Monday, September 7, 2009

If only we all wore signs....

Well, I have many thoughts throughout each day. Some are silly, some are deep, some are far-fetched and some are enlightening. The Holy Spirit is always so faithful to show me exactly what I need to hear in the moment.

As many of you know, I took Cooper to preschool last week for the first time. He's done great and adjusted so well. The biggest thing we're working on is self-control. Definitely a fruit of the spirit that I need help on too;) I found myself walking him in last week, seeing so many moms (and a few dads), many of them dressed and showered with make-up on. Many of them had smaller children in strollers and bjorns, some with big bellies.

I have to admit that I found myself being so judgmental, and not only that, but feeling sorry for myself. I had so many thoughts running through my head...."If only they knew what happened to me..." "If only they had ANYTHING hard in their lives....." "Their lives look so perfect with their children spaced two years apart, the SUV, the designer clothes, everything so nicely put together....." "If only they knew what it meant to grieve......" "Do they even know how incredibly blessed they are?" "Do they take everything they have for granted?"

I also found myself wanting to just shout all those things. So much so, that I even thought to myself, if only I had a sign. If only I had a sign around my neck that said across my chest....I LOST MY CHILD. Maybe then their eyes would be open, maybe then they would see that no, I didn't plan to come to preschool with my 3-year-old with empty arms and an empty womb.

I found myself thinking on all these things, when the Holy Spirit ever so gently crept in and whispered...."What if everyone else had on signs too?" "What would their's say?"

Would it say, "My husband cheated on me...", or "My mom has cancer....", or "I'm struggling with infertility and no one knows....", or "I have an eating disorder", or " My husband lost his job...." or even "I lost a child, too....".

I saw with clarity that if we were to all wear signs, what would they say? I don't think I am so naive to think that I am the only one that's hurting, but when everyone looks so put together on the outside, it can often feel like that. What's worse is that I can struggle, too, with trying to put on the happy face on the outside when my world is crumbling on the inside. After all, I am a pastor's wife. I am suppose to have it together, right? I often feel like I fall victim to this silly expectation or lie that I am suppose to handle all that's going on inside of me "the right way." What does that even mean? The right way? I am learning through this that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. It just is. I am learning that it's okay to have a sad face on when I'm having a hard day, but it's also okay to laugh and have fun and that that doesn't mean that I don't miss Tyler.

I just wanted to share a little bit and encourage you to look past people's smiling faces. Ask yourself the question next time..."What does their sign say?"


  1. Jen, beautifully said. Thank you!

    My heart fell when you said, "...their children spaced two years apart...If only they knew what it meant to grieve." I'm right there.

    Praying for you today.

  2. so sorry that you have to know "what it means to grieve" but the lord will use your perspective to minister to the brokenhearted. you've ministered to mine.

    your friend with a sign that matches yours

  3. Beautifully written...

  4. Jen!
    We continue to pray for you all continually and asking that the Lord would continue to cover you in His grace and shelter you with His love. You are so right, only He knows the pain that each of us walk through, and only He can heal us.
    You look so beautiful in the header.

  5. This was amazingly written, purely from your heart obviously. Thank you for writing it, it convicted me of the same thoughts and feelings of judgement. Its bringing tears to my eyes just as I pray for you and your family. I hope you understand what an inspiration and encouragement you are for others, and the good that God is creating from your circumstances. Still praying...
    Jessica Silva

  6. Tears stream down my face as I think how real this is for you daily. I wish I could change your sign so badly. Thank you for your honesty and letting us in the process. What truth it is. I love you.

  7. This reminds me of that service at FBC...can't remember when it was, possibly an Easter service where everyone on stage literally was holding a sign...they said things like, "I struggle with addiction", "My marriage almost failed because of affair", "I lost a child", "I can't get pregnant" and many other things that are so real and make us all who we are. Thank you for your challenging words and honesty. Like someone said before, I so wish I could change your sign. I love you and I'm praying for you as you tread this path.

