Thursday, August 17, 2017

Life for Lily Day

August 15th was Life for Lily Day (I also call it my Spiritual Birthday)! 💕🌷

Two years ago, family and friends gathered with me for a butterfly release at her special spot.


Here is part of what I shared about what Life for Lily Day is/means to me:

It was on this date in 2009 that I had an abortion appointment scheduled at Planned Parenthood. Blinded by my fear and shame, I thought I needed to "take care" of the "problem" of an unplanned pregnancy. After all, I had just turned only 20-years-old, was not married, and not in a place in my life where I thought I was ready to welcome a child into this world. 

It is only because of God's grace that August 15th does not hold painful memories of walking through those abortion clinic doors with my child safely nestled in my womb and walking out with her body having been violently ripped from mine. It is only because of His loving-kindness and intervention in my life that we are all standing here together, in this moment, at the beautiful memorial stone for a little girl named Lily Katherine. On the day that the enemy of our souls intended to be death for Lily day, we can rejoice that because of God's mercy that instead we celebrate Life for Lily Day! It is only because of His victory over darkness that when the clock struck midnight on August 16th in 2009 that my child's heart was still beating strongly within me. 

God whispered to my heart in August 2009 that I had come to a fork in the road in my life and had a very big decision to make. He showed me that if I chose to have an abortion, I couldn't imagine the pain and darkness that would follow, but if I chose life, I couldn't imagine the beauty that He would bring. On an August evening around dusk, I was watching the pink clouds dance across the sky, when suddenly the decision became clear to me: I had to obey Him and choose life. Suddenly all my fears melted away when the light of truth shined on my heart. I knew my God would be with me and would give me everything I needed to face the journey ahead.

I don't even want to imagine what my life would be like right now and all we would have missed had August 15th gone the way I had planned. Every year, I would have tearfully remembered that just three days after my own birthday, I denied my child the gift of having her own birthday. Because of the one who loves us more than life and had a plan beyond what I could see or comprehend, she does have a birthday - it's March 16th, 2010, a date that would have held no significance to me had the date of August 15th turned into one of anguish rather than rejoicing. Instead of ending her life, my Father in Heaven gave me the courage to embrace her life, and then put His love for her within me, even when I was selfish and broken and had none of my own to give.

You might think to yourself that Lily died anyways before birth, so what's the big deal, why shouldn't I have gone through with the abortion and saved myself the heartache of her untimely death? You see, she may have died, but she LIVED first. And she did not die before the purposes for her life were put into motion by the one who crafted her life and legacy before the foundation of the world. She didn't die before she changed my entire life, future, and calling. My child died with dignity, rather than at the hands of an abortionist, paid for by her mother. God had His will for her life and in my life, rather than me having my will and playing god in taking her life myself. It is the Lord who gives and takes away. May His Name be praised!

Butterflies symbolize new life and that is what Lily brought me. Her new life in the womb was a reflection of and the instrument used by God to bring me to life in Him. Her name means "purity and innocence," as a symbol of my redemption in Christ. Because of His shed blood, I am washed whiter than snow. He has cleared the blemishes of my past and makes them as if they never were. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!"

As my friend Anna wrote, "little Lily was a miracle, and even her name was a testimony to your growing in His light like a flower blooming in her season." Summer is the perfect time of year to release butterflies for the baby girl who brought me new life, as it was the time of year her life began. Obviously butterflies are significant enough to me to include one on the back of Lily's stone. Her life brought transformation.

Lily now has eternal life with Jesus. God spoke His promise of eternal life, redemption, and the love and mercy of Christ through Lily's birthday: March 16. 3:16, like John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." Her life is a picture of this.

Not only are butterflies significant to me because they remind me of Lily's new life, the new life she brought me, and my new life in Christ, but they are also beautiful creatures with short life spans. Maybe God wanted to speak through how He designed butterflies to be so lovely, knowing they would live a brief time, that it is not length that brings beauty and significance. I believe the butterfly is a reflection of the beauty, depth, and intricacy of Lily's life and legacy. Although the length of her life was short, the depth of it is immeasurable in how it's changed the breadth of the rest of my life.

There is a part in Lily's song that perfectly captures what August 15th means to me - "How close I had come to that fatal mistake, but I knew that your life was not mine to take. Through the turmoil and questions broke God's gentle voice: "will you entrust Me with this child, with this choice?"

The song "Alive Again" by Matt Maher beautifully articulates the season in my life when the Lord broke through my darkness. The chorus of the song says, "You called and You shouted, broke through my deafness, now I'm breathing in and breathing out, I'm alive again. You shattered my darkness, washed away my blindness, Now I'm breathing in and breathing out, I'm alive again."


