She Knitted Me

She Knitted Me

By Dasah’s Blankie

I began to be woven by my creater not long ago.
At first I thought I’d be a headband to keep someone’s hair from falling across their face.
And then I grew and thought,
“Now surely I must be a scarf”
to keep someone’s head and neck and ears all warm and snug.

But my creator told me, “No, I have far greater plans for you.  You will be a blanket to wrap my daughter the moment she is born.”
“A BABY blanket!”
I could hardly believe the words she spoke.

I had heard of these blankets that little babies cuddled in from the moment they were born.
They became a favorite possession, cried over, chewed on, worn, loved, never forgotten and cherished by their owner.
A roll of yarn could only dream of becoming such a prized gift!
And here I was learning that this was to be the journey I would take.
What joy filled my little threads!

But before I could start dreaming of when this little girl would cry in bed because she wanted her blankie, or binkie or booboo or whatever name she gave me; or when her heart would calm, cuddled inside of me while her mommy held us both, my creator smiled with tears in her eyes and said,
“That may not be your path.”
I was filled with disappointment as I cried and said, “What do you mean? How? Why?”
My little threads crushed to the core.

She responded softly to my sadness,
“For this little girl may only need your covering but for a moment and then she will be fully covered by her creator.”

I didn’t understand.

And something inside of me thought,
“What a tragedy, for my creator to spend so much time and energy making me a blankie for her little girl, to only serve my purpose but for a moment.  What a silly thing to do!”

In the midst of my fresh disappointment all I could do was watch and wait for what would become of me.
And so I watched as my creator knit me.
I watched as she cried tears over my threads, thinking of this little ball of cotton covering her great gift.
I watched as she unraveled me when the stitch wasn’t quite right.
I watched her pray over so many stitches for this little girl of hers.
And I watched her love
as she knitted me.

She spent hours, I lost count of how many,
Stayed up far later then any woman expecting a little baby should stay up
(in my opinion)
to create me for her little girl.
And just as I thought of how much love was poured into knitting me for this little girl, I started to think of how my creator had said that this little girl may soon be with her creator.

It made me think of this creator of hers.

I’ve heard a little baby gets created in her mommy’s tummy for even longer then I have… 9 months! But, she was only going to be here for a short amount of time.
And, well, that seemed silly to me too.
But then I thought of my own creator’s love and tears poured into making me…
And I’m just a thing.
And this little girl is a real live person!

Hmmm…
So, if my creator thinks that it is worth it to create me, a prized blankie for her little girl that won’t live the life I’d hoped for…
Then I bet this little girl’s creator thinks she’s worth it to create her to live on this earth for such a short time too.
He must really love her to spend so much time creating her.

It was then that I remembered something else my creator had told me.
She said, “Some mommies only cover and carry these special babies in their tummies for a few weeks or months and then they go back to their creator.”
This had made me sad at first.
But when I thought of their creator it filled my heart with hope and joy for even those little babies must be so valuable, so beautifully made and loved to be created at all!

I began to thoughtfully piece all of these things together.
And it hit me…

If my creator
Could trust her creator, the creator of her little girl with what he’s created them for…
well…
Then I guess I can trust my creator with what she is making me for.

I may not be this little girl’s favorite blankie to grow up with
(though I sure do hope I am)
but my creator said that I would be her most cherished gift because she created me with love to be the one to cover her most precious gift first.
I guess the joy of my creator in simply creating me can be my joy too.

So when the time came to wrap that little girl in my cotton threads,  I proudly kept her warm, felt her wiggles and kicks and again watched.
I watched as her mommy and daddy oooed and awed at her and told her with pride that I was made just for her.
I watched as her family and friends giggled and squealed at the little bubbles she made that got me a little wet.
I watched as they smiled and sang loudly “happy birthday” as this little girl, much to my surprise, slept soundly cuddled inside of me.

And I watched as they loved.

And it was then that I knew, that I was lucky to be chosen for this very special purpose indeed.

