Saturday, December 31, 2011

A beautiful Mess

As we sit here tonight, I keep thinking about all that 2011 meant. All it brought to us. All it took away.

2011 was the year that changed everything.

It started with a diagnosis and finally answers to years of pain. We watched our nephews turn one. We learned we would welcome a child to our own home. It brought one of the best summers of my life.

It also took a lot away. I said goodbye to a woman I have known my entire life. A woman who loved me and who loved my Mom like no other. I still have moments where I forget she is gone.

It was the year of Aidan. The year in which he existed. The year I became a mom. The year that taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. The year that taught me the truth of a broken heart.

There were other relationships forged and relationships severed in this roller coaster year. With Aidan's birth and subsequent passing, a shift occurred.

The first shift included people who stood by us. The people who have stepped up to the plate and have done the hard stuff. The things you never want to do with someone you love, but because you love them, you do it. These people are the ones who talk about Aidan, who share what Aidan has done in their lives. Some of these people are family and others are people who quickly became family. These are the people who don't expect it to just be ok or for us to get over it. The people who acknowledge we lost a child and have decided to love us through.

The second shift happened when this new community of people walked in. Our fellow families of this cruel twist of fate. Our babyloss family. The group you never want to belong to, but once thrust into this world you are beyond thankful to have them. They are the hope we can survive. The light in the darkness. The ones who allow us to be real and in the moment.

The third shift was one I didn't see coming. I wasn't prepared. It's the people who for whatever reason walked away. Whether it was a lack of words, fear or just an easy out they slowly started backing away and then turned completely around and walked away. It's this group I try to not focus on. Because it was unbearably hard to know I was going to have to live without Aidan. It's just too much to think someone I loved was leaving willingly.

So, you see. 2011 was a lot of things. It's 365 days, encompassed a lot. It changed my life. It changed my faith (one of the blessings of this year). Because it is the year of Aidan, it changed the world.

Our precious, perfect and tiny child. All 14.6 ounces and 10 5/8 inches of him, changed the world. Without ever taking a breath.

And it is because of him. That I will forever cherish this year. It wasn't what I imagined. It was hard. It was trying. It was a beautiful mess.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Aidan Thomas

Not so very long ago,
I sat and wondered who you would be.
Not so very long ago,
I felt you kick and couldn't wait to have you here with me.

A short time ago,
I held you close and kissed your sweet face.
A short time ago,
I counted your toes and welcomed you to this place.

A short time ago,
I said hello and goodbye on the same day.
A short time ago,
My sweet boy you went to Heaven to play.

A short time ago,
My world shifted.
A short time ago,
Your name, Aidan Thomas was lifted.

I cried for you and no one knew.
The ones who thought of you were few.

Not so long ago,
They told me I was going to be a mom.

A short time ago,
I delivered you.

A short time ago,
I carried you home and said my final goodbye.

I pretended to be ok and hid my tears.

I am your mom.
You are in heaven.
And I am missing you.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Is love alive?

If I compare this Christmas to last Christmas, nothing has changed. Yet, nothing is the same.

We spent it with the same family members for another blessed year.

 We were blessed. If you compare last years pictures to this years, you would think that 2011 had been a peaceful small year. We have all aged, but we are all still here.

Of course, none of that is true. 2011 was a big year. It was a defining year. And everything has changed.

Aidan would have been front and center (or at least my 37 week stomach would have been). Instead he was remembered. He was quietly observed. He was missed beyond words.

I don't even know where to start. I really don't think I have any words to describe our Christmas without him. I did everything I could to make him present. To make him apart of our Christmas and we are so blessed by all who allowed us.

We were given several gifts just for him.

Aunt Mika had this made. It is the poem from his program.

His Papa got me an elephant charm for my bracelet.

His Nana found him some pinwheels

His Memaw found this beautiful Snowbaby

Aunt Bre captured the Christmas Morning sky

And on Christmas Eve day, this bloomed.

