Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Another Season of Change

After Ben went to heaven, I thought that this blog was finished. But then I felt God tugging at my heart, saying that He was still working out Ben's story. And so I agreed that I would continue to write about our journey, as I had both inspiration and opportunity.
Well, being more than 37 weeks with Baby Girl in utero, caring for my family, and enjoying the fullness of the summer with our family and friends, it has proven to be very difficult for those two elements to meet.
On any given day, I have had the same four thoughts:
  1. I miss my son.
  2. I wish this never happened to our family.
  3. But God is sovereign.
  4. And God is good.
But as we begin the month of September, I can feel another big season of change blowing through our family. Our oldest begins kindergarten and we prepare to meet the newest little Sauer. Two huge changes whose effects send big ripples through every aspect of our lives. Andy and I talk about how surreal our lives feel recently. Are these things really happening? Is Ben really gone? Are we really parents of a school-aged child? Are we really going to have another baby? We're very aware of the reality of these changes. And yet, it just feels so surreal.

Jack starts kindergarten tomorrow. Our oldest. And though it is very different than how we had always planned, he will be going alone. Except Ben will be with him.

Meg and Jack before his supply drop-off night last week. This kid is sooo excited for kindergarten! (And he has never worn more blue in his life!)

You see, Jack's new favorite color is blue. He chooses it for everything. A balloon, a toy, a cup, anything. "Because I love Ben!" he'll tell us. The other day while driving, we drove by a red convertible. He told me that he would buy a blue convertible when he is a dad. Then he asked what color Megan would get. "I want PINK!" she answered. "But don't you love Ben?" he asked his sister. "Because if you loved Ben, you would get blue." After a few minutes of crying, she finally relented to her persistent brother that she would get blue. Because she also loved Ben.

His sneakers are blue. Any outfit he picked out is blue. His lunchbag is blue. I bought his backpack and jacket when he wasn't with me, though. They're green. And black. I knew I couldn't handle the emotion of seeing a big blue blob coming up the driveway. Maybe someday. But not yet. He will still wear Ben's old blue Crocs when he can't find his own. And it still makes me think twice to see them laying on the family room floor. Ben always wore blue - ever since he was born.
Yeah, I think it's just going to take some time.

There are two other sets of twins in his class this year. I've introduced him to one set at the playground. "They're twins, just like you," I told him. "My twin's name is Ben," he told them. "And he's in heaven." Even Jack knows that he is still a twin. He will always be a twin. It says so on his birth certificate. It's just that his twin is watching out for him from above. He doesn't always get really sad when he talks about his brother, though he does talk about how much he misses his favorite playmate. It's just that every memory includes his twin.

Megan has been sleeping in Ben's old bed, next to Jack. It's been good for both of them, I think. This means that Megan's old bedroom is now conveniently the baby's nursery. Little has to be done in order to change it over. But as convenient as that is, it also makes me incredibly sad. Andy and I were actually looking forward to the inconvenience of seeing how we would accommodate four kids in two small bedrooms.

People have told me that the journey of grief comes and goes in waves. And I'm finding that to be true. There are days when I am so grateful that Ben is already Home. With his Jesus. And then there are days - or even moments - when I just want to crumble to the floor in sadness, missing my kind-hearted mediator and goofball, faced with the depth of our loss - Jack's twin - and the reality that I won't be able to have all four of my kids all together at the same time.
And I just hate it.

The distance between my brain and my heart feels very distant at times. The things I know in my head to be true are the words of faith that I rehearse daily. But then I have real emotions, feelings, that remind me of how much we lost. And both speak loudly.
I am so grateful that Ben is not in pain anymore... but I hate the fact that I have to be grateful that my completely healthy son is not in pain!
I'm so glad that God was able to use one little boy for so much good, to draw people to Him... but why couldn't He have chosen someone else?
God has always been so good to me and we have always tried to be faithful to His word... then why would He allow MY son to be taken and others given a physical healing?

And the battle continues.
Thankfully, I have a long history with my God who has never failed me. Even when I tried to abandon my faith along this journey, He wouldn't let me. His hold on my life is too strong. And so I continue speaking words of faith into my life. Giving myself opportunities to cry. To grieve. To mourn. And then reminding myself that I serve a God that cries right along with me. He knows exactly how I feel. After all, His Son died too.

But while there is great grief, there is also great joy.

I got a glimpse at our baby girl today, 37+ weeks in utero. And she's just perfect. Somehow, in the midst of caring for our family, healing our hearts, God has been working another miracle inside of me. It won't be long before we will be able to meet the newest addition to our family. She will - in no way - replace Benjamin. No one could ever do that. But we are filled with joy at the prospect of new life!

Baby Girl at 37 weeks and 4 days, in utero. So very grateful for God's protection over this little one.

After we found out it was going to be a girl, Ben would say, "Mom! You're going to have two boys and two girls!" Even the memory of him holding two fingers in each hand brings me to tears. He was so excited about having another little sister! He was always the one to be more gentle with Megan. Patient. The teacher. What a hole he has left in our family. I absolutely hate that I won't get to see him hold her, stroke her hair, and wrap his arms in protection around her just as he did as a three-year-old with his other sister.
But it has been beautiful to see how excited both Jack and Megan are about the baby, even before she makes her earthly debut. Megan comes up to my belly and says, "Hi baby sister! Hi! How doing? Good? Good!" I really have to try and get it on video. It's pretty much the cutest thing you'd ever hear. Jack taps my belly (to get her attention of course) and says, "Can you hear me? It's Jack! I'm your big brother! Kick my hand if you can hear me!" I don't remember him being this interested with Meg. He was younger, of course. But it's just beautiful hearing their sweet innocent words in support of our newest addition.

Grateful I didn't go into labor on Labor Day!

She's not even here yet, but I can tell you this: this baby girl is soooo loved.
So many changes in such a short time.
With Jack beginning his school adventure tomorrow morning, it brings me a lot of comfort to know that he is in good hands. That he is excited. Ready. It's the same school I attended as a child, the same exact (blue) kindergarten classroom. And you can even see the room from my front door! Some friends have asked if I'll be one of those moms peeking through his classroom window, making sure he's doing alright throughout the day. C'mon, that is just not my style. I'm a lot more classy than that. 
I'll be using binoculars from my front window.


  1. Great post...my favorite line is the last "I'll be using binoculars from my front window"! Deep down, we're all "that mom"!!!

    Continued prayers for your family.

  2. I've been waiting for this post as I prepare to send Olive to her first day of kindergarten tomorrow also. We will be thinking of all of you! I hope you hold up better than I think I will. ;)

  3. I'm sure you don't see yourself as an encourager but you are. Our pastor taught on JOY this past Sunday and how even in the midst of our sadness and/or our dislike of our circumstances, as Believers and co-heirs, joy is always there, always available. As a mom and a grandmother, my heart hurts for your family. My husband and I have our retirement home up in NW Montana and the Pastor and his wife of our church up there, have experienced the loss of a child as well. Right before Christmas in 2012, their 5 year old daughter Lenya died suddenly of an asthma attack. Even in their grief, mourning and brokenness, like your family, the light of Jesus is radiant. Continuing to pray for your precious family.
    Connie Hopkins
    Denton, Texas


  4. Hi Mindy-

    I saw you with your beautiful daughter at the Clarence Labor Day festival this weekend and I so badly wanted to stop you. I wanted to tell you how much Ben has changed my life. His story and your words have made me see things more clearly - to be a more patient, loving and grateful mom. None of us know how much time we have and I want to make sure that my son knows how much he is loved every single day. Thank you for helping me through your immense loss. Ben's life and light touched the world.

  5. Continuing to pray for you and your family. I hope Jack has a great first day of school. Thank you for your encouragement. Will be praying for strength for you as you face the next few weeks. Binoculars...never thought of that!!! :)

  6. I find your strength and more importantly, your faith, so enlightening. I have had many health issues in my own life and have had to face the possibility of my now grown children being raised without a mother. The one strength I have always had is my faith. You put so perfectly in your blogs, and I believe God is guiding your writing not only to express your grief, but to show us all what true faith can do. And for that I thank you. And I wish you well wishes on the impending new family member.

  7. so beautifully written...
    I don't know you but your faith and trust in Jesus shines brightly in your writing.
    We lost our precious 3 year old 7 weeks ago today and it has been an extra hard day but reading this reminds me again of God's faithfulness in the midst of our pain.
    Congrats on your new precious one. I will be praying for a safe and wonderful delivery

  8. Great post again!
    You write very well and I enjoy the way you do it.
    I can not tell this from many people. You should consider to write a book about what came upon your family recently. Maybe this brings relief to you, too!?
    You are really strong as well. I have been through many things so far, too, and I wonder that you still believe in God. I finally became a cocksure Agnostic and your story gave me the last kick! No God would allow to bring such a fatal and cruel disease to such a small kid like yours and make him suffer. I lost my husband due to cancer and even though he was an understanding adult it was a hard fight. How can a small boy cope with this? God, what did you do??? ...
    You are welcome to follow me on FB as well:
    It is great to deliver a baby even though it is painfull. I hope all goes well for you and your little girl!
    Beatrice ❇

    1. It hurts my heart that you have allowed trials in your life to push you away from God. Why would God let anyone suffer from cancer? I have no idea and I wish it wasn't so. BUT Jesus said, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." Our love for God is to be higher than our love for anything or anyone in this world-it should give us faith and strength as we face trials on earth. I cannot imagine going through this crazy world without God to lean into. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I promise you that God didn't take your husband to punish you or him.
      Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

  9. Hi mindy
    As you know I love to read your blog, Your faith and strengh inspires me so so much and makes me grateful for what I have...Love the pictures and hopefully next blog you write they will be pictures of the new addition to the sauer family...You write to lovely and it touches me all the time... God bless you all and always BEN xx

  10. Your words and faith have been a comfort and inspiration to me and my family. My father passed on from GBM almost two months ago. Most of the time, it still doesn't feel real, and while there are happy moments ahead for the whole family, they also come with a sadness that he's not here with us, physically. I hope you will continue to write, because for grieving hearts like ours, your words are a beautiful inspiration.

  11. Have you read the chasing rainbows blog? She found out she was pregnant the day before her son passed away and he was about 6. She blogged about the ups and downs and preparing for baby and now that baby is 9 months old. I thought you might find comfort reading that someone else has been through what you are experiencing right now. I'm just one week behind you and expecting a boy. I wish you an easy labor and delivery as your little sweetheart enters the world.

  12. Great hearing from you again. You are an amazing woman. God Bless you all on the next steps of your journey! Does your newest have a name yet?

  13. Dear Mindy,
    How badly I needed to read this today: "Thankfully, I have a long history with my God who has never failed me."
    My husband and I are going through a trial right now (nothing earth shattering, but a trial nonetheless), and God is seemingly silent. I poured out my heart to Him this morning telling Him that I was getting really frustrated with HIm but thanking Him that I can tell Him that without hurting His feelings or affecting His love for me.
    I read your post today with tears in my eyes. Praying for you (from Iowa) as you continue to hurt and adjust.

  14. I am so glad that you've continued to keep the blog running. You words of faith are truly an inspiration. My heart hurts for you, mama and I don't know why God chose your Ben to bring so many people together, so many people to Him, but I think it's because he was so very special that God needed Ben in heaven right away. Only the truly wonderful, truly special get to go to heaven and skip all of the pains of this world. As a mother, I can't imagine the pain. But as a believer and a reader, I am touched and grateful for your words, memories, and faith in our Father. I'm keeping your family in our prayers and I cannot wait to see that joy that your newest little girl brings to your family. <3

  15. Mindy, you are a brilliant writer! I had tears streaming down my cheeks and then I found myself laughing at your close!! I still pray for you all daily!!! Press on my friend!

  16. Thank you for keeping your blog going. You are so real and that is appreciated so much. Thank you for sharing your spiritual struggles because those who have lost a loved one can relate. I am very excited that your little girl is close to being born. Though Ben can't hold her here on Earth I am sure Ben has told everyone he can about his little sister being born soon. I love the ending of your blog today. That would be me too. ;) Praying for you and your family and can't wait to read future blogs about the joy your newest daughter brings to your lives.

  17. Just wanted to let you know that Ben's story touched my heart- your family is in my daily prayers. Stay strong, you will see him again someday. May The Lord bless you and keep you (and your family) peacefully in His arms.

  18. Mindy , Good luck with Jack Tommorrow ! I hope he has a wonderful first day . Ben will be with him and every time you put a picture up of your two babies I always still see Ben standing next to them . Enjoy them and your new baby girl , keep seizing every moment here with them on earth . Keep patient and loving, for one day they'll be old and have families of their own and your job will be done . That's when God will keep his promise to you and you will see your Ben again and you can have all the time in the world with him up there . And remember he is still here with you all those coincidences and moments you feel him , that's real . And I bet he did meet his sisters soul in heaven before she makes her earthly debut so be happy ... It's ok that's what Ben would want for his family , no guilt or burdens . Take all that and turn it to even more love than you ever thought possible . Keep shining Mindy xo

  19. Mindy, you have blessed me through your heartfelt post. You are walking this hard road - and God is your strength. That is so obvious. May you continue to feel his love, peace and comfort! Love from Manitoba, Canada.

