Friday, May 31, 2013

My Compassion Child

Being pro-life means being pro-every-life. It means loving and advocating for the unborn, as well as for people already born.

It's about being moved beyond mere compassion to action.

About a year ago, when I was visiting at Ellerslie Leadership Training in Colorado, I saw the International children's choir, His Little Feet, perform.

Here's a little about His Little Feet:

His Little Feet’s Children’s Choir travels the United States, being the voice for orphaned and vulnerable children worldwide. The purpose of the tour is to bring the awareness to the millions of children around the world in need of care, as well as facilitate opportunities for Americans to respond to the needs of children through giving, sponsoring, going and adopting.

I strongly recommend looking more into this amazing choir.

After their performance, everyone in attendance was encouraged to consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International. God had already been stirring the desire within me to sponsor a child, but seeing those precious children perform confirmed that for me.

I put it off for nearly a year because I really wanted to sponsor a child that was born on March 16th, 2010 (my Lily's actual birthday), but couldn't find a child born on that date through Compassion. I found children with that birthday through other sponsorship programs, but only wanted to support a Christ-centered ministry. And Compassion is "releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name," which is the most important thing of all. These children need practical support, yes, but even more than that, they need spiritual truth. They need Jesus...just as we all do.

I also didn't feel like I was financially able to give at that point. Then, a couple months ago, I received an email from my friend, Mary, who was sharing about her Compassion child and was encouraging others to sponsor (if you are reading this, Mary, thank you for your obedience to the Lord and for being the encouragement I needed to step out and do this).

God spoke clearly to my heart that it was time to sponsor. I think sometimes we wait until things are convenient or comfortable for us before we act. There is such blessing when we give gifts in sacrifice! And we can trust that if God is calling us to be His hands and feet, He will provide us with the resources we need!

I know that I so often feel like I am lacking in what I can actually do for the Lord. But He is teaching me this...we are never to feel like we are just one life and cannot make a difference. It is up to God to decide how, when, and where He uses us. We are only called to be obedient to Him! It is not about us feeling good with what we're doing or feeling like we are making a big difference.

Even if we only ever affect one person in this world, that is enough. Even if we only ever reach one person with the love of Christ, it is worth all the sacrifice of pouring yourself out for the glory of Jesus.

It must start with seeing each individual life the way God does. He doesn't see the massive number of children who are in poverty, but each individual life. And God loves these little ones through us! We are His hands and feet on this earth and we are called to serve them and lay down our lives for them. He wants to give us His heart and the ability to care for and love them as He does.

I looked on the Compassion website, searched again for a child born on March 16th, and decided to sponsor a sweet little girl born on March 16th, 2009 (exactly one year older than my Lily girl). There is no point in waiting for a child born on her exact birthday when I can change a child's life now!

When I first saw her face, tears came to my eyes, and my heart swelled with love for her. Thank you, Jesus, for letting me see her through your eyes.

Meet my sponsorship child - Laura from Colombia:

Isn't she precious? :)

This means so much to me to not only sponsor a sweet child in the name of Jesus and to know that I can make a difference in her life, but also to do something in honor and memory of Lily. God sees each of these boys and girls the way I see Lily, which totally puts things into perspective for me. And He sees them the way you see your children. Having a mother heart makes me grasp a little more the heart of God towards His children. I am so excited to send Laura gifts on March 16th (and Christmas and other times during the year). I truly believe this will be very healing and special for love a little girl on earth because of my little girl in Heaven. Because I can't love my daughter of Heaven on earth.

I got this email from Compassion shortly after first sponsoring Laura:

I want to share a moment with you that recently occurred in Laura's life. We had the joy of personally telling her that “someone has chosen to become your sponsor.” That’s when Laura learned your name and that you believe she is very special.
For children who live in poverty, learning that their sponsor knows their name, knows their story, and cares for them is incredibly powerful. Children in need often feel that they have no value. But your love, through Christ, sends a message of hope.