A few weeks ago, I made a request. I asked for anyone to do a good deed in Aidan's memory. Then to write it down and send it to us. I then put them all in his stocking. Now, I am not very good at surprises, but this I did. I didn't read a single one until Christmas morning.

And boy did you guys give me something special. You truly are some amazing people.

Because, you see, money was donated to the March of Dimes, breakfast was bought for a stranger, gas money was given to a woman in need, hair donated for someone who can't grow their own, snacks given to families at a Ronald McDonald House, toys bought for children who would have otherwise had a very lonely Christmas and money was donated to a clinic in Alaska. All because you cared enough to give me a moment to be a mom and be proud of my little boy. That was my Christmas Joy.

Christmas felt so different this year. God feels so different this year.

Every year we hear the Christmas story from the gospels. This year of all years, we heard it from the book of John.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And in Isaiah 9:6

 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. 
This year was very very different. It was also very special. Hearing the Christmas story often takes me right back to Aidan's delivery. The fear that Mary felt. The worry of Joseph. The unexpected entry into this world. The peace of the night. All take me right back to September 4th, 2011.

So, while this season was not what I dreamed of. It was not what I would have chosen. It WAS special. It was all about Jesus. It showed me that love is alive. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not what I envisioned...

The sleepless nights. The emotional upheaval. The tears. The fear.

I thought I wouldn't sleep because I couldn't get comfortable. Not because the nightmares have returned.

I figured I would be a hormonal mess that everyone picked on. Not a grieving mother that makes people uncomfortable.

My tears would be of joy. They would be sweet. Now they flow steadily and are bitter and like salt in a wound. Each one a desire. A drop of my love.

I was supposed to be preparing for delivery and the firsts of being a first time parent. There is no balm to soothe these fears.

I imagined what these days would be. I'm watching them come to fruition in others. Mine are completely different.

The only thing that hasn't changed is God. He is my constant.

I found a picture tonight that reads, "Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is the darkness ahead."

This is all I have. This is what has to carry me through.

Monday, December 19, 2011

All of me

We are in the midst of Christmas.

I am struggling.

I do what everything I feel I should do. I show up where I think I am wanted.

The days feel very weighted. My heart is very heavy.

I miss him. I miss what this Christmas was supposed to be about.

I have done everything I can to try and make this season one where I can find hope.

I find small nuggets in the stocking stuffers in the mail, the amazing ornaments that hang on his tree, in the faces of Carter, Peyton and Jo.

I find love in the people who acutely aware of how badly I am hurting and they reach out to make sure I know I'm not alone.

Tonight at dinner, we were the only couple without our child at the table. You could see it on the waiter's face, "Why are they here with these kids and none of their own?" I so badly wanted to scream I do have a child. I just didn't get to keep him.

Had I known that we weren't going to get to raise Aidan here on earth, would I have loved him as much? Would I have protected my heart? Would I have saved some of my hopes and dreams?

No. Because I was blessed enough to hold perfection. I was blessed enough to be the one given the privilege to carry and deliver Aidan. I was chosen to be his mom. And just because his time on earth was short it will never diminish that he is my child, nor that I am not just a mom, but, his mom.

Because from the first moment I knew I was pregnant, he had all of me.

Afraid to love
Something that could break
Could I move on
If you were torn away?
And I'm so close to what I can't control
I can't give you half my heart
And pray He makes you whole

You're gonna have all of me
You're gonna have all of me
'Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I'll start

I won't let sadness steal you from my arms
I won't let pain keep you from my heart
I'll trade the fear of all that I could lose
For every moment I share with you

Heaven brought you to this moment, it's too wonderful to speak
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me
So let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me

It's where I'll start

Friday, December 16, 2011

Keep on, Keeping on....

The past two weeks have been one big giant lesson.

The kind of lessons that we all learn at some point in our lives. Only when you are seeing the world through a new lens you have to learn them all again.

This one? Learn to roll with the punches. Let if roll off of you. Keep on, keeping on.