  20. My 5-yr-old starts kindergarten tomorrow, and yesterday, unprovoked, she prayed for your family before bed. She prayed that "Ben's family wouldn't feel sad now that he's in heaven." I pray for the same thing--that Ben's presence with Jesus could bring you peace and joy. I can't conceive exactly how that could work but I believe that with our heavenly father, all things are possible. We'll be praying for the safe arrival of your little girl too.

  21. Oh Mindy, thank you so much for writing about this dance of grief with such transparency and grace. I know your processing here will help so many and I am sending so much love from here in Corona, CA to you tonight. May tomorrow be full of grace and tender joy for you, and may this sweet new baby come quickly and safely into your arms. You are right...no matter what...Our God IS so good. xoxo

  22. Hi Mindy and family. I have you in my thoughts and prayers everyday. I feel so much empathy for you. I was one that received the heaven is for real books and I also watched the movie. What a wonderful inspiring movie. I loved it and so did my family. I hope you continue with the strength you have as you have many prayers from your family and community! Can't wait to see the newest addition to your family. God bless you!

  23. Thank you for continuing to share your journey, your story and faith are a beautiful reminder of God's healing in difficult times.

  24. You are a beautiful person inside and out, and such an inspiration to so many. Thank you. May God continue to Bless and guide your family. Praying for a safe, healthy delivery.

  25. That ultrasound picture is just the SWEETEST!

    Thank you for the update on how you're all doing. I think about your family all the time. You are all beautiful people!

    Your continued strength has inspired so many, including me ♥

  26. Mindy, thank you for sharing your story with us,As sad as it is,it's beautiful to God bless and watch over you and your family,always in my prays. I'll be watching for the picture of your forth child. I can already see she's beautiful <3

  27. Mindy, Thank you so much for continuing the story -- when you can. We all are with you, in heart, and I agree that God is Good...this was just such a difficult journey you had to take -- but I appreciate your sharing it with us who have never met you (I'll see you in Heaven, though)...Our son was born on our 4th Wedding Anniversary...but, we've been married for 47 years. Much love to you and thank you again for sharing the photos of Jack's first day of school...handsome...just like Ben. Love, Lois

  28. Thank you for the update. As I sit here crying over Jack "adopting" blue, I'm thankful that you take the time to touch base with so many of us who care for you and your family. Come back with updates when you can, we're all healing FOR you and WITH you. XOXO

  29. How can you think god is still so good when he caused you so much pain and made your little boy suffer and die? Sorry, but I find it so hard to wrap my head around that one. I wish it made better sense. I'm glad you have a new baby to look forward to. I hope she brings you nothing but pure joy.

  30. Being a twin myself, I tear up every time you talk about how jack is dealing with your family's loss ♡ God is using you all in so many good ways! Best of luck with your labor and delivery and just getting through each day. GOD BLESS!

  31. Mindy,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I followed your story in the spring and was praying for you and your sweet family. I have a ministry called Soul Survivor Stories. We just launched last week with our first video of stories of people who have had a life changing event and how the Lord has restored and redeemed their pain. It was born out of my own story which you can watch here http://www.soulsurvivorstories.com/stories/soul-survivor-stories/ .
    We have a blog on the website where I hope to feature other people’s stories who are walking out the walk of a Soul Survivor. I’d love for you to share your story and where you’re at. The Lord just laid you on my heart this morning so I thought I’d reach out. I love how you number out your so sweet and simple your thoughts and promises you hold fast to each day. I love your honesty. If you’d like to share your story or chat more you can email me at rachpayne@verizon.net. Please pray about it. I can tell you more about myself. I chronicled our story here http://thewrongsideofthedoor.blogspot.com/.
    I would love to hear from you. Praying your story brings hope to the broken and hurting and that God would be glorified. All is Grace. Blessings to your sweet family. Rachel Payne

  32. Mindy,
    I was thinking of your family the other day (the Gibbels are friends of ours who originally told me about Ben), so I thought I'd check and see if you had any recent blog entry about your family. When I saw your last entry was one I'd already read, I decided to go back a year to this one. A year has passed... time is a healer, and I hope you are doing ok. I'm praying for you.