Friday, August 11, 2017

He Numbers Our Days

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

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

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

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

me on the left and Lily on the right

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

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

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

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

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

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Remembered in the U.K.

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





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Lily Remembered in Christmas

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


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Monday, August 7, 2017

The Difference Between Us

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

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

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

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

One is me and the other is my daughter.

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

One. Single. Breath.

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

It shouldn't. ❤️


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Mommy and Baby Shell 🐚

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

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

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

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

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






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August 2009 Series ~ Sacred Life Forming Within

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

~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lily Remembered at Kill Devil Hills

Lily visited Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks in North Carolina with Barbara! 😄 This photo was taken when the tide was coming in. Barbara said that as she was leaving, she met a lady with two daughters. She was surprised when she heard her call her daughter, "Lily." I like to think it's a reminder from Heaven that my Lily is seen and remembered and I will one day call to her in the same way. ❤️ 🌊 ☀️ 🌴 🐚 🐳 🐬 🐟 🐠 🐢 


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Lily Remembered at the Halos 5K

It was so thoughtful of Ciera to remember Lily this morning at the Halos 5K in Hudson, Wisconsin! Halos is a child-loss organization. 💕


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Lily Remembered in Oklahoma

Summer in Poteau, Oklahoma painted this rock for Lily! People around her town are painting and hiding rocks for others to find. Lily is leaving her mark in Oklahoma. 😊 💕


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Funeral Home Papers

I'm going through everything I own to simplify my life... ahhh it feels so refreshing and freeing.

Anyways, I keep coming across memories of my pregnancy and Lily's life. Today I found information from the funeral home where Lily went after leaving the hospital... instead of home with me. Her name was on this instead of a birth certificate. Instead of paying for newborn photos, we were charged for funeral and burial services.

In a strange way it was comforting to have her burial. It was a visible reminder to others that she was a real little girl with a real body that had to be honored with dignity. A place to have a headstone placed. She wasn't an idea or a dream. She didn't just disappear when she died. She had a precious 7 pound 9 ounce 21 inch little girl's body. 😔 💔  


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"Oh Mother, My Mother"

My friend Shannon shared this beautiful poem with me. 💕

Oh Mother, My Mother
by Thomas Cochrane

Oh mother, my mother
I touch your tears
invisible fingers
soothing your skin
I know you think of me so often
in the day, in the night,
in your dreams
going into an empty nursery
knowing I'll never be there
but I am...in your heart
in your soul, I shall always be
for you gave so unselfishly
of yourself.
Inside of you, you created
such a world for me
a world of laughter, of love,
of sadness, of sorrow
every emotion people come to know
you shared with me.
And even though I may never
feel your arms around me
I felt your heart beating,
like a lullaby, singing me to sleep
and your spirit giving me a safe haven
always protecting me
nurturing me
preparing me of things to come.
But sometimes the journey
of life pulls souls apart
and yes, I had to go on
to another place.
I wish I could stay
I wish this was a decision I could make
and I know you do too.
Know this wherever you are:
I will always remember
that yours was the first love
the first joy, the first soul
I will ever know
you gave me the courage to
go on in my journey
I hope I can do the same
for you
Your heart beat will always
call me to you.