I will be receiving letters from Laura and can send her letters...I love it!

I want to encourage you today to look into sponsoring one of these precious kiddos through Compassion International. Please don't wait until it's convenient for you. God wants to use each of us now, where we are...don't wait until you feel you can accomplish something "big" for the Kingdom of Heaven. Be obedient in the little things! This one thing (a small sacrifice) can forever impact a child's life! You might think that you will be blessing this child, but trust me when I tell you, they will bless you just as much, if not more! That's how God works. :)

Please take the time to watch this video and allow God to stir your heart to action!

I also want to mention that my article that was published this week on Live Action News, LifeSiteNews and LifeNews is also featured today on Embrace Grace!! I LOVE this blog and am so honored! :)


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My article is on Live Action News, LifeNews, LifeSiteNews, Embrace Grace, and Catholic Lane!

My article Darkness to light: a story of redemption and life was published on Live Action News this past weekend. What an honor and privilege it is for me to share my testimony with more people. I submitted my article to Live Action and that same day got an email back that said they wanted to publish it. It's so exciting to see the Lord open more and more doors for me to share my Luke and Lily. I am so thankful for each opportunity He brings my way.

A couple days later, requested permission to reprint the article. And also wanted to share it. How amazing to share Lily and Luke with literally thousands of people in a few days! The founder of LifeNews also showed interest in having me contribute future articles. I am already thinking about what to write (there's so much that's on my heart).

*Update on Friday, May 31st: 
This article was featured today as well on Embrace Grace! I LOVE this blog and am so honored. :)

*Update on Wednesday, June 5th:
This article was featured today as well on Catholic Lane!

Read, "like" and share. :)


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pre-Order: A Bump in Life

I'm so excited about the book "A Bump in Life: True Stories of Hope & Courage during an Unplanned Pregnancy" by the lovely Amy Ford (who is the Co-Founder of Embrace Grace Ministries) being released this October! You can pre-order it now!

A description of the book from Amy's website:

When going through a personal struggle, there’s no better help than to receive hope from someone who once stood where you are standing now. For the single woman or young girl with an unplanned pregnancy, A Bump in Life will help anyone going through or connected with this situation move from feelings of loneliness, shame, and worry to the far more lasting joy that is God’s redemptive blessing of a child.• A hope-filled collection of real life stories by inspiring young girls from different backgrounds who all experienced God’s grace and redemption in their journeys through unplanned pregnancy.• Foreword from Dan Dean of popular award-winning Christian music group Phillips, Craig & Dean.• An excellent source of encouragement for individuals going through a crisis pregnancy and for related support groups, family and friends.• Release month of October is Respect Life Month.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Little Flower Girl

My brother, Joseph, and best friend, Kala, got engaged in March! They will be getting married on October 11th of this year, so we are busy with wedding preparations. This is a very exciting time for my family, yet even in the joy, there is sadness...

The absence of Lily during this precious time has felt so pronounced. I am the Maid of Honor and realized recently that if my girl were here, she'd be the flower girl in the wedding. She would be just over 3 1/2 by that time, so would be the perfect age for it. How beautiful she'd be in her little flower girl dress, walking down the aisle sprinkling lilies along the way. I'm sure everyone would be oohing and aahing over how gorgeous she'd look. I wonder how she'd act and what she'd say. It hurts that I have to imagine what these things might be like, but I will never truly know.

A friend made the suggestion to include Lily in the ceremony by having lilies along the sides of the aisle. I love that idea and hope she can be honored and included in this way. Small gestures like this mean so much to me.

As these thoughts flood over my heart, I have felt such a deep grief. There are so many moments where Lily's absence makes it feel as if a scab on my heart is ripped off over and over again. So many moments. The loss of a baby is unlike any other loss. I literally am missing out on and grieving everything that her life would have held...from beginning to end.

