Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Balance Beam

Hi y'all. It's me Karen, Jacob's mom. I have never voiced myself on the blog....I am not much of a conclusive writer....I just go on and on....hence the multitude of periods (Jacob gets that from me:) Here are some thoughts that require no solution....be mindful of this in your comments. This kind of talk always bothers Jason, as it may many of you. He is such a good listener but he is also a fixer. I am not looking for a solution. I may think at times that I am (like 2am on blogger). I am just feeling and sharing. This is why Jacob had to post this and not Jason!:) I envy Jacob's voice here on blogger to say how "he feels" and I envy Jason's ability to write such amazing messages from God's word. I haven't spoken much about my feelings....I just am joyful....not always happy but joyful. In the moment. Loving my life God has given me. Taking care of my beautiful boys....I love it and wouldn't trade it. It can be hard....but I have true joy from the Lord. Secure in the fact that I am loved. Maybe, just maybe, someone who is searching for some comfort in confusion will stumble upon these jumbled words from the mind of a mother who is balancing....

I have found myself searching blogs of other families on two very opposite sides of the spectrum....those who have lost a child and those who have a child who is thriving beyond what anyone could hope for.

I balance: the preparations for loss vs. the hope for a miracle.

I hold Jacob all the time. There are times when it feels like there is nothing that could possibly take this beautiful baby that God has entrusted me with. No Way! We danced tonight....just me and him. There is no way I will not have that dance again with him at my sister's wedding in August....there is no way I will not have that mother & son dance with him at his wedding.....He will grow old....God will grant this wish. He will. He can. He does miracles and the fact that I have had Jacob for 109 days is a miracle....so why stop there? Heal him.

Then there are the tears I shed writing these words. That symbolizes the realization that we must prepare for his passing. Many of you say, "No, enjoy him." But doesn't that thought of him passing just make me enjoy him even more? It is the fact that he will pass that makes us treasure the time we have......he is loved maybe more so....to get that lifetime of love in his short time. I sleep with him on my chest hoping he will snap out of his apneic spells, hoping that his heart will keep working, hoping that his meds keep him from further problems resulting in death.......yet knowing that he will die....I do not know how or when but I know he will. There are days when Jacob seems weaker...I just whisper in his ear, "Not today, baby, please, not today."..... as if there is a better day for it

So, at times, I struggle on this balance beam.

Please...do not get me wrong....I trust. With every bone in my body, I TRUST!

I do all I can for my children.....I try to make the best decisions for them. Oh, how I wish for the thunderstorm to come and my children to run into my bed and need me to comfort them. My Perfect Parent, Our Heavenly Father, does a much better job of parenting me. I trust Him fully. He is perfect. He gives and takes away. Why? So we love Him more. So we worship Him more. So we draw closer to Him. So He can hold us. So He can hold me close to Him during the thunderstorms.

I know Jacob is going to pass. I hope he won't so young but WE ALL will pass. God looks at us like I look at Jacob. He knows we are going to die. Just gazing at us lovingly wanting to make the most of us while here on earth. He has blessed me with this beautiful perfect picture. So it is not a matter of "why me." It is "thank you Heavenly Father, for opening my eyes to see what you see in me. Thank you for choosing me."

So I trust. Circumstances will not change that.

But that balance of hope and preparation...I just don't get it.

As I sit here writing, with my beautiful baby boy in my lap, all I can rest in is God's love letter, His Holy Word, to me, His baby girl, who rests with His arms wrapped around me and guiding me through this precious life.

His Love Letter says in Psalm 27:14 "Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen you heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!"

How I have clung to this verse. Since October 3rd, 2007 when we found out Jacob had a heart condition to January 17th, 2008 when the genetic test confirmed Trisomy 18 to today, May 1st......I have waited on the Lord and, oh, how He has strengthened me.....He is not finished and I hope to find balance while waiting on Him......

So how can you prepare? I've been told by those who have experienced loss that I cannot prepare. But yet I want to. I struggle to. I must wait, be of good courage and be strengthened. In that, I am sturdy and cannot falter.

Love to all,

Karen

31 comments:

T said...

First time posting but I read here everyday. I have fallen in love with Jacob.

I wish I had some advice or some preparation to give to you but it is true there is none. I wish and pray even more that it will be a very long time before you need to prepare.

I just needed to offer you a hug tonight. From one Mum to another.

Kelly said...

Karen, you are the strongest mom I know. Each day I wake and look at my own children with a different pair of eyes than I had just 6 months ago. Your courage and faith remind me so much of David's. You truly are a mom after God's heart!

Who could possibly be critical of this post? You are human and should be given space to feel the whole gamut of emotions. You don't need "helpful advice". You are doing amazing!!! Who you and Jason are, before each of us who check this blog each day, is truly a gift to your readers. What a testimony your entire family is for the grace and love and joy and peace that come from faith in our Abba Father.

