Why do we do what we do?

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about people's nature. Why exactly do we do what we do? Why do we stare at accidents on the side of the road? Why do we look at that lady's children in the store and think "my child would never get away with that?" Why do we put ourselves in vulnerable situations at the risk of our own safety or comfort to help another? Why are we drawn to stories of heartbreak and tragedy at the risk of our own mental state? Is this our most basic humanness at work, or is there something to be learned from all of it... any lessons from God?

This week the story of "April Rose" had me up for half the night when I found out the truth of what was going on and honestly, I laid in bed for hours thinking about what would lead someone down that road. I myself have had several unbecoming, prideful moments this past week as I solo-parented while Dusty was out of town. Quite a few times I amazed myself with my own capabilities and then, literally, the minute the pride made it's way to my brain, the roof of the prideful situation came crashing down and I once again got a taste of humble-pie. I have several friends that have recently announced pregnancies- three of my friends actually, and all three are carrying their third baby. As you can imagine, discussions quickly go to the presumed, or hoped-for sex of the newest blessing growing inside. So then what really got me thinking about all of this, and why we do what we do, was what one of these dear pregnant friends said to me the other day. During conversation she said, "A friend asked me what sex I wanted this baby to be and she said 'and I don't want to hear all that 'healthy baby' junk, just tell me what you really want'..." As my friend and I continued the conversation what do you think happened? Do you think I A) went right along with the conversation without missing a beat and totally understood her rationale for hoping "boy" B) acted fine but was appalled that she would say this to me, someone who really understood what it meant to want a healthy baby C) said "well the sex of the baby would never be quite so important once you experienced leaving a hospital altogether without a baby"?

If you guessed B or C... you'd actually be wrong. The answer is A. Should I be declared a saint? Hardly! Am I crazy? Am I just a big liar? You might think so, but to be honest, I didn't even think of the conversation again until yesterday evening when it came up differently... So why do I bring it up now? Because all of this has me thinking about how we allow others' experiences to influence our own.

For me, the answer to that question is deeper than just "A". It is "A" because this friend has not walked in my shoes. Although she walked right beside me through it all, she has not been where I have been or experienced things the way I have. My apprehension and fears about pregnancy and loss are just that, my own. For good or bad, I've experienced a lot, and have walked through so many other losses with other mothers. My answer is "A" because I want this precious friend to continue on with her blissful thoughts about the future. I want her to know our story, but not own it. God has chosen her for many things, and for His reasons He chose Maddox for us.

But how does my experience of pregnancy and fear and loss play into her expectations for her own child? Does walking that road with us influence her thoughts about her child's safety? I pray not, and truthfully I haven't asked her... but for the most part, isn't that human nature? To watch others experiences and somehow allow them to directly impact our own? So then if that is the case (as I feel it is in my life) how do we as Christians "get in the trenches" with others and yet not allow their experiences to pull us to a place that isn't from God??

I guess ultimately what I'm wondering is... how do you walk through a significant "life-event" with someone (in real life, through the blogworld, through prayer, through a friend-of-a-friend) and not let it alter your joy, your high-expectations, your actions, or your faith? Do you feel it is basic humanness to want to be a part of dramatic events or do you feel God is teaching you valuable lessons through those experiences?

I've thought so much about this blog and what I know is that I would never want anyone to hear of our story and be frightened for the life of their own child. I never want anyone to be so paralyzed by the fear of what has happened to us that it translates into a tangible fear in their own life. So then how do you balance that? How do you all walk this with us, with all of us mamas that have lost babies or experienced near-death situations, and not let it overwhelm you?

For me personally, it has been a camaraderie-thing to walk this with other mothers. To share experiences, to minister to hearts, to talk about frustrations and disappointments and the sense of loss... But for others... do you now feel like yo "know too much"? If I hadn't been in my own shoes, I'm not sure if I would want to share in this... Does this blog, or any blog for that matter, cause you to stumble? Do you compare, learn, reevaluate, laugh, renew, cry? What brings you here? Why do you do what you do?

