I can smile because of HIM

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My heart is so over joyed! Three times in the last week I have had the opportunity to share my testimony with people. Each time the response was much the same… “Oh my goodness I’m so sorry but thats an incredible testimony”…. “Oh my goodness you are so incredibly strong”…. And my favorite, “WOW I would never have guessed you ever went through something like that because you are always so happy and you always have a smile on your face!” My response is always the same, “I can smile because of HIM”.

You see God is the source of my strength and my comfort. Its been such an incredible lesson in God’s love, compassion (and comfort), and His peace that surpasses all understanding. On my own I would be drowning in a dark pit of despair. On my own I would be stuck, shrouded in depression and hopelessness. But because of Him I can smile, I can rejoice and give thanks, and I can share with anyone who will listen all the wondrous works He has done in me.

Its also been a great lesson in sharing. God doesn’t give us these beautiful stories, written on our hearts for us to cling to or hide. He gives us our stories for us to share and proclaim all His great works. You just never know who you will minister to when you share your story. Just the other night when sharing with my neighbor about our loss she was able to share about hers. This woman was given a chance to share, an opportunity to recognize she too carried a life that left this earth too soon. This beautiful woman who probably hadn’t had a chance to really share this precious life with anyone spoke of her child and all the things she had hoped for.

I urge you to share your stories. Be bold and encouraged. You story just may help someone else heal!

*If you are reading this blog for the first time or you are stopping by from IComLeavWe you can find my testimony back in June titled I Share With You My Testimony!

Alone with God in a church pew

So God and I had a moment at church this morning. Well I think we may have had a moment, I’m just not totally sure if I understood it correctly.

Ok let me start at the beginning. I was standing there during praise and worship and my lips were moving and I was even bopping back and forth with the rhythm of the song when I noticed that for a decent amount of time my thoughts and my heart had been on all things baby and not actually praising my heavenly Father as I should have been. I was daydreaming about being in the delivery room giving birth to a beautiful baby. I was at home dressing a beautiful baby girl in a frilly pink dress and matching bow for church. I was with hubby taking our adorable son trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. All this was taking place while my lips were still singing His praise. MY LIPS, not my heart. I was suddenly overwhelmingly ashamed. My daily battle to remove my idol had so epically failed in the worst of places…. the House of God. As the worship songs came to a close I prayed for forgiveness and pushed baby thoughts from my mind, determined to fully soak in today’s message. I did a pretty good job. Jesus Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossains 1:28). Jesus’ presence and power in our life. And of course because its football season and we live in the land of all things New Orleans Saints a football analogy… You have a choice every morning. As the quarterback you can either pass the ball to yourself (and surely get creamed) or pass the ball to the MVP Jesus who has already claimed victory.  Of course, I thought the answer is easy. I pass the ball to Jesus duh!! And then my moment with God began…

Suddenly my worst fear creeps into my thoughts, “what if I ask you to give up having that baby you have longed for?” I could seriously feel myself panic. In my head I began to argue, “but what about your promises to me I’m clinging to them as if they are the last lifeboat on the Titanic?” In my head (and possibly my heart although I’m afraid to admit that) I hear, “I promised I would work out all things for good. I promised that all things would be used to bring me glory. I promised I would never leave you or forsake you. But I have never officially promised you a baby.” By this point I’m sobbing like a crazy person in the third row pew from the front. And then the choir begins to sing “In Christ Alone” and I can’t stop the tears at all.

In Christ alone, my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song;

this cornerstone, this solid ground,

firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My comforter, my all in all,

here in the love of Christ I stand……

So that is why I say God and I had a moment in the church pew this morning. My GREATEST fear is that God may ask me one day to surrender motherhood to Him. I don’t know for certain what my answer will be. My head says to surrender all but my heart says to surrender all but that. And I know thats wrong. I know that’s not how its supposed to be. Just thinking about it makes my heart feel as if its being torn apart. I would rather die than relinquish that. For surely the pain of relinquishing motherhood would kill me anyways.

Despite the fact that I know “If God is for me (and surely He is) who can stand against me?” I know that God has created me for greater things, the thought that He just MIGHT one day ask me to surrender that to His is unbearable. What will I do if that day ever comes? Maybe my moment with God in that church pew today was only meant to turn me to some serious prayer, to work all this out with my heavenly Father. Or maybe this moment happened to prepare my heart. I just don’t know!

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

*Image created by Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

*Image created by Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. It began in the United States on October 25, 1988 when President Ronald Reagan designated through a Presidential Proclamation that the month should be recognized as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.

When I was preparing to write this post I was overwhelmed by some of the statistics out there. Roughly 90,000 children die annually in the Unites States before their first birthday. Nearly 30,000 babies are born sleeping in the United States with the number climbing to nearly 4.5 million world wide. There are more babies that pass away as a result of stillbirth than all of the other causes combined, and it occurs 10 times more frequently than S.I.D.S. And 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriages each year.

As I sit here looking back over these statistics I almost feel hopeless. But I know that I do not serve a hopeless God. Though I may not have the answers to all the questions or understand why these awful things happen at all I do know that it has happened to me for a reason. One of those reasons just might be to raise awareness. It just might be because I’m bold enough (and maybe stubborn enough) to put my pain and my journey out there for someone who might not be strong enough to yet. There is no reason for any of these parents to suffer in silence. Raising awareness is about breaking the silence. Its about sharing your story so that others may get a glimpse into the world we live in.

I came upon a quote while reading about pregnancy and infant loss I believe it was on the http://www.october15th.com sight and it said something to the affect of….

“When a child loses a parent they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses his or her partner they are called a widow/widower. When a parent loses their child there isn’t a word to describe them.”

It seemed incredibly fitting. There are just no words to describe the pain of losing a child. And sometimes living in the aftermath has been my own private apocalypse. But again I know God will work out all things for my good. For now all I can do is remain faithful and hopeful, and I can share my journey and my precious children with whomever will listen.

IMG_0961If you have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss please know you are not alone. There are so many of us grieving alongside of you. Know that there are things you can do to honor your precious babies as well (and it doesn’t require putting it out there for the whole world to see if thats not your thing). You can participate in the wave of light ceremony that will be taking place October 15, 2014 at 7pm (you can visit http://www.october15th.com for more information, they also have a Facebook page if you are interested). You can participate in an October 15th event in your area, you can also find information about this on that website.  You can do a balloon release or send your baby a message in a bottle. You can plant a tree, bush, flowers, or even a remembrance garden. Or you can honor your precious angels by conducting a fundraiser to benefit an organization that raises awareness. There are many other ways to honor your babies. The important thing is that you do what you are comfortable doing. I chose to honor my children by having their foot prints tattooed to my forearm. I held them there for a moment…. and now I will carry them there for a lifetime!

I would also like to share about another non-profit organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org). The organization has photographers worldwide who donate their services to grieving families by coming to hospitals and photographing babies and their families. The photographs are breath taking and are a priceless gift. We had an amazing photographer come when Vance and Veronica were born and she took some of the most beautiful photographs that I know I will cherish forever. Believe me I know how difficult it is to think about something like that while you are in the heat of the worst moment of your life but if you are given the opportunity please take it. You don’t have to look at them right away but at least you will have them if you ever want to.

For every grieving mommy and daddy who has ever had to suffer the loss of their child it is my prayer that God will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways, so that they will lift you up in their hands ( Psalm 91:11-12). My He cover you in comfort, compassion, and a peace that surpasses all understanding.