Friday, April 27, 2012

Hear my story

As promised, I have uploaded my testimony to vimeo. This is the recording of me sharing my story at Ellerslie Leadership Training on April 13, 2012. It might be a little different to actually hear me tell it, rather than just reading it on my blog! I hope to have a video version of me sharing my testimony at some point in the near future. My friend, Sarah, starts off with prayer. At the end, my sister shares a little bit from her perspective. It was so neat for her to be there when I spoke. It was actually her Ellerslie basic semester, so such a special season! I pray you are blessed by this. Feel free to share it.

(be sure to pause the music at the bottom of this blog before listening)

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Depraved Indifference

"Heroes are made because they are moved. Not in their head, but in their heart." -Eric Ludy

I have seen the Depraved Indifference video by Ellerslie Mission Society several times, but last Sunday, God began stirring my heart and opening my eyes afresh. I have always felt like it would be “more spiritual” to travel to another country as a missionary to rescue orphans and widows. I wondered why I didn’t feel called to that and if there is something wrong with that. Last Sunday, when I was in Colorado, the His Little Feet kiddos were at Ellerslie Church. They did a special performance for us and the tears were just streaming down my face. We watched Depraved Indifference and God whispered something to my heart...It doesn’t matter whether something seems “more spiritual,” what matters is living in obedience unto Him. And I know that He is not calling me (right now at least) overseas. He is asking me to rescue for His name and glory in the United States, in my own backyard. The unborn being aborted are orphans. They are weak and they are vulnerable, and so very precious in His sight.

definition of orphan: 
  1. [noun] someone or something who lacks support or care or supervision
  2. [adjective] deprived of parents by death or desertion

These unborn children are deserted by their mothers and fathers, the ones on earth who should love them and protect them above anyone else. They have no support or care from their parents. They are seen as a "problem" that needs to be taken care of.

"Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you." -Isaiah 49:15

Our earthly parents may forget us. These babies are not cared for and protected by their earthly parents, yet they are adored by their Heavenly Father! And how does He rescue them? Through us. We are His hands and feet.

"God says, you call yourself my body. I'm not there except through you. Your hands, those are my hands. Your feet, those are my feet. That heart, that's my heart. If it's not beating, my heart's not beating on this earth anymore. I work through my body. I'm a father to the fatherless through my body! I rescue the weak and the vulnerable through you! And if you're not doing it, no one is!" -Eric Ludy

God doesn't see the massive number of children that are aborted each year, but each individual life. He sees the purposes He has for that life. Do we?


There is a cast system in Heaven. Jesus came to earth and proved it by taking the lowest spot, He was born a baby, yet He was GOD! A baby…does this not show His heart for the unborn?

“The special ones in God’s Kingdom are the weak ones. The ones that can’t fight for themselves, the ones that can’t speak for themselves…the ones that don’t have someone to protect them. And Jesus says, ‘those are the prized ones. Treat them as the royalty here on earth. The way you treat them is ultimately the way you're treating me.' What you do unto the least of these is how your ultimately treating your God.” –Eric Ludy

"In as much as you have done unto the least of these you have done it unto me." -Matthew 25:45

An unborn baby in the womb is definitely the least among us. These precious lives literally cannot speak for themselves. There is a silent holocaust happening right down the road from us...and what are we doing about it? We suffer from depraved indifference. It may move us at some level, but does our heart bleed for these precious ones? We go home and can laugh and act as if all is well in the world. Yet, innocent babies are being ruthlessly slaughtered in our very neighborhoods! Are we willing to spend ourselves for the weak?

Jesus Christ is the only solution for us and for these unborn babies. Ask Him where He is leading you, who He is leading you to rescue. May we no longer sit by idly, but spend ourselves in order to rescue the least of these! Who will be a champion fighting for their cause? Will you? May we be moved beyond mere human compassion to action...for our King and His glory!