Thank you, dear friends, for sharing in our life, for your words have supported us as we have stumbled; you have strengthened our faltering knees as you bathed us in prayer! (Job 4:4)


my3sons said…
I have been following your blog for a while. I have three sons ages 2,6, and 8. To be honest, while pregnant with them I never gave it a thought that they might never come home with me. I had never had anyone in my life that had something happen to them like you have. Until I found your blog and others that have lost a child, I didn't think of those things. I don't pretend to even remotely understand by just reading, but I do have a clearer picture. To be honest, if I were to have another pregnancy I would be much more worried about the outcome after following several of the blogs that I do. It has opened my eyes to the things that can go wrong and the different outcomes from a pregnancy. Things that most of us don't think about when pregnant. I feel like I am rambling on and on. The point is that I have learned a lot from you and the other blogs I follow. I have also prayed for all of you at one time or another. I have also rejoyced with you all when you have gone on to have another child. For that I thank you! Katie
Debbie said…
I too have lost sleep over "April Rose". Since the truth has become known, I have lost more sleep. I do have a child that has a life shortening disease..and need prayer for her..but I am now afraid to ask for that prayer.
While I am not glad you have gone through your pain..I am glad you are real..not only flesh and blood real, but human..with human feelings and emotions.
Love and hugs to you.
Me said…
I come here because of who you are. I am not sure how I found your blog in the beginning, but I did and in reading it I felt a strong connection to your faith in God, your faith in doing what you felt was right, your faith that everything happens for a reason and that you were chosen. It renews my faith in people. It renews my faith in God. I know that he brought me here so that I could reconect with him. Thank you!!
Laurie in Ca. said…
Sweet Kenzie,

I guess for me it is a God thing in my life. I didn't go looking for blogs of broken hearted moms, but they found me and I am thankful for this. I had a simple pregnancy and never gave it a thought except carrying twins expanded me beyond my wildest dreams:) They were born healthy and went home with me two days later. Then, three years ago,my niece lost her baby girl two days before her due date and she was perfectly healthy. I didn't know how to consol her when she called me for prayer and told me the baby wasn't kicking anymore and the heartbeat was silenced. When I found you girls, I have to say I wanted to learn from your heartbreak so that I wouldn't be so ignorant anymore. How do I encourage? What do I say? Stay silent? Lend a shoulder to cry on? I felt I took my blessings for granted and I needed to grow up. I have learned so much from you girls and I am forever grateful to you for allowing me to walk with you and learn at your expense. I love you so much and my heart carries all of you in it. Sometimes it really effects me and I get so down. I have been told it's not my problem. God tells me different and so I pray and try and encourage. I rejoice at the new blessings you all have had this year, and I am one of your biggest cheering sections here from California. I was gut kicked by the April Rose story. It hurt alot, not me, but for all of you girls who have truly been thrown on this path of misery. I feel like a mother to all of you as my sons are even older than most of you. There but for fortune goes my whole family. We have not known the pain of loss. But there is room in my heart to help carry yours and others, even if just to pray. So there you have one of my many reasons why I stick around and follow. Your blessings are my blessings because we are sisters in the Lord. I love you and am blessed by what you have taught me. I am not afraid to reach out anymore.

Love and Hugs, Laurie
The Nichols Fam said…
Kenzie- I really feel God speaks through you and gives you His wisdom. It's hard for me to attempt to verbalize my thoughts. You do that so very well- it is definitely a God given gift that from my point of view has helped me and many others. I have many friends that read your blog and they are blessed by it as am I. Thank you for your openness and for your witness. Even your questions are insightful and helpful. Thanks again for all the prayers and love. Right back at you friend. You have defnitely shown beautiful faithfulness. The web should be so lucky! And I know you didn't post this to get compliments- but I felt it in my heart as I always do after reading to thank God for you.
Anonymous said…
I guess I feel the opposite in that most people in my real life haven't seemed to let my children dying filter into their life...in a good way. There is still no sense of life is short or take nothing for granted...

They've walked it with me and yet they haven't allowed it to change their thinking at all. And truthfully, I could say the same of me before I buried two of my children. We hear it...and yet we don't take the "good" from it.

Because I do think it's crazy for someone to tell me that they are upset about the sex of their baby. For me, after burying one, I could care less....Boy or girl? Who cares. All I want is a baby to bring home...