Love, your child


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Friday, August 4, 2017

August 2009 Series ~ Precious Feet Pin

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

~~~~~~~~~~~

In August 2009, when I was facing an unplanned pregnancy and still unsure as to whether or not I was going to go through with an abortion, I was staying at my aunt and uncle's place housesitting/petsitting when I stumbled upon something in their kitchen/dining room area.

There on the counter, like it was waiting for me, was a precious feet pin. The little feet are scaled to the size and shape of what an unborn child's feet look like at 10 weeks gestation. At the time I found this pin, I was around the exact same gestation - 10 weeks. It was right around the time of my 20th birthday on August 12th.

the exact feet I found on that summer day in 2009 - now in Lily's scrapbook

Looking back, I firmly believe know God put these little feet right in my path for me to find. I mean, what a "coincidence" that I found this pin when I was that exact gestation! I don't even know whose pin it was or where it came from. I am going to tell my aunt about finding this little pin at her home and how it impacted me (my grandmother suggested I tell her. I didn't realize I never had until she mentioned it).

When I saw these feet, it was like it made it all the more real to me... I was pregnant. I already had a baby growing in my womb. She already had the tiniest, most precious little feet ever. It helped my mother heart to connect to my little baby's heart. My little Lily.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My Second-Grader

When you're scrolling through Instagram and one of the pages you follow has this picture of a 7-year-old girl starting the 2nd grade.

And all at once your heart remembers that it's August and your own daughter who should be 7-years-old as well would also be starting the 2nd grade this month.

Moments like these are never-ending. 😔 💔  #whatstillbirthlookslike



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Lily Remembered in Israel

My friend Olga remembered Lily in Tel Aviv, Israel! How neat for her name to be written there. 😍 ❤️  🌊 ☀️ 🐚 🌴 🐳 🐬 🐟 🐠 🐢 


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I'd Still Choose You

"I don't have a choice, but I'd still choose you." ~The Civil Wars 🎶 💕

I'd still choose you, sweet girl. I'd choose you a million times over, for I love who God created you to be and the purpose He has in both your life and your death. Do you know how happy you made me? 💗

"I loved the girl with the utmost love of which my soul is capable and she is taken from me - yet in the agony of my spirit, in surrendering such a treasure, I feel a thousand times richer than if I never possessed it." ~William Wordsworth


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Lily Remembered in Sweden

Lily was honored for the first time in Sweden by a blog reader! Birgitta wrote her name by "their lake," which is really part of the Ljusnan River. 😄 ❤️ ☀️ 🐚  


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Monday, July 31, 2017

Lily Remembered in Corfu

Lily-girl traveled for the first time to Moraitika, Corfu, Greece with Dawn! 💜


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Camp Joshua NC 2017

This past week was Camp Joshua North Carolina!


We were at a different campground this year as the old place shut down. The location was beautiful. 




I was honored to spend a couple days with a fabulous group of hilarious, passionate, interesting teenagers (and counselors and staff). This was the 5th consecutive year that I've been a part of Camp Joshua and it's always a highlight of my Summer. :) I've been involved since the first year here in NC. There are Camp Joshua chapters all around the United States. With each passing year, it's been slowly but surely building up here in the state where I live.

What is Camp Joshua? It's a pro-life camp for high-school students, where they learn how to defend the sanctity of all life in a culture that does not value life. Through workshops, games, and interacting with others, it's a jam-packed couple days. They are also able to connect with others who become lasting friends. There are workshops on abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, stem-cell research, adoption, etc.


From the website: "Joshua is a model of a young leader that took action. Just as Joshua took down the walls of Jericho, the young men and women of Camp Joshua will lead their generation in bringing down the walls of the culture of death. They will be Joshua to our world in need."

I have been blessed to lead "The Impact of Abortion" workshop each year, where I share my story and how abortion impacts the women who have them, as well as other family members and the culture as a whole. The kids are respectful and receptive and I am thankful God gives me this opportunity to make an impact on their lives. As I share with them, being pro-life is not inherited and passed down through the generations. It is encouraging to me to see young people caring about these issues and educating themselves, as well as learning compassion and empathy. They are learning to have a heart for everyone impacted by these issues. Being pro-life is not just about the babies, as many people opposing abortion like to imagine. Being pro-life is about loving the moms, dads, babies, those affected by the laws surrounding assisted suicide and euthanasia. It's about treasuring each day of our own lives, appreciating the beauty of God's creation, holding our grandparent's hands. What it truly means to be pro-life cannot be captured in a mere few words or thoughts.

It is my hope and prayer that through my sharing my story, these kids will carry the importance of the sanctity of life and the value of walking in purity. Who knows where they themselves may one day end up or where one of their friends or acquaintances will end up and how they will be able to speak into their lives. It's a ripple effect that we will never be able to measure. I know God brings the specific teens there that He wants to be there and I am humbled to be a small part of Camp Joshua. I'm excited to see how God continues to grow it in the future!

These teens keep me young at heart. ;) We have a blast with playing games like "Animal Call" and "Signs." We joke and have serious discussions and get to know each other over good food and bonfires.










If you have a teen in your own life or know someone who does, please check out Camp Joshua (there could be one in your state)! Most the kids love it so much they choose to come back year after year to be involved with the leadership team. It's great to meet new friends each year and to see several familiar faces as well. :)

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