"He is longing for an advocate to stand up and say, 'I'm willing, God, to fight for what is Yours! I'm willing, God. Burden me!" -Eric Ludy

"...it is not the will of your Father who is in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish." -Matthew 18:14

(Please take the time to watch this video, with the unborn in mind.)

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sharing My Testimony at Ellerslie

I just got home after visiting Ellerslie for a week and a half. My sister graduated from her basic semester on Sunday! My, how time flies. The Lord is working mightily in her life and it's such a blessing to be a witness to it!

I was asked if I would share my testimony at Ellerslie and I, of course, said YES! It is so humbling to think that the Lord would speak through my life and story and give me opportunities to share! I know He is giving me these smaller arenas to share and if I prove faithful, He will give me more.

When I went out to Colorado, it may have briefly crossed my mind about sharing because I did last semester. But, I didn't give it much thought. I just leave it in the Lord's hands and if He wants to give me the opportunities to speak, I just say yes, Lord, I am willing. Then, when they asked me, I was delighted! What an honor and joy it is to speak of how He transformed my heart and saved a wretch like me!

As I thought more and more about sharing, I started getting extremely nervous. One afternoon, I was talking to my friend Sarah about this and the Lord really spoke through her. I realized that even though being nervous seems like the natural human response, as I began to examine the reasons for why I was nervous, I realized it was of the flesh and very selfish. I was afraid of what people would think of me. I wanted to preserve my name and reputation, as if there is anything to preserve! I wanted to sound like an eloquent, fluent speaker and was afraid of making a fool of myself. I found myself in this place of surrender and asking the Lord to use me and break me so that I cared not at all about my own name or what others thought. This is about His name and His glory! An Ellerslie audience can be a bit intimidating because not many people there have a past like mine and it can make me feel uncomfortable. Yet, the Lord has shown me that this is the best place to start sharing! These people may not have a past like mine, yet they love with the love of Christ and show His mercy and forgiveness! They see the beauty in the story and how Jesus rescues triumphantly! No matter how many times I share my story in the future, what a gift to know the first couple times were at Ellerslie to my precious brothers and sisters in the Lord. Ellerslie and the Ludy's have been such an instrumental part in my story and it is so precious to be able to share my story there.

I have been reading the book "They Found the Secret" by V. Raymond Edman, which is AMAZING and you should read it too :)! I read about the life of Samuel Logan Brengle and came across this quote:

"His ambition was to be a great speaker; and he sought the power of the Holy Spirit to that end. He rationalized that a great speaker would do more for the glory of God than one who was mediocre. Finally, in utter desperation, he prayed, "Lord, I wanted to be an eloquent speaker, but if by stammering and stuttering I can bring greater glory to Thee than by eloquence, then let me stammer and stutter!" (speaker was actually preacher in the book)

I read this and realized at a deeper level that this is not about me and sounding/looking good to the world. This is about my King's glory and His Kingdom! What a glorious revelation and freedom to say to the Lord, "Use me! I don't care how I look or sound! As long as I am in Your perfect will and bringing glory due Your name!"

I have spoken to an audience three times in the last six months. And I realized I didn't attempt to get myself any of those opportunities. It's when it's in the Lord's plan that it works. I was asked all three times to speak. And I have come to realize, He is building me for something. Something more and beyond all I can dream right now. It was so sweet to be so well received in my sharing. And I realized it won't always be this way. This story will face opposition because it represents Christ and LIFE. But, I know I must stand firm and go where He is calling me. I must share when He asks me to. In my own plans, I picture sharing at pregnancy center banquets and Pro-Life events, yet I am not sure if that's entirely the direction the Lord is leading me in. This story is about Jesus and His name being high and lifted up and I will never change what I share, depending on the audience. This is a Pro-Life story, but more than that, it is a story of LIFE IN HIM. Being Pro-Life only matters because Jesus is the Author of Life! I will never take Him out of the story, for He is the story! So, who knows...I may share at Pro-Life events, churches, youth groups, etc. But, one thing I know for sure, this is a story about the Author of LIFE!