I missed out on those sacred moments in the hospital, right after birth, full of only joy and happy tears. I missed out on those newborn moments, and am missing out on those toddler moments, and will miss out on those little girl moments, teenager moments, adulthood moments. I am missing out on all the little moments in between, such as when Lily would be a flower girl in her uncle's wedding. I am missing out on her being a part of my hoped-for future wedding. I am missing out on her being in every family picture, a part of every holiday dinner, and all those little moments that make life so special and beautiful. I am not just grieving my baby girl, but my all that my daughter's life would have held. 

"I am reminded of you at sunrise and sunset 
and a thousand other moments in between."

This grief will never be over because those moments will never end...

I love this letter written by John Piper, which he wrote to a grieving mother whose son was stillborn. His granddaughter, Felicity, was stillborn in September 2007. This particular piece of the letter really speaks to what I am saying:
Amputation is a good analogy. Because unlike a bullet wound, when the amputation heals, the arm is still gone. So the hurt of grief is different from the hurt of other wounds. There is the pain of the severing, and then the relentless pain of the gone-ness. The countless might-have-beens. Those too hurt. Each new remembered one is a new blow on the tender place where the arm was. So grieving is like and unlike other pain.
There is a paradox in the way God is honored through hope-filled grief. One might think that the only way He could be honored would be to cry less or get over the ache more quickly. That might show that your confidence is in the good that God is and the good that He does. Yes. It might. And some people are wired emotionally to experience God that way. I would not join those who say, “O they are just in denial.”
But there is another way God is honored in our grieving. When we taste the loss so deeply because we loved so deeply and treasured God’s gift — and God in His gift — so passionately that the loss cuts the deeper and the longer, and yet in and through the depths and the lengths of sorrow we never let go of God, and feel Him never letting go of us — in that longer sorrow He is also greatly honored, because the length of it reveals the magnitude of our sense of loss for which we do not forsake God. At every moment of the lengthening grief, we turn to Him not away from Him. And therefore the length of it is a way of showing Him to be ever-present, enduringly sufficient.

This is so, so beautiful. So full of truth. I feel God in the "gone-ness" and the countless "might-have-beens." I feel Him in her absence. I want others who read and hear my story to see authentic grief. Because you see, grief is a messy thing. It is not clean and tidy. Sometimes, it feels like I just keep saying the same thing, just in different ways that, I miss Lily. I wonder if people get sick of hearing it. This life of grief is painful, it's hard...

But, even more than that, it has drawn me closer to Jesus than a life without grief would have. The Lord changed my mother heart towards both my babies and it is because of that love He has placed within me that I miss them and grieve them so much. Because I taste the love so much, I taste the loss so much. I see what I am missing without them...all those might-have-been moments. I see the value of their lives, created in the image of Most-High-God. I believe that intensely grieving the loss of little ones who never live outside their mother's wombs testifies to the fact that all LIFE is so, so precious and valuable.

The Lord can be honored not only in the happy seasons of life when everything seems to be going swell, but in the midst of heartache, loss, grief. He is sufficient for us, in moments of joy and pain.

Today as I grieve another moment in this life that I will not experience with Lily, I will cling tightly to the beautiful truth that Lily knows all the joys of earth, without any of its sorrows. And I am remembering that one day soon:

You will know her. God will see to that. And she you. And she will thank you for giving her LIFE. She will thank you for enduring the loss that she might have the reward sooner.
God’s crucial word on grieving well is 1 Thessalonians 4:13: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” Yours is a grieving with hope. Theirs is a grieving without hope. That is the key difference. There is no talk of not grieving. That would be like suggesting to a woman who just lost her arm that she not cry, because it would be put back on in the resurrection. It hurts! That's why we cry. It hurts.

I pray that the Lord would be honored and glorified in my life, even in my grief.