Two weeks. In two weeks this tilt-a-whirl of year really kicked into gear.

1. Evan drops and 5 gallon glass jar. It shatters. He cuts his finger down to the bone. Stitches to close the wound.
2. Monsoon rains. Aidan's three month birthday. Real plans to celebrate him with others who get it. Momma hydroplanes and all plans are thrown out the window.
3. Other vehicle's engine blown.
4. Evan's stitches are removed. Dr. fears there is damage to the tendon.
5. Specialist appointment, surgery scheduled. Two scenarios are given. One has a recovery period of a week. The other is 8-12 weeks plus therapy.
6. Surgery day. (Today) Much longer than anyone anticipated. Guess which scenario we are now facing? Yep, because 2011 just had to get another dig. We are looking 8-12 weeks of Evan being one handed and then therapy.

Do you see? 13 days. 6 of them were ROUGH.

And now, Christmas starts tomorrow. Aagh. I can hear the waves calling. The beach is beckoning.

Maybe on another day I will do a 2011 recap. And maybe not. I'm not sure I can relive it all.

Never have I been more ready for a new year.

But, that brings Aidan's due date. Not even going there yet...

For now, I am making sure Ev stays on med schedule and trying to help him maintain some sort of independence.

I do manage to find happy. I find God, even on days like today. Today, it came in the mail.

An ornament from Hawaii and a good deed for his stocking. I can't tell you what good it did my spirits to see his name written by others. That is the sweetest gift. Someone saying or writing his name.

So, I'm rolling with the punches. I'm trying to just let it roll it off. I'm keeping on.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Day

Francesca over here is a fellow babyloss mom. She is a major inspiration and has made an amazing legacy for her sweet Jenna.

Today she wrote this. It stopped me cold. It made me wonder what my day would look like.

If I were granted one day with Aidan knowing he would return to heaven, what would we do?

How old would he be?

Immediately I thought of the big days. His graduations, wedding, the birth of his children. I really like the idea of seeing him get married. I smile wondering what type of girl he would choose. I see us remembering all of the days before. Is it cheating to have that flashback sequence included? Even if I didn't get to live out those days with him could there be memories?

Or, perhaps I want to experience a day with him at the age of Carter and Peyton. Those boys are at that perfect age. So much fun, so much innocence, so much love. I wonder what Aidan's little personality would be. What buttons of mine he would push. Would he cry for Nana when he didn't get to ride in her car? Would he call me Momma or Mommy?

And the tears have started. There are so many days I wish I could spend with Aidan. So many memories we never got to make. So many things I am going to sit on the sideline for and always dream about what might have been.

But, there is one day I really wish I could have with him. That first day. That very first day of holding, learning, cuddling, kissing and loving. I want that day back. Only I want it to be January 14th and our room is full of happy tears. Not sorrow. Our room is a revolving door of friends and family so excited to meet him. Not timidly watching me labor and then holding (or not holding him) because it was all we got. I want the nurses to hand him to us and say "Congrats." I want to hear him cry. Oh what wouldn't I give to hear that beautiful sound. I don't care how long I would have had to labor. I don't care if I had to have a c section. I would wear that scar with pride. Because he is worth every single bit of it. I want Evan to look at me and smile. I want him to look at Aidan and see such joy in our future. I want my baby boy to open those beautiful eyes and instantly know who I am.

But, I can't. I won't get any of these with Aidan. And that is an awful reality. One I am learning to live with. Not one I will ever get over.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Joy


Three months ago I envisioned what these days would look like. The anticipation. The sparkle. The joy.


I have been afraid of the days to come. I have been afraid of my emotions. What if I can't find the joy in this season?


I was worried about decorating the tree. Check!

I was worried about Christmas shopping because I wanted to be buying for Aidan. I'm 98% done and actually had fun.

I'm stuck in a place of hiding my pain so as not to suck all of the joy out of a room and hurting so badly there are moments it bubbles over.

And, then I heard this.