So when my purpose was fulfilled and this little girl rested in her creators arms,
I rested in mine as tears rolled down her cheeks and she held me tight.
What pride and love was in her heart that she had chosen to knit me.
And it was then that she leaned over and whispered to me,
“I wonder what my little girl’s creator is thinking, what love must be on his face as he holds her tight for
did you know, little blankie, that
he knitted her?”

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The Story Behind “She Knitted Me”

For my first daughter, Sophie I had learned how to knit a hat (thank you youtube videos) and made a hat for her.  So, I knew that I wanted to make something special for Dasah.  Only I couldn’t remember how to make a hat and didn’t want to try to re-learn it (I also never like doing the same thing twice!).  So, I thought… a blanket seems less complicated to learn and it would be fun to make something different for her.  Without thinking how long a blanket would take to make I had the brillant idea 1 1/2 weeks before Dasah was born to make one.  Even though the stitches weren’t complicated, I quickly realized that I had plunged into a project that might have been a little larger then I anticipated.  So, as I started to make the blanket, I had lots of time to think and think… and pray… and think.  The time I spent making this blanket and thinking of the first thing that covers her being a blanket I made for her were the sweetest moments with the Dasah and with the Lord.

So as I made this blanket I spent a lot of time thinking of Psalm 139: 13-14;

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Little did I know that God was going to use Dasah’s blankie to give me a sweeter picture of his love and understanding that one day we will know the fullness of our creators plan for our lives… and that his plan and purpose truly has been knit and woven into our lives with astounding love.

3 days before Dasah was born, I wrote the majority of this only to finish it a few days ago.  I hope it gives you a sweeter picture of his astounding love for you.

Celebrating Dasah Video

This past Saturday, when Dasah would’ve been one month old we gathered with a small group of friends and family to celebrate her life, worship the Lord, talk of how God has used Dasah in our lives, eat cake and blow bubbles in honor of her.  It was a sweet and rich day.  And we’d like to share one of the pieces of that celebration with you.  Kevin put together an incredible video highlighting our journey with Dasah that we showed on Saturday.  One of our favorite things is getting to show Dasah off and share her life with our family, friends, and even complete strangers! This video is one way we get to do that. So we hope you enjoy a little snapshot of celebrating Dasah’s life on this earth…

The day you were born, Dasah

Dear Dasah,

Today, I’m letting a whole lot of people into what it was like to love and meet you face to face for those 12 sweet hours God gave us with you.  Into what I would want to say to you about the day you were born, what it was like for your mommy and daddy to meet you.  Your life was a life filled with love, great love and the greatest Love and we want people to see it, to see the love on our faces and experience the greatest Love that poured out of us, and out of you and into the lives of others.  So here’s what I would say sweet Dasah, as we looked through the photos of your birthday together, and you cringed in embarrassment that there’s one of your bum, and I told you about the day you were born…