Monday, May 20, 2013

A Springtime Visit

I took a spontaneous trip to Virginia last week from Thursday through Saturday, mainly to see my grandmother and of course to visit Lily's "special spot." I hadn't been there for half a year. Last I was there was around Thanksgiving time and I decorated for Christmas. Now Christmas, New Years, Lily's birthday and Mother's Day have all come and gone since last I visited. I really needed to be there...

The view from the Cemetery

My friend, Elise, decorates Lily's spot for me when I can't be there, which I am thankful for. But, that is not the same as going myself. With all my heart, I wish I lived closer to these sacred grounds. Not only do I love and miss Virginia because it is my hometown and my grandmother (and other family and friends) live there, but now that my daughter is buried there, a big piece of my heart will always remain in Virginia. The mountains are home to me. My soul quiets when I am surrounded by those gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains and the rolling Virginia hills. I can't explain how full of peace I feel when I am there...

I wish I could go to Lily's spot whenever I want or need to. I wish I could tidy it up and keep it always looking beautiful. I wish I could visit on each holiday and every other day when my heart is aching for my daughter. I wish I knew exactly how it looked and could make sure the flag isn't off the stand (like it was when I first got there), weeds aren't growing wildly, and things are perfect, for my girl and for any visitors she may have. I wish I could take flowers often, rather than just a couple times a year. I wish I didn't have to be in a cemetery to feel close to my child. I mean, I know Lily isn't really there and she is safe at Home with Jesus, but every mother loves her baby's tiny, precious body. I am no different...I am thankful that I live close enough to visit regularly.

I had a short time there on Thursday when we first arrived, but it was pouring so I couldn't stay long. Then, we were so busy on Friday since it was our only full day there, so I didn't even make it to the cemetery, which made me feel guilty. :( I woke up extra early on Saturday before we had to leave so I could have some alone time at her spot. I stopped on the way and picked up some pretty pink calla lilies for my Lily. It was a beautiful, chilly morning. There was a light drizzle, but not too much to keep me from decorating and pulling weeds (I really wish they better-maintained the grass there). The fog matched the heaviness in my heart. It took me a while to get everything just as I wanted it to be, and then I sat on the bench and listened to "Who You'd Be Today" a few times. Then, I read my Bible. It's nice to just sit be still. I was soaking it up until the next time I can go again.

Sometimes, I wish Lily was buried here in Raleigh so I could visit her spot whenever I want. It would be better in the short-term, but I don't know about how I'd feel twenty years from now. I know I will always have ties to Virginia, but I don't know about North Carolina. I just have to remember I did the best I knew to do at the time and made the best decisions I knew how to make.

I have no idea when I will get back up to Virginia to decorate again, but at least I know for now it looks beautiful. Hopefully next time I go Lily's headstone will be ready to be installed!

Lily's spot with the mountains in the background

The lilies I left for my Lily, as well as the little lamb I took for her spot

Lily's spot and my grandparent's/aunt's memorial bench. If you are ever in
Virginia and want to stop for a visit, that would be so special. :) It is easy
to find her spot because it is a small cemetery (Hillsboro Cemetery in Crozet,  VA)
and her spot is the most colorful! Can't you tell by this photo?

I think it looks lovely, all decorated for spring. I love
the pink and green. Isn't the butterfly so pretty? :)


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Already 19

Today, my little sister, Emmaline, turns 19. I can hardly believe that the baby of my family is embarking on her last year as a teenager. We had a special day celebrating her "Golden Birthday" - she turned 19 on May 19th...

But, there has been a sadness in my heart today. I never could have anticipated the thoughts and feelings I've been having. And I am realizing yet again that this life without Lily is full of many twists and turns of grief. Moments I never would have thought would be painful catch me off guard and bring my loss and deep feelings of missing my girl to the surface.

It may seem odd that my sister turning 19 would make me sad and start thinking of Lily....the best I can do is explain it like this...

I got pregnant with both Luke and Lily when I was 19. Now my "baby" sister is 19. I just feel like I am getting further and further away from my two sweet babes. How can I nearly be 24? Life has changed so much since then. I have changed so much. 

