Sarah Rieke » Living. Loving. Pressing on.

In college I had a friend whose parents were separated. His dad had been unfaithful to his mom on numerous occasions, each time leaving her feeling more and more isolated and unloved. But each time, in an effort to apologize, this man would buy his wife a new piece of diamond jewelry. It was as if he expected all of her hurt to go away with just one look at the dazzling rock tucked neatly inside a black velvet box.

Sometimes I feel like God does the same thing to me.

The Lord allowed some really deep pain into my life when He took Evie and Charlie. Every day I live with a love that cannot be directed in taking care of them and an intense longing to know the amazing little people I know they would have been, not to mention memories of all of the worst parts of losing them. And I live with all of this knowing that God could have stopped it if He wanted to. But He didn’t.

You wouldn’t have to peer very long into the window of my life to see how it overflows with blessings. We have a great house, my husband has a great job, I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with my three children. We have two beautiful rainbow babies that light up our life and a six year old boy that is soaking up and learning about everything around him and we are privileged to see his personality take shape. As the old hymn says, if the ocean was full of ink I would drain it dry writing about all the ways God has shown His love for me.

And yet.

And yet I often feel like these blessings can’t possibly make up for the fact that two of my children aren’t here with me. Sometimes I feel like the wife dripping with apology diamonds while everything within her withers because of the pain inflicted by her beloved.

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I think David felt the same way in Psalm 77.

Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? This is my anguish; but I will remember … the works of the Lord … I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.  Psalm 77:9-12

Honestly I feel tired of this being the answer. When I want a solid answer to why God took my children I’m tired of the answer being trust, give thanks, remember. But it truly is the answer. The alternative is described so well by David earlier in that same Psalm:

I cried out to God with my voice … my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God and was troubled; I complained and my spirit was overwhelmed. Psalm 77:1-3

I know what that feels like, the feeling of refusing to be comforted by what I know to be the truth. It feels a lot like resenting God just as a victim of unfaithfulness resents her philandering husband. And scripture is so clear that in this relationship God is not the unfaithful one, I am.

I don’t have to look very hard or very far to see the blessings of God in my life. But I do have to work diligently to focus on the abundance of blessings in front of me and not the absence of certain ones. I know that God is for me, not against me and that even my pain is worked into His good plan for the world. And one day I will see how the absence of certain blessings in this life will have earned for me unspeakable joys in the next. For this girl, prone like a sheep to go astray and walk in disobedience and discontentment, I know these joys will be a gift from a kind, loving, and ever-faithful God.

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Hi friends! I’m excited to share Silas’s birth story with you today. His birth story is basically the one I had been dreaming of having since my first baby six years ago. Since we are pretty certain this is our last baby, I am really thankful to have been able to have had this experience.

So I woke up Friday morning (11/18) with the same lower abdominal cramps that I had gone to bed with the night before. About an hour later they were a bit more noticeable and what I would call early labor contractions. After a little while of those I got very nervous about what would happen if I suddenly went into super active labor while I was home alone with my kids and so I called my mom and mother-in-law to come over just in case. Josh also decided to come home from work. This was about 9:30 am.

I had my standard 39 week appointment that same afternoon around 1:30 pm and so Josh and I headed off with our bags packed, just in case. After being checked, the report was that I was about 3 cm dilated but not very effaced at all and the baby had not dropped. The midwife told me that things were happening but she didn’t want to admit me just yet. So we went home.

Since we were pretty sure we would be having a baby sometime within the next several hours, Micah and Jocelyn went home with their grandmas and I went upstairs to take a nap. It was about 3:30 at this point.

I woke up from that nap about an hour later with some significantly stronger contractions than I had been feeling up until that point. I got out of bed at around 5pm and spent the next 45 minutes or so upstairs laboring.

Just before 6pm I headed downstairs. I had started to really work during the contractions and was beginning to sweat and shake. I called the midwife and told her what was happening. She told us to go ahead and come on in.

I walked up to the midwifery center and checked in at about 6:30. I was so excited when the midwife told me I was 6-7 cm dilated! My fear was that I would still have barely progressed but that wasn’t the case. The nurse high-fived me. I was so happy and started tearing up. I spent about 20 minutes on the fetal monitor before I was allowed to get into the birthing tub.

Being in that warm water was just so relaxing. I was able to relax so fully in between contractions and even during a contraction was better able to work with it rather than fight against it. It really made such a difference.

After about 30/45 minutes in the water I was really going through some hard transition contractions. After a couple of those the midwife decided to go ahead and break my water. I am not kidding when I say that immediately after she broke my water I sunk back down into the tub, bared down, and pushed my baby out. The midwife guided him gently out of the water and there he was – chubby, red, and screaming. I was in absolute shock that it had happened so quickly. It was pretty amazing.