There's nothing in me that desires to show what a wretch I am. Yet, I share because I am compelled. I was made for this, to glorify my King! I was created for such a time as this, for this battle for unborn life, this battle for eternal LIFE. And He is equipping me to fight. I know full well that as I raise my sword, the battle has already been won! Victory is His, therefore victory is mine! All things are under His feet, so all things are under mine! He has crafted me for this specific day, for this specific battle. And so He has made you for such a time as this, for whatever battle He is calling you to fight for His name and glory. Oh, may the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!

On the day that I was to share, I was feeling so nervous that it almost made me physically sick. All my thoughts were scattered. The Lord allowed me to come face to face with my own inadequacy. I knew it would only be Him that gave me the strength. I was on my face, tears streaming, and begging Him to give me the strength to stand up and be His voice, as well as the voice of both my children. I begged Him to be with me and give me boldness and courage to expose the deepest parts of me. I asked that He would take away the nerves. I asked that this would only be about Him and everything about me would fade away. I asked that others would walk about thinking Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus and Hannah Rose wouldn't even be a thought in their minds! I didn't feel the strength, but He was asking me to step out in faith, fully trusting and knowing He would give me what I need, the moment I needed it.

I got up on that stage and as soon as I did, the nerves melted away. I have always been a shaker when I am in front of people talking. The Lord did not make me a natural speaker, so that I would need to depend upon Him. I knew it was His strength alone that swept through me as I stood up there to share. He chooses the weakest and least likely among us to showcase His strength and victory! In that moment, I felt so at peace. I thought to myself, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. This is where I belong, sharing my Jesus and the legacy of my sweet babies. I was overwhelmed with the power of the Cross. I saw myself, three years ago, in the depths of the darkness, having an abortion, living rebelliously. And I never could have dreamed in that moment where the Lord would take me. How He'd use my sin and sorrow and turn it into a glorious display of His power and sovereignty. I never could have imagined that one day, not too far away, I'd be standing on the Ellerslie stage, sharing my story!

If you know me well, you know that I can be a fast talker and if I get nervous, I talk so fast that I become breathless. Well, I didn't have trouble with that at all! I was talking slowly and distinctly, without a problem. The Lord gave me the words to articulate my experiences and what He's done in my life. I also had to rely upon Him that He would show me what details to leave out and what to keep. I had an hour to share and had never practiced sharing in a formal way, let alone in a specific time slot. The Lord gave me exactly what I needed and everything ended at the exact perfect time! I had also never shared my testimony in front of guys before, so I had to trust that the Lord would make me sensitive in what I said. Since my story is so close to my heart, it can be hard to "hold it together." I want to show the emotion behind it, but not crying hysterically, ya know? The Lord really gave me the grace to share and show my heart, yet not too much.

Oh, He is so good! If He asks you to do something, trust He will give you what you need! At the end of my talk, I shared the video tribute I made for Lily. Then, my sister got up and shared a little from her perspective. Then, it was closed out in prayer. It was such a special time. I truly felt the presence of the Lord sweep through the room after the video ended. It was such a sacred moment, for this is such a sacred story. A story that He takes very seriously. It is the living power of the Gospel displayed in my life.

During my talk, I wore my Lily footprint necklace (with her actual footprints engraved, scaled down of course.) I plan on wearing this each time I speak, holding her close to my heart. :-)

It was so neat to meet several people that have been following my blog! How special that they got to hear my story in person, with true emotion, rather than just reading it. It was such a blessing to hear the feedback and how the Lord was using His story of life and redemption in each individual life. I also got to share my testimony with numerous people individually (or with a couple people) throughout the week. Thank You, Jesus! It was extra sweet that my sister got to be there and Bex, who has been such a big part of my story. I got to hear her share her testimony last semester and she missed mine last semester, so I was so incredibly thankful she could be there this time around!