It was November 13, 2014, REALLY early in the morning.  Your daddy and I walked into the hospital with nervous excitement, anticipation, hope and sadness as we knew that the day had come to meet YOU, Dasah Brielle Dennis, face to face.  To love you face to face.  To know you face to face.  And to perhaps say goodbye to you, our second daughter… face to face.  We had hoped and prayed that the miracle God would choose would be one of a miraculous healing of your brain and skull, or that he would sustain your life for at least a few days and we could bring you home with us.  We had hoped for more time.  But truth be told, anything less than a lifetime with you would not have been enough.  What God gave was in so many ways different then what we prayed, different then what we had hoped for, but filled with its’ own sweetness, its’ own miraculous moments.   The Lord filled your lungs with breath from the moment you came out, and he filled your lips with a voice that poured forth the sweetest coos and sounds that filled our ears, the OR room, then our recovery room, then our postpartum room.  He gave you a voice, literally for your entire life.  And he gave you strength, strength to lift your little head, to make facial expressions that made us all laugh with joy.  He gave you the instinct to root for your mommy’s breast and for the first time, I was able to experience the joy of watching you, my little girl try to feed, a prayer I only dared to believe would have been possible.  He gave you a grip in your mouth as your daddy and I took drops of my milk and fed you with our little fingers.  And as your daddy and I sat in that hospital room surrounded by friends and family little did we know that the Lord was also filling that hospital with the “sweet aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15) as 20-50 of our friends and family (wearing Supporting C.A.S.T t-shirts and stickers… Come Along Side Them) were gathered at any given time from 5:30am that day to 11:30pm that night praying and filling the halls with praise as they worshiped God together and as my friend, Katie said “We were praising His name on your behalf”.   Many of our medical team even put on the Supporting C.A.S.T stickers!  Dasah, all of this was for you!  Hospital chaplains made comments of how in all their years at the hospital they had never seen anything like what they saw that day, so much so that in some areas of the hospital, hospital staff were bringing other staff in small groups to just go and watch this little community lifting up their hearts to Jesus on behalf of your little life and our little family.  Loving you that day brought joy, praise, laughter, tears and sorrow.  Joy as we delighted in the life and breath God was giving you for those 12 hours and sorrow as we knew “good-bye” would come far too soon.  But this is Love.  And this is why we chose to carry you to term, to walk through a loss we knew all too well a second time… for love.  For the love of you, our second born daughter.  Loving you meant we would embrace joy and also sorrow.  That we would willingly step into the heartache of loss because we knew it was worth it to give you life.  And for the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ… who willingly came and gave his life so that we would have life.  He laid down his life for our sake and because of his love, we can lay down our lives for you, sweet Dasah.  “We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).  So this is a piece of your story, a story of love in pictures, a story of a life that has touched thousands but only lived for 12 hours.  These are your 12 hours and our 12 hours of loving you, our second daughter… whose 9 months in the womb and 5 months of knowing your life would be short was worth every millisecond that God gave us to love you face to face.  It was November 13, 2014.  And it was the day YOU were born!

Our wonderful nurses, Lauren and Sarah greeted us at 5:30am and immediately I knew as they hugged us with tears in their eyes, knowing our story,  that we were in good hands.  As I was prepared for surgery, Sarah asked if we’d want to listen to your heartbeat one last time.  Oh the sounds were beautiful, and the tears began to flow as we hoped that this would not be the last time we would hear your sweet heartbeat…

Hearing Dasah's heartbeat one last time before we met her in person, n

Our family and Pastor soon afterwards came in to pray over the three of us, to love on us and speak words of truth of hope in the midst of the emotions we were experiencing.  You can see in your grandparents, uncles and aunts eyes just how much they love you…

Little did your daddy and I know at the time that as all of this was going on stations of prayer were being set up in a waiting area below, blankets that had been prayed over were being passed out to family and friends as they set up camp for the day, flowers, treats were scattered and more friends gathered to pray, sing praises and await what God would do with your little life…

As our family left, they were ushered to see the team of people that had gathered just below them to pray for you… their niece, granddaughter, cousin about to be born… the sweet songs of praise filled that atrium into the family waiting area and it was like a little army had gathered outside our hospital doors to fight for you and our little family…

It was fitting that that was when we spent our quiet moment, just the three of us praying and listening to “God of Angel Armies” by Chris Tomlin as we surrendered over and over again our lives, you… our daughter to our God, who commands the angels, who goes before us… lots of tears flowed then…

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I was so nervous and full of so many emotions as the time had come to meet you  but I could not be more thankful for your daddy, who God has strengthened to be a picture of his grace to me, his comfort.  Your daddy continually lifted our eyes to Jesus throughout the day and brought calm and comfort to my heart… you have such a great daddy, Dasah…

Here’s your big family, waiting and praying behind the viewing room and trying to catch any glimpse of what was going on!  Sarah had told me, with a huge smile, right before surgery that when she went back to get the family to come to the viewing room, she was surprised that everyone in that waiting room followed her to a room that could really only fit a few.. but she let them all come!

And as we prayed (well, mostly your daddy prayed and I just listened and agreed), heard the song “It is well” faintly playing in the background, we finally heard the sweetest sound…. YOU! And as the curtain was pulled down, there you were and you were ALIVE!   In that moment we also knew that your life would be short.  I got really sad then.  But that sadness didn’t last long, because as soon as you were in our arms, we were simply cherishing the fact that for that moment, God was giving you breath.  Oh and the sweet coos and cries that filled that room and then filled our arms just never seemed to stop the entire day.  After I stopped worrying about every little sound you were making I couldn’t stop thinking of how sweet of a gift it was, to hear your voice for your entire life.