But I admire your ability to let it slide...It's just not that easy for me.
Anonymous said…
I come here because you are an inspiration. While I have never been in your shoes, I have had heartaches in life and I know that as long as we are on this side of heaven we will continue to have heartache in one form or another. Your and others blogs have opened my eyes to the fraility of life but that's a good thing. We need to remember that this earth is not our home. I read your blog and I think, "Jesus please give me a heart like hers". I know you are not perfect, don't get me wrong but I know that if I could handle the things this earth has in store for me in the Godly way you have, I will come out closer to God in the end. Simple things like the verse you include at the end of each entry is always encouraging and often is a verse I've never heard. I have never met you but the truth is, you are one that I can't wait to meet in heaven! I feel like you are one of the few people in the world that really get that God is EVERYTHING and anything He gives us, good or bad in our eyes is just to make us more like Him. Plus you are just an amazing writer!!
Christa Mc said…
you are such a dear friend, and to answer your question, yes, having gone through my pregnancy shortly after Maddox's death, I thought (and still do think) of him often and cannot fathom the depth of your loss.
It did overwhelm me at times that I knew too much and I tended to look for things that could go wrong with the pregnancy
for example, when I didn't think much of ultrasounds during my first pregnancy except for tell me the gender and watch her move. This go 'round I was very interested in his health and surely didn't take it for granted. The same with blood work and any abnormal symptom I felt. Although I didn't experience what you did, I carry it with me and it certainly changed my heart *in a good way* forever. It continues to bring tears to my eyes. I Love you and your sweet family.
Christa Mc said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kathy said…
Great question, Kenzie!

I think that just as passengers get on an airliner right after one has crashed we just kind of buck up and do it. We recite to ourselves how we are more safe flying than driving. We pray! I know I sure do!

You are the passenger that had a crash and then has to get back on another flight to get home. And you did. And we are all so proud of you.

In no way do I mean to make light of your journey but I think it's the best explanation that I have.

To read about your family, all that you have been through, we have grown to love you and your precious babies. Praying, cheering you on, feeling happy and sad with you. It is an honor that you allow us to be a part of your life. A friend. A sister in Christ.

This is a good use of the internet. A way for the Lord to bring us together otherwise we would never meet. Lots of ready made friends for heaven! :)
Anonymous said…
I too have been following your blog for a while.
I stumbled across it while doing research for school (I'm pre-med). For one of my classes, we had to debate on neonatal intensive care & abortion. I wasn't really sure where I stood on the issue and I just wanted to read stories from both sides (aka people who had chosen abortion & people who decided against it). Your story moved me and I kept coming back.
Your blog, among other ones, made me realize that I am more pro-life than I am pro-choice and I will be forever grateful for that.

God bless you,

Stephanie said…
I started out blog reading due to a Selah concert where Angie Smith's story and blog record was shared. I have several friends and even my husband that have questioned my focus on the lives and issues of those I don't even know. I have always been aware that God has given me compassion in abundance, so I have explained to these folks, that although I have not met face to face with any of these blog writers, and though I seldom even comment, that my prayers are heard by God. It's because of the faith of people like you being shared in such depth with such wonderful scriptural support, that I have grown in my faith, and isn't that what we're to do? When we grow closer to our God our minds are opened up to the hurts and needs of others. When we understand those things, we are able to minister, sharing our God with those in need. So, that's why I do what I do--selfishly, I am blessed by the blogs I read and my relationship with our Lord is strengthened, but these blogs also allow me to DO something for others through prayer.
I am the mother of 3, now 20, 17, and 14 and life is very different than when I was in your shoes. At times I have mourned the loss of youth--both mine and my children's--because I LOVED those days, but through this mourning, God has helped me to realize my children are still just that--my children! My work is not done. My memory making opportunities are not over. My chance to guide my children spiritually is not gone. My love and pride in who God is creating them to be can still be shared. I just have to learn how to take advantage of the time I have with them now. Reading your blog and others like yours, has let me reminisce and reconfigure. Thank you for sharing your story, your family, your feelings, and your faith (Faith? :) no pun intended!)with those who may never have the privilege of meeting you face to face. This blog world can be a blessing to us all!
Cathy said…
I love your writing, thank you for taking the time. You are so blessed with 3 beautiful children even though one is resting in Jesus arms.
We will be coming to Houston on June 25 for quick follow up in the afternoon. Let me know if you will be home, I just want to come by, and give you a quick hug and say I met Kenzie. But with summertime, I realize it is also vaction time so understand if you will be away. Let me know whenever!
Kenzie said…
Thank you to each and every one of you who have taken the time to comment! Our family is so incredibly blessed by each of you, your prayers, your uplifting comments, you shaking your head in agreement, or sharing where our views differ. My relationship with the Lord has become (although it should have always been) my number one priority. Sometimes it is a daily fight to keep it there, but you all help me to remember why I continue to write and share our story... I want HIS faithfulness to be displayed.