The song "You Are On Our Side," by Bethany Dillon is another special one for me. On August 6th, 2009, I wrote in my journal about how desperate I was for Jesus and how deeply I regretted choices I had made. I asked Him to fulfill His purposes in my life and to take away anything keeping me from Him. In that journal entry, I wrote the lyrics to this song. The chorus says, "You sit at the table with the wounded and the poor, You laugh and share stories with the thief and the whore. When You could just be silent and leave us here to die, still You sent Your Son for us, You are on our side."

He showed me He is on my side.... in how He whispered hope and life to me, in how He brought the victory, in leading me to ask Him in my journal to rescue me from myself so He could prove Himself ever-faithful and present, in how He led me to the "Lifehouse Everything" skit online, in how He led my Aunt Sarah to lend me her David Teems CD so Scripture could be read over me during those nights where a battle was literally raging in the spiritual world and His power was released through His Word, in how He led me to reach out to a young woman named Bex who had courageously chosen life and adoption for her little boy and was able to be just the support and encouragement I needed in my own unplanned pregnancy, in how He led me to the pregnancy center, the "place of hope and light" as I call it, where I was able to cry and talk it out with my now good friend, Anna, in how He led me to listen to many different songs during that time that ministered to my heart, in how He put His love for Lily within me and the desire to protect her from harm, in how I found a Precious Feet pin of a 10-week unborn baby's feet when I was also 10-weeks pregnant and my heart was able to grasp that I had a precious life within me, in how I was initially researching abortion methods because I was planning on having one, when God turned my world upside down and showed me the truth about abortion and first birthed within me the desire to be a voice for the voiceless, in how He whispered to my heart that I was carrying a little girl named Lily while I was still in my first trimester. He showed me He was on my side through all these things and more. Through all these years, He has continued to show me He is on my side.

My spiritual birthday, or Life for Lily Day, is a "stone of remembrance." We praise the Lord for what He's done and we thank Him for sending Lily to Earth. As the decades pass, and my hair turns gray, and aging-wrinkles form on my face, I will remember. My love will only increase with time. While I remain on Earth, I will do all I can to share her story with others and bring glory to the Lord as she have done. Because I know the time is coming when we will be together forever and this life will have been but a breath in light of eternity. All the tears will dry up and the sorrow will fade away, on that day when Jesus greets me at the gates of Heaven, where I know she will be waiting with Him, to welcome me Home. As John Piper wrote in a letter to a mother whose son was stillborn, "she simply skipped Earth. For now. But in the new heavens and the new earth, she will know the best of earth and all the joys earth can give without any of its sorrows." When we first lock eyes, dear Lily, all the years of missing you will be no more and I will hold you and never let go. I will thank you for bringing me new life...

Life for Lily Day Butterfly Release


For more pictures and more on the butterfly release, you can read my blog post from last year by clicking here.

Photobucket
This post left me:

Friday, August 11, 2017

He Numbers Our Days

Tomorrow, August 12th, is my 28th birthday. 🎈🌹

I was born six days before my due date. I can't help but think how if Lily were also born six days before her due date, she would have most likely lived.

When my mom was in labor with me, my heart kept decelerating. The doctors were becoming increasingly alarmed and kept saying how they might have to do an emergency c-section. When I was born, the bottoms of my feet were dark and I was unresponsive at first. Obviously I quickly did become responsive and there were no lasting issues.

Things could have turned out entirely different on the day I was born. How easily my parents could have lost me. My own frailty and birth story is a reminder to me of everything I have lost with Lily. She was my mini-me, looking similar to me at birth, with almost the exact same measurements.

me on the left and Lily on the right

She was just as real and loved as me. I could have easily slipped away on August 12th, 1989, just like Lily slipped away from me. The last 28 years my parents have had with me could have been erased in an instant... all the memories, the laughter, the knowing of who I was growing up and who I've grown up to become would have been no more. Lily wouldn't have even been had August 12th gone differently. Every August 12th since 1989 would have been much like every March 16th has been for me since 2010.

Having lost my own daughter, knowing many people who have or had infertility issues (including my parents) and those who've lost children in many different ways, and seeing how I myself could have nearly died is a reminder of just how precious life is, and what a miracle it is to be conceived, born alive, and have the gift of growing up. May we never forget what a beautiful thing it is to be alive.

Thinking about my own birth and all my life has held up until this point highlights all that I'm missing with my own little girl. One life holds so much and I won't know any of what Lily's would have held beyond the womb.

I'm clinging to the truth that the Lord numbered both of our days and is sovereign... "In Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." ~Psalm 139:16

I'm looking forward to spending my special day in Virginia, surrounded by friends and family... but I sure will be missing Lily and Bumma.

Photobucket
This post left me:

Remembered in the U.K.