My talk was audio recorded and as soon as I figure out how to upload it somewhere, I will share it here on my blog! A few months ago, when I told Eric Ludy that I had shared my testimony, he said I should record it every time I do so I can see how the Lord grows me as a speaker. :-)

My sister snapped a couple photos for me. :-) Too bad it's not a wide lens, so you could see everyone in the Chapel



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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lily in Staunton

Lily was honored by a family friend, Bob, in Staunton, Virginia. :)


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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Remembrance of Her

My sweet Lily Katherine,

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."  -Philippians 1:3

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Lily's 2nd Birthday Celebration!

Lily's second birthday has already come and gone...I can hardly believe it. It's already and only been two years. March is a bittersweet month. I was somewhat sad for it to end, just because it's her month. But, I am thankful I made it through. I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief. Anyways, this is a post I've been working on for a while. I want to share all the special things from Lily's birthday!

My brother, Joseph, surprised me with these beautiful lilies for my Lily's birthday! He's the sweetest! Definitely made me tear up.

Here I am holding Lily's lilies on her birthday. We also got a special "Happy Birthday" balloon in honor of her day. It's still a celebration after all! :-)


I love whimsical photos ;-)

For her birthday, we ate red-velvet cake. Red-velvet is what we had at my Valentine's baby shower. We also had it on her first birthday. So, it is now a tradition.

It is strange that I have to be the one to blow out Lily's candle.

My amazing, wonderful friend, Faith, (who was also one of my roommates at Ellerslie) surprised me with this keychain. It has a picture of Lily's hands on it and says Lily Katherine, with her birthday and a line from a poem I wrote: "I'll hold her again, kiss her, and love her, of this I am sure." Faith wrote the sweetest note when she sent the keychain: "Dear Hannah Rose, I thank Jesus that I can call you my friend and sister. May you feel His presence today as you celebrate your beautiful baby girl's heavenly birthday. She is loved, as are you!"

A friend of mine from childhood named Julie sent me this photo. She said: "I bought two Lily bushes on your Lily's birthday since she would be two this year. And they bloomed the last day of March, stubborn lol." This absolutely made my day! It amazes me that the people I least expect to honor and remember are the ones that bless me the most. It means so much to have other remember Lily, especially on her birthday. Pink is my girl's color. I love that they bloomed on the very last day of the month, but still HER special month!

My amazing friend, Elise, went to the cemetery where Lily is buried and took her a birthday balloon and lilies. It means SO much to me! Lily is buried in Virginia and I live in North Carolina, so it is very significant to know somebody took time to think of Lily and to go visit her spot on her birthday, especially since I can't. Elise sent me this photo and also sent me a copy in the mail. It is really hard for me for Lily to not have a headstone. She just has a little windchime, so people don't know how to find her spot. It made me tear up when Elise said this: "I thought since I wasn't there with you, I could at least do this and send you this is honor of her 2nd Birthday. I figured that was the place because I wasn't sure and then the chimes started, so it was almost as if she was saying 'this is me!' :D"

My dear friend, Tracey, gave me this beautiful Willow Tree! It's called Angel of Hope - Sharing the light of hope and courage. I just love it! My mom gave me a Willow Tree for Lily's birthday last year. I collect them. I will have to share all the ones I have soon.

Tracey also gave me this little ladybug magnet. Ladybugs have a special significance to us :-)

My sweet friend, Allison, gave me these beautiful Daylilies to plant in my girl's special garden! It is starting to bloom beautifully with the coming of spring! That's another thing I will be posting about soon.

Allison gave me the flowers in this bag with lilies on it! :-)

A little girl that lives a couple houses down from us shares Lily's birthday, March 16th. She turned nine this year. Last year, we took her a gift and so we decided to do it again this year. We've made that another tradition.

