Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reflections on 2011

This is just the beginning of the story He's writing for me...this chapter is ending, but it marks the beginning of what He holds for me next. All the glory goes to God and God alone! I may not know the way I go, but oh I know my Guide!



Highlights of 2011:


On February 6th, it's been two years...the Lord continues to cultivate this desire in me to share my testimony and be the voice for unborn life...


On March 16th, we celebrated Lily Katherine's life on her first birthday


In April, I met Shawn Carney, the Co-Founder of 40 Days for Life and host of the television series "beingHUMAN." Some might know him as the director of the Coalition for Life in Texas where former Planned Parenthood director, Abby Johnson, went after having a change of heart from seeing an ultrasound-guided abortion. I get email updates from 40 Days for Life and rarely read them. One afternoon, I randomly clicked open the email to discover that Shawn was going to be in Chapel Hill the following evening for a peaceful prayer vigil in front of the Planned Parenthood there. I see now that was God guiding me. I was able to share my story with him and he asked if he could share it at his speaking engagements around the world! I was so blessed by our conversation. When my mom mentioned that we should have brought the book "unPLANNED" for him to sign, he offered to mail us a signed copy. He's a very down-to-earth, kind person and very inspirational to talk with. A couple weeks later, I received a copy of the book with this written on the inside cover: In honor of Lily and her courageous mother. With God all things are possible. ~Shawn Carney
In May, my mom, best friend, Kala, and I drove to Greensboro to meet Claire Culwell, an abortion survivor and pro-life speaker. Claire is best friends with Abby Johnson. I had come across her story online and was so excited to discover she was coming to NC a couple weeks later. I was able to share my testimony with her and we are now friends, staying in contact. She is also helping me in starting to share my story:) 
In May, my brother, Joseph, and I went to Tennessee to visit our dear friends Jonathan and Amanda, little Emily, and baby Anderson on the way. On Mother's Day, we drove to Chattanooga to the National Memorial for the Unborn. The memorial has an indoor granite memorial wall in honor of babies lost to abortion and gardens outside with brick pavers in honor of babies lost to stillbirth and miscarriage. There is a pregnancy center in the other half of the building and it all sits on the site and in the same building where an abortion clinic was for many years. The entire site has a sacred essence to it, especially the room that is honoring aborted babies. I felt such a deep feeling of reverence in there as I was overwhelmed by all the names on the wall and the special things left behind by grieving family and friends of these lost little ones. It was so moving to read all the letters and poems. What a special gift to be there on Mother's Day! A time and place to honor and remember BOTH my babies at once, the only place on earth where I can tangibly do this. I am getting a plaque and brick paver there. I'm thankful Amanda and I got to have such a sweet time together there as we have both had losses. What was once a place of great sorrow where thousands of babies were killed is now a place that honors and remembers these lives, a place dedicated to the Lord, a place of hope and healing...See all the photos from that trip here.


On October 2nd, I, along with two other young ladies, spoke to the Raleigh Pure Fashion participants and their moms at the Mother-Daughter social. There were about seventy-five people present. I shared on the topics of modesty and purity. 


From October-December, I was at Ellerslie Leadership Training in Colorado. I started my blog Jesus is Victor to share my journey to get there, my adventures while there, and what the Lord taught me to carry with me everywhere. The Lord supernaturally provided the money for me to go! 




I met the sweet little girl, Sierra, who the Lord used to bring much healing.

Bonnie was one of my roomies at Ellerslie. She is an abortion survivor! The Lord showed us that together, we represent both sides of abortion. It is amazing to see that no matter how one is affected by abortion, His desire is to heal, restore, and redeem...

I finally met Bex and little Kip in person after over two years of friendship! Such a special season with her.

On December 9th, I shared my testimony with over forty ladies from Ellerslie. Mrs. Osborne set it up at her house for me to share. What an honor and joy it was!

After wanting to get my ultrasound picture from Planned Parenthood for a couple years, I finally did on December 29. I also named my first baby, Luke Shiloh and found out he was due on October 1, 2009. The Lord continues to bring healing and closure.

