A time to get your shoes wet

Word problems were never high on my list of favorites when I was in school. Give me a book or give me math, but don?t put them together. For some reason, my poor brain couldn?t compute those problems without re-reading the question multiple times.

Maybe I just needed a picture. After all, about 65 percent of the population are visual learners?which could explain why I generally forgo reading instructions whenever there are pictures to follow.

And, obviously, my 13-month-old son?who only takes a few steps at a time?must already know this about his mom. Either, that, or he is in cahoots with our new interim pastor at Ebenfeld.

The message from the pulpit Sunday was to ?fear not.? To dive in. To get going. So that?s exactly what my son did. He took the plunge?quite literally?giving mom a direct visual connection to Isaiah.

To stave off the whines before supper Sunday evening, I ran bath water for the older two while I cooked. From the kitchen, I heard my middle?very matter-of-factually?tell me that Case got in the bathtub.

I went in to find him happily splashing in the tub as all the water quickly soaked into his clothes and shoes.

He dove in. No fear. No reservations. And was happy about it, even though wet clothes are disgustingly uncomfortable. He was proud of himself, and showed it with a perfect grin.

Nothing like a baby to hammer home Scripture.

My fear about the initial idea I had for my column this month was that I?d already said it. That I didn?t want to repeat myself. That I didn?t want to be boring.

And yet, in true Just fashion, I?m going to dive in, fears and all.

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. Oct. 15 was pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. The statistics are astounding: One in four women are the face of this type of loss.

I am the face of two losses, both within six months of each other in 2011. My first loss was an ectopic pregnancy in the spring. I don?t have a specific day to remember the baby, as the process of that loss took well over a month.

But for my second, there is a specific day: Halloween. I will never forget the anguish I felt that morning, and then the need to pull myself together that evening for trick or treating with my bumble bee and monkey. I even managed to smile in some photos, even when my insides felt like death.

Through a great work?that started well before that moment?my grief didn?t beat me down. Instead, it inspired me to support others in that darkness. To walk beside and comfort. That passion to raise awareness isn?t from me, it?s from a God well beyond, and much greater, than me.

Something I read on a blog about stillbirth and infant loss really stuck with me, even though I can no longer remember where I found it. This mom wrote that decades ago, if she would have been asked how many children she had, no one would have thought twice of her true answer: that she had two children, one living. It wasn?t unusual to experience the death of a child in the ?old days.?

But, at least here in western culture, if she (or I) were to answer that question truthfully, imagine the shock that would probably resonate in the face of the unsuspecting public. I have five children, three living.

There. Said it.

It?s painful, yes. Some?times it still hurts for me to comprehend those words. Sometimes I want to talk about it. Sometimes I don?t. And, I realize it?s hard to come alongside those who are struggling when it?s not something you?ve actually experienced. I don?t hold that against anyone. I know there are trials that I can?t understand either.

Trials happen. To everyone. We aren?t promised a life without them. In fact, the opposite is true. So let?s dive in, clothes, shoes and all. When we?re willing to sit and splash despite discomfort, we just might find an odd, yet peaceful, feeling of joy.

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