Compassionate God, we ask that you free us from the darkness that traps us in our sadness. We ask the words to be spoken even when we cannot express them ourselves. Our experience of Christmas has changed because of a death or loss or physical or mental illness. We used to look forward to this time of year, too, but now we only feel like we are outside looking in on the joy. Bring back the joy.

The holiday season reminds us of what used to be. But the celebration of Your Son's birth...the real Christmas...reminds us of hope and promise. Please be near us during this season.

I attended the "Hope for the Holidays" Service with Emily today. This was not only said, but also written in the bulletin. Just for me. And you.

To me, it validated and assured. To Em, it was a window into my world.

The first service opened me up. The music pierced me. It left me raw and in an emotional upheaval.

The Hope Service took it all. It took the darkness of these days and acknowledged that I do and will struggle with our days without Aidan. And then I lit a candle to remind me that Jesus is the light. He is the lamp unto my feet. The guiding light along this path of darkness. My beacon of hope.

And then I was able to attend the Joy of Christmas and actually feel pieces of that joy. Because I had acknowledged the pain and learned that I'm not expected to be perfect now. By embracing the darkness my eyes adjusted and I can see the glow of light within it all.

I have a new goal. It's not just to survive. It's to celebrate all that we have and those precious moments we were given with Aidan. Most importantly, we will celebrate that Aidan is at the greatest birthday party and because that baby boy was born in a manger I will get to hold Aidan again. And that is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Time Warp

I went back in time for awhile tonight.

Dedmon/Speyer walked the halls of Cabot High again.

It was so strange. It was hallowed ground to us. Yet, it looks completely different. Our auditorium is gutted. There are buildings where we used to park our cars. Everything looks different. But everything felt the same.

Nostalgia at its purest form. Standing there with Jane, Ashley and Gwen. Looking at pictures of our former selves from ten years ago. Standing there with the one friend who has fought with me and for me the hardest. Standing there with my other half.

I was introduced as the Dedmon half. For just those instances we were just alumni. All of the baggage was left at the door. We were witnessing our legacy there.

And then there was this beautiful moment. This moment where Jane looked at me, hugged me and loved me. She loved me because she has known me for over 15 years and has watched me grow. She loves me now because I can't hide the pain.

Like all of the buildings on that campus, I have changed. I'm not that fresh faced naive girl anymore.

I've got scars. I've got a story to tell. It's not always happy. It's not always optimistic. It is filled with faith, grace and lots and lots of love.

I've grown up a lot. I've grown up more than I ever wanted to. But, deep down inside me she is still there. Like the memories in the auditorium, that precious side of me is still there. It may be down in the tip of my pinky toe, but its still there.

I just have to heal enough to let her resurface. No, I will never be the same. I will never go back to the old Tara. That Tara wasn't a mom. But, there are pieces of me that will resurface. I just have to deal with all of this other stuff first.

So, please. Have patience. Have faith. Have hope.

Patience in my grief. I cannot tell you when I will come out of it. Just know I am doing the best I can. Most days I cover it up so as not to make anyone else uncomfortable.

Faith in me. Faith that I will come out of this intact. Faith that my faith will endure.

Hope for a future. I am counting on your hope to inspire mine. I know it's in there. I just need some help finding it.


Thursday, December 8, 2011



It's this word that instills fear in us. The word causes us to flashback to some of the darkest moments we've ever experienced. Or, if we have somehow skirted its dark cloud, we have images of someone we know.

In my 28 years, I've experienced a lot of death. Great-grandmothers I cherished, a grandfather taken by Alzheimer's before I really had the chance to know him, friends taken much too soon by car accidents, a war hero who gave the ultimate sacrifice (his story can be read here), a cousin and friend who succumbed to the darkness, a co-worker and her daughter gone in the second it took to cross that median. All gone. All funerals I attended. All people taken before I was ready.

All instances where death was once removed. I cried, I grieved and then the world moved on.