Moving away from the time when I was 19 means I am moving away from Luke and Lily. It means others will forget them more and more. Perhaps memories will fade. Things in life will continue to change. Change is really hard for me. And there are lots of big changes in my family right now. People will grow older, but my babies never will. They will remain frozen in 2009 and 2010...when I was 19 and 20. The only two years where Luke and Lily ever lived or will live...

Life without them is a continuous journey of moments...both bitter and sweet. Moments of being thankful for the gift of their lives, but grieving the loss of their lives. Wishing they could be here for special occasions, such as birthdays and weddings. Wishing their "Auntie Em" had her niece and nephew here to love on...she would have been is such a wonderful Aunt.

I must cling to Jesus through these moments and every moment...that is the only way I can make it through.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

October Baby Movie Giveaway!

Have you seen or heard of the awesome Pro-Life film - October Baby? I saw it three times in theaters and now own it on DVD and still am not tired of it. It's one you definitely want in your collection. It shows the value of human LIFE, shows the healing one can have after an abortion, and stirs people to action. I love this movie so much that I'm going to give a copy of it away to one of you lovely people.  All you have to do to enter this contest is "like" my page and then comment here saying you did so. I will randomly choose a winner (from the facebook and blog entries) once I reach 300 facebook "likes!" Also, please share my page and help me spread the message of LIFE!

Here's the movie trailer:


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Name Event '13

I participated in the Mother's Day Name Event that Catherine from Gabriel's Garden hosted. 

This is what the project is for:

The purpose of this project is to support one another on Mother's Day, find healing and peace, remember our babies, and connect with other mamas in the babyloss community. We all love to see our babies' names written by others and hopefully find peace in sharing this simple comfort with others.

It is a project for people who have babies in Heaven. We each got a list of names of babies to write in a creative way and we also receive photos (I will share all the photos others make for me once I receive them all.)

I finished taking the photos and editing them just tonight (I really wanted to finish them to send out in time for Mother's Day!) It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do for the photos.

I decided to write each baby's name on petals on my pink gerber daisies I got from my mom for Mother's Day. It will be planted in my daughter Lily's Memorial Garden at my house. I wanted to share my flowers with you. :)

Today was a tough day for me, but it was truly very healing to do something for these babyloss mamas. It really helped me get through the day and felt like I was doing something for my babies, while at the same time doing something for other babies. It really brightened my spirits! So thank you mamas for allowing me to honor your babies. :)

I hope you like the photos, ladies! It was really difficult to write the names (I tried to write them somewhat neatly.) My hand wasn't very steady...but, I think/hope they turned out alright. 

I hope and pray you've had a gentle, peaceful, and beautiful Mother's Day...whether you celebrate with some or all your children in Heaven. Much love and hugs!

Thank you so much, Catherine, for hosting this!

Here all the photos I took:

My Lily and Luke

My Lily Katherine

My Luke Shiloh

For Vicki

For Kayla

For Naomi

For Catherine

For Jessica

For Gale

For Gale

For Angela

For Tracey

For Stacy

For Mandy

For Melissa

For Kyla


Saturday, May 11, 2013

On Supporting a Bereaved Mother on Mother's Day

An acquaintance of mine recently asked me how she can be there for her friend who has lost a baby on Mother's Day (what a great friend!) I want to share a few ideas for how people can be a support to bereaved mothers on Mother's Day, taken from my How Family and Friends Can Help When a Baby Dies post (you might like to refer to this post for more ideas.)

"Mother’s Day is a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back." ~Erma Bombeck

Perhaps the most important advice I can give is this: Acknowledge the bereaved mother as a mother and acknowledge her loss. Also, speak her child's name. He/she was a very real person! Show that you care about her baby's life.

