Monday, July 31, 2017

Lily Remembered in Corfu

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


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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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Lily Remembered at Cape Lookout

Lily was remembered by my sweet friend Amanda at the point at Cape Lookout. It's the southern most point of the Outer Banks. I love the one with her initials. πŸ˜Š ❤️ 🌊 ☀️ 🐚 🌴 🐳 🐬 🐟 🐠 🐒 



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Maturity

As time passes and the years since Lily was born and died tick by faster and faster, I can see the maturity God is cultivating within me. Maturity in my character and in my relationship with Him. And maturity in my mothering my daughter. In many ways this maturity has developed only because of the years of pain.

You know how "they" say that time heals all wounds? Well I am 7+ years into living without my baby and that is simply not true. In many ways, the more time that passes, the more it hurts, especially when life seems to move on for other people in ways it hasn't for me.

Yet I do see that over time (not because of time, but rather the Lord working through time), that He has matured me as a mother. He has deepened and matured my love for Lily. I truly treasure her more now than I did 7 years ago. And He has matured me in my ability to see her life and death as a part of His plan, and in my acceptance of realizing I'll never fully understand why she had to go... but holding firmly to the truth that Jesus is trustworthy.

In the midst of all those years, all you can see are the individual days until suddenly you wake up 7 years later and see Him weaving a story of deeper healing and wholeness. And realizing that sometimes wholeness is found in our brokenness and understanding that only Heaven will fully restore us. Until then, our fragmented pieces tell a greater story of His love and grace and how He keeps us from completely falling apart.

Hold on... He is doing a new thing, even when you cannot see it yet. πŸ’•


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His Sovereignty

"Everything is needful that He sends, nothing can be needful that He withholds." ~John Newton

"If the story of Joseph and the whole Bible is true, then anything that comes into your life is something that, as painful as it is, you need in some way. And anything you pray for that does not come from Him, even if you are sure you cannot live without it, you do not really need." ~Tim Keller from Walking with God through Pain and Suffering


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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Meeting Skylar's Family

This past weekend was incredibly special! I got to meet a fellow bereaved mother and speak at her church in Virginia. :)

Shannon found my blog shortly after her daughter Skylar was stillborn last October and we've been in contact online since then. Her church invited me to speak at their women's meeting this month, which was an honor. The adventures God takes me on while sharing my story are beautiful. One of the best parts is that I get to travel to other parts of the country and meet amazing people who become fast friends.

There's something uniquely and unspeakably precious about meeting face-to-face with another mother whose lost her only child, a baby girl at full-term just like Lily. We shared tears and laughter, memories and mementos. We marveled at the difference in feet sizes (my girl's were longer and hers were shorter and wider) and hair color (my girl's was blondish brown and hers was jet black). πŸ’•


We even have some of the same keepsake items (just in different colors)... like our girl's foot impressions.


Shannon and her husband, Tracy, hosted me in their lovely home. They are already so precious to me, as is their sweet baby girl. The Lord crosses our paths with others and perfectly ordains our lives and comforts us through others walking similar paths. They made me feel welcome and comfortable from the moment I arrived. I have learned a thing or two about hospitality from the two of them. Their country life with their log cabin, flowers, vegetables, horses, cats, dogs, private pool, etc. is basically what I dream for myself one day.

This is Blake. Dogs like this make room for more pups in this cat lady's heart. ;)




They had this welcome basket and some stargazer lilies (my favorite) waiting for me! How thoughtful and generous of them. I love the special "Lily touches" included, such as the "L" journal and the red-velvet cake mix.



Gorgeous sunset!


My speech went well and I enjoyed getting to chat some with those who attend Shannon's church. I had a display table set up to share some Lily things. I was also able to share Lily's song/tribute video.




It was meaningful to see the ways in which Shannon is mothering Skylar in the ways she can... such as creating this gorgeous garden at her church.



And creating this lovely little garden that greets you as you pull into her driveway.


Not pictured is Skylar's room, with each and every thing in there having been picked out with tender love and thoughtfulness. I feel as if I am getting to know Skylar through getting to know her parents and let me tell you, she is a beautiful little girl.

I'm thankful we got to meet in person! Thank You Jesus, for the gift of friendship and our beautiful daughters. I'm looking forward to a long friendship and how wonderful they only lives a couple hours away.

August 2017 Update:

This was in Shannon's local paper. It's an article on my recent visit to her town to speak at her church. πŸ˜Š πŸ’• πŸŒΈ  #LilysLegacy #LilyandSkylar #bereavedmothers


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Even While I Sleep

I came across these words on an article I was reading on the Revive Our Hearts blog last night:

"God has cared for us meticulously from before birth. Psalm 139:13 says, "For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb." While our mothers slept, God knit together the intricate patterns of our eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and skin..."

While I was reading an article that had nothing to do with baby loss, these words caused tears to well up in my eyes thinking deeply of my sweet baby girl. Pondering how God created her every perfectly formed detail. Remembering that it is He who crafted her life and legacy. While I slept, He knit her together. Those precious little eyelashes and nails growing out were made by His fingerprint. My body was but a vessel used to house His masterpiece. While I was sleeping... unaware and uninvolved.

He showed me that I am to rest in knowing her legacy is the same as her very form... crafted by Him, even while I am unaware and uninvolved. It's not up to me to knit together her legacy any more than it was up to me to knit her together within me. I am merely the vessel. My body was what He used to bring forth her body and now my heart and words are the vessel to bring forth her legacy... even while I sleep... even while she sleeps. πŸ’•


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Friday, July 21, 2017

Lily Remembered in Australia

There's a sweet story behind this name in the sand photo πŸ˜Œ ... My friend Teresa recently wrote Lily's name in the sand in South Carolina when she shared Lily's story with the people she was with... Well, 12-year-old Stella who she was with remembered the story and wrote Lily's name in the sand herself while at the beach in Bowen, Queensland, Australia last week. So incredibly touching! Lily's impact is ever-expanding.  ❤️ 🌊 ☀️ 🐚 🐬 🐳 🐟 🐠 🐒 🌴


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Lily Remembered by Her South African Friend

Lily Katherine's sweet South African friend Lily-Grace, who was born in mid-March as well, sent this precious video to her from the lily pond at the Botanic Gardens in Durban. She's written Lily Kat's name in the sand a few times. Isn't she a doll? Her mom is too. It's so sweet that Bianca has told her Lily all about mine and that L.G. thinks of L.K. on her own now. Bianca is an amazing woman to teach her daughter compassion, empathy, and the value of life. πŸ˜Š❤️ #lovethataccent #makesmyday


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Lily Remembered in Mexico

Lily's recent travels took her to Cabo, Mexico with Ashley!  ❤️ 🌊 ☀️ 🐚 🐬 🐳 🐟 🐠 🐒 🌴  


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Lily Remembered at the Chesapeake Bay

Lily was remembered by Anna at Cedar Cove Beach on the Chesapeake Bay, in honor of her daughter Lillian Ruth's 1st birthday in Heaven this month!  ❤️ 🌊 ☀️ 🐚 


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The Butterfly Awards Nomination

I'm honored to have been nominated (and now shortlisted) for the Author/Blogger International award category at The Butterfly Awards (where they celebrate those who make a difference in the babyloss community) in the U.K.!

"She keeps a beautiful, inspirational blog and fearlessly speaks about her precious daughter Lily Katherine. It gives me and no doubt many other mothers the strength to keep sparking about their babies who have passed and for those of us who are religious the comfort to know God has a plan for us and for our babies too." πŸ’• #LilysLegacy


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