Friday, July 17, 2009


A few posts back I talked about the song "The Climb" & how it should be a ticker tape on my forehead these days. Well for almost a month now I have just been climbing. Trying to stay on
the path that has been laid in front of me and desperately trying to avoid "sink holes". Anyone who has battled depression knows exactly what I mean by sink holes. The dark, sticky pits of despair you find yourself falling into when everything seems horribly wrong & hard. I have battled depression once before in my life and I have fought since day one to make sure I do not go back to that isolating place. The fact is this journey is one that is just that....isolating, dark, sad & just terribly hard. So to cling to my life lines takes every ounce of energy I can muster at times. The last few weeks have been just that. Exhausting! July 4th & all the days that surrounded the holiday were just devastating to me. Vivid memories in color of one year ago just flooded me. The hole in me seemed to just want to gobble me up. Honestly some days I prayed that it would. Now today resting on the cleft of the giant mountain I am climbing I can see how far I have come. I see the dark valleys & crevices and I am proud. Proud that I kept my composure & just kept climbing. No vines or slippery rocks made me fall into the pit. Some days I just needed to rest but I never went backward. I made it through another hard part of the journey. My beautiful Creator was my all wise & knowing Guide, my best friend who God gave me to help carry my burdens & my saving Grace whose face shows me the most beautiful reflection of Christ every day. Tony & Grace have been my safety equipment. Keeping me on track. Pictures like these two below tore me to my center a few weeks ago but today I feel nothing but complete awe.
Back on track realizing how humbling my path of life is. How blessed I was, how blessed I am & how blessed I will continue to be as the Light of my Life continues to illuminate my path. God is so good! We have so much & He keeps giving!

So we are busy. Grace started school today. Yes, can you believe it? The picture below is her this morning with her new prized possession. Scoobey Doo is the BIG thing to Grace right now..she informed me that no one would have a lunch box cooler than hers. She was so tickled when I surprised her with this last week. I special ordered it from Thermos & she just loved it. I want you to look at last years first day of school picture at the right just below this mornings picture. It is not only Tony & me that has grown older through this last year. It amazes me how grown up she is. Wisdom in her eyes way older than her years. That hurts my heart so for her. I know though Grace is a happy child. I pray for her continued happiness every day. God help me to make sure she stays happy.

She was accepted just a couple of weeks ago to a balanced calendar school here in Franklin. Originally there had not been space in the first grade class but a vacancy opened up & by God's grace we were next in line. I am guessing at this.....this lotto system that Franklin City schools has for their balanced calendar school is very, very confusing to me. Anyway...Grace is at PG starting today. I have prayed off and on all day so far that it was God's hand that made this possible and our Gracie will be comfortable & have another blessed academic year. The decision to leave Johnson was a difficult one--like most decisions these days are to me. I have always had a hard time with parental decision making but now I seem to second guess everything. I pray for the Holy spirit to guide my direction but then wonder if the answer I hear is my will or His. The comfort of knowing we can remove her and place her back at Johnson if she is miserable without issue has made things easier. The other factor that helped was how understanding Mr.K, the principal at PG was when I talked over the fact we were scheduled to go to the beach the second week of school. I explained this was not just an ordinary family excursion but for me especially; was going to be a very overdue escape. An escape that would help renew us for the last of our long climb through our first year without Anna. The anniversary of her passing.
As much as I do not plan on setting myself up for the pain the 1st anniversary will bring I am also realistic. Realistic to the fact that from Aug. 24th to 27th it will be a straight up, back breaking steep climb in every way. The elevation will be the highest thus far & I just know I will find my O2 levels low and it difficult to breathe. I can see those 3 days in my mind today as clearly as how I made cinnamon rolls for Grace for breakfast yesterday morning. I physically can feel the ache of anticipation I felt the Sunday before we left for the hospital. I still feel at times so clearly the void that appeared in my heart as I handed Anna's little, limp body(from the local anesthesia) to the surgeons before her catherization. The clarity of the moment when I said to Tony back in the waiting room what I had whispered in Anna's ear moments before the surgeons arrived. The look of shock on his face & how in that small moment I realized those words had not been mine but the Holy Spirits...."Anna, Momma can not go with you. Please listen, there is nothing to be afraid of....Jesus will come and hold you until Momma can again." Why had I said that? Oh, how I panicked when Tony said, "JoAnna, why did you say that? I hope you really did not say that to her. You sound like she is going to die." How tears stung my eyes at the I told him quickly that it was not what I had meant....that Anna understood what I meant. I explained how Anna had looked up at me with the glaze of the local but whispered back to me, "arms, Momma?" The feeling of terror at the thought I could have willingly provoked what I did not even know was to be the future only minutes later. The stomach dropping sickness of seeing a sweaty co-surgeon shake his head & look down instead of meeting my stare. Watching the slow motion reaction from Tony completely stricken in horror. The tiny, sweet body of my precious Anna Marie with so many tubes, lines & medical personnel all trying to save her. Desperately trying to give her back to me. The All Knowing voice inside of me that wanted to hold on to hope but knew in my deepest place that Anna was already sitting on the lap of the Highest King. That He in His almighty mercy was giving us time to wrap our minds, hearts & flesh around this new twist to an already exhausting journey of adoption. I see with complete clarity today Anna & my sweet Jesus exchanging knowing smiles & hugs to the fact that all was well in the middle of such chaos. The memory of Tony's gift of peace days after Anna was at rest........a female voice that quietly repeated, "Thank You!, Thank You!......I said, Thank You!" The gift I continue to receive daily that comes in the form of quiet reassurance.....reassurance that we did our best & what was right....we obeyed. That He is pleased with me. That I will hold her once more in a day not so long from now. The reassurance I feel with every sunrise, sunset or firefly night that has my Anna written all over it. The reassurance that only Jesus Christ can give with His love.
So today my climb is strong. I climb with the sunshine on my shoulders, a spring in my step and I make up for the loss of ground I have not covered in the last few weeks. My Lord is walking with me today like everyday but today He smiles knowing I will not need to be carried. I have a panoramic view of where I have been and what still lays ahead. I will not panic when I get worn down & tired. I will rest. Then with the strength that my sweet Jesus can only give me I will soon conquer my 1st year missing Anna. So now I need to get my big 1st grader off the bus and hear all about her first day. I know that the sweetness she adds to this good day will only make my walk stronger. Thank everyone for their prayers, thank you for your patience as I rambled through this therapeutic this next month & 1/2 please keep the prayers coming. We need them so much!
Psalm 40:2-3
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave
me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
In His Embrace,


Jill said...

Stil thinking about you and praying for you Jo.
Hugs, Jill

Tisra said...

Love to you, friend. You have been in my heart, in my prayers. I did not know you then, but am so happy to know you now. You shine with God's grace and love, Jo.

Jill said...

Jo, just came back to check on you.....
Thinking of you friend.

MomOfOneMore said...

I love how you express your emotions and I enjoy reading and seeing the healing that has happened the past 11 months. Looking forward to hearing more about your 501C! Every time I hear a reference to N'ville I think "one of these in Jo's kitchen!"

Thinking of you and sending you e-hugs from Utah!

pugh_cindy said...

Keeping you close in thoughts and prayers. God Bless and be with you through the upcoming weeks. Love you all!