"The mention of my child's name may bring tears to my eyes, 
But it never fails to bring music to my ears. 
If you are really my friend, 
let me hear the music of her name! 
It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul!"
~Author Unknown~


"If you know someone who has lost a child and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great gift." ~Elizabeth Edwards

Another important piece of advice: Remember. Holidays and anniversaries will be very difficult without her baby. Make a point to remember these days. When you send a card for Mother's Day (whether she has more living children or not), mention her baby. "Remembering so and so today" is really all you need to say. I know Mother's Day is always very difficult for me, especially not having any other children on earth to celebrate the special day with me. Not many people remember that I am and will forever be a mother on Mother's Day. Send her an email, a card, or visit her and let her know she isn't the only one that remembers what that day is to her and will forever be to her. Lost for Words Card Line and Restoring Aching Arms are wonderful places to find cards for all occasions for babyloss parents (I linked specifically to view cards for Mother's Day.) I'm sure there are also Mother's Day cards that could be appropriate at Hallmark (if you look hard enough.)

Just be there for your friend or family member. There is no "formula" to follow. Honestly, just being a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on goes a long, long way. I would be honest and tell her if you don't know exactly what to do or say, but that you are thinking of her and her baby and that you want her to know you remember she is a mother on Mother's Day and will be forever.

There are lots of special memorial gifts you could give. Instead of listing them myself here, for some ideas, read this post: 10 Gift Ideas for a Bereaved Mom on Mother's Day.

Here are a couple other wonderful posts I really recommend reading: What to Say to a Bereaved Mother on Mother's Day and Mother's Day Gifts to Comfort Grieving Mothers.

I hope this post has given some ideas on how to support a bereaved mother on Mother's Day. I also want to encourage people to reach out to mothers who are in all sorts of difficult/different circumstances which make Mother's Day hard for them. Pray and ask God how to reach out to them, either by sending them a card to let them know you are thinking of them, or whatever else it may be. Doing something is better than doing nothing...


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Concerning Mother's Day and Church

I've been having lots of thoughts swirling around in my head regarding Mother's Day and want to share...

I want to remind everyone that though Mother's Day may be a joyful day for most, it can also be a very painful day for others. It is a difficult day for those who have lost children to stillbirth, miscarriage, abortion, or any other loss at any age. It is a difficult day for those who have lost a child and are unable to have another at this point to fill their empty arms. It is a difficult day for those dealing with infertility. It is a difficult day for birthmothers who chose to place their child for adoption. It is a difficult day for women who deeply longed to be mothers and for one reason or another, never got to be. It is a difficult day for those who have had a failed adoption. It is a difficult day for a mother whose child is estranged from her. It is a difficult day for children who have lost their mothers. It is a difficult day for children who have broken relationships with their mother. It is a difficult day for mothers who have children who have turned their back on truth. It is a difficult day for mothers who now have an empty nest...

Because this day can be painful and bittersweet for so many, I think it's very important that we approach it with sensitivity. I pray we remember these women who are grieving and hurting on this day and reach out to them in love.

I know that it's a popular thing to have special services at Church on Mother's Day to honor mothers. I also know that a lot of pastors ask mothers to stand to recognize them...okay, can I just say this is awkward? What about the mother who has lost a child before they were born (despite the circumstances)? Most likely, not everyone would know about such a loss - so what is a mother to do? She is a mother just as much as an other mother, even if her child is in her heart, rather than her arms. She feels like she is dishonoring her child and herself as a mother if she doesn't stand. Yet, she knows she will get questioning stares from others if she does stand. She's not a mother, why is she standing? 

A lady I know who is post-abortive mentioned to me this past week that several years ago, she decided she was going to avoid going to Church on Mother's Day altogether because it is just too painful. Another woman who longed to get married and have children, but never did for one reason or another, also mentioned recently that she avoids Church on Mother's Day. 

