passage is that even in the midst of Job’s desperation and depression (the chapter starts with Job saying he loathes his life!), he still acknowledges and honors God’s kindness and providence. Even in the depths of loss and sorrow, Job knows that God is in control and that he is shaping his life and soul.
10 Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese,
11 clothe me with skin and flesh
and knit me together with bones and sinews?
12 You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit.