Are you there God? It’s me, Arianne

You remember the book by Judy Blume? I never read the whole thing, but the title has always stuck out, “Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret.” Sometimes I feel like Margaret. Right now, I’m feeling like that. It’s 3:11am. I’m wide awake. And deep down, I know exactly where and who He is, but this crazy mind is spinning.

Why couldn’t he save Will? Where was He in the unknown we were going through? Why were other babies who were barely 1 pound at birth able to live but my healthy big boy wasn’t? Why can’t I have everything I want and have it right now?

Why am I even questioning everything? Because Satan is bad and he can get in your head. Satan plays with you. And if you don’t believe that, I’m here to tell you he will come in like a thief in the night. He can toy with emotions and creep up when you least expect him. Watch out, he’s waiting.

But, I know someone who is more real and is more alive than Satan will ever be. And when Satan comes knocking and making me doubt, I am reminded by the Holy Spirit that He is with me and in me and working for my good. He was there with us in the hospital. Will is alive forevermore. Not here on this earth, but he is waiting in Heaven. Other babies born have not fulfilled their purposes like God has fulfilled the purpose for Will’s life. Everything I want isn’t what God has planned for my life. He has bigger plans. And He will work everything for my good, in His time.

This suffering we are going through and the trials we will continue to face are just a part of life’s journey. In the midst of bad things, it’s hard to imagine life getting any better. But there are hills and valleys in life. I know we can’t be in the valley forever and I can’t wait to get to the hilltop again. I sang His praises when I’ve been on the hilltop before. And I am singing His praises in the valley. Despite how bad it hurts sometimes and how many tears fall when I sing a song.

So right now, I feel like God is saying, are you there Arianne? It’s me, God. He is always there for me and He will always be with me.

And because this blog is about Will, here’s another picture of my precious baby boy.

I’m reminded again as I add this picture that God was right there in that room holding me while I was holding my baby. In fact, in this moment, Will had already met Jesus face to face. I know the love I have for Will and how I felt holding him right there. I can’t even imagine a greater love. But I know God loves me even more than I could ever love Will, and that blows my mind.

So thank you, God, for being in that room and for filling that space with a tiny bit of Heaven. When I let Satan creep in and tell me you aren’t there, I just need to remind myself you are. And if I start to forget what You feel like, I can remind myself of the night Will met you. I can’t put into words the way the room felt that night. But I know You were in that room. It felt as if you were physically standing with us.

Middle of the Night

This is quite possibly the hardest time of the day. Nothing good happens after 11 is what Daddy always said. It’s the truth. Between 11 and 6 is when I have the hardest time. It’s a time I dreamt about being between me and Will. He was a big boy and I just knew we would have lots of middle of the night feedings. Instead, I have lots of conversations with Coy and a whole lot of conversations with God. Sometimes it’s a simple prayer for Him to calm my heart and give me rest. Emotional, spiritual, and physical rest. Sometimes it’s me crying out to him for healing. A lot of times it’s me asking why and asking for Him to lead us in the unknown.

I had one sacred middle of the night with Will. Coy and I spent most of that night in the NICU with Will until the surgery began that morning around 4:45. We had visitors throughout the night and Coy would switch with them. But I was there the whole time. I sometimes wish I could get that night back. I wouldn’t worry about sitting down because I could feel my stitches starting to hurt. I wouldn’t worry whether I had taken my medicine. I wouldn’t worry about anything except that this was my first and last night with Will.

I told him so much that night. I talked to him like he was a baby. I also told him how much I had dreamed for him. About how much fun we would have. I told him just everything I could think of. And then when I couldn’t think of anything I would tell him just how much I love him. I know he knew that. If anything, I wish I could go back to those few minutes where it was me and Will. I would just sing to him, hold his hand, and tell him just how much I love him. I would give it all to kiss him one more time.

The Holiday Season

This is my favorite time of year, November and December. Well, they used to be. And they still are, I just have to keep reminding myself of that. Everyday is so blah. Over and over in my head has been the 3rd verse of the song, “It’s the holiday season, so whoop-de-do.” And that’s exactly how I feel most days. Whoop-de-freaking-do.

We have always started to decorate in early November because it’s so fun and so pretty and you can enjoy it longer. And I started. Coy put the tree up. And the other tree. And I put out the decorations on the mantle. And then, we got the buckets out of the attic and I thought, okay, I can actually do this. And then we were tired, so we called it a night and watched tv before bed.

So, that leads us to tonight. I started going through buckets. The stocking we found for Will with the puppy sledding was in the first bucket. Cue the tears. And then the little penguin with his name on it from Coy’s parents. More tears. And then the big glass ornament to start his collection from my parents. It was too much. I fell on my knees and wept. Like, nasty, crazy weeping. Coy came and sat by me and held me. He always is there holding me. And letting me cry and crying with me.

And then I realized that I’ve been approaching the holiday season all wrong. God didn’t send His Son so I could put all the pretty stuff in the house, shop til it makes me a little crazy, and to listen to all the fun little carols. HE came so that we may live. And live abundantly. Y’all, I’ve known this my whole life, but it makes sense now. So much sense. He came so that when Will was born and lived his perfect 52 hours here, there would be something after this life.

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” That’s why Christmas exists. That’s why Jesus came. That’s the meaning of everything! Christmas exists to give joy.

This would have been our first Christmas as parents. We should have been having so much fun and seeing the wonder through our baby’s eyes. It would have been magical. But, I know his every second is magical. I can’t even begin to imagine how his day to day is in Heaven. And then multiply Heaven by Christmas! Sheer JOY! I would love to hear the Hallelujah chorus on Christmas morning in Heaven. So, I’m going to try and enjoy Christmas for what it is. The reason that Will is alive today more than he ever was is because of God’s sacrifice of His Son.

So if you see me this season, I might be smiling. Or I might be crying. Or I could just look a little crazy! But just know that whatever my earthly emotions are showing, please know I have the joy of Jesus deep down in my heart. I hope everyday to show that joy. That’s why I share our pain. Because of His love for us, I know one day I won’t have anything to be sad about.

I also know that it’s gonna be a hard time. It will be sad and so full of emotion. So pray for us. Pray for our whole family. I know that I talk about mostly me and Coy, but there is a huge hole in everyone else’s heart too. Life will never be the same. Now we can look forward to Heaven when we are all reunited. And there won’t be anything but everlasting JOY!

9 Months

Yesterday, our sweet Will would have been 9 months old. When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to do those comparison pictures with like 3 months pregnant and then 3 months with Will. I know it’s so superficial, but that’s what I wanted. 9 months in and 9 months out. All day, everyday, I wonder about what our baby would be like? Would Will look like me or Coy? Would he be a good sleeper? Would he be as perfect as I imagine? Would he be still while I should have been holding him today for our monthly picture? Why couldn’t I still have my baby here so we could be doing mundane things, like taking a picture.

And then while Alli and I were talking, I realized I could. It wouldn’t look like one of those happy pictures with the baby and mama. It would be Will 9 months in me and 9 months later of me with empty arms. It’s been a rough few days. 9 months is a long time. It still feels like yesterday and forever all in the same time.

Everywhere you read or look, people post the highlight reel of their life. There isn’t anything, anywhere to make someone going through something feel like they aren’t alone. Deep down, everyone knows that everyone around them go through tough spots. But in the social media world, no one really posts if they had a bad day. But that is life. Some days are good. And some days are bad. But God, in the midst of all the junk, is still good. So even on my days where I don’t want to get out of bed, I still praise Him. So today, I hope this post helps someone who is having a super bad day. I hope you know you aren’t alone and it’s okay to have a bad day. I hope tomorrow is better!

9 months in

9 months out


Hope is what we cling to in hard times. For so long, we have been hoping.

This weekend, we’re at the beach with Coy’s family. We rang in 2018 at the same beach with my family. I was about 8 1/2 months pregnant here. And I was so ready to see this sweet boy that I had already fallen in love with.

While we were here, we were hoping that the next time we were back here, Will would be with us. And here we are again. This time, we’re a little more than 8 1/2 months out from his death. Life is weird. Everything is so different now. And life will never be the same because of Will. I learned SO much about myself, life, love, and the goodness of God.

And again, we are full of hope. Hoping that one day, we will have another baby, and hopefully a baby we can have on this side of Heaven for all of our lives.

Great is Thy Faithfulness is such a perfectly worded hymn. “Strength for today and bright HOPE for tomorrow, blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.” I never knew how much I would hope. And with everything I have been through, I don’t think I ever lost faith or trust in God’s plan or gave up hope.

Happy Halloween

Today should have been me giving Will his first sucker taste and dressing him in a pumpkin John John I’ve had since last year. As soon as I saw it, I knew my Will would be so cute in it. And then I wanted to dress him as a pumpkin tonight and go walk through the neighborhood and watch him smile and cackle at lights and people. I just know he would have had the best deep belly baby laugh. That’s what I thought last year.

Here’s what’s happening this year… we won’t have that big pumpkin in our arms. He is in our hearts and always on our minds. I allowed myself some sad time in his nursery this morning. I talked to a friend last night and she said it was normal and I needed to allow myself to mourn what we didn’t have together. And then put my sadness aside and be thankful.

This season we are in is odd. I am grieving more than ever before. But in that same exact moment, I am praising God for life and ALL He has done for us. I am learning that it’s okay to be in both mindsets at the same time. It’s a hard place to be. But, this is where God has placed me and I have to choose joy even in the sad. I know He is working for our good. And I know extreme joy and happiness will come. We have been in the valley. I know there are good days ahead. He has promised me that. And you too, ask Him for it!

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have had to suffer griefs in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perished even though refined by fire- may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. ” 1 Peter 1:6-7

Trials and Tribulations

When I was in the 6th grade, I was in the youth choir. The first performance we had in church included a song that I’ll never forget. It has always been a song I have kept in my heart. Over 20 years ago, I learned it and kept singing it all these years. Until this year, I didn’t know what it meant to live out the words of a song. Or to live out what God has called us to do.

Y’all, I had no clue what I was singing back then. I had no idea the depths of sorrow I would endure. The hills and valleys of life. But through everything, I am learning that I can face every tomorrow. Not because I’m strong enough. But, God is able. He is my strength. I will never be enough. Only through him can I get out of bed each day. He has called me to this. And through this, I hope I can point someone to Him. I truly hope through losing Will, someone is seeing that God is going to lead us through. I pray that many will know Jesus because of our loss. Suffering has a purpose and life on this earth is not the end goal.

I’ve put the lyrics below from that Clay Cross song. I’m also gonna put a picture up of Will, just because he’s too sweet not to share.

I’ve got trails and tribulations
Troubles all around
My desires and expectations have me lost more than I’m found
And lord knows I often falter in the smallest of my pride
But when I kneel down at his alter I am lifted up inside
‘Till I stand upon that mountain 
‘Till I sit beside the thrown 
‘Till the waters of loves fountain carry me home
‘Till I rise up from this mortal clay of blood and bone
Let the rock that was rolled away be my cornerstone
Help me face every tomorrow 
Give me strength to bare the load
Give me signs that I can follow
Set my feet upon the road 
And may he who walked on water give me courage where I tread
And when I kneel down at his alter let my hungry soul be feed
‘Till I stand upon that mountain 
‘Till I sit beside the thrown 
‘Till the waters of loves fountain carry me home
‘Till I rise up from this mortal clay of blood and bone
Let the rock that was rolled away
Let the rock that was rolled away
Let the rock that was rolled away be my cornerstone
Let this faith be my foundation 
This hope, my liberation
‘Till I fly away on that glorious, glorious day 
‘Till I stand upon that mountain 
‘Till I sit beside the thrown 
‘Till the waters of loves fountain carry me home
Till I rise up from this mortal clay of blood and bone
Let the rock that was rolled away
Let the rock that was rolled away
Let the rock that was rolled away 
Let the rock that was rolled away be my cornerstone

Like Heaven on Earth

Today we went to pick apples. We always go the weekend after the tax deadline. Last year was the weekend after we found out our baby was a boy! We talked to Will all through the orchard and we were so excited about bringing him back this year.

This year was completely different than what we dreamed it would be. There was a lot of mental preparation. We know he can’t be here. We knew he wouldn’t be here. And still, all the strollers and smiling babies being carried by their daddies made our hearts hurt. We walked down the first row with tears flooding our eyes and flowing down our cheeks. Coy grabbed my hand and reminded me, “we’re gonna be okay,” just as he does many times a day. And then we heard Abby laughing so hard two rows over and Chance was asking where we were. And we went back to reality and to pick apples with the rest of the family. But right before, we had a smile from Heaven.

A beautiful open orchard row with a beautiful sky and lots of fluffy clouds laid before us completely empty. No apples on the trees. No people walking down that path. Just us and the Lord. God continues to remind us of His faithfulness during the empty moments.

Happy Birthday

February 5 started out like any other February 5, I called Alli and told her Happy Birthday! It was her 28th. We got to work and mama and daddy brought breakfast. They ate and I just wasn’t feeling good. Over the weekend, I felt kinda blah. I was so, so pregnant. I was 37 weeks that day and had an appointment at 11 to check on Will. Alli was going with me. (Thank God we planned that). Here I am the Friday before.

My boy was snug as a bug in my belly. He was low and big and heavy.

We left the office around 10:30 and headed to the doctor. We got there and he had been not as active on the way. So I told them at check in and we went to ultrasound quickly. He had a good, strong heartbeat but still wasn’t moving. My doctor came in and told me that we were having a baby that day! I felt a weird sensation come over me and began to worry. All the nurses and Alli told me that Will was fine and so was I. Alli called Coy to tell him and he thought we were joking. He left work and headed home to change. Mama came immediately.

They wheeled me over to the hospital and the whole time I heard the click of Alli’s heels on the floor. They took me to a room and Alli helped me put my gown on and get in bed. Will was coming fast. They got me prepped and ready. Mama and Coy were waiting right before we headed to the OR. Here we are going to get our baby!

So we went. I got my spinal, Coy came in and sat by me and prayed. Everyone was there and my doctor began the c section. And we waited. And waited. Coy couldn’t see anything. I asked him if everything was okay. He told me he thought it was. I finally asked the anesthesiologist. And they said that they were working on Will. I think I passed out at that point.

Coy said after that he saw Will’s foot as the team of NICU nurses were caring for him. He said that it was silent and loud all at the same time. Will was born at 2:25pm weighing 10 pounds and 12 ounces. He had a heartbeat of 144 in the OR right before the c section began. But he was born not breathing. They resuscitated him for 17 minutes. Then Coy heard the doctor yell out, “I have a heartbeat!” He said that was music to his ears. Here is a picture of Will at Baptist NICU.

They left the OR and Coy followed. He went to NICU with Will. He was born at Baptist, but the doctors said the Richland NICU was better and more equipped for Will. So after wheeling him by my bed, they were on an ambulance to Richland.

I laid in recovery and Mama and Daddy came to see me. Alli and Abby were with me the entire time. We will forever be grateful that they could be with me so Coy didn’t even have to think about me. I finally got transferred to a room and threw up for quite a while. Once they got that under control, I was told I had to stay at Baptist at least that night. I don’t even remember seeing my baby on his birthday.

So Alli and Abby spent the night in my room. I laid there, I don’t remember much. I do know I woke up at 3am and was ready to be transferred to Richland. That’s another story for another day.

Going Before

As soon as I saw those pink lines, my mind was racing. Who will this baby be? What will my baby look like? What kind of nursery will I prepare? Or what will my mama and sisters help dream up? So many thoughts consume every waking minute. Oh, how I wish I could go back to those simple moments in my crazy mind.

But, this was before we knew we wouldn’t bring Will home. So, we prepared. We set the crib up. Coy painted and patched holes in the old guest room. Coy put up a new light. We bought clothes. My mama (and daddy) bought a wardrobe fit for a coming prince. We bought diapers. All the newborn diapers we could. And then we were given his estimated weight. So we started buying size 1 diapers.

The weekend before Will was born, we got the house ready. Coy cleaned for hours. Scrubbing everything. I washed clothes. I got a pedicure. Nothing was scheduled, we could just feel the anticipation. He was on the way and this home was waiting on him. His crib was waiting. My arms were waiting. My heart was ready.

I have thought about all of the prep that went into this room and the only thing I can come up with is that maybe God felt a little bit like this as He was preparing Heaven.

John 14:3 says “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

The living God we serve went way before us to prepare a place we can’t even imagine with our earthly eyes. He sat and dreamt about the day each of His children who would receive His free gift would come into that place. I can’t imagine the anticipation He feels for each of us. He created every single one of us. He knows our every ounce of being, and still chooses to love us.

He had hope while preparing Heaven that one day all of His children would be in this place he prepared. My sweet Will was not able to come to this home we prepared for him, he’s in a far greater place than we can imagine right now. We wanted to bring him to this place but there were much greater plans for his short life. We pray that Will will someday be a big brother. And I have hope that we will one day have another baby to fill this place we have prepared. Not just the physical place, but a huge place in our hearts and arms.