With all the questionable things that are out there on the web and the April Rose thing (click on the link on this post if you don't know what I'm talking about) just put it over the edge. As I laid in bed that night I honestly thought maybe I should just make the blog private to spare people from all of that. But again I felt so conflicted because I always want to try to be an encouragement to other families walking difficult roads, or to help those that might be walking this road with a friend or family member.

Thank you (although it was not at all the intention of what I was writing) for the sweet compliments- just remember that it is God who has brought us to this place and only through Him that we are here standing now.

I greatly appreciate the insight into why you visit and I feel honored that in some way I can help you by realizing you are pro-life, by sharing how you can minister to others in these situations, to no forget to cherish each moment with your children when they are small, to continue creating memories with your child although they are now grown, to get an inside look at a family suffering so you can help another by responding with a shoulder, with compassion and love, by a shared suffering of losing your own child... and especially allowing me to pray for you (which I am doing now Debbie- for your sweet Cheyenne).

I am blessed to know each of you through this blogworld (and even a few of you personally!) and this helps me figure out where to go from here.

Thank you for sharing in our lives and allowing me to share in yours! God's blessings and Love!!
Ruth said…
I found your site after loosing a grandbaby to still birth. But I come back because of the wonderful Christian I feel you to be. My daughter has had a couple of friends with Trisomy 18 babies so I was drawn to this. But I do understand the you wouldn't want to affect the way other feel about carring their own baby. I'm sure it could, but not because of anything you have said. Your feelings are your feelings, and we do not live in your shoes. So keep up the good work.
Bluebird said…
I wonder this about my friends, too. Thanks for articulating it so beautifully.
Georgia Lee said…
When I read your post I began to think about what you have said. For what reasons do any of us do what we do? Why do things happen? Some may call it fate, some believe it is the influence of a higher power, others may think bad things are a punishment or retaliation.
But like you say why do some things attract our attention..is it morbid curiousity or our nature because it is outside "the norm." As the social worker here at CLRMC, I should be paralized in fear by what I see and experience on a regular basis. Does it taint me? Does it shape me? Does it make my spirituality different? Possibly-but that is part of what makes me who I am and better at what I do. I am not disturbed or bothered that people want healthy babies. Don't we all? We all know that unwanted outcomes happen during pregnancy and birth. Is that the experience you would have talked of prior to Maddox? We all would have said "a healthy baby" without knowing what that really meant. But is "Healthy" relative? For whatever reason your lives and mine connected through Maddox, it changed you and it changed me. Maddox was given a diagnosis of "incompatible with life" but what does that exactly mean? Was he incompatible with a worldly life but given eternal life instead? What a gift and a blessing. But what I feel is at that exact moment of Maddox's birth we were closer to God than ever before. Why? Because at that moment we were brought together to share in one of the rawest most emotional times-the birth of a baby and the gift of that baby to God. And He was with us holding our hands through it all. And to the gawkers and "lookie-loos" who are thankful it is not them and state "I cannot understand how you do what you do" Your time and place to help someone or walk with someone in difficult shoes is coming and each of these experiences will assist you somewhere along the way to be strong and lend a helping hand. And so back to the conversation with your friend. Yes the situation is your "own" however we all feel we walked somewhere with you along the way. Although the question I ask is were we walking along side you or were we all being carried?
Visitors come to your blog for their own reasons, but your experiences, your faith and your strength is what we see. Ultimately I feel this is a place for you to share, vent and grow. We will all be connected to someone that steals our trust, such as the April Rose story. It is our choice to keep coming back to share your walk, not to be thankful for what we have, but to be thankful for what we have been a part of.
Kenzie said…

You are just precious and such an intimate part of our birth experience with Maddox. I just emailed a gal yesterday that told me that reading my blog helps her in some ways be a better nurse. I told her how crucial I felt that the nurses and you were to our experience... the heartbreaking but BEAUTIFUL experience we had in meeting our son and then handing his over to the Lord. Thank you for your sweet words and for continuing to share this with you! So much love to you and your sweet girls (& hubby!)

Love you lots!
Chelsea said…
I really like what you've said here. My friendships and marriage relationship and relationship with my family will always be different. People will never understand my reality and I will never understand theirs. I must respect those unique experiences of each of us and never allow honoring those experiences to separate me from those I love and who love me. I am special and so are they!
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