 These were some of your sweet sweet sounds:

Our family and friends squeezed into every inch of the viewing room to catch a sight of you… they couldn’t see very well so I made sure Daddy brought you over to give them a good view… I just wanted to show you off!

And as we spent the next hour or so in that OR room just delighting in you, kissing your face, listening to your voice, we were simply taking joy in the fact that God was giving us time with you!

Look at your face as you get kissed by your daddy… I think you really liked his kisses!  You were your daddy’s girl… and look so much like him!  You had a perfect blend of my nose and his, and you definitely had his chin and his dark hair.  I think your personality was more like him too!

kisses from me… pure joy!

 Your daddy looking at you with the proudest daddy face… do you know how proud he is of getting to be your daddy, Dasah?!

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As the surgery was finally over, I can’t even explain how excited I was to hold you and have some skin to skin cuddle time… and this was when you decided to show off your quite big personality and give a little performance for the cameras…

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That face… oh how you made us smile, laugh and just adore you!

As we headed back to our recovery room, you began to root a lot.  One of my prayers was that I might get to try to breastfeed you, I never had the chance to with your big sister, Sophie and only dared to hope that I might be able to with you.  And so we tried… you and me!  And though you didn’t latch on it was one of my most favorite moments of the day… to just know what it might be like to feed you as you just enjoyed trying to figure it out.  A little bit later, both your daddy and I took a small spoonful of my milk and each had a chance to feed you little drops with our fingers.  You seemed to really like that and enjoyed each little drop!  God continued to surprise us with the sweet moments he gave us with you throughout the day and you continued to surprise us with how engaged you were, your facial expressions and your strength.

Feeding you my milk with our fingers…

Daddy giving you your first bath, changing your diaper and letting you chomp on his finger… you had a really strong bite!

 

that face… those hands… pure adoration…

More skin to skin cuddle cuteness time with you and seeing your personality shine…

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and then the introductions began… Your grandparents finally get to meet you…

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Your Aunts, Uncles and cousins come in to meet you…

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and loved the little bubble show you decided to give them…

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I think you were quite pleased with your performance and everyone’s reactions!

FaceTiming with your Aunt Mayra, Uncle Michael and cousins Alex and Ryder… look how excited they are to meet you!

Singing “Happy Birthday” to you… and yes, it is what it appears… your daddy put some icing on your nose, much to my dismay… he’s such a fun daddy! :)

You got to FaceTime with the little army downstairs after they had sung happy birthday with us and had their own birthday cake (which has its own story to tell a little later… yes, the cake… has a story)

Your daddy swaddled you up nice and tight in the blanket your Nini (my mom) had made you… and I love how your little hand was sticking out… because then I got to hold your hand a lot more!

We had our pastor lead us in a baby dedication ceremony as we, for the first time with you outside of the womb, dedicated you to Jesus in front of family and friends, submitting our lives and your life to whatever story God would have unfold for you.  And you talked the whole way through it… I think you were giving our Pastor a run for his money!

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And then the moment that many were waiting for… getting to share you with our family and friends and let them hold you in their arms.  Oh how we loved seeing the delight and joy in their faces as they held you! And oh how I wish all of them and so many more people could have held you for so much longer.

Your Grandparents… Nini and Papa (my parents) and Mammo and Poppop (your daddy’s parents)

Your Aunts and Uncles… (Aunt Laurie, Uncle Nick… my brother in law, Uncle Gook… also called Luke :), and Uncle Dan)

Your Cousins… Isaac (holding you.. he did such a great job and took his job as the oldest cousin very seriously), Jordan holding Jude.  Your aunt asked him after you went to be with Jesus what he would want to say to you and he said “I know you’re in heaven and I love you”.  You have the sweetest cousins, Dasah!