Of course, this was all before. Before September 4th, when I said hello and goodbye to my son. Before I carried him home and had him baptized. Before I sat at that conference table picking out a casket while holding him. Before I handed him over for the last time. Before I said my final goodbye that Thursday night. Before his funeral. Before they buried my child. Before my world stopped spinning.

So, no. I'm not over it. No, I'm not going to return to normal. No, it's not easier because I didn't get to know him. Because all of the other people I have had to let go, left me thousands of memories to keep. Maybe its because he is my first. Maybe it is because he is my only. But, the fact that Aidan was gone so fast does not make any of this any easier on me.

My life is in pieces, never to be put back together.

Oh Lord Jesus, come to be near us. Hold us with Your unfailing love. We cannot sustain ourselves.

A simple prayer. The biggest request I'll ever ask.

There is a very special woman out there tonight who needs our prayers. So please, if you pray include "C" in them. She is battling the demon we call cancer. She is fighting to come home to a very spunky little girl who needs her Momma.

Angie Simon says it best, "I don't where you are tonight, or what hurts you are holding up to God, but I will promise you this. If you can just trust Him enough to bring it up to Him, He will rejoice in your masterpiece. And if you need to scream a little, know that you have a God who can take that too, as long as your face is tilted (even slightly) toward Him."

I serve a God who knows my suffering. His grace is in a jar we all carry. And his glory is seen in the shattering.

(I must confess, it has been a BAD week. Not just a rough week in this process of grief, but BAD. In five days we have been to the ER for stitches in Evan's hand, had an accident on Sunday that ruined all of my plans for A's three month celebration and today the engine blew in our other vehicle. Enough to drive a perfectly stable person off the edge. My brain just doesn't know its way around the sorrow. So, I've rambled. I've let out some steam. Now, I have to figure out how to convince Ev our world is not crashing down. :))

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Dragonfly

Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.
"Look!" said one of the water bugs to another. "one of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?" Up, up, up it slowly went....Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn't return...
"That's funny!" said one water bug to another. "Wasn't she happy here?" asked a second... "Where do you suppose she went?" wondered a third.
No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. "I have an idea". "The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why."
"We promise", they said solemnly.
One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.
When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn't believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four wings from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!
Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.
Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water...the dragonfly remembered the promise: "the next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he went
"I can't return!" he said in dismay. "At least, I tried. But I can't keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I'll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they'll understand what has happened to me, and where I went."
And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air...

As a senior in high school I was described as a dragonfly. One of the people who shaped me into the person I am gave me a way to cope ten years later without even realizing. I have clung to dragonflies since then. Collecting them in. Receiving them as gifts. Even permanently etching one on my hip.

And now, three months after the single most defining day of my life I found the above poem. My son is also a dragonfly. I love the connection. I love the imagery.

So take flight sweet boy. Your wings are mighty. Your beauty immeasurable. Your perfection indescribable.

Momma loves you so. You are with me every step and now constantly by my side.

Monday, December 5, 2011

March for Babies

It's time! Registration is now open.

On Aidan's Wings has its very own team. Won't you join us?

This years event includes the March, a "Run before they can Walk 5k" and Craws for a Cause. The entire day benefits March of Dimes.

April 28th 2012. That's the big day. I would love nothing more than for Aidan's team to be the biggest out there. So please, if you want, come join. Come walk, run and party!

And if you can't be there in person, be there in spirit.

Before Aidan, I never thought I would be doing all that I am. I never thought that I would be the face of grief.

So, I'm taking a stand. I'm putting one foot in front of another. Literally.

Come walk with us. The babies deserve it!

The link to register and/or donate is just to the right. I sincerely hope we blow our goal out the window and to see you all there!

Friday, December 2, 2011

There is something you can do!

Since Aidan's birth people have asked, "What can I do?" I haven't had an answer until now. And it is perfect timing.

Christmas is going to be hard. It's going to have this bittersweet twinge because in all of the joy there will be someone missing. There won't be gifts for or in anticipation of Aidan. A fellow baby loss mom has given me inspiration.

