Thursday, September 25, 2014

Beauty from Ashes

A couple days ago, I was able to share my story with a young woman contemplating an abortion. I can't really get into the details, but I just want to say that God is good. He is powerful. He has a plan. He moves in hearts and lives in a very real, tangible way.

I am struck with what a blessing that is, to speak truth and hope into someone's life. God truly does work ALL things together for good and His glory. He brings beauty from ashes. And I am so amazed that He would use me to be a voice for Luke and Lily to help other moms and babies in the womb.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Love at First Sight

Five years ago today... the following is a little something I wrote to Lily for my pregnancy scrapbook:

On Monday, September 21, 2009 (cousin Anna's 14th birthday), I got my first glimpse of you, my precious little flower! Pulling into the LifeCare Pregnancy Center parking lot, my heart was pounding. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew that I was going to be a witness to the miracle of LIFE. The very hand of God was at work within my womb, shaping and creating wonderful you, sweet baby. The Lord already knew you long before I knew I'd one day have a beautiful daughter named Lily Katherine. 

I had wanted to have an ultrasound in August at the pregnancy center in Charlottesville, but it didn't work out. I had wanted to have one the week before at LifeCare when I initially went in and had a pregnancy test, but had to wait. I was in my second trimester of pregnancy, at 15 weeks and 1 day gestation. I had longed for this day my entire life, the day that I'd see with my own two eyes that I was a mother. 

Grandma Dukes, Auntie Em, and I went back to the little ultrasound room and I got up on the table. I had a 9:30 a.m. appointment. Hanging on the wall right across from me was a painting of a lily. My heart already knew you were a girl named Lily. I didn't need anyone to tell me that. Seeing the lily painting was like a sweet gift from the Lord, who knew your gender, name, and purpose already. My heart was bonding with your heart, little girl. A few months later, I went back into that same room where I saw you for the first time and the painting was gone. I found that strange and disappointing because I wanted to take a picture of it. 

The cold gel was put on my belly and the wand started moving around. I held my breath in anticipation. There you were on that screen! You must have known we were watching you because you decided to give us a little show. You were dancing and squirming all over the place! Flip, flip, flop. Laughing, I joked, "if this is any indication of what's to come, I'm going to have my hands full!" You were so tiny, yet already so developed and full of life. You were my baby and I was amazed at what God was doing. I was amazed at the beauty and miracle of LIFE. I was so happy to take home a couple ultrasound pictures - your very first photos!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Four and a Half Years of Heaven

Today, September 16th, is Lily Kat's half birthday. She would be 4 1/2 today. That means in just half a year, she would be turning 5!

We all know how important it is for young children to get that half in there when people ask their age. She'd be so proud to be such a big girl.

I thought of her so much today and had a pumpkin-spiced latte in her honor. I enjoyed PSL's often during the fall when I was pregnant with her, so thought that would be appropriate.

Just knowing she has been gone now for 54 months is almost unbelievable. I love and miss you so much, my little flower!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Waiting for His Redemption Song

The pain of so many losses;
A future, hopes, dreams, love, purity, innocence, a sweet little flower
Nothing on Earth can mend the wounds
It will be only by HIS power

The anguish of goodbyes
The agony of regret
What I'd give to go back
What I'd do to forget

In so many faces, I see his
He visits me in my dreams
I keep it all bottled up
But inside there are silent sobs and screams

They say "time heals all wounds,"
Five years since the drift
And I'm still waiting
For the crushing weight to lift

When her perfect heart stopped beating
The pulse of our love ceased too
I didn't just lose our little flower
I lost the both of you

How do I let go?
How do I move on?
I cling to HIM in my frailty
And wait for HIS redemption song...

Playing this on repeat - "Worn" by Tenth Avenue North


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Three in a Row

This past Saturday, September 6th, was Stillbirth Remembrance Day.

Sunday the 7th was Grandparents Day. Lily was my parents first-born grandchild and my grandmothers first-born great-granddaughter.

And Monday the 8th was the date I first told my mom she was a grandmother 5 years ago.

Three tough days in a row.

Four generations... Lily and her mommy, grandmother, and great-grandmother
Sharing this in honor of Grandparents Day

Monday, September 8, 2014

Even Death Will Die

Sometimes I need the reminder that this is not the end. Lily's death was not the end of her. She is in Heaven and it is there we will meet again, for "even death will die." This song by Audrey Assad is so beautiful and is bringing such comfort to my heart as I listen to it on repeat on this rainy Monday afternoon.


Death, be not proud, though the whole world fear you
Mighty and dreadful you may seem
but death, be not proud, for your pride has failed you
You will not kill me.

Though you may dwell in plague and poison,
you’re a slave to fate and desperate men;
So death, if your sleep be the gate to heaven,
Why your confidence—
when you will be no more?
You will be no more, you will be no more;
even death will die.

Death, be not proud.
Even death will die.

Listen to the song below or by clicking HERE


Friday, September 5, 2014

Like a Lily Among Thorns

On this date five years ago, September 5th, 2009, I sent an email to my dear friend Bex where I said this:

I am so incredibly thankful to have this documented forever. I remember knowing from early on that Lily was a girl and that her name was Lily, however it is special to have it written in words. 

