Rejoicing today in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!
And saying a special prayer for all those families spending baby’s first Christmas with empty arms. For everyone missing someone this Christmas, you are not alone.
Rejoicing today in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!
And saying a special prayer for all those families spending baby’s first Christmas with empty arms. For everyone missing someone this Christmas, you are not alone.
First of all, by way of an update: I had a ministry meeting on Thursday. It went really well. We have an idea of where we’re going now! Hooray! We have a little bit of a timeline, too. We’re looking to make a presentation in mid-January. If that goes well and we get approval, we’ll have another in mid- to late February. If all goes well (please pray!) everything will be official by spring of next year. Exciting…and scary…and…a really good exercise in trusting God to work out the details the way that He wants!
I have been contacted twice, in the last two weeks, by people asking prayer for families who have been walking through loss. I started keeping track of where some of our resources have been going and I was surprised. I’ve been the one doing all of the distribution, but I just didn’t pay enough attention to realize how far we’re spread out, already. That’s exciting! Also, it’s very humbling. God has allowed me to be involved in what He’s doing, and that’s no small thing.
I also wanted to let you know, in case anyone is interested, that I found some merchandise I’m excited about. I’ve been aware of www.cafepress.com for some time, but I was doing a little shopping around, this week, and realized something I didn’t know before. Cafepress sells Trisomy-18 awareness merchandise! They also have merchandise with T-21 (Down syndrome) and T-13 awareness messages (some of them are super cool!). They sell t-shirts, bracelets, coffee mugs, coasters, key chains, and all kinds of other things. They have onesies (bodysuits) that say “Compatible with Life”. I LOVE IT!!!!!! Even if your family is dealing with other issues, they have all kinds of awareness merchandise. I’ll post a picture of my bracelet, when it comes in. I can’t wait!
It’s been an interesting few days around our house. Let me start by saying that Thanksgiving has been hard, for the last few years. In 2009, we miscarried at the beginning of November. In 2010, we had Zoe, but she was no longer with us at Thanksgiving. That was a really difficult blow for me, because my greatest desire was for her to spend Christmas with us. I was angry, that Thanksgiving. And the next one…
At any rate, what I’m trying to get at is that this Thanksgiving was different. In February, my brother’s second daughter was born. In a lot of ways, she’s my rainbow. I don’t think I really understood how important that was. Until I realized that, for the first time, I’m looking forward to Christmas. If you’ve been where I am, you’ll understand when I say: that’s hard, in its own way. Overall, though, it’s an amazing thing. I didn’t think I would ever be excited about Christmas.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas! It’s my favorite holiday. I know that it isn’t about presents or decorations or music or any of those other things. I get that it’s about celebrating the greatest gift that mankind has ever received: the Lord Jesus Christ! Even when I can’t get excited about it, I’m still excited about it. 🙂 I mean, hello!: it’s Christmas! But it’s been different, the last few years. I haven’t been able to get into the “Christmas spirit”. And the idea that it’s all centered around the birth of a child… Well, let’s just say it’s been rough. It’s different this year, though. Praise God!
This was the first Thanksgiving, in recent history, that I didn’t have to make a choice to be thankful. Gratitude is always a choice, but I didn’t have to think about it this year. That was an amazing gift. I was absolutely reveling in it. I even did the shopping thing, the one that only crazy people do. And I enjoyed it! (And yes, for those of you who are wondering, I am almost done.)
On Friday evening, as I was sitting with my family, I got a text message from a friend. One of her dear friends, she had just learned, had spent Thanksgiving day in still birth. Talk about a deflation! My joy didn’t disappear (praise God! that’s huge!), but my excitement sure vanished. I was exhausted, after shopping all day, but instantly focused in a way I have seldom been.
It’s been over three days, and I still cannot stop thinking about the family. Their holiday will never be the same. Kelly Gerken (from SGM) calls it “the sacred place where heaven and earth meet” and talks about entering in, with families, to the place where they meet Jesus. I pray that this is the experience that this family had. I have prayed, many times, in these days, for the needs they’re experiencing right now. And my heart is so heavy for them. I pray that the Lord will use the package we shipped out to minister to the needs that only He can see. I would ask your prayers for them, as well, please. They need all the support they can get, right now. They have five other small children, as well, who need grace and understanding. My children have been a blessing, while I have grieved, but my grieving has not left them unharmed. They need our prayers!
