May 28

Lost Ones

So, today, I had one of those moments that every baby loss parent dreads. I’ve read posts and articles by other BL moms, saying that they have panic attacks or ongoing anxiety, wrestling with fear over losing the children that they care for every day. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t struggle with this regularly, but today I had a particularly acute experience…

Being a holiday weekend, we’ve had cookouts with both sides of the family in the past few days. Today, we were spending time at one of those gatherings. My older son was trying to keep himself occupied, without having to be too involved with the younger kids. (He gets so impatient with them!) He decided he was done with what he had been up to, but he was bored doing nothing.

I was sitting in the living room, talking to another family member, when he came in and asked me for a third piece of cake. He got an attitude when I told him no, but I didn’t think much of it. That’s par for the course, with him. (He may not be very old, but he thinks he’s a miniature adult.)

Anyway, after a few minutes passed, I realized that I wasn’t sure where he’d gone. Hubby was in another room, there were some family members hanging out in other parts of the house, and the kids had been in and out of the house and garage all day. I figured he was hanging out with someone, but I decided to go check on him – more to make sure he wasn’t bothering anyone than because I was really worried about what he was up to.

My thought on the matter changed pretty quickly, though, when I realized that I couldn’t find him. I checked all the rooms of the house, including the basement and garage, walked all the way around the house twice, checked the outbuildings, everything. And no one else had seen him, either. At which point, all of the alarm bells in my head started screaming.

To be fair, I wasn’t in a total panic. There was an adult family member that no one could locate either, and he lived there, so we knew there was a good chance that our son had tagged along with him somewhere. Still, though, we’re talking about a house that isn’t terribly far off the road (not a busy one, but still), with woods behind (including steep hills and water), a pond to one side (a short walk away), a swimming pool (still covered, but not totally inaccessible)…

Eventually, Hubby ended up calling the adult family member, who confirmed that our son had gone for a walk. Relief does not begin to describe what I felt when I heard. Of course, that was immediately followed by the instinct to severely punish…

In the end, I ended up calmly explaining to our son that it isn’t okay for him to just wander off without telling anyone, even if he IS with someone that he knows. I made extremely sure to stay calm, because I wanted him to realize that I wasn’t acting out of anger or trying to make him feel guilty. In all honesty, I think my calmness made more of an impression on him than what I actually said. I think my husband is the only one who realized how upset I actually was (praise God! His grace is the only thing that kept me from totally flipping out!).

It really wasn’t a big deal. He took a walk. With a grown-up. That we trust. In a place that said grown-up was super familiar with. But when you don’t know where your child is…

I firmly believe that ALL of my children are safe in the Lord’s care. However, as a babyloss mom, I know what it feels like to have to give one back. Having full-term plus 53 days is a lot harder, in some ways, than only a few weeks after conception. In those same ways, a few extra years, time to get to know, without time to see any fruition of the potential… I shudder to even think about what we would have done if that phone call had ended differently today.

It’s been my experience, as a bereaved parent, that, where my other kids are concerned, the simple things are never simple. I’m often surprised, though, to find how simple the “complicated” things are. I think, as parents, worry is just a part of life – or concern, at the very least. It’s interesting, though, to note how the concerns are different for us.

The way things play out is often different, too, though. OUR sons understand that they aren’t immortal, and that people – even young people – can die. They understand that, even if they don’t do anything wrong, bad things can still happen to them. The one that gave me such a scare today misses his baby sister every single day, and she never did anything wrong. So when I explained to him that I’m not ready to give another one of my babies back yet, he doesn’t think I’m being dramatic and trying to scare him. Sadly, he gets it. And, while that breaks my heart, I’ll take it, because it might help keep HIM from breaking my heart.

May 28

Memorial Day

To all of the veterans out there: Thank you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for being willing to do things that I cannot imagine to see your countrymen take their freedoms for granted. Thank you for not getting discouraged and giving up. Thank you for making me proud to be an American. And thank you for my freedoms: freedom of speech, so that I can post what I choose; freedom of religion, so that I can launch a ministry publicly; and freedom of assembly, so that I can gather with others and exercise these freedoms. Thank you.

In keeping with the themes of this blog/ministry: a special thank you to all of the moms (and dads!) who are honoring the memories of their sons and daughters today. Thank you for being the only ones who gave more.

May 23

Rainbows and Baseball

Rainbow at the baseball field

Rainbow at the baseball field

I know I already posted today, but…

Our two sons had their first t-ball game tonight. They were so excited. The weather was sketchy all day, but it hadn’t rained yet, so we went to the ball field at the scheduled time. Still no rain.

Just as the game was supposed to start, the clouds let loose. It poured, but only for about two minutes. The players and coaches huddled in the dugout, the rest of us got as close as we could to the utility shed and concession stand. It was warm and the sun was still shining, so most of us didn’t really mind that much.

When it was over, though…the still shining sun did its water magic and we saw the most amazing rainbow. It was brilliant, the brightest colors I think I’ve ever seen, a perfect bow, directly over the concession stand – the only place on the horizon without trees. God is SO amazing!

At this point, all of us pointing, staring, oohing and aahing, I did something I generally try not to do. I told my boys something that probably isn’t strictly true, doctrinally. I told them that the rainbow meant that Zoe was watching their first baseball game.

Now, I understand that the purpose of rainbows is to remind us about God’s covenant with Noah and His promise to never again destroy the Earth by flood. I also know that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the question of what those who are currently in Heaven are doing and if they’re able to see what’s going on here.

Personally, I don’t believe they’re watching us all the time. I do believe, though, that they’re still connected to us, and I would like to believe that they can see some things. I know that Christ is watching me and they are with Him. Also, Hebrews 12 says that we are “surrounded” by a “cloud of witnesses”, which it fairly plainly describes as the saints who’ve gone before us.

Anyway, I just wanted my boys to know that, whether their little sister can see them or not, I know that Zoe still loves them. I believe that, if there’s any way she can, she would want to be involved in the important events of their lives. So, in whatever way, I really think that she was watching. And if I choose to remember her when God gives signs to remind us of His promises, I don’t think that’s wrong. My hopes for her are just as wrapped up in those promises as my hopes for the Earth. Even more.

May 22

The Silent Epidemic

I got up this morning and, as I often do, I checked out some of the sites that I have bookmarked as ministry resources, to see who had something new posted. One of the sites I checked out was SGM – specifically, Kelly’s blog (see link in sidebar; click on “Blog”).

In Kelly’s latest post, SGM announces the release of a new miscarriage resource (available from their website, free of cost to bereaved families), which they’ve been anticipating for some time now. I’m excited for their continued growth and development. It’s always an amazing thing to see what God is doing!

One of the things that Kelly shares, in her post, is the story of a woman named Stacie, who experienced several miscarriages early on in her marriage. I had the privelege of meeting Stacie, the last time I was at SGM, and hearing her story firsthand. It was absolutely unbelievable.

Hearing about Stacie’s experience was both heartbreaking and enraging. Even if there is disagreement about when life begins (at fertilization!) and what exactly a miscarriage is (some believe it is simply the body expelling tissue that is incompatible with the mother’s health), every miscarriage results in a woman who needs care. Even someone who does not subscribe to the sanctity of human life would surely agree that a woman deserves dignity, compassionate and comprehensive care, and acknowledgement! Many women don’t get these things, though. My own family and friends who have been through similar situations have not always, either. Just like Stacie.

I think, maybe, what stands out most to me is the realization that there are so many women out there! Miscarriage is the most common form of infant loss; some experts estimate that one in four women will experience miscarriage, while others suggest that most women will experience at least one miscarriage (often before even realizing they are pregnant) during their childbearing years. Yet we, as a community and a culture, a society in general, do not know how to handle this very common reality.

It saddens me that we live in a world where we are so consumed with our own comfort that we cannot allow someone else to hurt. Many women who have suffered miscarriage do not speak of it; some are not even allowed to acknowledge their loss. Even if the grieving mother (and that is what she is!) does acknowledge the loss, she is often the only one who will. And even more fathers are left to grieve silently, because we cannot or will not acknowledge that they have even experienced a loss. And it only gets worse with time. Since we do not allow them time to grieve, they do not get to heal, either.

My two miscarriages were very early. The first time, I was not even aware that I was pregnant; I just knew something was happening. The second time around, it was devastating, because we had been trying to get pregnant. When we found we had conceived Zoe, it was a very hard moment: it had only been 2 1/2 months since the last miscarriage; we were afraid to hope.

I cannot imagine what it is like for all of the families who have lost their eagerly anticipated first child, either through miscarriage or later loss. I do not know the devastation of losing that hoped-for child, knowing that he or she was the last hope for parenting a precious son or daughter. All of our losses were experienced after we already had two happy, healthy little boys.

I do know what it’s like, though, to be afraid to hope for a healty baby. I know what it’s like to be fairly certain that she is the last sweet baby I will have the privilege of being mother to. I know what it’s like, too, to be conscious of the fact that I am flushing my baby away, with the entire world around me completely oblivious. I know what it’s like to sit at a baby shower, celebrating the coming birth of the first child of someone close, knowing, all the while, that my body is rejecting the opportunity to provide life for my own baby.

Losing a child is heart-wrenching experience. I was not as affected by my early miscarriages, but that was only because I was not (yet) as invested in those babies. I was still their mother; they were still my children; and I still felt their loss. I still mourned their passing. I just didn’t have as much company. Or, unfortunately, as much compassion.

I am honored to have had the privilege of hearing Stacie’s story from her own lips. I am outraged and deeply sorrowful at the treatment she, and so many others, received. The stories I’ve heard, as well as the ones I’ve lived, are not encouraging. My prayer, today, is that God would help us learn to acknowledge this epidemic, so that we can begin to understand how to better relate to its victims. No grieving person should ever be denied the opportunity to grieve just because we don’t understand their loss. May God forgive us our selfishness! And may He offer the comfort that we have denied these women and families.

May 20

Ministry update

In the midst of the emotional turmoil of the last week and a half, I’ve been busy with other things, to0.

For one thing, I went back to Deshler. On the eleventh, Sufficient Grace Ministries held a training/informational seminar. I was encouraged by the fellowship and time of sharing. I also learned a few things that will be extremely helpful. There were some questions I would have liked to have answered, but there are still some gray areas there. All in all, though, it was an amazing day and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Even if the Lord doesn’t lead me to partner with SGM, there’s a very real possibility that regular trips to their offices will be on my schedule. Kelly and Holly are amazing women, and I have not met a single volunteer from SGM that hasn’t made an impression on me.

I’ve been hard at work on some other things, too. I’ve been continuing to do research and develop resources. As always, I’ve been reading and studying, Scripture and additional resources (everything from children’s stories to “this is what happened to me” to clinical perspectives on associated issues). I’ve acquired more resource materials to sample, from various sources, including some material targeted at fathers. (For those of you who are interested in what I am/have been reading, I’m working on getting some of that up here on the blog…I just need a little more patience from you!)

The biggest thing I’m working on right now (which I would really appreciate your prayers for) is ministry foundations. In order to procure financial support, I need to develop a formal presentation, including a mission statement, purpose statement, long- and short-term goals, budget, etc. While I am confident in the Lord’s ability to work me through this, it is an intimidating process. I have support and assistance through the process, but it’s a big job. I would ask for your prayers as I seek wisdom and guidance, as well as finding a balance between what I believe God wants to do through this ministry and what I can realistically ask others to support. Presentations always involve some politics and persuasion, which I have never been very comfortable with.

Thank you for your prayers and support. I’ll try to keep you more up to date. Lord willing, I’ll be back a little sooner next time. ‘Till then…

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

May 20

Mother’s Day (and other emotional events)

Wow. Has it really been that long since I posted? Okay, well this is way overdue, so here goes.

The reason I haven’t posted recently is because I haven’t really known what to say. My blog is supposed to be about hope in the midst of grief and finding reasons to praise God even when things look really bad. Lately, though, I haven’t felt much like praising. It’s been an emotional couple of weeks for me.

Mother’s Day was a week ago yesterday. Three years ago, the day after Mother’s Day, I found out that something was wrong with my unborn baby. This weekend, we celebrated our youngest son’s fifth birthday. The day after his second birthday, we heard that our daughter probably had Trisomy-18. On Wednesday, we attended his preschool graduation program. I’m not one of those super-emotional moms who gets sad and mopey every time my kids pass a milestone. But it’s hard not to get emotional when you know it’s your last preschool event and it’s not your baby. It’s just one of those reminders about what we’ve lost.

I think, though, one of the most bittersweet moments, in the last week and a half, was when his little friend came out for the graduation program. She is the most adorable little girl, the perfect blend of sweetness and spunk, always with a smile on her face. She’s been one of his best friends, this year, so we’ve spent time getting to know her at field trips and class activities. When she came out the other night, she was wearing the sweetest little dress, in my favorite colors… It ripped my heart out.

I always wanted to be that mom. My little girl(s?) was going to have handmade frilly dresses for all of her special occassions. She was going to have bows in her hair and little purses and fancy shoes. When we found out Zoe was going to be a girl, I was ecstatic. That weekend was one of the best weekends of my life! And then I went for my follow-up, Monday: the day after Mother’s Day.

As if all of those things weren’t enough, I’ve also been super busy. And working on this kind of ministry makes Mother’s Day a thousand times more emotional. My husband got me a fabulous gift this year, and my boys are always so sweet about Mother’s Day. Still, though, I spent Mother’s Day with an overwhelming burden for the families who are wrestling with decisions about the fate of their unborn babies. What a Mother’s Day present.

As emotional as all of these things have been for me, there’s been a much greater effect on me. Instead of allowing these things to bring me down, I’ve been able to direct that emotional energy into the development of a new ministry. I am more resolved than ever, by the grace of my awesome God, that I will do whatever I can to make sure that other families do not feel the isolation that we felt. The stats about the difference that a little support makes are staggering. If God can use me to move that number towards life…if He allows me to interact with families who are being blessed by those precious moments…if He chooses to use our story to help someone else choose the amazing blessing that they thought was not available to them…what an honor!

I am overwhelmed by the burden He has given me to come alongside families and help them through such sacred, uncharted territory. I am humbled by the knowledge that my willingness to be used by God may mean the difference between life and death. I rejoice for every moment I got to spend with my sweet little Zoe-girl. I’ve always known that her life made a difference. Now I have the opportunity to honor her and glorify God by extending that difference. I’m just praying that I don’t get in God’s way.

So, to all the moms reading this: Happy Mother’s Day. Even if your children aren’t in your care, you’re still their mommy. For whatever time they were ours to hold, we are grateful. We would never have chosen to give them back so soon, but we wouldn’t change it, and we wouldn’t change them. We couldn’t love them anymore, so what would it matter?

May 11

Innocence…

headstone

“When your baby dies, you lose your innocence.”  – Deborah L. Davis

The year that I turned 21, when my husband was my boyfriend and then my fiance, when most of my friends were single, when college was a certainty and not a hope, when children were a distant future…

I spent a year, back then, with a traveling ministry, going into local churches, with a team of other young adults, led by a married couple, as a singer. There were eight of us (singers), along with seven other young adults. We spent a lot of time singing together, rehearsing and just hanging out. It was a kind of intimate corporate worship for us, eight voices blended, by the grace of God, in an amazing harmony.

While I was at my ladies’ Bible study this morning, one of the other ladies said something that got me thinking about a particular rehearsal time. It seems, now, like such a long time ago. Years have passed, but the reason it seems so far has nothing to do with time. It’s about innocence.

We were at a local church in a small town outside of Richmond, Virginia. There wasn’t a lot of room inside the church, particularly during the day, when the rooms were used as a Christian school. The weather was mild, though, being early fall, so we spent some time outside, when we could.

The church was fairly small, but set in a beautiful location. It was an old building, having been there for generations. Behind the building, in a low spot behind the hill, there was a small graveyard. Several of us explored it during our free time, being struck by the number of children that were buried there. In the early generations of the church, old age was not a common thing; infant mortality was.

On one particular afternoon, our music director, having been exploring the little graveyard, decided to change up our regular afternoon schedule.  After rehearsing our usual songs on the stage in the auditorium, he took us out behind the church. As we stood around the stones in the graveyard, we began to speculate about the story of the name on a particular marker. I don’t remember much, just that it was a very young boy. After a short time, we sang a few songs, having a sweet time of worship together before we went back inside.

Every so often, I remember that afternoon. I remember it, now, through the lens of experience. Losing a young child is no longer something that I speculate on. As I think about the innocence of that afternoon, for all of us, it’s almost heartbreaking. How I wish that I was still blissfully unaware of the sharpness of the story behind the name on that stone!

The innocence of those days is not something that I regret, by any stetch of the imagination. We may have been naive or sheltered; I don’t know. I do know that I am sorry my children will not have that innocence when they reach young adulthood. I have been unable to shelter them from the pain of that kind of loss. I am grateful that, in their extreme youth, they will not remember the sharp sting of the pain. But they have been robbed of an innocence.

The time of worship that we had, that afternoon, was one of the sweetest that we had all year. But, as I look back, through the lens of experience, I cannot think of it without grieving for what my children have been robbed of. I pray that the experience breeds compassion in them and not bitterness. If the loss of their innocence breeds compassion, it still cannot make up for what they have been robbed of. By the grace of God, though, it may not be all bad.  I can only hope and pray.

Ministry update: I am going back to SGM on Saturday, to find out more about the ministry and learn about what they are going to be doing in this area. I had a meeting, this week, with my pastor, to update him on what I’ve been doing, which went very well. I am continuing to gather/create resources and information, at an incredible rate, and am excited to see where the Lord leads! Please keep me in your prayers!

May 07

What a Weekend!

Okay!  I was planning to include all of this in my last post, but decided it would be better to make them separate, in the interest of keeping things managable.

I mentioned that I was going to be participating in a workday at a perinatal hospice ministry on Saturday, and that I participated with a pregnancy and infant loss support ministry.  Here’s the deal:

Saturday morning, I got up stupid early to drive to Deshler, Ohio (way West of where I live) to head over to the offices of Sufficient Grace Ministries.  (You can check out their website and blog at: www.sufficientgraceministries.org )  They were meeting from 9-11 AM to work on their Comfort Bears, which they distribute, free of charge, to bereaved families.  As a babyloss mom, I got a bear and a memory book, as well. (Thank you, Kelly!)  Kelly Gerken (founder/director of SGM) sat and talked with me for quite some time and then I was able to sit and help stuff some of the Comfort Bears that they were working on.

Kelly Gerken (left) and me at SGM

Kelly Gerken (left) and me at SGM

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My mom went with me and we had a sweet time of fellowship.  It was great to sit down and talk to someone who understands what it means to be a babyloss mom.  It was also a huge blessing to be able to talk to someone who has been down the road of starting this kind of ministry.  We had a lot of questions, a lot of things to talk about, and a sweet time of prayer before we left.

It was hard, too, in some ways.  There were some questions that Kelly couldn’t answer for me…there will always be questions that no one can answer.  It also brought up some emotions that I hadn’t seen in a while.  Honestly, I didn’t realize how empty my arms have been, until she handed me that bear.  Wow.

Our Comfort Bear, wrapped in Zoe's blanket.

Our Comfort Bear, wrapped in Zoe’s blanket.

Anyway (sniff)…a prayer request.  Kelly’s ministry (Sufficient Grace) is looking to expand, opening branches across Ohio, and even into other states.  They are already working with someone in the Ashland area, to open an office near here.  We are all praying fervently for the Lord to lead, none of us wanting to limit what He wants to do, but partnering with them is a very real possibility for me.  I would ask for your prayers, as well.  I want to go where He leads.  I have reasons for joining SGM and reasons not to, but I want the Holy Spirit to give me guidance, not a list of reasons that aren’t that important.  I may be going back over to SGM (soon!) to discuss the possibility in a little more detail.  “If any among you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally and does not hold back” (James 1).

In addition to my time at SGM, I had a few other things to rejoice about this weekend.  On Saturday, I received permission from Focus on the Family to reprint a booklet that they used to print (I don’t have permission to distribute copies online, but you can find it at www.Heartlink.org  It’s called “Permission to Grieve.”)  I was also able to talk with a man in our church, Doug Knox, and get permission to use an excerpt from his book “Faith, Hope, and Grief” for a brochure.  I am hoping to be able to post the brochure as a pdf file in the next few days, for anyone interested in looking it over.  It’s targeted at people who are trying to relate/minister to the bereaved.  For more on Doug’s ministry, you can check him out at www.DouglasKnox.com  (Here on Word Press!)

I think that’s most of the relevant info from this weekend.  Thanks for your prayers…I’ll let you know if I think of anything else!

May 07

…In a Fallen World

There’s a lot on my heart and mind today.  I’ve had a full weekend.  It’s been busy, but that’s not what’s going on in my world right now.  I’m actually thinking about the subtitle of my blog: “living hopefully in a fallen world.”

I’ve spent a lot of time, since Zoe’s death, thinking about what it means to live in a fallen world.  Obviously, death is a big part of it.  It means that I’m a bereaved mother.  Babies can be born with fatal physical defects.  It means that two-year-old boys can die in tragic accidents.  It means that there are needs for organizations that specialize in pregnancy and infant loss services.  It means having arms that ache, because they’re empty of the babies that are supposed to be there.  Our babies didn’t die because we did something wrong, or because we would have, given the opportunity.  They died because our world is Fallen.  It’s full of fatal flaws, because Man sinned, Humanity fell, and the entire Creation fell under the Curse.  It’s not just us; all of Creation is subject to the consequences of sin.  Animals find their nests empty, too.

The Fallenness of Creation goes a lot farther than just death, though.  It’s the reason that my 2 month old niece was just diagnosed with one of the same congenital heart defects that my own precious Zoe suffered from.  It’s why her older sister’s body can’t process the food that she eats. It’s why things break down over time, including bodies.  Virtually every illness can be traced to the breakdown in DNA and genetic material through generations, all the way back to that moment – the Fall – when everything started to, literally, FALL apart.

Living in a Fallen world means that our children get bumps and scrapes.  It means that we, as responsible parents, have to discipline our children.  It means that they defy us, they choose to rebel, just as we chose to rebel, just us their own children will choose to rebel, someday.  It means that there are stuggles in every area of our lives.

Living in a Fallen world means that our relationships take work.  It means that we struggle as parents – both because our children (and their parents!) are sinful and because we have to watch them suffer.  It means that we struggle to be friends, taking offenses, misunderstanding the motives of others…  It means that we struggle in our marriages, never seeming to quite be able to grasp and meet the deepest needs of those that mean the most to us.

Living in a Fallen world means that we struggle in our relationship with the Lord.  It means that, even if we are able to maintain, by His grace, a close relationship with Him, it still falls short.  It means that we become angry with Him, blaming Him for things that He never intended for us.

I’ve been struggling, these past few days, with that Fallenness.  I’ve been facing renewed grief in regard to my own loss.  Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the loss of some close friends of ours, their little one’s Forever Day.  Our niece’s heart defect was diagnosed this morning.  I spent Saturday morning at the offices of a perinatal loss ministry, participating in some of the work they do there and talking about the losses that so many of us have experienced.  I’ve been confused, discouraged, depressed, and I’ve been hurting.  More than I have in quite some time.

There’s more to living in a Fallen world, though.  We have hope!  We believe that our precious Zoe is waiting for us, with our dear Savior, to share eternity with us.  We believe that our other children are not hopelessely lost, that our discipline and love for them are not in vain, but have an expected end.  Our future is not uncertain.