I have been considering not going myself because of a couple reasons...not only is it uncomfortable when mothers are asked to stand and I don't know what to do (I am a single young woman, with two children. Both of which live in Heaven with Jesus, but I am still just as much a mother as anyone.) Mother's Day is already a really hard day for me. I am a mother, with no child on earth to celebrate the special day with me. It makes my heart ache tremendously. I have been feeling so drained just thinking about Mother's Day, realizing not many people will say anything to me or even acknowledge me as a mother. 

As if the day isn't hard enough already, I have discovered that many Churches think it's a good idea to have baby dedication services on Mother's Day. This sort of service can be difficult for me on any Sunday, but especially on Mother's Day - the day that highlights my losses. I know I am not alone in my thoughts on this. A couple years ago, I was visiting a friend in Tennessee and attended Church with her for Mother's Day. I had no idea that her Church was going to be having baby dedications that day and was already feeling really emotional, with it being only my second Mother's Day since losing my daughter just over a year before. Tears weren't far from the surface that morning as I sat down for the service. But, as soon as the babies and their moms and dads went up front, I lost it. I started crying (really hard, I might add) and had to excuse myself from the service. Thankfully, my dear friend came with me and we sat in the basement of the Church and had our own precious time of fellowship and remembering my girl. I can imagine such services would be hard not only for people who have lost babies, but those dealing with infertility, among other things. My Church will be having a service like this on Mother's Day and I have been struggling all week with whether or not I should go. I want to be there, but will it be too much? These babies need to be honored and celebrated, but why not have a day all their own, rather than joining up with Mother's Day?

The thing is, Mother's Day is not a Church holiday. It is a Hallmark holiday...and if we want to get technical here, most people don't realize that Mother's Day was started by a woman named Anna Jarvis who wanted to honor her mother who experienced the death of seven of her children! Somehow through the years, Mother's Day has turned into a commercialized mess that card companies make millions of dollars from, but the worst thing is that bereaved mothers are completely forgotten! If we want to honor the true meaning of Mother's Day, why not use it as a day set-apart to honor those who have lost a child?

I want to mention that just because Mother's Day is difficult for someone doesn't mean they are not healed or coping well. No matter how many more children I may have in the future, Mother's Day will always be a bittersweet day for me.

I am just sharing my heart here and hope to have not come across as too know-it-all or offensive to anyone. This is how I've felt/feel and how I've found many others feel as well. Mother's Day can be a special day to honor mothers, without excluding non-mothers and those who are mourning.

Please, please take the time to read this post: An open letter to pastors {a non mom speaks about Mother's Day} and this one: 10 ideas for pastors on Mother's Day. The writer offers beautiful words on this sensitive subject.

On this Mother's Day, I want to acknowledge, love, and support mothers of all kinds...those who hold some, if not all, their children in their hearts, rather than their arms, birthmothers who placed their child for adoption, foster-care mothers, spiritual mothers, adoptive mothers, single mothers, step-mothers, and expectant mothers (I apologize if I've left anyone out). I also want to acknowledge the women who never got to be mothers, though they longed to be.

This flower is for all mothers - traditional and non-traditional. 
Much love on this day!

I want to encourage people to reach out to mothers who are in all sorts of difficult/different circumstances which make Mother's Day hard for them. Pray and ask God how to reach out to them, either by sending them a card to let them know you are thinking of them, or whatever else it may be. Doing something is better than doing nothing...


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Forsaken Found Painting

I got an email from a lady named Julie Courville who I assume read my story on LifeSiteNews and saw my email address listed in the article. She wrote me and sent me the link to see a beautiful and healing painting that her daughter, Amberose, did. It is called "The Forsaken Found" and is a piece of art in honor of unborn babies. Julie offered to mail me a professional print, signed by Amberose! I was so touched by her thoughtfulness, kindness, and generosity.

Amberose is a very talented artist and this painting is just gorgeous. It is amazing to see how God Himself gave her the vision for this painting. I know it will bless and touch many people - whether by healing someone whose had an abortion, or by opening eyes to the truth of what abortion really is and God's heart for these little ones. So amazing! It has touched my heart deeply.