Please continue to pray, too, for the ministry. The Lord is moving. I cannot see, at this point, exactly where and how, but I can see things popping up and I know that He is in them. Please pray that, as things begin to happen and move, we make decisions that honor and glorify Him, not just further our own agendas. The greatest desire of my heart is to glorify Him by serving others, not to get our name on the map. I would much rather have people know the ministry than my name. And if they’re only going to call on one name, His is the best one.
I have so much more on my heart, but I’m out of time, for now. Please pray with us.
By His grace and for His glory!
Wow! I can’t believe it’s already been over a week since my last post. For those of you who have been concerned that I went off the deep end, please forgive me. I appreciate your concern and am touched that you care enough to be worried for me. On the whole, aside from the emotional roller coaster, I actually had a great week. I just (purposely) didn’t have any time for blogging. I find that busyness is an effective coping mechanism, particularly when I need some distraction.
The Lord has really been blessing me, over these past few weeks. I am feeling so encouraged and so humbled! Please keep praying for the ministry. There are some very important things in the works right now, as well as some major decisions, and I really need the Lord’s wisdom. We have some amazing opportunities right now, but I want to do what’s best and what will glorify the Lord, not just the things that I think would be cool.
I mentioned, a moment ago, that I am feeling humbled…our God is SO good! I have had several people tell me, over the last few months, that they admire the strength I have shown over the last four years. That’s humbling in itself. I really feel that if people are seeing me handle things with grace, it’s because the Lord is only showing them what is most glorifying to Him, hiding me altogether – I am NOT that person! What’s even more humbling, though, for me, is that it’s almost always been people that I admire. It’s interesting when you’re having a conversation with someone who thinks you’re doing such a good job and all you can think is: “Lord, I don’t know if I could do what they do.” It’s such a blessing to know that He gives each of us a sufficient measure of grace for our own situation, not for our imagined version of someone else’s. Scripture never advocates personal comparison. It’s little wonder; when we spend time wondering “How does so-and-so do that?”, it moves our focus off the Lord and onto ‘so-and-so’.
The Lord has been teaching me, of late, in a very real, practical, applicable way, what it means to belong. About a year ago, when I was doing some Christmas shopping, I found a necklace that I instantly fell in love with. It’s a simple pendant, shaped either as a feather or a leaf. I’m not completely sure, because it’s very ambiguous. Actually, that’s one of the reasons I like it so much. The reason I was instantly drawn to it, though, was because of the imprint on the back. In small, unassuming print, there is given a Scripture reference, accompanied by three words: “I AM HIS”. That’s all it says. When I came across the pendant, I was desperately in need of a reminder that Someone had chosen me. I found a great deal of comfort in those three little words. As time has passed, though, He has really been laying something else on my heart.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Paul is encouraging believers not to value their own lives above sharing the message of Christ Jesus. In this context, though, those three little words, “I am His”, take on a whole new meaning.
It seems like it would be constrictive, doesn’t it? To be owned by another person, answerable for every single moment of your day. It’s a big responsibility. As He has been teaching me, though, one of the things that has been constantly overwhelming to me is the relief that comes with it. I have accountability before others, as everyone should, at times. We all need that. But what a peace to know that, at the end of the day, while I am responsible for my actions, I am not accountable for working out any of the details. Just like a servant is only accountable for his own actions and responsibilities, it’s not my job to work out the how. All I have to answer for is whether or not I did what He asked me to do. And He is GOOD!
The Scriptural picture that we have, from the Old Testament, is a servant, in the nation of Israel, who had finished his contract (either by paying off his debt or by reaching the end of his agreed upon time of service). The picture, though, is of the man who, having fulfilled this contract, chooses not to leave. Instead of walking away, claiming freedom and the opportunity to build his own life, he chooses, having developed a relationship with the Master, to stay and continue serving the man he has come to respect and trust. That’s what God wants with us. The question, then, becomes a simple one: do I trust and respect Him enough to choose submission? Wow. Simple, but not easy!
Thank you for reading my blog. I hope that it’s been an encouragement to you!
By His grace,
and For His glory,
Well, as usual, it’s been longer than I intended between posts. One of these days, I’ll get a better handle on that. In the meantime, just keep checking back!
I wanted to update you on some of the things that have been going on. I’m still working on administrative stuff. I do have a few things taken care of. Mostly, I’m waiting on some other people (which, in ministry terms, translates to: my timing is not always God’s timing!). Things have been a little slow, over the summer, but they’re really starting to pick up again.
I’m hoping to keep them moving, over the next few weeks. I have some meetings scheduled already, and I’m hoping to get some other things set up. Lord willing, I’m finally starting to get some goals projected. Some of the things I thought I had under control have taken on a life of their own, but in a good way. God is moving.
My biggest prayer request, at the moment, is for people. I’m praying that God will put the right people in the right places at the right times, and that He would lay on their hearts what He wants them to be involved with. I’m already communicating with a few people, but there are a lot more that He’s been laying on my heart. Please pray that I would be sensitive to His leading.
Also, there is someone that I need sensitivity and wisdom in approaching. I know how the Lord is leading me, as far as they are concerned, but I’m not exactly sure where their heart is. My prayer is that He would go before me, preparing hearts and minds, but this one is a little different. I believe that He has been preparing this person, but there are some other issues involved. So, I would really appreciate your prayers.
The Lord has been opening some amazing doors, over the past few weeks, and I’m really excited to see where He will be leading next. My research is expanding through various avenues, which is helpful, and feedback has been increasing. I’m also becoming aware of more and more bereaved families – and more areas where this issue is not being ministered to in our community. Please continue to pray with me, as I allow the Lord to build a foundation for ministry here.
This is Tuesday, October 15. The United States recognizes today as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. There have been events across the nation this past weekend, offering people the opportunity to honor thier little lost ones and fellowship with others who share the scars.
October, in fact, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, declared by Ronald Reagan, during his presidency. It’s been a busy month, for me, and it’s only half over!
I wanted to let all of those who are remembering their precious little ones today know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. I am teaching my children to pray for you. You are not alone.
To that end, I would like to extend an invitation. At seven o’clock this evening, an event known as the International Wave of Light will take place. People around the world will be lighting candles, in memory of their lost infants. You are asked to leave the candle burning for at least one hour. As each time zone approaches seven, the light continues burning for the next hour. This way, a continual chain of light will burn for 24 hours. I am going to be participating in the Wave of Light, and I would like to invite you to join me. Even if you have (or are planning to) participated in an event for the Day of Remembrance, I would love to be able to share this evening with you.
I know that those of you who read and/or follow seldom post, but I’d love to know if you’re joining me.
By His grace, and for His glory.
A small jar for my little Zoë-girl, and two even smaller ones for the precious little ones I never got to meet. If you’re reading this update, you were in my prayers today. <<Hugs>>
I am so excited! I just have to share this. I just got a phone call. Someone who is familiar with the ministry just called to ask for some of our resources! Obviously, there is sadness involved, because someone they care about is experiencing loss (please pray!). But it’s a very exciting day for me. This is a big step: our first call requesting resources and materials!
God’s timing is never what I expect, and things have been all over the place this summer. But He’s obviously doing something, so I’m excited to see what happens next. I’m excited to have you along for this crazy ride, and appreciate your prayers more than I could ever say. God is always working! I can’t wait to see what He does next!
Today is the beginning of the month. This means a fresh start. Or something like that. So, here we are.
We’re still working on ministry things. While on vacation, I was able to reach out to some friends. An update on Baby Vanessa (the baby girl I mentioned, earlier this summer, with Trisomy-18) : she has not had heart surgery yet, but she’s still hanging in there. She’s been home, but only for short periods of time (from what I understand). I keep thinking about her father, a guy I knew when he was in junior high, and wondering about the young man he’s become and how he’s doing with all of it. It’s a lot. I’ve been keeping him in my prayers, along with the rest of the family. Please keep them in your prayers, too.
As far as moving the ministry forward, things are moving a little slower, at this point. We’re still working on getting an advisory board together. The Lord has laid some names on my heart, but there have been some issues with timing, so we’re just waiting for Him to get things in order. I’m a little frustrated, but I want what He wants to do, so I’ll wait.