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Our best friends and friends who are like family to us and have walked with us so closely on this journey with you… we’d probably have you call them Aunt and Uncle as you grew up…

You even had some very special people who have been a part of both your big sister, Sophie’s story and Your story.  They are part of our medical team who have become dear friends of ours.   So, we invited many of them to come and meet you.   We don’t have a picture with our doctors but we are so thankful for our OB and High Risk Dr. who both performed the surgery with you and have walked with us and supported us with you and Sophie.  From our doctors, to our genetic counselor, to the nurses and ultrasound technician we saw every 3 weeks with both you and Sophie, God has provided a medical team for us that has become like family to us and we are forever grateful for their friendship, kindness and care.  It was an incredible honor to introduce many of them to you face to face!

and you have to know Dasah, that your nurses, Nancy and Lynn… never stopped caring for you, listening to your sounds and making sure that you were comfortable your whole life.  As a mommy, they are so special to me knowing they were always looking out for you.

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Lynn and Nancy in the back with you… always making sure you were ok!

Here is the Parrott family Christmas Photo (that’s what my last name used to be), and every year around thanksgiving we try to get a family photo for Christmas… and this year we were so excited that you were in it!

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There were so many sweet moments with you… we loved just looking at your cute face.

Around noon that day our nurses began to notice that though you were breathing well, you were never quite getting enough oxygen.  So, as we decided to give you oxygen, we also began to realize that we may not get to bring you home with us.   As the bitter mixed with the sweet that day we still saw the Lord bringing us much joy in the midst of the sorrow we knew would come and embraced those tears as they came.  But that is part of our journey, part of the reality of walking through a story such as ours, part of loving you… embracing the joy and the sorrow and loving you in it.  You were worth every tear of sorrow and joy that fell that day and every tear that has fallen since…

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Before our family and friends left to give us some time alone and time to move to our recovery room, they all laid hands on you, again entrusting you to the Lord and lifting our eyes to the One, the only One who was giving you breath.

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IMG_0672 We had many moments where the joy and sorrow mixed, that flooded over us as the thought of having to say goodbye to you just overwhelmed your daddy and I.  But you know Dasah, when you love someone as much as we love you… you don’t ever want to say goodbye.

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sweet, still moments together as a family as we moved to our recovery room…

we spent some time taking photographs we had wanted to take, creating your footprint molds, and even watching you create your first piece of art, with a little help (and all this while you was sleeping).  We think you’re a pretty good artist… your feet created the entire piece (except for the blue background).  And we love having a piece of your artwork to hang on our wall!

The day quickly began to feel as though it was creeping away from us and we found our hearts becoming more anxious, trying to squeeze all the things we wanted to do with you into what we knew was a time that was becoming shorter and having a hard time just enjoying the moment with you.  Elyse, who is our dear friend and stayed with us the entire day photographing your entire life, asked how people downstairs could be praying for us.  We said “pray that we would be embracing the moments with you”.  She later told us that around that time when she had sent the prayer request, there was a calm that settled in our room with you.  How grateful we are for the little army that lifted our family up in prayer for that entire day!

As I was gaining more strength and able to sit up more it was so special to get to change your diaper, hold you in my arms more closely, and swaddle you myself several times.  These were the simple gifts of motherhood that I so desperately wish I had had with your big sister,  Sophie and God so graciously gave me with you.    Who knew that changing a diaper could elicit such emotion of both sadness and joy.  I know that this is the moment where you might be quite embarrassed that I’m talking about changing your diaper and even showing a picture of your little bottom… but this is my moment, my one moment to do what all parents end up doing at some point… embarrassing their child :)

We got you a really special outfit to wear, full of lace and comfy fabric.  But putting outfits on a little baby isn’t quite the easiest… yet you seemed to sleep right through it! Your daddy and I were a great team dressing you!  And you look beautiful in it!

Perhaps the sweetest moments with you were when, with tear filled eyes we read to you the letters your daddy and I had each written for you and prayed over you, just the two of us.   Your friend Elyse,  who loves you so much,  was in the room taking photos and we knew it was emotional for her to just watch us… so we told her to put the camera down and come join us as we read to you the same book we read your big sister “On the night you were born”.  We each took turns reading and those were moments with you I will cherish forever…

As we let some of our emotions out and enjoyed sweet time with you, we also wanted more people to get to meet you and love on you!  So we invited our little army that had been praying for you all day up to meet you!  That was so fun, to see so many of our friends and yours just delight in you, hear your voice and meet you face to face!  We let everyone (who had washed their hands) touch your oh so soft cheeks.  I loved telling people “do you want to touch her cheek?” and seeing how excited they were just to get to touch you!