For Lily's birthday lunch, my twin brothers, mom and I ate at Cracker Barrel. I used to eat there all the time when I was pregnant. It's my favorite restaurant! We ate there last year on her birthday as well. Another tradition!

I took a picture of this empty chair. It's for where Lily should be sitting. My sister is in Colorado now and my best friend moved away, so it is also for them since they couldn't be there for Lily's birthday.

My mom at Lily's birthday lunch

My brother, Adam, at Lily's birthday lunch
My brother, Joseph, and I at Lily's birthday lunch


4:24 p.m. on March 16, 2010...the moment she was in my arms. The minute she was born.



My brothers and I on the rocking chairs outside Cracker Barrel. We took pictures like this last year.

Mom and I wore our matching bracelets that my grandmother got for us at The Compassionate Friends candlelight service last fall. They say "Forever in my heart." I also wore my LIFE bracelet and Lily's footprint necklace.



In the kitchen, I set up a few of Lily's things...her photo, her name in the sand photo, her hand and footprints, her balloon, flowers, and some other things.

I ended her birthday by lighting my special "Lily of the Valley" candle that I light on special occasions, such as Mother's Day and her birthday.

The day after Lily's birthday, March 17, the celebration continued. Some friends and I had a birthday brunch and balloon release. It was very special. These friends are from my infant loss support group so it is really meaningful to celebrate Lily with them. We had so much yummy food! Thank you so much, Rebecca, for your hospitality! 

Lily Katherine was due on, March 14, 2010 (National Potato Chip Day), so we called her Spud. Ironically, the food I ate nonstop during my pregnancy were hashbrowns. I craved them daily and enjoyed them homemade, as well as at all different restaurants. It's only appropriate to make eating them a tradition each year on March 14, in honor of our little Spud. I also decided to take them to the birthday brunch. Thanks to my awesome mom who made them so delicious! :-)


 All the birthday balloons were pink. Most of them were plain pink and one of them had the number 2 on it. Everyone wrote a special note to Lily.

My friend Tracey

Jodi

Rebecca

LOVE this girl, Morgan

Writing my note to my little flower

What I wrote on my balloon: "My Precious Flower, I celebrate you today and every day. Thank you for changing my life forever. Happy 2nd Heavenly Birthday, Lily. Love, Mommy"

It was such a beautiful day for the balloon release! Here I am holding all the balloons with everyone's special notes to Lily.


There were some extra balloons, so some of Lily's friends in Heaven got notes written to them from their mommies :-)

2!


Distributing the balloons








I said a few words in honor of Lily right before we released the balloons.

Then we released them to the Heavens...

They were so beautiful going up into the sky. The way they moved in the wind literally looked like they were dancing! It was beautiful!


Watching the balloons dance away...

My awesome friend, Morgan, and I

My friend, Allison, from group offered to make cupcakes for Lily's birthday! Of course, they were red-velvet. :-) She even took the time to make the lilies to go on top. Thank you so much, Allison!

Lily's lily cupcake on top of a plate with lilies of the valley on it :-)

My friend, Esther, from Ellerslie sent me this precious E-card with a sweet note:
"Dearest Hannah Rose,  I just wanted to send a note your way letting you know that I have been thinking of you and praying for you especially since today is Lily's birthday. I'm praying that the story of Lily and her mother will continue to touch hearts and save many more beautiful little lives.
I'm missing you, but I'm so confident in the leading of our Precious King as we move on with life.  May the high praises of God be in your mouth and a two-edged sword in your hand as you daily follow Him (Psalm 149:6), and may the gates of Hell be shaken by the power of Jesus in you.
Love you, Hannah Rose. May you ever revel in the close embrace of your Lord.  
IN CHRIST, Esther"

