A Day of Reflection | What’s Your Story?

A Day of Reflection | What’s Your Story?

As I sit and have a day of reflection on my life over the past few years I can totally see God’s hand in my life.

I will never forget walking into my job where I had been for 6 yrs to find my stuff boxed up and my job was done. I had never been let go from a job, EVER. I was devastated to say the least.  I felt like a total failure that day.  I questioned God.  I asked Him “why me?  I am a GOOD employee!” “Why would you take a good paying job away from me?” and the only answer that kept going through my mind was “Karen, TRUST ME.”  Little did I know it was God just re-positioning me to where he wanted me to be at this time of my life. I would have never dreamed I would be a photographer (although I have always love photography) & never dreamed I would have a part time job where I can sometimes breathe words of hope to those in need desperate of it & have a boss there that makes my job a joy to have.  I know God is in the center of it all.

I love where I am in my life.  God may move me to a different place at some point of my life but for now, I cherish the clients he sends me, I cherish the family that He’s given me and I cherish my husband who is my biggest supporter.

Sharing our stories can be a light for others.  Do any of you have times in your life where you can see God was with you all along?  Story of comfort, hope or forgiveness?  I would love to hear it and share it on my blog.  You can email it to karen@karenstauffer.com or simply post it here.

So, to any of you who are going through tough times, pray & trust God. He may just simply be re-positioning you for greater things.

God's not finished with me yet

You can follow me on facebook at www.facebook.com/karenstaufferphotography or on instagram @karenstaufferphotography

2 comments
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  • Erica BarkerOctober 6, 2015 - 11:55 am

    I enjoyed reading your story Karen and would like to share mine… Since it is how we met and all.

    Lets rewind to November 2013. I had been sicker than a dog for about a two weeks. I went to my doc they did test and said they found nothing. They referred me to a G.I. specialist.   Finally, on Nov. 22nd, my boyfriend’s birthday, I went to the ER as I couldn’t wait. I was not able to keep anything down and I was starting to lose weight. They did more tests and found that I was pregnant! About 5 weeks along. Happy Birthday to my man! My whole family was in the room when the doc told me. We were all shocked. My primary doc had just told me a week prior that I was not. Regardless we counted it as a huge blessing and started hoping for a girl! My mom wanted her first granddaughter as she has grandsons. I spent my whole pregnancy fighting nausea. It was so hard to fight and keep on keepin on. In Nov. I weighed 135 lbs and by Jan 2014 I was down to 110. I had a nausea med pump in 24/7 since the beginning thru the whole pregnancy. I had a home IV for March & April. I basically lived on Gatorade and carnation morning breakfasts. One of the only things that kept me going was that we knew we were having a girl! A sweet baby girl! I was so excited that when ever I felt good enough I was preparing her room. Then finally, in the middle of May, 2 months before I was due, the nausea and vomiting stopped. My Lily and I were finally able to get everything put together and ready for her and I to meet face to face. My boyfriend and I couldn’t wait to meet her nor could my family. We had all come together to prepare for her and Lily had more than enough stuff to last her till she was 2! The love she (and Matt and I) received was astounding. I was so ready to meet my daughter that by July the trunk already had our packed bags… Ready to leave at a moments notice. On July 3rd, ten days before my due date, I went in to my OBGYN appt as scheduled. I was having contractions and we were expecting our Doc to send us over to the OB unit at Bromen. What happened next changed everything.
    The doc asked her normal questions and then proceeded to find Lily’s heartbeat. The more time she spent the more nervous I got. When she said “this must be broken, lets try the ultrasound.” I knew. I just knew that everything had changed. When the ultrasound tech said there was no heartbeat I felt like my own heart had stopped. The doc said, ” Erica, I am sorry but this is what we call a Stillbirth. Your baby is gone.” I remember crying but then shock takes over. I stared, in a trance because that’s all I could do. I felt numb as Matt asked the doctor so many questions only to get the same answer. There is nothing that can be done. Could you imagine? Not being able to do anything to even try to save her? A week ago she was perfectly healthy… How does this happen?
    Later that evening I had a C-section. We finally met our sweet baby girl. She was truly the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on. We spent the night with her and then I had to do the hardest thing I have ever had to do… Hand my baby over to be taken to the funeral home. Literally letting go of the one I loved most. Luckily, Karen took pictures of our sleeping angel. She was a light in all the darkness. We had something we could remember her by.
    The next few days were a blur of funeral planning and grief. As the weeks went on more and more people stopped checking in on me. I don’t blame anyone. Grief is hard to be around… Hard to handle… Hard to talk about. I was consumed by it. I felt as though I was in an ocean. Alone on my own shabby raft to brave the cold, thrashing waves. I could see Matt off in the distance, struggling in his own raft. There was no way to reach him as I was struggling to stay alive. Months past and the storm seemed to settle slightly. But little did I know the worst was to come. I was lying about how bad I was… To everyone. Matt, my family, my therapist, and, the worst person, myself. I was still getting sick and no one knew why. When I got a new job at Starbucks, I broke. I was sick like in the beginning of my pregnancy with Lily. I was terrified. It hadn’t even been a year yet. It was a day in May of 2015 and I was working. I ended up getting sent home from getting sick. Then later that night I went to the ER. They did nothing besides give me more meds. I was so tired of being sick that I couldn’t take it anymore. I cut myself on my thighs in the shower. Superficial, but I still knew where this road would end. I asked to be taken to the ER to be admitted to the mental health unit. I spent 8 days at Bromen and I learned so much in that time. My life was completely changed. First a nurse noticed that I was making myself vomit. I would get nauseous from my anxiety and when I couldn’t take it anymore I would make myself get sick. Also, a Chaplin named Bob put grief into an analogy that forever changed my perception of it. He said, “When you are born, your life is like a huge mansion, waiting for you to experience each room. Relationships and moments in your life make up these rooms. When you experience a loss, often you shut the door to that room. In attempts to shut out the grief. This is something you cannot do. You close off parts of yourself to the world, you lie to yourself.” After that I knew he was correct. Not only had I done this with Lily but with all the loss in my life. I talked with Chaplin Bob later that night about what he had talked about in class that day. We talked about how instead of locking the room to never visit again, I locked myself in the room. Reliving the guilt and grief each day. And I totally agreed. I learned so much from people there and even made some (hopefully lifelong) friends.

    Now your wondering, “Well now what…” and that is precisely what I thought coming home from the hospital. How do I take that knowledge I learned and have it impact my life? How do you open up the room and deal with the grief?  It took work put it has a lot to do with finding things that make me happy. I started training my dog, Walter, to be a therapy dog. I started working for my dad and Windows, Doors, and More doing things I like to do. I take my medicine as prescribed. I enjoy time with my friends. I work on starting my non-profit,LilyPads, in honor of Lily. I talk about my daughter and consider myself a mom even without Lily here physically. Because I mom. Nothing will change that. If you are dealing with grief, of any sort, know you cannot run from it. It will never go away. You can only learn to live with it. Keep it along side you to remind you. Grief is a wound and although it will heal, you always have a scar. Know that there are others dealing with the similar issues. There is help and support. Even if it isn’t something you can see. 😉ReplyCancel

    • KarenOctober 8, 2015 - 6:55 am

      Bless your sweet heart. I know it has to be so hard. But it seems you are on the right track. Yes, you ARE a mom. Be thankful for that. Know that Im always here and do pray for you often. Hugs to you!ReplyCancel