I’m sure at this point your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were really eager to get back to see you… so we got some more time with them after your other friends got to meet you… and it was sweet just to all be in the room together enjoy time with you!  You even got to FaceTime with a few more friends!

I’m not sure how long our family was there but after they left, we got some really special time with you… daddy got some skin to skin time with you and you just relaxed in his arms as he sat in bed with me and the three of us just enjoyed time together…you even opened your eyes a little for us! I put the bracelet on your hand the we’d made for you from the lace from my wedding dress and Elyse caught a really great photo of your daddy yawning, just like the one she caught with Sophie (I think she had been waiting for him to yawn like that!)   We took your footprints, and I put one of your footprints in my bible next to your big sister’s… on the part in Isaiah where it says that one day God will swallow up death forever and will wipe away the tears from our faces and we’ll say that we waited for him to redeem it all.   That’s our hope Dasah, in Jesus, in the hope he brings because he came and the hope he gives because he’s coming back. We’re waiting for him to redeem it all!

 

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That day, before you were born and everyone was praying for you, your Nini had opened her bible and put her hand on a passage of scripture and I later asked her as I saw this picture what passage her hand was on.   She said this  “Psalm 34, that says ‘Those who look to Him are radiant and their faces are never covered with shame.’  One thing I had been praying for was that our faces would be radiant as we looked to Him at Dasah’s birth.  There are so many radiant faces of our family and others as we all met her.  When I tell others about her even now, I smile and I pray the Lord radiates His joy! She made us all smile.”  As I remember this day, look at the photos, remember the moments of joy and sorrow… your life, in every way radiated the Lord’s joy into our lives and the lives around us.  What a legacy your 12 hours of life brought.  We are forever changed because you were here.

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And so, at 8:25am you were born sweet girl and at 8:25pm you went to be with Jesus.  We love and miss you so very much and the 12 hours God gave us with you were hours, minutes and seconds we re-live over and over again in our hearts and long for the day when we get to be with you forever.  Hope has been a theme for our journey with you and the prayer for our hearts.  That even in this, we would have hope.  And Romans 8:25 says “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”  We are hoping for many things Dasah.  We are hoping for God to heal our sad hearts, we are hoping for God to still fill our home with the chaos of children, and we are hoping for the day when Jesus comes back and makes all things new and we get to be with him and with you and with your big sister, Sophie.   The things we are hoping for have not come to be, and so we lift our eyes to him and we are asking him to help us be patient as we hope, as we wait for what we do not see.  But… one day… One day we will SEE.

WE LOVE YOU DASAH BRIELLE DENNIS

Love, your mommy & daddy

If your life has been impacted by Dasah’s story and you’d like to give a gift to honor her we have two options that would be incredibly meaningful to us:

  • Give a gift in honor of Dasah to the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep organization or become a volunteer. This organization provides professional photography for those who experience infant loss to remember the moments however short you have with your child. And we are forever grateful for their tireless work to provide these services at no cost to the family.  We have been blessed beyond words by what they do.
  • Sophie & Dasah’s Sibling Adoption Fund:  Kevin and I have both sensed the call on our lives to adopt even before Sophie was born.  As we grieve the loss of Dasah, we do not know when we will begin this process, but we believe that part of Sophie and Dasah’s legacy will be a little brother or sister that enters into our family through adoption and we would love to invite you to be a part of that legacy.

Beyond our incredible family and friends who have and continue to be our Supporting C.A.S.T on this journey, we have to thank the following people for helping to make our time with Dasah the sweetest it could be…I know, I know, it’s like credits to a movie… but our story with Dasah has been made more beautiful by the countless men and women that chose to enter into a difficult journey and bring beauty to it by their love and care!

Scott Taylor & Amanda Kern with Now I Lay Me down to Sleep for being with us and documenting the lives of both our little girls, Sophie & Dasah. We are so grateful for you both!