A new friend, Marcia, made me this beautiful picture! This is what she wrote on her blog about it: "One night I was staying up late, simply because I couldn't sleep... and I was just browsing blogs. and I found this blog through another one of my blogger friends. Hannah Rose, had attended a semester of Ellerslie  (which is also the church we attend) but I never got to meet her personally, though I knew who she was (trust me, when you have a large batch of students almost always at your church, changing every 9 weeks, it is very difficult to meet everyone,very difficult) Anyways, back to that night... I started reading all her old posts and I cried as I read. I am not a person who cries during movies etc, but I cried. There was something so beautiful about her story. It was written by God, it was written for a purpose. So, ever since that night, I've followed her blog, and today is the 2nd birthday of her precious Lily Katherine was born a still born. As I read her post for today, and rewatched her new legacy video for Lily, I was brought to tears again, and here is the result. Happy Birthday Lily!" Thank you so much for thinking of my girl and making this beautiful photo! I love it. I hope to meet you soon in real life! :-)

A blogger friend (Rachael) from Australia lit a candle on Lily's birthday. I also have another friend from Ellerslie who lives in Australia (Karen) and she lit a candle for Lily on her birthday! It makes me smile to know people from around the world are honoring Lily's day!

The amazing ladies at Grief Journeys made me this graphic for Lily's birthday! Thank you!

My grandmother likes writing poetry. She wrote a poem for Lily's birthday last year. This is what she wrote this year:

March 16, 2012
Lily Katherine
Dear daughter of Hannah Rose
Your little heart stopped.
Stopped before you came.
Came to join us on the earth
Where you were desired.
Precious little one
The Lord carried you straight HOME
Where you wait for us.
But - in the meantime
We grieve what you could have been
For all of us here.
Events prove to us
That we are not in control
As we think we are.
Our loving, kind Lord
Truly does know what is best
Even when pain comes.
When all's said and done
Everything works together
In His loving hands.
In the midst of pain,
This is soooo hard to believe
But - I know it's true!
My precious granddaughter - this is a pain our Gracious Lord has allowed the two of us to carry with an extra measure of His grace! You are forever in my prayers. Love, Bumma

For the second year in a row, Crystal, from Calvin's Cupcakes made Lily a special graphic. Thank you!

I got beautiful cards from some friends and family. My brother gave the card in the middle that says "Birthday Girl" with the butterfly. On the inside it says: "Today's your day to spread your wings and do a zillion happy things! (with Jesus!) Happy Birthday, Lily! Love, your Uncle Jo!"
The card on the left is one Morgan gave me. On the inside it says: "Dear Lily, Happy 2nd Heavenly Birthday! I'm sure you already know this, but I just want to tell you what an amazing mommy you have. You are ony lucky little girl. I wish you and my Marcellus could be here on earth playing together. But I know the two of you are having more fun than your mommy and I can even imagine, playing on streets of gold. I really wish I could have met you here. But I feel like I know you through all the beautiful things your mommy tells me. I love and miss you! Morgan, Marcellus's Mommy" Then the pretty card on the right is from my friend Tracey. On the inside she wrote: "To Hannah, Just a note to let you know that, although you are never far from my thoughts, especially during the month of March you are on my heart. I can not believe that Lily would be 2 years old. The time flies and creeps at the same time. Not much left to say except to thank you for allowing us to share in Lily's birthday celebration! Lots of love, Tracey"

Morgan gave me this cute little bunny for Lily's birthday. :-)


On Lily's birthday, we went to the Vital Records office to get her birth certificate. When Lily was born, they didn't issue birth certificates to stillborn babies. It made me so sad to feel like the state basically thought she didn't exist. Well, the law changed in October of this past year! I wanted to go right away, but thought it would be special to go on Lily's actual birthday, since it was the day she was born. We got her "Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth" and "Fetal death report." That's a story in itself that I will share about on a post soon.

Morgan wrote this precious post for Lily's birthday.
Lindy wrote this special guest blog for Lily's birthday.

Well, that's about it. If you've read this far, you're a trooper! This is a super long post. Thank you to everyone who lit a candle for Lily, ate hashbrowns in honor of her, red-velvet cake, or anything else. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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