Karen, you amaze me. I am blessed to have you in my life.

Hugs to you, my dear friend.

Kristen said...

I think that was a beautiful post, and that you should add your voice to this blog more often. ;-)

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE AN AMAZING AND BEAUIFUL WOMAN. Love, A. Linda

Jessica said...

If Jacob was my baby, I would hold him all the time too and I would dance with him! You are a wonderful mother to this precious boy and I keep praying for you, regardless of how many dances you will have with Jacob (and I do pray for MILLIONS of them : )
Jessica in Italy

The VW's said...

Little Jacob IS a miracle! 109 days! I pray that God has ordained for Jacob to be around for many, many more! Jacob's life may be in balance, as well as yours, but you all are walking it so well with your heads held high looking to the Lord! What a gift given to you and to those who read your blog!

I'm so sorry that you have to worry about balancing such a thin line! I can only imagine how difficult this must be!

I've learned a lot from your precious boy's life, starting with not taking things for granted! Life is short when compared with eternity and no one knows how long we will be here. To have that revelation makes living the one we have a whole lot more loving and fulfilling! Your family has proven this!

My heart breaks when I read about you holding your little guy and whispering, "not today!" I know that you would do just about anything to be able to heal him and keep him with you! Our son has encountered many obstacles in his short life, including seizures. When he would have them I would hold him as close to me as possible and try to will them away with all my might! I can relate, if only a little bit, how much it tears a mother up to have a child struggling! I'm just so glad that you have such a trust in the Lord, knowing that He will sustain you! I know this is the ONLY real comfort in this life and to know this is such a gift!

Prayers continue for your amazing family! God Bless You!

Kim said...

I think this is the first time I have commented here as well. But I think you are an amazing writer. :)

And every day when I check here, I too am whispering, "Not today, baby."

Praying for you.

Laurie said...

Hi Karen,

It is so good to hear your heart here today. I have witnessed your balance as I read Jacobs posts and am so blessed by his little life that is so big. I see you preparing each day as you love your little treasure with all that you have to give. Jacob is so loved and expresses it all of the time. It is enough for him, and God is enough for you. Your faith and trust in God is beautiful to Him and to me. I would hold Jacob all of the time if he was mine. The picture you paint of God holding you in His arms as you hold Jacob in your arms is a picture of Pure Love. I will be praying for your balance to stay steady in knowing how much God loves you and is using you. A mom's heart is as delicate glass, easily shattered yet tempered in strength to withstand the storms. God will be your strength in the storm, I know this by reading your heart here. He is your balance. I hope your weekend is a wonderful one full of joy and amazement as you care for this gift God has trusted to you.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Steve & Marie Douglas said...

Karen, I think that only you & the guidance of the LORD can really know when & how to prepare. REST ON HIM & HIS WORD KNOWING HE WILL GUIDE YOU AS TO THE HOWS & WHENS.we are our baby's mommy's and THE LORD has equipped us with ALL that we have need of. TRUST HIM and HE WILL strengthen you when you need to do whatever you need to. Praying for you
Marie

dollymama said...

Hey Karen....WOW! You are just...WOW...God's soooo amazing in what He's been doing for you, with you, and especially through you. Thank you for sharing your heart, this particular post is extra special...it really calls all of us to think of that balance beam...even if we've not been entrusted with caring for a baby who needs so much extra special love and care. You have taught your readers, God has taught you. It's all...WOW! I so admire your strength, keep leaning on Him and He will delight you every day! True Joy from the Lord is an amazing healer...glad you have it! Love you Karen...and Jesus does soooooooo much too! :)

Christy said...

Karen,
I have been checking Jacob's blog every day and your family is such an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your heart and for showing others that it is possible to remain faithful to our God even when things don't go as we planned. I hold my children a little tighter because of your sweet boy. God has a plan for each life and Jacob's testimony is so great for such a little one.
Praying for you,
Christy

asplashofsunshine said...

Your honesty is amazing! The Fahmer family is going through so much, and through it all, you all seem to be having fun, smiling, crying, hugging, and enjoying it as much as humanly possible. Jacob is an adorable little guy. His little footprints have made marks on my heart! Thanks for opening up your fragile life and being so honest.

boltefamily said...

The thoughts you conveyed here are perfect. I understand in many ways what it is like to hope for the best knowing God CAN turn the cirucmstance upside down, and yet try to prepare for the worst. It is true you can never prepare for the death of your child. I have done it twice. Or shall I say tried to do it. I think it is something about parenting. We want to parent our kids. Sometimes that means planning a celebration of life service or a March of Dimes team in their honor. It is a reality none of us asked for yet many of us are very thankful for. You are so right, you have been chosen and are the perfect mommy for baby Jacob and he was chosen for you just as your other children. I also know how uncomfortable my husband was with this kind of talk. In some ways i made me feel more alone. Preparing for what may be to come in no way shows that you are lacking in faith. It is evident that you believe. You know God CAN heal Jacob. It is just that sometimes God's plan differs so much from our own.