Elyse South, our friend, who has carried the weight of grief with us as she’s walked with us photographing Sophie’s life and Dasah’s ENTIRE life.  For staying with us the entire 12 hours and capturing every single moment with her. There are no words to say how thankful we are.

 To the Florida Hospital Orlando Staff… oh my goodness… Our nurses, Sarah and Lauren who were with us that entire day and all of the nurses who cared for me afterwards.  To Nancy and Lynn, our NICU nurses who stayed with Dasah, loved her and helped us to give her the best care.  To the palliative care team, Jennifer and Jessica… you loved us and our family so well and walked us all through the most challenging of circumstances.  To Dr. Mayor, our neonatologist thank you for helping to give us the sweetest experience with Dasah.  And to our hospice care worker, Kendall, for helping our family and us as we cared for Dasah and hoping with us that we could bring her home.  And all the other dr.’s, nurses I never met, or can’t remember your names but were a part of our story with Dasah, thank you.

To Dr. Al-Malt and Dr. Kjerulff for performing the surgery and caring for Dasah and I throughout my pregnancy and caring for her as you delivered her!  We are so thankful for you!

And to the countless family, friends and strangers that have prayed for us and continue to pray for us and support us on this story God has asked us to step into.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

“We are thankful for nothing on this stupid planet” I Peter 1:3-9

for those in deep grief… fresh grief… let this bring freedom to your hearts, a little laughter to your soul and give you a picture of the rare opportunity you have, this holiday season to truly know with great joy & thankfulness, in a way that only deep grief  & brokenness can bring, that this world is not our home.

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”  Romans 8: 23

Our pastor sat across from us and had been thinking and praying about what to say to us, the day before Thanksgiving.   At the end of our time, he wanted to acknowledge the grief that comes with Thanksgiving for us this year and free us to allow ourselves to simply be where we are at.  To not have to come up with what for us this Thanksgiving would be half-hearted and meaningless statements of thanksgiving that we don’t fully embrace right now because our grief is so fresh.  He challenged us, for just this season, in the freshness of our grief to write a sign saying and including the following verses from scripture:

“We are thankful for nothing on this stupid planet”   I Peter 1:3-9

We laughed as he said that and a fresh wave of tears washed over me as I suddenly felt the immense freedom to step into Thanksgiving with my grief and sorrow and allow God to meet us in that place.  We are not ungrateful people, or unthankful.  There are a few things that we are genuinely thankful for right now… but just a few.   It’s just that we are in the depths of grief, hating death, hating that we live in such a broken world, longing for heaven, full redemption, to be with not one but now BOTH of our daughters more than anything else.   We don’t want to be HERE.   We want to be THERE.  And yet, we know God has called us to be here, on this planet for a purpose.   And we are surrendered to that in the midst of our deep longing for heaven.   Our pastor went on to say we have a rare opportunity in the midst of all the Thanksgivings we’ve experienced and have yet to experience where we’ll say all the typical things you say you’re thankful for… to instead, experience a Thanksgiving we’ve perhaps never experienced before.   One where there is truly little we are thankful for on this earth, but a whole lot of what we’re thankful for in heaven.  Our greatest treasures are there, half our little family is there, our HOPE is there… the living hope, Jesus Christ who (though he very present in our lives today) we long to meet face to face just as Sophie and Dasah have.  And so today, we sit with the most thankful hearts for what’s to come and the least thankful hearts of what is now.   And we’re okay with that.   As our grief begins to take a different shape and new emotions surface and the intensity of our sorrow diminishes we know we will say with greater gratitude that we’re thankful for family, friends, a roof over our heads, food to eat, a cute dog.  But today, we’re putting those words aside because truth be told we just want our daughters back.  Our hearts ache for them and ache to be with them.