One of the things that came up, this weekend, was that God’s glory is of utmost importance.  We know that Creation is Fallen.  So, what do we do with that?  The Westminister Chatechism states that the chief end of man is “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”   How does taht relate to our Fallenness?  Well, I think that it comes down to being able to recognize the opportunities in the Fallenness.  Where is our focus?  Do we concentrate on the horrific fact that there is necessity for pregnancy and infant loss ministry?  Or do we embrace the opportunity to reach out to those who are suffering from the Fall and show them the love of Christ?  Do we concentrate on the tragedy of lives cut short? Or do we focus on the precious value of every minute of every day that we have with the precious relationships that remain to us?

I know taht it sounds pithy to just say “Focus on the positive.”  That isn’t my point here, at all.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes the pithy things have a good foundation.  The old acronym for joy – Jesus, Others, You – is a really simple thing to say.  And it’s not that simple, a lot of the time.  But there’s a point to it.  And it matters.

I genuinely believe that, sometimes, God is more glorified in the way we respond to suffering than He would be in miraculously causing the suffering to cease.  And I have yet to meet someone who has survived suffering, in any positive way, without reaching out to others.  Regardless of what it costs them, as an individual.  The only way to be able to live hopefully in a Fallen world is to understand the ultimate order of the most important pieces of the Universe.  Christ said that the first commandment was to love the Lord, with the second to love others as ourselves: Jesus, Others, You.  The secret to joy has never been a secret.  The secret to living hopefully has never been a secret, either.

No one is perfect, and I’m not saying I have the formula for anything.  It’s an easy thing to say that I understand what I’m supposed to be doing.  It’s another thing, entirely, to say that I can do it.  I started out with honesty: I’ve been struggling.  I still am.  It’s a lot easier to wallow in my own pain, oblivious to the needs of others.  But it doesn’t help.  So, instead of choosing to focus on myself, I’m trying to get it turned back around.  It would be a lot easier, but joy doesn’t start with a ‘Y’.

May 01

Prayer Request

Okay, everyone… (or at least the five people who read this!)

I said I would be posting ministry updates here, for those who want to follow what I’m up to.  I’ve been busy in the past few days.  I’ve gotten permission to use some new resources. I’ve gotten my hands on some things to use at my discretion.  I’ve ordered some of the resources that are available (free of cost) to bereaved parents (like me).  I’ve gotten in touch with several area organizations and gotten some additional information from them.  All of that is “boring business stuff”, though.

Here’s what’s really on my heart today.  On Saturday, I have the opportunity to participate in a volunteer workday with an established ministry.  I’m going to be involved in the hands-on side of the ministry, as well as taking some time to sit down and talk with the founder/director.  That’s exciting.  There’s more to it than that, though.  There’s a possiblity that there might be an opportunity to get involved with the ministry.  They are looking to expand and extend their outreach closer to our area.  I’m not certain that they are thinking to reach the area we’re in, which is not currently covered by any of the area organizations, but I plan to find out.

Here’s where I’m begging for your prayers: whatever the organization’s plans are, I don’t want to do anything other than what the Lord has for me.  There are arguments for both sides of this decision, should it arise, but my desire is for God’s will to be the deciding factor.  He’s been leading me, in very obvious ways, every step of the way, to this point.  I want to have the same kind of peace about this decision.  Talking with their director could give me a lot of clarity, but I still want the Lord to be the influencer of the decision.  Please pray that, if there is an opportunity, I would choose His path, not my own or someone else’s.

In addition, I have, through further research, found a training opportunity that I am very interested in.  However, there is a moderate financial consideration.  Scholarships are available, so I can apply to have the cost covered, but there is no way to know if I would be chosen to receive the funds.  I am prayerfully considering applying for the course and would greatly appreciate your prayers, as well.  I want to go where the Lord wants me, with the training and skills that He provides for me.  I really feel led to take this course, but I’m not certain that now is the right time.

In the meantime, I’m continuing to work on things.  Phone calls, e-mails, meetings, research…I’m keeping busy.  I’ll keep you updated on how things are going, as promised, as well as posting as a loss mom.  I appreciate your prayers and support.  Talk to you soon!