At the time I wrote the email, I was still in my first trimester of pregnancy, too early for a doctor to tell me the gender of my unborn baby. I hadn't even had an ultrasound or doctor's appointment yet. But, I knew in my heart that my baby was a GIRL. It was as if God Himself whispered to me, "you are carrying a precious little girl and her name is Lily." The Lord showed me that my child was a gift and though she was conceived in sin, she was not a sin.

Bex was one of the first people to know about Lily and to hear her name. She wrote
Lily's name in the sand on her honeymoon in the US Virgin Islands last September. :)

I knew in my heart that the God of the Universe was knitting together a very special little girl, quietly hidden within my womb. I knew how special she was to Him. Jesus supernaturally intervened in my heart and life. He used her life to bring me back to Himself. Lily was the bridge between my Savior and I. She changed my heart, she changed the road I was walking on, she changed my future, she changed everything...rather, Jesus changed everything through her life. I treasure her name. To me, it is not simply a pretty name. The flower and name are so meaningful and significant to me.

Lily means purity and innocence. Also a symbol of beauty. The Lord was bringing beauty from ashes, light out of my darkness. He showed me that this precious life that grew within was a symbol of my renewed innocence and purity in Christ. In Him, I am washed whiter than snow (Isaiah 1:18). I am redeemed, because of His shed blood. He was giving me hope for her future, my future, and showing me that He had a plan and purpose for her precious life.

It amazes me to see how I knew from the start that my she was a she and that her name was Lily.

You can read more about the meaning and significance of Lily Katherine's name HERE.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Doesn't Make Sense

I hope that I don't offend anyone with the honesty I portray on my blog. I try to be as open as I can to give a glimpse into my mother heart of love for my daughter. I try to be vulnerable so people can understand what it's like to lose a baby and to help others who have been through something similar to not feel so alone. I am sure there are feelings I express that don't make sense to other people. In fact, I know this is true.

Just today, I was saying something about Lily and something regarding my feelings to my sister. When I said what I did, my sister looked at my strangely and asked, "Why? You can't be like that." I said a couple brief things, but decided not to push it any further because I didn't want to get into an argument where I feel like I am defending my feelings. I feel very vulnerable regarding anything to do with Lily.

Here's what I want people to know... My feelings might not make sense to you. Trust me, I understand that. Sometimes they don't even make sense to me. I don't know why certain things make me feel like they do. It doesn't make sense to me in human terms why babies die before drawing their first breath. It will never make sense. So maybe, just maybe, feelings associated with a loss that doesn't make sense, also won't make sense.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lily Love

I really like the musical duo, The Civil Wars. I was listening to their music on YouTube one day recently when I saw a song suggestion on the right toolbar called "Lily Love." I obviously had to listen to it right away because I like anything to do with Lily and her name. I was amazed at how the words are so fitting. I posted about it on Facebook and a friend of mine said it's like it was written for my little Lily. Daisies are also mentioned in the song which remind me of my Aunt Rachel Ross and my dear friend Stacy's daughter, Rachel Alice...


Down, down by the sea
there is a crown of daisies
High, high on a hill, my little Lily Love
West wind in your hair, tied up in golden daisies
She's chasing you down, my little Lily Love

You hide and seek high and low
In every corner of my soul
I almost hear the sound of your heart beating
Oh, like it's my own, my little Lily Love

You hide and seek every day
You just get farther away

What, what kind of world
Would take a sweet wild flower
And pull it up from the ground
my little Lily Love?

Oh, down by the sea there is a crown of daisies
I'll never forget my little Lily Love

Listen to the song below or by clicking HERE


Virginia in October

I got an invitation in the mail to attend the PCCV (Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia) annual fall banquet in October.


As I was looking over the invitation, I was thinking how I would love to attend the banquet with my grandmother because this is the pregnancy center that I went to in my first trimester of pregnancy in August 2009. I also went to their banquet with my grandmother almost five years ago, in October 2009, when I was around 18 weeks gestation and had just found out conclusively Lily was a girl. That was a very special night for me, as it was the first time God stirred the desire within me to share my story of LIFE, hope, and redemption through speaking. There were lilies in the centerpiece of each table, as a precious reminder that He knew and loved my Lily and was holding us both in the palm of His hand.

I noticed that the banquet this year will be falling on the exact date it did five years ago when I went - October 18th. This year is the 30th anniversary candlelight banquet and five years ago I remember it was the 25th anniversary. I was thinking about how many memories it would bring back to be able to go again and then realized that it's very possible I could go... not only does the banquet fall on the same date as five years ago, but my family has a vacation planned to visit Massanutten (a resort my family has been going to since before I was born) in October (we usually go during different months of the year). I was at Massanutten five years ago in October, almost on the same dates that we will be there this year. Those are some really sweet memories. In fact, I have two full pages in Lily's scrapbook from that vacation and the banquet.

I really hope I am able to go to the banquet this year. I am sure my trip will be bittersweet, full of memories of my girl and her life on Earth...

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