  8. I so appreciate, Jen, that in the midst of your own grief, you allowed your ears to be tuned to His Holy Spirit to see that we truly are not alone in our sufferings. Thank you for your honest and loving perspective, Jen. May God continue to bring you peace and hold you as you journey this road He has allowed for you.

  9. MY thoughts are with you. My hugs embrace you. I am praying that God continues to bring you peace and carry you through this journey He has drawn for you.
    I'm so sorry for your loss.
    From being one of "those" people who might seem like I have it all (well not designer jeans, etc) it's not as it seems. God's path for my family was not as I thought it would be. Though we are a different place in our journey, the pain is still fresh and the feelings as you wrote about were once on my heart too.
    Many warm wishes for a good day today. One day at a time and if that is too much then one second at a time.

  10. Very Insightful, Jen. Thanks for the renewed perspective. It's so good to know better how to pray for you, too.

    Appreciate your honesty. May God be near today,

    wendy donley

  11. As I sit reading your blog today, tears come easily and steadily.

    Though I see you often, I can see your hearts pain written out for all to know, experience, learn and grow from here.

    God is using Tyler's precious life to change so many others. What an incredible gift he is.

    Remembering daily my blessings given to me. Thank you for showing us your "sign" so beautifully.

    Praying today especially for good news and abundant love.


  12. Tears came to my eyes as I read this Jen. Thank you for your honesty. This is something I struggled with during the 3 years we struggled to conceive. It was a lesson God taught me at the women's retreat this past March. Thank you for putting it into words so beautifully.

  13. Thanks for sharing your precious heart and for being so honest! I was reminded in bible study this morning that the Lord never wastes pain...but, in the midst of it...know that you're so loved and prayed for! I love seeing all your sweet faces on here. We love you guys!

  14. Jen, God has so richly gifted you with an ability to take the thoughts and feelings that wander through your sweet spirit and organize them into eloquent phrases that extend His ministry in such deep, meaningful ways! Over these past months your transparency stops us in our tracks, shifts our thinking grid and offers a humility that is so deep and real...when the intensity of pain you and Jerrod face runs to the ends of your toes, still, you are compelled to take the anguish and look upward and cry out to Our Life Giver...Thank you for sharing and even with the miles between us now, molding me to an image that is more pleasing to Him.

    By His Grace...jann

  15. Jen, you hardly know me but I want you to know that I pray for you and your family everyday and have been ever since I learned what you were going through. I have the ut-most respect for you, the courage you show to go through everyday. I read yours and jerrods blogs and find myself grieving for you. I see you at church and just want to reach out and give you a big hug and tell you how proud of you I am, that you put on a strong face everyday and serve the 'bodie's' children with grace and love despite your tragedy. keep strong

  16. That was profound, I'm so glad I stumbled onto your site via Jessica's blog. Today I will walk through the day wondering what their sign says. I sometimes spend my commute time praying for the families who's homes I drive by or for the people in the cars I meet. What would their sign say???

    I happened to read the post below as well about the Bulldogs. It made me feel right at home (I grew up in Kingsburg and went to Fresno State) because I too am a transplant and rather than watching Bulldogs over in WI this weekend, I'll be cheering on the Cyclones when they play the Hawkeyes.

    May your day be blessed!

  17. I'm so glad you shared that with us! May God comfort you today, tomorrow, and in the days to come.

  18. You are amazingly refreshing... and just plain amazing.

  19. You have no idea what this post meant to me. God blows me away every day! Remind me to tell you the story sometime. Love you!

    Kristina Hillman

  20. Although I don't know you well, when I pass you at church, I always want to reach out and hug you. Jesus shines so bright through you, thank you for being so honest, so open and so humble. Thank you for writing this, I have tears streaming down my face and so many thoughts going through my mind. You are amazing Jen. Your family is always in our prayers.

  21. I will never forget that... "What would their sign say?" Wow.