I have a lot more to say, but it’s very late, and I have to teach tomorrow, so I’ll have to post again later. For now, I’m looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store in this new month. By His grace and for His glory!
by the way, for anyone who might be interested: when I logged on to post, the Molly Bears order form was open.
So…First, I would just like to say that this is not my best artwork ever. That being said, it is from the heart, and I wanted something, for this post, that would express where I am right now. Which this does.
It all started at the beginning of the week, when I found myself in a very uncomfortable position. It has to do with entering in to where someone else is and sharing it with them – whatever it is. Sometimes, there are things that you can share alongside, but you cannot really enter in unless it is a place you have been before, on your own. Other times we cannot truly enter in because the person is too vulnerable to really open the door to us. Usually, though, the only thing that keeps us from entering is our own unwillingness.
As I am entering into a minstry that focuses on and reaches out to families who are hurting, I have spent a lot of time, over the last few months, in preparation for this kind of “entering in”. The pain of losing a child is one of those things that you cannot, really, enter into if you have not already been there. It is the kind of dark, frightening, intensely painful place that no one goes to voluntarily. But it can also be a beautiful place. A very intimate place. A place where Jesus is. A place where life is treasured and valued. A place where every moment is worth more than words can say. This, I know. It is a place worth entering into again, if it is what God calls us to. (Even as I write these words, I am entering into the sorrow of those who are there now. I long to show them around this place, help them adjust and cope, and show them the beauty I have found here.)
What I have not prepared for, however, is the fear. I have been anticipating being invited to share in the pain, but I never considered the fear. I have spent a great deal of my life trying to deal with my own fear. By the grace of God, that’s not where I live anymore. And I’m so glad! Which is probably why I’d never considered going back there. Until now.
This past week, I was really struggling. We were dealing with some really serious things in our family, and there was one, in particular, that was really taking a toll on me. And I was praying for the other people who were involved, really feeling a burden for them, as well. I was aware of others, consciously being mindful of their needs, and keeping them in prayer, but I was in my own little world.
Until Tuesday night. I was sitting with my husband, relaxing, having put the children to bed. And I got a text message. It was a very simple message, just a family member asking for prayer. But it turned into a conversation. Someone was inviting me in. It was not to pain; I was already there. This is what happens in a family. Especially one that is already familiar with sharing pain. Instead, it was an invitation to enter into fear. Oh, boy.
I cannot say how grateful I am that the Lord was with me. By His grace, I did not – and never will – have to enter into that place on my own. If I had tried, I know I would not have found beauty or peace, and I would not have been able to help someone else find them there. Instead, there would have been nothing but the overwhelming fear. But He was there with us. It was still not a place I would have gone by choice. But I’m glad that I was able to go, to be there for someone, when they were struggling, feeling alone.
I’m sure someone is wondering what, exactly, happened. It wasn’t something I can describe. I can’t even say, for sure, if the other person experienced it. I just know that I did. Whatever it was, I know He did it, and I know I was blessed by it. So, I’m grateful. And, even though it’s an overwhelming thing, I’m looking forward to having another opportunity. I’m honored to be invited in, humbled by the experience, and excited at the prospect of doing it again.
Just for the record, anyone who thinks that a short life is not worthwhile knows nothing about my daughter, my life, or my God. My Zoë-girl has been gone for over 2 1/2 years and the Lord is still using her life to open doors in mine. I am humbled, in her honor, to enter in.
My husband says I’m “wordy” when I post, so this is for him.
I just wanted to toss out an update on my medical stuff, since I had asked for prayer. So far, we still don’t know anything. I have one doctor calling me an enigma and another saying I’m her little problem child.
I’m not really surprised. I’ve thought, for some time now, that it’s mostly spiritual warfare, which doesn’t show up on diagnostic screenings. At any rate, there’s still no diagnosis.
I do appreciate your continued prayers. I have another diagnostic procedure scheduled for Friday. If it’s inconclusive, we’ve already made the plan for what comes next. So, I’ll keep you posted. For now, nothing new to report.
On the other hand, things are moving ahead with the ministry. I’ve been making arrangements with a local pregnancy center to begin supplying some materials for their clients facing pregnancy loss, difficult diagnosis, and infant death. God’s opening some doors. Praise the Lord!