 So today this is our sign:

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And this is our thankful tree:

A tree filled with what we think Sophie and Dasah would be thankful for based on what we know is true of heaven and what’s to come.  Things not of this world.   Not every thanksgiving is like this, or will be like this, or should be like this.  But walking through our 2nd holiday season where loss is the cloud and we find ourselves wanting to escape the holidays (or simply having a love/hate relationship with them), and right now only 2 weeks out from losing our second daughter, we think it’s perfectly healthy to say:

“We are thankful for nothing on this stupid planet” I Peter 1:3-9

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcomes of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  1 Peter 1:3-9

And if that frees you up, my grieving friends, to breathe a sigh of relief and fix your eyes on Jesus in a new way, laughing a little at such an odd Thanksgiving statement and to not have to sit around a thanksgiving table and make up things that yes, you are thankful for but feel somewhat trite right now… then write your own sign.  But, as our pastor said you have to include the word “stupid” and you have to include a passage like 1 Peter 1:3-9 that talks of where our hope really is. (And it might be a good idea not to show your kids… they may not understand… we recognize the word ‘stupid’ might not go over well in your home)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Disclaimer:  We wouldn’t recommend this practice for the chronically ungrateful person.

Update: Since I’m posting this the day after thanksgiving… we brought this sign over to where we had Thanksgiving with my family that is here, sent a picture to my family not here and I have to say… it made us all laugh and freed us up to let whatever waves of emotions came that day just come and to let ourselves simply long for heaven and the full redemption of all things… we also found ourselves able to be genuinely thankful for things here as the day went on… that was a sweet surprise.

Next Post: I’m working on a really sweet post of our 12 hours with Dasah full of amazing photos… so that’s coming next!

Our Time with Dasah

With bursting pride and unbelievable heartache, we share that our beautiful daughter Dasah Brielle Dennis took her first breathes yesterday morning Nov 13 at 8:25am and after exactly 12 sweet hours from God, she went home to Jesus at 8:25pm last night. For all 12 hours she literally didn’t stop talking! We delighted in her incredibly adorable face and fingers and toes, and we miss the sound of our daughter’s sweet voice. We can’t wait to show you photos of our little girl and will post some as soon as we have them. Please be praying for Lindsey and I and the deep heartache we are experiencing. Pray that we and our family and friends experience Jesus’ presence in our mourning, and that we could be released from the hospital today. Thank you to everyone for your incredible love and care of our family.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,” -2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:2

The night before, and so we worship.

It is the night before our daughter’s arrival.  And if there is anything that I have learned in these 40 days in the lonely places, journeying with men and women of the Bible to the places of darkness where they too found themselves in desperation before their God, it is that it drew their hearts to worship.  There is something about discovering the Lord in the deep places of grief, loneliness, heartache that drives your heart to a greater sense of His worthiness of our praise and worship.  I see it as I read Psalm 139… a constant declaration of praise to the one who has fashioned and knitted us together in our mother’s womb.  Isaiah 25, where I was today, where Sophie’s footprint sits and the declaration of the day when God will wipe away every tear from all faces is written, followed by a declaration from the people that it will be said on that day “Behold, this is our God.  We waited for him, that he might save us.  This is the Lord, we waited for him.  LET US BE GLAD AND REJOICE IN HIS SALVATION.”

“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things; plans formed of old, faithful and sure.”  Isaiah 25:1

So, tonight in the midst of fears, emotions and hopes for tomorrow we gathered with our friends and family to worship.   To spend time as a family worshiping the one who is worthy of praise.   We worshiped in song and we worshiped in prayer.   It was an evening to meet the Lord with our community, in our sorrow and in our hope.   I can think of no better way to spend the last night that we may have with our little girl, then in praise to the one that she may soon meet.  Oh, how we pray that she would meet him face to face much, much later in life.   But whether God heals our little girl tomorrow this side of heaven or the other…. we will still worship his holy name.  For he is worthy of worship simply because of who he is.

We look forward to letting you in in the coming days to what God does as Dasah makes her grand entrance into the world. Please be praying for our family, both Kevin, myself and Dasah along with our extended family and friends who are walking this journey closely with us.   And be praying for the next season of our story with Dasah that God will ask us to step into.

Family and friends praying over Dasah tonight for healing, for the miraculous works of God to be displayed tomorrow morning!

Family and friends praying over Dasah tonight for healing, for the miraculous works of God to be displayed tomorrow morning!