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Silas Archer, born 11/18/16 at 7:50 pm, 7 lb. 5.5 oz. 20 in.

Life with sweet baby Silas is just that … sweet. I love watching Micah and Jocelyn interact with their new baby brother. I love watching him smile at them and turn from fussing to contentment when they start chatting with him. But it’s also been a pretty big adjustment for me to go from two kids at home to three. And the lack of sleep … oy. But it really is good and such a blessing to have him here.

In Aramaic the name Silas means “asked”. And that’s just what he is to us – a healthy baby we asked God for, to bring continued healing and wholeness to our family. I am so excited to see what the future holds for him because this is the child we prayed for and the one God chose to give us. We love him and are so thankful he is here.

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My other birth stories:

Micah

Evie

Jocelyn

Charlie

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We Mention:

Episode Six: Breaking Through Darkness

Hazelnut coffee from Panera

SignPost Coffee

Louise Penny, Inspector Gamache series

Spotify

Shall We Dance

Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood

Rising Strong

Everyday Heart Lesson: The importance of honesty and really figuring out what is going on inside of her heart.

Friends, this is the last episode for me for a little while. I am taking a maternity leave until mid-February to enjoy the holidays and my new little family. If you want to stay in touch you can find me on instagram or email me (sarahjrieke@gmail.com). Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. I will see you back here again soon.

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episode-32

Welcome to Episode 32 of the Heart Lessons Podcast! My special guest today is author coach/writer/speaker Shelley Hitz. Today Shelley shares her story which includes some really painful elements including processing the tragic loss of her grandmother, past sexual abuse, and a pornography addiction that lasted for two years. Although there is great pain in her story, what ultimately shines through is the redemption and restoration that we can find in Christ. Shelley is using her painful past and what she has overcome to encourage others in similar places. I know you will find such hope in Shelley’s story.

**Just a note that this might not be the most family friendly episode. If my five-year-old was in the car with me I might consider listening at a different time. This episode is so wonderful and definitely worth the listen, but considering some of the words and stories Shelley shares, you might not want little ears to hear.

Heart Lesson: Be still.

Connect with Shelley: website // facebook // youtube // podcast

We Mention:

Youth for Christ

Broken Crayons Still Color

John 16:33

Luke 15:17

Revelation 12:11

My Favorite Thoughts:

Forgiveness is freedom for you and doesn’t excuse the actions of the other person. Unforgiveness is actually poison for you and not the other person.

No matter what has happened to you or what you have done there is hope and healing in Christ.

Until 11/18 Shelley is offering bonus gifts along with the purchase of her new book, Broken Crayons Still Color. Follow this link and check it out! 

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  • Shelley Hitz - Thank you for hosting me Sarah! I pray my story brings hope to your listeners.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Bricker - I loved this episode with Shelley Hitz. I love how she uses her brokenness to show how God brought grace from it. I admire her bravery in speaking from her soul. Raw and authentic. I have read her book Broken Crayons still Color and loved it. It is full of hope and promise.I think it will touch and bless many lives.ReplyCancel

episode-31

Today’s episode of Heart Lessons features Lindsey Nobles, COO/Strategist for IF. Lindsey and I chat about IF and all the wonderful things she get to do through that ministry. She shares about her trips to Israel and how life-changing those have been. We also chat about her personal testimony and how she realized she needed to move from a cultural Christianity to one that really made a difference in how she lived her life. Lindsey is also a wonderful spokeswoman for singles in the church and we talk about what it’s like to be single in the church and practical ways those of us who are married with kids can be intentional about inviting single people into our lives and our family relationships. My conversation with Lindsey was rich and eye-opening and I think you’ll find that to be true for you as well.

Heart Lesson: God personally sees us and knows us and loves us and that communicates His goodness.

Connect with Lindsey: blog // facebook // twitter // instagram

We Mention:

IF:Gathering

Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins publishing

Woven

Play with Fire by Bianca Olthoff

Museum of the Bible

Israel Collective

Need to Breathe – “Garden”

Pete Wilson, Crosspoint Church Nashville , Man Crush (blog post)

Good Good Father, Chris Tomlin

Luke 11:13

Single Sessions 

Church and the Single Girl (blog post)

I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Lindsey. If you did, maybe consider sharing it with a friend. There was so much great stuff in this episode today. Also, if you have never left a review for Heart Lessons on itunes you can click here and then click “view in itunes” and you can leave a review from there! Thanks for listening friends, I hope you have a great week.

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