My friend Hannah in the U.K. 🇬🇧 was so sweet to remember my family at Southport Beach. It means the world to know my two L's and my Bumma are cared about across the pond. 😌 ❤️ 🌊 ☀️ 🌴 🐚 🐳 🐬 🐟 🐠 🐢 





Photobucket
This post left me:

Lily Remembered in Christmas

Lily's cousin Owen's grandmother remembered her on Lake Superior in Christmas, Michigan! She said "Christmas with Lily!" 😍 ❤️ 🎄 🌊 ☀️ 🐚 🌴 🐬 🐳 🐟 🐠 🐢 


Photobucket
This post left me:

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Difference Between Us

Do you want to know what the difference is between the two babies represented by these birth certificates?

The difference is 20 years between birth dates. The difference is Virginia and North Carolina. The difference is merely an ounce between birth weights, with the same length. There is not much difference in their looks either.

They both were full-term baby girls when they were born. They both bear the names of flowers. They are both immensely loved.

Yet, one was born with breath and the other was not. One got to grow up and the other didn't. One will celebrate her 28th birthday this week and the other never will.

One is me and the other is my daughter.

That one breath changed the fact that I got one kind of birth certificate and she got another.

One. Single. Breath.

Separates her mattering and counting in other's minds versus not.

It shouldn't. ❤️


Photobucket
This post left me:

Mommy and Baby Shell 🐚

My good friend Amanda wrote Lily's name in the sand at Shackleford Banks, North Carolina on her family vacation! 😄 This friend has ALWAYS been sooo kind, loving, and thoughtful when it comes to Lily, and as a friend in general.

Amanda said she was looking on the beach for a seashell to add to her name for the photo when she came across this one (which she'll be bringing home to me). As she phrased it, they are "matching shells that are connected."

It brings me tears to see this shell, to witness Amanda's thoughtfulness and to marvel at how God does things like this and speaks my love language.

It's a mommy and baby shell, 😌  connected and inseparable. Just like Lily and I were connected and inseparable her entire life on earth and now even still as she is in Heaven. Apart, yet always connected. As only mother and daughter can be.

This amazing shell reminds me of the shell I found on the beach on Lily's 7th birthday🐚 💗 🌊 ⚓️ ☀️ 🌴 🐳 🐬 🐟 🐠 🐢






Photobucket
This post left me:

August 2009 Series ~ Sacred Life Forming Within

The month of August 2009 is when God intervened in my life and radically altered my life, through my unborn baby, my darling Lily girl. Each August, I am flooded with memories of His faithfulness, in both the huge things and the smallest details that He used to speak to me. I like to share the blog entries about that time each August to share of His great love and faithfulness. I will call the posts the "August 2009 Series."

~~~~~~~~~~~

I am so thankful for the vivid memories I have from the time I was pregnant with Lily and when God intervened in my life and saved the life of my baby girl and my life through her life. I look back and almost cannot believe all that really happened to me.

I had an abortion scheduled at Planned Parenthood for August 15, 2009. However, my God was fighting for my life and the life of my precious unborn wee babe. Spiritual warfare is real. I saw it evidenced in my own life. God was fighting mightily for my freedom and victory in Christ and for the life of my Lily. It gives me chills to think about.

The Lord is strong, He is loving, kind, merciful, and He will work in unexpected ways to bring us to Himself. He used a little girl forming in my womb to bring me back to Jesus. I had been living for myself. I had made choices that I was suffering the consequences of and I wished I could take it all back and change so many things. But even though I wanted to change, I felt I couldn't. I was in the bondage of my sin. However, I cried out to the Lord, and He ran to my rescue and defense. And He strengthened me and fought to save the life of my unborn little girl.

The enemy wanted to destroy my life further and end her life. BUT God is more powerful than the enemy of our souls! And yes, some might say, well, Lily still died before being born. Don't you see... she died, but NOT before God's purposes for her life were put in motion! Not before she changed my life, my future, my calling. Her life and death were in God's hands, not mine and not the enemy's. God was in control! Lily died with dignity, rather than at the hand of an abortionist, paid for by her mother.

Right around the time the abortion was scheduled was when God was working in my heart in a way I couldn't deny or escape. He was softening my heart towards my baby and drawing me to repentance. I have a clear recollection of waking up in the middle of the night many times during that week and being overwhelmed with the realization that I was not alone - the Lord was with me. And my baby girl's presence was also felt. She was just a tiny baby growing away, the only proof of her existence being my morning sickness, however, I could feel her with me. And I was beginning to love her, only because He was giving me love for her. I remember my hands and arms gently holding my stomach as I recognized there was sacred life forming within. This is such a precious memory for me now. Thank You, Lord, for bringing me to You and for saving Lily's life and giving me love for her!

As with so many of my pregnancy memories, I want to forever document this so my future children can read about it and as a testimony to God's kindness and faithfulness to me, even when I least deserved it. He loves Lily more than I ever could.


Photobucket
This post left me:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...