My love for photography blossomed this year as I started All Things Lovely Photography. (please become a fan of my page) :)
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." -Philippians 4:8
The idea behind the name I chose is this verse...I want to capture all that makes life lovely and keep myself and others dwelling on those things! Each moment in life is a precious gift, and tomorrow is never a given. I have always loved taking pictures and spend hours looking through photos from my childhood and scrapbooking these memories. In the several months after losing Lily, I realized just how important capturing these precious moments is. I am filled with sadness when I think about the fact that I don't have any high-quality images of her precious hands and feet. The photos I do have are very low-quality and will never be enough. I will never have those moments with Lily back. From now on, it is my desire to capture each of life's precious moments on camera. All the beautiful things in my life have flowed out of Lily's life. When the Lord showed me if I chose LIFE for my baby, I had no idea the beauty it would bring, He was right...I never could have imagined how the story would be written, yet it is breathtakingly beautiful. This year, I did several sessions and three weddings! I enjoy photography so much...just like writing and blogging, it is a way to grieve and heal. 



Preparations underway this year for Lily's Legacy care packages to be distributed to the local hospitals in Raleigh, NC. I'm hoping we (my mom and I are doing the project together) can make the first delivery on Lily's second birthday, March 16th, 2012.

Other favorite blog posts from 2011:
Valentine's Day Poem in honor of Lily
Adventures never to be had
Engraved footprint necklace
When was the moment?
the month of March
One more day
Happy first birthday, my darling

I hosted my first blog giveaway, celebrated my third Babylost Mother's Day, and my mom created a beautiful memorial garden at our home in honor of Lily Katherine and Luke Shiloh (will post photos of it this spring).

On September 16, my best friend in the world moved ten hours away to Alabama to work at Teen Challenge. It was so hard to say goodbye to her, but God has taught me to surrender everything to Him, trust that He has a plan for each of us, and allow Him to have His way. He is the Great Comforter and will carry me through each trial and hardship I face...

2011 felt much different than 2010. It was bittersweet for 2010 to end because that was Lily's year and I will always think of her when I think that year. This year, the Lord took my hand and took me another few steps forward in my journey of grief, healing, growing in my walk with Him, and preparing for the future that only He can see right now. I know that I have a heart for ministry and sharing my testimony, so I'm waiting for the Lord to direct my path and show me what's next.

My God is so much more beautiful than I ever could have imagined and His plans for my life are far better than my own. I realize I am just getting a glimpse of His beauty and His plan for me and this is only the beginning. In the spring of this year, I never could have dreamed that before the end of the year, I'd be debt free, an Ellerslie graduate, and a speaker! God has shown me different aspects to Who He is to me...He truly is my All in All. He has shown me this year that He is faithful, He is my Heavenly Father and cares about my every need, big and small. I can trust Him. When you step out in faith and obedience unto Him, you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will guide your steps and supply all you need, the moment you need it!


I am so excited to see what He holds for me in 2012...He is showing me that in order to be entrusted with greater things, I must be faithful in the small things He's giving me today...in sharing on my blog and one on one with people or in smaller groups.


I'd love to know whose reading these words of mine. If you read this, please leave a comment and let me know you were here! You don't have to be a follower or member of blogspot to comment. You can go to the comment box and select the option where you type in your name. Blessings to you in the new year!:)

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This post left me:

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing! :)

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  2. I just want you to know today I visited your page again and I was just washed over with the love of God!!!

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  3. So encouraging to hear how our God has been scripting your life story! I can't wait to see what's ahead!

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  4. What a beautiful journey you have been on in honor of your two little ones. You do amazing work, Hannah. Sending love and hugs to you always. <3

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  5. Hi Hannah. What a blessing you are. I've been meaning to read your blog for a few weeks now from the links on Grief Journeys. And I'm about to go back and read your story. I love how your posts just overflow with God. Its exciting to see how He has carried you, I look forward to reading more. You're in a place I hope God might begin to take me (speaking!)... so blessed to read this today.
    Would love you to pop by my blog some day too.

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  6. Hey Hannah!
    It's Clarita, just stopping by. :)
    How exciting to read of things that God is continuing to do, even since Ellerslie! May the Lord continue to fill you and bring healing and restoration, and may you touch many lives out of that! Love!

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  7. I'm here!! :) So many wonderful things have happened for you this year and I just know God is going to continue to use you as a voice in this world.

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  8. Hello Hannah im reading THANK YOU FOR SHARING,i read Jehovah Jirah over a couple of days when i could get a second from caring for my precious son who is two.I read with white knuckles waiting to see how HE would provide.Iwhispered Jehovah Jirah last night before I slept.You have been a blessing to me.Lisa

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