There is something each and every person can do. In Aidan's memory, to make us smile, to include our son in this season.

Please help us fill Aidan's stocking. I have been nervous about hanging one for him. Now, I can't wait.

Here is the idea.

For the month of December do one nice thing for someone else. Something out of the box. Do it in Aidan's memory or because he inspired it. Then write it down and mail it to us. We will put the unopened things in his stocking and open them Christmas morning. This way we will have surprises with Aidan and hopefully a lot of good was done in the Christmas season!

Our address is:

Evan and Tara Finney
627 Woodland Dr.
Benton, AR 72019

I love that this will help spread Aidan's legacy in such a simple way. To kick it off I have Aidan's tree up and decorated so far. We have also decorated his spot. It's simple, but I it seems fitting.

Aidan's 1st Elephant

2011 Elephant

His Disney Ornament from Aunt Mika

I found this and had to have it. It's perfect.

Auntie Courtney took one of his shells from visitation and made a perfect ornament for his tree.

Nana found one with his name spelled correctly!

His growing tree

We don't have his headstone yet, but I think it looks nice.

My sweet boy.

And today was another milestone for this Momma. I ventured into my first labor and delivery unit since Aidan's birth. I held Aidan's first friend...Zachary James. I counted all ten toes and snuggled and loved him. It was bittersweet. I so ache to have Aidan to snuggle, but am so thankful that Zach is here safe and sound. He's a perfect full term baby. There's nothing better.

It made me wish so badly to have him again. I am so thankful to have pictures of the precious moments we were granted with him.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Into the Wilderness

It has been a week so heavy with sadness. A week that has taken so much out of me. A week of very little hope.

I write to Aidan every night. I write to him as a way to try and get the last bit of emotions out before I sleep. I write to remember him. Last night I wrote to him about the scariness of the wilderness this week has been.

The forest of grief had turned into pure wilderness. Somewhere I have never been before. Somewhere I didn't know if anyone could find me in. It has taken everything I've had to get up and get through the day. It has taken a toll on me. Physically, I'm back to anxiety ridden sleepless nights. Emotionally, I'm more raw and vulnerable than ever before. I'm quick to snap and then even quicker to tears.

I'm telling you all of this because I need you to understand the depth of the darkness of the week.

That darkness led me to church tonight. As an OMP veteran I LOVE our Worship in the Round services at Cabot United Methodist Church. If you are ever in need of some Thursday night intimate worship it is a wonderful place to start.

Ben led worship tonight and seriously, he was preaching to me. He was preaching about me.

He was talking about how we are beginning the Advent Season. How we are preparing for Jesus' coming. We read from the third chapter of Matthew.

 1  In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.' " 4 And John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Does anything in there stand out to you? Because it jumped out at me and hit me square in the face.


We are called to enter the wilderness to prepare for Jesus. We are called to step out of the norm. Ben broke it down in three steps.

1. We must admit our faults. We must bring them to the cross.
2. We must leave them there. Just simply drop them at the foot of the cross.
3. We wait. We actively wait.

I'm in the wilderness. I've been thrust in the wilderness.

So, like John the Baptist I'm going to embrace it. I'm going to relish the wilderness. It's a time of the year that is notoriously hard because of the reminders of those who aren't with us. Christmas is quickly followed by Aidan's due date. What better time than to escape into the wilderness and strengthen my relationship with God?

So, I am taking all of the burdens I am carrying to the cross. Guilt, Sadness, Fear, Doubt, Anger, Jealousy, Worry. I've been carrying them for three months. I acknowledge them. I admit I feel them.

And so now I have to figure out how to set them down. How to let go and really and truly Let God. One burden at a time.

And once I have done this I have to do the hardest one. I have to wait, but not by sitting in the shadow of the cross. I have to pray, share and spread our story. I have to share my faith, find my own hope and further God's purpose.

So, this is me. Wandering the wilderness. Embracing my inner cave woman. Walking a path of faith, hope, and yes still grief.

Won't you join me?
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