The painting arrived a couple days ago, along with a car magnet of a patriotic painting Amberose did. I have a collage wall of paintings and photos in honor of Lily and Luke and this will go perfectly on that wall. :-) I wanted to share this with others, as I'm sure it will bless others as it has blessed me.

The painting is based off of Psalm 27:10 ~ "Though my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me."

Thank you so much, Julie!

Watch this video to hear Amberose describe the painting - what it means, why she painted it, etc. 


Sunday, May 5, 2013

International Bereaved Mother's Day

Today is a special day to me. It is something that most people have never even heard of and have no need to hear of it. Today is International Bereaved Mother's Day, formerly International Babylost Mother's Day. It's a day set-apart to honor mothers who have lost children. This special day falls on the first Sunday of each May, the week before traditional Mother's Day. I have been recognizing it since it started in 2010, the year my daughter was born and died. I am thankful for this day since I have no children on earth to celebrate Mother's Day and it is a very difficult day for me. Bereaved Mother's Day is a day to be loved and supported by others who "get it."

Here is what Carly Marie (the creator of this special day) had to say about it:
"This day was created to get people to start talking about the real meaning of Mother’s Day. Do you know who started it? Anna Jarvis founded the traditional Mother’s Day to honour her mother who experienced the death of 7 of her children and somehow through the years it has turned into a commercialized mess that card companies make millions of dollars from, but the worst thing is that bereaved mothers are completely forgotten.
This special day was created in 2010 to honour and celebrate the mothers who carry some if not all of their children in their hearts rather than their arms. In our modern day society, mothers who are grieving the death of their babies and children are usually forgotten. The traditional Mother's Day has proven to be an emotionally difficult day for so many mothers around the world. Just because your baby died does not mean that you are not a mother anymore. You are your baby’s mother forever and people need to start recognizing this fact."

You can also read what Carly Marie wrote about this special day in a post on Still Standing Online MagazineTo help raise awareness for this beautiful day take some flowers from the flower gallery, found on the facebook page and Carly Marie's website. Post them as your profile image on your favorite social network. Post them on your friends walls on facebook and let them know they are beautiful mothers. Also, use the images on your blogs or websites.

We celebrate, remember, miss, and love our precious little ones lost through stillbirth, miscarriage, abortion, and any other type of baby or child loss. I am thinking of all you mamas out there with some, if not all, your children in your heart, rather than your arms. I pray you find peace in knowing that they are safe with Jesus.

This flower is for everyone who has lost a child, despite the circumstances. Thank you for being there for me on this journey of grief and healing. And thank you to those of you who remembered me today and honored my girl. I will share later what I did special for the day. 

♥ Lily Katherine and Luke Shiloh ♥

For those who are interested in participating, Still Standing Online Magazine is hosting a "Breaking the Silence" event today. Here is the information about it:

"On May 5th we invite you to break the silence on loss and show the world you are STILL STANDING after loss and infertility by sharing a picture (or two or three, or as many as you like!) on facebook, twitter, instagram and pinterest. Include the hashtag #iamstillstanding to connect with and find others participating."

I am still standing as a single babyloss mama, after losing my first two children - Luke Shiloh, who went to Heaven at 6 weeks gestation in February 2009 and Lily Katherine, who was stillborn at fullterm on March 16, 2010. I promise to always be their voice in this world, which is why I am still standing and still speaking! Two babies who never spoke a word or took a breath danced into my heart and life and have left me changed forever. Their lives and legacies will echo into Eternity. I'm so thankful God gave me the gift of being their mama and one day, I will be reunited with them again. What a glorious reunion it will be, the three of us together at last! One day, I hope to have more children to raise on earth, but for now I will love my two in Heaven with all that is within me. #iamstillstanding

For more information and to participate in this event and connect with others, as well as share your child, visit the facebook page.

Much love and hugs,
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