I am rambling now...I am so sorry, I tend to do that. Please just know I think you are a perfect mom for Jacob and I can see why God chose you. Jacob is such a gift. I will pray that you are able to find balance in some way. As always I will also continue to pray for Jacob! You are never alone and always thought of !

Kristy

Melissa Dovel said...

reading for a while never commented. I think you put your balance beam well. No way to prepare- I dont know this first hand but I can safely assume that there is just no way- You and your family (from what we all see) celebrate each and every day. I know that this will never be a regret. He is so adorable and I pray that God answers this prayer with a child that grows and thrives here on earth. As many are saying just from one mom to another your heart is somehow in a small way felt. I am sure that others who have come through loosing an infant prob. bring more comfort and understanding.

Blessings & Prayer for 100's & 100's of more days with Jacob.

M. Dovel

Keith said...

Hey Fahmers,

I try to read the blog every day to see what's going on. I am thankful for what you publish b/c it is an encouragement to me. Your post today reminds me of the story in Mark 9:14-29. The man had a son who was demon possessed and the disciples could not help the boy. Jesus commented to them on how all things are possible to those who believe. The man's reply was "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" That to me says we can have belief and unbelief all at the same time. There is nothing unusual about the feelings you are having. It is truly as the title of this post says "The Balance Beam". This man was obviously in tune with Our Savior because he healed his son despite his self admitted unbelief. I do not know it that is what God has for Jacob. I do know that is what a 7-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl here in DE are praying for. Regardless, if Jesus did not heal the boy it would not have been due to the dad's "unbelief".

I hope this doesn't come across as trying to "fix" this for you. When I read your post that's what popped into my mind. I hope it encourages you all. Take Care.

Keith Bales

Anonymous said...

I, too, check in to read Jacob's blogs about everyday. He is touching so many lives! I am the mother of two small children and my heart goes out to you. God bless you and your family!

In Christ's Love,

Amy V.
Chesterfield, SC

lindsey kate said...

This is my first post as well. It was nice to hear your "voice" and what's happening in your heart as you love this precious boy you've been given. I too am in love with Jacob and pray you will have him for many years to come. May God hold you close as you walk this difficult road and continue to fill your heart with joy and peace.

Sending hugs,
lindsey kate

Anonymous said...

Your post is so beautifully written. I read your blog every day and just can't help but fall in love with Jacob and your family. Praying for you all always. Hugs and love from Seattle. ~L

Anonymous said...

I too have fallen in love with Jacob. I check your blog every day. When I didn't hear anything for a day or two, I was really nervous.
You are one of Jesus' babies. Dance with your son, and breathe him in. He is changing so many lives, not just the members of your beautiful family.
I also want to offer a bear hug to you today. I am always thinking and praying for you all. God is using your son to show His glory. What a wonderful honor!!!
Randi

Emily said...

Oh Karen, what a beautiful glimpse into your very heart and soul. My heart feels so connected to you, as I too have held my baby and tried to breathe her in, tried to squeeze a lifetime into such a small window. It seems impossible, but God is big enough. He is. And you are so filled with Him that you are overflowing. And it's a gorgeous thing to witness. He will not leave you. Your boy might, for a little while, but your Father will not. So hold on tight to both and keep praising Him for today. We're lifting you up in KY.

Michelle said...

I have seen pieces of you in Jason's blogging through Jacobs eyes. I've seen pieces of you through you blogging through Jacob's eyes. I've seen pieces of you in the liveliness of Joshua and Jonathan. Tonight I got to see a chunck of you and I loved it. I loved seeing your relationship with our Father. I loved seeing your heart knowing to wait and hope in God and most of all I loved seeing the only thing that is giving you strength - our Father. That is the best preparation of all.

Anonymous said...

i know your pain. i lived it, hated it and embraced it, and still live..and TRUST.

having a child pass was one of my most painful moments in my life. i know the pain of looking at my child saying those same words .."please not today"
Everything is on God's time, I just learned that. I just finally understood after 2 years...that every day I had with my daughter was a special gift that only a mother like you and i can thank Him for.
I wish at the time of my daughter's passing...I had just 1/4 of the faith and trust that you do now. I will pray that He holds your hand, comforts your heart and heals your soul. for only He can do such amazing things.

Inkling said...

It's funny that you should write this just now. I wondered some similar things aloud last night during our home group study on Ecclesiastes. I struggled this past Tuesday as I prayed for sunshine and no rain for a group of 30 some missionaries as they were doing teambuilding exercises with my husband's wilderness ministry/business. Despite the mountain they were on being surrounded entirely by gray clouds with rain, the spot where they were climbing and rappelling was blue sky and sun. So then I practically argued with God - why would He say yes to something so silly as my request, but not seem to save all these Trisomy babies I've come to love (Maddox, Tristan, etc.)? And how could I even think it would be okay to pray for something so small when I know there are other Trisomy babies struggling for life (your Jacob, among others). And in the midst of that wrestling with God (and not hearing much of a reply yet), I wondered how you balance treasuring every moment with Jacob, while also keeping up with all the other aspects of your life. And that wondering led me to asking God lots of questions about how He wants me to live my life, what He is calling me to do, and what really matters to Him.

The crazy thing is that my home group was ready to give lots of answers to all of that....lots of annoying platitudes. And they even tried to put God in an understandable box, as if He were so small and predictable that we could plumb the depths of His purposes. That ended up making me figure out a way to bow out of there 30 minutes early. And yet, the very One whom I've questioned hasn't answered me in any tangible way. I still have these questions, am still living in the tension of it all, and am still trying to trust and follow even though I have more questions than answers.

I don't know if any of that made sense. But I wanted to let you know that the tension/balance you speak of is very real. You seem to go through it with a grace and a trust that is deep and true. And I'm glad we both belong to a God who is big enough to wrestle with us through the tough questions and issues of this life.

Sara in Canada

Anonymous said...

I actually work for Dr. Lele (you saw her when you were pregnant with Jacob) and I know your mother through Kenmore West. I love this blog and think of you often. If only we all lived the way you're living right now..cherishing the moment, praising God for the gifts He's given us (and not complaining about the things that "could have been"). Enjoy your 3 sons every day. None of us knows how long we'll be on this earth. We've got to make the most of every moment. God bless you all...but I can see He already has.

Jessica mommy to Alex/ RTS said...

You are an amazing mommy!
Beautiful words.

Anonymous said...

I think some of the best preparations are exactly what you and your beautiful family are doing - cherishing your time with Jacob and celebrating your moments and days and weeks and months - having no regrets is one of the best preparations of all. Being able to look back and know that that you would not change a thing is one way of being "prepared" if there is really such a thing.

As you indicated in your post, there is really no such thing as being prepared to lose a child. But oh how you have loved and treasured this one. And anything you can do to celebrate every single moment and give God the glory for them, you seem to be doing. And that is another very important preparation - feeding your faith right now while you still have him with you - which you all seem to be doing. You have an amazing family, and you are an incredible woman and mother. How you are mothering two energetic young boys and an infant with a lot of needs on very little sleep (and while pumping several times a day, which you never complain about or even mention, but I know you must be doing!!) and continue the big boys' busy schedule and plan fun things for them, all the while having such a great attitude, I will never understand. I think you are nothing short of amazing. And I know how lucky you feel to have the demands of your life (my Trisomy 18 baby was stillborn), but I still think you are just amazing. I pray for many more days and months for you and for strength and courage and grace when and IF the time comes.

Kenzie said...

Karen-

This is such a tight rope, a balance beam... and you are doing a wonderful job. Unfortunately for so many of us moms that have to somehow "prepare" to lose our child, there isn't a handbook or anything that tells us how... and in many ways, that's probably best. Each of us do it differently, but from what I can see, you are doing it with faith, hope and trust in the Lord... and that is all He has asked of us. I remember holding Maddox for the first time and just thinking... "he's already gone, but oh, that I get to see his face." I am so thankful for you guys that you have had the 100+ days and hopefully many more to come to see his sweet face. You are doing a great job... you guys are honoring the Lord as you trust Him with each moment of Jacob's life. "Well done good and faithful servant."

Many prayers,
Kenzie Stanfield (Maddox's mommy)

Anonymous said...

What an incredible statement of divine truths! Count it all joy, my sister, for you know that the good and perfect gift you hold in your hands is from above. And the Lord has given you both suffering and joy wrapped in one. It is smeared throughout the scriptures and in the life of the Lord Jesus himself. It doesn't make it easier, though, nor is it meant to. Thank you for living out the gospel and speaking truth into my life. Love, Nancy

Anonymous said...

Wow! I am amazed at your faith and your love! What a great mom and a great example you are to us all. Thanks for sharing the intimate details of your life with us and letting us witness first hand how God is real to you throughout the struggles you face. We love you guys and continue to pray for you!

Love Carol

Delmar said...

Thank you for sharing this, Karen. We love you guys.

Andes Adventures said...

Thank you for being God's light and love through your journey. I am sure the Lord smiles when he thinks of how you lean on him unconditionally. You are an example of discipleship for all of us. I am praying for peace and joy for your family. "Wholly Yours" by David Crowder will remind me of your family from now on.
Blessings,
Cheryl from Kansas City, MO